Studio Campfire Stories: The "SunStorm" Edition – "This Could Be the Night" and "Flight of the Blackbyrd"

9. This Could Be the Night (feat. Eric Roberson, Darien Brockington & Rapper Big Pooh)
The funny thing about making music, or art for that matter is that you never know what you’re sitting on. I had been sitting on this drum pattern for about 2 or 3 years not knowing what to do with it… just the bare drums exactly how you hear them in the final song. It was something that I would listen to every quarter or so, mess around with it, get mad with what I recorded and scrap it altogether. I had even done a song where that drum pattern’s tempo was cut in HALF… It just still wasn’t there yet. FINALLY, one day during the recording of SunStorm, I finally came up with a chord progression that I was happy with and actually kept it! But the joint had been sitting for so long that even when I found the progression that worked, I was still skeptical. Even when I would include it on a CD with the rest of the album formulated around it as just an instrumental, I would think, “It will get life once vocals are recorded on it.” I ended up tracking it out and sending it through to Phonte so we could have the usual “who do you think would fit on this joint” talk. We talked about Erro (Eric Roberson) being a part of the album pretty much from the beginning… in fact, when I first met him back in December 2007 in Chicago, we spoke about working together, but it just never came together……

The first time I heard vocals on the joint, it was Phonte demoing the hook that he wrote for it. That is what changed my whole perspective… “WOW, this may become a JOINT!” The next version I heard was Darien’s verse and his re-singing of the hook…. Ok, now we’re getting somewhere. The NEXT version I heard was of Erro’s verse and hook. We then combined that with D. Brock’s and dammit we had a song!… It wasn’t done yet though… My two brothas FROM Little Brother decided to pull a ‘fast one’ on me… So after receiving the next draft of vocals, I heard the ‘announcer’ list the performers. Eric Roberson… check, Darien Brockington, check… The Rapper Big Pooh…. HOL’LUP, WORD?! I actually brought it back some so make sure I was hearing it correctly… NICE! At that point, I had know idea. So of course, once Big Pooh’s verse came on, I damn near started partying in the studio because the joint was RIGHT on time and was an excellent addition to the song. Eight bars of energy, where the music drops and it’s just he and the drums mainly… The change follows behind with D. Brock for four bars and right back into the closing hook and vamp… All of a sudden, this 2 to 3 year drum pattern had a promising pulse. Once again, you NEVER know what your music or art may become. I can never really explain it straight up… I can only continue to share these stories with you all and allow you to find out for yourselves.

Oh and make sure you read the story behind the making of the video for “This Could Be the Night” as well…

10. Flight Of the Blackbyrd (ft. Phonte)
The actual motivation behind this song is pretty interesting. Those who know me personally understand that I am pretty laid back for the most part, but that I am very competitive. It is part of my personality, it’s a motivator for me, and I guess it’s simply just the way I am wired. Hell, I played baseball through college so it was a NECESSARY trait if anything and I definitely have not “grown out of it”. The reason why I remember the exact date of my creating this song is because another one of my brothers and great friends in music, Nicolay released his excellent City Lights 2: Shibuya album. Where’s the connection? Well, I haven’t even told Nic this… But I remember sitting at the computer and logging on to Twitter and seeing everyone talking about the new City Lights 2 album. So I’m reading, retweeting the album link, checking out all the positive comments…. and it hit me. My competitive side began to talk shit to me…

“Uhhh… what the hell are YOU doing right now?! Your people are releasing dope albums and you’re sitting up on TWITTER. GET yo punk ass in the studio!!” © My Competitive Conscience

This is yet another advantage to working closely with kats who are so great at what they do, because it causes you to HAVE to be on point at all times. I put my computer to sleep and walked into the studio and a drum pattern just kinda came to me (higher power) that happened to be written in 3/4… Hmmmm, that’s kinda different already. The chord progression soon followed and not too long after that, a “B” part (a section where there is a change in the music – kind of a “part 2”). I laid the song out FULLY, the intro piece, main part, the piano solo, the percussion breakdown (where I used percussion instruments that I bought specifically for the “Perfect Angel” remake), and the B part. …I got Phonte on the phone and told him I would be sending a new one through. I sent him the instrumental and heard nothing back……………

…The next morning, I woke up to a text at about 6:55am……

Phonte: You at the crib?



M:Got it… putting it on the iPod and listening on the way to the craziness (a/k/a WORK)

P: Nigga, call/text/IM/two-way/smoke signal me as SOON as you finish that shit

Maaaan, look. There are some songs that you listen to the first minute or two of them and know you’re sitting on something special… THIS was that song. As soon as I heard Phonte’s vocals come in, I was like… “This is it, this shit is CRAZY.” I called him right back on the way to work and we were hyped up about this new joint… and the ideas started pouring. The next thing I know, here’s a final version of the song with trumpeter Stan Graham goin’ off on the joint with Phonte doing horn arrangements. DOPE. Overall, this joint took us the least amount of time to complete… Less than a day.

Musically, this was my “show off” joint all because my competitive side took over for a minute. Thanks to my FE family for pushing me to make music like this joint in particular and not even realizing it! lol

3 thoughts on “Studio Campfire Stories: The "SunStorm" Edition – "This Could Be the Night" and "Flight of the Blackbyrd"

  1. This Could Be the Night is a hot party song for grown folks! The announcer is hilarious, especially at the end, NIGNANCE! =) Go ERRO! I love that all my fav independents work together!!!I think it's pretty amazing that Flight of the Blackbyrd was the quickest song for you to complete. There's what I call "complex simplicity"to this song. All of the elements seem complex, yet the listening experience is simple, easy, flowy… The vocals, whispers & such really add bulk to the track. The horns are perfect. This track is reminiscent of the kind of music that was played in my home on the regular as a kid, being the child of two radio DJ's. I thought of Roy Ayers when I listened to it for the first time and fell in love with it immediately. I think I repeated it like 7 times! MAJOR kudos on this one Zo!

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