The subtle indie-folk and discoish dance-pop of "Algebra and the Moon," a track off singer-songwriter Eli Mardock's forthcoming Everything Happens for the First Time, didn't begin as a duet, but it was destined to become one. "When I sang it all the way through by myself, it sounded very Radioheadish," Mardock explains. "Too Radioheadish. So I was just like, Fine, I'll make Carrie sing it!"
The Carrie in question happens to be Mardock's wife, Carrie Butler, whom he met when the couple were playing together in the Nebraska indie-rock group Eagle Seagull. But that's not specifically how destiny played a part in the song. As it happens, "Algebra and the Moon" was initially a tribute to Butler before the pair even dated. "I wrote it before she was my wife and when we were both with other people," Mardock says. "Sometimes all you've got to put into a song is exactly what you're feeling. So that's what I did. I later ended up singing it at our wedding."
And kismet being what it is, Butler's contribution to the song "fixed" the Radiohead problem, according to Mardock. "It also led me in new directions with the arrangement and production as well," he says. One of those things was giving the song its dancey outro. He explains, "I kind of was just like, okay, if I'm going to write a verse about how this gal makes me wish I had a big black mustache, it better have a beat."
Now the couple has things bigger than algebra or the moon to care about, since it recently welcomed a baby boy into the fold. "Everything in your life changes when you stop sleeping for more than two to three hours at a time," Mardock says. "I look like shit more than usual. So there's that. But, you know, I'm happy. He brings us a lot of joy." And in the long run, he doesn't think it will affect his musical M.O. "Both Carrie and I just kind of do what we did before…except we just do it with him now," he says. "When we tour this fall and winter, he'll be with us."