A Mic and a Dream: The Making of Visibly Clammy
After the release of my first comedy album, Male Adequacy in Fall 2016, I didn’t write a song for months. It took a while for me to get inspired and start writing. In fact, I was originally planning to release another full album, but once I had ten demos, I decided to just release 5 of the best songs. Quality over quantity they say.
Katie was written sometime in Spring 2017 on a lazy Saturday. A few years ago, Chris and a few friends and I wrote a track you’ll never hear called Sally. Then we followed it up with Nancy. So it seemed only natural to have another song about a girl with a two-syllable name. Chris and I were real bored and smashed this song out in like 6 hours. I love this song and it is notable for being the most time I’ve ever spent editing and mixing a song.
The chorus of this song sprang fully formed into my mind while my sister and I were parasailing hundreds of feet above the Pacific Ocean in Mexico. I didn’t have a phone or notebook with me, so I annoyed my sister by singing the chorus over and over again so I wouldn’t forget it before I could write it down. The guest vocalist Matt Grosso and I met in high school and after I listened to his band Madd Oso’s album from this year, I had to ask him to lend his sweet pipes to my medicated tune. Shout out to Kurt Skrivseth’s sweet bass on this track. Fretless, nonetheless.
This track is so named because I sent a picture featuring me both hungover and extremely sick to my comedy partner Alex. He later described me as looking “Visibly Clammy,” and that phrase stuck with me enough to write a song and name the EP after it. This song was hard to record because I had extremely limited resources. All of the bongos and congas were recorded with a single overhead mic in a bedroom and then heavily compressed and edited just to get them to the way you hear them. But that’s me actually playing them! I also played guitar, but the chords in the chorus are extremely difficult to play, so I had to record every other chord and then blend both takes into the song. Singing is also hard. Kurt does good bass. Much tune.
This is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever put together. The idea popped into my head while working on a different demo, but I quickly found a Creative Commons track (thanks enter name here!) and took to Pornhub to find the nastiest, most depraved sound bytes I could. Part of the fun of writing comedy is the often-strange research and I am not exaggerating when I say my roommate and I scanned way too much porn before we discovered what you hear in the song. I probably still have the original files on my computer if you want me to send them to you. Anyway, this song makes me laugh.
I came up with this song while staying in a very affluent neighborhood in Whitefish, MT. Perhaps the most social commentary I’ve ever put in a song, but still heavily diluted by gruesome absurdities. It really gets gory in here, but that’s part of the fun! Taking the illustrations way farther than they should go! I blew out my voice for a few days recording this track, even though I only did two takes. God bless my neighbors for not calling the cops when they heard the phrase “I have nightmares about my dad’s brains splattering against the walls!”
All in all, I’m extremely proud of this EP. I think these are five of the best songs I’ve ever written and I look back at the writing process fondly. I can hear the bouncy joy in the verses of Katie, I still picture myself slamming the bongos on Visibly Clammy, and I still remember tracking vocals in smoke-choked air (hence my limited range from Katie to I Love You). My goal with this project was to write songs that people might return to, rather than laugh once and move on. If you feel so inclined, please pass these on to someone else who might enjoy them too!
Special thank you to Kurt Skrivseth for being my idea-bouncer-offer and friendly neighborhood bass player.