Original Song: Blindfold

In this post I talk about the song Blindfold, the title track off Descent Into Madness’ 2012 EP.

What's the song about?

This song is about people who follow leaders blindly. Leaders could be nation leaders, politicians, religious leaders, or even parents.

The idea that people keep making rules and bending rules to their own self-interest, and the masses following those rules blindly, without challenging assumptions, always bugs me, much like the idea that people believe a "God-fearing man" is a good person. When a person is afraid of something or someone, does it mean the person is good? Not necessarily, I don’t think.

Some believe that everybody has a "mind's eye", but leaders gather their flock, and collectively puts on a blindfold on the group's mind's eye. But it goes down all the way to the individual, when a father forces his children to follow him by means of fear, instead of respect.

The Writing Process

The song was written rather quickly, but it took the band a while to play it live, and even more so to record it. When we started playing it live, though, it immediately became the band’s favorite live tune.

Here’s one live execution of this song:

Here’s also a video of me writing the solo. I’ve changed it a bit when I finally recorded it, but most of it came out of this version:

Musical Influences

The intro to this song is mainly the core notes of the first riff, played on a keyboard and using some weird sounds. The influence for that intro came to me from Angra’s song Winds of Destination.

There’s also one riff in Blindfold that many years after I wrote I sort of figured what could have inspired me: the intro riff on Arch Enemy’s Dead Eyes See No Future.

Other than those two things, I can’t really think of any specific musical influences that inspired the creation of this song.

Writing the Vocals

In order to come up with the vocal lines, I recorded it my own way, and then we worked on figuring out who was going to sing what. Eventually the band decided the first verse should be a tread of lines between Alex and I. I ended up not doing the chorus backing vocals in the studio version (which I used to do live).

The Lyrics

Preaching for the mass
Your attitude lies beyond comprehension
Teaching for the dumb mass
You lie, beyond comprehension

Making the rules, bending the rules
The Ivory Tower crumbles
One can only hope
For a better future without you

God-fearing man, synonymous with good man
Scared minds are easy to control

Father… inflicted fear, I'm your tyrant
Father… you are free will deprived

Blind collective mind's eye
Shielded from what's real
Led to a one-way road...
Where does it lead?

Blind collective mind's eye
Shielded from what's real
Led to a one-way road...
Where will I be?

God-fearing man, synonymous with good man
Scared minds are easy to control

Father… inflicted fear, I'm your tyrant
Father… you're free will denied

Blind collective mind's eye
Shielded from what's real
Led to a one-way road...
Where does it lead?

Blind collective mind's eye
Shielded from what's real
Led to a one-way road...
Where will I be

I, ambush, lie
Land of the free
I, ambush, lie

Blind collective mind's eye
Shielded from what's real
Led to a one-way road...
Where does it lead?

Blind collective mind's eye
Shielded from what's real
Led to a one-way road...
Where will I be?

Preaching for the mass
Your attitude lies beyond comprehension
Teaching for the dumb mass
You lie, beyond comprehension

Making the rules, bending the rules
The Ivory Tower crumbles
One can only hope
For a better future without you

My Guns N’ Roses Top 10 List

I was a huge Guns N’ Roses fan back in the late 80’s. I think Appetite for Destruction was a flawless album, GNR Lies was good with the cover tunes they played and the original acoustic ones, and both User Your Illusion albums had great moments.

I remember when they came to play at Rock in Rio 2 in 1991. It was months before they released UYI, the band was huge, and everyone wanted to see them.

When they were touring for UYI I sort of started losing interest in the band. I did go see them in Sao Paulo in 93, but I thought they just had too many people on stage: 3 back-up singers, a keyboard player, one or two guys playing percussion, etc. Just too much. I liked it a lot more when it was just the 5 guys on stage. That’s why I still refer to their “Live at Ritz" gig back in 88 whenever I want to see them at their best.

Chinese Democracy has a couple interesting pieces here and there, but it overall doesn’t sound like something created by a band. There were just too many moving parts, too many line-up changes, so it lacks consistency.

