Triffid Seeds and There Is a Place

These are both brand new autobiographical songs based on childhood events. They both are very long, but there are a lot of words. I am going crazy with vocal effects. I always seem to like it like that more than is good for me. It is as if I have competing melodies and pit them against each other.

These are rock songs. Of a sort. Any comments are welcome. I had a lot of fun making these!

Triffid Seeds-

There Is a Place-

Triffid Seeds by Steve Bancroft

You can search the internet for triffid seeds
But you won’t find them in any quantity
There’s no record that they ever even existed
But I once had some just from buying a ticket

When I was a child our mom took us to the movies on Saturday mornings
Not every week, I believe we were quite selective as to what we wanted to see
After all it was a treat, a reward for being basically good little boys
And we went for the monsters predominantly

From radioactive mutations or outer space invasions
All manner of creatures threatening humanity
We saw King Kong vs Godzilla battling up on the big screen
And every month we bought a new monster magazine

I really can’t recall what all we saw there
But I think it was edgier than the drive in fare
Which was for Swiss Family Robinson and Mary Poppins and such
Maybe even Dr. No or From Russia With Love

Those were the big stars, the bigger productions
The whole family would go with blankets and pillows
We’d hang the metal speaker on the partly raised car window
Light the green mosquito coil and enjoy the double feature show

It was the old historic State Theatre in downtown Cocoa, Florida
Shabby ornate by that time, and the balcony was the Minority Section
With their own private entrance via stairs in the back alley, such segregation
But no more unusual than the white elementary school we attended

Even as a child the audacity of privilege based on racial superiority
Was obvious to my Christian beliefs, and yet it was our despicable reality
And it pointed to a fallacy in our advanced civilization
To be able to tolerate injustice and not each other, to fear irrational contamination

You can search the internet for triffid seeds
But you won’t find them in any quantity
There’s no record that they ever even existed
But I once had some just from buying a ticket

Once when I was 9 years old
We went to see The Day of the Triffids
We most likely saw a poster in the weeks before
Tantalizing us with the announcement of free Triffid seeds

The morning arrived, the sun was shining brightly
There was a cardboard lifesize triffid outside beside the ticket window
And every kid received a tiny bag of purple seeds
And as soon as we got home we planted them with help from mom

We patiently waited with great anticipation
We watched some sprout in a pot of dirt
And week by week who knew how large one grows
Triffids are very tall, everybody knows

And one day when they were maybe three feet tall
A flower bloomed, big and sunny yellow
Why we were so excited, we would finally know
And mom soon confirmed its true identity

But it did not matter in our pursuit of science and justice
We had just watched Alan Shepard launched into space in May at Cape Canaveral
And the Bay of Pigs invasion in April foreshadowed next year’s Cuban Missile Crisis
Duck and cover and backyard bomb shelters reminding us of the looming threat of nuclear holocaust

If ever there was in history a more profound and astounding time I cannot say except maybe now
The downfall of society, the species self destruction, and Hollywood’s imagination
Each monster another permutation of what could go wrong based on the path we take
Each matinee an essay on the choices that we make and from frightening reality a welcome break
We take, for goodness sake

You can search the internet for triffid seeds
But you won’t find them in any quantity
There’s no record that they ever even existed
But I once had some just for buying a ticket

There Is a Place by Steve Bancroft

There is a place in my head
Where I went as a kid
I might have been three or four

I see a railroad track
And a worn out bed
And a friend I can’t remember anymore

I remember it was sunny
And we had wandered into the woods
I remember we were lost and turned around

Out of sight of our apartments
We’d forgotten the way home
So on the moldy mattress we sat down

In my mind there is a sign
Pertaining to the train
The track itself is curving round a bend

We wondered if a train would come
The tracks had no vibration
And would anybody find us in the end

I remember having doubts
But I don’t remember crying
I think I tried to keep my fears inside

But we were rescued by adults
Who formed a mini search party
Fanning the surrounding countryside

Pretty quickly they found us
Lost in a windbreak
I think we were barely a block away

How easily I got lost
In what I thought to be a forest
I think I learned a lesson that day

How many trees
Does a forest make
How many steers a stampede

One can drown in a puddle
The same as a lake
But nevertheless we proceed

How brave we have been
From time to time
How fast our hearts did beat

Which might have led
To further crime
That taught us how to compete

How afraid we have been
When we were small children
Braving the frontier of our land

And even as adults
Our fears often surface
And all our attention demand

Isn’t some danger
The price of adventure
There are so many methods of dying

Will you be the person
Who seldom takes risks
Or the one who will likely die trying

There is a place in my head
Where I went as a kid
As clear as the day before

I remember an old bed by a railroad track
And being lost in the woods
With a girl I can’t remember anymore

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Hey Steban,

Triffid Seeds -
Probably the first thing I noticed is that the lines seem to rush into each other a little unnaturally in the beginning. Felt like there should be more of a pause in between to let the delay do it’s work. It seems to flow much better once the song gets going though.
I reckon you may blow a few mind if someone was tripping when they listen to this!!!

It sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun!! I like many of the lines and their delivery. I know it’s already long, but I enjoyed it when there was space between lines for me to process them.

The song really shines when the guitars and comes in which makes me appreciate what you were doing in the first part. I now realise that it was more of an introduction and a section all of its own.

the synth and guitars, along with more tamed drums really seems to tie it all together, in what was a loose and seemingly random composition initially.

The delay is good, but I’m a huge fan of ducking delays so it is pulled back during the actual vocal and comes to the fore after the vocal finishes. It’s not a huge problem here, but a few louder vocals makes it a wash when the delay comes in.

It’s definitely a trip! A journey of sorts. Your words are awesome, particularly that first stanza, which is why I’d want more space between lines. I actually read your words first a few hours earlier, so I was already interested.

I can’t say there’s a hook in there, but I don’t believe that is the purpose.

About to listen to the other one now.

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Ok, I like this pretty much off the bat.
But… as above, the delays make it hard to distinguish parts, and overwhelms the music at the start. I would highly recommend ducking the delay. That would make your main vocal stand out more so and still have that wonderful delay effect post vocal delivery.

Yell out if you wanted help to do that (personally, if you shell out and get Boz’ Imperial Delay, it is literally a turn of a knob with NO side chaining or complex routing at all!).

Great guitar sound (is it an amp sim?). I love how some sections just kind of stop and bang, we are in a different section. That high guitar is the clincher. It keeps a sense of rhythm and familiarity amongst the delayed vocals and slightly out of kilter drums.

I like what you’ve done, but the vocal delay is just too much for me to ever really “settle” in to the track. Pulling it back or ducking it would improve it ten fold for me, but musically, this is great. The punching synth (and that high guitar!!!), the finger picked guitar, it all works!!!

Your dynamic changes, your textural changes, it’s all great. I’d love to know how much of that was planned (when you pull and insert instruments), how much was improvised and how much was decided during mixing. This is one of the most interesting and dynamically pleasant tracks I’ve hear for some time! Good stuff.

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Thanks for the ducking advice, Dan! Honestly, I have seen the Ducking control in Imperial Labs but never knew what it was exactly doing as “ducking” was not in my musical vocabulary. So I was able to find a Youtube demonstrating it with Imperial Delay, and I may have to revisit a bunch of my songs to add it.

Basically I can add ducking and turn up the delay if I wanted, and Smear if I wanted it to fade faster. I have been doing some extreme stuff to “duck” like copying the track, cutting it up so the ends of lines only are on the second track with the delay. But when I’m lazier, which is too often, I’d just saturate the track with delay, stepping on the clarity.

And this is a great example of how we can underutilize our VSTs. You don’t even know it’s possible to do so you never miss it!

I will get to these two songs first and try it out. I’m excited!

You are too kind, dude. These were both created in a day or two, which is possible because I have no band or real instruments to play. But they start out without all the parts and dynamic changes.

In There Is a Place I had the basic chord prog bars written, and almost all the changes between the rock guitar to the softer sounds were decided after the fact, some after the vocals were added. I try to take advantage of the softer parts to help the lyrics be heard. All the harmony vocals are added after the fact, and that’s where most of the delay was. There were a couple arpeggiated synths that I added early on that played the chords, and at first they were all high, much flatter. I stumbled on this almost percussive/bass sound by playing it a couple three octaves lower, and in the middle made a third type sound. I then experimented with the different combos on different bars and voila! Dynamics!

Triffid Seeds was a similar process. Only difference is I used synths in the beginning to create the scary movie ambience, and then decided I needed the guitar sound for the main body, and it made for a good segway from the drive in theatre to the segregated State Theatre part of story.

Before I can sing I need to insert enough bars in the arrangement to have time to squeeze in all the words. I usually adjust the drums at this point, although in these two songs I let them stay out of control. The outro is usually added at this point or even after. The actual vocal melody is mostly ad libbed to fit the music. I use stretch markers to fix the timing.

I don’t think it is a requirement but I think a song needs some continuity so it sounds like the same song at the beginning and the end to some degree, even though it might take major detours along the way. Now the detours are probably the most important facets of the song that keep it fresher and hopefully more interesting unless one is going for some totally linear arrangement.

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You sung this well. I will let the mix guys help with the rest.