09 Dec Why Don’t You Listen?
Well, here it is – our first official music release since “Full Circle” came out in June 2015!
Throughout much of The Outer Vibe’s history, we unintentionally fell into a weird routine of releasing a CD every 3 or so years.
Oh – are you the person who would like to count years with me? Sure, here we go.
Self-titled demo – 2001. How many of you are not actually aware this existed? It was before I joined the band, during those days of burning spindles of CDs and putting round sticker labels on them yourself. I bought the CD at a show, the band signed it for me, and I fan-girled. This item is “rare vintage,” has been out of stock for over a decade, and is mostly in the hands of Nick and Sean’s high school buddies.
Pretty Good – 2003. Basically Nick and Sean’s recording school project. My first performance with TOV was the release show for this album.
Games We Play – 2006. Sounds like music school kids, in my opinion. We learned a lot about harmony and melody in music theory and piano classes around this era.
Music school kids, a.k.a. college sophomores… photo taken by a classmate at Grand Rapids Community College
Pic by Daniel Dauser, from the “Games We Play” photo shoot
Monster EP – 2009. From Games We Play to this EP, we went through 4 drummers in 3 years. It was tragic, really. They exploded onstage. ***
Photo by Nick’s mom, who would stay up as late as us at those hundreds of bar gigs that ended at 2AM
Photo by our friend Ashley DeWitt, found in the depths of Facebook
Hoka Hey – 2012 (one of these days I’ll write a separate journal entry on how creating this album helped our band work through some tough times.)
Screenshot taken from our “Hoka Hey” music video
Full Circle – 2015. I think most of you are caught up with us at this point.
I think the best part about this series of pictures is watching Nick’s hair get longer and longer.
Our days of taking years to release new music are over! “Why Don’t You Listen?” is the first single of a few new songs… basically our first recording project as a Nashville band.
So… why don’t you listen?
Almost exactly one year ago, we flew our beloved producer/brother/cheerleader Brad Dollar into Michigan for another round of recording. This was after Full Circle was completed, pressed, and helping our band make its way around the USA. We were ready to write more songs.
We brought Brad to MI for one week. We locked ourselves in our studio and fired up our 38-cup coffee percolator with the goal to demo as many new songs as possible, just to get the ideas out and build a catalog to display the writing skills of our 5-person songwriting team.
Photo by Mackenzie Spear, our sound engineer and songwriting/trumpet extraordinaire
Our original goal was to write/produce/record one song per day. 7 days later, we had finished close to 20 songs.
Side note – even though we had no idea what the future held at the time, this project turned out to be extremely helpful when we signed a publishing deal 9 months later.
Other side note – I’m going to take a second to clarify what a demo is. A demo is basically a rough recording of a song. It could be as rough as an iPhone recording of a person singing with a guitar, or it could be more elaborate and created in a studio. But we refer to “demo” as the recording of a song idea that is not necessarily fully polished/produced. Not quite album quality.
Sean had previously come up with the chord progression and the topic, and then handed the lyrics off to Wonder and Noah to finish. Like most of our songs, it went through a few different transformations.
Anyway, we wrote “Why Don’t You Listen?” during that particular week, and if I remember right (no guarantees – it was a blur), it was smack in the middle of the week. I remember the night the song came together. Occasionally other people would stop in during these sessions to make sure we were still alive and feeding ourselves, so that night the studio included the band, Brad, assistant engineer Mackenzie, and Nick’s mom. Everyone in the room unanimously agreed this song was the best of the bunch as soon as it took shape. There was just something about it.
To anyone who owns our live album that we released in July 2016, this is pretty much the version of “Why Don’t You Listen?” that’s on that CD, which is the version we played live on tour until just recently.
Fast forward to October 2016 – Nashville, TN. The Outer Vibe, with the support of our publisher, Catch This Music, decided to record a fresh batch of new songs. To us, “Why Don’t You Listen?” was an obvious choice, so we decided to dig in and produce the song a little more. We did this 100% on our own – no producer for this batch of songs – simply because of the time crunch to record, mix, and release the music.
Yes, that means there are more new songs that are getting mixed right this minute. 🙂
What does “Why Don’t You Listen?” mean to TOV?
Ahh, the question everyone wants to know: what’s the meaning? What’s the story?
Here’s the short answer:
To us, “Why Don’t You Listen?” is about that disconnected feeling of trying to be heard, trying to get through to someone or something, but you can’t.
So… what’s it about?
Well, that’s for you to decide. It’s our job to put music out there, and your job to decide how you would like to interpret it! That’s the beauty of art, right? You can get whatever you want out of it.
So maybe it’s about a failing relationship. Maybe it’s that feeling of screaming your heart out and no one understands. Or a feeling of defeat.
Out of the 4 songs we recorded this fall, we felt this song should be released first. Because, while the first word of the song is “baby,” which might suggest the song’s about a relationship, we felt the song’s pleas to be heard and understood might resonate with some people due to national events that have recently taken place. A lot of people are wishing to be heard right now.
And I’m just gonna leave it at that. Enjoy!
*** Quote borrowed from “Spinal Tap”