There is a long standing debate as to whether or not humor belongs in art. I believe it's an important part of what makes us human, and in an effort to document the past several years of my life on this record, it's inclusion was a must. To call "Destruction" a "joke" would be unfair, but if you detect a fair degree of satire in the song, you're not far off. Think of it as a big foam middle finger you might find at a sporting event.
A bit of background on the eve of "Destruction": An industry friend had put me on the guest list for a tour coming through Rochester, but upon arrival I quickly realized I had no business being there. I was 10 years older than everyone else and I don't think I'd ever felt the youthful exuberance on display that evening. The house music was a mix of late 90s/early 00s feel good jams that I doubted some members of the audience had even been alive for. Everything felt so safe and calculated. I wanted the opposite. I left before the performance even began, returned home, and stayed up all night creating "Destruction". I think I finished at 10 a.m. or so. It was aggressive, a bit scary, and I was sure that no one could feel "medium" about it. My only regret was not being able to play it over the loudspeaker that night.
Sean and I added quite a bit to the song when it came time to record How Do You Feel Now?, making it even more antagonistic. At points, the song sounds like it's downright making fun of the audience, and in a lot of ways, it is. Somewhere along the way, our band started getting played on alternative radio. This meant radio festivals, on-air interviews with the stations, etc. While we were grateful for the exposure, we'd never heard most of the contemporary artists in the format, which it turns out consisted of a lot of whistles, stomps, and "heys". "Destruction" was our reaction to waking up in that world and saying "how the hell did we get here?". The cheesy whistles. The stomps and claps. The unenthusiastic "our producer made us yell 'hey' into a microphone". They're all in there. I've never laughed so hard recording a song. The harmonizer on the bass throughout the song is set to the wrong key. The bridge trumpet and guitar lines sound like a circus act. The guitar riffs at the end are an amalgamation of every rock cliche in history. Watch the attached video of Sean, Joseph, and I tracking the guitar. We ran it through two wah pedals while Sean manipulated them on his hands and knees.
Some of this may come across like we don't care, but I assure you that's not the case. We care a lot. This is just our reaction to people trying to put what we make into a box. Genres and formats are irrelevant in 2015. You can pull up any song ever recorded in a matter of seconds. Why do we still feel the need to classify everything? You only need two genres, "Things I Like" and "Things I Don't Like". Both are unique to you. Just because the last song had stomps and whistles in it doesn't mean the next one should.
"Destruction" encompasses part of Joywave's personality in a unique way. The record would not be a comprehensive look into our lives without it. It's a real feeling, and it's one we have often, even though the track may seemingly be at odds with a song like "Nice House" on the surface. Both ask for your attention, but "Destruction" isn't being polite and it's sick of your shit. That's what makes it one of our favorites to play live. And occasionally more than once in an evening.
A few miscellaneous notes:
- The introduction to the song is a clip of Deems Taylor speaking in Disney's Fantasia. This is the first of several Disney samples on How Do You Feel Now?. When we were deciding whether or not to sign with Hollywood Records (Disney is its parent company) back in 2013, the final conversation we had was "do you think they'd let us sample the classic films?". We guessed yes, but it wasn't approved until the label president saw us at a show in LA a few months later. A few days later, the requested samples started showing up in my inbox. We will probably be buried somewhere under Space Mountain, but we were able to license the clips. Win-win (?)
- Drums were tracked at our studio and our friend Brian Moore assisted us.
- Trumpeter Erik McOmber makes his first appearance of the 'How Do You Feel Now?' sessions (he had also played on "Tongues" but that had been almost two years prior by this time).
- There is almost no editing on this song beyond the drums. We wanted it to feel loose, real, and sloppy. I think that makes it one of the rawest moments on the record.
- Neal Pogue handled mixing duties.
How Do You Feel Now?
- Somebody New
- Carry Me
- Tongues (feat. KOPPS)
- In Clover
- Fees Like a Lie
- Traveling at the Speed of Light
- Nice House
- Bad Dreams