It’s kind of cool Axl, Slash and Duff got back together to play some shows, but it’s still not the same thing. Izzy was a great songwriter, and Steve Adler’s drumming was an important part of the band’s sound. Axl’s voice seems to be better now than it was in the last several years, but then again, why do they two keyboard players and people playing bongos during Welcome to the Jungle, for crying out loud? I’m interested to see whether they’ll go into the studio to work on new music and hear what that music would sound like.

Anyway, this band was a big part of my life and I keep listening to their old stuff now and then.

#10: Oh My God
Sometime around 93 or so I sort of stopped following whatever GNR was doing. When they showed up for Rock in Rio II in 2001 they played this one song and I thought "wait... that doesn't sound like GNR... it sounds much heavier, and I like it!". It's definitely a unique and different song in their catalog, but I think it sounds cool.

#9: Think About You
This is one of those songs that keep some memories very much alive for me.

#8: You Could Be Mine
1991 was a year of my life I won’t ever forget, and any song released that year is kind of burned in my mind. At that time I was a big GNR fan and was looking forward to a new record, after listening to Appetite for Destruction and GNR Lies a LOT. When You Could Be Mine came out I was rather pleased: it sounded like the good material off AFD, it had a great videoclip, and it was the soundtrack to a great movie!

#7: Paradise City
Cool video. Great song. Lots of memories.

#6: Rocket Queen
It’s hard to pick a favorite out of AFD, but this has always been one of them for me. I like how the 2nd part of the song seems to be like almost a different song. Also, the lyrics in that 2nd part are something I relate to.

#5: Patience
Lots of memories here… I remember playing this song as a kid. And I remember playing it for years whenever I wanted to bring some memories back.

#4: Welcome to the Jungle
The opening track to their debut album is probably the best example of what this band sounded like in their good old days.

#3: Civil War
I love this song. It’s one of those where lyrics and the music are a perfect match. The tone of the music fits the lyrics and vice versa. This song was also the last one recorded with Steven Adler on drums; while Matt Sorum is a good drummer, Adler’s playing was more organic… it just fit the band better, I think… it was an important part of the band’s sound.

#2: November Rain
I like piano, rock, good arrangements, memorable guitar solos, epic songs. November Rain has all of that in it. Plus, it’s another song that brings me back important memories.

#1: Estranged
I’m one of those people who prefer Estranged over November Rain. Slash’s guitar melodies on this song are killer, much like the liner notes on Use Your Illusion II said. Masterpiece.

My Dio Top 10 List

Ronnie James Dio is probably my most favorite singer of all time. Out of all musicians who have passed, he is the one I felt the most. Besides being an amazing singer, there are countless stories out there from people who have met him and expressed how great of a person he was.

After creating masterpieces with Rainbow (my Top 10 list) and Black Sabbath (my Top 10 list) he went on to create a couple more masterpieces with his solo band.

When putting down the final touches at my back piece, I asked the tattoo artist to incorporate a little homage to Dio. His music will certainly live on forever through me!

#10: Sacred Heart
Another band I played with in my early days was called Sacred. Guess why?

#9: Lord of the Last Day
Heavy and sweet. Powerful vocals (couldn’t be different with Dio!)

#8: All the Fools Sailed Away
Mighty Dio!!!

#7: Killing the Dragon
This song reminds of the DVD Dio released when touring for this album, which was around the time I moved to the U.S.

#6: Don’t Talk to Strangers
Dio and his amazing talent to move effortlessly between soft and harsh vocals.

#5: This is Your Life
This is *THE* voice!!

#4: Rainbow in the Dark
If it wasn’t by Dio this song would be way below average for me. But the man made it great!

#3: Holy Diver
Dio, once again, turning an otherwise below average song into gold!

#2: Egypt (The Chains are On)
Great riff and cadency on this song. And of course, Dio being Dio.

#1: The Last in Line
This is the song that, for me, best summarizes Dio’s solo career. His clean vocals at the beginning of the song are smooth, calm, and then he turns it into a powerful, aggressive delivery. In fact, he shows how to sing aggressively without having to resort to growling or screaming. Not that many singers have been able to do that so successfully.

