The Long and Winding Songwriting Process

Howdy friends…

So my good friend and, well, brother…Robert stopped by last week to work on a couple of new ideas for songs.  Let me bring you up to speed for those of you that haven’t been following us since 2007…

Two Roberts is better than one.
Two Roberts is better than one.

Usually, up until now, this is how the songwriting process for our band works:

  1. Chris and/or Robert come up with an idea for a song.
  2. Chris and/or Robert complete the idea and present it to the band.
  3. We all get together and hammer out structure, transitions, solos, placement of sexy kicks, etc.
  4. Once the idea has been completed, Chris puts lyrics to it and well…then we’ve got ourselves a hit song now!!

Life changes though and while world domination for our band at this point is eminent and nearly within reach, the way that we are writing songs, has well…changed…dramatically.

Songwriting has become a team effort, a collaborative endeavor in which we are all pushing the limits of our comfort zones to see what kind of dog shit we can sprinkle a little BoTo upon to parlay into a song that will afford us new opportunities!  Instead of waiting for someone else to show up with some new ideas, we’re all working on ideas.  We’ll see where it takes us, but at press time, we’ve got about twelve brand-spanking new ideas that we’re cooking up.  The songwriting collaborations are helping us to explore some new avenues that before, would have remain untouched. Cue inappropriate comparison photos…

Inappropriate comparison 1.
Inappropriate comparison 1.
Supplement to inappropriate comparison 1.
Supplement to inappropriate comparison 1.
Beginning of something incredible?
Beginning of something incredible?
We know these guys were good, eh?
We know these guys were good, eh?

We’ll keep you posted on the progress.  As the title here would suggest, this process is a long one.  Even longer than before as we all work on and share ideas.  Rehearsals have been replaced by interweb videos being exchanged, phone calls and weekend get-togethers.  We have also learned that we enjoy videotaping ourselves singing, dancing like idiots and sharing the occasionally funny picture, as seen below.

We make dumb even easier than it should be.
We make dumb even easier than it should be.

Stay tuned, share with your friends.  And again, for those of you that haven’t been with us since the beginning, here’s an opportunity to get caught up

Andrew

Queen Latifah

So, as we continue to navigate the depths of social media, music, the interweb and God knows what else it takes to get people to listen to our music…we stumbled across this little gem on our SoundCloud account.

She's badass.
She’s badass.

We did this whole band thing backwards.  Start a band, write some songs and hope that people like you.  Five years down the road, we’ve got some pretty hot and sexy music, but have just now scratched the surface as to what it’s really going to take to hit the masses, share our masterpieces and eventually conquer our goals of world domination.

We figured this was a step in the right direction.

Thanks Queen Latifah.  You’re one bad Larry.

Last Year Meets Next Year…

Well, for starters, hello. We’ve missed you. Hopefully the feeling is mutual.  Embarrassingly it’s been a year since we last took to the interweb and wrote a blog.  Seriously – what the hell were we doing?

Let’s recap this past year.

  • We played the Vogue Nightclub in January – huge crowd.  Robert brought lamps.
  • We played a few shows here and there, kicked some holes in walls, you know.  The usual band stuff.
  • Always a pleasure to visit our good friends at Indy In-Tune.  We like that Darin fella…who by the way is like the equivalent of the Indy music Pope.  Anyone he doesn’t know in this town? (We’ll get to working on the Pope graphics – standby for that).
  • Had the great pleasure of playing the wedding for a couple of long time fans and friends.  Oh yeah, we discovered Vine that night too.
  • Radio Radio was on our list of stops – we like that place.  We traded in our lamps for trophies.
  • We lost and found Robert.
  • Introduced BoTo to the world of Bloomington, IN by playing one lovely night at the Bluebird.  Nice town ya got there Hoosiers.
  • Bloomington was good to us – we played a couple numbers for The Weekly Special
  • Chris got engaged.  Meow.
  • Shawn gets the award for wearing our favorite gig shirt of the year.
  • We played the First Friday Food Truck Festival at the Old National Centre, had a blast and more or less tried to figure out what the hell we wanted to do with this band. Oh yeah…we made more Vines too.

What can we learn by digesting all of above info?  You guessed it – you picked the dumbest band in the world like!  We’re thrilled you did though.  So what does that hold in store for us for 2014?

Well, if history tells us anything, it would say that we typically follow-up long periods of down time taking a look backwards, trying to figure out why our music doesn’t automatically make itself famous (seriously, isn’t there some kind of Google inspired famous-making machine for bands yet?).  We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how hard being in a band is, how hard it is to make it happen and you know what?  It is hard.  But do you know what else?  It’s a privilege…and we are so grateful for the things that we have done.  And…

We’re excited for what’s yet to come.  So what should you expect out of your favorite foursome in 2014?  Expect us to be interested in today.  Expect us to care about the present and not the things behind us.  Expect us to be funnier.  Expect us to be around more.  Expect us to be listening to and interacting with you…after all, we have you to thank for all of this.

