Key of D @stragglewise

Check out our interview as we dig deep into the song “Key of D” with composer Craig JohnStone.
Why did you select this song as your single?
I chose “Key of D” as the first single because it is a nice, happy introduction to the album, and is probably accessible to nearly anybody. Short, catchy little tune, and well represents a good part of my overall style.
How does this single relate to the rest of the Album, EP or Mix- tape?
It has the alt-country feel, which is probably the catalyst of the album, and also an element of the goofiness you’ll hear throughout the rest of the album. So it sets the tone of both those 2 elements. One cool thing about it being the first song is that it is acoustic and quite light. Then when the second song happens, it really blows your head off, being that it has the same alt-country thing, but more like an angry punch in the face. So by the second song, you’re kind of getting a picture of what you might be in for, but don’t think for a second that it is going to be predictable.
What was the writing process for the song?
The song was actually conceived years ago, when I was producing a demo for an old friend, and I had asked him if he had anything fresh he wanted to try, and he basically said that he didn’t, and so he just started noodling around, playing whatever came to him, and I happened to be recording. It was like half a song. I played it back, and he didn’t seem to think much of it, but I listened to it a few times afterwards and it sounded like something. I never asked him, but did my own demo a couple years later and showed him. Again, he didn’t have much to say. But it stuck with me, and I recorded this version a few years later, filling in some words and changing a few, and I loved how it ended up. I still don’t know what he thinks, because I can’t get ahold of him, but lots of other people seem to love it. Basically I see it as he was the sperm donor who took off before the kid was born, and I was the noble stepfather who stepped up and raised it.
What does this song’s lyric mean to you?
I wasn’t sure what the lyrics meant to me until I had requests to make a video for the song. The line “every time I try to fly I wind up on my ass” jumped out as I was trying to think of a concept for the video. I thought of the Wright brothers trying to invent the airplane, so I went looking for clips. I found a ton of them on the internet, of early attempts of all kinds of men trying to fly with different contraptions they had built. As I worked on the video, I realized the song was about determination, and pressing on through failures and overcoming discouragement. Not letting the mistakes of the past dictate who you are now, and where you want to go. Who knew all that was in such a short, simple little silly song!
What would it be like to see you in person performing this song?
I don’t perform, so it would be extremely weird for me or anybody who knows me, haha. There is a little bit of performance in the video, and you can probably sense my awkwardness. If I were to ever perform it live, I would have several people with me, banging on things and singing with me and clapping, and it would be a different version of the song.
Could your fans summarize who you are as an artist by this song?
I think fans would get a pretty big piece of the picture by this song, which goes back to the first question, and why it is the first song on the album, and the first single. And they would get the rest as they go. You get a glimpse of my struggle with tendency towards the negative with Key of D, and some real darkness shows up later on.
One last question, what is your motivation behind your music?
The motivation behind my sitting down to write a song (if indeed I do sit down) is just something striking me that I know could become something interesting, and being able to fairly quickly conceptualize it in my mind to the point that it kind of has wings, and I don’t have to labour away from nothing. Some songs come from very tangible concepts from my own experience, or simple stories of people I imagine. And many come from just having fun with words, like Dr. Seuss. Arranging words and phrases and juggling them to the sound of the toy piano carnival and industrial noises playing in my head. There is a demented 5-year-old blacksmith trapped inside me. Well, that’s probably too much information…

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