Shuj Roswell Goes In Depth About The First Track Off His Newest Album, ‘Setting Fire To The Stars’

I’d like to invite you to tune in over the next few months as I begin spotlighting individual tracks off my newest album. Today, in the first episode, I’ll be discussing the title track “Setting Fire To The Stars.”

For those of you familiar with my past releases, you may have noticed that everything is done with intent. Take for example the similarities between Flying High Above The World and Everybody Loves The Sun. First, I like to start each album with the title track. Second, I like to introduce a sort of “musical imagery” related to the track title and album art. Finally, I use 7 syllable phrases as the titles (more on that during episode 05, “Vibration Of Light”). 

Shuj Roswell Press Photo
Shuj Roswell Press Photo

The scene is set in a distant future where a universal race of beings have been closed off from their emotional connection to one another through technology. Everyone has been kept numb by a tyrannical, omnificent computer. The inaudible alien radio frequency you hear in the track, is the sound of our liberator’s communication as they break into the heavily guarded military facility that houses the light beam reactor. When lit, modular light frequencies that hold all the colors of emotion are sent streaming into the sky, awakening and freeing us from our enslavement. 

Musically, I dug for a theatrical sample that built suspense and tension while providing a Sci-Fi feel at the same time. That’s when I came across English composer, John Barry, better known for his work in several James Bond films. This wouldn’t be the first time I turned to 007 as I sampled Nancy Sinatra’s, “You Only Live Twice”, in Flying High Above The World.

Once I chopped and arranged the samples, I layered in several “dusty circuit” sounds with a minimal beat that includes a reverse snare. I wanted to be sure the angelic vocal sound take center stage before the mood heightens. The track rides on a hard 808 sub bass that eventually leads the listener to a series of trap style snare risers with filtered vocals layered over the top. This takes us to the final moment before ignition.

The explosion at the end of the song is the point in which the light beam reactor has been activated and the stars have been set free. I couldn’t find an explosion to sample with the amount of grit and rumble I was looking for, so I created my own from a moog voyager synthesizer. The explosion takes us into an empty void, setting the listener up for track #2. 

“Setting Fire To The Stars” is about awakening one’s emotional vibrations of love, compassion, and forgiveness. We are all made of stardust. We are the stars set on fire.

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