After Midnight – A Painted Picture

by | Mar 15, 2021 | Stories

“There’s a place outside of Denver, a mile high and bluebird sky,” I whispered, tapping the end of a pen against my chin. “Son of a bitch,” I thought, “now there’s an opening line…!”

I scribbled the words quickly across the dry edge of my dampened bar napkin and copped a few more of them from the drink caddie; I knew we were onto something, I could feel it. The bartender, Sam, shrugged at me, and I nodded back to him, inviting another beer my way.

We wanted something that immediately painted the picture of where we came from. It felt like both minutes and years since we founded Silo, and things had exploded for us since — two big-budget music videos, world-famous, Grammy-winning mastering engineers from Nashville, and our debut album release just days away. Six months ago, I was an out-of-work car salesman, playing local open mics and wondering how I’d make rent this time. Today, I was listening to the master of our full-length album in first class on a flight to Las Vegas. When Track 4 came up, it took me back.

“Oh, listen to this,” one of our wildly talented guitar players and co-writers said, just minutes away from the recording studio. He fumbled with his phone and then played us a very rough, albeit rather moving, instrumental version of a tune called “Slow Song”, one of these Silo gems which had been in the repertoire for years. In the first fifteen seconds, I knew that we had a radio hit on our hands, and all I had to do was NOT FUCK IT UP.

I hummed a few melodies, pondered lyrical themes, and as we pulled into the studio’s parking lot, we leapt out of the car and hollered to our producer, “WE GOT A HIT!” He slowly blinked at us, with his morning coffee in-hand and waved us inside. Three hours later, the song was tracked, roughly mixed, and finally, it was done.

And it sucked! Not so bad, actually, but it was not up to Silo’s sterling standard.

We eventually 86’d the song, meaning our producer deleted (muted) our initial vocal takes, and we re-uploaded the instrumental track to the band’s Google Drive. This folder, unfortunately, is where songs go to die. Until a few months later, when another co-writer and bandmate and I were at the studio, and we thought we’d give “slow song” one more try…

“There’s a place outside of Denver, a mile high and bluebird sky,” I listened to the words through my headphones, having never listened to my own music on an airplane before. As I saw the colossus of capitalism appear out the window, set against the lifeless desert, I couldn’t help but think that we might just be onto something.

With our second attempt at “Slow Song”, we wanted to embrace a cinematic feeling of where we’re from — and write something that gave the hardcore country album’s tempo a breather. It evolved into something that depicted the crisp mountain air, the romance and seclusion that comes from those cold cabin weekends with your lover, sipping beer, cuddled up next to a crackling fire, and just how clear the sky is after midnight.

“After Midnight” became Silo’s third single released and has since become an anthem for Rocky Mountain love stories. We wanted the song to start as sweet and innocent as possible, something that was a far cry from Silo’s sound thus far, and then let the momentum gather as we finish in true Silo fashion.

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