Brandon Graham of Dream Phases gave us the run-down on every song on their new record, So Long, Yesterday , out now via Nomad Eel Records and Lunar Ruins.
Mysterious: This is one of the newer songs on the album. It deals with the strongest topic that I talk about throughout the album, which was moving on from a 10-year relationship. Musically, it sort of combines noise pop with the Stones and Elliott Smith. This was one of the later songs that we completed from the final album sessions.
Crippled View: Another noisy rocker with some trippy effects. This song deals with the seedier people in the Los Angeles music scene. People that take, take, take and ultimately have nothing to give back. We tracked this song a few times and ultimately decided the first version was the strongest.
Bird of Prey: More of an upbeat, major-key song with a minor chorus. This has to do with trying to enjoy life without letting external sources bring you down too much—not letting outside negativity hinder you from enjoying life and the journey.
Confusion: This is also a post-relationship song acknowledging that in relationships, one person is sort of always chasing the other. It’s dealing with the uncertainty of whether or not to work things out or move on. I had to relearn the parts from the original demo I made, and I remember each instrument on that demo had different tunings. I had a lap steel for the slide parts that was sadly either stolen or misplaced that I had used on the demo. For the album, I ended up using an old Silvertone-type arch top for the slide parts.
Always On My Mind: This was the final song made for the album. It was written completely while I was at home recording overdubs for some of the other album tracks. This is the only song that was completely recorded outside of the studio (Moosecat Recording) that we recorded the rest of the album. It’s trying to offer some peace and help to someone dear in a time of need.
Cruel World: It’s sort of an upbeat, garage-y rocker with lyrics that are basically a conversation between a pessimist and an optimist. So many people I encounter have a great deal of negativity to offer, or at least criticism of all things, without anything positive to throw out. It’s sort of like, ‘Yeah, we live in an unjust world, but at least try to make the best out of it and certainly don’t bring down people who are going for their dreams’. I switch around the chord harmony at the end, and it always trips up my bandmates.
Easy Love: Pre-break up love song. Well, it was easy to love you, but now….
Frightened Man: This was one of the oldest songs that ended up on the album. This and the next two songs were from my original demo. It’s about not giving into fear and going for the great adventures in life, maybe something about that old Robert Frost poem.
4am: The transition from F.M. to P.O.P. This was literally made around 4 a.m.,in the wee hours. I wanted to add more of the ambient side of what we do, and we normally improvise this transition live.
Promise of Promise: Sort of my Neil Young ‘guitar solo’ song, a la “Cowgirl in the Sand.” Lyrically, it’s about the fact that no one is owed anything in life, and we have to work for everything we achieve, or at least should. To be grateful. I recorded the solo while having a house party of sorts going on in the apartment in which I was tracking. Gave it a little more life.
Flesh & Blood: Mostly a meditation on our place in the universe and accepting that time passes us by very fast, and we have to try to enjoy each moment. Also, a reminder to slow down and not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Barred Windows: This started from something of a kraut-rock, bassline jam. It has been one of the staples of our live set and is often our closer for a while now. It was the first post-breakup song I wrote and has always been intended to be on the album.