Descent Into Madness’ Blindfold EP

In this post I’ll cover the Descent Into MadnessBlindfold EP, released back in 2012. The EP consists of three songs: the title track, To Each His Own, and World Undoing.

The Writing

Back in 2006, I think, while I was gone to Brazil for a month, Alex worked on two new songs (which later became Century of Lies and Chains of Cruelty, but I’ll save those to other posts). When I was back in town, there were many riffs for me to learn. Later that year, Alex was gone to Bulgaria for a month, so it was payback time: I wrote the three songs on this EP!!

We always give codenames to new songs, so we don’t have to call them “new 1", “new 2", etc. The codenames are usually something that have nothing to do with the music itself. Here are the codenames for these songs:

Blindfold = UFO
To Each His Own = Dark Forest
World Undoing = Dump Truck

The Recording

We have played these three songs at rehearsal for a couple of years. We even played two of them (To Each His Own and Blindfold) a couple of times live. However, we were unable to get it properly recorded as a band. When we were short of both a drummer and a bassist, we decided to record the songs as well as we could. Alex recorded the bass guitar, and we hired Marc Norgaard to lay down the drum tracks. We had worked with Marc on one song before and were happy with the results, so we figured we could do that again.

With a click-track created, I recorded a guide guitar track, which we sent off to Marc, along some room recordings we had playing the songs as a band. Marc sent us his first shot at each song, we shoot back some changes we’d like to see, and after 2 or 3 rounds of going back and forth we reached the best results we thought we could with this type of set up.

The main problem of working remotely with a hired musician like this is that we lose the chemistry of all people working in the same room. That being said, Marc did a great job, even more so considering this is not even his main style of music. As with our previous experience, he was very easy to work with.

Most of the guitars were recorded at Alex’s home studio. At the time I had just finished building a new computer and getting me some gear that would allow me to do some recording, and I was able to record my guitar solos back at my home studio. I think those are the best leads I recorded up to that point.

The Artwork

The artwork for this EP is centered around the title-track, Blindfold. I’ll talk about it in another post, after I’ve talked about the song itself.

The Tracks

I’ll be writing individual posts to talk about each song in this release, and I’ll make sure to include some room recording versions, as well as live versions.

My King Diamond Top 10 List

King Diamond is one of those bands people either love it or hate it. I’m in the first group. The concept albums always based on horror stories, the great guitar work, the great drumming, the theatrical concerts, and of course, all the vocal layers King Diamond creates to give life to his stories.

Some 20 years ago I used to play about 30 King Diamond songs on the guitar, as I was getting ready to play in a cover band called Twilight Symphony. Unfortunately, we’ve only rehearsed a couple of times before splitting up (everybody was busy with other things), but learning to play those songs was a great experience.

Even before that, we used to play the song Halloween with my band from my teenage years.

I’ve always thought King Diamond should write the story for a horror movie, where he’d play one of the characters. Maybe Rob Zombie, another metalhead, who’s been directing movies for many years now, could work on that?

I’ll never forget going to a Mercyful Fate/King Diamond concert in Sao Paulo back in 1996. Seeing the two bands on the same night was out of this world!

#10: The Secret
I don't like the production on this album much, but it has some songs I dig.

#9: Twilight Symphony
This song named my King Diamond cover band back in the day.

#8: From the Other Side
Any song off this album (released in 95) reminds me of a Mercyful Fate/King Diamond gig I went to in Sao Paulo back in 96.

#7: Into the Convent
Playing this song on the guitar years back was fun. Andy LaRocque is such a great guitarist.

#6: The 7th Day of July 1777
One of Andy LaRocque’s finest works. Great songwriting, great solo. And of course, King Diamond delivering the eerie elements the song needs.

#5: The Family Ghost
Another song that was a lot of fun to play back in the day. Also, I think Rob Zombie should team up with King Diamond and make a badass horror movie!

#4: At the Graves
That eerie intro... all the dynamics... the guitars. Great KD track!

