J Minus

next up is the song that brought this idea out of the studio and into reality…

After Midnight.

This was probably the 4th song I ever wrote and to this day, still the overall most popular song of the entire J Minus library. I wrote this about not being able to see Lisa very often (the single mother/waitress from my first song “Another Sunday Evening”). I was really into her at this point, but because she had kids and I was working multiple jobs on top of music, I barely ever got the chance to spend time with her.  Only in a dream world could we be together…. and the music that I wrote for this song created that space for me, all I had to do was let it guide me towards the lyrics/description. I knew this song was special before there were any lyrics.

"After Midnight"  caught the attention of a very well known A&R rep in the industry named Michael Rosenblatt. He has worked for labels from Geffen to Sony…and he was solely responsible for finding such acts as Madonna, Depeche Mode, The B 52’s, and many more. One of Trevor’s friends doing janitorial/intern work at Michael’s recording studio in Hollywood played him the song and he got in touch with us right away to invite us down to LA to meet with him…(yep, one of those stories). We packed up our things for a 10 day road trip and made our way down there.  He thought we had a "smash hit" on our hands…that’s what he kept calling it at least. He thought the album "Under The Blue" as a whole was great and asked us to put together a group that could bring the music of J Minus to life. 

That was not an easy task, unfortunately. I had already been through a few groups by this time, so I was extra picky about who I was going to bring into this new project. Personality was more important then overall musicianship to me, but the musicianship definitely had to be there to make it work. It took me over a year to find the right people and get them ready with all the parts and vocal harmonies that were required to bring this music to life…..and that (not surprisingly) was much too long. Michael had already moved on to new projects and asked me to send what I had been working on lately. By this time, I had started down my path of the acoustic/singer songwriter sound that I really enjoyed mixing up with the alt/rock pop stuff, so I sent him everything I had. He wasn’t interested in the new sound I had been working on and wanted it to remain in the pop rock vein because that’s what his label was focused on at the time. 

I am extremely stubborn when it comes to my music. I write what feels good and what naturally comes out, not what I think the rest of the world wants to hear. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it always will be. He asked me to keep sending him music, but I knew that you had to play by certain rules to be a part of the industry on that level, so I stopped contacting him and moved on. I told the guys the bad news, but everyone was so excited about what we had worked on putting together, that the guys wanted to keep going, even without the Rosenblatt connection. While we had many opportunities and possible record contracts presented to us over the years, this was by far the most significant.  I always look back on this story fondly, because while it didn’t work out the way we thought it would, it provided many things for me. It introduced me to some of my closest friends and gave me a final reassurance, because from that point on, I knew that even the guys at the top of the chain respected my work.

We never saw fame or fortune, but I am very proud of the catalog of music that we have created over the past 10 years. We never tried to be anything we weren’t and enjoyed every second of working on this music that we have been sharing with you all these years. I have random emails and letters saved from people that have written to me about how much this music means to them….these are my fortune.  To know that I created something that has helped people through tough times, let’s me know there was a reason for all this beyond myself.

thanks again for listening :)

Lyrics

After midnight I’ll meet you by the seaside in my mind 

I could walk a million miles with you by my side 

see the glow of the moon dancing through the night 

words can’t describe the feelings i hold inside 

and after midnight, I come to you in a dream 

take my hand and run away to a place you’ve never seen 

and we can watch the water such a beautiful sight 

we’ll be together after midnight 

chorus 

Please don’t wake me up don’t take me from this place I’d rather be 

I don’t know if you can go there, outside of a dream 

if i could i would i’d stay there with you, never want to leave 

you will always be there with me, holding as i sleep 

and after midnight i’ll see you beneath the darkened skies 

we can run around in the open chasing fireflies 

make a wish upon

the stars, forever we’ll be free 

cause i’ve become a part of you and your a part of me 

if i lead you, will you follow? 

stay right behind me 

if i take you, leave your sorrow 

stay right behind 

if i lead you, will you follow? 

stay right behind me 

no more worries till tomorrow 

no more worries

Nice to Meet You

This was track 1 on the “Under The Blue” disc that I would give out to people in 2002/3…

While it sounds like I was writing this to just another female, it was actually a song written to anyone that enjoyed my music….a song for the listeners. I’ve always felt that because I write my songs from a very personal perspective, the people that actually enjoy them and what the lyrics have to say would probably become good friends of mine if we were to have the chance to sit down and get to know each other. The songs that we get hooked on the most are the ones that we relate too…the songs that remind us that there is someone else out there that knows exactly how you feel in this moment, because they’ve been there and they are speaking to you through song.

