Really Good Elevator Music

By: Kyle Pulley | Published on: March 25, 2014

So this past winter I did something a little out of my comfort zone…In most settings, whether it be as a band member, an engineer, or a producer, I’ve always played the role of a collaborator in that I help bring someone else’s vision to fruition. I’ve never been the principal songwriter in any (good) band, I’ve never contributed more than a line to a song, and melodies and licks I write are almost always for someone else’s song.

So when I was asked to collaborate with Yowei Shaw, a public radio producer (who has done pieces for Studio 360, This American Life, The World, Fresh Air), on a public art installation called Really Good Elevator Music, I really didn’t think it would be a whole lot different. I thought I’d be helping someone bring their song to life. Little did I know that what I was actually agreeing to would be my first job as a COMPOSER. For a frame of reference, consider that the last song I had actually written was for a hardcore punk band I was in when I was 20, and the last time I had written any music from scratch was in college for a film scoring class.

I had no idea about the amount of work that would go into making the 2 tracks for the project. What Yowei brought to the project was a concept, some audio, and a vague idea of what the music should be. The rest was up to me!! 2 months of nights and weekends later (while I was also trying to finish the Kite Party record as well as a few others) we came up with something I’m really proud of.

The song, “Sunday Breakfast” is a collage of field recordings of kitchen sounds,hopeful lo-fi musical themes, and snippets of men from the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission talking about their favorite foods (as part of an ice breaker for a radio workshop Yowei recorded). Our concept for this track was to put a spot light on an oft marginalized part of the Philadelphia community (in particular the Chinatown North neighborhood) and attempt to humanize them by focusing on something we can all relate to; FOOD!

Lister Here!

Sunday Breakfast

Here’s some of the press we’ve recieved for Really Good Elevator Music!

The Atlantic Cities

Philadelphia Magazine

City Paper

The Key

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation