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.
This song came from a friend lending me his electric guitar and me not knowing anything about playing guitar at the time. I recorded myself plucking and striking the instrument, and did a lot of sampling of individual sounds to a keyboard setup. I then programmed these guitar melodies like I would a softsynth. I ended up with a one or two minute beat. Once I moved to Montreal, I brought Astrolope into the mix and had him restructure the song with me. It became a six-minute strange instrumental, with a decent portion of it in 5/4 time. Izzy came over and we hashed out lyrics and recorded the vocals in a night.
This song was a real problem tune for me as the album started to take more of a form. It was too long, it wandered a lot and didn’t really have a payoff. I took some time away, about 6 months to a year.
On a plane to Mexico in 2014, I figured out the new structure. I wanted to cut the crap and make it more direct and give it a tangible climax. This became the version that can be heard on the record; something simple and to the point.
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.