The Manifesto

by Our Wits That Make Us Men

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credits

released April 4, 2017

All music written by Our Wits That Make Us Men except "Fodder for Dreams" and "You Are Love," written by Our Wits That Make Us Men, Allen Nunez, and Christopher Rodriguez.

All Lyrics written by Dean Scordilis, except "Fodder for Dreams," "No Meaning," "Manifesto," and "The Silhouettes of Trees," written by Mark Boulanger.
Translation in "Refugee Song" by John Rodriguez
"Refugee Song" includes excerpts of "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus


Produced by Maximillian Liebman and Our Wits That Make Us Men
Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Maximillian Liebman

Cover Art by Dean Scordilis

Dean Scordilis - Vocals, Percussion, Keyboard Sample on "Silhouettes of Trees", Noise Guitar on "Trigger Warning"
Matt Billy - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Noise Guitar on "Trigger Warning", Bass on “No Meaning,” “Manifesto,” “Refugee Song,” and “Trigger Warning,” Sample on "You Are Love"
Nagee Diaz-Corpening - Bass, Lead Bass on "Holy Father Franklin"
Mark Boulanger - Drums, Percussion, Samples

Mike Yablon - Spoken Word on "Pine Box"
R.A. Phoennex - Spoken Word on "Fodder for Dreams"
Mesha Allen - Spoken Word on "Bloody Justice"
John Rodriguez - Spoken Word on "Refugee Song"

Zachary Howard - Vocals on "Death to False Idols"

Dean Scordilis, Matt Billy, Nagee Diaz-Corpening, Mark Boulanger, and R.A. Phoennex – Gang Vocals on “Manifesto” and “Trigger Warning”

Nate Moon - Cello on "Penance" and "Silhouettes of Trees"
Annamaria Chilimintris - Violin on "Blood" and "Silhouettes of Trees"
Allen Nunez - Guitar on "Fodder for Dreams," Keyboard on "You Are Love"
Christopher Rodriguez - Guitar on "Fodder for Dreams" and "You Are Love"
Maximillian Liebman - Fretless Bass on "Reflection," Radio Samples on "Manifesto,” Wind Sample on "fiveeight,"

M. - Samples on "Holy Father Franklin"

The Voices on "Penance" belong to Odoardo Pacella, Danielle Adomowitz, Zachary Miller, Matt Billy, Mesha Allen, and Mark Boulanger

The Voices on "Manifesto" belong to Zachary Miller, Danielle Adomowitz, Odoardo Pacella, Nicole, Christopher Rodriguez, David Moncada, Lucas McKenzie, Isaac Jimenez, Rebecca Diaz, Jill Rose, Magali, Maximillian Liebman, Mesha Allen, and R.A. Phoennex.

The Voice on "Trigger Warning" belongs to James Perlas.

The Voice on "Save You" belongs to Odoardo Pacella.

-Recorded at Ramapo College of New Jersey’s Les Paul Studio on 8/15/16-8/18/16.
Special thanks to Paul Pittman of Ramapo College for helping us during a very stressful time.

-Vocals for "Fodder for Dreams" recorded in a haunted forest in Dumont, NJ on 7/28/16
-Vocals for "Pine Box" recorded next to the Ramapo College Spiritual Center on 8/17/16
-Vocals for "You Are Love" recorded at the Ramsey Rt. 17 Train Station on 8/17/16
-Vocals for "Bloody Justice" recorded across the street from a plaque commemorating the site of the 1967 Newark Riots on 8/25/16
--Noise Guitar for "Trigger Warning" recorded in Village 4B (Ramapo College of New Jersey) on 10/16/16
-Instrumentals for "Fodder for Dreams" and "You Are Love" recorded in Village 4B on 10/23/16
-Spoken Word for "Refugee Song" recorded in Mark's car outside the Meatlocker on 1/2/17

-Interviews for "Penance" conducted at various locations between 9/1/16-10/28/16
-Statements of Intent in "Manifesto" collected at various locations between 7/23/16-1/3/17
-Interview for "Trigger Warning" conducted in The Fishbowl at Ramapo College on 8/2/16
-Interview for "Save You" conducted in Mark's car at a park in Cranford, NJ on 9/3/16

There are about one-hundred people (at least) without whom this record would not have been possible. There are at least one-hundred more who expressed interest in our music (somehow!), played a show with us, or otherwise had the graciousness to allow us into their lives. Hopefully, if you're one of those people, you know how much we love you.

