Thursday, May 5, 2011
Professional, along with everything on "Elron Hubbard" is centered around money, working and music--and how they all effect each other. The album is supposed to have a linear story, moving from a point of optimism through to skepticism & conspiracy--then finally to acceptance.
Professional is the first track and so it represents, for me, the idea that all one has to do is work hard and stay on course and things will work out. Professional is a song of faith in perseverance.
"I'm not an artist, I'm a businessman" is a nod to the opening of Diamond Dogs by David Bowie, when he says "this ain't Rock N Roll, this is genocide". It's also a reaction to what had become of me. I was so focused on making music my career that I spent more time thinking about business than about song writing. I should be clear here that when I say focused on making money, I mean, I wasn't making any money and I was trying to figure out how to make money.
The rising synthesizer intro was also a mild reference to Diamond Dogs, though, on reflection, it sure sounds a whole lot more like the intro to the Terrible Two's LP, which must have had some subconscious influence. The influence that the Terrible Two's had on the song "Handy Man"--track 2 on "Elron Hubbard" was meditated but far less noticeable.
The jangle piano line was written in attempt to capture what my piano teacher told me was the "Gospel" sound that Prince used on songs like "dirty mind".
here's a video of me playing the lead piano line. E on the left hand and a sort of broken G and E thing, coming together it could me heard as Em7 or E/G.
I was inspired by "Dirty Mind", I liked the way the bass note stays the same and then chords change and bounced around over it. It seemed dramatic. " Professional" follows the format of "Dirty Mind" with a bridge of sorts and a "start over" moment when it goes down to just the bass, though ours are reversed in order.
My song is much slower than "dirty mind" and in comparison far more lonely. not to mention "Professional's" main riff has that minor feel. ("Dirty Mind" is G bass with C and F chords over). In reflection it sounds less like the anthem of optimism it was intended and more like a pep talk one gives themselves when the chips are down.
Some of the more cinematic percussion sounds are a pair of grass sheers from my work and a large paper cutter I was using to make confetti. The paper cutter sound was very appropriate because it was actually a huge amount of work to cut up all this tissue paper to make confetti--I was doing it that way to save money--but really, I was putting all this work into this stuff that I was just gonna go throw at people, and it would look cool for a second, and then it'd be walked all over until it was swept up and put in the trash.
as lame as it is to keep on referencing David Bowie. In the end, the song comes out closest to "Nightclubbing", which is strange because as I am a huge fan of this song, It wasn't my intention. though night clubbing isn't as minor as Professional, the mood is more fitting.
All in All, This is probably my favorite song on "Elron Hubbard", as it was my attempt to show that I was capable of more than synth-pop. I tried to show that I had patience after "Edward Murphy". If you asked musicians about their recordings, A popular response is "I would have liked to have spent more time on it" and that is true of this song and album. I felt a lot of pressure to get my next album out, not to mention I was paying for studio time and I felt a lot pressure to keep cost down-because I needed the album to be profitable-- because I wanted music to be my career--so I had to keep a tight belt, I was thinking like a businessman--which as I said, is what the album is about. so, it makes sense really.