the electric wire bird

Artist
derek chafin | joanna justice
Released
2015
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What were we thinking?
The digital age has provided a platform for more info than liner notes on any given packaging could – so we’re taking advantage of it. I write this in hopes of sharing the creative process more precisely and to give some insight into the tunes, beyond what you hear – although, at the end of the day, all that really counts is in the listening.

We wanted you to hear the influences; they were not meant to be hidden. We wanted to start a conversation about where rock and roll and roots and electronic meet. We didn’t fail if you hate it but we did if you just didn’t care enough to think about it. Joanna and I wanted it to be challenging and a little odd. Most of the music we truly love and that stays with us is music that confronted each of us when we heard it the first few times but were drawn to listen to again, sometimes in anger.

Unlike most people that come from a rock background, we felt rock lost its edge. We felt like EDM was taking the chances, exciting sounds, new structures, and feeling the current of the now. But here’s the secret: rock is the master thief and therefore will be dancing on into the future when other forms or trends have long past. It’s this thievery, the changing and the openness that has kept it vibrant. We wanted it back in its rightful place of dominance. What EDM is not great at is the traditional song – problems with key changes, melodic intricacy’s or a diversity of fundamental beat or groove. I’ve always loved dance music, even when I was listening almost exclusively to REM or the DB’s, for example. There were sounds there that were new and fresh, just like a felt when I heard Hendrix click on a roto-wha pedal. I loved the tone before I even really heard the song. Sound, Melody, Beat, Meaning. EDM and rock are both tapping into something primal and fundamental, from the euphoria of a whirling dervish trance, hypnotic and long structure because it has to be. Not much different than Zeppelin or Buckley to eventually arrive at the most intense place. The complexity of emotion is what rock can excel at. I wanted that. A song moves us in a fundamental human way. We are still just strolling minstrels going from town to town selling a story or feeling through songs. EDM and rock share the same source. We wanted the tones and sonic freshness of EDM but wanted it to have less limited musical horizons. We didn’t want to lop on EDM to a rock song – we wanted them intertwined.

I’m older now. I don’t want that to be hidden. There is a sense that rock is exclusively for the young. It’s only true if artists don’t push forward or aware of the current musical conversations. Certainly the wild, unbridled, unrestrained power of youthful writing is a huge part of rock and connects directly to any generations’ shared cultural feeling. But I also think a little more of the medium than that. In no other form of music do we confine or limit its abilities. If we believe rock is important music then it must have many facets and meanings and always room for people to join the conversation. I think it’s an art. I believe in it as a musical entity. That’s why I’m still here. But the important part is joining the current conversation with hopefully something fresh to say or hear.

The democratization of music has given opportunity for each unique voice and musical vision to be heard. When you stop serving “the man” things can get pretty creative. Artists belly ached, rightfully so,  for years about the record companies hold on creativity, almost as much as we now bitch about there not being a music business. It’s changed and so has the music. We got what we always wanted but had to give up the iconic ideals at the same time – a tough trade for many. But fuck, it is in our hands now for whatever good or bad that may cause and now is to push the ball forward, to show that at its best it can, in fact, be art, and to try to say something in a unique way, which was really the point – other than fame, groupies or free drugs, which are nice but not the point. Past age, past genre, past traditional commerce.

During the making of this record I had my son Lafe. I’d be leaving out a huge part of this records undercurrent if I left that out. I wanted him to know who I was now at this point in my life, what I thought, what I cherished, what angered me. Most of all I wanted him to know what I wanted of him and for him and thought of him, in case he was to ever have doubts. I hope I have, my little man. Even the flaws are insights.

Finally, this record took a long time to make. Having my son, being very busy producing records for other artists and running a studio left little time. The type of record also made it inherently more difficult to make. It’s no secret that EDM records take more time to make because they can be very intricate with lots of time looking for just the right snare drum, for example. Computer based recording and editing takes time but also offers the full palate to say exactly what one wants to say. For the first time I used the computer in the actual writing of the tunes. I could get a good verse going and then later swap out the bridge for something better. It takes awhile and also takes getting lost. I had to find out how this method was best used by going down lots of dead end avenues. The line between freedom/creativity and hurling wildly through space is a fine one.

