Studio Night

Song evolution 3: the demo edit

We were so wired

When we last left our developing song (in part 2: a rough edit) we had a rudimentary song structure, but we were missing some good stuff: transitions, a chorus, a bridge.

Usually after listening to the initial idea for a while, one or more of us will come up with some ideas to give the song a little more structure or tension. Sometimes that involves adding a pre-chorus section, or adding a new hook. We usually develop some kind of bridge as well. If lyrics are happing at the same time, which they sometimes do, the words might move the music in a particular direction, too.

In the case of “Keep Raining”, words were not showing up to the party, so we were really working with just the music at that point. After exchanging some ideas we worked in an intro section, and added a little modulation to the verse, dropping down a step before the freshly added prechorus. We also came up with a very melodic bridge and dropped the dynamics down to just bass and drums right after it.

We also added some kooky turnarounds at the end of the song… by accident.

In the process of editing together the ending, which was just supposed to be a few repeating chorus sections, I pasted some measures in the wrong place. When we listened back we discovered that it actually sounded pretty cool, so we kept the mistake (now I can’t imagine the song without it).

During this process I started to have a few lyrical ideas, mostly in the “epic story” vein. Kind of like a drunkdude version of “Lord of the Rings”, about some character on a big quest who goes up to the mountain to discover knowledge. Fortunately we scrapped all of that drivel, but the one thing that did stick (at least for a little while) was a “kingly” name change: we started calling the song “Keep Reigning”, and eventually just “Reigning”.

One of the last big things we changed before getting the demo together was the tempo: we upped the tempo a few beats per minute because we all agreed that the original tempo of the jam was dragging. In fact, we posted an entry about it, which you can find here.

So we put all of the concepts together and did what is essentially the demo of the song. It’s the recording that we use to refine our parts, and to give any other musicians  a guideline of what we’re looking for. With that blueprint, we were able to move on to the next step.


Coming up: tracking.