#3: Sleepless Nights
The master of horror in metal doing what he does best!

#2: Halloween
This is one of the songs my band from teenage years used to play. Simple, but fun!

#1: Welcome Home
This song is my absolute #1 by King Diamond. Mikkey Dee’s drumming on it is awesome. Great guitars. Great leads. This is one of my favorite music videos, too, as it both shows the band playing as well as it tells a story. It was my favorite one to play on the guitar, too.

My Best Guitar Solos Top 10 List

I dig guitar solos that are well written, memorable, and that fits perfectly in the song they were written for. I’ve never been a fan of the long guitar solo breaks some bands have at their concerts. For instance, while Kirk Hammett has written leads that fit well with Metallica songs, his solo spots at concerts have always been painful to go through for me. Playing notes up and down the neck is easy: writing meaningful leads for a song is way, way harder.

Here’s a list of 10 songs I’m a big fan of the guitar solos and how well they fit into the songs. Enjoy!

#10: Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years
Most songs by Iron Maiden feature at least one solo by each guitarist. Wasted Years is one of the few exceptions, and I think it’s for a good reason: Adrian just nailed the perfect solo for the song, and there was absolutely no need to add anything else to this song. His solo fits the song perfectly, is memorable, and I’ve been “singing" this solo every time I hear it.

#9: Jag Panzer’s Black
Joey Tafolla recorded a perfect solo for this track, written with the perfect balance between shred and simplicity. I also like his guitar tone in this lead, very clear, where I can hear every note even through the fast sections.

#8: Dream Theater’s Under a Glass Moon
I used to play this whole song on the guitar. The solo was so much fun to play!

#7: Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven
Talk about a perfect lead for a perfect song… classic!!

#6: Judas Priest’s Beyond the Realms of Death
I remember reading somewhere that Beyond the Realms of Death was Judas Priest’s Stairway to Heaven. I have to agree. Epic song with an epic solo by Glenn Tipton. His solo on this song has all the notes that it needs; not a single note must be added or removed.

#5: Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O'Mine
Slash is such a master when it comes to creating memorable guitar solos. The kind of guitarist who doesn’t need to play a million notes in order to create meaningful leads.

#4: Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody
Short and sweet. Brian May’s guitar tone and choice of notes for his solos in this song are the perfect fit.

#3: Judas Priest’s Painkiller
Glenn Tipton again. His solo on this song sums up what I expect of a solo in a metal song. K.K.’s solo is always good and fits well with the music, but Glenn’s just absolutely perfect.

#2: Megadeth's Tornado of Souls
Best guitar solo in Thrash Metal. Period.

#1: Ozzy Osbourne’s Mr. Crowley
Randy Rhoads wrote and recorded two impeccable albums with Ozzy. Great songwriter, excellent guitar player, who wrote many memorable guitar solos. His work in Mr. Crowley is outstanding!

My Black Sabbath (with Tony Martin) Top 10 List

There are Black Sabbath fans who only like the albums with Ozzy, and others who only like the albums with Dio, and others who like the albums regardless of who’s singing. I’m included in this third group.

Some albums with Ozzy are certainly great. Others, not so much (Never Say Die and Technical Ecstasy come to mind). I like all albums with Dio. I like the one album with Ian Gillan, some songs on the one with Glenn Hughes, and most of the albums with Tony Martin. By far, my top favorite with him is Tyr, followed by Headless Cross. These two albums have the late Cozy Powell on drums. Cozy was a great drummer, and his work with Sabbath was up to par with his work in other bands (such as early Rainbow).

Speaking of Tyr specifically, I like all of the songs in that album, first thru last track. Yes, it sounds different the the band’s early work with Ozzy, but so what, since the same can be said of the afore mentioned Never Say Die and Technical Ecstasy. These albums with Tony Martin have great songs, great drumming, great vocals.

The Cross Purposes album is the next one on my list. I like the production on the album, the drummer also kicks butt (Bobby Rondinelli), and it has Geezer Butler on it!

