State of Hero Falls, March 2021

It’s been an interesting two years of working on this project. I’m not done but I am…shifting gears. The identity of Hero Falls is changing, and I think for the better. As a result, the first batch of songs has been bundled into an album called Hero Falls: Origins, and it’s still free, but it sort of represents the 1.0 milestone to me. The 2.0 idea is a little different but builds on the characters and places and ideas in my head — and it offers a better way to get those ideas out of my head and into the ears of other people.

I came to realize how vague I’d been about everything, and how the only people who even had a glimpse of the story I was trying to tell were the people who directly collaborated on it. The vocalists all got character dossiers with full histories and context for the story they’d be helping to tell, plus some insight into what happened next. I thought it would be fun to let everybody else guess. It was not fun for anybody else to guess. So when Kat came up with a really plausible idea about how to tell this story in a more compelling and interesting way, why wouldn’t I listen to her? I’m moving forward with her vision.

So, no releases for a while, probably. I’m in songwriting mode at the moment, which is a scattered process involving guitars in various tunings, a small digital recorder for capturing ideas that might be terrible, and a text file on Dropbox. I am currently bouncing between two songs as inspiration strikes, which is fun. It’s still moving by inches when I would love to be the kind of songwriter who sprints. But I’m learning — and if nothing else, Hero Falls has taught me that I’m always learning — that songwriting, for me, is more difficult than that. Maybe it’s this difficult for everybody. But for now, I am not giving myself a deadline — I’m just holding myself to continue thinking about it and work at a natural, slow pace. I have that luxury since I have no other constraints on this project, so I might as well enjoy it.

Song: “Two Weeks to Live” (Feat. many guests!)

Last year, I started thinking about how I am surrounded by absolutely incredible, world-class musicians, and what an idiot I am not to invite them to play. I realized I would love to have an excuse to ask them to play on one of my songs. So I wrote an 80s hard rock/metal song around a melodramatic tale of the supernatural, primarily because I thought several people might have fun showing off through it. The solos from Leila-Abdul Rauf, Ry Kihn, Audrey Shida and Brian Poedy were all recorded independently, and I told them to play for as long as they liked. I just sort of hoped they’d all fit together in the final mix, and they did. I then had to try to improve the rest of the song to get on their level.

To top it all off, I clearly do not have a metal singing voice, but Audrey’s sister Kate regularly performs an epic death growl, so I asked her to be the Voice From Out Of The Black. I deployed her power judiciously, but she has some of the biggest impact on the song.

Unlike a lot of other more cryptic songs in Hero Falls, this one is a pretty straight up origin story, where I just laid everything out in the lyrics.

“Two Weeks to Live”
Bandcamp (name your price)
Apple Music
Google Play