The Furious Light

The New Album From David Ullman

Filtering by Category: Behind the Song

Deep Dark Secrets

“Deep Dark Secrets” recounts a very alarming incident in which I witnessed an authority figure unexpectedly lose control and ultimately utter the haunting words, “I have done a very good job of harboring deep… Dark… Secrets.” 

One of my more effective songs has been “Fear Followed,” written about the time I was robbed at gunpoint while working the graveyard shift at a gas station/convenience store in Raleigh, North Carolina. The intense subject matter always seems to intrigue people. However, even at the time, I knew and would tell folks that I had been more scared at another time in my life. With “Deep Dark Secrets,” I wanted to write about that time. 

The kernel of this song came to to me during my early-morning commute. I scribbled the first line and refrain in my pocket-sized notebook in traffic and recorded a video on my iPhone at 8:28am—as soon as I got to the office... 

Read More

Graveyard

Prior to beginning “Graveyard,” I was successfully writing one song a month during the early months of 2013. It was difficult to flesh out—both lyrically and musically. The title and refrain come from novelist Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

At this time, I had newly landed a job working at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and was averaging a 90-minute morning commute.  

Aside from ‘lots of music and podcasts, I largely passed the drive-time listening to audio books—notably Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (read by Richard Poe) and Stephen King’s The Shining (read by Campbell Scott), as well as Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon and (of course) Gaiman’s Graveyard, both of which are read by the authors’ themselves to great effect...

Read More

French New Year

After having written three ballads in a row, I was very ready to write something more aggressive and upbeat. 

The same Smithsonian magazine that lent me the inspiration for “Lately” also contained either a line or an article about people burning their cars on New Year’s Eve in France. I have not been able to find the mention since—or even much clarification as to why French folks were doing this—but I really seized on the rebellious notion of new-beginnings, forged in flames...

Read More

Close To The Bone

I began “Close To The Bone” very shortly after finishing “Lately.” It picks up right where the closing lines of that song leave off and serves as a kind of second act to a trio of tunes which resolves with “French New Year.”

I remember jotting down the title phrase after hearing it during an interview with screenwriter Anthony Tambakis on The Bryan Callen Show—a comedy podcast, of all places. I was dismayed to learn it was already the name of a Tom Tom Club album from 1983, but I proceeded to write my song anyway...

Read More

Lately

“Lately” was originally entitled “Holocene”  and is very much a new-year’s-resolution-turned-campfire-confessional type of tune. I wrote it very quickly after reading an article published in the January 2013 issue of Smithsonian magazine—a publication to which my father-in-law had bought me a subscription for Christmas. 

In print, the piece bears the headline "The Era of Our Ways,” and it explores the scientific debate as to whether humans have had sufficient enough impact on the earth so as to necessitate a newly named period of history. According to the article, “we are officially in the Holocene epoch, which began 11,700 years ago after the last major ice age.” 

Holocene is defined here as “entirely recently.” That phrase and the “Era of Our Ways” title got me going, and the stream-of-conscious lyrics came very quickly. It was my New Year’s resolution to write a song a month; and, especially with this first one, I didn’t want to labor over lyrics as much as I usually do...

Read More

Enough

“Enough” was the first song I wrote for the what would become The Furious Light album. I started working on it Halloween, 2012—about a month before the Light The Dark record was released.

My wife and I had moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Northfield, Minnesota, and I had spent the previous couple of months trying to create some interest in the new album and looking work as a video producer to help pay the bills.  

I was watching television coverage of “Superstorm Sandy" and the people affected by it when I was moved to write the first verse, which is virtually the same in the recorded song as it was on the top of the page dated 10/31/12...

Read More