Naming a new Dapper Notes edition almost always happens at the last minute, and there's a good reason why. Several reasons, actually.
Names are hard
Coming up with a name for something that is appropriate, has the right vibes, and fits the mood of a new notebook is no easy task. My full time gig is in web development, and there's an old joke about how development is one percent coding and 99% coming up with names for functions in the code.
I could easily do the same with my notebooks, hemming and hawing over every which possibility. To use my time wisely, I made a decision early on that whenever possible I would name new editions after music that I've been listening to while the new edition is being made.
What am I listening to?
I try to fill my day with as many new genres of music as possible. Several years ago I purposefully listened to a single genre for an entire week and documented the process along the way. That particular experiment lasted seventeen weeks and ended mostly because the documentation process took up too much of my time. But I keep on fighting the Spotify algorithms every day to expose myself to as many musical styles as possible.
Which means I always have a variety of songs to choose from when naming new Dapper Notes editions.
The way it goes is super simple: I go over everything I've been listening to during the time that edition was being made and pick a song that fits the mood of the season, the notebook design, my emotional state, or any combination of the above. Which brings us to Dean Town.
Vulfpeck in the queue
A good friend of mine from high school is a bass player. Once upon a time we played together in a garage band that was in an actual garage. I played drums, poorly, and he was the bass player, the good kind. I didn't practice much, he practiced playing the bass guitar day and night. This friend eventually went on to play in a few bands, and is now part of a touring electronica jam band.
Why am I telling you all this? Because over the years we've continued to share our love of music and the discovery of standout records. When this friend payed a visit recently, we played some of our recent favorites for one another. It so happens to be that a few weeks prior to his visit I started a Spotify playlist called BASS BASS BASS for tracks with particularly groovy bass lines, and on that playlist I added a recent discovery by the band Vulfpeck. So when my friend played Dean Town for me, which was the first time I heard that track, I was delighted on many levels. It was a band I'd recently discovered, and the bass in this song blew me away.
A visit to Dean Town
If you enjoy the technical part of music, you know why bass is the true star of every band. Often hidden and typically in the background, the bass holds everything together. Removing the bass would be like cooking a dish with no spices.
Every once in a while the bass gets to be front and center, and that's a big part of why I fell in love with the complex composition of Dean Town. The song just feels good, like waking up on a vacation day in the countryside and driving down a winding road with the windows rolled down.
Give it a listen, and you'll see what I mean:
And then I heard it live
As I was finishing up making these notebooks, I started looking at my recent listens and digging into several potential tracks. Dean Town was the fifth song I considered, and when I googled the song, the first result was a live performance. Just when I thought I couldn't love the song more, here comes a performance recorded at Madison Square Garden where the ENTIRE CROWD is singing along with the bass line. Which is insane. Absolutely bonkers.
Dean Town has no lyrics, no words. The bass is the main melody, a complex one at that. And here we have thousands of people singing the tune. On beat with every note.
This was the first time I watched a live performance replay where I felt I was actually at the show. I was smiling ear-to-ear the entire time, knowing that the newest Rooster notebook would be named in honor of this song.
Without further ado, here's VULFPECK performing Dean Town live. Make sure to take note of Joe's smile when the crowd starts singing along to the bass line:
Here comes the notebook
Thus ends the story of Dean Town, the musical inspiration for my handmade notebook by the same name.
This edition was designed by Catherine Marion, an illustrator from New Zealand. Her rooster artwork was printed onto a 10oz cotton denim fabric, which I glued to a Sunbeam-orange bookcloth. There's an endsheet inside with a batik bean pattern, screenprinted onto handmade lokta-plant paper. Each notebook has 48 graph pages on 70lb smooth white, and was sewn with a topaz gold thread.