Ever Wonder How Artists Name Their Songs?

Posted: June 17, 2013 in My Music, Storytime
Tags: , , , , ,

For those of you who have been lying in a pool of sweat for the last decade after wondering how I came to name each of my songs, allow me to dry your tears. Here are the reasons behind the song titles on my first album, Get This. I’ll do the other albums in separate posts.

Get This – I found the cool timpani drum sound on my machine and took a shot at it without going over the top. I love the way this song introduces the album. It was always the first song I reached for when I put the CD in, so I decided to name the CD after it and make it the first track. I would love for the Blue Man Group to use this song in their act. The original name for this song was Funky because I thought the bass line was funky. I changed it to Get Funky but soon realized that the song is not at all funky, so I dropped the word Funky to leave just Get, which was its name for a long time. When the CD needed a title, it was originally called This & That, but I wanted something a little cooler, and I thought “Hey, get this CD.” Enough said …

Free Speed – I wrote my first electronic song in 1997 and called it 55+. Before I called myself Epiphora, I went under the name Free Speed, which is the sign on the German Autobahn indicating the absence of a speed limit. My second song was called Overdrive (I was reaching for an automotive theme). The song 55+ was a little busy, so I broke it into two pieces, and this is the fast portion, with a bit of spice. The other part of the song went on to become Spawn, a great video game soundtrack.

Center in Me – This song is actually my song Pilot with a different drum pattern and an electric guitar playing a soaring melody. My friend Dave heard a demo of Pilot and was inspired immediately to write a guitar line on top of it, similar to the arrangement of the piano and guitar portion of Layla. If Pink Floyd had written the Top Gun soundtrack, this is what it would sound like. The drums are a little cheesy, but here’s my lame excuse. I have a decent drum machine and a bad drum machine. Unfortunately, I wrote the scratch drum track with the crappy machine, and when it came time to write the real track, only then did I discover that the two drum machines interpret 110 beats per minute slightly differently. I tried time stretching techniques with Cool Edit Pro, but they couldn’t fix the problem. The title Center in Me comes from the Tool song called Sober. In that song is a line “I will find a center in you. I will chew it up and leave.” I changed the perspective to the listener and poof! The rest is irrelevant history.

Construct – What is up with this tune? At 136 beats per minute, this is the fastest song I’d written at that point. The opening riff, which has been described as “quasi-Mozart,” is repeated relentlessly through certain portions of the song. The middle of the song is a frenzied part which offsets the many locations in the song where it’s just drums and bass. This was my second song, and it was very difficult to put together. Its original name was Spook (as in ghost), but my friend Mark said that the drum beat sounded like a construction site. Sometimes I think that the riff is cool, and if only this song had been featured in Beverly Hills Cop, maybe people would like Construct as much as they like Axel F. Well, maybe …

Spawn – Although it clocks in at almost six minutes, I find that this song goes by quickly. The dynamics at certain points would make a great backdrop for an adventure video game. Surprisingly, though I put very little effort into this song, a bunch of people say it’s their favorite on the album, and I think that’s pretty damn cool. It’s called Spawn because it was spawned from an older song called 55+, which was broken into this song and Free Speed.

Pompeii – OK, I’m no piano player, but I think I hide that well in this song (professional pianists may disagree). This was a fun song to write. I actually based it on a song my hard rock band, Language of the Mad, had written but never recorded. I kept the name since it didn’t have a mind of its own yet. The bass line is exactly what I had written for the original song, except done on a synthesizer. We called that song Pompeii because our keyboard player used a patch which we thought had a feel that someone in the room said reminded him of Pompeii. Make sense? No. I tried to make the song more interesting by playing with stereo panning of the strings in the chorus, but they just go back and forth. Nothing revolutionary there. What I found cool was that my piano playing on the chorus part goes in and out of 16th notes and 8th notes. I could never have written it that way – it just happened.

Overdrive – One way to get your friends to pick one song as their favorite is to have only two songs, and make one of them much better than the other. That’s how it worked in the beginning. Technically this is my second song, but I consider it my first song once I decided to get serious about writing music. So it was 55+ and Overdrive vying for my friends’ attention, and people liked this one better. It’s fast (sort of), and the hook was inspired by the song Twilight Zone from 2 Unlimited. One cool dude said it sounded like “classic techno” to him. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I’ll take it.

Seventh Ember – This is a very moody piece which plods along with all the intensity of a movie soundtrack. I experimented with a dual melody between a viola and a flute, and I think I did a pretty cool job, thank you very much. The original name of this song was September, a reflection on the infamous 9/11 events and aftermath, but I was already logging too many single word titles, so I broke it into Sept and Ember. I figured that Sept, or some form of it, would mean “seventh” in Latin or some other language (turns out it’s French), so the song became Seventh Ember.

Pilot – This was written in my first band, The Dark. Totally unrelated to the rest of the music we were writing at the time, it sat on the back burner for years. It was originally called Pi, but I renamed it something people would understand, and since it was the pilot song for Center in Me, it seemed fitting.

Deep – By far the easiest song to name, I just called it what it felt like, and that, my friend, was Deep. To quote one of my fans … “It is as it says – deep.” The beat in this one will make your subwoofer earn its keep. This song doesn’t really go anywhere, but then, it’s not supposed to. It’s more of a backdrop for whatever you’re doing when you listen. For me, that would be sleeping. When I was writing it, I would always get to a certain point and then listen to my first three songs, followed by my new creation. Since it was usually 3 AM, I would lie down on my bed with headphones, and I would always zonk out during Deep.

  1. peg says:

    How can this be dated Sunday, June 17th, 2013?

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