The weakest album with Martin was Forbidden. There are still some good songs there, but overall, it’s not on the same level with the others. One interesting thing about this album for me, though: I wrote a song a few years ago called Far Away (you can read all about it here), and it includes a melody and time signature that somehow was stuck in my mind. Also some words. I really couldn’t put a finger on why exactly those things were stuck in my mind. It’s at the 2’11" mark on that song. I hadn’t listened to Sabbath’s Forbidden album for at least 18 years. Then, when I listened to it a few months ago, I figured out what was stuck in my mind: the intro and first words to the song Can’t Get Close Enough!

Another interesting fact: one of my bands from my teenage years had been renamed Anno Mundi, because we were such fans of Tyr album, and more specifically the opening track in that album, Anno Mundi.

Enough talking… off to the list!!

#10: Can’t Get Close Enough
Forbidden is the weakest album out of the Tony Martin's era with Sabbath. However, there are a couple of songs there I enjoy. For some reason, Can't Get Close Enough got stuck to my mind.

#9: Odin’s Court / Valhalla
These two songs go together perfectly. Tony's vocals are perfect here.

#8: The Sabbath Stones
This album has so many great songs! I do not care if it doesn't have either Dio or Ozzy on it, this album is great and this is one of the best songs in it!

#7: Nightwing
Great mood, great vocals, great guitar leads and riffs, solid drumming.

#6: When Death Calls
Tony Martin is such un underrated singer. Despite his great singing on tracks like this one, many “fans" moan that “this isn’t Ozzy…"… Whatever, dude.
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#5: Born to Lose
For some reason this song reminds me of the Born Again album.

#4: The Shining
Good song off the Tony Martin era.

#3: Cross of Thorns
I really like this song. Lyrics, vocals, guitars, mood, the dynamics… everything does it for me. I’ve listened to it a gazillion times. I’ve even done a vocal cover a few years ago, but not good enough to post it online. I may actually do a complete cover one day.

#2: Headless Cross
The band came back with Ozzy and the rightful name of Black Sabbath. They also did it with Dio under the name of Heaven and Hell. I think they should also come back under the name of “Headless Cross". It’s sad that it wouldn’t feature the mighty Cozy Powell… but, the dude with the mustache, Mr. Iommy, and Tony Martin are still around, as well as Geezer, so good music can still flow out of these fellows.

#1: Anno Mundi
This is probably one of the songs I’ve listened to the most in my life. Yes, I really like it that much. Again, excellent drums played by the late Cozy Powell, solid riffs written and played by Mr. Iommy, and great vocals sung by Tony Martin. I like it so much that it ended up being the name of one of my bands in my teenage years.

Weirdest Stuff in my Music Library Top 10 List

I hardly ever put music to play in shuffle mode. I usually enjoy picking a specific album and let it play in its entirety. Sometimes I listen to an album by Slayer, then Nevermore, then Madredeus (?). Then, I listen to Black Sabbath, then Rush, then Vartina (?!). Once in a while, people around me ask “what the heck is that you’re listening to?".

Many people think I only listen to Heavy Metal, but that’s totally not true. There’s music I absolutely do NOT listen to, but I do enjoy finding out about music from different parts of the world that sound very different from the stuff I normally listen to.

That’s what this list is all about...

#10: Rondellus
Reading the book “How to Call Attention to Your Music", by Derek Sivers, I found out about this music group. Here’s how they caught my attention:
"A traditional medieval music group from Estonia doing an album of Black Sabbath songs played on medieval instruments and sung in Latin."
I just had to check them out!

#9: Iron Horse (Metallica)
I do not like Country Music, but I do like Bluegrass. I like the pace, I like the banjo, and the harmonized vocals. I like Metallica (it’s always been one of my favorite bands). Then you put the two together. That’s what Iron Horse did. Sounds like fun!

#8: Twelve Girls Band
What are those instruments?! They look funny and ancient, but this group make it sound interesting in their music. It’s different, it requires skill… I dig it.

#7: Beatallica
It sounds like Beatles, but played by Metallica. The lyrics are a mix of both bands. Sounds great to me.

