The Story of "Stockholm Syndrome"

We've all been there, right?

An emotionally damaging relationship that just won't seem to go away even as the years go on and on. Sometimes, after a while you start to "sympathize with your captor," so to speak, and you try and justify your behavior to yourself and to those around you. But sometimes, enough is enough, and one day you wake up and just say to yourself, "I can't do this anymore." This is the story of "Stockholm Syndrome."

Musically, I love how this one came to me, and I remember it so clearly. I am a HUGE fan of Garbage and always wanted to make our music sound more like them but never could. Until one morning, as I'm getting dressed to go to work, I hear in my head this fuzzy bass line that sounds like something Garbage would have done on one of their more rocking songs like "Why Do You Love Me?" or, alternatively, like something Melissa Auf der Maur from Hole would play. So I hummed it in my phone. Then I heard a guitar line for the verse. Hummed it. Then another to go under it. More humming. Then I heard a melody for a chorus and what I heard in my head was Shirley Manson singing something - so I sang gibberish syllables into my phone in a high falsetto voice, followed by beatboxing. These recordings sound hysterical but it is now an integral part of the modern writing process. So without further adieu, here is my ridiculous voice memo where you can hear the ideas coming to me in real time, titled "Garbage Hole Bass," because of the Garbage and Hole comparisons I mentioned.

Once I returned home from work, crafting the song on my computer became like putting together a puzzle. Once those pieces from the voice memos were put into place (there were more memos but I'll spare you), it was time to finish it. I knew I wanted something sexy like Garbage's "Hammering In My Head" so that's the vibe I chased. Upon completion, the song went through minor alterations over the next few months and then Jack and I did some "woodshedding" to cross the t's and dot the i's before we hit the studio. 

Something Jack is really great at is taking a song that I bring to the table and saying "you need to cut this section" or "it needs this little thing" that seems small but ends up having a significant aural impact. The way these exchanges typically go is that he says something, I get apprehensive because what he just said seems to make no sense, he presses on, we see how it sounds and then I'm like "Oooooooh." In this case, it was a guitar part for the end of the second chorus that goes into the bridge. There was originally a whole 20 second bridge section before the halftime breakdown and Jack said we needed to scrap it. So I said, "OK, then how to we get from the chorus to the breakdown?" And he literally said, "OK so it needs these octave slide-downs then this bendy thing." Like I said, I didn't get it at first but once we put it in, it made the transition from the second chorus to the bridge that much more interesting and we were off. You can hear the old version in the original demo below:

We recorded the song at the beautiful Blue Room Productions in Herndon, VA with the great Ben Green, otherwise known as the guitar player for Virginia pop punk greats Fairweather.

Ben was integral in getting the phenomenal sounds we got on the song and was an amazing sounding board for new ideas as well. In just one day, we had a song in the can that we initially were just going to waste on a standalone single but we ended up loving so much that it opened our teaser EP we put out last year and is now also included on The Code Duello. This has become one of my favorites to play live and I can't wait to play it for all of you!