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about

Our Wits That Make Us Men Clifton, New Jersey

Started in early 2014 as a solo spoken word act, Our Wits has evolved throughout the three years it's existed, growing into the band it is today, with changes happening every time a note is played.

Dean - Vocals
Matt - Guitar
Nagee - Bass
Mark - Drums
... more

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Track Name: Mo(u)rning
I may not be perfect, but at least I can change myself
I may not be perfect, but at least I can change myself

Everybody’s got their demons, but I’m just making mine public.
I’m plagued by body dysmorphic, depressed, suicidal tendencies,
a lack of trust and an abundance of apathy

I may not be perfect, but I know I can change

But I don’t want to change
I’m a broken man, but that’s who I am
I don’t want to change myself
I’m a cracked vase, a cracked visage
I don’t want to change myself
I’m a broken man, but that’s who I am
I don’t want to change
I want to live, and learn, and grow!

I DON'T WANT TO CHANGE!

I want to live! I want to live my life!
I want to go down in flames of my own design!
A car fire on the side of the highway!
A funeral pyre that burns silent and high!
A funeral flame that licks the sky!
Flames so bright they light up the night!
Flames so high they reach the heavens above!
I WANT TO LIVE!
Track Name: Pine Box
You want that discount faith
That immediate salvation
That instant self-gratification
For your self-serving
Ego stroking
Billowing smoke facade

Who’s the fake now, motherfucker?

Pray for your God
Rest in Abraham’s Bosom
But not that prospect,
Just for a Prophet named Lincoln
Washington, Roosevelt
A pantheon of fake faith and real Hell
Broke-ass mothers don’t get into Heaven
When you die you gotta pray to escape Purgatory
When you’re alive you gotta pray for an escape

Pay for your God
Hard labor in Abraham’s Bosom
But not for profit
Just for a Profit named Lincoln
Washington, Roosevelt
A pantheon of discount faith and real Hell
Broke-ass mothers don’t make it to 7th Ave
When you die you gotta pay to escape the pine box
When you’re alive you gotta pay to escape

You gotta pay for that faith
Track Name: Holy Father Franklin
Church is like a hospital
We go there cause we’re sick
We’re spiritually sick
Our sins are the disease!
But lately I’ve been seeing
We’re not going to get better, no

We pull up in our fancy cars, wearing fancy suits,
keep a cross in one hand and a wallet in the other.
We don’t wanna get better
We want to spread the sickness
Spread the disease!

Pray to your Holy Father.
His name is Ben Franklin.
Kneel down before the Dollar.
You’ll never win.

You say your faith is all you need
Well it must be easy when feeding your family’s not top priority
Waiting up all night for these Black Friday sales,
and we wonder why we fail?

I want to be better.
But you don’t want to be better.
I want to be clean.
Cleanse me of disease!

Pray to your Holy Father.
His name is Ben Franklin.
Kneel down before the Dollar.

Pray to your Holy Father.
His name is Ben Franklin.
Kneel down before the Dollar.
‘Cause in this classist world, you’ll never win.

You say you worship my God
But you don’t
You worship a god of greed, a god of green
You’re green with envy
While I grow red with wrath and rage
I grow blue in the face
holding my breath
Waiting for you to change your ways
Now I’m green
Not with envy, but with disgust

Put up an ATM and call it a shrine
What’s your’s ain’t yours, it’s mine.
I’m buying my way to the top of this whole damn hole we’re in.
You say you live by the Grace of God
Looks to me more like it’s the Grace of Guap
Don’t you know greed’s a deadly sin?

