August 2, 2023 (Raleigh, NC) – Electro-pop duo WAKING APRIL (real names: Bethany and Alex McKee) has released the official music video for their cover of Soundgarden’s ‘The Day I Tried to Live.’ Alex McKee explains, “Our version of ‘The Day I Tried to Live’ is more than a cover; it’s a reimagining of the song using our instrumentation and creative influences. The main parameters we set for ourselves were to maintain the attitude and grunginess of the original without any guitars. The riffs are extremely guitar-based and translating them to synthesizer was more challenging than we thought, but that was also the fun of it! The result is a reflection of the incredible songwriting of the original; the song is so good, it survives and shines even in a completely different genre.”
Official Music Video Link:
The original song, “The Day I Tried to Live,” written and sung by the late Chris Cornell, was released by Soundgarden in April of 1994. It was the second single from the band’s fourth studio album, Superunknown, also released in 1994. The single landed at number 13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart and number 25 on the Modern Rock Tracks Chart. ‘The Day I Tried to Live’ was also included on Soundgarden‘s 1997 greatest hits album, A-Sides (Billboard 1994). Alex McKee of Waking April reveals, “Chris Cornell is the artist who made me want to write music. While the genre I write now isn’t near the grunge sound he perfected, this music spoke to me at the right time and is still something I reach for. For whatever reason, grunge bands like Soundgarden and Audioslave kicked me into loving music on a deeper level. I felt that music in my bones when I was growing up, and I’m so grateful for it. This is my favorite Soundgarden song and one of my favorite songs of all time.
While Waking April fits more into an electro-pop mold, I’ve never been able to shake the influence of grunge in our sound design. It especially shows up in our guitar-driven songs, but no matter the instrumentation, I’m still a flannel-wearing head-banger in my heart. We joked for years about doing some grunge covers as a fun project. Then K.Flay released her EP of 90s covers, and we got inspired to actually do it. It had to be this song: it meant the most to me, we had the vision for the sound design, and Bethany has the vocal range for the impressive jumps in the song. Plus, we don’t get many chances to play in such an odd time signature (we recorded it in 15/4…the engineer nearly killed me) so that sealed the deal.”
For their sound in the unique cover, Waking April used a blend of Arturia VSTs and analog synths but re-amped everything through analog gear while relying on a Neve preamp for the bass parts to balance out a mix of almost clipped clean tones and dirtied-up, distorted synth tones. Arturia’s 808 colors can be found along with a Novation Bass Station 2 as the filter opens up into the choruses, which features Arturia’s Arp 2600. Alex quips, “I hope Kim Thayil approves!” as he explains how he and Bethany used their Nord Stage 3 to sculpt the leads and translate the melodic riffs of the chorus into Waking April’s distinctive synth-pop sound. Waking April’s version of ‘The Day I Tried to Live’ was recorded by Holt William at Raleigh’s xOver Productions and produced by Alex McKee of Waking April. The official music video was also filmed and produced by Holt William.
Waking April, just coming off a very exciting show with Raleigh electronic dreampop artist Animalweapon and Charleston’s Olive Dares the Darkness on the final stop of their tour at the highly acclaimed Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, says they have big plans this fall. Bethany and Alex reveal, “we will be on tour this month and then be heading into the studio to work on our first full-length album in Nashville, Tennessee. We can’t share too much yet, but we seem to have sparked some interest of a well-known producer and label, so we will update more as that progresses.”
Waking April’s cover of ‘The Day I Tried to Live’ by Soundgarden can be found on Apple Music at: https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-day-i-tried-to-live-single/1683457601
Bethany and Alex McKee from Waking April are available for interviews.
Official Artist Contact: [email protected]
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