Dan Pawlovich

Music Monday: “We’re Gone”

1045 Shawn GR 600Sometimes all you get is a fragment – a small glimpse of what your great new song could be.  Maybe you get a melody or two; maybe a couple lines you think you could do something with.   If you have a little luck going, you get both.

I’ve learned to try to capture these little bursts of inspiration when they happen, because you might not remember that riff the next time you pick up the guitar.  And even when you jot down some lyrics, you can’t always get back the vocal melody that made you think you had something in the first place.

That’s how it started with “We’re Gone”: I only had a few short seconds of song at first, but it felt good.  I knew right away that I wanted to flush out these ideas and have it on our sophomore album, Right Now.

By August of 2011, I was close to having the full fledged song, but back in January of 2011, this demo fragment was all I had to go on:

Rough around the edges, but there’s something cool about it, right?

Flash forward to February 2012, and I’m in the studio with drummer Dan Pavlovich and producer Vincent Ratti recording “We’re Gone” for real, as part of the Right Now sessions.   With additional help from guitarist Kevin Brown, and guest vocalists Alison Cloud and Shawn Gamble, we had our song.  I hope you enjoy the finished “We’re Gone”!

Shawn

Get “We’re Gone” on iTunes or Amazon.

 

Music Monday: “Right Now”

Get “Right Now” on iTunes or Amazon.

“Right Now” was a relief.

It was 2008, and drummer John Collier and I had recently finished recording the first Kiera Plan album, Dedication, and were preparing to release it.  “The album” had always been the goal, so this was an exciting time, having it completed.  But after the whirlwind of writing and recording that was 2006-2008, finally having the album in hand, strangely, I started to worry: was this all I had in me?

I felt like I’d put everything I had into Dedication, every musical idea, every feeling – they were all on that record.  Other than a couple unfinished fragments, I didn’t have any material in reserve.

So, when I sat down one day with my guitar, and in one burst of inspiration came what felt like a fairly complete “Right Now,” I was ecstatic.  I had a new song!  There was going to be a musical life after “the album.”

studio 2012 6 shawn

me (Shawn Mocey) in the studio

Other songs quickly followed, and my worry about the creative well drying up turned out to be unfounded.  Nowadays I feel like I can start putting a new song together whenever I can make time to sit down and start playing.

There is a lot I love about the song “Right Now” itself, and I feel like it’s a good bridge between the first album and the album Right Now which followed it in 2014.  It’s got the blend of edgy-er rock and pop that some of my favorite songs from Dedication had.  You’ll hear the incredible percussion of Dan Pawlovich here again, and if you listen close to the “na na na” stuff at the end, you’ll be able to hear our awesome guest vocalists Alison Cloud and Shawn Gamble.   You might want to check out Mr. Gamble’s new project Danger Club, while you’re at it: I believe have a new record on the way.

 

Studio 2012 Shawn G and Alison C 1000

l-r: Shawn Gamble and Alison Cloud

Speaking of new records on the way, we just finished mixing 3 brand new Kiera Plan songs which will be coming your way in installments over the next few months.  I can’t tell you how psyched I am to share these songs with you, or how psyched I am for what I hope this new phase of the project will mean.

For right now, I just hope you enjoy “Right Now” from Right Now. Right now, or whenever you feel like rocking to it.

Hope you have a great week!

Shawn

 

Music Monday: “Time Flies” (Electric)

Get “Time Flies” on iTunes or Amazon.

A few weeks ago, we posted the acoustic version of “Time Flies” for Music Monday, but I had to point to the full-band electric version (from 2014’s Right Now) as well, because there is so much about this version that blows me away.  I’ve got 3 highlights for you:

1. Dan Pawlovich – When I listen to anything from Right Now, I’m still kind of amazed that we managed to get drummer Dan Pawlovich to do this record.  The guy is incredible!  He is so expressive on the kit, and has such a great knack for knowing what’s right for a particular song.  He kills it here on “Time Flies.”  [If you want to hear more from Dan, he’s now drumming for Panic at the Disco, and you can check him out on their new record]

2. Rachel Minton – My wife and I are both huge fans of Rachel’s band Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer – we were in the live audience when Zolof performed on MTV as part of the Dew Circuit Breakout back in 2006.  I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have Rachel lend her voice to several Kiera Plan songs, and “Time Flies” might be my favorite.  When Rachel comes in during the second verse, despite having heard this song several hundred times, I still have a “That’s Rachel from Zolof!  Oh, my goodness, that’s RACHEL FROM ZOLOF!!!” moment.  Every time.

3. J.J. Davis – Keyboardist J.J. Davis had been a part of the Kiera Plan even before 2009’s Dedication was released.  There were several acoustic shows where TKP was just me and Jay.  I knew from hearing his original music that he is just incredibly creative and adventurous on those keys.  So, for album 2, I knew I wanted to get him recorded for posterity.  I gave him what I had for “Time Flies” and asked him for a big key solo for the bridge – I wanted to really feature J.J., and every time we get to that bridge solo, with everything going, and the synth just ablaze with what Jay is laying down – I just love it!

TKP JJ Shawn NorthStar

l-r: J.J. Davis, Shawn Mocey @The North Star Bar in Philly back in 2013

I feel really lucky to have had these amazing people involved with this music, and I hope you’ll enjoy “Time Flies” as much as I do.

For a visual, check out the lyric video:

Hope you all have a great week!

Shawn

Music Monday: “Starting Over Today”

Get “Starting Over Today” on iTunes or Amazon.

“Starting Over” seemed thematically appropriate to kick off the  New Year and all of our resolutions to strive for a better life this year.

There are a couple people who continue to make this song really special for me.  One of those people is Dan Pawlovich.

Dan Studio Crop

 

You might know Dan as the drummer for Valencia on their last record, or from his group Mosey.  Most recently, you would have seen him on tour drumming for Panic at the Disco.  I felt lucky to have Dan involved in the second Kiera Plan album – he hit the studio with Vincent Ratti and me to lay down 11 tracks of amazing percussion in just 2 days!

What amazes me listening to Dan’s drum work on “Starting Over” is knowing that Dan came up with this more or less on the spot.  He had heard my demos for the full album, but we only had one practice before our recording session – and we didn’t get to “Starting Over”!

When recording day came, Dan and I sat down with Vince Ratti at the Skylight Studio, played through each song a few times, and then BAM! – the red light went on, and Dan made it happen.  I was blown away by how naturally he was able to get a feel for a song and to really bring it to life on his kit.

When you’re making a record, after you lay down all the tracks – instruments, vocals, etc. – the next phase is mixing it all together.  You start mixing when you know the recording is all done.  That’s where we were for Right Now when one afternoon  I happened to hear at work what I thought was Christina Aguilera on the radio – I was wrong.  It turned out that it was my new colleague Stephanie Brown singing live for a special event.  I couldn’t believe what a strong voice Steph had!  I didn’t want to put the new record out without her on it.  Fortunately, Steph was down to record with us.  So, we put the mix on hold, scheduled one last recording session with Steph, and the rest is on the record.  You’ll definitely know when Steph’s voice comes in on “Starting Over”!

Steph Radio Screenshot

 

I hope you enjoy it!  We’ll have another track for you next Monday, and in the meantime we’ll be live-Tweeting from the studio this Wednesday January 6th from 11am until 4pm and posting pics on our Instagram as we finish up some brand new music!

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year!

Shawn