June 26, 2014
Josh and Seth Larson (Something Underground)
Brothers Seth and Josh Larson and their long-time drummer, Trevor Mariotti, were born into musical families. That deep-rooted connection to music is ever-present in their delivery. Rock, reggae and funk are just a few of the vehicles they use to move their audience. Their commitment to charity ranges from supporting children with disabilities to raising awareness of landmine victims on an international scale. Locally, their regular installments of Warehouse Gatherings bring together members of the Denver and Colorado music scene to connect, collaborate and create. Love is not just a musical message; it is a way of life.
Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor:
What made you want to participate in this project?
My desire to be a part of what I think is an extremely beautiful experiment of expression through art.
A knowing that anything that you, Sally, are creating is a worthwhile endeavor to be a part of. I am so honored and humbled to have been asked to be involved in this project. The opportunity to contribute and to play a roll in the creation of art in this way is a dream scenario.
It felt really good to say yes!!
Who was hearing the music? (Ex. you now? you as a child? you grandfather? The earth? The sky? A place? A time? Etc)
What part of the image informed you’re interpretation the most?
Definitely the splash, the wave, that is reaching for the sky.
What did you tell yourself about the story behind the image? (aka. Who was seeing this place? Did the wave have a story? the beach? Did it recall any specific memory from your childhood?)
I’m not sure that I can adequately articulate what I thought was the story behind the image, but here goes my attempt. To me, the story in the image is about unity. I wasn’t just there, I was part of the moment. In actuality I was every part of that moment in the image – the sun, the shore, the water, the rocks…..everything.
The lyrical content mainly came from Seth, but as we share the same brain, it really came from me too. Once Seth came up with the initial lyrical concept I became the wave and then transcended into what I believe to be a universal consciousness. I was the wave, but also a soul here on earth, connected to everything while having a unique experience……….crashing on a shoreline, resulting in yet another reach for the heavenly sky. As the wave, the water, a soul, I had memory of this earthly past and knew that what was happening had taken place many times before that very moment. That scenario had played out time and time again in my mind, in parallel realities, and on this earth. This moment, however, was unique, like every other moment.
What sound came to you first?
I picked up a Ukulele and a flowing 6/8 time signature series of notes revealed themselves. Even though I was looking at a still image I couldn’t help but imagine the water continue to flow. My first inspired thought from the image was that a flowing sound was being called for. I tend to associate 6/8 timing with a fluid movement, like a waltz. The Ukulele only seemed appropriate for the first try at a sound, because of it’s soft sonic texture.
How do you normally write music? How was this experience different?
Often I fuss over lyrics, arrangements, chords, melody and subject matter of a song (ie. basically all parts of a song), but the time constraints and specific focus of this project forced me to be much less critical and just let the music flow. Seth and I wrote the song and recorded it in just a few hours. Although Seth and I have collaborated in the past, this was one of the more equally collaborated songs that we had written this this point.
Without a doubt this experience helped inspire us to do more writing in this highly collaborative way. Being put to the challenge of writing and recording a complete song within a relatively short period of time allowed us, maybe even forced us to let go of our ego’s in the interest of getting it done in time. We loved the process! We performed the song at our very next show just days later.
What techniques/tools did you use to help you express you’re interpretation? (certain instruments? Recording strategy? Vocal choices)
Ukulele was a choice for it’s soft, island sound…….considering the water in the picture. 6/8 time signature was a choice to express a feeling of flowing like water. We wanted to keep it natural so we used only acoustic instruments (guitar and ukulele) with our vocals. As for recording vocals, we don’t know any other way than recording harmonies throughout a song. Although I’m kind of kidding about only knowing one way to record vocals, we really just naturally like to sing in harmony together…….most if not all of the time. And it wouldn’t be our song if we didn’t sing some long O’s together.
What was the story you were trying to tell with this song? (pick out some lyrics and tell me what they mean)
The literal story is of the water crashing on the shoreline and reaching towards the sky. The story then assumes a consciousness of the water, as if the water were speaking of it’s experience, thoughts, and desires in this moment of crashing on the shore. The metaphorical story is of a human soul speaking of it’s experience, thoughts and desires in this moment. I’ll take a look into the metaphorical story for this answer.
I’m crashing on your shore
Here I am, world.
Reaching for the sky
I strive to live my with integrity and positivity
Searching for a way
I’m making my way through this choose-your-own-adventure experience, doing my best to……
Wishing I could fly……..high
choose what will lead to my highest potential for making a positive impact in this world
and dreaming big
So here I am again
I’ve been in this state of mind, this place, this situation before
Like all the times before
It’s very much familiar to me
This time it feels different
But at this very moment my experience feels uniquely different from my past experiences
Now I’m something more
I have grown. I have learned from my past experiences.
Are there certain choices you made (melodically/vocally etc) which mean something specific to you that the observer might not know?
The biggest choice I feel might not translate directly, but ultimately does because it’s just an element of the song, is that I really felt strongly about using the 6/8 (waltz-like) time signature. I like this sort of rhythm anyways, but when I saw the water in the image I felt compelled to play in a flowing rhythm.
Extra credit: Did you enjoy this project?
I didn’t just enjoy it, I loved doing this with all my heart!!!
Thanks Sally!!! You are an inspiration and THE inspiration! I love you dearly.
I will admit, words don’t always flow for me, so answering these questions was an endeavor! However, I enjoyed putting myself in the creative space to answer these questions, something I probably don’t do often enough. One thing I absolutely love about writing music is that songs can be written with little to no thinking or analyzing…… ”can be” …….is the key to what I’m sayin here. Typically my mind works very hard when writing music, but I really enjoy when a song flows with little effort or thinking. This song was more towards that end of the spectrum for me, just letting it flow and not worrying too much about what it means………. trusting that whatever fell out of us was perfect. As you can probably tell from my answers, even though I helped write this song, I could go in many directions as to what it’s meaning is.
When I really began to write songs, at the age of 13-14, I wrote lyrics with reckless abandon. Some of my lyrics didn’t even really make sense to me! But there was an innocence about it all……….. that I didn’t necessarily need to wrap my mind around a meaning. Perhaps I felt ok about this because much of the time when I listened to music while growing up I often didn’t pay much attention to lyrics in songs. I’ve always been more about the music and melody than about lyrics. That may be why lyrics are often the hardest thing for me to write. Or maybe I’ve been more about music and melody BECAUSE lyrics can be difficult for me to write! I often get way too heady about the meaning of lyrics now, and I think it drains my creativity. Seth has always been great with words, so more and more I tend to leave that part up to him
Back to the writing lyrics with reckless abandon when I was younger…………..what would make me so happy is when friends / people would tell me what my song(s) meant to them – the same songs that had lyrics that I didn’t truly understand myself. I never would tell them that I didn’t understand them, I was just happy that someone found their own meanings.
That’s what is so cool about this project…………and about life………..we all find our own special meanings.