#6: Baby Metal
The first reaction to most people listening to this band is “WTF?!". Heavy Metal mixed with Japanese K-Pop music? Many die-hard metal fans hate it. Once I got over my initial “WTF" state, I actually got their album.

The music is heavy (heavier than many metal bands out there), with great drumming and great guitar playing. The kids singing do sound kind of weird, but, those kids seem to be having fun, and I like that.

Their stage production looks really good, sometimes even scary, reminding me of Japanese horror movies (which I really like).

Even when they’re not playing their headline concerts, they still put on a great show. I mean, they play metal festivals in the middle of other traditional bands, and they don’t feel the pressure. Even playing while the sun is still out (so no big lights production there), they still get on the stage and play their music. I really like that attitude.

#5: Toy Dolls
This is one of the bands I listened to when I was skateboarding back in my teenage years. Fun!!

#4: Madredeus
Over 20 years ago I was zapping through channels and ended up landing on this one where they were talking about this group from Portugal who were playing in Brazil that week. They were showing some of their live footage and I loved both the singer’s voice as well as the acoustic guitar work in their music. This one song sounds sort of happy and different from most of the stuff I normally post here, but many of their other songs are very intense, even though they’re mostly acoustic. I really like their music. I’ve wanted to make a metal version of one of their songs for many years; hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

#3: Brenda Lee
Not sure I like this song. I just do. I heard it at a friend’s place several years ago, dug it, and got a few other ones by Brenda Lee. Definitely ‘weird’ compared to most of the other stuff I listen to.

#2: Mario Lima Brasil
Back in 1995 I was listening to a radio station in Brazil that plays classical music, world music, etc. At some point this song started to play. I didn't catch the name of the artist, so I called up the radio station to ask, went out to find the CD and still have it with me in my library. I still listen to it when I'm meditating or doing something that requires some level of attention.

#1: Vartina
Zapping through channels in 2001 I landed on one showing live footage of Rock in Rio. It was this group with 4 female singers, singing in a language I couldn’t pick up a single word, but still, the whole thing had this hypnotic feel to me. I remember thinking: “Wow, how can anyone care about being there to watch lame lip-syncing queen Britney Spears, when there are these unknown girls singing like that!!". I liked this group so much I went after more information about them. I found this one song, Aijo, and loved it. When it got to the 3’22" mark, I was awestruck. I’ll explain why...

My all-time favorite fiction book has been Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth every since I’ve read it, sometime in the 90’s. At some point I wanted to write a song about it. It was going to be a 12-minute long song, split into 5 different sections. The initial section was going to be inspired by the book’s prologue, where a witch casts a spell. I sort of had in my mind what that witch sounded like. Well, when I got to the 3’22" mark of this song by Vartina, I leaned back and thought: “THAT IS IT!!!! That’s what I need in my song!!". I had no way to understand what that singer was saying, but I was pretty sure she was portraying a witch in the song (later I found out info on the web confirming it).

Fast forward to 2002: I emailed Ken Follett to let him know how much I appreciated his work, and that I had this intention to write a song about one of his books. It’s a shame I don’t have a copy of his reply, which was something along these lines. “Thank you very much, Claudio. However, I’m a musician myself, and if anybody is to write songs about my books, that’d be me.". Needless to say I gave up on that idea.

Anyway, I continued listening to Vartina (who, by way, played the music for a theater adaptation of Lord of the Rings in Canada in 2006… take that, Mr. Follett!).

Original Song: Song for Aline

I can’t even begin telling you how rewarding it is to write songs loaded with meaning. As I’ve been saying, recognizing recurring thoughts and feelings and putting it into songs has been like therapy to me.

I started writing Song for Aline back in October of 2014 and finished it a couple of months later, as I wanted to have it ready as a birthday gift for my daughter.

Recording it was kind of tricky as I didn’t have my regular gear with me, so I had to improvise, which meant using my iPhone to record the acoustic guitar and vocals, using my iPad to do some of the arrangement, and finishing it all off on my Mac (I normally use a PC where I have all of my stuff set up). Also, the acoustic guitar is a cheap one I use in Brazil, and its sound isn’t great. Despite the constraints, I think the result came out well.

