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  1. Time Difference

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    With every song that I write and record, I like to try things I have never done before.

    With “Time Difference” I set out to try two things:

    • as a songwriter/producer: a fusion of rock and funk, loosely in the style of Maroon 5
    • as a singer: to push myself into a higher register in the style of Adam Levine or the Bee Gees.

    Lyrics

    The song started with a lyric from Joel Rockman.  I thought the concept and title were very good: on the one hand, quite original, on the other hand quite fitting for the jet-set pop-star life (touring around the world, away from lover) or anyone who’s been in a long-distance/transcontinental relationship, or simply travelling long-distance and missing their partner back home.

    Music & Production

    The music is based on a simple guitar riff that repeats throughout (in yellow on the ProTools session below), answered by a bass riff (in dark blue).

    Ben Treeby came in to do the guitar parts – I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted, and he got it right away.  I did all the other parts, vocals and mixing.

    The chorus is lifted by a second, funky guitar (green) and simple keyboard chords (purple).  A third guitar (light blue) plays power chords over the bridge and final chorus.

    So this is very much a guitar-bass-drums track, with some added percussions to get a nice groove.  Sort of half-way between rock and funk.

    The bridge is the more “sentimental” section lyrically and I have tried to make it the more melodic and “sweet” section musically, with added synthesizer pad (in turquoise) to soften it up.

    My favorite part is the break at 1’44” – with just drums, percussions and bass, then the funky guitar and vocal ad-libs come in to build it back up into the final set of choruses.  I also like the (hopefully!) unexpected but satisfying chord changes in the second half of the second and final choruses.

    I had some fun with the vocals, double-tracked in the verse and six-tracked in the choruses. 

    I think it’s quite funky… and at 2’38” run-time straight to the point!  I hope you guys like it…

     

    TIME DIFFERENCE

    Words by Joel Rockman / Music by A. Robin
    Produced by SuperCool-Guy
    © 2012 – All rights reserved 

    When I get up in the morning and start up my day
    You'll have finished work and you’ll be homeward on your way
    We'll think of one another by telepathy
    Wishing we were both together just you and me 

    Chorus:
    There's a time difference, honey
    A time difference
    A time difference, honey
    A time difference
    A time difference, honey
    A time difference
    A time difference, honey
    A time difference 

    When I get inside my bed for another lonely night
    You'll be getting out of yours, no one to hold you tight
    Quickly wash and dress yourself and then rush out of the door
    However much you've missed me, girl I've missed you more 

    Chorus:
    There's a time difference, honey
    A time difference… 

    Bridge:
    When my journey's over and I get off that plane
    We'll synchronize our lives and loving once again
    I'll never go back away, it's true
    So I can spend all my life with you 

    [Instrumental break]

    Chorus:
    There's a time difference, honey
    A time difference… 

    I'll never go back away, it's true
    So I can spend my life with you.

  2. Naughty Dreams

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    "Naughty Dreams" started with a lyric from David B.  The lyric naturally invited a sexy pop-dance feel, and that’s what I tried to do with the music.

    My original treatment of the song was a bit “eighties” and not up to the standards of today’s pop-dance music productions.  So we brought in my friend Viceroy to update the production.  Viceroy also came up with a new interesting chord at the end of the choruses and suggested that we double up the bridge.

    The result is still a bit “eighties”, but rather than “stuck in…” it’s now more of an “homage to…”

    Overall I’m very pleased with the song, which could equally work for a female singer.

    NAUGHTY DREAMS

    Words by David B. & A. Robin / Music by A. Robin & Viceroy
    Produced by Viceroy & SuperCool-Guy
    © 2012 – All rights reserved 

    At night when I go to sleep
    I creep into bed under my silk sheets
    I close my eyes so don’t you wake me up
    It gets so hot, I can’t get enough
    I can’t get enough of… 

    Chorus:

    Naughty dreams
    Naughty dreams
    Doin’ all kinds of dirty things – dirty things
    Feel the heat
    Feel the steam
    Deep inside my naughty dreams
    Naughty dreams
    Naughty dreams
    Doin’ all kinds of dirty things – dirty things
    Feel the heat
    Feel the steam
    Deep inside my naughty dreams 

