I always say that the best songs are the ones that come easiest. "Roam The World" was one of those, though the version you hear on The Code Duello is quite different from the original.
To give some background, back in February 2014, at the behest of a friend of mine, I took part in an online community project called February Album Writing Month, or FAWM. The point of this exercise is to try and write 14 songs in 28 days. There is a very strong forum community of artists listening, critiquing, motivating and there are different prompts every day to try and inspire creativity. It's pretty damn cool. Now, I only made it four and a half songs because, you know, #LifeHappens, but one of the songs that came out all at once and extremely quick was a quirky, world music-inspired song called "Roam The World," complete with Eastern-sounding three part harmonies, bongos and everything. I had never written a song that even remotely resembled this sound before and I was really excited that this wacky idea just popped into my brain and out through my mouth and fingers in probably only an hour or so.
Lyrically, it comes from a very real place but, given the severity of lines like "even if I die I'll roam the world with you," was given a little bit of songwriter's embellishment. However, that line is actually where the song began. I had some gibberish melodies in my head and then the tag I kept coming back to was "but even if I die I'll roam the world with you." At first, I resisted, incapable of escaping visions of the B-52's, but I couldn't shake it so I ran with it and tried to answer the question, "what the hell does that even mean?" So I went with feelings that were fresh. At the time, I had just spent a weekend with a girl I had been involved with off and on for over a year at that point and when we parted ways at the end of the weekend, I couldn't help but feel that this may be the last time we would ever see each other. I had no evidence to support that theory, but I just had this feeling (I ended up being right - that was February 2014 and we have not seen or spoken since). So when I got back to my apartment and this song just started pouring out of me, I felt I needed to give this person a proper sendoff in song. Not a "kiss off" song by any means, just putting down how I felt for the first and last time. Thus, the only love song and, really, the only truly positive lyric on The Code Duello was born. Check the original version right here:
Now, fast forward a few months to Summer 2014 and we are assembling songs to go on this album. "Roam The World" had been a song that was purely relegated to my time with FAWM, had never been performed live, but had always stuck with me. I really liked the song. So I started to wonder what it would be like if we played it. I sat with it one night in my dad's garage and started to pick it apart. "Maybe we drop the key to make it darker," "maybe we give it a fuzzy slinky bassline to make it sound like Garbage," "maybe we cut this section and write a new one." I made an initial demo and showed Jack, and this is where Jack's usual "producer" instincts kicked in. I heard "make it shorter" about four times and then once I trimmed as much fat as possible, we realized that we were on to something really cool and unique and unlike any other song on our album. The last piece of the puzzle was that we needed a new bridge. Funny enough, Jack picked up the guitar and came up with that bridge part, followed by the phenomenal rhythmic drumming that goes behind it. Once I sealed the deal with the bass over top, we were ready.
We recorded the song back at Sound Of Music with John Morand, the same place we recorded "Mountains," and it couldn't have been a better choice to capture the massiveness of the music we were going for, able to utilize their huge live room once more.
Come 2017 with album's release looming, when the time came to do a video, we knew that the vibe of this music lent itself so well to a visual so it wasn't even a choice as to whether we would do one for this song. We partnered up with a great director/videographer here in Nashville, some fantastic actors and shot our performance in an airplane hangar. Eat your heart out, Backstreet Boys. It's a great way for people to get introduced to the album and properly introduced to us and I couldn't be happier with how the song sounds and how we look in the video.