We are delighted to have an exclusive stream of ‘Cruel Elephant’, a rocking track from the newest Vast Robot Armies album, Dinner Music.
Here are a few words from Jason Thomson:
I have a long standing fear that after each album I will run out of song ideas. So I tend to pressure myself to write something new within a week of releasing an album.
The Little Creatures album came out a week before my birthday, and as it turned out my girlfriend bought me a ukulele as a gift. So in addition to feeling the need to do the “post album release – write the first song for the next record” exercise, I decided to try and write it on the ukulele.
It was tricky at first as you have be ok with simplifying your approach on a Ukulele and also considering how to transpose it to other guitars/instruments.
Cruel Elephant was a song title before it was a song. It was named after the best punk rock venue in Vancouver through the early nineties. Me and my friends would send all of our time there, seeing bands like Jesus Lizard, Jawbox, Rocket From The Crypt. So I decided to pay homage to it by using it as a title for the song. The lyrics don’t tie into that at all. John Agee wrote the lyrics and melody for the song.
The music was based off the ukulele. In fact everything you hear in in the verses was once played on the Ukulele. I sent a demo of it to John and Joe about a week after it came out. They both really dug into it. John quickly wrote the words and melody for what ended up being the first song written for “Dinner Music”
When it came time to record it in the studio. It quite frankly was a nightmare. It seems like a simple song. But it is not. The phrasing in the guitar parts (leads) in the verses changes at odd times. The song is in standard time, but the way the vocals worked within the timing of the lead parts was totally fucked. We didn’t really get a sense of that until we were in the studio. It drove everyone nuts.
Once we had the song down we managed use the vibraphone that was in the studio during the choruses which really made the song for me in the end.
Dinner Music is out on June 30th.