    Hot hands all over my body
    Deepest pleasures take over completely
    It’s so crazy, so freaky, so hot
    Don’t want it to stop. I can’t get enough
    Can’t get enough of… 

    Chorus:

    Naughty Dreams

    Bridge:

    Fireworks goin’ off around me
    Exploding with sexuality
    No self-control, I feel so free
    Fantasies become reality

    Chorus:

    Naughty Dreams… 

    [Repeat chorus]

  3. Tierra del Fuego

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    Tierra del Fuego is one of those songs that took a long time to mature…

    Lyric & Chorus

    The song started with a lyric from Joel Rockman, who recalls: “In my geography studies at school we covered South America. I always thought ”Tierra del Fuego” was a very romantic name and decided to write a lyric about it.”

    Most of the original lines made it in the final song, but together we restructured it to a more clearly defined verse-chorus structure and later changed some lines to better fit the music.

    The lyric did inspire a Latin feel, Spanish guitars, percussions, love, passion… and I very quickly came up with the chorus melody/musical hook for “Tierra del Fuego”.

    Very early on, I sampled the drum/percussion part from Toto’s “Africa” to help me establish the “feel” and direction of the music (the sample was later removed and replaced by all-original parts).

    While the chorus came together quickly, I got stuck for the verse and could not find a suitable part.  The song got shelved…

    Verse & Structure

    A couple of years later, I dusted off the original idea for “Tierra del Fuego” and somehow I found the verse, just by sitting at the keyboard and singing the lines.  The song structure flowed naturally from there.

    Recording

    The track was recorded at my home, with Ben Treeby on rhythm guitars. 

    I had lots of ideas for Spanish guitar licks throughout and ended up playing the whole thing on the keyboard, with a patch from my trusted Roland XV-3080 (as you can see from the midi session capture below and on YouTube).  I think it came out really well and most listeners probably wouldn’t this isn’t an actual guitar playing!

    I also programmed the brass parts and we recorded them at my friend’s Viceroy.

    For the vocals, we were very lucky to get PJ Lequerica, who was perfect for the song.  I had worked on a couple of tracks with PJ previously while in New York.  The vocals were recorded at the New York studio of my friend Harold Stefan, and the stems sent back to me for mixing with the backing tracks.

    Final Mix

    I redid the mix from scratch for the “Back In The Groove” album.

    One of the main things I re-did was play all original drum/percussion parts, trying to emulate the parts from Toto’s “Africa” but without any of the original samples.  That was an interesting and difficult challenge.  First because the style of playing is very different from the pop-rock style I am most used to.  Second because, let’s face it: it doesn’t get any better than Jeff Porcaro, Lenny Castro and Joe Porcaro!  Given that I would never be able to do as well as those guys, I think the result came out alright…

    I also added some new synth pad parts to build up the song, and some sound effects for added excitement. 

    Jon Astley provided the final mastering sheen, as he did with all tracks on the album.

    TIERRA DEL FUEGO

    Words by Joel Rockman & A. Robin / Music by A. Robin
    Vocals by PJ Lequerica
    Produced by SuperCool-Guy

    © 2012 – All rights reserved

    Enchanted isle
    Embraced by the sea
    Magical wonderland
    You’re calling out to me 

    Lightning will flash
    Reflect in your eyes 

    Chorus:

    Tierra del Fuego
    Burning inside
    Burning right inside of me (Right inside of me)
    Tierra del Fuego
    My passion’s on fire (Flames leap up)
    Flames leap up
    They go higher 

    When we make love
    Stars shine above
    Stirring the passion below
    The whole world is turned to fire 

    Lightning will flash
    Reflect in your eyes 

    Chorus:

    Tierra del Fuego…
    (Burning right inside of me) 

    [Repeat chorus] 

    Bridge:

    Out of the sky
    This heavenly fire
    Brought down to Earth just for me
    Just for me

    Chorus:

    Tierra del Fuego… 
    (Burning right inside of me)

    [Repeat chorus]


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