For me, this song brings back great memories of the beginning of J Minus as a group of talented musicians, not just a studio project. We always loved to start our shows off with an intro that went straight into this song. - Dylan

Hello

it’s nice to meet you finally

I noticed you were by yourself

maybe you could use some com pany

there’s something about you

cause normally I’m shy

I’ve been watching you through the corner of my eye

who are you? 

where are you from?

I’ve got so many questions

man I’m feeling dumb

just curious about you

and everything you are

come walk with me

we could chill for awhile

have you been hoping for something else

a change of pace in life itself

are you still searching?

I wish you knew

that I could be there for you

hello

it’s me again

sorry to bother you

but I’ve been wondering

if you have found what it is you’re looking for

maybe I could help you

if you’ve got room for one more

last night it occurred to me

you and I are much more than we seem

when I’m around you I don’t feel so small

you seem like someone I could count on

if I should fall

I would like to thank you

for listening to me

sometimes I feel alone

like no one understands me

if we could stick together

go the distance with me

there’s nothing we can’t handle

nothing we can’t be

have you been hoping for something else

a change of pace in life itself

are you still searching?

I wish you knew

that I’ve been waiting for you

City Lights (versions 1 and 2)

This was one of the few actual co-writes between Trevor and I. It was actually written before the idea of J Minus existed, back in around 2001. It was an instrumental that I had been working on that he took interest in and my first experience in songwriting other than instrumentation.  I was playing drums in our first group that we called “The Drive”.

I remember sitting in our practice room and talking about what I saw in my mind when I listened to the music. It always felt like the perfect music for when I’d go to visit my girlfriend that lived in downtown Seattle at the time. I would make my way over there in the evening after work to pick her up and seeing those city lights was always exciting… my signal that I was getting close. Trevor took that idea and ran with it. I shared some vocal melody ideas and within a few hours, “City Lights” was born. 

Included in this video post is one of the original recordings that we did of it…back before we were an actual band. It was on the “Under The Blue” album that basically was just given out to friends and family. In the second half of the video is the version from the double album “Sun and Moon”. 

-Dylan

i just called i’m coming over 

through the rain i’ll drive all night 

nothing can stop me, ever stop me 

until i reach those city lights 

awoke at dawn i’m getting ready 

all night long i dreamt your face 

i’m free at last, i’m coming over 

i can not wait for your embrace 

Chorus 

my eyes are sinking, tired and open 

keep my hands on the wheel 

the simple things we do to keep this 

up and running still 

the world is sleeping, i’m still driving 

just to hold you again 

the simple things we do to keep this 

up and running 

your door was open so i just walked in 

found you sleeping, but i won’t wake 

to lay beside you, that’s all i need 

and watch the dreaming on your face 

i wonder if this

is heaven? 

well i guess this is heaven

thank you. for everything.

you’re welcome, and thank you :)

Another Sunday Evening…..from the unreleased album “Under The Blue”

This is where it all began, the first song I ever wrote. Before there was even a thought of making J Minus a band and it was just Trevor and I…..I was 21. I had been working on instrumentals for awhile at this time and trying to find singers to help me finish them, but no one was willing to really put in the work. I was extremely intimidated by the idea of putting my words to music. The thought of putting my innermost thoughts out there for all the world to hear was a bit terrifying.

In the end, all it took was a beautiful woman. 

At this time in my life, I was playing drums with multiple bands and trying to start my recording studio. I spent every Sunday evening hanging out at a bar called Floyd’s Place in downtown Seattle. One of the artists I played with would do a few solo sets every Sunday and her boyfriend was the bartender, so it was always a lot of fun. There was a waitress that I became enamored with at one point….through my eyes, she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in person. I’m not really a flirt…and I was still pretty shy at this point, so there was no way I was going to ever just walk up and start making stupid small talk with her. I felt like I’d just blend in with all the other guys that probably constantly tried to hit on her night in and night out. After a few weeks of playing the eye contact/flirting game, I started to get the feeling that maybe I had a shot with this woman. I hadn’t said more than a few words to her up to that point…mostly consisting of “I’m ok, thanks” when she’d ask if I needed anymore water or whatever….but I’m pretty good at reading body language and  I could of sworn that we had made eye contact from across the room on multiple occasions. 

I gathered up enough courage to at least ask my bartender friend about her…he instantly laughed at me and said  “Who? Lisa? HA! you’re a bit too young for her bro”.  He then proceeded to tell me that she was 29 with 3 kids…..then he joked “She’s single though, if you want me to put in a good word for you”. What bummed me out the most though was that he was right. I was in no place to try and date a woman 8 years older than me with 3 kids…I could barely take care of myself at that point. That’s when this song idea crept into my head and the words slowly started coming out. I felt the need to express these feelings in some way and it actually felt right.

