The Story Behind "I Am He"

Hello dear reader.

This is the third in a series of stories behind some of the songs I've written over the years. These tunes are well traveled and served as a diary of sorts. The details are a bit fuzzy but I'll give it my best shot.

I am he is actually the closest thing to a rock opera I’ve ever written in my life so far.

I was listening to a lot of Ayreon at the time. A friend turned me on to the quite fantastic “The Human Equation” album and I was pretty hooked on that for a while. It definitely inspired the lyrical interplay between myself and…myself. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's take it back to the beginning.

Let me think……..

...Okay got it! So, the initial idea of the main riff stared out just as a drum pattern I came up with while I was attending school out in Tempe, Arizona back in 2010. I was studying audio engineering at the time and was closing in on the end of the course cycle. I can’t remember the reason but I remember gathering with a group of friends who I had shared many a classroom with to drink beer and engage in a ceremonial “we made it out alive” celebration.

As I mentioned before, the main theme of the song was based around that drum pattern. And like most of the drum patterns I’ve written, it came out the same way. Whether by tapping on a desk, a wall, a leg it didn’t matter. Almost any surface would do. This tactic served me well through the years. Particularly while waiting for the bell to ring in school.

I am not a drummer. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe I was in a past life and that’s where the interest lies but there are zero drum chops in these hands……unless finger tapping counts. I totally rip in that case.

Finger rippin? ...Hmm. Just came to me.

Anyway, seeing as I wasn’t (and am not still) a drummer and had no sense of the “rules” of one, I was free to drum up (cough) whatever was in my imagination without limit. That’s more or less what this project was founded on anyway in a sense. Musical freedom. Possibility.

This was a song that was completely written drums first. Absolutely zero riffs were written until the entirety of the drums were flushed out.

I remember It being a total stream of consciousness throughout putting the skeleton of the song together. I didn’t have a guitar with me at the time in AZ so that allowed me to focus on really building up the drums without distraction. Because I had nothing to record on top of them, I immediately got bored with the structure of the song and naturally allowed my imagination to go nuts and really build it up. Trying my best to making them sound as interesting as I could. And then it sat. For almost 3 years while I was establishing a home base/job/attempts at a social life in New Jersey. By the time I got back to it, I realized that I painted myself into a corner with the drums and more or less had to use it as a stencil to color inside with the guitar. I was listening to the "Carboniferous" album from Zu at the time and was loving all the polyrhythmic stuff going on there so that certainly inspired a riff or two that you'll hear on the tune. Aside from that, it was pretty spastic death metal sounding stuff meshed with more crushing chuggy stuff here and there. how do I sum this up?

Lyrically it's basically a battle between the self and the ego.

I know. Maybe a little over the top but it's something that I have obsessed over for at least a decade plus now and...honestly I can't sing about the devil and killing people and all the other metal cliches (not knocking anyone who does btw) just because it feels inauthentic for me to do so. This project is intensely personal and like any art, represents where one's mindset was at the time. This is as accurate as anything on the album.

There are a TON of vocals on the song because of this. The lyrics go back and forth between the protagonist (The Self) and the Ego and how ultimately, you can't kill your ego. You can only be aware of it and make choices from there. That's the lyrical content in a nutshell. Maybe I'll delve a little deeper into that when I have time. If you have any questions about it. let me know.

So there it is! "I Am He" is definitely one of the more schizophrenic tunes on the album. It may be difficult for those who are fans of the more straightforward groove stuff like "I of the Obscene" to get into at first but artistically, I'm still very happy with the outcome of it. Feel free to check it out here. Track 3 baby!

Thanks for reading/supporting.


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