Imonolith will be releasing their debut album "State of Being" on March 27th and to celebrate we asked Ryan Van Poederooyen of the supergroup to tell us about the record and the song "Instinct". Here is the story:
Back in 2015, Brian 'Beav' Waddell and I started writing music for a future project we wanted to do together. That future project became, Imonolith in 2018. We were playing in the Devin Townsend Project at the time but wanted to start writing music of our own. When we first started writing music together, the idea for writing was to come up with a bunch of riffs, choose the best ones and start writing songs out of them.
I've always been a songwriter and lyricist, but never a vocal melody writer. My brother, Jason 'JVP' Van Poederooyen is a successful Producer, Mixer, Engineer in LA. He's recorded acts like, Nickelback, Chris Cornell, Simple Plan, Airbourne, Daughtry among other big acts. I learned a lot through him regarding vocals and writing melodies. My favourite band of all time is The Beatles. I always loved the melodies and hooks in their songs. From all these various influences, there was a lot of inspiration for me to start writing vocal melodies, so I began writing my own vocal melodies for the music Beav and I were writing. I would also record vocal ideas on their own without music as potential ideas for down the road.
I started recording all my vocal ideas on my iPhone through the 'Voice Memos' App. I was scared to show Brian my vocal ideas at first because I'm not a singer. I would make vocal demos over our instrumental demos by using falsetto voice mixed with real voice to get my point across for the song and our eventual singer. When I finally grew the balls to show Beav my ideas, he loved them and we started including them in our music. Jason was going to produce our album, so he became my 'sounding board' and would let me know what vocal melodies worked and which ones needed work. Based off his credentials, we trusted his judgement.
As for the process, once a song was completed instrumentally, I'd start writing the vocal melodies or choosing from melodies I already had saved. For demoing, I'd use random words that sounded good for the melodies I wrote. Once the vocal melodies were all written, I would start writing all the lyrics.
The song 'Instinct' was written in a completely different way. It was a vocal hook that started it all... I had this catchy vocal melody I was digging and showed it to JVP and Beav. They both loved it. So, Brian and I started writing riffs around the chorus melody I came up with for, 'Instinct'. It was the only song on the album where we wrote the music around vocal melodies first, not a guitar riff. It was also one of the very first vocal melodies I ever wrote. We wrote 'Instinct' in a few hours. We also demoed the song instrumentally the same day. It was just one of those songs that instantly came together in no time.
Our singer, Jon Howard wrote the lyrics to 'Instinct'. He's a great lyricist and songwriter too, as you can hear in his own band, Threat Signal. Lyrically, Jon says, 'Instinct' is about a battle of ones self. Figuring yourself out and trying to make yourself better, while dealing with the variables of life. When Jon joined the band, he heard all my vocal ideas and loved them, along with my lyrics, so we stuck with that formula. We have a very similar lyrical writing style. We also were writing lyrics in a similar theme and vibe. This all came together by chance, not by design. The ongoing theme was based on how human beings deal with their own personal states of being on a day to day basis. That's how I came up with the album title, 'State of Being'. 'Instinct' has become our lead off single for our debut album which is coming out on March 27th, 2020. We're all very proud of that song and the way it turned out, along with the rest of the album.
It's been quite the journey and a big learning curve with Imonolith. I never thought I'd start writing vocal melodies for music I was involved in, but I'm loving it and stoked with how it all turned out. It goes to show that if you're passionate and inspired, you can achieve whatever you want in music and life.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself right here!