Listen

Story

What turned out to be the foundation of “A Little Denial” came about last year when playing around on my cute Piamino. A Piamino is an upright piano with only five and a half octaves. My hands rarely travel much into the peripheries anyway, so it suits me fine. After some initial tracking, the song was collecting dust until this pandemic hit and freed up the time I needed to complete it. It’s a fun little thing in the Westcoast/R&B vein and, lyrically, an ambivalent take on an alluring but maybe not so very healthy relationship. One of those ticking bombs with pretty cables. We’ve all been there. Someone told me recently that the song sounded a bit like a Greg Guidry tune, which I of course took as a huge compliment, filing it under the “I can only wish” department. I used to correspond with Greg about 20 years ago and he came across as a sweet man and was obviously talented beyond measure. I was just a kid but he was always quick to ask me how my life was going. He went all too soon. If you don’t have his “Over the Line” album, you’re missing out on a masterpiece.

Let’s head into the liner notes territory for a moment. The Juno Award-winning mixing engineer, John Bailey (Marc Jordan, David Clayton-Thomas, Monkey House), who I had the fortune of working with on “A Little Denial”, brought a ton to the table and really gave the production some sparkle, punch and clarity. After hearing my own “mix” of it for months, John just took it to a whole new level. He is a master at what he does and I owe him a lot of gratitude. But I think I might be getting ahead of myself here. Let’s rewind to the start. After having arranged the bulk of the song in Logic using NI’s great Komplete suite, it screamed for some, well, humans. After all, they’re hard to beat, no matter the effort that goes into “humanizing” the plugins these days. It’s like your phone’s Siri function. She says all the right things but she’s a stiff date on the Ferris wheel. The feeling just isn’t there. So, my favourite bassist, Fredrik Jonsson (James Ingram, Omar Hakim, Monica Zetterlund), knocked this one out of the park with taste and groove. He knows this kind of music – or, dare I say, any kind of music – like the inside of his pocket and, boy, does he have a deep pocket. I love him like a brother. Wait, he IS my brother. Lucky me. On drums it’s the ever so great Phil Robertson (Ray Charles, David Foster, Michael Bublé). Phil was the drummer of Idle Eyes, a cool band out of Canada that toured with Toto back in the 80’s. Check them out. Speaking of Toto, that’s actually how I found guitarist Richard Watson. One night I stumbled across a video on YouTube, where he played Steve Lukather’s mind-blowing solo from Toto’s ”Animal”. It takes some chops to pull that solo off but he did it to perfection. Turned out that Richard is a tutor at BIMM (British & Irish Modern Music Institute) and has this entire YouTube channel dedicated to exploring the different playing styles of Los Angeles’ greatest session guitarists. Pretty cool. He was just perfect for this song and knew exactly what to play and when; and dig the extended guitar solo! You can also hear another superb guitarist, Blake Wrinn from Nashville, laying down some elegant stuff on the second verse. Tremendous feel. My hat’s off to him. As we all know, every song needs a trombone, and as luck would have it, New Yorker Chris Ott showed up at the right moment. Such great tone and phrasing, plus he totally got my somewhat niche instruction to approach the arrangement like a 1986 version of James Pankow. He not only did that, he also added his own spin to the sound in the best possible way. Yet another Toto connection is that Peter Doell (Miles Davis, Phil Collins, Beach Boys) did the mastering. He did Toto’s latest album and is of course a legend in the field of mastering. What an honor to have him on this song.

As you can tell, I’ve been blessed with a great team on this recording and I quite like how I turned out, which is a rare thing for me. A fun song to sing, too. Please enjoy and stay tuned for the next one, which is going to be a song that’s close to my heart for various reasons, but more on that later.

P.S. You might have noticed that there’s a “music video” for “A Little Denial”, to be released on September 1, 2020. That was a learning experience in itself. I bought a green screen, not entirely sure how to use it, brought it outside where the lighting situation was better and then spent a good portion of an hour trying to find a spot where the neighbours couldn’t see my reluctant little show (we just moved in and I don’t want to come across as “special” just yet – I’m saving that for the garden parties). Anyway, I finally found a spot, hit record on my compact camera, did my number, ran inside and edited it as this throwback to the golden days of VHS. It’s rather silly and one-dimensional but some silliness can’t hurt. So take it for what it is. But do stick around for the coconut. You don’t want to miss that.

Credits

A Little Denial
Music and lyrics: Viktor Jakob-Jonsson

Viktor Jakob-Jonsson
Production, arrangement, lead vocals, backing vocals, keyboards
Phil Robertson
Drums
Fredrik Jonsson
Bass
Richard Watson
Guitars and guitar solo
Blake Wrinn
Guitars
Chris Ott
Trombone
John Bailey (the Drive Shed, Toronto)
Mixing
Peter Doell (AfterMaster Audio Labs, Hollywood)
Mastering

Lyrics

A Little Denial

You know better than to tell me
There are things that are best left unsaid
You know better than to tell me
That the time that we shared
was the best that you’ve had

We’re supposed to move on
You’re not helping me at all
I can’t believe that you’re making this call

You know better than to tell me
There are things that are best left unsaid

Still I’ve been waiting all along
For you to turn around
and pick up the phone

A little denial tonight
We’re gonna regret it
But, damn, it’s alright
It’s alright
It’s alright
So if just for a sweet little while
Everything’s alright

You know so much better than to tell me
When you know that I feel like you do
Yes, you do know better than to tell me
Baby, out of the blue
When you’re heartbroken too

We’ve gone through this before
and we barely made it out
I thought I knew what our love was about

You know better, girl, so much better
You know that I feel like you do

How can you leave it all behind
When it’s cemented
In your heart and your mind

A little denial tonight
We’re gonna regret it
But, damn, it’s alright
It’s alright
It’s alright
So if just for a sweet little while
Everything’s alright

You know, I never saw what waited for us ’round the bend
To think, the road you’re on so suddenly comes to an end, my friend
We just didn’t have the tools to get by
We were caught by surprise
Like so many before us
If just for a sweet little while
Everything is alright

Guitar solo

A little denial tonight
We’re gonna regret it
But, damn, it’s alright
It’s alright
It’s alright
So if just for a sweet little while
Everything’s alright

Video

Spotify iTunes Amazon Google Play

A Little Denial

Artist : Viktor Jakob-Jonsson
Title : A Little Denial
Release Date : August 25, 2020
Format : Digital Download

Get “A Little Denial” on iTunes or listen to it at the streaming service of your choice.