Last May I got a txt out of the blue from Dane, a good buddy, great drummer, and former bandmate:
“Ok dude. Let’s do it: Let’s write a couple of skath songs.”
Dane and I used to play in a ska band called Captain Supreme back in college. After Captain Supreme broke up we joked around about forming a new ska band, dressing up like skeletons, and writing songs about graveyards and monsters and ghosts and stuff. It would be skath!
It was a fun idea, but I assumed it would be like all of the other hilarious band ideas I’d had with friends: fun to talk about but we’d never write anything. Well, for whatever reason this was different. I got really excited and we started trading song name ideas: “Grave Danger”, “Escape From Skull City”, “Hearse Chorus Hearse Chorus”, “Spider!? I Barely Know ‘er!”. In a fit of inspiration I wrote the lyrics to “Grave Danger” on the spot and we started talking about who else we could get involved. That weekend I started writing some music and it seemed like a project that we could really get off the ground.
Eventually I realized that if we wanted to have some actual songs to record, I’d have to get serious about writing. Inspired by Dane’s participation in #5amwritersclub I decided that I could get up a little early every morning and actually get some creative work done. While I’m not crazy enough to wake up at 5am, I did get up before 7:00 and found 30 minutes to an hour almost every day to make progress on these songs.
It felt really good.
I felt like a musician again and I felt like a songwriter again. Most of the songwriting I had done since leaving The American Autumn was done in single sessions. If I could get a full song out in a night, it didn’t get done. This was different. I struggled through false starts that just wouldn’t come together. I had to figure out how to connect parts that were cool on their own but needed to sound cohesive. I had to arrange a four part horn section without overwriting things. It felt good to put in the work on a creative project.
About six months later I now have three songs demoed: Grave Danger, Escape From Skull City, and Too Ghoul For School. I recorded all the music and vocals myself, using a keyboard for horns and Logic Pro’s drums. Now I’m ready to do real recordings of this. I’ll still play a lot of the instruments, Dane will be doing the drums, and we’ll be getting other people involved to do vocals and other horn parts.
Six months may seem like a long time to write about 10 minutes of music, but I’m really proud that I was able to get these songs written and demoed while having a new baby and a busy job. What are we going to do with this recording? I’m not sure. I don’t know if the world is clambering for ska songs about ghosts, so I might not quit my day job but that’s ok. I really just want to see these songs exist.
Here’s a few snippets of the demos: