Song Deconstructed: ‘Monsters’ by The End Of America
Brendon Thomas takes apart his band’s new song which was inspired by the plight of children in his US homeland
Philadelphia natives James Downes, Trevor Leonard and Brendon Thomas formed The End Of America back in 2010. Now, almost a decade later, the name of their group seems to reflect the divisive times we currently find ourselves in. Yet, in many ways, their classic songwriting and tight harmonies are the perfect antidote and an example of what’s possible through collaboration and unity.
The prolific trio of multi-instrumentalists/vocalists will be releasing new material every month throughout the remainder of 2019, starting with Monsters. Here, on the day of the song’s official release, Brendon Thomas reveals all…
There’s a lot of heartbreaking stuff going on right now. We try to keep our spirits up in spite of the news and daily images, but it’s especially hard when you see what is happening to children. Thousands have been taken from their parents and treated like prisoners… in America. Kids are fighting for their own safety in school while their leaders ignore them. All children face a future threatened by climate change while the President spits in the face of science. We are living in a new age of monsters. How do we overcome them and keep our love intact?
The lyrics for **Monsters are simple and avoid getting too specific. The opening lines, “Hello night, again / Hello, light within…” is an acknowledgement of the pendulum-swing back into darkness. It’s a time when we need to take care of ourselves and one another. Most of the song is written like a conversation with a friend, where you sit down together and say, “Dude, what the hell is actually happening right now? Did you read the news?” I feel like it’s so important to talk and remind each other that we’re in this together.
The chorus melody bubbled up in my brain one night so I chased it with my guitar and wrote the song in about an hour. Songs don’t usually reach the finish line that quickly for me, but I love it when they do. I taught it to the guys before our show the next day and we worked out the harmonies in time to play it that night. Eventually, James found his way onto piano and Trevor brought in those starry electric guitar vibes. The song ended up with this atmospheric yet driving feel that builds until the bridge hits and launches you above the clouds for a minute.
In The Studio
We tracked at the new Gradwell House in Haddon Heights, NJ, with our old pal, Dave Downham, who produced our last LP. Along with a few condenser mics, we used an AEA R88 stereo ribbon mic to capture the room sound of just about everything, and it comes through most heavenly on the grand piano. We started with acoustic guitars over a click, then piano, electric guitars, percussion, and tracked vocals the next day. I later added bass guitar to fill out some of the low-end and had the honor of mixing it at my personal studio in Vermont: Owl Sounds Recording.
Sonically and performance-wise, it was a challenge to strike the right tone with this song, and I think we did it. I’m grateful to my bandmates for being the best dudes to sing with… that’s for sure. We hope this song helps to keep your lights bright out there, and to stand up for the kiddos in this world who need our help now more than ever.
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