Pray to your Holy Father.
His name is Ben Franklin.
Kneel down before the Dollar.

Pray!
Kneel down!
You’ll never win!

Father forgive me for wanting equality
Benjamin Franklin,
Unholy father of green tabernacle is killing us
Track Name: Penance
I fucked up this time

I’m trying to rectify
The situation at hand

I’m a mess, disheveled, defeated
I’m sorry that I couldn’t be a better man
But I tried
I tried so hard

I’m so broken
I’m so lost

I feel like a bird with a broken wing
I can’t fly
I can’t sing

This is goodnight
Goodbye
I fucked up this time
Track Name: Blood
We’re bound by blood but I need a transfusion
It’s thicker than water but not nearly as nourishing
For once in my life I’m fine
With the leeches latching on me and draining me of your toxicity

Call the doctor
Call the nurse
Get me some Oxy
‘cause fuck it hurts

All this time I thought the reason why I wanted to end my life
Was just me being me, fucking crazy
Voices in my head, a knife, a gun, a fucking rope in my hand

I realize now
It’s not me
It’s never been me
It’s you
It’s always been you

I’ll bleed myself out
Let my veins run dry

You’re hanging me in the bathroom! Asphyxiating me! No more!

Call the doctor
Call the nurse
Pull the plug
Cause goddamn this hurts
Track Name: Fodder for Dreams
Faces reflected in water lose clarity as time goes on
Details are lost in our mad rush to rewrite history
Your first kiss; the day you knew what to do with your life;
the night you found god:
it's all refracted through the prism of the present moment

Conversations are mythologized
Actions become the stuff of legend,
or the result of self-invention
Self-invention, deconstruction, a relative view of the truth

In truth, our memories are fodder for dreams,
the property of the collective unconscious
We float through life in a hypnagogic state,
convinced that it all meant something,
believing that our narratives build to something grand,
but really it's all a blur
A blur, or maybe just a daydream


Who is the true god of creation?
Track Name: No Meaning
A sea of metal ebbs in the presence
of billowing smoke, a specter that floats
in the distance before
merging with the sky
Not expecting much, I casually turn to look,
slowing to a crawl,
despite what I once told myself
on sleepless nights

Greeting my malicious gaze: the car on fire
The flame is an ethereal force,
burning with omnipotence
as shards of metal shimmer in the grass
I’d never before seen something
so decimated
We continue to move with the tide,
undeterred

I can’t say if there was someone inside
I don’t know what it means

Before this, did I grasp the significance of death,
or had I denied my own mortality?
Can we still say we believe in something?
Could we ever lay claim to genuine belief?
Each second eludes us, expanding infinitely in all directions
before we can take hold, much less understand
Sometimes I think there’s no past, only future

I don’t know what this means
The universe has no answers
My life builds to this very moment
and yet I don’t know what it means

No more
No more waiting for the light to befall me
No more.
Track Name: Manifesto
I don’t want to shy away from what is painful
I don’t want to be weighed down by regret
I don’t want to be a servant to my ego
I don’t want to always assume the worst in people

I want to form my own subjective meaning, a meaning that’s mine, one that no one can take away
I want to be part of something intimate, something larger than any one person
I want to establish a thoughtful dialogue and have earnest conversation
I want to become educated, create a safer scene
I want to help make a difference, even if I don’t tangibly benefit from it
I want to fight institutionalized oppression
I want to be called out when I’m being harmful
I want us to talk about the things that keep us going without fear of judgment!

I want us to feel compassion, acceptance, and love, a self-love that is truly endless!
I want to believe, against all odds, that three chords, just three chords can change the world!
I want to donate my clothes, give away all my money, provide an outlet for those who are voiceless!
Openly cry, joyously laugh, admit when I’m wrong!
I want to champion sincerity, fight against the status quo, listen to what others have to say!