The Writing Process

While visiting my daughter back in October of 2014 there was one morning when she was sleeping and I felt like picking up my acoustic guitar and writing a song. As I normally do, I caught it on video so I wouldn’t forget what and how I was playing (some of this footage was added to the “official" video for the song).

In the same sitting, I wrote the melody which became the lick played on the electric guitar. I also picked up a notepad and wrote words that became the lyrics for the song (the handwritten notes are shown later in this post).

In the following months, I kept refining the lyrics and the vocal lines I started to hear, and once I got to something I thought could work, I finally sat down to record the song. While recording I decided to also add some notes played on the keyboard in order to beef up the instrumental.

Musical Influences

I can’t think of any musical influences I had while putting together this song. It’s usually common for my influences to come to mind, but for this song that hasn’t happened. I’m curious to hear from other people what this song might sound like to them.

Writing the Guitar Solos

There are no guitar solos in this song. There’s a simple guitar lick I introduced in the middle of the song, which I originally thought would be played at the intro on the acoustic guitar, and there’s a small part where I’ve used some special processing as I wanted to have some room to put some voices and conversations from my personal files.

Writing the Lyrics

Most of the lyrics were written in that initial sitting: I wrote down what came to mind at that moment. Later, I just added a couple more sentences and switched words and moved them around to make it fit the vocal melodies.

Usually I write lyrics on my computer. This time, though, I wrote it with a stylus on my iPad. I do not like my handwriting, but for some reason I wanted this one to be done this way. It felt more organic (even though I was writing it on a screen!). Those initial thoughts and words can be seen right below...

Writing the Vocals

After I’ve recorded a rough version of the song played on the acoustic guitar, I kept listening to it while driving around, and vocal melodies started shaping up in my mind. As some parts stuck to my brain, I recorded it on Evernote so I wouldn’t forget (and also so I could hear it to see if it was working). The recording shows the parts I had lyrics for, and also the parts where I didn’t have the words yet, but had a general idea as to what the melody lines should be (lots of mumbling there).

Next, I did a slightly better recording, done when I had more solid ideas for lyrics and vocals (but still, some mumbling here and there while I looked for the words I wanted)...

Writing the Keyboard Parts

The keyboard parts came up naturally as I recorded the acoustic guitar. I didn’t want anything complicated; just an extra layer to support the guitars and vocals.

What's the song about?

This song is all about my relationship with my daughter. While some things are clearly explained in the lyrics and video, other things may only make sense to myself, working as a reminder for things that are important to me.

What was I feeling as I was writing the song?

My daughter had asked me to be with her at a father-daughter dance at school, so I was very joyful, beyond myself! I flew all the way from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Houston, US, just for that. It was an unforgettable trip. We’ve had such a great time together, just the two of us. I just had to capture that feeling in a song.

The Video

Putting the video together was a lot of work, but at the same time, very enjoyable. It was a trip down memory lane. I wanted to capture the feeling around the time I wrote the song and mix it with thoughts and memories from all stages of Aline’s life up to that point. That means I’ve gone through thousands of pictures and hours of video footage.

While I have tons of digital pictures, I didn’t have much of her first 2 years, since those have been mindlessly hidden away from me. It was painful to know I didn’t have those pictures. Fortunately, I got copies of some of those from friends.

So many parents have the tendency to shoot tons of videos of their kids and never watch it. I’m the opposite, as I’m always going back and watching bits and pieces. And it’s great!

With so much visual material, I wanted to add everything to the video. The way I found to do this was by splitting up the screen in 4 pieces and cram as much material in it I could. It’s a video to be watched several times; each time paying attention to one section of the screen.

You may wonder what’s with the black portions in the video. The “full version" of the video is intended for personal-viewing only; for the public version, I’ve removed some pictures and footage.

