Behind the song: Centered

posted in: Behind the music, Videos | 0
never the end ep
Rob, recording  Never the end  ep


Before our move to NYC, we released our Never, the end ep at our farewell show in Durham, NC.  Since that time, we’ve toured with #Comments, helped renovate a family house, and relocated to Harlem.

Rob and I both realized that we had not, apart from the release, really focused on the EP.  We are excited to start sharing, song by song, the “behind the music,” with you.


Behind the song: Centered

I think of Centered as Rob’s Aikido song. Since he was 18 years old, he’s been practicing this martial art and we’re both convinced it’s grounded him. Now, as he embarks upon his career as a Background Actor (that deserves italics, right?)  I’ve noted it makes sense as he is very photogenic, but really it is his inherent stillness that has led to the “side effect” of his ability to take good pictures.

You can see Rob testing for his first Kyu in a video I made here.

Rob (Park Slope Aikido)
Rob (Aikido of Park Slope)


Aikido is the non-violent practice of diverting force through clever re-directs.  Those are my words. Here is an “official” definition from Google: “Aikido is a Japanese form of self-defense and martial art that uses locks, holds, throws, and the opponent’s own movements.”

Centered is very much about the approach of the Aikido tradition, without explicitly saying so.  Rob wrote the lyrics and guitar part for Centered.  I asked him about his motivation, and he said:

“Centered really comes from a place of facing the world, and as time passes to remember to stay focused on your goals and health as a person. Take chances in life to better yourself and not get stuck in a rut.”

In this, the theme very matches our entire EP. Read the story of Never, the end here.

Let it be known that I’ve traditionally been against the sharing of lyrics from the dawn of time.  I felt that people should listen to words couched in the melody, rather than spell it out. I also thought of it as showing off, in a way, as if to prove one’s profundity.

Here, I cast all that aside as an old notion and share the lyrics. One can evolve (or devolve), no?


Centered lyrics (by Rob Beloved, chorus by Eleni Binge — ONE LINE!)

Quiet the mind, let it seep in, peak of life and its demise

Push my weight, down to the ground

feel my presence all around

Think of the new birds (repeat)

Push my weight down to the ground

Look for patterns, found

Let it rush in, let it rush out, quiet the mind

Silence, then shout

Think of the new birds (repeat)

{Epic bouzouki solo}


Behind the video with footage of unhappy people from the early 60s

I enjoy creating videos for Beloved Binge.  I use the free version of Lightworks to video edit, which is somewhat complex but has excellent tutorials and helpful forums. I’m somewhat of an junkie, and find much of the open-use footage for our videos on that site.

I chose a video to weave into the Centered story by the Oklahoma Department of Health, which was made in 1961 to address boredom. It was striking to me in its portrayal of one man’s life (whose “boredom” really would be called “severe depression” today in my non-clinical opinion) which seemingly tied into his mundane world of work, home, and tasks.  I  have often observed this level of acceptance of the dull yet predictable side of life, particularly when I was a temp for the insurance industry, but in other places, too.

It reminds me of a poem I hung up in my cubical back at my college armored car job:

I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper weight,
All the misery of manila folders and mucilage,
Desolation in immaculate public places,
Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard,
The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher,
Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma,
Endless duplication of lives and objects.
And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions,
Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica,
Sift, almost invisible, through long afternoons of tedium,
Dropping a fine film on nails and delicate eyebrows,
Glazing the pale hair, the duplicate grey standard faces.

-Theodore Roethke
Boy, was I fun to work with!

I love this poem.  Roethke spent his last years in my hometown, Seattle, teaching at the University of Washington.

For the video, we also used live footage from our European “Bad Habits” tour, including on the Cunard Line when we traversed the Atlantic by ship.

You can listen to Centered on Bandcamp, or buy it on itunes.


Copyright 2016 Porch Life Publishing, BMI
All rights reserved.
Video editing by Porch Life Productions
Video credits:
“An Empty Life” – Oklahoma Dept. of Health
Transatlantic voyage & Budapest, Kis A’ = Porch Life Productions
Paris, Les Cartiates = Nice man in audience
Berlin, Culture Container = Recorded by Franz Rodeck, F1 Studio
at Culture Container,