About the Music
Q: Too Far is your second project to integrate novel and music. This time, though, you took a slightly different approach.
RS: The 12 tracks evoke twelve scenes from the story—the children’s experience of the forest that their goddess, Dawn, remembers. With Wild Animus, the idea was to capture musically the ram’s entire journey. Here, Dawn remembers moments with a particular quality, so we hear those moments as opposed to the whole smash.
Too Far evolved in the same way as Wild Animus. The music was created alongside the book and conceived of as a whole piece. The idea was that the book would tell the story and there would be moments in the story that would be remembered by Dawn.
Dawn sings about Robbie and Fristeen’s exploration and discoveries. Each piece follows the emotional arc of a recollected scene. And in sequence, the twelve scenes follow the arc of the kids’ emotional progress during the story. Where they are meeting for the first time or climbing the Bendies, Dawn’s recollection is more playful. As we progress in the story, what Dawn remembers is more serious. They’re still memories that she wants to keep, but there’s more at stake.
Q: Maria Taylor is on vocals this time around. You found her to be an ideal match for the role.
RS: Maria was a contributor to Wild Animus, and I’m a fan of both her solo work and her work with Azure Ray. Finding a singer to play Dawn—it was probably like what a director goes through to cast an actress for a film. Maria was a great fit. Her voice, her temperament, her emotional breadth— She was able to project both a childlike presence and a deep and thoughtful adult one. Her ability to mix and match those aspects of her personality in a way that dovetailed with the moments in the story was important.
We had the help of Andy LeMaster, who works closely with Maria. Andy also contributed to Wild Animus, and he performs on all of the Dawn Remembers pieces. We threw ourselves together in the studio, not knowing exactly what would come out of it. Maria was a great choice. She understood the story and the character, and she really brought the scenes to life.
Q: There’s a lot of nonverbal vocalization in the Too Far music. Some songs have very little in the way of lyrics.
RS: The moments are recollections of a child’s experience, and the wordiness of Wild Animus didn’t seem appropriate. I wanted to capture the care-freeness and exhilaration that a child feels. Some of the high points of Maria’s work are the moments when she is humming or doing her half-conscious nonverbal thing. I love that. I think she did a wonderful job of capturing the emotional meaning of those scenes—probably better than if there were words associated with them.
organ, acoustic guitars, 12-string, octave mandolin, mandola
additional electric guitar on tracks 7 and 11
bass on track 4, additional electric guitar on tracks 1 and 4
Eric Drew Feldman
additional keyboards on track 11
additional organ on track 11
additional organ on track 11
Words, music and arrangements: Rich Shapero
Produced by: Rich Shapero, Josh Turner and Jan Sassano
Additional vocal production: Andy LeMaster
Engineered by: Josh Turner
Mixed by: Chuck Ainlay
Mastered by: Gavin Lurssen