Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wall of Sound.. Layers and Chilling Out

It's been a a wild ride this album so far. Song after Song, lyric after lyric, sound after sound. How does it all come together, and how does a song come together more importantly. This is the stuff i am learning. It's hard to not impose yourself on your own project every second you are in the studio.. no 'that doesn't sound right'... 'too much'.. 'too little'.. that snare isn't right.. that kick is too hard.. that this, that that. I am a pretty engaged pain in the ass in that way, and elements of that will lend itself to creating a great final product, but elements of that also can degrade from possibility too.

I guess when i started this project i envisioned, only what i could envision through my past musical experience- a very bare album with a Piano, maybe a guitar, a voice, maybe some harmony, and a synth string in the background. Who knows, maybe a simple drum beat as well. But you turn on the radio, listen to any great song, even the simplest kind of beatles song, or a simple singer songwriter song, and there is generally more to it than that. Especially in today's world, and especially from the late 60s onward. Even Bob Dylan went from Folk to electric with a band and got heavily criticized for doing so. But it's important to experiment and push boundaries. I do it everyday with my voice. I couldn't sing half the notes i can sing now, with five times the ease, just one year ago- i challenged what i thought i could do and went to a better level. And i need to keep that same open mind with sound and production. I do feel blessed i have a producer that can play any instrument better than some of the most virtuosic players I've heard- but then i have to step back and let him do his thing too. I will never let him take over, as it's my stuff.. but during creativity and building and development, you have to let ideas fly, and the soundscape and song to build.

We have been layering parts of a great song called Mine. What i saw as a simple piano vocal, Coldplay Scientist-Esq kind of vibe, has become so much more, and has become just a scape of sound and feeling and evocation of the themes of the lyrics. There is also more possibilities for vocal harmony parts, and an almost string like vocal harmony arrangement to give even more body to the songs.

When we build, i think in anything in life we start to realize the importance of process and layering and development and fine tuning. I was reading a book lately, albeit fiction, and the ageing rock star in it said, 'how can anyone fucking like the acoustic rough bootleg recording of the original sessions better than the final product that fine tuned and fine tuned and brought out everything the song could offer'. He knew what the fine tuning process could bring. I only know the opposite in my life. Just setting up a mic doing a one take live put down, adding some reverb and e-q on the vocals, a compressor on the keys, and bouncing to my Itunes.

Give over to the opportunity to create amazing, layered art. Beethoven didn't just write the fucking melody line and hand it to his master of the house- here you go.. done. What?? WHAT IS THAT?? That is not a masterpiece. A masterpiece in any art, or even a fucking water right pre-nuptial agreement or business contract (not saying that i write masterpieces however, but i still want to learn from them) has contrast, chiarascuro, layers. The great symphonies have melody lines that go one way, and harmony lines that follow then dip. The horn arrangement sitting behind everything if solo-ed on a mixing board might sound like a syncopated horn section of a black eyed peas song, but when blended, that syncopation of the horns actually layers the overall feeling of a hugely smooth driving orchestral masterpiece. By itself something totally different, but when combined a sensory explosion.

It's better to have more to choose from on your palette, because i am learning you can always take it away in the final product. But if you stifle creativity by limiting potential then you don't have the freedom you could have. It's like singing lessons. If you have a 3 octave range, doesn't mean you use it all the time, then it become annoying and disjointed.. but maybe in one certain song it will blow it out of the park, so it's much better to have it there than not. And the top that you don't even use in your voice if strong, can heavily influence the bottom and make it sound five times as good, even if you never actually use the top in a final product.

Don't stop yourself from creating a big sensory product if it serves the art because you don't think yourself as capable of being big, or being overwhelmed by big. And by big i don't mean, huge for the sake of huge, i just mean layering. You don't have to play the bass and the guitar and the drums. So don't imagine you have to. You hire people to do that, and they'll only focus on that. You focus on the soul and the voice and keys, and the other sounds will once pieced together, create the whole, beautiful thing..

That is what the Last Supper Is About, Beethoven's 9th, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, and even a car engine. Parts working together..

Bring it on!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blow on Strong

This is a song i recorded tonight. I started writing it a few days ago and i posted the lyrics. I doubt it will go on the album, that's why i posted it. But its a tribute to my girl Kait, who has a pretty tough time of it at the moment, as red tape has caused us a few issues and is forcing us to make some big decisions for our future. The lyrics are as follows. They explain it best...


Standing on the crossroads
Of these uncertain times
Had the wind at my back for so long, had my head in the sky

The bad luck catches up with you
If the good runs on too long,
You have to chose, either way you lose, where has my wind gone?

Blow on Strong
Blow on Strong
Blow on Strong
I'll go along
Take me on your breeze...

She's eternal beauty
Reflected in her seams
Is the one, or just another love,
Left behind in memory

The best i've ever had
She understands me
If its over, is it really over?
Will that ever bring us peace?

