The New Futures will be performing December 7 at El Corazon
A lot went into writing your favorite song, but how much do you really know about it? This week Sammy J. Riddle, vocalist of Seattle power pop band The New Futures, delves into following his dream of music, money woes and keeping positive.
The New Futures will be performing December 7 at El Corazon
Release Date: February 2013
When it was written: 2009
Where it was written: My bedroom
Favorite line in the song: "It don't matter if you're rich, if you are trite. It don't matter if you're wrong, if it is right."
Which part was the hardest to come up with: The chorus, actually. This song was written as this giant rock song with huge guitars in mind and big synths. We played it this way in my old band for a while; we even made a semi-decent studio demo of the track. The verse, the interlude, the pre-chorus were all great and felt awesome, but as soon as we hit the chorus it always felt slightly off. Even after reworking the vibe of the chorus multiple times, I never felt like it was finished.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be: I love this song the way we play it now, I wouldn't change a thing about it. It's gorgeous.
Odd fact about song: With my current band lineup, we made a record this year. It's a really killer debut and I'm super pumped to be finally releasing it in the somewhat near future. When I was working on pulling together all of the content for the record, this song came up and I decided I wanted to give it another shot. Instead of playing it the way my old band lineup had in the past, my producer and I decided to go in a completely opposite direction with it and strip it down to be the only acoustic track on the record. It's funny, I took everything away and the song came to life.
What was your inspiration for writing the song: Hard times financially, and how it can cast a blanket of fear, darkness, and desperation on your life, if you're not letting the right light in. People say "money can't buy you happiness" all the time, but I will tell you that when things get really hard financially and you have little kids at home that need to be taken care of, and a stack of bills piling up because the economy has tanked and taken your business with it, money can translate into a much happier state of mind. When all you see when you wake up is absolute financial turmoil, it can light a fire under a young father yes, but it can also be powerfully paralyzing. This song tells my story in many ways, up until this point. It tells a story of what's important and what's not in the grand scheme of things as you assess life through the small and narrow window of a hard situation.
When was your favorite time performing it live: We actually played a show at a club called Fuel, in early summer 2012. It's a small club and it was kind of a last minute show just for fun, for us. "Story" was like the sixth song we played and the countenance in the entire room changed as soon as we started playing it. It was like everybody sobered up for a second and shut up. I thought it was pretty cool.
What is the meaning behind the song: My life's focus since I was 8 years old has been making music. I have always believed that I would go all the way and be able to provide well for my family, and have a prosperous career in music (to put it in modest and polite words.) Not any musicians that I know attempt having a family at a very young age while they are trying to get their music careers off the ground (if you're out there, let's have lunch.) I fell in love young and had a family of 5 to provide for before my friends even knew what they wanted to major in. I knew what my deal was, and that was music. My wife loved and married everything about me and part of that was my passion and belief in what I was doing. She has been my number one support since, and I could never have done this without her help. If you've looked around, you've noticed that the music industry is not what it once was, and if you want to go anywhere in this day and age you have to do it yourself. People don't take chances on artists today like they used to. So a career in music for me also meant bringing in money via other avenues to keep food on the table and a roof over my family. When that stream of money was not as viable as it once was (after the economy went south), I had to ask myself, "Am I going to slug it out with a career in music forever, even if I never make any big money?" I had officially asked myself the question, but before I could finish, the answer resounded within every part of my soul, decimating any seeds of doubt. The answer was yes. My sweet wife answered with a yes as well. This life for me would be a huge un-success if I didn't give it absolutely everything I have, and what would I really be teaching my boys? When the going gets tough, give up on what you are all about and play it safe? Nope, we go all the way. There are three factors in life for me, and that's pretty much it: my Family, my spirituality and my music. If you take one of those away, I am not functioning on just two thirds of happiness (despite the math.) I'd be much more than a third broken because all three of these areas work together to make up who I am, and at some point (and I feel like we're close), we will breakout (and not in a rash), and we'll achieve the success I've set out to achieve.
This song is about never giving up on where you are going despite the adversity. The adversity will always be there, and that's what shapes us as people. To be honest, way more good can come from hard times and trials than having an easy, safe life. What kind of character did that ever give anybody? It's fuel for my art. It's all about realizing who you are, where you have been, and where you are going. When I look at the years of struggle, I can realize how trivial hard times really are if I have what's truly important to me, my family, my spirituality, and my music. In far less words, that's what this song is really all about.