Make Your Own Luck: The story behind the EP
The following is an open letter from Bobby Mahoney
“You have to make your own luck,” is probably the best advice anyone has ever given me about perusing a career in music, or about life in general. No one is going to hand you anything, and you aren’t going to get “discovered” while singing 90s songs in your shower. You have to create your own opportunities.
While working with my partner in crime, Jon Alba on the next Seventh Son record, I found myself writing a bunch of mellow acoustic songs in between writing kick ass hard rock tunes (if I may say so ourselves). I was listening to a lot of Neil Young, Jesse Malin, Brian Fallon, Johnny Cash and Paul Simon at the time. I hadn’t released any acoustic tunes since 2012, and it was a voice and style that I wanted to reconnect to before we jump right back into electric, “in your face” Seventh Son mode.
The songs were all written between July of 2014 and February of 2015, and they all had varying inspiration. I tried to be more conversational with the lyrics, getting away from the grandiose and exaggerated ideas found on Friends in Low Places. I wanted to the songs to be simple and short.
The EP kicks off with the song “Mayhem,” which was probably the most blatant, “hey girl I used to really like, this song is about you” song I’ve written thus far in my career. On the other songs, I take composites of other people, events, places, and combine them and change details to fit exactly what I am trying to convey, but on this song, each section has its own specific memory and I really didn’t change all that much from real life, to the recording. I feel extremely close to this song, and that’s probably not the best thing for my sanity, but any chance at salvaging that has long since past. In the original version of the lyrics, I used the word “fuck” a generous-amount, and I eventually went back and tried to be more eloquent about my feelings. I think that actually helped the song in the end. I really liked the idea of using the title “Mayhem” because it evokes chaotic and violent images that would typically be found in a heavier tune, but it is a sweet acoustic ballad. I think that contrast really makes the song.
Next, “Called it Quits,” which is probably my mother’s least favorite song I’ve written, but that’s okay – I still enjoy it. I wrote this song after listening to a lot of emo-punk bands, such as The Menzingers, and Modern Baseball. I wanted to deliver that same sense of indifference and informality in the delivery of the lyric. For the “hope its all right, hope its okay” portion, I channeled Cobain from “All Apologies,” at least that is what I envisioned. Last year I found myself wandering around campus at night with my iPod on shuffle, just listening to whatever and enjoying the solitude of the night, and this song was born from a few of those nights. “I don’t usually take long peaceful walks, but it is still not dark out yet.”
“Anna” is the third song on the EP, and it is loosely based on someone I knew briefly when I was younger, who was working on writing a book back when we were in middle school or junior high. The concept of writing a book at such a young age really impressed me, and I don’t know if she ever finished it or anything, but the song hopes that she didn’t change and eventually finished the book. We played this as a band one time in rehearsal and it was almost a Country-esque ballad, but I opted to just play it solo acoustic. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bunch of these songs getting the band treatment over the next few years.
“Troubled Breeze” is about the Court Tavern on Church Street in New Brunswick. There is this stop sign that is almost completely covered in stickers from all the bands that have played there, and I have spent a lot of time just standing under it talking to a lot of interesting characters as they bum cigarettes and talk about whatever bands they love or hate. When I was younger, I had a song called “Troubled Breeze” that I played on piano. This song has nothing to do with that, other than I recycled the title, but I’ve always liked the imagery.
The penultimate song on the EP is “Letters From the End of the World,” and this would be the “rocker” of the bunch by default because the others are so mellow. I name check my friend Kevin Dziuba’s band “Check Your Morals” in the first verse. When I think about the end of the world, I wonder if some other beings come after us, will they hear the songs, read the books, letters, and graffiti on the walls and understand who we were, or will everything get lost? It is pretty abstract, but it was really interesting to think about trying to figure out who we are now solely by the art. Will it all hold up over time? Who knows.
“Writing Our Own Eulogies” sort of follows the idea of “Letters,” but it’s a more personal “how will I be remembered?” We all have our own ideas of who we are and what we are doing, but I wanted to write about making the best of the time we have because we all want to be remembered for our positive accomplishments, which isn’t always easy. People can be petty and judgmental and it is unfortunate but people love to drag people down. The idea of not being remembered, or remembered for the right reasons honestly scares the shit out of me, and that is what the song is about. While it is extremely morbid, we have all had the late night, deep, heart-to-heart conversations about everything from ex-girlfriends to our own mortality and this song came out of one in particular.
I spent a lot of time debating whether or not to release these songs now, with releasing the next Seventh Son record this summer, but in the end I wanted these songs to be heard, and I wanted them to be heard now. Our super fan, Nick Passell, said, “its a good appetizer to what will hopefully be a great entrée” and that was the point. Its not supposed to be groundbreaking, its not supposed to sound perfect, it is just a few simple, yet powerful songs that I wanted to sing in a raw, live format. For most of the songs, the vocals were recorded directly with the guitar, in order to get that live feel. While I know this isn’t the high-energy rock sound that people are used to from me, I really wanted to record these songs for me because I felt I needed to sing them at this moment in time. That being said, I am very proud of this project, and I hope you all enjoy it!
You have to make your own luck – so I did.
“Luck” can be found on Bandcamp.