Mark A. Cooley Talks Collaboration With Friend, J. Shook – Episode 4: “Sun Goes Down”

I take a very organic and somewhat unorthodox approach to the way I write and produce my brand of electronic music. Instead of endless bars of repeating loops, the majority of my tracks follow a more traditional template that incorporate musical phrasing. I think it makes each song a little more accessible to those not so familiar with electronic music.

Photo of J. Shook
Photo of J. Shook

For the most part, my tracks seem to flow like this: Intro – pre-verse – verse – chorus – pre-verse – verse – chorus – bridge/interlude/drop – chorus – outro. I think “Sun Go Down” is a good example of this format. Once I have these sections written and an overall song arrangement laid out, I try to layer in points of interest. For example, if we listen to the intro of Sun Go Down, at the moment you hear the first vocal sample, “I betcha you can’t even see the sun,” you’ll notice in the background this “pew-pew-pew” effect followed by a long riser. These may seem like small details, but I think they are important to the track in a visual sense. Interestingly enough, I made both of those sounds by sliding a glass beer bottle over my guitar strings while laying the guitar flat in my lap. I know this is nothing earth shattering, but it’s always fun to incorporate this kind of stuff into the music. The effect I wanted was completed by adding the Roland Space Echo with a lot of reverb and a heavy swell on the decay knob. This effect reoccurs throughout the track. Then there’s the vocal chop in the first pre-verse. Again, applying the Roland Space Echo to this section.

This track happened to be written right after I finished Ric Flair All Night (Episode 03). I was still feeling the sound of the Reece synth I had used so I decided to feature it again, giving it a slight tweak by adding a tad bit more of the chorus effect to the sound. I wanted a very minimal synth bass line so I did this 3 note part of F>C>Eb that follows the kick drum. Jumping over to the Moog, I layered in a melodic section over the top for 4 bars before harmonizing the notes for another 4. I was trying to add a building effect that intensifies the vocals as well as a bit of tension that leads the listener to the Chorus. 

I remember I was listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails at the time I wrote this and ended up with an almost identical beat to the song, “Closer”. Needing to change things up, I doubled up the kicks throughout the track. 

This song features vocals by my good homie and regular member of The Shuj Roswell Experience, Jarrett Allen, AKA, J. Shook. I first met Jarrett at the Aggie Theater in Ft.Collins, CO on New Year’s Eve, 2016. I was playing support for Michal Menert that night and I remember Jarrett had approached me after my set saying how much he enjoyed it. As I recall, I was listening to Michal’s performance when all of the sudden I hear this vocal flow. When I looked to the stage, it was Shook! He’s such a humble guy, he had made no mention that he’d be performing with Michal when we spoke. I immediately returned the sentiments when he finished his sit in with Michal. We both agreed that we should work together and the rest, as they say, is history.

As for “Sun Go Down”, I approached Shook with the track and explained the vibe I was feeling for it. He went right to work and came back with some really good lyrics that fit just right. I felt that he really delivered a strong performance in the recording booth too. I think I may have put him on the spot when I asked him to sing the “summer, summertime” in the dub track as a tribute to Mungo Jerry’s song, “In The Summertime”. I remember him saying, “you want me to sing?” It was his idea to do the backing track with words and phrases instead of the typical vocal dub which I really liked. Per Shook, the verses speak for themselves. It’s about getting ready for a night out with your crew and doing your thing. Looking good, feelin’ confident, and being an individual. Once the sun goes down, squad is gonna light up. 

Sun Go Down

(Verse 1)

Fresh to death every time that I step out

I been the best, got a pep in my step now

Ride for myself, ain’t no set that I rep now

Bang on chest and perform with my neck out

Pop bottles all day, straight cash shit

Fantastic late nights, live lavish

Pay dues, we make moves, you can’t hack it

Flows that leave you cold in the winter without no jacket

Got beats that bring heat like the summertime

Long days and long nights where you find love is blind

We grind, roll blunts of that stinky lime

Squad up & roll out, stunt every time

All day, all night, you know the dealy

Get up to throw down, we in the building

Sun goes down and these skills gon leave you chilly

I do this shit for real so I know the real ones gon feel me

Wait until the sun go down

We gon’ make this bitch light up

(Verse 2)

Dressed to impress, so success comes with each day

Kicks match the fit. You should already peep game

Step out on the town, get around like a speed date

Watch the sun go down like a chick on your b-day

Gassed up, no breaks, blowin’ clouds

Haters talk fast so you know that I’m smokin’ loud

Work all week, on the weekend I’m goin’ out

If talk is really cheap, let me show em what I’m about

Show em I’m bout the beat, show em I’m bout the groove

Show em I’m bout these streets, show em I ain’t gon lose

No need to choose between me and the right dude

Cuz I ain’t gon snooze on a chance to make night moves

Like a criminal, I thrive in the night time

My flow’s subliminal, no lies when I write rhymes

The light’s lime, you just gotta wait on the right time

Beast in the booth, the freak comes out when it’s night time

Wait until the sun go down

We gon’ make this bitch light up

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