Apocalypse Rain was the very first song I ever finished.
Before 2009, I never identified too much as a musician. Sure, I’d taken piano lessons since I was three, but as far as creating my own music… nope. I always thought of myself as a writer or an animator and I figured that when I grew up, that’s what I’d do.
In February of 2009, about a year and a half removed from any kind of musical activity, my high school hosted a Cultural Weekend – artists from all over came in and held workshops. One of these artists was an electronic music guy; he wrote music for video games, commercials, and other stuff.
I knew we had an electronic music room at Thacher, but never thought too much of it. Never, that is, until that day in February, when this artist guy taught us how to use Reason and sequence together electronic music. And just like that, I was hooked.
From then on I spent a whole lot of time in the electronic music room, or the EMR, as I fondly called it. My first musical effort was an electronic mashup of some songs – Crazy Train, Simple and Clean, Lux Aeterna, MAB’s Double Guitar Solo, and a few improvved bits.
At this point I didn’t know anything about anything, really. Didn’t know about chord structures, mixing – hell, I didn’t even use a metronome. But one bit that I came up with – aping Eye of the Tiger’s main riff – I decided to revisit later and rework, because I liked the general feel of the song and wanted to make it into something majestic.
I was so excited as I sat down to work – I was gonna put together a badass intro, throw in a classic verse-bridge-chorus, maybe a solo in the middle – but nothing worked. I frowned and rubbed my forehead. What was I missing?
The answer was obvious, as anybody but I myself could have realized. It didn’t need adding to. The composition I’d come up with in the middle of the Medley of Various contained everything that the song required. So that’s what I ended up with.
I finished Apocalypse Rain in, maybe, February of 2010. I remember walking out of the room after it was done thinking, “Huh. Where do I go from here?” Where indeed.
Something possessed me to take the next semester and do an independent in music, instead of doing a sport. The collection of songs I came up with just a few months later formed the beginning of what would become A Reason to Dwell. This compressed timeline never fails to amaze me.