This song's lyrics were written by iPhone's predictive text system, it's recording was an interstate collaboration, and here is the story of it's construction:
I just finished a two week road trip, during which I visited friends and family in Boise, Fargo, Denver, Boulder, and Portland, before finally returning back to California.
Early on this journey, after a 12 hour drive, I checked Facebook and saw a fellow musician Alan Chen (of Curious Quail) post an iPhone predictive text message. I started replying with my own, always pressing the third button to insert the next word which my phone thought should belong in a sentence, starting with "I'm." When I had looked back and read what I posted, I thought they would make good song lyrics:
"I'm so excited to be the first half of the day before I get a follow back on my way home from work to be the first half of the day before I get a follow back on my way home from work to be the best of the year and the first half of the year and the first half of the year of high quality of life and the other hand is the only thing that would have to go back and the other hand is the only thing that would have to go back and the first half of the day i have a great way of the day I have a great way of the year of high quality of life and the first half of the year."
As I went from state to state I mulled it over in my head and tried to figure out how I would fit a song around this stream-of-digital-consciousness semi-nonsense which my iPhone had produced. I tried to decide how to sing the run-on sentence in a way which would work as the core of a song, and to use the repetition in the song to create a sense of refrain and theme. The more I thought about what the lyrics could mean, the more poetic and almost naively inspirational they sounded, and ideas began to stir as I drove from state to state.
I let the ideas percolate, and set a task for myself to solidify the song by the time I reached Portland, where I would be staying with my friend, violinist Arias Beardslee (of The Sincerelys). I liked the symmetry of having one violinist start the idea and another help finish it. During my drive from Boise to Portland, I finally coalesced my ideas into a basic melody and song structure, and made space in the song for Arias to write a violin part and give some of his personality to the song. I was looking forward to how he would add his own flourish to my ideas.
When I was close to Portland I called Arias and asked where to meet him. Since I had never visited the Columbia River Gorge before, he suggested we meet at Multnomah Falls. I got there a little early, found parking, and decided to work a little more on the song while I waited for him. I pulled out my phone to look at the lyrics and go over the song once more. I then had the idea to grab my guitar from my trunk and find a place off in the trees to work out the chords to the melody in my head.
Somehow, in my pre-occupation with the song and my phone, I found myself at my trunk, reaching into an empty pocket, unable to grab my keys to unlock the trunk because they were still in the ignition of my locked car. Luckily I had my phone and AAA card with me, but I would still have to wait a while for help to arrive. Once Arias arrived and I briefed him on the situation, we took a hike around a few waterfalls and caught up.
I mentioned the song to him, let him read the lyrics, and then let him sit with it a bit while we chatted about music surrounded by beautiful trees and waterfalls. Finally, the tow truck arrived, we unlocked my car and I followed him into Portland where we then went downtown, ate delicious Egyptian food on a rainy street corner, and caught a drink at a blues bar on the way back to his place to go over quick song ideas.
That night I plugged in my portable MIDI controller and hammered out some placeholder drum beats we could record over, which we did the next day. I laid down guitar and vocal tracks, and then Arias laid down some awesome Cello and Violin parts which really refined the song.
Arias also suggested adding vocoder parts, but we couldn't get it quite right while I was still in Portland. Once I made it back to California and my own studio, I finished recording a third harmony part, added the vocoder harmonies, and then set to mixing together the parts Arias had recorded into the final song you hear here.
I like it. It's part artificial and part natural; A dialogue between humans and machines, about meaning and self-determination, what it means to have a "high quality of life," and how you too can be "so excited to be the first half of the day" every single day.
See the post which started it all, and hopefully may produce more iPhone predict songs. For more Arias, check out The Sincerelys.
This submission is licensed by author under CC Attribution Share Alike (BY-SA)