Our boys in The Runner Up recently just released their self-titled EP. If you’re looking for the next soundtrack to the summer, then look no further.
Check out the EP here: http://bit.ly/TheRunnerUpEP
Song by Song bio:
This was the first song we ever played together. I wrote it on an acoustic guitar while listening to a lot of Gnarls Barkley and Justin Timberlake so it originally had this funky “Senorita” style guitar intro but it evolved into more of an R&B synth wave thing but I love the chord progression. Lyrically it’s about when I moved from one town to another and the social dynamics I found with it, perhaps not feeling quite fancy enough or fucking “cool” enough to fit in with these new social circles, but then ultimately finding that it’s just bullshit in your head and to just chill the fuck out.
Our old guitar player came over with this folky, ascending, and descending riff one day. He could pull a riff out his butt but then they’d usually go to another planet after that. So I worked with the riff to keep it on track, coming up with other riffs and directions that would make sense for this kind of schizophrenic piece. I had never worked with any kind of folk music before but I knew I could find a way to make it pop with energy to essentially match our personality on stage. Lyrically it’s pretty straight forward, you have a crazy significant other or just relationship that isn’t working out, and instead of breaking it off right away you be an idiot for a little while and maybe drink or do drugs too often just to get away. The result is this nutball of a song but it’s usually a crowd fave.
Because You Lie
This was another riff from our old guitar player. I thought it was too chill, as it is in the beginning of the song, but then found new riffs and ways to bring it up dynamically in the pre-choruses and choruses. I wanted there to be a big contrast in dynamic to take listeners on a journey because the lyrics are just a typical fictional story of a couple on the verge of break up doing drugs together then taking them out to the desert to light their car on fire.
You know, typical rock n’ roll.
Primary Songwriter: Zander
“Somebody” was a track originally wrote while performing in another act in 2012. Young the Giant’s self title was blowing up the charts then and the hook for “My Body” had been bouncing around in my head for days. The visceral motif of making a decision with your body rather than your mind is not uncommon in music, but thematically something I’ve always been drawn to lyrically. I tend to write my best stuff about emotions and experience generated from reckless abandonment, so this is a fitting concept.
Anyways, I was in a heavy song writing period with that act and constantly looking for and exploring ideas. As the song was dancing around my head, I started toying with the words “My body” and a bit of a melody when I hopped in the shower one morning. I had the chorus hook written by the time I finished washing my hair.
Feeling inspired, I flipped on the recorder, sat down at the piano, and banged through a melancholy set of changes that felt right over the next few minutes. It’s a pretty lustful refrain, so I thought hard about a girl I was chasing, not for all the wrong reasons, but for mostly the wrong reasons, and used her as a muse. Had the verses written and the form solidified in probably 15 minutes. It’s one of the fastest songs I’ve written, but that’s usually a sign of a good track for me. If I can bang out the structure, hook, and lyrics in a single session, it keeps on message and authentic.
The composition phase took awhile and it’s a pretty busy track: running lead lines, ethereal pads, chiming arps, etc. Ended up being one of the better tracks with that act. I brought it to the rest of the band and the guys saw a ton of potential. So, I rebuilt all the synths and triggers from scratch to get it sounding like the track is today.
Primary Songwriter: Zander
Melanie is a song I wrote inspired by a break-up/get-back-together cycle of an old romance. Her name is not Melanie, so don’t worry, no one was thrown under the bus. I’ve always found it to be a lovely and gentle name and had it picked out before I started writing. While there’s a lot of lyrical allegory within the song that’s specific to the dynamics of that relationship, I think it captures a common message of vulnerability, regret, and desire in a complicated relationship.
There were only minor tweaks made to the overall arrangement of the original song when I brought it to the band. Adding the electronic drums, doubling the hook on choruses 2 and 3, and the acoustic drum pattern with the bridge vocals are a few ways we “Runnerupified” the track in rehearsals and studio sessions. What we ended up with was a dynamically varied, multi-genre record in the always melancholy key of D minor.
I Came to Play
Primary Songwriter: Zander
I Came to Play is a track inspired as the result of a game of ping pong…seriously. Sparing extensive details, my opponent greatly over estimated his abilities and, in bad faith, talked some serious trash. After I punishingly won the match, I told him, “that’ll teach you to run your mouth, I came to play.” That one-liner struck a chord as a plausible hook for a blood pumping jam that makes you want to puff out your chest and take on the world.
The original composition had a jazzy bridge and pre-chorus that didn’t quite fit our style and Rusty’s voice. Rusty reworked some ideas/lyrics for the chorus and we suddenly had a jam. We had such a succinct message and attitude with this song that the studio sessions needed only minor tweaks to what we brought in.
I Came to Play probably best encapsulates the attitude, style, and energy of The Runner Up’s high energy live performances and songwriting.