The Ateliers: Moon: Words in the Carpet
Hello and welcome to the seventh entry of our Moon blogs! In this episode we will be discussing our latest song “Words in the Carpet”! This is one of our oldest songs and for me it is probably the most personal. I didn’t think I was going to record and release it, but it’s stayed with me for over 2 years. Most of the songs I wrote 2 years ago I can’t even remember so I think there’s something special about it.
I wrote it on an acoustic guitar, but there have been a lot of artists releasing these kinds of songs on electric so I thought I’d try. I played a Gibson SG through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and was really impressed with the warm tone. Fortunately, once I dialed in the eq and reverb I just played through the song once and that was it! We really liked how the amp and mic picked up all the sliding around on the strings. We’ve got a lot of that on our song “Tonight” from an acoustic but these slides are a bit different and I think add a lot to the empty space.
As you may have noticed, we decided to layer the vocals more than ever on this track. It’s pretty wild because it was honestly an accident. I went to show Sam a vocal I comped and I forgot to mute the other track. When she heard my voice doubled, she was like, "Wow for sure, we gotta do that." But it didn’t make sense for me to have 2 vocals in the arrangement so I ended up recording 3 melodies, left, center, and right. And then an octave below in the center and harmonies randomly throughout. You can also hear Sam singing the melody and some harmonies. This was one of the most tedious things I’ve ever done but it was a great few weeks of singing, losing my voice, singing, losing my voice, and so on.
Working on all those vocals was exhausting but also really inspiring. I messed around with some different reverbs, some distortion, compression, and other effects to add some differentiation. Sam and I also learned how to side chain while we were mixing this track. We have the guitar dip out a bit during the vocals and pushed the bells a bit forward from the guitar at the end.
Alright, this is the portion of the blog where we talk a bit about the music theory. This song isn’t too technical so we’ll just discuss the chord progression a bit. For me, identifying the key signature is the first step. Once we do that, I like to number the chords 1-7 based on the minor or major scale. The song starts with an F# minor chord and it utilizes the most common chords in the key of F#m, and plays only the notes found in that minor scale. Having all 3 of these in any song makes it much easier to define the key. So the song is in F#m.
I like to number our chords in that key. 1 is F#m, 2 is G#dim, 3 is A major, 4 is Bm, 5 is C#m, 6 is D major, 7 is E major. Numbering these makes it easier to discuss each chord progression. The first verse is F#m, A, E so we have a minor 1,3,7.
The chorus is D, A, E, F#m, E so it’s a 6, 3, 7, 1, 7.
The outro is A, F#m, E so a 3, 1, 7.
Now we get into the meaning. The song is about that first feeling of love & connection with someone. It's about those specific memories we hold on to or that stay with us for awhile. It's about the feeling we get when their name comes up in a conversation or when we visit a place that reminds us of them. I used to think I was alone with this experience because it seems pretty unbearable if all of us were dealing with it. I'm finding it is more common than I thought and that research is showing how significant this first interaction of love is and how it affects our future relationships. The point of this song is not to dwell in sorrow or to ache for what was. It is to remind us of our first experience with love. It may be painful to be reminded, or not, but based on how impactful these experiences are for the majority of people, it is important that we don't suppress or neglect. Considering how we were introduced to love can help us understand what we value in relationships, why we might be insecure about certain interactions, and how we might take better care of ourself and the other person as we learn to love more honestly and deeply.
I think the lyrics for this song are pretty straight forward so I don’t feel the need to go into detail but I would like to talk about one line. This line has always meant a lot to me and gets me thinking every time. The line is.. “Should I sing a hopeful song instead?”
A lot of our music is slower and uses chords associated with being sad so I’ve been asked quite a lot why I make sad music. Songwriting for me has never been something I thought would be cool to do or try. So I haven’t ever thought, I’d like to write a fun or happy song or sad or whatever. This process has always sort of stumbled out. I feel like I don’t have a lot of control over the songs I write other than that they are a reflection of how I’m doing or what I’ve been doing. So this question of “Should I write a hopeful song instead” is kind of pointing out that I could think and write a happy song but what’s really worked is when I write what I need to write. The honesty of expression has always meant more to me than what it sounds like musically.
I had really been looking forward to recording something on voice memos with my phone and then using it on a song and it finally happened. I was dropping Sam off after recording and there were birds singing when we got to her house. We were listening to the song to check the mix and we both heard how nice the birds sounded with it. I stuck my phone out of the window and captured 5 minutes of the birds. We put the audio file in the next day and now have some birdsong in our track.
We hope you go back and listen to the song after reading this entry and we hope it treats you well. We know it's work but it's worth it.