The next song off Coldform, Masks started as a “morning after.”
Izzy and I had stayed up super late with Astrolope the night before; we had been recording vocals for It Turns You On. We woke up, had a crepe breakfast and started noodling around in the studio, and we came up with the bass line and arpeggio that starts off the song using my Minibrute synthesizer. We cobbled together a structure for the music and then sat down together and wrote the vocal parts. It was the first time I had sung on a song with someone else, so it was really exciting for us. After a few hours, we woke Paul up with a phone call and said “we wrote another song, come over,” and he did.
With the tune in his hands, he laid down the climactic ending heard in the album version. Being a percussionist, he also added some of the strange drums that can be heard especially toward the beginning; the ‘ding’ sound was my favourite coffee mug, and the ‘shake’ sound was a can of nails.
I became very frustrated with my vocals on this song, and ended up re-recording myself about 6 times over. The others were more frustrated with my perfectionism than I was with the song, so I caved eventually and just left it the way it originally was.
Leaving this song to cure for a while, we came back almost a year later and recorded Paul playing the snare drum, replaced some of the samples (ie: the bass drum became a timpani) and cleaned up the mix. I added a little more “weepy” Minibrute at the end and the song was done.
Next from Coldform is A Death Over The Radio.
I started this song while in the backseat of my parents’ car on the way to see my great grandfather who had recently turned 100. It started with the raspy “respirator” synth sound and the various piano melodies, and was left as that for a little while.
I later started sequencing drums, and ended up using a lot of samples from a brush kit because I liked how fluid they felt. Underneath, the rest was essentially basic dance drum patterns.
I tried playing this one live at the release party for my first album World Makers, but it just didn’t seem right; something was missing.
I took the tune to Jesse Manou from Other Families to lay down some electric guitar. He gave me one mean take, and that’s what you can hear in the finished song.
A lot of time passed, and I had moved to Montreal for school. My Great Grandfather died and I started to think about what the song was really about. I got a message one day about the account name for one of my other projects from someone named Súsanna Herálvsdóttir. She wanted to use the name for her own project, Dóttir (pictured). I gave it to her, and discovered that she had the most lovely voice.
I sent her the instrumental to muse over, and after a few months she gave back the recorded vocals. I remember getting really excited upon hearing them for the first time- I immediately called Astrolope and told him to come over and hear them.
A lot of time and small mix revisions later, and the song was finished. For me, this was one of my favourite songs off the album and marked the first time I collaborated with someone I didn’t know in real life.
The next song on Coldform is It Turns You On.
This song is a bit harder to remember the process behind, but I do know that it started as a solo piano demo.
What changed it was when I ran the piano through a shitload of distortion and realized the lead melody sounded way better that way. I ended up redoing it with a distorted softsynth.
From there I programmed some pretty robotic dance beats and had the skeleton for what became the first chorus.
Once I moved to Montreal, Astrolope (pictured above, around that time) came into the equation and played the pots and pans you can hear in the intro section, as well as made the drums way better overall.
I eked out the bass line with the bass guitar that I would later learn to play, and we ended up with a pretty bare tune.
Izzy came in and did the vocals all in one day. The garbled speech heard toward the beginning is her rapping some of the nastiest shit I’ve ever heard, which was then warped to hell. We wrote the lyrics based on what we thought we heard in the mangled version. Lyrically, we wanted to write a song that was more fun than serious.
This song went through about 10 versions and two years before we were happy with it, and now you can listen to it knowing that Isabella Davis has a rapper alter-ego called Li’l Izzy.
I haven’t posted on my wordpress blog in a very long time. I don’t have many followers here, but I really should use it more often for the longer posts. Apologies. Here’s what’s going on in the world of Waxlimbs.
The new album is finished, and now begins the long process of planning a release for it. I really cannot wait to show people what I’ve been working on for the past (nearly) two years.
It’s very much an album which tries to explore death and the process of traveling through it, as well as the perspective of those left behind. I feel like the ways in which I write songs have changed, with an emphasis on the lyrical part of songwriting.
I also want to say thank you to everyone who has been there for us this far. When people come up to us after a show and tell us how they feel, it’s unlike any other sort of feedback. That’s where we get to have a real and direct interaction with those listening. It’s an incredible feeling and oftentimes we’re at a loss for words when confronted with it.
So thank you for talking to us, it’s painful, it’s strange and it’s beautiful.
We’re going to go away for a little while to work on getting this record ready for release and revamping our live performance. We’ll come back in the new year. See you when things start to bloom again.