Ferocious Designs, the music project of central New Jersey-based songwriter Brian Kelley, has released “Lay It on the Line” from the upcoming debut EP, A Matter of Time, in conjunction with Bandcamp’s Juneteenth fundraising event. The track is available for download at http://ferociousdesigns.bandcamp.com.
A Matter of Time, a five-track collection of material Kelley has recorded over the past few years, is slated for release on Friday, July 16.
“Lay It on the Line” started out as a collaboration with Kelley’s former Technology and the Arts podcast co-host John LeMasney. “During the final season of the podcast in 2015, John and I were going to spend most of the series collaborating on a song so viewers and listeners could follow along,” said Kelley. “The original idea for the song came from that project, but it was really just a chorus that I wrote and a verse that I built around a guitar riff John came up with.”
The initial lyrics were inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of Ferguson in 2014. An incomplete, instrumental demo of an early version of the song was recorded in 2015, but the podcast and the collaboration came to a premature conclusion so the song was shelved.
The combination of the pandemic and the wider BLM protests around the world in 2020 after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others resulted in Kelley revisiting and completing the song.
“As a white male, I was horrified by the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 — as well as the fascist response by police during the subsequent protests,” said Kelley. “I was watching the livestreams and seeing these militarized police advancing on protesters and arresting journalists. Yet, when I went through my Facebook news feed, none of my friends were even talking about it, let alone disgusted by it all.
“I started sharing links to the livestreams and the stories about what was going on,” added Kelley. “But most of the people who reacted either didn’t care or apparently supported an authoritarian police state, so the lyrics are essentially a call to action to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement and to address injustices carried out by those who are supposed to uphold the law.”
The track is available for download just in time for Bandcamp’s Juneteenth fundraiser when, for 24 hours on June 18 (from midnight to midnight Pacific Time), the Internet music company will donate 100% of its share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a racial justice organization with a long history of effectively enacting change through litigation, advocacy and public education.
“I wasn’t planning on releasing any tracks ahead of the EP release in July, but I felt “Lay It on the Line” was an appropriate song to release for the Juneteenth fundraiser,” said Kelley.
Download “Lay It on the Line” from Bandcamp via the player below.
Watch the lyric video: