The Ateliers: Moon: Give Me Light
Hello and welcome to the eleventh entry. In this entry, we will be discussing our song "Give Me Light". This last song on the album is special. Having the opportunity to create and share music is special. I do not take it for granted and I hope this song and the way it is produced is a reflection of my heart for deep connection and recovery through songwriting.
I hadn’t played this song live in a while because of how quiet and intense it can be. Before I started recording, I played it a few times and it took me back to when I wrote it over two years ago. I was playing some songs at No Future Cafe, and after my set a girl approached me and told me she was a songwriter. We started working together and I started to get to know her more. She eventually told me that she was diagnosed bipolar and explained some of the things she goes through. I wrote this song out of her experience and mine. It’s about longing for health and finding it in friendship.
This song is unique in that I recorded the guitar and vocal on the same track and did it in one take. It took me 40 or so times to get the one take, but it was pretty nice to not have all the editing that goes with recording instruments separately. I've always appreciated the last songs on albums because I feel like artists take more risks or give a little extra. Recording it all in one take was definitely a risk and it took a lot of focus. I spent 15 days thinking and playing this song in front of a mic until I started feeling comfortable. It was 1:30 AM on August 8th when I finally made it through the whole song without noticeably making mistakes. I did a few more takes after since I felt pretty good, but each time didn’t feel as good as that one. I listened back and felt great about it. The focus it took to get that many parts the way I wanted them was wild. I thought I might do more takes the next few days, but it hit me how focused I had been and how exhausting that process was.
As I listen back to the song, it’s pretty miraculous to me what I was able to accomplish by concentrating and setting aside other things. It's such a gift to have people to share it with as well. I’ve talked to other songwriters about how difficult it can be to get recordings to sound like your live show so I really wanted to challenge myself in that direction on this album. This song is me playing and singing in a room and that’s it. I set up a Neumann TLM 102 a couple feet in front of me and put some Waves reverb on the track and sent it off to the amazing Dale Becker for mastering.
Let’s talk about the chord progression. I put a capo on the first fret, which enables me to play Fm and C#/G# as open chords.
The verse is - Fm9. D#9 C#/G# - the F#m here starts on the A string on the eighth fret.
The chorus is Fm, G#, C#/G#.
The outro is G#, Fm, G#, A#m play through twice and then while I sing the mms the progression is G#, Fm, A#m, G#.
As you may know, Atelier is a French word and I get asked if anyone in the band is French, speaks French or if the songs are in French. To be honest, I’m not sure why we chose a French name other than that it was a feeling we had in our gut. Most of the songs are written this way, so it seems appropriate. I often times realize what lyrics mean long after I write them and I’ve started to enjoy that process. I’m excited for where this French name will take us and why it is so significant. The first application came with this song. The friend, who I met two years ago, moved to Paris to pursue music. She is learning French, so I asked if she would send me a recording of her talking to put as an underlying texture in “Give Me Light”. She ended up sending me a beautiful poem she wrote.
Making this album has been an insane process and we’re so grateful we get to share it with you. We’ll be making one more entry talking about the album as a whole and the ups and downs we’ve experienced.