Closer To You
Kelly originally showed me lyrics for Closer To You back in 2005. She asked me if I might be able to fit them to some interesting music. Although it probably wasn't what she expected, I turned it into a big pop or soft-rock ballad, which I like to think is in the style of some of Diane Warren's big ballads. However, it was too long and it was boring. Keith helped to tighten it up, removing a verse or so, and tweaking the spacing between verses and choruses. As a result, this is an excellent pop song. However, the band didn't generally like the song so it was rarely played.
In late 2007, Keith and I decided to record it. We began with Keith on drums, with me playing guitar and singing a guide vocal track. This got the structure down and we added Keith's bass part. At this point we may have done some editing to get the tightness between parts of the song that Keith had suggested. I then tried recording a rhythm guitar part so that Kelly would have something to sing over. I repeatedly got it wrong and was getting very frustrated before Keith suggested I have fun and we finish an entire take. I ended up out of sync and Keith said "here comes the solo". Although he meant to get me back into sync with my rhythm guitar, I played an improvised solo. Keith's jaw dropped as I played an almost perfect solo - the contrast between my poor rhythm playing and the solo was extraordinary. It has a couple of minor faults but I've never really been able to replicate the feeling in this one, so we kept it.
In subsequent weeks Kelly recorded vocals, while I recorded guitars and keyboards. We did 2 takes of Kelly's vocals and decided to use them both. I told Keith that I wanted to record 4 rhythm guitars - he initially thought I was mad but when I explained the way I wanted to stage them he warmed to the idea. All 5 guitars were recorded clean in Protools, with effects and amplifier modeling added using plug-ins. This allowed us to tweak the sounds while mixing. We also wanted an organ part, so I gave it a try. Near the end of it I played a wrong chord so, in frustration, I ran my hand down the keyboard and then played a couple of "chords" by mashing my hands on the keyboard, figuring we would do another take or edit those parts out. When we listened back to the part with the rest of the mix and it sounded "right", so we kept the mistakes.
So, in this instance the lineup is a subset of The Taken: Kelly (vocals), Keith (drums, bass) and myself (guitars, organ).
Keith and I came back to editing and mixing this track several times over a few weeks. We fixed quite a few timing problems, mostly with my guitars, and spent quite a lot of time balancing the instruments and vocals. There are still a couple of subtle timing problems in the guitars and a couple of sections of Kelly's vocals that should have been redone... but it really is very good. I would argue that from the beginning of the bridge it is perfect!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
The composition Closer To You is Copyright 2005 Kelly Daly, Martin Schwenke & Keith Matthews, all rights reserved.