6. Subway Dwellers

The cover of the single is a picture of City Hall Station on the Broad Street line in Philadelphia, which partially inspired the song:

Here is Gabriel’s piano tracking video for ‘Subway Dwellers’:

For Travis’s tracking video, see last week’s post on Retreat Underground.

Read the lyrics to ‘Subway Dwellers’.

Gabriel’s Notes: The chord progression of the opening theme is a reversal of the progression used in Thelonious Monk’s ‘I Mean You’, and the dominant and tritone harmonies throughout reflect that influence – but the texture is drawn more from ’90s garage rock, only with a distorted piano instead of distorted guitars, as this song features no guitar whatsoever. The bridge features a subtle reprise of the album’s opening song. This is the only song where I didn’t give Tom a basic bass line to work with – just a piano part. I recorded three complete takes of the piano part for this song and then spliced the best parts of each together.

The wall of sound / sonic landscape production style used on Interior City is something I’ve always been drawn to – Strapping Young Lad’s ‘Alien‘ album is a great example. This song has a particularly high quotient of ambient noise behind all of the basic instrumental parts, including many speech samples. However, the chattering that runs through the background of Interior City does more than just add texture – it also serves a purpose in the story, highlighting and contributing to the character’s paranoia.

Travis’s notes: In “Subway Dwellers” — one of the few tunes on the album that possesses more of a pop sensibility — I’m playing some syncopated closed hat parts in the first verse (subtle crescendo beginning at 3:11 to provide a ‘lift’ into the pre-chorus), and a marching-esque part in the second, with light pedal splashing on the quarters. The two quick kicks and snare+china complement the vocal at 5:19. I sought to build the section starting at 6:02 by first playing my closed 13″ hats, then a ‘barking’ hat pattern before launching into a fun, colorful cymbal orchestration at 6:37.
On this song, I used my Pearl 4″x14″ maple piccolo snare.
Cymbals: 21″ DRK ride, 20″ MDM ride, 18″ & 19″ MDM medium crashes, 14″ MDM hi-hats, 8″ BRT splash, 13″ BRT/DRK hi-hats, 19″ LTD china (older model).

Full Drum Set Transcription
Tempo = 85 BPM

Leave a Reply