PREMIERE: Boxspring Releases Vulnerable Track, 'Scribble'

written by Meghan Ianiro

Mitchell Layton’s solo project, Boxspring, brings us his latest track, 'Scribble,' an intimate chapter of loneliness and monotonous desolation brought to life by the complements of Layton’s delightful musical talent. The melancholy guitar riffs and soft, melodious vocals are reminiscent of The Story So Far and Dashboard Confessional’s acoustic bests.

With such a shimmering production quality, one may not believe Layton had taken such a casual approach to his recording process, recording all Boxspring tracks on his iPhone in his Los Angeles bedroom.

"There’s something about just sitting my phone down a few inches in front of me and hitting record that’s really raw and natural. There’s not really any sugar-coating or production going on," says Layton. "I do the same for vocals and layer in some percussion with GarageBand. It’s about as primitive as it gets, but it gets the job done. I considered upgrading and doing some tracks in a studio, but I kind of like how simple it is. I literally haven’t spent a dime on any of it."

He centers on 'Scribble,' saying, "I think the whole thing took a few hours. I knew what I wanted it to sound like, so I just laid down some tracks and wrote it as I went. I finished recording and sent it to my brother in New Jersey who mastered it. It’s incredibly low-effort, but it turns out better that way."

And we couldn’t agree more. The lo-fi bedroom vibe of the track is the perfect atmosphere for the intimacy and heartfelt yearning the song encapsulates, almost as if its listeners are looking into a private journal.

Photo taken by Anthony Dicaro

Photo taken by Anthony Dicaro

Boxspring began shortly after Layton finished music school at Musician’s Institute and got a gig touring with a metal/electronic band. While Layton found this to be a great experience to have under his belt, he found himself lacking an outlet for self-expression.

"I was touring with them, but it wasn’t my band. That gig came to an end, and I was left with more spare time and even less music inhabiting my life, so I decided to fill that void with some songs. I didn’t really know where the songs were going, but I didn’t have a band and I wanted to write songs that might not work for a band."

Some songs, he says, were salvaged from ideas he had shelved over the years, others, written and recorded in just a few hours. Layton explains, "A lot of it was just on the tip of my tongue. I’ve worked with a few artists since that first touring gig, but it helps to have Boxspring as a source for creativity. Lately the music I’ve been playing for other people has been in genres that aren’t so near and dear to my heart. It’s great to have opportunities to play, but writing my own songs is totally cathartic and I try to chase that feeling."

Perhaps we can credit a certain early-2000s smash hit for making Layton want to play music in the first place... "My friend showed me 'Meant to Live' by Switchfoot when I was maybe 11 and as soon as I heard that opening riff I thought it was the coolest thing in the world."

Layton and his friend wished to start a band together and since his friend played drums, Layton decided he would picked up guitar to fill out the lineup. While he and his friend were young and the band ultimately fizzled away, Layton’s passion for music certainly did not. In fact, it turned out to be just the platform he needed.

"I wasn’t great at sports and I was relatively shy, so the idea of rocking out and playing music on a stage seemed like a way to cut loose and have an absolutely fun time. Most of the people I’ve looked up to have been musicians, so that definitely made me want to do what they do."

"I’ve been a pretty big fan of some chaotic hardcore/math-core bands, or whatever you want to call it," says Layton, whose current favorites include The Chariot, Norma Jean, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Every Time I Die, just to name a few. Most recently, he says, he’s been getting into bands like Daughters, Drug Church, Microwave, and Jimmy Eat World. "Almost none of that applies to Boxspring, but it’s what I listen to," Layton explains. "A big songwriting influence is Nirvana, and bands like Basement and Title Fight definitely had an influence in how I write music."

And what of his influence when writing 'Scribble,' specifically?

"To put it lightly, I wasn’t doing great," Layton says of his headspace when writing the vulnerable track—a time during which he was taking a break from his medication. "I felt… Different. It’s kind of hard to describe, but I was very on-edge. I was pretty exhausted and on my days off from work, I was sleeping a lot, probably too much. My days off are weekdays, and so no one is available to do anything, and I spent most of my time alone and inside. That alone is a recipe for disaster, and I really started to get cabin fever despite trying to be productive." He continues, "I just remember feeling pretty hopeless and wanting to do something about it, but not knowing or seeing any way I could do anything about it. I was too broke to go out and do stuff and I didn’t see any point in doing anything, anyway. That feeling subsided, but the song was made out of that moment."

Photo taken by Heather Cook

Photo taken by Heather Cook

Layton goes on to explain the idea of a scribble, and how it was a visualization of the feelings of his everyday life.

"The idea of scribbling out my days was just something that I felt before I went to sleep. I would reach the end of each day and not really have anything to show for it. I kind of felt like I was wasting every day whether I was working or not. Sometimes just living and getting through the day is an accomplishment, but I didn’t feel that way," says Layton. "I just pictured a calendar with every day scribbled out. For me, it represents something worse than erasing something entirely. When you scribble something out, it leaves a black scar on the paper, obviously just covering up something that used to be there. It’s an eyesore, almost violently so. It stands out in the worst way, and at the same time shows you nothing—just mistakes that are covered up poorly. That’s how I felt at the end of the day."

What’s next for Boxspring is unclear, Layton says, having much of his musical time dedicated to playing for multiple artists. "I have a few songs ready for an album, but I need a few more to make it complete. But I’ll release one more track, and then an album. I’m trying to have these songs be a little more diverse, so we’ll see how that turns out."

Layton describes the tracks "Some are lighthearted, and some are pretty hard to get through. I’ve had some friends and family go through some tough times lately, so a lot of the songs are going to be for them. Hopefully it can be cathartic for more than just me."

Having gone through the darkness and written about it, two incredibly difficult things to do in their own right, we asked Layton provide some parting words for anyone who may find themselves scribbling out their own days.

"Go outside, drink some water, read a book, call your mom or dad, eat a salad, take a walk, go to church, and tip your waitresses," Layton says. "The world sucks but you can make it suck less."

You can keep up with Boxspring and Mitchell Layton by following him on Instagram, Bandcamp, or visiting his Official Website.

Listen to ‘Scribble’ below!

Fun Fact: The cover is a photo Layton’s friend found in a Goodwill bin.