Disclaimer: Every part of this album, from start to finish, was done under the quarantine of COVID-19. The song writing, musical composition, arrangement, and all collaboration was performed while each band member stayed within their homes. Each song represents a part of said quarantine.
Distance Between Us was an ordeal to finish, but not like Whispers was. The big problem with Distance was the shear volume of individual elements that went into the recording. My cellist Michael Ronstadt loves to torture me by giving me five cello parts per song. That's nothing new. But I must surely be masochistic because not only did I request ten cello parts, I added my own. Not cello. There's a device called an Ebow, an electronic bow. Essentially, it magnetically vibrates guitar strings and creates a really cool sustain sound. So, my idea was to record six Ebow parts, two upright bass parts, 10 cello parts, and stack them all together to create this massive wall of sound. What made it worse was that originally the song was in the key of A, which is really easy to record on stringed instruments. But we later dropped the key to A Flat. Not easy to record. If THAT wasn't enough, a good buddy of mine, Michael Schenk, offered to record a bowed electric guitar part. He's in a great band called Build Us Fiction, and they excel at this kinda thing. So I took it. But it doesn't stop there. I had the idea to end the song with gang vocals, and instead of doing them all myself, I asked a bunch of local songwriters to do it in their houses. So on top of the almost twenty stringed parts, the piano, the drums, the vocals, I now have twenty vocal parts to deal with. Oh, and I recorded myself clapping a bunch of different ways and stomping in a bunch of different shoes so that I could layer 20 claps and 20 stomps and they'd all sound unique. Talk about a project.
As for the song, this one was a fun lyric experiment. It started with the line "Streets or oceans away, might as well be the same." I like the idea that we were all confined to our homes, and what used to be an easy trip to see someone now was impossible. You could live next door, but you might as well be on the other side of the world. I think a lot of us realized we took personal interaction with others for granted. So I ended up, with the help of Michael Ronstadt yet again, writing a Coldplay-esque ballad lamenting on the distance between people. But as I'd already made this complicated, I wanted to add a second part. Turn it from piano led melancholy to guitar led hoe down. The original idea was to write, essentially, a modern worship song that turned into an old timey gospel tune. So we end the first part and have this grand build up that leads to the guitar coming in and me singing, "Won't you take me back, let time stand still. You know I can't make it on my own. Take me back where I can build a road for you to travel on back home." After an organ solo, you hear all these voices surround me. I wanted the project to start with isolation but end in togetherness. A reminder to people that community is important, and when we can see each other again, we should enjoy each other's presence.