With their debut album release insight, Thirdstory keeps their fans at bay with “Hit The Ceiling”.
With less than a week until the release of their debut album Cold Heart, Thirdstory surprised their fans with a new track they’ve been begging for, the Malay produced “Hit The Ceiling”. The guys have have dubbed it “The Heartbreak Anthem” and rightly so. I had the pleasure to chat with the trio about their creative process behind “Hit The Ceiling”, working with Malay and how it feels to finally get their 3 year effort out the door.
How did this collaboration come about? Malay has worked with so many beautiful voices, Sam Smith, Alicia Keys, John Legend, It seems like maybe a natural, obvious collaboration for the vocal talents of Thirdstory, was it that easy or natural of a collaboration?
We met Malay through our A&R and one of the greatest people on earth, Karen Kwak. She had worked with him before on Channel Orange by Frank, and we loved the way his sound felt really full and organic. We knew we always wanted to balance things sounding current but timeless. The first day we were in the studio together, we finished a full song. It was a very natural fit.
You guys worked until 4am every night in studio with Malay to put this track together. What is it about late night studio sessions that seam to be the catalyst to so many great songs and is so appealling to musicians in general?
I think there’s a stillness in the space of the night. You don’t have responsibilities that you have during the day. If the people in the session are a vibe, you’re free to experiment with sound and texture with minimal restraints. “Hit The Ceiling” is pretty much bass, drums, and a bunch of vocal layers. We used different effects and harmonizer pedals and fooled around with it for hours to get those effected vocal layers in the bridge.
For “Hit The Ceiling” specifically, what sort of sonic experiements were needed to arrive at the final product? Was there anything you tried that didn’t work? how did you go about reworking things to fit?
This song actually went through a number of transformations from where it started. We tried adding samples, and wrote quite a few different versions of the pre-chorus and chorus. It took a while to find the perfect energy. We eventually added live bass, experimented with vocal layers and effects, and had our friend and drummer in our band, Zach Mullings, come and completely murder the beat. It turned into a part-Earth Wind & Fire/Zapp & Roger groove, part-rock anthem.
How many hours actually went into the final version of this song?
Maaaaan, too many to count. We worked on it for a few days in late 2015 & revamped it into its current form over a couple weeks in February of 2016. Not to mention countless hours outside the studio working on the songwriting. Getting to step away from the song for a little bit then hear it with fresh ears really gave us some perspective and helped us realize we made the right musical choices.
Your debut Album, Cold Heart, drops March 9th, which has been 3 years in the making, is this a culmination of all the work and celebration for you guys or does it feel more like a big weight off your shoulders?
It’s a bit of both. Our music in general is a culmination of all our individual energies and styles, so it feels really amazing finally getting to show people that. It definitely is a relief to get it out after years of putting everything we had into it. We’re excited to share this really personal side of ourselves and our music.
Thirdstory “Hit The Ceiling” is now available on all major streaming services. Cold Heart drops March 9th.