PK

Origin

I believe this is a song written around 1997.  I moved to Austin, Texas that fall and I remember rehearsing this song with the band we were trying to start at the time, and we made a 4-track demo of this song.

Music & Production

The song seems simple in structure, but a number of factors contribute to its unique sound.  The main riff is in 6/4 time, a rather unusual time signature.  The second chord in that riff is F#, which doesn’t really belong in the key of E.  But the note F gets tossed around here and there creating an ominous tension, finally arriving to a pounding on the F chord in the climactic bridge.

Speaking of the bridge, I always felt the long, quiet bridge needed cinematic sounds mixed in — originally I thought it was going to be a dialog from some thriller movie (I scored such a film years ago).  But then seeking out such a film/scene and obtaining license seemed too big a chore, and scouring around some public domain/creative commons archives didn’t yield fruitful either.  Then a good idea dawned on me, and we asked our fans to see if they can record a quick monologue of about a minute and half in length.  Three fans contributed monologues in Japanese, German and English, and I mixed in a public-domain book reading in French and finally some sounds of distress that I found online.  I asked the contributors not to spend too much effort, as it was mostly going to be unintelligible, but they wrote scripts and did multiple takes anyway.  We are very grateful for our fans spending their time and effort to add to our song.

Lyrics

I was tempted to edit the lyrics during the recording of this song, for two reasons: 1) it really feels simplistic and juvenile by my standards in 2014, and 2) as the production progressed, the song developed a propulsive and heroic character, contradicting the conflicted and morose words.  However, attempts to change it didn’t turn out well either, so we stuck to the original in the end.  Perhaps the juvenile tone is even appropriate, as the speaker in this song is probably not a full-grown adult, even if it’s an inner-child stuck inside a grown person.  Careful attention was paid in producing the vocals to make peace between the downer words and the uplifting music.

I feel alone today
I can’t decide the way
A man knows wrong from right
A man must claim his right
But I feel alone today

Free me now

I feel the pain today
I can’t decide my way
Oh be on your guard, my boy
Don’t play with his little toy
Young means I don’t know what to say
But you’re the same

Free me now
Don’t turn me all down

Oh did he lie to me?
Was I really saved?

Free me now
Don’t turn me all down

Written by Ari Koinuma
Cover photo: “The Room” by Jesse Therrien jessetherrien.com

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