Song of the Week: Corina by Nick Droz

Every week you get a new song from Mike Votava. How cool is that?! It’s super cool! This week features a song by special guest Nick Droz.

I did a little something different for this edition of the Song of the Week. Instead of recording one of my own stupid songs, I recorded someone else’s. Nick Droz joined me at MJV Studios to record a song he wrote for a recent Bushwick Book Club Seattle fundraiser event.

You’ve probably heard Nick performing with his band Nick Droz and The Lost Cause around Seattle. Or you may have even heard him paying the billz with his guitar skillz on a previous Mike Votava Song of the Week. And if you keep on reading this, you will eventually hear him on his brand new song.

It was a lot of fun to record music that was not my own for a change. I could focus on getting good sounds without the added pressure of making them. Nick played all the instruments (including the toy piano), and I did the engineering/mixing and helped with some of the song arrangements.

Mike Votava Song of the Week: Corina By Nick Droz

I sat down with Nick to discuss his song, as well as a few other things. That conversation is what follows.

MJV = Mike Votava (the J stands for James, that’s my middle name)
ND = Nick Droz

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MJV: This song was inspired by a book, right? Tell me a little bit about it and how it shaped your song.

ND: Well… this one was in a pretty roundabout way. The book was The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts. I read it, as did a group of other folks and the inspiration was ideally supposed to come from the discussion with the group, and it did!

One woman in the group noted that the facts in the book were really only amazing or strange if our baseline for normal is being human. So then I thought about being able to see yourself in not only other people, but animals, and even inanimate objects. Then I thought about the current social/political environment in America at the moment, and thought how helpful it would be if we were all better at doing that. Then I made up character, and gave her the ability to do that. A few steps removed from the content of the book… but we got there!

MJV: The whole time recording the song I assumed Corina was an actual character in the book. How’s that for a songwriting twist?!

What’s your favorite / least favorite part of the song?

ND: My favorite part of the song is the way the phrasing of the line “…then casually switch sides of the same boat.” in the second verse. There’s just something very satisfying about singing it/the way fits.

My least favorite part of the song is the reference to the main character saying hi to a grackle in the first verse. It just seems kinda weird, and maybe a little hokie to me.

MJV: I don’t even know what a grackle is. I’m pretty sure that’s not a thing. Oh wait…. I just looked it up…. a grackle is a bird. Thanks, Obama.

How is your approach to writing songs inspired by books different than your approach to writing songs about regular stuff, like sharks or farts?

ND: Where writing non-book inspired things I have a bad habit of waiting around for some stupid lightning bolt of inspiration to hit, and I often forget that there’s always thought and work that actually has to go in to the process. It’s like I have to re-learn that every time. With book inspired songs, I don’t have to re-learn it, cause I’m always on a deadline to write them, so there’s no question of waiting to be struck by some perfect idea, it’s just do it ’cause you’ve gotta. That said, either way, once the song has enough of a start, both of those processes start to look more or less the same from that point on.

MJV: I agree, the hidden secret behind all Bushwick Book Club Seattle songs is that they are only 10% inspired by books and 90% inspired by deadlines. They should consider changing their tagline.

I’m starting my own club, called the Bushwick Fart Club where musicians write and perform original music inspired by farts. Would you like to join

ND: Yes. Though I feel I have to ask, is the inspiration to be drawn from only the audible qualities of the farts, or would you expect a writer to look for fart-based inspiration using all of their senses?

MJV: You’ve got a lot to learn about farts (shakes head).

Corina
By Nick Droz

Corina sees herself in all the world
A grackle or a girl
She says hi
They raise their eyebrows up and down the street
Call the girl off beat
But she don’t mind

What she really wants to know my love
Is can we find some common ground
Could we ever hold it down
It will come to shove it always does
When the push has had enough
Our only hope is love

Corina Sees herself in everyone
A garden or a gun
She’s been both
She laughs at what we say we won’t abide
Then Casually switch sides
Of the same boat

What we really need to know my love
Is can we find some common ground
Could we ever hold it down
It will come to shove it always does
When the push has had enough
Our only hope is love

Corina listens as we burn through precious breath
As though supply exceeds demand in spite of death