Stories Behind The Songs
The Rising – Calling
‘Calling You’ was a song that took time to develop. Generally, I’m not the type to sit and stew over one song as I find you lose focus this way. So I will have a few songs on the go at the same time, constantly developing ideas as I go. This way, only the strongest songs come out fighting. Some get left by the wayside or never see the light of day and some may be developed much later. I (and we as a band) are very meticulous regarding songwriting and will spend days getting the right line, but I like the initial bones of a song to come quickly or develop naturally. But, ‘Calling You’ was different, right from the early demos it was a strong idea. But, it was always felt that it could be stronger, something just wasn’t right. “Calling You” was worked on over a long period and featured several edits, re-writes and development in the recording studio.
The initial idea for the song was the idea of someone writing in their diary, recalling a lost love and wondering what happened that it went so wrong, how the other person has moved on and is there any way back. This gave the song an almost 3-dimensional feel. Anyone can write the standard love song that talks about one persons love for another. But things get more interesting when you add in the extra dimension of I love you, but you love someone else.
The song was written with the lyrics first with the song developing out of the ‘screenplay technique’ as I like to call it. This is where I will write a mini-movie of the story and characters contained within. That way parts of the screenplay can then be used for parts of the lyric or inform the direction. The first decision made about the song was to make sure it was fully-inclusive and that anyone could get the message and make the song their own. In this case the song started off being quite complex with allot of lyrical content, playing on metaphor etc. Eventually, the song was stripped back so that the message could be universal and the story easy to follow on first listen.
As with all songs the hardest part is the first few lines as they are the most important part of the song. If a picture isn’t painted within the first few lines forget about it. But strangely, in this case they were one of the first parts of the song to come:
“Whatever happened to our Yesterday’s.
Where did they go,
How far did I stray,
I don’t understand why you set me free”
These few lines set the scene and tone of the song. Here they describe someone who is looking back at all the good times, wondering what happened and not understanding why they separated. The rest of the first verse then moves onto wondering when the moment came that love died and the point of separation.
In the second verse the song develops to find the character thinking back on the idea of, “did I ever know the real person”
“I thought I knew all the sides of you,
But the winds of change brought something new”
Then we start to see the song twisting a little where the character is looking back with the passing of time and remembering the time things changed and how they will never forget the moment.
“The sands of time have changed their view,
But I can’t forget what I did to you,
I made you cry”
The chorus then ties the song together. Here we have the character reaching out to the other to try and resolve any differences and re-unite the relationship.
“Calling You, but your so far away,
I’m reaching out to you each day
Its a one-way system where we never meet,
There’s nothing there just an empty street”
The chorus was the first part of the song fully completed and never really changed much from the original working demo of the song. Usually several demos are made of a song to see how the song works melodically and what needs changed to make it more melodic. As with the first lines being important, if the window cleaner can’t whistle the tune then the song doesn’t really work. So its always a fine line trying to be clever lyrically but still keeping the song melodic.
Once the verses and choruses where concreted and the song had been demoed a few times I still felt something was missing. I felt that the song needed a definitive breaking point where one of the characters moves on shattering the other persons hopes of re-uniting in pieces. I felt that the most dramatic thing to do was to have one of the characters getting married and moving on.
“Now You said your gonna get married,
and live out your dreams with someone new,
Don’t you know that I’m Nothing Without you”
I felt this completed the song and really brought home the feel of someone really longing for lost love to be reunited. But the song in the end remains hopeful that maybe things can be worked out.
Musically, the song was originally very different and was a straight down the line ballad. It was demoed this way several times. However, because the lyrical content was so dramatic and downbeat I thought that the music should provide the counter to that and be uplifting. So first thing was to bring the song out of a minor key and into a major key. But the Middle 8 would key change to the relative minor. It started with two riff ideas. One played on a banjo with delay pedal which was then transferred to guitar in the studio. The other the solo guitar part, which is now replaced by harmonica live. So this goes to show that even when a song is fully recorded and released that it can still go through changes. But, with the bones of the song concrete the song then developed in the studio to what it is today. As we view the recording studio as another instrument.
An interesting point to note about this song is that the initial idea of someone writing in their diary is why we decided to release an animated lyric video as the songs music video. This video gives the feel of someone writing away in their diary, turning the pages and even right down to the ink stains on the page.