Would You Believe

would-300Like many “greatest hits” albums, there is always one new song included in the album.

I wrote this song for my wedding in 2011 and was used for our first dance song during the reception. As a result, I am not the lead vocalist on this song. This song also allowed me to end the album on a happy note.

listen to Would You Believe

Look Around

around-300Look Around was written in early 1990 for a friend who had recently lost her father to cancer. I wanted to give her hope and some sort of comfort that it would all get better.

The first version of this song was recorded at USC on digital multitrack in 1990 and ended up becoming the title track for the album released in 1993. This early version featured Dirk Mahabir on drums, Adam Flint on guitar, and Nate Schelling on vocals. I had decided not to sing this song at the time and so I used a guest vocalist for the recording.

In 2011, I lost my father to cancer. Since that event, the song has grown to have greater meaning for me and it only seemed appropriate to include it on the album.

listen to Look Around

Wooden Fence

wooden-300The original recording of this song in June 1990 was rushed because I was trying to finish The Still Life before the quarter ended during my last year at UCSD. The version on the album was recorded live with just drums and the main keyboard. I had not worked out the bridge section entirely and so it was improvised on the night of the recording. As a result, this song never felt finished to me. There was no MIDI file for this song so I had to recreate the song from the recording. Since I was not pleased with the original bridge, I opted to write a new one. To be completely honest, I am still not sure about the bridge…

listen to Wooden Fence

I’m Not Talking About

talking-300In 1994, I went on a writing frenzy and wrote 12 songs in six weeks. Nine of those songs ended up on an album called Through The Looking Glass. This song was a result of me trying to write dance music. The original version was recorded onto a four-track reel-to-reel deck with two tracks devoted to the sequenced drums and synths, one to guitar, and the other to the vocal.

The introduction for the new version was extended and all the original sequenced parts were kept. Even the guitar part followed the pattern originally set by David Ozab in 1994. Charlene added some spectacular vocal parts and Trevor’s drums locked perfectly with the original drum pattern. Overall, another fun track to record and mix.

listen to I’m Not Talking About


inside-300The very first version of this song was recorded in 1987. Granted it was just a piano and vocal track, but it was a recording nonetheless. It was recorded several times since then but each recording never captured the quirkiness of the song. This song appeared next to Make Me Bleed on the album Out The Window.

The goal with this version was to have as much fun as possible when recording it. The drums, bass, and guitar are all live takes with no edits. The vocals were recorded in complete takes as well. Overall, this was a fun song to record and mix.

listen to INSIDE

Make Me Bleed

bleed-300I wrote this song in August of 1990 for reasons I cannot remember why. It was meant as a tongue-in-check song about a relationship gone too far. The original version was created on a Yamaha QX3 sequencer and a Roland MT-32 and was overly sequenced. It was recorded two more times before this latest version with one of those versions appearing on the 1994 album, Out The Window. Each version lacked a live drummer and as a result always felt stiff.

This new version feels loose and fun, which is what I always wanted from this song.

listen to Make Me Bleed

Who I Am

whoiam-300This song was track 3 of what would become the last Instant Emotion album, Impressions. I actually had hoped that this album would mark a new beginning for Instant Emotion, but instead it served as a finale. This was also the fist album not to feature me as the main vocalist. When these songs were being written in 1996, I was already working with a different vocalist, but by the time I started recording in 2000, that vocalist was no longer available. Fortunately, Stephen Scanlan agreed to serve as vocalist for the album.

I had to drop the key of this song by a whole step in order to sing it. However, I still could not reach the high notes in the middle section, so that was given to Charlene to sing. I also changed the ending of the song. The original version ends immediately after the chorus on a suspension. Given its context in the Impressions album, this ending worked very well. However, for the new version, I brought back the opening motive and ended the song with a strong major cadence.

listen to Who I Am


anxiety-300I do not write songs on guitar often, but when I do, they turn out to be favorites for many people. This song was written in the winter of 1988 and appeared on track 5 of Picture This. The song is a romanticized interpretation of a girl I had a crush on earlier that year. This has always been a favorite of mine and I did not have any issues with the earlier version except that my vocals were not very strong back then.

With the new version, I kept things simple as well. There are many guitar tracks, some nylon and some steel string to add to the color. There is also a Steinway piano that makes its way into the song. Charlene’s backups on this song are probably my favorite as well. Like everything else, the tempo was bumped up a little, but thankfully, the original key still worked for my voice.

listen to Anxiety

Picture This

picture-300In 1989 I released my first album as Instant Emotion and titled it Picture This. The original version featured a Roland TR-707 for the drum track and a Roland Juno-106 as the main keyboard track. The original version has a thick texture and a somber feel with a vocal track that struggles to remain in pitch.

For the new version, I decided to explore a new interpretation of the song. The result is a much more dramatic version of the song. The first chorus is quite dramatic and as a result I felt that the listener really needed 8 bars of music to recover from the chorus. This meant that I could add 8 measures or remove one of the two final verses. I settled for only have one verse before the second chorus. This meant altering the original lyrics. These are the two original verses:

Spare me a moment to look upon
All that we shared
Never a secret or an innuendo
Is it so far behind

And if all that remains is a photograph
Then won’t you stay for a moment
Close your eyes, make the memory alive
I reach out to you
Will you

The new version combines parts of the two verses into one:

Spare me a moment to look upon
All that we shared
Close your eyes, make the memory alive
I reach out to you
Will you

listen to Picture This

Looking Glass

looking-300Looking Glass was written in early 1989 and eventually found its place on the 1990 album, The Still Life. The song was recorded without using MIDI, so reconstructing the song took some time to figure out what each synthesizer part played. Once again, the tempo was sped up a bit on the new version. The 1990 version featured wonderful string patches from an Emulator II in the recording studio at UCSD. The new version features a Roland S-10 sampler playing strings.

listen to Looking Glass