Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thursday Nights on Campus Update: The Attic Sessions EP (nailed it!)

Good day, my friends!

Four years ago I wrote this about how I had finally laid out the plan to finish my music project. I don't know why it took a global pandemic for me to actually follow through on said plan, but today I am happy to say that the EP is done.

What started as a 13-track album has become a five-track EP. I made this the plan in 2017. One reason for that is because I wrote a bunch of songs to fit a concept, and when I sat down to go over them all I realized I didn't love them. It seemed disingenuous to put songs on a record just to fill it. Might they be released at some point? It's a possibility, but don't hold me to it.

But the other reason, if I can be real real? There was no way Pat was going to successfully record seven more songs (track one is an "intro" of sorts), especially with how tough these four were.

All that to say: I am shocked I actually finished this.


This feeling is so strange. I finished a project that started as "well maybe I could do this" in 2007. It then became a much more serious endeavor, and has gone through so many changes since. I think the best of those changes was trimming it from an album to an EP. Would the full album have been a good representation of the concept? Sure. But as I said up there, some of those songs felt like they were just written to take up space. And much like with the podcast, I realized I don't have to do that. So I picked my four favorites and stuck with them. (There was a fifth song called Thoughts of You, but it is unfinished and I'm not ready to put it out just yet.)

There is a voice inside me saying "hold off, we can do better." And trust me when I say that it is very tempting to do just that so I can improve these. But the more I listened to the songs, the more I figured out that the imperfections in both my guitar playing and vocals actually help in telling the story. Is that a cop out so I don't have to record more takes? I can neither confirm nor deny this heinous allegation. But I am beyond excited that these songs are finished.

With that in mind, here it is: The Attic Sessions EP. I don't know if I'll dedicate real time to this on the show, so I'll dive into each track here while you listen. I feel like I should point out that the cassette sounds and crackling you hear are intentional and I am very happy that the idea I had actually worked.

Oh wait, before I jump in: I want to say thank you to my producer, Danny Schmitz. He took my tracks with all of their noise and mediocre vocals and made them sound like I did not make them in my basement. Thank you, good sir! (Okay for real - here is the EP.)

Is Anybody There? (intro)

This is the only track I did not re-record for this release. The first time we got together, I played a chord progression I was trying to turn into a real song. Mark picked up the mic and just said hello. This was hilarious to the three of us, so I saved it. I wasn't sure what I would use it for at the time, but I landed on "hey that would be a cool intro." Would it be better if the song that this ditty became actually made the album? Probably, but I think it fits anyway. Also I love the mixing on this so I'm really glad I turned to a pro.

(At the) Last Second

I wrote this song in 2007. I had the whole idea mapped out in August, but we did not record the first demo until May 2008. By then I was dating the woman who is now my wife, and I had been away at school for most of the year so it made sense. But when I wrote it, I was not in that situation so I really have no clue where the lyrics came from other than "it fit the concept." The chorus harmonies here were supposed to be done by Pat and Mark, but COVID made that tricky so I just tried a few myself. Did I overdo it? Underdo it?

Since You've Been Gone

This is the first song I ever wrote. I was late-2006 and I was just starting to consider actually writing music. I came up with this "sliding E" progression and went from there. I must have been in a weird headspace when I penned this, because it does not directly apply to me (okay it could, but that's a bit deep for this space). But several people told me that it helped them get through some rough stuff, which is a wonderful compliment. And just to put this on the record: This was my only song for several months and I got sick of playing it, so it is officially retired.

Best Wishes

This song was "Untitled" until about a week ago. It is also the outlier on this album because it was written over two days in 2017. That is the fastest I have ever completed a song in my life. The lyrics were mostly to keep with the concept, so there isn't a real story here. But if you have ever been through a tough phase and needed to bounce back, maybe it's about you and that? I will say that I think this song is the best vocal performance I did on the record, so it has crept up my "favorite songs I made" list. Fun fact: The first line is supposed to be "have you ever stopped to think about the past?" and I didn't even notice I sang different words until the mix came back. I also love the effect Danny put on the "that's why I know for sure" parts. I asked about it with no idea what the term is, and he somehow knew exactly what I wanted.

Holding Up the Roof

There is a big part of me that wishes I could have used the original demo [circa 2008] of this track on the album, and not just because all three of us are on it. This song took me three times as many tries to nail down as any of the others. And it took me a few of those to realize I had played the guitar track a bit differently than on that first demo, but I think I was able to make it work. These chorus harmonies were also supposed to be done by my bandmates. Fun fact: I had never sang them before this recording and I think that's a reason this song took the longest. Special thanks to Arden and Courtney of Double Identity for listening to the final mix of this and convincing me that it sounded okay. This is my favorite song to play so I'm really glad I finally got it to a good place. This was going to be the album title, by the way. I thought about using it for the EP, but it didn't feel right to cut that project by more than half and use the same name. And four of these songs were written in my mom's attic, so the "new" title fits even better than the old one.


And that, my friends, is that. If you made it this far, or even just listened to one track, I sincerely thank you. I also have to thank Pat Fusco and Mark Bartuska, because without them this project does not exist. Their input for these songs was invaluable and our practices were always so much fun. And again, many thanks to Danny Schmitz for putting this together for me. I'm sorry you had to listen to my voice so much. Special thanks also have to go to my mom, my siblings, and my wife, who had to listen to me work these songs out over the years. My bad, youse guyses.

Oh one more thing: The images you see were made by Megan Scanlin (top) and Tim Donnelly (below). I am so glad I know people who can make graphics. Thank you both very much.

That's what I have for you today. I appreciate all of you, even if the comment you leave is negative. Whatever you have going on, I hope you are staying safe and healthy. Until next time, don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Crap open a cold one!

(This post was brought to you by Broad Street Bound.)

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