Upcoming Release “Photograph” is a Testament to the Power of Collaboration and Persevering through Self-Doubt.
By Erol Oz
I’ve been sitting on the track “Photograph” for a long time. It used to be called “A Thousand Words”, but I initially scrapped it. I left it off my debut EP. I originally wrote this song around the concept that writing a song for someone is hard. Sometimes there is no perfect set of words. Sometimes the best thing that comes out is clumsy and awkward, but at least it’s honest. Well, this song was originally a gift for someone I haven’t spoken to in years, and social media makes things complicated. Especially when every picture atop a mountain sunrise–of which many instagram users are guilty–has been deleted. It’s almost as if you have vanished. Or that those memories weren’t real. So the song took on a new character–moving on in the era of social media.
So I decided to re-write “A Thousand Words”, rename it “Photograph” and turn it into a rock/power-pop song. Even despite rewriting the song, this one didn’t inspire me like some of my earlier songs had. I shared it with a few of my close friends and they encouraged me to release it. As an artist it is difficult to be objective about your own creation. And plenty of established musicians have made a point that you never know what is going to resonate with an audience. Even John Mayer said in his Grammy acceptance speech for “Daughters”, “[…] it’s still not the right choice for a single, but this is nice to have (holding up grammy award).” John Mayer didn’t think “Daughters” was the right song for the radio, but it won song of the year for 2014.
So I decided that if I was going to take a chance on this song, I may as well give it everything I have. I recorded the acoustic guitar, drum tracks, and vocals at Zen Recording with my friend, and veteran guitarist/recording engineer Steve Connelly. I challenged myself by recording the electric guitar parts in my home studio, and up until this point I’ve never released anything I recorded at home. I enlisted my former student Bryant Crawford to lay down the type of bass wizardry that makes me proud to be one of his first teachers. Bryant and I laid down the bass part at Manatee School for the Arts in the recording studio thanks to my friend and mentor Del Couch. I then got the privilege to collaborate with Alex Newport, an LA-based producer who has worked with Indie Rock darlings such as Death Cab for Cutie, City & Colour, Frank Turner, Matt Costa, The Mars Volta, and more. The moment I got the final mix back from Alex, I had a completely new perspective on this song. And just when I thought it couldn’t sound any better, we sent it off to mastering with Carl Saff in Chicago, who has worked with hundreds, if not thousands of artists including one my personal favorites, Kishi Bashi. Now when I listen to “Photograph”, I’m inclined to write more rock songs, and I’m inspired to re-release some of my older songs with new instrumentation and arrangements. Thanks to the power of collaboration.
So after all that, here’s a sneak peak at “Photograph”. Tentative release date for Spotify and all streaming platforms is November 6th.
You can pre-order “Photograph” at: http://eroloz.bandcamp.com/track/photograph