BORN TO LOSE is track 5 on AN UNWAVERING BAND OF LIGHT. I think it might be my favorite song to play live right now. I’d say it’s the most Tom Waits-influenced thing I’ve written. Dan and I looked a lot to Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs during the recording of An Unwavering Band of Light. On this song in particular, I sought the Waits within while trying to finish what ended up being the second-creepiest set of lyrics I’ve ever written. (The first-creepiest set of lyrics dates back to high school, and no they will never see the light of day, the song is just too fucked up.)
When I started writing it, the tempo was slower and the feel implied a one-five kind of bass line. During the arranging sessions, we sped it way up and Dan (in typical Dan fashion) came up with a sick bass line I never could have guessed into existence, which drives the song forward like a charioteer from hell (in my opinion).
Getting the horns for this song was one of the most euphoric moments of the recording process for me. Kenny Warren, Corey King, and Phil Rodriguez made up our horn trio. (Kenny, who is responsible for assembling these particular avengers, plays in a sick sick sick band called SLAVIC SOUL PARTY and also contributed to Transmitter Failure.) Constructing the horns went like so: Dan had all the chord changes written out, and for the legato stuff in the choruses, I think he had an idea going in of how he wanted the horn voices to move. For the verses and breaks, though, it was all about getting the players to go as apeshit as possible without losing sight of what would best serve the song - a delicate balance!!
Here lies some photographic documentation of the brave souls who helped this song sound the way it does.
Corey King during the horn arrangement session for “Born To Lose,” “Your Apartment,” “Sleep Machine,” and a b-side which has yet to see the light of day. —->
Seth Faulk tracking percussion for “Born To Lose.” —->
Rob Hecht, master of the spoooooky fiddle on “Sleep Machine” and “Born To Lose,” tracks some bass clarinet on “Wake Up” (which ended up not working… but this is the only photographic evidence I have of Rob.) —->
Please excuse photo quality, these were taken on a first-generation iPhone. I KNOW, RIGHT?
Hear/buy the album version: iTunes / bandcamp / CD & **NEW VINYL**
Every Friday I will share a story about a song from the new album here on Tumblr, until I run out of songs (math suggests this will go on for a total of eleven weeks).