Singled Out: AJR's 'I'm Ready'
"I'm Ready" was written in a slightly different way from the rest of our songs, because Mother Nature intervened. Normally we write, record, and produce all of our songs in our living room, but because of Hurricane Sandy, at the end of October 2012, we had no power in our New York City apartment. Adam and Ryan were both in school at Columbia University. In the middle of the storm we brought the keyboard and recording equipment up to Ryan's dorm room on campus, which is where the song was written.
Once power was restored downtown, we finished writing, and recorded the entire track in our living room. It's not a fancy living room studio, it is literally a microphone, a computer, and a keyboard: that's it.
The idea for the song came a few weeks earlier. Jack presented us with this thought that someone like Skrillex should sample Spongebob Squarepants in a dubstep song as an ironic little throwback. Our next thought became, "why the heck couldn't we do it?" So Ryan got to work on writing and mapping out the structure of the song. The next idea that emerged was the tempo-less piano break before the pre-chorus. The lyrics "I won't forget you, but I may forget your name" were inspired by the nightlife at college, and the song started to emerge as a kind of pump-up, sexy, party anthem. The final ingredient that completed the body of the song was the clapping pre-chorus. This, in addition to the falsetto melody in the chorus, are a big throwback to our love of 50's and 60's music; artists like Frankie Valli and The Beach Boys.
I'm Ready turned into the focal point around which the rest of our sound was built. We draw inspirations from people who run the gamut of styles. Our biggest influences are Fun., Kanye West, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel and Imagine Dragons. On our forthcoming album we worked to meld together a lot of our favorite sounds, (both classic and modern), into a pretty exciting product.
Because we decided not to sign with a major label, we've retained the creative license to make the exact music that we would want to listen to, and brand ourselves most authentically. We're living in a very exciting time in the industry, where oddballs seem to be ruling the charts. Alternative artists like Lorde and Macklemore have brought new sounds and business models to the industry, and we feel very blessed to be making music at this time. More than any other time in history, the fans are calling the shots. It's very cool.
Essentially "I'm Ready" is the center of our sound but there is a wide spectrum of music coming your way. Get ready for some surprises!