Older Than My Age

 

This month marks a significant stylistic departure from the first two Can’t Live Forever releases. For years I’ve built songs around the acoustic guitar – it’s my first instrument, and the simplest one for me to write on. But I’m becoming a bigger fan of the idea that the instrument you write with doesn’t have to be the one you write for, and while there is a felt acoustic presence in Older Than My Age, the vibe is decidedly more electric. Its character hinges on a production tool that’s entirely new to me, one that proved to be an incredibly fun way to write: home-recorded samples.

 

The initial idea for Older was worked out on acoustic guitar – a simple two chord progression that doesn’t change for the duration of the song. There was something about how simple and rhythmic it was that gave me an immediate impression of stereo movement, and I knew I wanted to experiment with chopping up different parts & panning them around. I recorded a voice memo to remember it all, which sounded like this (trimmed for brevity):

 

 

In early pre-production I made use of a vintage Yamaha toy keyboard that I picked up a couple years ago for $8. It has broken keys and runs on D batteries, and I had to mic its tiny speaker to record it, and it was wonderfully inspiring. I sampled three of its sounds one note at a time and spent hours cutting it all together with acoustic & electric guitar. I also created some dreamy, shimmery, sparkly bits of awesome with an early 80’s Suzuki Omnichord OM-100. This is what I came up with:

 

 

The next significant progress on the song came in a session with my friend Ryan Harvey, who has a fearlessly inventive approach to pretty much everything, especially music. We spent an afternoon working on drum parts that would complement and add to the rhythms established in the sampled keys & guitars. A few weeks later I got together with Gabe Seibel of Shook Foil to write the bass line, which needed to be fairly melodic to offset the simplicity of the guitars & glitchy-ness of the samples. More progress:

 

 

Getting all the parts written was a milestone, and the rest of the recording and production came in bits and pieces over the months between February and now. Gang vocals for the choruses were done individually by a number of friends in their own homes and sent to me. Michael Westbrook helped produce some of the finishing touches & guitar hooks as recently as a few weeks ago, and my wife Lindsay Trinkle suggested an a cappella chorus after the bridge. Phil Rogers did a fantastic job mixing & mastering.

 

I’ll dive into the lyrical side in a few days over on the blog.

 

Written & produced by Brendan Trinkle
Co-producers – Michael Westbrook & Lindsay Trinkle
Vocals – Brendan Trinkle
Guitars, programming, keys – Brendan Trinkle
Drums – Ryan Harvey
Bass – Gabe Seibel
BGVs – Davis Harwell, Paul Lynch, Alyson Rogers, Phil Rogers
Electric guitar & engineering – Michael Westbrook
Engineering, mixing & mastering – Phil Rogers