You can hear it on Spotify here.
Back in September 17, 2013, I wrote the lyric lines, “homes in the sky, it’s us versus them, so many dreams die as the slaves try to fly. Homes in the sky as we bow down to them, we live just to die to feed the machine of lies.”
A few days later on September 23, 2013, I recorded a 23 second voice memo of just the chorus vocal melody with no music. A few minutes after that, I recorded a 51 second voice memo of the chorus vocal melody, sung over the chords of Am, F, C and G.
And the song sat there in my voice memos for a while. It wasn’t until May 15, 2014 that I recorded a 3 minute acoustic version which included a verse and a pre chorus along with an ad-lib vocal outro. And it was on this day that I got the idea to have the song in two distinct sections. The lyrical part for the first 2 minutes which is basically intro, verse, pre chorus and chorus and the musical part for the last 2 minutes which would end up being a 2 minute guitar solo.
It’s the A minor key that sealed the deal. You know all those white keys on a piano, well, they are all part of the C major/A minor key and it’s one of the first musical keys I learned when I started playing guitar (“All My Loving” from The Beatles was also one of the first songs I learned in this key) and it’s one of my favourite to solo over.
Again, the 2014 version just sat there as a voice memo, until February, 2019, when I started to record it in the studio. And then I let it sit again for a few months, before I went back to it again in May to finish it off.
And the theme of the song is about how people are focused on winning, much to the detriment that they miss out on other beautiful things. You’ve seen the posts from people on Stalkbook about “another win for the team”, “first place on the table”, “another award”, “a promotion”, “a selfie on holiday” while others are doing the grind and on and on it goes.
And when we come across people who scheme, bully, plot, cheat or lie to get more status, we can see that since they cheated once to get ahead, they are very open to cheating a lot to stay ahead. But while we try to win in life, do we really know at what we are trying to win.
Is it to have a lot of numbers in your bank account?
Is it to have success and worldwide fame?
Is it to have just a home and a family to live in it?
Because life isn’t like the local weekend sporting competition where you might train twice a week for three quarters of the year, and you are aware of the progress you are making based on your teams position on the ladder or if you play an individual sport, your position on the ladder.
The game of life, is much different.
There are people who like to bend you to their will and to control you, because they see you as weak. Because hey, if they you are under these kinds of people, you must be losing and they must be winning.
There are people who envy the status position of another and will do whatever it takes to attain the same status. If that means to spread lies, backstab, scheme and plot, then they will do it.
There are people who help others just to get by in life without asking for nothing in return. It makes them happy doing this and they feel like they are winners.
There are people who just take and never give anything back. There are a lot of these kinds of people.
There are people who want to build as many experiences they possible can. For them, this is winning.
But one thing is certain, there is no ‘living happy forever after’. There is just the living of the chaos of today.
“Homes in the sky, it’s us versus them” is the opening line of the song. And more so today, than ever before, there is a real “us versus them” attitude and mentality prevalent in society. The “them” in this case and when the lyric was written, is the one percenters, that small group of people who control 80% of the worlds wealth.
“So many dreams die, as the slaves try to fly” shows the symptoms of trying to be like them and failing. I use the term “Slaves” a lot in my lyrics. And when people think of slaves they have a certain implied image rooted in their mind from history. But, being a slave is real and it happens today more than ever. Get a loan and try to get out of it without repaying it. Tell me how that goes. Get a job, and see what happens when you decide to turn up at the time that suits you.
And of course, we get into these situations by our own doing and choices, however is there any other way. Is it so much a choice that we made or a choice that already has been made by the conditions of what society has become.
“Homes in the sky as we bow down to them, we live just to die to feed the machine of lies.”
People fail because they follow what others do. They are thinking, “my Snapchat or Facebook or Instagram profile is not as busy as others” or “their house is better than mine”. When we try to follow somebody, we fail to do our own thing, which makes us special. And any institution that profits from selling debt to others is not an institution good for society.
“Doing time on the front line, broken and the company still wants more, is there any other reason why we are dropping like flies”
There is a saying that goes something like this; “in order to operate to the outer limits of your potential, people must think you are crazy.” In other words, the things you are doing and the way you are seeing the world is different to how they have been conditioned to see the world and to do things. And that doesn’t happen on the front lines of a dead end job, that’s asking extra hours for no pay, while the cost of living goes up and the utilities go up even more.
The government introduces water restrictions because the dams are running low. So people start using less water. So the usage billing drops, which means less money is coming into the government coffers. So instead of rewarding people for using less water, they increase the rates per litre.
If you want to make an impact, you will get hate, rejection and people are worried about that, so they stop chasing their goals, because they don’t want the feedback. You need to be all in, else you will fail.
“Born into this nine to five world, it’s always been this way, how can we stand tall when the powers expect us to fall”.
The nine to five world I refer to is a block of time devoted to work. It can be split up into many different blocks. Silicon Valley companies like to talk about their non-existent office hours and what not, but what they fail to talk about is the block of time a person needs to devote. That doesn’t change, because no company is stupid enough to pay you a wage for doing nothing.
“Another day on the front line, too scared to change and walk away, I sit at my desk staring at a blur of words so I’m not replaced”
It was either going to be the above lyrics for the second verse or the below;
“Meeting ends, when they don’t meet, left behind as the dream is foreclosed, we are an expense to replace, if one falls, someone else will take our place.”
But the original version had these lines as the second verse.
“We are just faceless dollars to the corporate machine, if one of us goes down, a million others are waiting to take our place.”
My definition of oppression is to deny people their identity or to push them to choose/select a new identity. Working a job and without having a paid hour (which isn’t their lunch break) to express or do what you want to do, is a form of oppression. So basically what I was trying to highlight was no replaceable we are to big business and to the governments at large. So why are building their dreams instead of our own.
Do we want a work life surrounded by deadlines or do we want to walk a path that probably involves work but it’s something you get to do, instead of having to do.
We are only hear for a short time. Momentum matters. Small wins daily, breeds hope and confidence. And the struggle is real. Honour it, because it will be hard, but struggles make you better. Don’t run from them
And now to the guitar solo.
It started off very different, much faster. After hearing a few cuts of it, I decided to recut it. I more or less recorded six different guitar solos and spliced all the best bits together into one cohesive guitar solo.
What I also did was to stage in the back ground music, instead of it being a wall of sound right from the outset.
What I mean by that is the lead guitar section starts off with drums, bass, a light distorted rhythm guitar, a fill guitar and the lead guitar. After four bars, I fade in the harmony guitars. After four bars I then bring in the crushing distortion rhythm guitar. And on it went.
Enjoy and here are some photos from my journal notes.