New Jersey rockers Rigbi recently released their new single "I'm A Mess In Winter" featuring a guitar solo from Dave Depper (Death Cab for Cutie) and to celebrate we asked Jon Irizarry to tell us about the track, which will appear on their new EP "Find Your Light" (out April 8th). Here is the story:
Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is something I think many people are familiar with, even if they don't realize it. It's the instance where your mood is altered by the change in seasons, commonly seen as depression or a feeling of gloominess in the Winter. It's often tied to a deficiency in Vitamin D we get from sunlight. "I'm a Mess In Winter" was written in one of those winters. Being a redhead, the Sun and I don't really get along (I burn in about 10 minutes). So with the cold New Jersey Winter driving us inside, I tend to miss the already little sunlight I get! When writing the lyrics, I wanted to lay out that feeling honestly without clouding it in too many metaphors, almost like a self-reflection or my own therapy session. "It's starting to snow, I don't know where to go but I'll get there" was the first lyric I wrote, and it just felt right, so it ended up being the opening line to the tune. The idea was to touch on not only that feeling that comes with S.A.D. but the guilt you can feel externally to others for not feeling "normal." It can become this endless feedback loop of feeling depressed, feeling bad about feeling depressed, and then being depressed that you feel bad, and so on. It's the ouroboros of anxiety.
Instrumentally this song has a much brighter story. It came around when, as a band, we were adjusting our writing process in a big way. A year prior, we had finished promoting our last album, and Brian (our drummer) moved to Nashville. Being a New Jersey-based band this obviously makes having a traditional band practice difficult. But above all things in the band, we are friends first. We've been friends going way back to kindergarten and have been playing music together for many years. So when Brian moved, it wasn't a question of getting a new drummer. It was a question of how do we write songs remotely? In other words, how was this going to work?
We took our time for that year. I finished building a new studio, and shortly after, I started fooling around with some ideas. I pulled out the old Stratocaster that I hadn't used in probably ten years and eventually stumbled onto the chord progression while singing a few lines of what would become the verse melody. It was just enough to get the idea down. I sent it to the rest of the group in an email to see their thoughts and to see where we go from there. It was our normal process that we had always done except over the internet. One by one, everyone started adding their parts. Brian recorded some demo drums with Randy soon adding a bass line on top of that. Pat and Rick were the icing on the cake with piano, synth, and guitar as well. It all came together rather quickly.
The bridge was always intended to be an instrumental break. I think we kept saying, "there will be some guitar part there or something; we'll figure it out." But as everyone started recording their final takes in the studio, the bridge became tricky to fill. In a moment of serendipity, I browsed social media and saw Dave Depper's social media fundraiser for MusiCares. To help raise money, he offered to play on other artists' songs. I thought if there is one person who knows how to put a guitar solo in a melancholy song about the winter blues, it's the guitarist for Death Cab for Cutie! We all love his work and Death Cab's. They continue to be a staple in our favorite bands. So we reached out, helped raise some money, and the rest is history. He was very kind and added the perfect touch to complete the song. Having someone from one of your favorite bands contribute to your song is definitely a surreal feeling.
This song means a lot to us, and it solidified what we already knew about our friendship and this band. Whatever the music journey ends up being, wherever life takes us, we will be together for it and continue to do what we love.
Oh, and I have since got a light therapy lamp for the colder months that works wonders! Highly recommend!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the band here
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