Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolution

My new year's resolution is to quit wasting my time trying to force myself to put out another album. There are a million better things to do after work in my spare time like just playing the guitar for the sake of it or just spending my evenings playing with my kid and watching DVDs after he goes to sleep.

I'll put up all the songs I have recorded one by one once I am sufficiently satisfied with the mix and production quality. It will never be perfect so brace yourself for imperfection. Stuff like "that ride cymbal is too loud or vocals are not up front enough" gets old. I have a hundred songs to slowly work through so I need to move on. It will get better believe me.

I am getting a little long in the tooth to be bothered about selling CDs or getting a song on the radio anymore so if I come up with something I think is worth letting other people listen to, I will just post it up here.

Will try to put up a new song every month to clear the backlog of songs accumulated. Have a great 2011!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Concept

"The Jester, The Clown and A Fool" is actually a seven song suite or you could categorize it as a long song made up of seven parts that ties together. It is over half and hour long so it is not an EP. To be honest it is all trial and error because I am new to recording and mixing on my own. It could take a while but I'll get there.

The concept of the new songs is loosely based on "The Stranger" by Albert Camus. I'm not going to explain the story or philosophy involved. It might bore you but it's not as pretentious as you think because it's mainly existentialist and part of everyday life. You can Wikipedia Albert Camus if you're interested. He's a great writer. The stoic and absurd aspects of the story are what I used in the songs because that is what I relate to in my own life.

These days I find that explaining things takes away from the personal aspect of any endeavor for me. At the end of the day it's just music with words put to it. Writing in the second or third person is something new for me. I am normally a first person narrative kind of guy but I guess there is a combination of both on these songs.

Will put another song up soon as a teaser once I get a mix I am happy with.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Never Lonely

There is a site online that posts lyrics of popular songs and usually they get the lyrics spot on but for my song "Never Lonely" it was way off. I am embarrassed to post the link here, that's how bad it is.

Anyway here are the full lyrics. Yes, it's a cheesy love song. It's the first love song I ever wrote after years of writing dozens of "dark" songs.


Never Lonely

I won't fail to notice
I've got you right here by my side
I won't be so lonely
I've got you right here by my side

I would never only watch the time pass by
I am never lonely with you here by my side
I won't let it show but girl I love you so

Let it flow so easy
But love's blind and we don't see eye to eye
I guess life's so crazy
It's not right to give in to the lie

I would never only watch the time pass by
I am never lonely with you here by my side
I won't let it show but girl I love so

It all seems so easy
So just smile and be happy all time
It all sounds so cheesy
To be kind and to live life color blind

I am never lonely
Cause you are with me only
We'll move on down slowly
And we can make it easy

I would never only watch the time pass by
I am never lonely with you here by my side

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Soundscaping

Soundscaping is like a drug to me these days. Music is a great coping mechanism. Guitar is my instrument of choice but it is not about the instrument really. It’s about what you hear in your head that puts you in a place to want to create. I have responsibilities and a day job that I have attend to everyday that drains me, to be honest. So having a creative outlet like music is like being let out of jail a few hours a day.

I have started experimenting with recording and other sounds other than just the guitar. Working with loops and samples and tweaking them to suit my needs is a whole lot of fun. Not having to work around someone else's schedule is also liberating. I miss playing in a band but I don’t miss waiting around for other people. Call me selfish or impatient but every minute I waste waiting for someone just kills my ideas and creativity.

Loop based recording is a Godsend. Playing the same thing twice is a waste of time. I only do that when I have to perform live. I would rather be working on another hook that adds to the song. Time is a factor as well because I only have a few hours a day to work on recording. I need to sleep too. Plus I have a boy who demands all my time when he's awake. So playing something tight and technically sound for 8 bars is all I am willing to lay down if it is a recurring part.

As a result I find myself layering and adding more textures since I don’t waste time unnecessarily. Even in the family business that I work at, it is always about the bigger picture, not that small part that will get people all worked up because it is not quite perfect. If everything works together as a whole, that is all that matters.