Help those who are perpetually marginalized
No longer run from that which I can’t rationalize
Give hope to the disenfranchised
I just want to live

In the cold shadow of the city, where we so often wondered what our place was, I want to feel the presence of thousands of souls screaming
“I WANT TO LIVE!”
With fearless passion and endless love!
I WANT TO LIVE!
Without complacency!
I WANT TO LIVE!
Without Compromise!
I WANT TO LIVE!
Because we owe it to ourselves!
I WANT TO LIVE!
Louder! Sing it with me louder!
I WANT TO LIVE!
Sing it! Sing it louder! Scream it!
I WANT TO LIVE!

We owe it to ourselves to live! If we have to claw desperately, trying to make something, anything happen, then so be it. And in the end it’s worth it, because at least it means something. If not to them, then to us.
Track Name: Death to False Idols
We worship at the feet of false gods
Give respect to assailants
I’m coming for you Front Porch Step

Death to false idols
Death to gods of iniquity
Gold-plated wooden statues
Burn in Hell fake celebrity

This isn’t hardcore
It’s vaudeville blackface shit
You sideshow, ignorant
1v1 me, bitch

Death to false idols
Death to toxic masculinity
Death to false hardcore
Fuck your tough guy hXc

Don’t preach unity when you so clearly only care about record sales. You motherfuckers don’t practice what you preach. You hypocrites, you’re a cancer killing our scene.
Step off.

Meet me in the pit, bro.
Track Name: Bloody Justice
You’ve got blood on your hands and it spells justice (just us)
You’ll keep killing for your fucked-up sense of justice (just us)
When everyone else is gone and it’s just us
Will you keep killing until it’s just you?

We can’t breathe
We can barely spurt out the words
“Hands up, don’t shoot”

Kill an innocent man,
Call him anything but his name
But now we remember their names

You run an evil empire
The Soviets wish they could
Death to every brother from a different hood

You’ve got blood on your hands and it spells justice (just us)
You’ll keep killing for your fucked-up sense of justice (just us)
When everyone else is gone and it’s just us
Will you keep killing us until it’s just you?

They expect us to comply
When our lives are on the line
But do we really have control over our lives?

We lay down
Beg not to feel the kiss of steel
Only to feel the bite and get told “I don’t know”

You run an evil empire
The Soviets wish they could
Death to every motherfucking
Brother wearing a hood

You’ve got blood on your hands and it spells justice (just us)
You’ll keep killing for your fucked-up sense of justice (just us)
When everyone else is gone and it’s just us
Will you keep killing until it’s just you
Track Name: Refugee Song
We claim to be the land of the free,
home of the brave,
but we turn away the displaced and needy
because the color of their skin is similar
to our enemies’

We create self-fulfilling prophecies
when we fund our own damn enemies
“Sorry for bombing your country
Here’s some guns
No hard feelings, right?”

We dismantle a regime and try to buy off the ashes
with promises of weapons and democracy,
but we only end up screwing ourselves and everyone else around us
as a group of disenfranchised guerilla fighters
create a dogmatic military society

Nosotros la gente. No somos illegales
Nosotros la gente. Somos iguales

No espere y mira el genecidio

No espere y mira que mas de
nosotros morimos

Dicimos nunca a la sacrificio
Pero mira desde nuestros celulares costosos

Y ostros utilizan sus teléfonos
Celulares para enviar un último adiós

Nosotros la gente. No somos illegals
Nosotros la gente. Somos iguales

We did this to ourselves but have the gall to punish
those caught between Iraq and a hard place?

We abandon humanitarian efforts or even logical assistance protocol
for the sake of bolstering the strength of the rampant right-wing racists,
fear-mongering nü-fascists?
We’re better than this

“Give me your tired, your poor!
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
She calls, her skin shaded green and blue,
the color of the tempest turned seas around her,
ushering in a new life for those seeking refuge from the storm

Give me your tired!
And your poor!
I lift my lamp!
Beside the golden door!