Blow on Strong
Blow on Strong
Blow on Strong
I'll go along
Take me on your breeze

Where i blow, i don't know the answers anymore
Where i'll stand, five years from now, i don't know for sure..

Monday, January 10, 2011

Inevitability.. that ticking time bomb.. Blow on Strong

Inevitability is a bitch. Time is a bitch. What does one do with the bitch.

I am faced tonight with so many questions, with very few definite answers, endless possibilities, and paths that could lead one way into the wilderness, and another way into yet another wilderness. The national guard has been so carefully constructed that the future looks bleak for our foreign friends. So what do you? What do you do when you are in love with a beautiful girl, but want to do things for the right reasons and not the wrong ones, or the semi-right or semi-wrong ones. But what if doing things purely for the right reasons isn't necessarily an option as its not in your make-up in this point in your life. Nothing is ever 100% black or white, this way or that. But it's hard to know you could be throwing away something so great because your path may need to go in another direction so you can keep moving forward. Really that is inevitability. If you sit on your ass, its inevitable you are going to get fat and get ass sores. I would rather try and outrun inevitability every time than get the ass sores, although i know the inevitable consequences of outrunning inevitabilities eventually come about.

So if you live like i've been living, and you feel you are on the right path, you have had the wind at your back so to speak. It's been there, you've always felt it. But what happens one day when you wake up and you have searched the channel far and wide and as deep as you can go, and the wind at your back suddenly changes. It starts coming from the side.. then all of a sudden its coming from the front, head on, pushing you backward.  Then it might stop all together and you don't know where it's coming from next, and that's the scariest, because you can't fight something that's not there. Where are you being pushed? Who fucking knows.. you are on your own. You just want to reach out and pray to whatever thing or god or higher power or mentor and tell them to get that wind blowin on strong so you can go along again on your way.

That's how i feel tonight. The wind has stopped blowing. And this is the song for it


Standing at the Crossroads
In these uncertain times
Had the wind at my back blowin' strong
My head in the sky

Bad Luck catches up with you
If the good runs on too long
You have to choose, either way you loose
Where has my wind gone?

Blow on Strong
Blow on Strong
Blow on Strong
I'll go Along
Take me on your breeze

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Being your own Boss

I AM THE WORLD'S BEST BOSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was walking down the street yesterday realizing that i have achieved most people's dream: being your own boss. Being your own boss kicks ass. Seriously. I worked in this law firm for a summer (they will remain nameless, as it wasn't the worst time of my life) and i learned what working for corporate ladder is like. I went a played golf with a CEO of one of the firm's biggest clients (a friend of the family). One of the Senior Associates (fucking loser from the highest order- slammed the door in one of my friend's faces and broke her nose- this shit actually happens) got fucking pissed off that i took a half day to go play golf with a senior client that she worked for (but of course was too much of a tool bag to get invited or to participate in anything worthwhile like this). Man did i get a fucking belting in front of my entire floor. How dare you this, and how dare you that- FUCK YOU! She was one of those examples of a lady just wanting to get to the top so bad to cover up all of her childhood, teenagehood and adulthood insecurities. Don't deal with them ever, just take them out on other people through your anger. Fucking pathetic.

I now don't have to deal with people like that on a daily basis. Everyone has to deal with people like this no matter what you do (even if you are begging out the front of McDonalds). It is true working for a corporation like Disney there is alot of htis type of behavior, but generally if i did my job i was left alone. But now in a big city where no one really gives a fuck about you, i really have complete freedom. I was playing my Xbox today, thinking there is 'some' money in the bank at the moment, nothing is to stop me from sitting on my ass and playing my Xbox all day for the next month really- if i really wanted to do that. It's nice to feel you can have that kind of freedom of mind, to chose to do what you want to do at any given time. There are still girlfriends and commitments to obviously honor and care for, but generally my life is my car and i can drive it anywhere i want. And today, although contemplating an onslaught on World Cup 2010 Soccer on Xbox, that car drove me straight back to my piano to write some lyrics to a song i had been 'penning' (i love that!) over the xmas period. And it really is about this very issue. Being free. And this is how i have been feeling over the Christmas period.

Be your own boss. As much as you can- even if you are stuck behind a desk working for the man, find ways to be your own boss. There are lots of pitfalls, no one to keep you on track except yourself, so you got to know or keep heading in some direction otherwise you might just stop altogether, but if you get that sorted, life is so much more fun. There is so much more life in the lattes i drink than hearing that screachy redheaded lawyer bitch across the room imposing herself on me everyday. 


Snow is falling down it's christmas
Children playing hockey in the streets
Signs of hope and joy in the windows
Call to me..
Fill me with peace.. And i See..
Just where i am..
Where i'm mean to be..

I'm free as a bird
I'm walking undisturbed
Through this city undeterred by the signs..
That the life i'm living doesn't feel like mine