Most of the songs will be done by the end of the year hopefully. I am learning while recording and doing it solo, so it will take time. No one is helping me with any of this, which is good because I can test myself a little more and come up with weirder stuff without someone telling me it doesn't work. I'm not fixing a car here so don't tell me something doesn't work. I am a loner anyway so it suits me not having to deal with anyone but my own demons while I come up with something that hopefully will be worth listening to.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Jester, The Clown and The Fool

I think I have the title for the next album. "The Jester, The Clown and The Fool" is actually the name of one of the new songs but I think it ties into the direction of the whole album. More on that later. These days I write music independently of the lyrics. Some of the lyrics are adapted from stuff I have written over the years. A few songs are straight out of a short novella that I wrote a while back but will probably never publish only because it has gone past it's sell by date. It's all on the external hard drive somewhere. Anyway most of this is an exercise in me trying to exorcise my demons and be a better person, nothing else. Won't be of interest to anyone else.

Recording has been slow but it has been moving along lately. Basic tracks for six songs are almost done. I'm working on the vocals. There are only so many hours in a day for me to work on it. Work and family life takes precedence. Quite honestly I stop recording when I feel as if I have to force myself to do it. However I need to develop a work ethic regarding the music or else I will never finish it.

The songs keep changing too. There is an EP of six acoustic songs and an album of at least 10 fully produced rock songs that are in various stages of production. These days it is quite easy for me to just record an idea because I just plug in and play into my laptop. But the delay comes in adding all the other bits that make it work. It will get done but it will have to be as good as the last album before I release anything. I am not gonna release demos.

The full album looks like it might have a concept going on. Years ago I wanted to do something that explored the subject matter in The Myth of Sisyphus by Camus...the absurd man and so on. I had a few songs but didn't get very far. Now it seems a lot of the songs tie into that sort of thing, so I'll see if it works. They are still just normal conventional songs. I am not the prog-rock type that will drag a song to 8 minutes just to make it look like an epic. For me it is the album as a whole that will speak for itself. It has to be fun to listen to. I approach it like watching a movie that is entertaining but has a little something extra that lingers on long after you watch it. That is how I want the album to turn out, a soundtrack that plays in my head while I live my life. Songs that I would want to listen to forever.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New direction in songwriting...

I don't usually record everything that I come up with. If I did, I'd have 300 songs by now. Actually, a lot of the stuff I come up with is so far left field that the average person probably wouldn't like it. Even I can't bear to listen to it after a day or two because I am the kind who needs accessible hooks in songs to pull me in. Guitar meanderings are fun but unless it can be used in a catchy song, there is really no point to it.

I can get experimental with my guitar playing at times but my songwriting is pretty conventional. People who think they are trying to re-invent the wheel are just the sort of pretentious music snobs that I stay away from. I have been playing for over 20 years, since I was 12 - yes I am in my mid-30's - and I can tell you for a fact that music hasn't gotten any better. Everything these days sounds like it was written by the same person.

To be honest I have no big agenda with my music. In fact, I am not really interested in putting out another album commercially or trying to get a song on the radio anymore. However, I do feel the need to document the songs so that I have something to look back on later on in life when I play nothing but jazz and blues in my rocking chair.

So record them all I surely will. In fact, these days I feel a song has to sound good stripped down first. You can produce it however well you want but if the lyrics don't make any sense and the music doesn't evoke some sort of feeling, then what's the point.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Death Defying Stunt

I'll have to get a live drummer to replace the drums for Death Defying Stunt when I get a chance. I just got the Drumcore software and they have session drummers like Matt Cameron and Stephen Perkins on there, so hopefully that is another option.

Here are lyric excerpts from Death Defying Stunt


Death Defying Stunt

Welcome son let us follow
This lifetime won't leave us tomorrow

Yeah, it's cold outside
Your warm embrace won't always save you
Live your life with smoke and mirrors
Life is just your death defying stunt

Only truth we know is death and taxes kills us all
But it's all a front
It don't mean nothing till we find a way
To make some sense of where we are today
Don't be afraid to live your life like it's your last
Cause life is just your death defying stunt

Been living much too long it seems
Are we just killing time
It's not too hard for us to see
We're living blind

Hey, we're death defying
Hey, let's death defy it