In a year marked by unprecedented global challenges, the song ‘100 Foot Tall’ emerged as a beacon of hope, echoing the sentiment that every small act matters. This anthem of unity and compassion resonates, teaching us that even the smallest gesture can ripple into monumental change. Through its poignant lyrics and emotive melody, ‘100 Foot Tall’ invites us to embrace the imperfect symmetry of our efforts, encouraging us to believe that folding in just one corner can start reshaping the world towards peace.
In our daily lives, we often overlook the impact of small gestures, thinking they’re too insignificant to make a real difference. Yet, if you’ve ever taken a simple piece of paper and folded each of its four corners into the center, you’ve seen how small folds transform a flat sheet into a more complex and interesting shape. This transformation serves as a metaphor for the power of small actions in creating significant change.
Let’s consider this idea through the lens of the song. Its lyrics are not just words but a proclamation, a call to action. They remind us that even when we feel our efforts are too small to matter, every act of kindness and every step towards acceptance moves us closer to a more harmonious world.
This message echoes in a poignant story about a young boy and his grandfather, walking on a beach littered with sand dollars after a storm. As they walked, the grandfather would occasionally stop, pick up a sand dollar, and gently toss it back into the ocean. Perplexed, the boy asked why, given the overwhelming number of stranded sand dollars. The grandfather’s simple act of throwing another one back into the ocean, while replying, “To that one, it will make all the difference in the world,” perfectly encapsulates the essence of our individual contributions.
Expanding on this narrative, let’s consider other everyday examples. Small actions like choosing to smile at a stranger, offering a seat to someone in need on public transport, or volunteering a few hours at a local shelter are just as impactful. These actions create ripples of positivity, fostering a culture of empathy and understanding in our communities.
Moreover, from a psychological perspective, these small acts can be profoundly fulfilling. Research shows that acts of kindness, even minor ones, can boost our own happiness and well-being. They foster a sense of connection and community, essential in today’s often fragmented world.
In conclusion, let’s not underestimate the power of small actions. Whether it’s by folding a corner of a metaphorical paper, tossing a sand dollar back into the ocean, or simply sharing a smile, each of us has the power to contribute to a greater good. So, the next time you’re at the checkout and see an option to donate, or when you’re paying your bills and have a chance to contribute to charities like Light of Life or St. Jude, remember the folded paper and the sand dollars. Each small act does not just fold in a corner for peace; it builds a more compassionate and connected world, one gesture at a time.
“From where I stand in my small space, I’m giving a hundred foot embrace with the hopes just to change one inch of this place.”
A self-study I performed on the Battle of Jericho and the life of Joshua inspired the lyrics to “Rocket Fuel”. The lyrics are about overcoming fear and its deception in order to run with reckless abandon to take down our adversary and receive the inheritance waiting for each of us, which I believe to be a predestined and personalized place of fulfillment.
We live in a society where anxiety and fear have kept so many people from attaining what was meant for them in their life story. As I am re-entering my own post-Covid world, I am finding the best way to deal with battles is to dive in instead of waste too much time in a place of contemplation; I am finding that the battle is actually more comfortable to be in than the fearful place of contemplating whether or not to fight at all.
Personally, I am not a fan of sitting in confined spaces with large groups of people; it’s like there is no way out. I don’t know why, but it’s a little Jericho I am getting over, which is kind of embarrassing when you compare something as minuscule as that to charging a bunch of giants with swords. However, it’s one of my battles right now. We each have one; yet, diving straight in is like ripping off a band-aid. It is quicker and less mentally painful than sitting there and thinking about it.
In the beginning, the Israelites let fear obstruct their ability to take what was rightfully theirs. Aside from Joshua and Caleb, who both had faith they would defeat the Canaanites from the very beginning, the majority were so afraid of them that they refused to step foot into the land that was promised to them. Years later, after Moses’ death, Joshua was given instructions that would close what could have been a gap in our existence unless he dove right in for it.
I love reading the remarkable encounter and itinerary given to Joshua prior to engaging in one of the most legendary battles of our existence:
“And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” Joshua 6:2-5 NKJV
I began to pen the lyrics to “Dust and the Ashes” after feeling compassion for all of those fighting the California Wildfires. My view from Pennsylvania left me hopeless in my endeavors to do anything for the people of California dealing with this terrible, ongoing apprehension. While drafting, I realized that many of us are facing battles in our own lives every day; the lyrics became a synthesis between the struggles of the inhabitants of those scorched areas, the firefighters, and all of us dealing with adversity in our day-to-day lives.
