Check out some Chitown flavored groove with Mike O’Cull. I met Mike through Twitter and took to a few of his bluesy tracks. When you encounter a blues player from Chicago, not going to lie, the expectations are high. Mike easily handles those expectations and gives you a good dose of blues goodness. Click play on “Inside Out” and read the Q&A below.
What inspired the song?
‘Inside Out’ is a song about endings and transitions. I had written the chorus but couldn’t finish the rest, so the song sat in one of my notebooks so long that it got lost. I never forgot about it, though, and went on a little quest to locate that notebook, after a few years and moves hid it from view. My life in the city of Chicago was coming to a close and I felt pulled back to that chorus, that song. I was compelled to finish it. I really felt broken down, like a dead car on the shoulder of the road then, and that was the right headspace to make that song happen.
What was your writing process like as you wrote? Did the song go through versions or revisions?
Most of my best stuff is sort of stream-of-consciousness. When the muse is upon me in full effect, the lyrics almost write themselves, and that is how ‘Inside Out’ came to be, although the chorus and the verses were written at different times via separate blasts of inspiration. Musically, it was always how it is now. Straight and simple rock and roll music.
When recording, what helped you decide the sound you achieved?
The sessions that produced ‘Inside Out’ were my attempt to document the live band sound I had always had in my ear but couldn’t fully get to in the bands of my past. It was really the first time I was able to record my songs my way with some great players behind me (Derek Crawford on drums, Jeff Anthony on vocals, and James DiGiralomo on bass) and it came out better than I could have hoped for. I really tried to follow my intuition and not overthink it.
When and where was the first performance of the song?
I first played it in a series of Nashville-style round robin songwriter showcases I was doing near Chicago a few years ago. It was also the first music clip I put up on YouTube when I first started messing around with making videos.
How do audiences react to the song?
Reactions have been strong. I think it’s my best straight up rock song to date, and the feedback I have been given bears that out. It was written from a place of real emotion, and I think that’s why people like it. The best songs come from real people, not crafty songwriters.