Songblast: Red Moon and Lifted
Red Moon (Oliver)
This song takes me back to the 4th of July in 2013. I was on top of a parking garage watching the fireworks with good friends and an ex-girlfriend. It hurt to be with her. I felt that those booms were pushing me farther away. The trails of smoke from the explosions made an imprint on the dark sky and an imprint on my soul. This relationship would never go away. It would be a ghost that I live with forever. In this pain I was struggling severely with heavy marajuana use. I was at the point where I was emotionally numb so I didn’t have to recall what it felt like to hurt inside.
I found out through self-exploration that the ghost of my ex was manufactured by me. I was torn up about it; held on to it for dear life. A new relationship made me realize that I cannot sit on all this pain. I knew that I had to confront this ghost inside of me. There was a night where we sat in front of a harvest moon and I remember feeling the power that it bestowed upon the world. Something had moved inside of me. This new person had been the inspiration for this progress. She made me look at myself from a different perspective—encouraging me to intimately know my deepest feelings.
This old love was a big one to conquer. It got in the way of my new relationship multiple times. In my darkest moment, I let my girlfriend walk away from me because I thought I hadn’t processed enough about my past relationship. I was still hung up. I was haunted in a very serious way. That winter at home I went through a lot of emotion sitting at my parents grand piano where most of the song was written. In writing this song I realized that I needed to move through this ghost and get back to the present. This song helped me through this journey—helped me be sad about the death of a relationship, but like a phoenix it made room for another.
This song is cathartic for me. It shows me my journey, my emotional map, my kaleidoscope of emotions in a dark time. It shows that my life is full of heartbreak, disappointment, sadness. Do I let it control me? Or do I let it inform me? It shows me what is on the other side of that heartbreak. Through that pain I became a person bigger than myself. My awareness of my feelings became a life mission. There will always be darkness, but it’s what I do with that darkness that makes me who I am.
I wrote Lifted shortly after moving to Chicago three years ago. At the time I knew that in joining Sedgewick I wanted to write from the ground up, I needed a fresh start and a fresh focus to feel like making music again. Lifted was the first to come out of this period and very much marked an opening in my life.
For me, it is a song about the adventure of life in all its ups and downs. I'm a huge proponent of learning, living and loving recklessly. That is to say carrying the fire of your heart forward in all aspects of your life. Living with the immediacy of the vibrancy of feeling and trusting that to carry you forward. If there's one thing we've lost sight of in this culture it's that sense of trust, that desire to be close to one another.
Initially Lifted was to be a love song about the promise of love in an old relationship. Though that relationship ended, I knew that the story of the song couldn't be changed. There is always something true and real in the act of loving another human, no matter how it falls apart.
I've since come to feel that Lifted is a song for my innermost child, the thread and spark that we carry with us from our earliest years through the rest of our life. In learning to love and take care of myself I realized that the best parent I could have had is someone like the man I'm becoming today and that that sentiment is true for all of us. To learn to love starts with that child in us all and grows ever outward from there.
In deciding a tracklist, we couldn't come up with a better way to end the record than with Lifted. The song encapsulates the closure of this period of growth in our lives as well as the promise to always wade in the fire, burn slow and rise as something brighter.
SONGBLAST: BEFORE US AND COLLAPSE
The origin of this song started in my old apartment when my roommates became enemies. The discovery of bed bugs led us to many forms of chaos rooted in drugs, miscommunication, fear, and destruction.
I was frustrated with the confines of songwriting when I wrote this song. I trashed my lyrics and the middle section which involved some different chords in a different key. I knew deep down that I needed help to fully realize this song. Part of it seemed bigger than me. Part of it seemed like something I’ve never done before. Naturally, I took it to Sam & Jake and they helped put some energy and fire back into the lifeblood of the song.
I called it Interlude. It was meant to represent rebirth through chaos; a connector between two very different places. Creating a better version of self requires a deep contemplation of parts that you wish to keep and throw away. This is exactly the moment where you tear those parts you don’t like away. I knew that this song would be drum-centric. A driving groove that no one has ever heard Sedgewick do before.
In an effort to name this record—with many failings—we landed on Collapse. Which in turn caused us to transform Interlude into the title track. After the arduous task of naming our record our timeline for finishing mixing fell through and venues started to cancel our shows which caused us to kibosh the majority of our west coast tour.
My world had turned on its head. I was deeply depressed, but didn’t do anything to process the deep sadness within me. I didn’t want to talk about the cancelled tour, the failed timeline for mixing, or the struggle to remain positive. This song captures the headspace I was in at that time, and the challenges we faced as a band, both psychologically and logistically, to finish this record.
"Before Us" (Sam)
This song is one of the first that Oliver, Jake and I fully wrote together for Sedgewick. It was a riff and first verse Ollie and I had toyed with years back. I brought to a rehearsal one day and Ollie and Jake wrote the rhythm section and we made some arrangement decisions. The next day, I locked myself in my closet and wrote the rest of the verses and chorus.
The lyrics are roughly inspired by a collection of bizarre experiences with animals that I had, including one in which my cousin struck and killed a bird with her car. She started crying immediately and we sat there in silence for the rest of the ride. I remember being taken aback by how saddened she was by it, but then eventually starting to cry myself.
Growing up in rural Michigan, I heard a lot from my friends about car accidents with deer, and they were almost never talked about as the tragic death of an animal — they were talked about as a huge car expense (which they typically are). Looking back on it got me thinking about how we as humans claim places that were never ours and never will be, snuff out life there, and then face no immediate consequences.
Humans have colonized more than people — we’ve colonized the planet. I’ve interpreted this song in both ways. The unifying theme to me, though, is that of destruction — the acceptance that the things we build as humans can and will be destroyed, and forces that were here long before us will outlive us. It’s a call to try to embrace and understand those forces of nature, because destroying them is only destroying ourselves.