Track By Track: Derek Ted – ‘Keep Trying’ EP

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Derek Ted is a very creative songwriter and artist that we have been covering for a while and he offered to submit a track by track discussion of his new EP, KEEP TRYING which is out today. The EP was written before covid times, and self recorded by Derek later, mostly using live drums & tape machines and friends Timothy Vickers  (bass/guitar/synth/production) & Lucas Siobal (drums). KEEP TRYING ep is a  journey to find clarity & cope with the loss of recently ended relationship.

Take a listen while you read more about the tracks below.

track 1: KEEP TRYING

KEEP TRYING was the song that started piecing this  collection together as a whole. I wanted it to have an upbeat tempo and have a full  organic band feel. The lyrics of this song were honest & extremely dark paired with  hyphy upbeat energy. I had recently found a strange obsession with gardening at the  time & the chorus for me is quite literal – “the garden is wilting without me, it never asks  to be left alone”. The bridge and last chorus features group backup vox by AL  Pickelboy(great grandpa), Field Medic, Runnner, Nate Litch, Jake Title, and AO gerber. 

track 2: w h i s p e r s

I wanted this song to feel energetic but  contain a deep and earthly sadness. “w h i s p e r s” is driven by rhythmic picking  acoustic guitars, syncopated drums, and lush lonely atmosphere. Also featuring  harmonies from Al Pickelboy of the band Great Grandpa. The lyrics came to me in the  form of a poem after waking up from a vivid dream, i heard a voice in my head that  literally said “dreams tell the truth of your heart”. This song also is in DADDAD tuning. 

track 3: better than u think

This song was written reflecting  on a recently ended relationship, weaving in and out of images and scenarios left  ruminating. I wanted this song to stay true to its acoustic nature yet evolve as it goes on,  adding grooving drums with dreamy synths and electric guitars. I wrote this song last  year and had been playing it on tour as an opener, so if you’ve seen me on tour with  Wish you were here you may have heard it! 

track 4: i won’t mind

This is the most vulnerable and tiny song. Writing this song  was probably the most cathartic and scary for me, it kind of encapsulates everything I  was going through at the time in a really straightforward way. I wanted it to stay  minimal and build to a beautiful instrumental buildup. If you listen closely at the end  you can hear the crickets living in my studio at the time


This is the only song on the EP that uses a partially  computer produced beat. Tim and I wanted to create something that punched like a pop  beat, but had a living and breathing feel. We cut up real drum hits from Lucas in the  room and intertwined it with a crazier produced beat. We then bounced the whole thing  as a stereo track to the 8 track tape machine and layered & recorded the rest fully  analog.I only did one vocal take thinking it was a scratch and ended up using it. In my  mind the chorus of this song feels the closest to a MCR song that I may ever get haha. NEVER FORGET also features group backup vocals from AL Pickelboy(great grandpa),  Field Medic, Runnner, Nate Litch, Jake Title, and AO gerber… I had everyone together  in my studio and had everyone shouting in the room together. 

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