During that visit in October, 2014, I’ve made some great pictures of Aline. So much so that I decided to get one of them tattooed. It was another way I thought to make those moments stick around forever.

What have I used in this production?

Acoustic Guitar
Schecter Guitar
iRig Keyboard
iRig Mic
Garage Band (iPad/Mac)
Sony Vegas
iPhone camera

The Lyrics

I have put you through such big changes
Then I wasn’t there, but you’ve pulled it through

You understood me
You knew it
And didn’t judge me
Even though I wasn’t there

I'll never forget those first 21 days
You gave me a scare when you were just so little
I'll always remember the first time I had you on my arms
I'll always remember you laying on my lap

Sleeping as I worked
Sweet oblivion
I’m so eager to see you grow
But can't see you go

I know I raise you for the world
But please don't forget me as I grow old
I'm sorry for each time I was too busy for you
You are my daughter, and you'll always be

Call me
I’ll walk, I’ll drive, I’ll get on a plane
And I’ll be there… for you!

A bright light told me I’d very be proud of you
I'm so delighted by you

We drifted apart
But now we’re pulled together
I miss being called dad
I need you around

I can see now why choosing is so hard
You can do anything you want!
I can’t help but see a better version of myself in you
Do you even realize how special you are?

Call me
I’ll walk, I’ll drive, I’ll get on a plane
And I’ll be there… for you!

A bright light told me I’d very be proud of you
I'm so delighted by you

I can see now why choosing is so hard
You can do anything you want!
I can’t help but see a better version of myself in you
Do you even realize how special you are?

Original Song: To Leave It Behind

There are those moments when you have to deal with waiting anxiously for something, while also having to deal with things that seem unbearable; things that at some point you just need to leave it behind...

What's the song about?

This song is about putting nagging thoughts out of my mind to help me cope with the frustration of having to wait for something I really need, but can’t do much else about it. I knew the wait was about to end and that I’d then learn to leave some heavy feelings behind.

What was I feeling as I was writing the song?

I was still feeling sad and alone, but also very tired. It was a situation that took a lot out of me and the ones close to me. I just couldn’t wait to get passed that point in my life and move on to better things.

The Writing Process

This song was written back in early 2014, right after I finished Far Away. It came out of me sitting down with my acoustic guitar and playing whatever seemed to fit what I was a feeling.

Musical Influences

Much like what happened with Far Away, I wrote To Leave It Behind heavily influenced by Blaze Bailey’s Russian Holiday EP. With this song, though, I wanted to keep it acoustic-only (different than with Far Away, where I thought it’d be only acoustic and ended up adding quite a bit more to it).

Writing the Lyrics

The lyrics came out naturally based on the precise thoughts and feelings I had at that specific moment of my life.

Writing the Vocals

The vocals were sort of tricky for me. Singing in a song where it’s just my vocals and one acoustic guitar is sort of intimidating for me. I’m not that great of a singer, and what I had in mind was Blaze Bailey’s powerful, passionate vocals on this type of song, so how could I make this work?

I do believe the more songs I write and record, the better I’m getting at it, and while I’m sure a real singer would make this song sound a lot better, I’m quite happy with my results.

The Video

The video for this song has reminders for myself spread through it so that, while I wanted to get those things out of my system, I can still watch this and remember what I’ve been through and appreciate what I have now.

What have I used in this production?

Cordoba Acoustic Guitar
MXL condenser mic
FastPro audio interface
Sony Vegas
iPhone camera

The Lyrics

It is an agonizing waiting game
Time slows down to a crawl
As we linger for a letter to arrive

We have waited like this before
But still it hurts unlike other times
Even knowing this is coming to an end

It was all for the Greater Good
Thoughts have been blurred by the distance
By every mile, by every trip I had to go on

Look at us, see how far we have come
Find the flaws and leave it behind
Let the shadows dissipate

It is an agonizing waiting game
But it is always good to know
That you will be there when I arrive

We have waited like this before
But still it hurts unlike other times
Even knowing this is now about to end

I wrote about our future
We hoped we were going to be together
But knew we'd have to be apart

It is now time to break that spell