“Sunday Afternoon 5pm” has a dreamy sound and an alluring story behind it. This particular tune is the creation of 3 worlds colliding. Three minds and 3 very different styles of music, all meshed into the end result of pure listening enjoyment.There is an organization called FAWM (February Album Writing Month)   This is a community of songwriters formed simply to act as a catalyst for inspiration. Every week they post new challenges for the members to partake in. The end results sometimes are songs like this one.  

Michael Gutierrez-May is a Boston based musician., In September of 2008 he had failed his vision test while renewing his license. He feared if he did not find a place within walking distance of his job he would lose it. He had the good fortune of finding a quaint space directly across the street. It was a small apartment that overlooked a row of trees in a churchyard. The Church bells would toll every hour on the hour. It was a sound he soon grew quite fond of.

One Sunday afternoon while looking for inspiration he looked out his window, the clock bells began to fill the crisp winter air with music. With each toll the words fell on the page and a song was born.

Michael said, “It was, of course, 5pm and the bells were ringing. Snow covered the churchyard and it was mildly cold (40’s is not bad for the Boston area in February). The words came but the music did not follow.”

He posted his lyrics on the FAWM website in mid February of 2009 and asked if anyone was interested in putting music to his lyrics. There were two fellow FAWMERS who were joined as collaborators earlier that year. Marie Tueje a UK musician living and working out of Barcelona, Spain, saw the lyrics and asked Peter Watkinson if he was interested in working the lyrics Michael had posted. She was already feeling a melody for the song. As a fan of Peter’s more edgy hard rock anthems she was curious to see what he could bring to the table.

Marie Said, “Knowing Peter’s style, and being a secret fan of hair metal since way back, I wanted to combine our styles. As soon as I picked up my guitar and tuned it to a drop-D, there was pretty much the essence of the verses that you hear now. I was so excited because I knew that Peter would be able to take the song somewhere absolutely fantastic with his style – although I didn’t know just how far he would take it in the generally “awesome” direction.”

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Peter Watkinson lives in Amsterdam and has a one man band called, Abomnium, with a thrash-infused black metal sound., Peter did all the instrumentation to the song, apart from the acoustic guitar that Marie had contributed, he then mixed and produced the final track.

Peter said, “They are great lyrics and Marie gave such a strong vocal performance. It made my job much easier.”

His approach to songwriting is very rhythmical. He normally started with a tempo that felt good and then generated guitar riffs that he could build drum patterns around. But this experience was much different. With “Sunday Afternoon 5 pm”, the arrangement came first. It was all new territory for him but one that proved to be an enlightening one.

Peter continued to share the experience, “I was really searching for a strong contrast between verse and chorus, chorus and midsection, and wanted to use sudden builds and drops to reflect the changes in mood in the song. Chopping up Marie’s backing track meant I could mess with things a little more and adding little fills with an ebow helped to create that sort of weird stillness you get when there’s snow everywhere. At least in my head it did.”

Go to Michael’s page and judge for yourself. It has an eerie air about it and demands your attention. I like how it fills the room with a pensive drone. Michael’s lyrics put you in the moment and come alive with passionate contentment. Peter and Marie make it soar with their melodic nuances. More often than not, the contributing factors that create inspiration are as compelling as the finished product.

It was a cool experience for me to be able to make their story come alive. The song, speaks for itself. It is amazing with today’s technology, not only can musicians build a huge fan base from the comforts of their own homes through social media, but they can also collaborate with other musicians on a different continent as well; bringing to life the mystical sound of, “Sunday Afternoon 5pm”.   It was later named the best song of 2009 on FAWM and now with the help of Skope, Michael is hoping to reach a much broader audience.

I continually express the importance of social media in all my articles because I feel strongly you are limiting yourself if you are not utilizing them. This story is a perfect example of how small the world is becoming everyday. From Boston, to Barcelona and Amsterdam we had 3 diverse songwriters create a song in a genre of its own.

By: rebecca Hosking –

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