Have a great New Year.  We look forward to seeing you.

Rock in the New Year – Part Deux | Kessler Mansion New Year Gig Changes!

Party Bitches
Let's rock this mug, eh?
Oh loyal Botons, we’ve got some good news and some bad news. Bad news first:

As of about 5:30 pm today (Friday), we were informed that the Kessler Mansion/Hollywood NYE party would either need to be moved or cancelled due to some last-minute zoning issues that arose between the event organizers and the Kessler Mansion owner. We were as surprised as you are, no doubt. We can assure you that the issues were unforeseen and far beyond the control of your old friends, BoTo, Mardelay, DJ OhBeOne and friends. But, we were not about to let you down…or let you ring in the New Year without a little BoTo. So before we get to the good part, let’s take care of business first. Here’s the deal with the Kessler Mansion show:

– The show at the Kessler Mansion has been cancelled.
– Refunds will be processed through the Event Brite site and will be processed tonight (Friday night) and according to Event Brite, refunds may take up to 4 days to process depending on your financial institution.
– We are terribly sorry for the inconvenience.

So, that’s the bad news. The good news is that, we tried our best not to let you down. Our offices full of staff (that’s a massive exaggeration) have been working since we got the word to make sure that we could offer the BoTo loyal another good party alternative and a little BoTo. So…here’s what we’ve got!!!

We were able to track down (through some good old BoTo faithful) some of the fine folks that are hosting the Masquerade Ball downtown at Union Station. They were kind enough to find a home for us performing between 8:30 – 10:00 pm. Here are the details on this one:

– Tickets are NO LONGER AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC…but, organizers have held a limited number of tickets for anyone that wants to come to see Borrow Tomorrow.
– Tickets are available at the door, for $49.00 (cash or charge), but you have to mention that you’re coming to see BoTo to get access to the tickets set aside.
– Tickets include access to the party hosted by Dave Smiley, costume contests (with cash prizes), door prizes, face painting, a magician and in addition to Borrow Tomorrow, a number of other great bands!
– Unlike the Kessler party, the Masquerade Ball does not include drinks or food. However, the Masquerade Ball will offer reasonably priced drinks. We hear that food will not be available, so you’ll need to feast on BoTo.
– Learn more about the Masquerade Ball here.

Seriously, as much as we hate that there was a change in plans and we do apologize sincerely on behalf of all involved, we wanted to be sure that if you wanted to party, that we’d be there to help you. We’d love to see you there and want to thank you for a great 2011 and here’s hoping that we’ll be able to kick 2012 off on the right foot with you!!

P.S. Our set will be badass.

New Vocab Term: Progress

We’ve been fairly quiet as of late with the exception of Mr. Jerles’ most recent blog post. Probably appropriate considering the past few weeks have been filled with recording, gigging to pay for said recording and the beginning of what will soon be the finishing touches on our first full-length album.

Sample album art.

As Chris alluded to in our most recent blog post, we are about three to four sessions away from having every single instrument for every single track “in the can” as they say. As I take a few minutes and look back not only at the past three or four months but the past three or four years, it’s hard to really say what an amazing feeling we’re experiencing right now as we approach the finish line on the yet to be titled project. For lack of a better term, a dream come true.

This band has been riddled with mistakes, long nights, tough gigs, etc. We’ve had more than our fair share of car trouble, sleepless nights, stolen gear, flawed execution, scheduling conflicts and not to mention the fact that every time we play, our gear gets packed up and set up twice. I mention all of the above not because we want a pity party. We don’t. We chose to do this because we wanted to. We will spare you the details on all of the trials and tribulations mentioned above (at least until the Behind the Music airs) for the sake of your interest and our time and cut right to the point.

Chris mentioned in his last blog that the beginning of this album really dates back to about 18 months ago when we finished up our latest EP Retrospective. We had recorded four songs with our great friend Kyle Ferguson and his (and soon to be our) good friend Brett Baird. As we all packed up and drove home from Nashville, Tennessee each of the four of us will probably tell you a different story as to where the dream for the next album began. I’ll do my best to do all four of us justice.

Randall will tell you that shortly after returning from Nashville, he felt so comfortable working with Kyle (Ferg as we call him) that we needed to find a way to get him involved in our next project. If I remember correctly, we hadn’t been any more than 15 minutes outside the city limits when he told me this. Mind you, we didn’t have a single idea for a song for said “album” at that point.

Robert is Sexy
Robert in the control room working out a part.