I worked on this song for weeks and eventually showed Trevor, so I could have him sing it. We worked on it all night and finally around 3 in the morning it was complete. He was very helpful and complimented me on a job well done for my first song…I could tell he was impressed and that meant a lot to me because I respected him as a songwriter. As I showed it to all my friends, they were all very surprised and everyone seemed to love the song…and I could tell it was genuine. This really boosted my confidence level in my ability to write lyrics and started me on the path I am on today. 

At some point, my friends had talked me into somehow getting a copy to the girl that inspired me to break out of my shell. I didn’t want to just give it to her because I felt that would be awkward…so I just had my bartender friend say he found the cd on a table in the bar with her name on it, along with a note explaining what it was. I told him that I did not want her to know it was me, but to make sure she got it, because I just knew it would brighten her day and be a great feeling for her to know she inspired someone to write and there was a song out there written specifically about her.

I’m going to end this story here for now, because this blog is already getting too long and there’s a lot more that transpired afterwards that is irrelevant to the song itself. Let’s just say that even though no one told her where the song came from, she knew it was me…..and she tracked me down and I had to confess. I had no business trying to be in a relationship with a 29 year old woman with 3 kids, but I tried anyway…..ah youth.

This song is about seeing someone that you are so attracted to, they make you t. forget about reality for awhile and just dream about how wonderful it would be to be with that person…even though you have no idea about who they are or what they’re background might be. I associate this feeling with youth, because as we mature and become more experienced, we tend to not be so blinded by physical beauty.  I haven’t experienced anything quite like this since. 

-Dylan

Another sunday evening

I know that I’ve been meaning

to find a place where I won’t feel alone

sitting by myself

she strolls in from the back

she penetrates the walls that I’ve built

silently I watch her

does she notice me?

across the room

for a moment our eyes meet

I would understand you

revolve my world around you

tell me everything that’s got you down

I could never blame you

or ever try to tame you

take away the pain that’s got you down

now it’s 1am

think I should be sleeping

but I’m wide awake and waiting for a smile

maybe I’m just dreaming

something I find true

I’m paralyzed by those eyes

see right through

wonder how you’re doing

has life been fair to you?

have you gotten what you wanted?

are you waiting for something new

so beautiful to me

I lost reality

and I can’t help but think to myself

I don’t stand a chance

caught off guard by a first glance

can’t think clearly

so I’ll sit still

can you even hear me

I wonder if you ever will

Oh man! So many. After Midnight, Dream Come True, Love I Sought After, Make the Most of It, Congratulations, You Suck, Think of Me, Who We Are. I could go on and on. Haha. :)
Anonymous

I’ll start blogging from the top this coming week :)

what genre are you specifically in? i like it!!!!
Anonymous

Thanks! I usually just say pop to keep it simple. Adult Contemporary works too I guess :)

I've been listening to you guys since the myspace days. You all are my absolute favorite band. I can't even explain it. But I love that you post background to the songs you posted on here. Is there anyway I can convince you to posting some background on just a few of the songs from your previous albums? :)
Anonymous

thank you! to be someone’s absolute favorite is a crowning achievement! ;) Funny you should ask about doing blogs from older albums….I was enjoying this so much that I thought about starting from song 1 and working my way through them…even some of the stuff that was never really released.  it would keep us somewhat interactive since we don’t get to play out very much.

If I did just a few, what would you request?

J Minus - First Snow
65 plays

First Snow….

I couldn’t just leave you all on such a depressing note at the end of this album, so I decided to finish it with an instrumental that will hopefully paint beautiful pictures in your mind and leave you with a feeling of comfort and peace.

It doesn’t snow around here (Seattle) very much, in fact, some years we don’t get anything.  If it does happen to snow, I still get a feeling of pure joy and excitement like I did when I was kid, as if it was going to close down school so I didn’t have to go for a few days…even though I haven’t been in school in years.

I divided this instrumental into 3 sections. The first section is when the flakes begin to fall and barely collect on the ground.  The second section represents when it really starts to come down and wind is whipping it around. As a child I remember running through it as fast as I could so it seemed like going through the warp speed in star wars haha. The third section is when the snow fall has mostly ended and the neighborhoods become the most peaceful place to go for a walk. Even though it’s dark out, there is still plenty of light because of the reflections off of the snow. Everything is covered, and there is an amazing silence and calm that you can only get at this particular time.

I’ve heard a few different interpretations and visions that people have taken from this piece, so I hope it reminds you of something wonderful that you’ve experienced   in your own lives.

Well friends, this is where I say goodbye for now. It has been a pleasure writing these blogs and reliving these stories in my mind to share with you. This album “Memories” is now available on itunes and at CD Baby ….