This record is a collaboration between Joanna Justice and myself. Imagine the fun and pace of a conversation when each get’s to finish the line of the other. We kept each other out of the weeds and pushed each other to accept nothing but bold and more. Our styles complimented each others. Joanna’s natural ease and my microscopic drilling down worked so well. Less opinions in the making were also a breath of fresh air for both of us but also meant we had to be our own harshest critics.  We were driven, baby. It took a long time to make but it wasn’t for lack of trying. We could spend hours and hours on a track only to wipe it clean and start over. We know the goal and the feeling but there wasn’t a direct path to achieve it, only to keep pushing on through to the other side – so to speak. It kept both us of rooted and also made the long haul a really fun ride. I feel more pride for this record than any I’ve ever made. It was the hardest record I ever made and it was also the most meaningful and inspiring.

We hope you like. Enjoy!

Album Credits:
Produced by Derek Chafin and Joanna Justice
Executive producer: Steve Durkee

Recorded and Mixed at BarnSound, Media PA
tracks 1 thru 10 Mastered by Chris Muth
tracks 11 thru 21 Mastered by Peter Humphries

 

01 She Got The Feelin: Music by Derek and Justice, Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Drums, Percussion, Programming, Backing vocals: Justice
Wurly: Kenny Kearns
Viola: Andi Hemmenway

02 Do Your Worst: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Percussion, Programming, Backing vocals: Justice
Drums: Tim Reeder

03 Break UR Heart: Music by Derek and Justice, Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Drums, Percussion, Programming, Backing vocals: Justice
Wurly: Kenny Kearns

04 Air In UR Lungs: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Drums, Percussion, Programming, Backing vocals: Justice
Additional Bass: John Cartwright

05 Light Up: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Piano, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Drums, Percussion, Programming, Backing vocals: Justice
Additional Bass: John Cartwright
Additional Piano: Kenny Kearns

06 Find: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Drums, Percussion, Piano, Programming: Justice
Strings: Andi Hemmenway
String Arrangement by Derek, Justice and Steve Durkee

07 Sitting: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Drums, Percussion, Programming: Justice
Bass: Chris Seidel
Horns: Jay Davidson, Matt “Fish” Fischer, Adam Flicker
Horn Arrangement by Derek and Jay Davidson

08 Something’s Wrong: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Programming: Justice
Wurly: Kenny Kearns
Additional Keys: Chad Gustafson
Backing vocals: Tim Reeder, Karolyn Jordan
Horns: Jay Davidson, Matt “Fish” Fischer, Adam Flicker
Horn Arrangement by Derek and Jay Davidson

09 Hard Rain: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Guitars, Programming, Piano, Vocals: Derek
Percussion, Programming, Auto Harp, Backing vocals: Justice
Bass: Chris Seidel
Additional Backing Vocals: Tim Reeder

10 There Is Love: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Piano, Vocals: Derek
Drums, Percussion, Programming: Justice

11 Light: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Programming: Justice
Strings: Andi Hemmenway
String Arrangement by Derek, Justice and Steve Durkee

12 California: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Drums, Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Programming: Justice

13 Over Your Shoulder: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Programming: Justice
Drums: Tim Reeder
Bass: Kevin Jacoby
Rhoads: Chad Gustafson
Strings: Andi Hemmenway
Horns: Jay Davidson, Matt “Fish” Fischer, Adam Flicker and Kenny Kearns
Horn and String Arrangement by Derek

14 Slow Motion Suicide: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Percussion, Programming: Justice
Drums: Tim Reeder
Additional Guitars: David Lenat
Horns: Jay Davidson, Matt “Fish” Fischer, Adam Flicker
Horn Arrangement by Derek

15 Hard 2 Do: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Percussion, Programming, Backing vocals: Justice
Drums: Erik Johnson
Bass: Kevin Jacoby
Wurly: Kenny Kearns

16 Tell Me: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Programming: Justice
Drums: Mark Schreiber
Bass: Chris Seidel

17 Home: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Programming: Justice
Drums: Tim Reeder
Bass: Chris Seidel

18 What About Love: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Programming, Backing vocals: Justice
Drums: Tim Reeder
Bass: Chris Seidel

19 Who RU Now: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Programming, Backing vocals: Justice
Additional Drum Programming: David Lenat
***Strings: Andi Hemmenway****
String Arrangement by Derek

20 Don’t You: Music and Lyrics by Derek
Bass, Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Programming: Justice

21 Until: Music by Derek, Justice and Chris Seidel, Lyrics by Derek
Guitars, Programming, Vocals: Derek
Drums, Percussion, Piano, Programming: Justice
Bass: Chris Seidel