Cliff Hillis

'Love Not War Stories' SONG THREE

SONG THREE- "Don't Drown The Wind"

This was another one from the song-of-the-week group (I'm seeing a pattern here..). The lyric to be included that week was "drown the wind" so I went rather literal with it, although I figured I'd try to make a hopeful song, in my little existential pop way.

I recorded an acoustic demo to hand in to the group, then filed it away & promptly forgot about the song. It wasn't til a couple months later when I was getting near the tail end of recording the EP that I realized this song was hanging around in the "possibilities" folder. I decided to see if Greg Maragos thought I should do something with it and his reply was "Yes. Yes, you should." I'm glad he said that!

I got in touch with my friend Kevin Killen who is an all around badass musician. He had played some really nice drums & bass on the song "Keep The Blue Skies" and we both played a bunch on my friend Joe Miralles' last EP that I recorded. Kevin came over one day & we messed around with the drums downstairs. I put mics in odd places in the room & he played different patterns with mallets & the snares turned off. There are sort of two complete different drum tracks that happen in the song if you listen closely. Also, to make the song move Kevin did a cool overdub thing where he scratched on the snare drum as a percussion track & we added that in as a sort of a train beat feel thing. One of my favorite bits in the song.

After multiple tracks of drums, Kevin played some rootsy sounding piano on my old Minipiano upright that was just out of tune enough to be charming. Suddenly the song started coming to life!

I realized at the end of that day the acoustic guitars I had put on the demo sounded great so I kept 'em. I should add that my friend Van Morgan had lent me his parlour sized Martin acoustic for recording, and it sounded amazing. I then sent a rough of what we had to Greg so he could do his magic. Greg laid down a really sweet Beatlesque bass line at home with his Hofner & sent the track to me. Then he came up with some really cool atmospheric mellotron & chamberlin parts that added to the melancholy of the song in just the right way.

I then sang a bunch of vocals (put in the obligatory Beach Boys-y bridge harmonies) and played some electric guitar run through a Memory Man to tie up the loose ends. Mixed by me & mastered by Steve Turnidge and then song three was complete!

This song is a perfect example of a thing I love where the parts just kinda fall into place without trying too hard. It makes it easy when you have great musician friends to call on!