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jminus5

 ….and should be entering other digital outlets very soon. There are actually 13 songs on the album. There are 2 originals from Trevor, who didn’t blog them because it would have been a huge distraction from the nothing that he does all day. lol…..seriously though, he’s got a couple great songs on this album as well. 

Thank you very much for reading and listening - Dylan 

J Minus - Before You Leave
139 plays

Before You Leave….

Bare with me here folks, this will be a long one. 

I’ve always had a hard time writing about my parents. Every time I tried it always came out cheesy sounding to me for some reason. To write a love song to let someone know how you feel is one thing, but to let the 2 people that gave me everything and shaped who I am know how much I appreciate them….well, let’s just say it hasn’t been easy to find those words. The way I found them is an interesting story in itself.

I have only experienced the death of 1 friend in my life so far. We weren’t even that close to be honest, but he was a fellow musician that I played with on occasion, so we shared that bond. When he passed, it hit me in a way that I wasn’t expecting and it took a moment to set in. It was when I realized that I would never play music with him again that I broke down for a bit. It definitely made me step back and take a look around for awhile….it played a major role in changing my perspective on how I viewed life in general. There were so many things that I would have liked to tell him and so many songs that we had left to work on together, but now it was over.  I wouldn’t get another chance…. I would never see him again. I won’t forget  what that realization felt like….and the fact that it can happen in an instant, at any time.

To find the words that I really wanted to say to my parents, I had to venture into the darkest place that I will one day have to face. I pictured myself sitting next to them on their death beds, knowing that they might not wake up when the sun rose the next day. It was in this place that I was able to write the song that had the emotion that I wanted to convey. I had to fight through many tears and visions that I could barely handle just to get this song.

I’ve always felt like a split right down the middle between my mom and dad. My dad has always been a hero to me. Growing up, I had the typical posters in my room of the sports stars that I followed and loved to watch, but I never really looked up to any of them as role models. I felt like my dad could do anything, like he was invincible….scared of nothing. Even as a grown man today, there’s still a part of me that feels that way about him. He taught me to be independent, to work hard and earn anything that I desire, and to stand up to anyone or anything that might get in my way. 

My mother is the sweetest and most caring person I’ve ever known in my life. Mom was quick to nag about things and make sure that we (I have a brother and sister) were always being considerate of everyone and everything. From brushing our teeth all the time to recycling anything that can be recycled haha….to this day if I see something recyclable in the garbage, it gives me an uneasy feeling and if I can pull it out and put it in a recycle bin, I will. If I was ever pissed off at someone about something and tried to tell my mom about it, she would always start off by taking that person’s side. She always found a way to force me to step into their shoes for a moment and make sure my anger was justified. It was frustrating back in the day, but now I do that all the time on my own.  She helped me to see the bigger picture and how to step away from my own perspective.

Between the two of them, they supported all of us in every endeavor we wanted to try. We never had much money, but they would sacrifice their own wants and desires, so that we could experience life to the fullest.  I remember my dad always wanted a hot tub. He built a special place for it in the back yard on the deck. He never got it though. Between every kid needing braces, playing sports and whatever else we did to cost them money, they never really got to have any toys for themselves or go on vacations and whatnot. I am 100% sure that without their neverending support, I probably would have given up on music long ago and I wouldn’t  be here doing what makes me happiest in this life….creating this music and sharing it with all of you.

I realize that this song is depressing and most people will never want to listen to it.

It’s true purpose outside of my own life is to serve as a reminder to the listener to take a step back and reflect on the most important people in their life….whether it be parents/grand/step or just very close friends. Do they really know how much you appreciate them?  Most of us will never get the chance to share our deepest thoughts and love with our departing loved ones in their final moments…..the sad truth is that normally we just wake up one day and they are gone from our lives forever.  When was the last time you sat down with dad and talked about all those great family memories that you created together? When was the last time you and mom went for a walk around the neighborhood and just  reminisced about life and all the amazing things you went through together? maybe it’s time. - Dylan

sleep tonight like you never have to wake up

and place your worries in my hands

rest your burdens on my back

I will carry them as far as I can

your bones have turned against you

once so strong and proud

the years have worn them down

carried Christmas trees

my silly costumes on Halloween

my most cherished memories

injecting me with love, more than enough

so I might share some with the world and a very special girl

if the sun should rise

and you decide not to open up your eyes

I’ll be right here to whisper my goodbye

and someday I will find you on the other side

your vision’s giving in

those eyes don’t work the way they used to

but your smile is my key

shows they still remember me

they watched me grow

saw me set out on my own

and if the weight of the world would ever wear me down

they would welcome me back home

we never had the money for fancy things

didn’t seem to matter 

never stalled on the ladder, we still climbed

as a family we rise

foundation never cracked

built by your own bare hands

you made me who I am and I’m thankful everyday

I love you more than any song could ever say