Robert will probably tell you that recording an album was always the goal. We talked about it very early on in this band and although we always knew that we wanted to do it, we didn’t ever really know how we were going to get it done. As the idea came together and as we realized that we might have a shot at achieving this once lofty goal, Robert came through big. He started writing songs, writing lyrics, coming up with ideas for guitar parts, hand claps, wood blocks, tambourines, etc. He really grasped the idea of this project and ran with it.

 

Chris may tell you something similar to that of Robert and Randall. We all left Nashville with a renewed vigor and desire to make this thing work. I probably couldn’t tell you a lot about Chris’ thoughts on this project and as I sit here reflecting on it, I wish that I could. Most of the conversations that I had with Chris regarding this project were about the overall feel, pushing him to keep writing songs, discussing the direction of the album and helping him keep the creative process moving while we found ways to book shows, cover the costs of keeping this thing moving and keep everyone out of jail.

Deep in studio thought.

I don’t think that any of the four of us can take credit for the overall feel, vibe or direction of this disc because I think that all four of us should. Countless hours of writing in a barn (literally a storage unit), rehearsal in Randall’s basement, working on new songs at our favorite rehearsal space and the arguments, hugs and priceless moments that ensue brought us up to the point where it was time to start laying tracks.

Kyle & Andrew talking out parts
Who knew that 4th grade 2 on 2 baseball with ghost runners would turn into all of this?

Shortly before Christmas, we started recording music. You’ve seen all the updates so we won’t walk you through day by day what it took to get this thing done, but all we have left to do is this: 1) Robert is going to work on guitar tracks for one more song, 2) Chris is going to play some keys for a couple more songs 3) We are going to a special undisclosed location in which Chris will record piano and vocals in one afternoon to close out the album. 4) We will name what we’re dubbing arrogantly our “first masterpiece” and 5) we’ll select pictures and design for the cover, insert and disc art and 6) we’ll turn it over to you.

Tuning drums before the Saturday sessions.

I suppose that what I’m getting at, in more than enough words, is that recording an “album” has been a dream of mine for years. Spending time in the studio with your band mates who are essentially either family or lifelong friends creating something that you all together have created from scratch is a pretty incredible feeling. We set out to do a few things when we started this project. We wanted to write an album that first and foremost had an overall feel. We wanted it to be a compilation of songs that while all different, were all the same in that they told the story of us. And by us, we mean you. We wanted it to tell the story of all of us. We spent an awful lot of time discussing what kind of songs we wanted to put on it and decided that the only songs we wanted were good ones.

 

The disc will have 13 songs that are filled to the brim with the heart and soul of this band. This thing has been built from the ground up. It has been taken apart and put back together and here in the next couple of months, we will be very excited to share it with you. Stay tuned, get excited. Many of you we will probably be asking to take a sneak peek at it and if you’ve read this far into this blog, we’re hoping that you’ll listen to it.

The man behind the curtain. Ferg-a-mania.

Luckily, rarely are we this serious. So along with the new disc, get ready for new videos, new pictures, some new exciting gigs and more of our pretty faces. Cheers!

Outtake Video

So, as I type this afternoon, we’re into day six in the studio. Things are moving along very nicely and we’ve started working on bass tracks. As I sit here and listen to the tracks get played back, I figured that instead of sitting and doing nothing all day, I’d make a funny little compilation video of some of our ridiculous antics.

A few things that you should keep in mind while viewing.

1) The answer to your question is, yes. We are all grown adults.
2) That answer to your next question is also, yes. We are actually being fairly productive and you might see the finished product before the time I turn 40.
3) The answer to your next question is, no. I will not tell you how old I am now.
4) Fortunately, this is only a small glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors. I sifted through about 4 hours of video to track down these four minutes. Only adding validity to the theory that people in bands are losers…at least this band anyway. This video is just from the last three days in the studio. Days 1-3, thank God, belong to Chris at the present time and while he parties in Canada…we’ll spare you more of this rubbish.
5) We hope you like it.

Being in a band for us is hopefully like listening to music for you. It’s an opportunity for us to do something that we absolutely love. We like to make music hopefully as much as you like to listen to it. We’ll gladly share all of the funny stuff that we do and keep all of the hours of us sitting at our instruments to ourselves. It’s all part of our ploy to get you to fall madly in love with our charm. That being said, what you’d find if you were to come sit next to Chris and I during the next couple of video editing sessions is that things are progressing nicely. In between the silly antics and ridiculous-ness, there are some really amazing takes being laid down. Day by day, each song takes shape and gets a little bit closer to being the one that will undoubtedly become the most played song on your iPod.

If you don’t hear from us again before the New Year…have a great one. Be safe, have a great time, and drink one for us. We’ll be back after the New Year cramming more music, tour dates and mindless videos down your throat before you know it!

All the best & happy New Year!

Andrew