You are in a battle! Whether you are the smoke jumper I intended these lyrics to pump up initially, a Ukrainian soldier surrounded, a single-mom trying to make it, or someone fighting to close the door on a demon, we need to not only slay the dragon, but sweep-up the dust and the ashes and throw them away. If we don’t, the remembrance of dark times and tribulations will forever obstruct our paths towards happiness.
When you write lyrics, you venture towards tackling things that are bothersome and combat those things that afflict your sense of peace with songs to sustain tranquility for yourself. It becomes an antidote that you believe in personally, yet a vague, undefined trail of words appears to other people, and you hope they can relate to those words in their own ways individually and uniquely.
The lyrics to Something Else were initially directed towards Adolph Hitler and how one person’s selfishness can destroy the potential of so many people. Yes, this is an unorthodox concept to wrestle with; however, these are lyrics that I penned in high school while being easily impressionable and disconcerted.
If you destroy someone’s potential, you adversely impact those around them in which that potential could have reached as well. I can’t help but think with each genocide or even small-circled act of selfishness we can commit, “What books could they have written? What inventions could they have made? What songs could they have written? What diseases could they have cured?”
It’s pretty easy to point a finger at one of the evilest human beings that has ever lived, Hitler. Right? Now that I am older, however, I can point the finger at myself and determine if I am truly helping anyone that is reaching out, or if I am doing anything to maximize the potential of the people around me.
On a side note, the chorus drives home a Karma-like conclusion. Personally, I want people to know that this is NOT an integral ingredient to my life or spiritual philosophy. “What comes around goes around” is too true to ditch. Even though it was a major part of my thought process at the age in which I wrote the chorus, from that point until now, I have seen too many good things happen to bad people and too many bad things happen to good people to contest that the chorus’ lyrics should be the staple in the jam. I think the hope that Joshua and I have is that the song would encourage people to actually do more for those people that truly need help. That’s what really matters right now.
When Jesse and Joshua first started down the path of getting the “Overload in Stereo” project up and running they were both convinced of one thing. Because of their hectic schedules, they needed to focus only on recording and releasing music. Playing lives shows is currently out of the picture, at least for now. This gave Joshua the reason he was looking for to get back into recording, mixing, and producing music. At this point, “Cackling Dog Studios” was born.
The evolving studio
When Joshua first started out building his studio, he was living in a small 3 bedroom townhouse. So, a compact solution was needed for that time. Through multiple iterations, he finally settled on a setup that would work for this project. He used moving blankets in the master bedroom when recording vocals and focused primarily on using amp sims to get the tones they need. This was because of the noise from live amps and being so close
to neighbors. He didn’t want to get shut down before starting. As for drums, they enlisted the help of Roy, who is oddly never around for any type of photographs. Although not an official member of the group, Roy has been fundamental in the drums of the music.
So, this is how we started working on songs like “Going Back,” “Something Else,” and the soon-to-be-released “Know What I Mean.” It wasn’t the best solution, but it was the solution that worked. It served its purpose well
for the time that Joshua lived there.
The final version…for now
After moving to another location in the late summer of 2021. Joshua outfitted his basement into a full production studio. The studio has the space to record full live drums, a booth for vocals and amps, and is able to handle most mid-sized band needs. His studio mainly consists of a Universal Audio Apollo x8 with a Behringer ADA8200 piped in via ADAT to expand to a total of 16 channels.
The studio does have some outboard gear, such as Art Pro tube pre’s and optical compressors, but most of the mixing is done in the box. The recording is done using either Avid’s Pro Tools or Apple’s Logic Pro. It all depends on the song and what is needed. Aside from that, the studio is equipped with an array of microphones and a full drum set. The dead space is great for capturing sound without the nuisance of having room frequencies being an issue with the recording. It’s big enough for most amps as well as taller people. However, it does get a bit warm in there.
Ultimately, this new recording space has opened up much more potential for Overload in Stereo. Being able to track new songs when inspiration hits are invaluable. Not having to depend on external studios or services also proves to be much more beneficial to their more hectic schedules.
The new space also comes equipped with a studio cat. That’s Mittens, he’s the mascot for Wobbly Cat Records. We also can not forget about Jovie, the Boston Terrier that was the inspiration for the namesake of the studio: Cackling Dog Studio.