The Music of Compassing by The Blank Tapes

If you’ve had a chance to watch Compassing, you know that the music plays a big part in setting the tone and keeping pace for the film. Cyrus has worked with Matt Adams and The Blank Tapes on film projects in the past, so when it came time to think about music for the feature, this was a natural choice. 

As with any director, Cyrus picked all the songs for the film with only a few suggestions coming from the artist. To get a better understanding of where the songs came from, we asked Adams to break down the soundtrack. The result is a rare glimpse into the mind of a musician and his artistic process. 

Listen to the whole soundtrack here: http://theblanktapes.bandcamp.com/album/compassing-soundtrack

1. La La Love You – This recording has been sitting around for a few years now, waiting to be released on my upcoming (lost) album ‘SHA-LA LOVE’.  

2. Don’t Ever Get Old – I wrote this in my friend’s backyard in Costa Mesa and released it as our second single for our latest album ‘VACATION.’ I’m proud of the lyrics and weird time signature on this one. It’s not really about anyone in particular, just the idea that you’re only as old as you feel. 

3. Early Birdy – Can you tell that I wrote this while I was on tour down in Brazil? It’s about these birds in Sao Paulo that’d keep me up at night with their annoying bird calls. The title is also somewhat of a reference to a side project I play in called ‘DIRDY BIRDY’.

4. Little Corona – I wrote this on the Ukulele a few years back and named it after the beach in Corona Del Mar that I frequented as a kid. (I grew up in the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa area, by the way, and currently live in LA.)

5. Heel Spur – A heel spur is actually a medical condition in which you have a little bone sticking out on your heel. My girlfriend/bandmate Pearl has one, so I wrote a song about it, personifying the thing as a villain. The name sounded western to me so I just went with that style. My band recorded this song along with ‘DEAD MARIACHI’ in Atlanta, GA, while in the middle of a tour. 

6. Holy Roller (Single Version) – The lyrics to this are based on a guy whom I’ve known for over a decade, Obo Martin. He’s kind’ve a wandering, psychedelic, leprechaun, hobo that you love to hate and hate to love. This recording is actually different than the one that appears on the VACATION album, being that it is a little more electric and psychedelic. 

7. Ebbs & Flows – When Pearl and I toured Japan with Cyrus back in 2012 to promote Stoked & Broke, Cyrus mentioned to me that he thought that the phrase “Ebbs & Flows” would be a good idea for a song. A few months later, I wrote and recorded a song based on that and gave it to Cyrus for the film! So the song actually came about from Cyrus’s suggestion!

8. Dead Mariachi – I reworked this old musical idea specifically for Cyrus after he asked me for a synth driven, apocalyptical type song. The original demo was part of a series of half a dozen improvised song snippets released on the weird ‘CELL SONGS & MINUTE MELODIES’ album that snuck under the radar a couple years back. This recording was done in an Atlanta, GA, studio along with ‘HEEL SPUR’.

9. Ride the Tide – I had the guitar melody to this song in my head for quite sometime. Turns out, I ripped it off from the melody doorbells and clocks make! Although the chords completely change the context. The lyrics were kind’ve an afterthought to try to tie it into the surf film, which I’m really happy about.

10. Mi Corazon – This one’s an oldie that features a pretty unusual violin-like instrument called a Ukelin. I barely speak any Spanish, so this song was kind’ve a joke. Since the film was shot in Mexico, it seems fitting that Cyrus would use it in his film.

If you’re in Southern California this month, be sure to catch The Blank Tapes on tour:

10/10 Santa Ana, CA @ The Constellation Room 

10/11 San Diego, CA @ The Griffin

10/12 Santa Barbara, CA @ SOhO

10/19 Santa Cruz, CA @ Don Quixote’s

11/08 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent

*Photos by Kevin Roche