Song dissection: Relay

This is the first song from the Override era to get dissected. I originally wrote it to my grandpa, who passed away before we released Override. My grandfather was a great inspiration to me – he built a lot of houses and had a very positive outlook on life. He wasn’t afraid of work, and he never ran out of motivation. Even at hospital, when he was treated for cancer, he was smiling and cracking jokes. What a champion! He taught me how to start a fire, and I reference that in the end of the song, in these lines:

“I sit alone by the fire
you showed me
how to light it”

Our summer cabin is a very special place to me. It’s the embodiment of one man’s dedication to his craft, and what can be achieved over time. Relay was the first single to be released from Override. I chose a photo of the fireplace from our cabin as the cover art for Relay, as it’s the place where I often think about my grandpa and his advice.

We never used any vocal tuning software on our first two albums, and as I was still a relatively inexperienced singer, it sometimes led to vocals being out of tune. Override was very much a self-produced album – I wrote the songs, we arranged them together with Ville, and he mixed the whole album. We had access to a very cool studio, where he was able to work on the songs. However, the huge downside to this approach was that it took way too long to get the album done. It took about four and a half years to get it released. I’m still disappointed in that, as the time could’ve been spent in more important things. Of course, every mistake has good outcomes as well, and this experience taught us what to do ourselves and what to do with collaborators. Speed of production is actually quite important. It takes a long time to develop one song to the point where it can actually be released. Even if you spent all your time on music production, it’s still faster to do it together with a professional. And even when the song is finished, the biggest job (promotion) is yet to begin.

I think that the songs on Override are of high quality, but the production is nowhere near the level where we’re at the moment. There was just too much to learn at once, as we tried to take care of everything ourselves. We were never really happy with the mix, and didn’t know exactly what to do about it. Each song presented its own set of challenges, and Ville had to learn to mix on the fly. Outside help would’ve been hugely beneficial at that point, but we felt that we were too far in the process to change the approach. Having seen how much time can be wasted on inessential things, we’re now way more willing to bring in more collaborators. I sometimes think about re-recording some of the songs from the early albums, but then again, it always seems more interesting to write new songs.

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