Vocalist/guitarist Dan Young takes us track by track through the new EP from THIS PROVIDENCE, Brier.
Every songwriter will (or should) attest to the pursuit of a certain crucial and ever-so elusive moment where it all makes sense. “Ah huh!” You now have some sort of compass. You know you're onto something. I have no idea where it comes from, there's lots of theories–I don't care, I just want it. It has my respect. This song was exactly that moment for us. It was a breakthrough in our long winded quest to reinvent ourselves. Written in only four hours, I knew immediately that this was the next direction for This Providence. It's not often that a song comes that quickly to me, but when it does it's usually a good thing.
We made a lot of changes to this one in the studio, including a new chorus and pre-chorus. Gavin's guitar work in particular was very off-the-cuff and provoked some important last minute changes. We didn't concern ourselves with the nitpicky details, we wanted to keep it loose and true to the live set. My hope is that when you listen to the song, you will sense that.
“In Or Out”
This one's probably my favorite song we've ever written. I've had a lot of fun modulating (moving in and out of different keys) recently, and we do that in this song for every chorus. That's not really anything crazy different, but I get a kick out of it.
I've always dealt with anxiety, but it became a very ugly and uncontrollable thing in the process of writing for a new record last year. I got to a point where therapy was necessary and during that process I wrote this song. It's all about the pressure I felt from the record label, and the guys in the band. I think most songwriters do this, but I like to include lots of hidden secrets in my lyrics, known only to myself. And there are a lot of sneaky one-liners in this one that may or may not be apparent to the parties previously mentioned, or the listener for that matter. Essentially though, I found myself in a place where I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted things to go. I found a new freedom in the uncertain. It's as much a reminder for me as it is anyone else that life is messy and that's okay–“Break your date with destiny, and give yourself to sweet uncertainty.”
Another one about my anxiety–at its worst. It's about losing your mind. Irrational thinking and subsequent panic attacks led me to what seemed like a neverending search for a cure. And when your head is in a bad place, it can lead to some bad decisions. In my case I turned to self-medicating, and disconnected myself from my friends and family. I love the lyrics to this one–it's accurate, it's honest, there's no conclusion and there's not really any hope offered because that's exactly how I felt. As far as I could see, I'd already lost it.
Musically, this is the closest thing on the EP to a throwback to our older songs, though I think it still fits the new direction swimmingly. Pun intended.
I really didn't want to write another acoustic love song this time around, but I did. The Beatles made me do it. They convinced me that the lyrics can be a bit on the “rich” side if the instrumentation and chord progression is interesting. I'm not trying to fool anyone; this recording is definitely an appreciative nod in their direction.
We tracked everything on this song, from maracas to vocals, using one stationary Shure SM58 (that's a hundred dollar microphone). We repeatedly jammed through the song together, each time listening back and fine-tuning the mix by adjusting our respective distances from the microphone. Andy used the back of an acoustic guitar for that punchy bass drum sound and David played his bass parts on an electric guitar to intentionally give the song a limited frequency range. (Think early Beatles). alt