Sunday, July 12, 2015

AmiDuOS

So I wanted to start sharing on Instagram (https://instagram.com/tommy_grimes_iii/ of course), to add to the other social media locations - but I take my pictures with DSLR rather than a phone or tablet, and it seemed a lot of trouble to have to move them ON to a tablet just to get them on Instagram.

Enter AmiDuOS:


It's an android emulator, so basically is like having an android tablet sat on your desktop. Ideal! Then I can snag my images from the hard drive straight up onto Instagram, without having to bounce between devices.

Different use for Instagram, but I don't run around doing things that are worth photographing with my phone - I work from home self employed, do my music from the same computer, and for relaxation I like games and movies, also on the computer (or watched on the PS4 on the telly) so unless you wanted a shot of the same room and desk day-in and day-out, any Instagram shots of that nature would be insanely boring.

So you can all thank AmiDuOS for saving you from having to see those!

CONTEMPLATION

I always intended my songs to be sung by other people. That's lead to me doing the rough and ready mixes, and not really taking my voice seriously - why would I? The aim wasn't for people to listen to me, but to other people singing my songs!

I am however contemplating a change of tack, and looking to take my voice seriously, get some training in, and get the versions of songs I do to be complete. Of course I still ultimately want to be writing for others, but in the meantime, maybe I should swap my concept of myself over from songwriter, to singer songwriter!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sad Songs

There's a thing about the songs I write - many are sad, or at least bittersweet, tinged with a touch of melancholy.

Yet I fully believe in being a positive person, so these are not a "celebration" of sadness. So why write them?


So there is the answer. We will all experience sadness at some point, probably many times. I am a positive person, and trying to be more positive all the time, but I have had my run-ins with sorrow, and I do mean big, terrible, will I even make it to tomorrow what is the point of going on sorrow.

And in those times, music can help. Music can be the thing that makes you feel less lonely in those darkest hours. A happy song may just grate at those times, salt in the wound, but a sad song is a hug from the songwriter to let you know, soul-to-soul, that they've been there too.

This means that my reason for writing sad songs is a positive one - it is to help people feel better, to help them get by, and to do so in a way that is not patronizing (and so often the words we say in regular conversation just sound that way; songs let us say those things in a way that avoids that.)


So I have given it some thought - I want to be making the world a better place, not a worse one. I have no desire to be a doomsayer, a rain-on-the-parader (I made that one up.) But in the end I have followed my heart - music and songs have helped me in those bleak hours, and I hope mine can do the same for others now in return.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

No magnets, no music

Interesting thought - without magnets, we wouldn't be surrounded by music.

My Fender Strat, my Audio Technica headphones and mic, the old platter hard drives there on the ground, my Fender Cybertwin amp, and who knows what else in this picture, would simply not work without magnets.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Songwriting log 8th July

"Deep Brown Eyes" is finished!
https://soundcloud.com/tommygrimesiii/deep-brown-eyes

I only got the second verse this morning, it was giving me much trouble yesterday. Verses, so hard! Yesterday I recorded the bass, which was hard too, and then mixing this was a trick as I never had one with fairly prominent piano all the way through (did sneak some in on the chorus of "Took Me A Lover" but this track has more, now that I have Alicia's Keys for a good piano sound.)

The joining of ways

So today was recording the second verse, second chorus, harmonies for the chorus, and then the electric guitar solos and tweaking up the mix (and battling a couple of Cubase crashes, and some weirdness where the acoustic guitar was disappearing when I exported.)

It's a rough and ready of course, as all my ongoing releases will be, as I want to get the songs down and out there!

Is also amazing how different a track will sound on my decent studio headphones versus my crappy computer speakers - never seems to be a mix that is ideal for every device it can be played back on / through!

This ol' train will take me out of here

Will have to give some thought to what's up next - most likely will be "Even When It Hurts" since it's well on its way!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Writing Log July 6th

Fitted in some music today - did some work on an instrumental piece as my alter ego Faol Glas. Still isn't done, not quite sure what direction it will take, we'll see! It's not what I had in mind when I started it, these things have a life of their own!

Did also return to my Tommy Grimes III self, back to writing, well, whatever genre you would call my music.

I picked up on "Deep Brown Eyes" rather than "Even When it Hurts" as that's where the mood lead me (I was humming it in my head!) I added piano to it, naturally, now that I have a good sounding one in Alicia's Keys that I spent an age playing yesterday!


I re-recorded the acoustic guitar (it just had a rough over the chorus for that, with a rough electric over the verse as it was easier to pick up the electric when I was writing the chords for that!) then re-recorded the vocals for the chorus with a slight tweak to words, then over the course of several hours a first verse came to me, so I recorded that.

It really needs bass to fill it out but didn't tackle that today. Did try and add some electric rhythm to the chorus, to pick it up from the verse, liked the sound on the headphones, but then found it too fizzy on the computer speakers, so will need to revisit!


Also not sure on the verse, again is a question on whether to sing it low or sing it high, in the same register as the chorus. Low makes the chorus stand out more, so I am leaning in that direction for now - but again, these things have a life of their own, so who knows!

I ended up not liking how it sounded on a listen on the computer speakers, some you win some you lose, but good progress - just needs a second verse and deciding the arrangement and mix, so not far to go now!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Writing Log July 5th

I did come back to "Even When it Hurts" but ran into trouble with the key - right now it sounds great on the guitar, starting on C, but I can't sing it so well there. If I move it to start on E or F then I can sing it better, and while the guitar sounds good on the chorus with a capo raising it, it doesn't work so well during the verse which is meant to be fairly "chugga chugga" (muted strings, and sounds best deep.)

Couldn't make up my mind what the best solution was, so put it to one side - besides, the freelance 3D work had got busy again and that is what pays the bills!


Then came the weekend, wrapped up as much as I could of the 3D work, and headed back to music with an interesting twist. I had a hankering for piano.

The only piano sounds I have came as part of other things - orchestral collections, or included with Cubase, and they have always left me wanting. So I spent a large part of yesterday and today browsing, listening, reading reviews, checking prices, etc, and early today settled on Alicia's Keys.

Most recent addition to sound arsenal - Alicia's Keys
Now, I don't know any of Alicia Keys' music (sorry Alicia) so the name branding had nothing to do with my choice. I did want something down below $100, to keep the budget sane and sensible for what I want to do with it. I did want something sample-based rather than modeled. And with that in mind, this fit the bill.

I was also tempted by Imperfect Samples, but their purchase site was bust at this time so couldn't get it even if I wanted to. And some of the more expensive VSTs out there looked real nice too, but, can't justify the money on those just yet.

Then I spent the rest of the day lost in playing piano, which was great fun! And now the challenge ahead - figuring how to EQ and mix a piano in with distorted guitar and the like, which I haven't tackled before!