The Story Behind “Xtra Smooth”
Xtra Smooth” is the track title given by my production partner, Dan McCollum. It is originally meant to be the eighth track of the project A6PM. We decided, even before composing the track, that it would be something chilled out and sultry smooth. Conceptually, it is meant to be part of an overall story of that all the tracks tell., a similar approach we took with our debut project, What Love Is.
While we had the concept in mind, we didn’t have the music first. We knew we wanted a sax for the featured instrument, so I checked my sample library and started to audition all the loops . I also auditioned the live sax tracks that we owned from previous sessions we used various sax players for. The track that grabbed me was “Granted” from the release “The State Of Blue Eyed Soul”, by long time virtual friend and sax player, Philip Clark, out of LA. Back when it dropped, I was just cutting my teeth on remixing and he gave me my first chance of remixing a track for an established artist. Both the official track, and my remix “Granted (Groove 7’s 3 am Eternal Mix) are on philipclark.com
The idea for the sax hook from “Xtra Smooth” came from a sax riff Philip did towards the end of “Granted”. When I listened back to the riff a few times, I began to hear some chord progressions that it would sit nicely on top of. I grabbed my guitar, went through a few variations, and ended up with these.
If you can note the date, this was during the first year of the COVID pandemic. As I began to flesh out the verse and and hook arrangement, I sent a rough to Dan to let him get an idea (as we usual do) about a possible foundation of the song. We had already decided that we wanted an acoustic piano to carry the chord arrangements, so I decided to call on our unofficial third member and keyboardist, “O”, to have him listen to my arrangement BUT gave him full creative license to improve upon what I was hearing. After sending me his original draft back, I knew that what he recorded would be pretty much it for the song.
After I laid a rough drum track with chords and some basic guitar, I sent the song to Dan to start on the bass track. After refining the bass track with the keys and refining the guitar tracks some more, we were pretty much ready to find a sax player. We went to our go-to spot for virtual session musicans and found Jason Kendall. Jasonsent back, I think it was six takes, that were all so good, that it took awhile for Dan and I to comp them together and choose the best parts. Jason is an exceptional saxophonist who we definitely plan on using again.
We finally pulled everything together over the next two years, amongst all of the “daily life happens” stuff, and found our mix and mastering engineer, Zac Thiessen, on Fiverr, to handle those duties. He provided an expected and quick turnaround, which ended up finalizing the completion of Xtra Smooth.
Xtra Smooth, from the future project, A6PM, is on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Tidal, and other streaming services. It’s aslso available for purchase on Bandcamp and iTunes We hope you enjoy it.