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Joshua Ellis-Einhorn Conference

For this conference I have written a song about mental health and anxiety. I did so as a means of discussing the issues of my school and how it relates to me specifically. I wrote and recorded my song and put it up on SoundCloud.

INFLUENCES:
Car Seat Headrest
One of my major influences in my songwriting is the work of Will Toledo and his band Car Seat Headrest, especially their most recent album Teens Of Denial. The group’s lyrical delving into the teenage experience along with the lo-fi aesthetic really influenced how I wrote my piece. I have been a fan of the band for a while and got into them with Teens of Denial and Twin Fantasy.

 

Sleater-Kinney
The late 90’s and early 2000’s riot grrrl and indie punk band Sleater-Kinney is another major influence. I wanted to mirror some of their songwriting techniques. Some of the use of songwriting tactics on songs like One More Hour and Jumpers I find intensely fascinating. I think they find ways to make songs about huge serious topics more accessible. This is something I really want to attempt with my song.

Against Me!
I’m a big fan of the early 2000’s folk-punk band Against Me! One of my¬†earliest songs was in a similar style to Against Me! first song on their first album “Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong” in that it’s a very folk-punky drinking song that isn’t really a drinking song. While my work here is not really like it I still think it’s an important piece in my musical evolution.

AJJ
AJJ (formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad) are probably my most immediate influence. The sort of tongue in cheek while intensely dark writing style is one I have emulated on this song. Specifically wanted to match some of the song’s on their album Knife Man.

SONG AND LYRICS

Lyrics
So write me a sad song and I’ll laugh at your pain
While others try to sympathise Ill dance in your rain
Because I use irony to deny my own anxiety
And I hope you don’t feel the same

Is this a reflection or just a pity part
Do I have an audience to whom I can say sorry
But if they know who I am will they leave me where I stand
Or will they dare to stay

Breathe in
Breathe out
Keep your heart below your mouth
Breathe in
Breathe out
Keep your heart below your mouth
Breathe in
Breathe out
Keep your heart below your mouth
Breathe In
Breathe In
Breathe In

Stay with me
I know that that unlikely but just
Stay with me
You do not have to like me can’t you
Stay with me
I don’t understand leaving won’t you
Stay with me
Why would you want to leave me

So I wrote you a sad song you can laugh at my pain
Don’t attempt to sympathise dance in my rain
Because I use irony to deny my own anxiety
Sometimes doesn’t work out that way.

ANALYSIS AND REFLECTION
Writing this song I had difficulties trying to figure out where to start. Sometimes I think of a line or a chorus but can’t figure out how to work it into a larger song. However once I got a bunch of ideas in my notes I was able to find themes or patterns that might work together. There was also issues with creating the music for my song. I started out using a more disjointed chord progression that didn’t really lend itself to the more wild and broken playing that my song requires. However once I figured that out I was able to get my lyrics much more streamlined.

Other Works:
Here are some of my other musical projects that I have worked on while writing my original song.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUWavA2-GyM&w=560&h=315] This is a “Trap Rap” remix of Joanna Newsom’s song Cosmia off her critically acclaimed album Ys. Trap Rap is a subgenre of hip-hop that is very dark and atmospheric, often incorporating rolling hi-hats percussion pattern and large bass. With songs like Broccoli, Mask Off and Tunnel Vision getting popular recently, Trap Rap is moving into using more folk instrumentation. Because of this I thought it would be funny to bring this into¬†Joanna Newsom’s work, which many would consider in opposition to Trap Rap. I also thought this would be fun to make because it allowed me to express myself in a different way than my original song.


This is a similar piece in that it’s attempting to be a mashup. It is a bit sloppy but it is still a work in progress. Here’s the background: I had been using a program called rave.dj with a couple friends that takes any two songs and tries to automatically make a mashup of them. I thought it would be fun to try two songs with similar names — Run Away With Me by Carly Rae Jepsen and Runaway by Kanye West — but didn’t really like the mashup the site spit out. So I decided I could try to make one myself. Mine is more a traditional mashup where there is an instrumental from one of the songs and vocals from another. Since there is so much going on in both songs using both instrumentals and both vocals got too cluttered. I enjoyed making this because it allowed me to work with music from artists I love who don’t necessarily influence me because of genre boundaries. My original work is influenced by people who are in generally the same genre as me; this mashup allows me to express my fondness for artists outside of my genre.

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