They talk about Making This Country Great Again,
when they forget,
that we weren’t founded on fear of the unknown,
or giving into terroristic threats
This bastion of freedom,
The New World,
guarded by a New Colossus,
was founded on embracing the unknown
and championing freedom for all the people,
by the people

At least that’s what the forefathers claimed.
Track Name: Trigger Warning
A trigger warning, put the gun to your head
A fucking liar and a rapist, you’re better off dead
Someone better call your mother
And tell her that her fucker of a son is a scumbag
You damn predator

Think you’re so damn clever
Hiding behind the face of a drunk man
You weren’t drunk, you were fucking sober
And you took advantage of someone who thought you were a friend

Don’t act like what happened is water under the bridge
I’m gonna drown you in that water under the bridge
Don’t you act like this is a cutesy game,
like you didn’t know what you were doing
Shit like this isn’t an accident
Just remember, you wanted it

Called me the next day with your bald-faced lies
trying to gather sympathy for your psychopathic tendencies
You’re fucking pathetic
The only thing you’re getting from me is a boot to the knee
and a gun to the face
You wanted this
Yeah, you fucking wanted it

You cried afoul
When the jury came to carry out its sentence
You’re fucking worthless
Those weren’t death threats, motherfucker, they were promises

We’ll remember what was said when we cut your throat and pull your tongue out the wound. A sack of shit like you doesn’t get to speak, and you silenced so many, the voices won’t stop in our heads. We’ll remember your face as we bury you alive, up to your neck for the scavengers to feed on, like the way you made us prey and slithered away like a fucking snake. Just remember, you wanted it.

It’s not murder, it’s just twenty minutes of action, punk.

You wanted this
It was no accident
Track Name: Save You
I thought I could save you
You picked up that gun
And ended your life

In the back of a shopping mall
You picked up that gun
And ended something that could have been so beautiful

It was your father’s gun
It was your father’s house
If I saw you that day
I know what I would say

I wouldn’t say a thing
I’d just listen

I thought I could save you
I wish I could have saved you,
but you picked up that gun
Track Name: You Are Love
You pick me up
When the weight of the world
Is falling down on me
Dragging me to the depths
To my death
I might have died from the stress
Choked out by the anxiety and depression
If not for your love

I am loved
You are love

You broke down
The bedrock wall
Holding me captive
All these years
You picked up
My atrophied body
And nourished my dead soul
I might have died
If not for your love

I am loved
You are love

I was breathing
I was alive
But dead on the inside
A walking shell
A shambling corpse
I might have died
I think I did

You brought me back
From the brink

You are love
You are love
You are loved
Track Name: The Silhouettes of Trees
Undefined. Triumphantly so
No longer reduced to a diagnosis that couldn’t grant you clarity
Sitting outside this mechanism, you’re free to claim responsibility for your mistakes
Amidst the chaos and confusion that seem inescapable in the light, you’re finally free to decide who you are

None of this was clear to me six years ago; the only time I’d ever known you
We were surrounded by mutual friends on a late August night, in a dimly lit parking lot
“Make no mistake, music has the power to save lives,” you said without pretense
I nodded in agreement, framed by the silhouettes of trees. We both knew this all too well

Today, in the shelter of the dark, I’ve unwittingly discovered those things that threatened to define you, those things you kept hidden behind the silhouettes of trees
Despite our best wishes and intentions, I’m privy to secrets that aren’t mine to know
An accidental voyeur, those memories become re-contextualized

We carefully select modes of self-presentation
Even so, our self-image is often out of our control
How impossible it is to know passing strangers, let alone the ones you love

And as I sit stock still, having stripped away the veneer, I wonder: could I recognize my face in the dark?
If you had bared your soul to me, would I have known how to respond?
If I were unstuck in time, could I make a difference?

Thousands of people glide in unison toward the horizon
“I wonder where they’re going,” you barely whispered. “When will it be my time to know?”