Monday, June 29, 2015

Writing Log - Took Me A Lover

And "Took Me A Lover" is all wrapped up! Again is a rough and ready, don't want to agonize over recording and production TOO much here, as just need to get these songs written.

Listen here.

More random photography of mine!
So wrote the last verse, verses are always the thing I find hardest! Then came addition of piano and tiny bit of strings n the chorus, to my surprise. Then the guitar solo, which flowed quick and easy.

Kept the Melodyne tightened bass, which I think sounds good - just couldn't seem to get it QUITE bang on when playing so a wee bit of tidying up by a percentage worked wonders. And of course on the vocals too.

Time to move on to another! Coming back for re-recordings and polishings, well, who knows when that might happen, but for now rough n ready and getting them wrote! (I know, bad grammar, artistic license!)


Writing log

Keeping up with sharing the writing process!

For "Took me a Lover" I ended up using Melodyne on the bass after all, even after a re-recording of it and a re-recording of the acoustic guitar. While it sounded good as I played it, I wasn't happy with it on playback and that little bit of tightening up on the timing seems to help.

More random works of my photography

I then picked up on another piece, which doesn't have a name other than "Psychedelic Country" - this one was several layers done on Cubasis on the iPad, which is fine except the guitar has baked-in effects from there (the Mobile Pod effects) so I have to start by making new patches in Amplitube or Scuffham to get close to those sounds so I can re-record the parts.

It's only a chorus, no words, but interesting three layers. Got one patch done, the other two sounds still to go - then have to find drums, write words (have to decide what the hell this thing is about lol!), get a verse, write the bassline, etc etc. So a long way off yet!


Will have to see what comes out of today, as there is the day job to work on too! Will keep you posted.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Updated to  Cubase 8 from 7.5, since it's not much and there was a special offer. The main appeal - better floating windows for my dual monitors!

Got it last night, and got all the VSTs pointed at - I think. We'll find out as we go along, putting it to use today! So far today have structured another song, "Deep Brown Eyes", and written the verse chords for it, and gave it the drums. It started the day as just a chorus, with "click track" drums.

While chorus does have words, nothing for the verse yet, will see if anything arrives today.

Song started from this. 
Now structured and laid out ready for easy writing and recording!

Next up though, back to "Took me a Lover" so that I don't get lost in just setting up songs for writing, rather than, you know, actually getting some listenable!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Writing Log

Figured I'd share some of the writing process as I go along!

So have been working on "Took Me a Lover" which is going well, has a structure all laid out, the acoustic laid down, drums laid down, choruses written, and two out of three verses written (no vocals recorded yet though, maybe tomorrow!)

Walls of text are boring, so have some of my photography to go with the song blog!

I'll admit that it has been hard finding motivation these last few days, so although the song is far along, actually wrapping it up has proved tricky!

I got bass parts for verse and chorus, but just wasn't playing them very well - I could use Melodyne to straighten up the sloppy timing, I don't view that as "cheating" since I am only writing the song to demo it at a good enough state to see if someone else wants to take it and record it, all the same though not something I like doing with instrument parts.

Besides, I want to re-record the acoustic rhythm with the bass there, as they may be clashing some. That can be part of the cycle - rhythm guitar, bass line under it, redo the rhythm guitar now I have a bass. One of the hardships of flying solo!



So I decided to change tack. I have around 80 songs and fragments tucked away, some are already in Cubase, some are just recordings off my cell phone (hurrah Evernote!) I figured I'd go through some of those, start drawing up the chords that I have etc, so that when I pick up on them, I can do so quickly, rather than starting from just an audio file from a phone.

I chose one that was already in Cubase but just click track, electric rhythm and the electric playing the melody for the chorus. Lo and behold if I didn't get caught up in it!


To my surprise, I wrote the verse chords, re-wrote the chorus chords a bit, laid out the whole song structure, redid the drums so they weren't just a click track. Most fun of all was deciding to hit record and try a solo, and ended up loving the first thing I recorded!

Might keep it as the final, we'll see - you can hear it here!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New lyric video is out on my YouTube channel, for "Different This Time."

The song is intended for a woman to sing, though I have no qualms about singing it myself! It was inspired when I was shocked to hear a conversation amongst folks I thought would know better, regarding those trapped in abusive relationships.

Their tone was about how these people have a victim mentality, they should just leave, etc etc. As if it is that easy.

I contemplated the million and one things that would make it hard to step out of such a situation, and how people could easily keep returning to it. For this song, I focused just on the concepts of hope and duty, though there are many many other things that make it hard to break free of a situation like that.


Regarding hope - I can only hope people become more open minded, realizing just how hard it is to break the cycle, and offer support rather than criticism for those suffering an abusive relationship. And remember - there are organizations out there who can help, and who will understand.

All the best,
   Tommy

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


All Adobe Creative Cloud apps updated to 2015! Haven't checked what new features are in there, but have noted that After Effects with Video Copilot's Optical Flares loads a damn sight faster!

Sometimes I love doing everything myself, from writing the music, to recording every instrument, to making the imagery and videos that go with it.

Other times, it makes me wish for a team of folks to handle the other stuff so I could get on with writing the music itself - such is life!


Monday, June 15, 2015

Another song wrapped up and complete! This one is "Different Tune" (click to listen or download.) I was particularly pleased with the harmonizing layers in this one, as it features acoustic rhythm, mandolin, electric guitar phrases, electric guitar harmony phrases, bass, vocals, and vocal harmonies.

In fact, so much work went into this, that I thought I would share a behind the scenes look at all that went into the chorus - click below to watch a video that walks you through all the different layers, so you can pick them out while listening!


Structures like these are why I don't play live - I'd need 5 musicians just to play the instrument parts, six if we include a drummer, and then we have the vocal parts to think of to! This is why I love the studio!

I haven't stopped there though - as well as the new logo (seen at the top of this post) destined to go on t-shirts, I've also created my first three lyric videos for "Pedal to the Metal," "The Amber Dream" and "Black Widow" - watch out for more to come in the next few weeks!


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Black Widow - the vocal sound

A look at the "old and live" sound I was after for the vocal part in "Black Widow." I plan on coming back to look at bass, guitars and drums in future videos, as those were also made to sound like it was played live in a smokey blues club decades ago!