In our new music feature Origins, artists are asked to provide some creative insights into their latest song. Today, Old Sea Brigade explains how he takes it “Day by Day”.
It’s funny how some of the best quarantine art hasn’t necessarily come from the COVID-19 era, but pre-dates it. Old Sea Brigade’s new song “Day by Day”, for example, hones in on the lonely fatigue of spending so much time away from your friends and loved ones. While that certainly sounds fitting for the last 10 months, it was actually written about being on the road almost three years ago.
“Time and time again I think I’ve pulled it together, but something’s so familiar that’s unraveling me,” sings Old Sea Brigade’s Ben Cramer as urgent guitars trip around the ticking clock of cymbals. “I’ll forget my name, every evenings the same/ Frozen on my back just praying for sleep.” Even if you’ve never been on tour for weeks on end, the pandemic has given you plenty of references point to relate to sentiments like these.
“Day by Day” comes to us via a video directed by Evan Brace, serving as the second entry in Old Sea Brigade’s Mojave Desert trilogy. Take a look below, followed by the song’s Origins.
The new track also heralds OSB’s latest full-length, the upcoming Motivational Speaking. The LP is due out May 14th via Nettwerk. Find the tracklist way down yonder.
Being in the Moment:
Although thematically and lyrically it might sound like a lockdown-inspired track, I started writing “Day by Day” while on tour in 2018. Lyrically, I wanted to try and capture the restlessness of constantly being on the move. I often struggle with trying to balance excitement of new surroundings with exhaustion from lack of sleep. Through all of that though, I try to find little moments of inspiration where I can be present. Here we had a day off and slept on the top of our van in Joshua Tree one night. It was one of the most ‘in the moment’ experiences I felt in a long time. It was refreshing to be able to just appreciate where I was at that exact time and not stress about what tomorrow brings… 2020 also gave me plenty of time to practice being present.
Rubber Bridge Guitar:
My buddy Luke introduced me to a guy in LA who takes old guitars and fixes them up and adds rubber bridges to them. The rubber bridge causes the strings to dampen a bit which creates a sort of ‘mellow/warm’ musical tone. The instrument immediately resonated with me and ended up being an important element on the recording.
I grew up listening to Bruce Springsteen in the car with my dad on the way to school. I’m so inspired by the way The Boss is able to paint such vivid pictures and bring characters to life through his songs. Reading his autobiography, Born to Run, really painted him, who I view as a songwriting hero, as a normal human being with struggles like all of his. I love his ability to find and articulate the beauty in everyday life. Standout track for me: “Thunder Road”.
The mellotron played an important role in the production of the song. We used the pizzicato strings for the musical hook as well as a number of lofi’d string pads to help add textures throughout the recording.
“Day by Day” Single Art:
Motivational Speaking Tracklist:
01. How It Works
02. Day by Day
04. Nothing Clever
05. American Impressions
07. Mirror Moon
08. High Times
11. Come Tomorrow
12. 4th of July