Saturday, December 26, 2015

Songwriting log 2015 12 26

Started the day by "nah nah nahing" a possible melody for the vocals, you can hear that here.

Now, take a deep breath, a lot got done!

Started off with some words for the verse, got one verse, and a second. Recorded those. The words changed things a bit. For one thing, I decided against the more downbeat "Can you save me?" and changed it to the more positive "Do you know you saved me?" - didn't want anything as a downer in this one, a change of heart, wanted it all positive.

Also the song became about what music means to me, though for listeners they may see it about a loved one of theirs.

Next up, came up with the bass for the verse, which took some finding for the bit built on D before the chorus but got something I like.

Then built a structure for the song to see how it looked, by copying and pasting the recorded parts- very handy, doing that. Came up with a way into the song, not sure about that yet, it may be a bit sudden, but trying to avoid a long instrumental intro ("instro")

Then came up with chords for the solo, which I changed around repeatedly til I got what I wanted. All of this recording lead to a lot of deleted takes, as I like to write by playing and seeing what works!

Then recorded the acoustic start to finish now I knew what all the parts would be and what the structure was (there is a wrong chord in there, but that's fine for now.)

Then redid the electric so that it is mostly hanging chords rather than follow the acoustic so closely, just to give more space and breathing room. While playing with getting the electric, had come up with another idea, so tried that too, recording a second electric at some points and I think I like it. Will review tomorrow.

Then re-recorded the vocals, and recorded bass for the solo, then recorded a solo (this is the second take on a solo, not a final.) The bass is still copy and pasted parts, haven't done a play through on that.

That gives us this look to it all:

I did go and add some noise reduction to the various parts, and tweaked around the sounds and effects and mix a bit, and that takes us to the end of the day, which you can hear here.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Songwriting Log 2015 12 25

Bit more work done on the track, have a listen here.

Below is how it looks now (my Blogger skills are somewhat lacking, so this is too tiny to read, click here to view it full size though!):

First thing I did was add the bass. Then I got curious about acoustic guitar, and decided I like the electric rhythm too, so have kept both. I also decided I liked the electric guitar melody line that I had tried out in place of what the bass would do, so I upped the reverb on that so that it drops way back in the mix but is still there.

Was amusing to find some of the acoustic playing matching the electric, even though I recorded it with the electric muted. When I have it written, I'll re-record both of course, laying down the acoustic first as the primary, then play electric along with it to make sure both fit well.

Anyway, next up was an experimentation to find something for a verse. The chords on show are probably only vaguely correct, as I added and missed out notes for some, and buggered if I know the names of them - used this handy chord-naming tool to try and get them kind of right, but it doesn't have all the changes when I add and take away things during the chord!

Now it needs words for the verse, and a bass line for that. Still thinking about whether it needs strings, or piano. Perhaps mandolin too, not sure yet. And then there's the solo, and I think this one does need a middle 8 part.

So lots to go, but that's where we are so far today!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Songwriting Log

So have seized some time off over Christmas after one heck of a year! Had hoped to get to 20 songs in the catalogue before the end of the year, but looks like I'll get to 18 (got 16, and two on the go.)

It's Christmas Eve, so....

Can't have alcohol without having songwriting, so that's what I've been doing this Eve!

For fun, have decided to share the development process of writing this song, "Can You Save Me?", as I go. First off, the seed of inspiration, recorded on the cell phone (likely hands free in the car) - have a listen here (note, not safe for work, a brief profanity in there)

So I took that today and set to work in Cubase, figuring out the chords to go with it. Have a listen to that here.

Most likely it will be acoustic guitar, but used the electric to lay it down for now. May or may not keep the electric too, with that kind of warm crunch, or could go totally clean acoustic, will experiment and see!

Have capo'ed it on the third fret, so I could sing lower than in the original audio scribble. May change that not sure if I like the higher or lower as yet. The lower is much more laid back, which I kind of like, but it may be too laid back.

Did a quick improv of the notes I felt need to go in between the lines, though those are likely destined for the bass.

Might have strings on it - or might not. Again, will be something that I will experiment with. And as yet, nothing for the verse, but that's tomorrow's item (though I may doodle with it some tonight.)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Would you rather sing than curse?

And if you look to your left, you will see a very nice PC, when it comes to doing 3D, video editing, or playing games. Also very good at handling oodles of synths and plugins while recording music, but it has one problem.

It is incredibly noisy.

Overclocked, water-cooled, it has fans that compete with my AC for loudness, and that is a major P.I.T.A when it comes to recording vocals, as my mic is sensitive enough to pick that up.

A quick trip to Best Buy though for a headphone extension cable resolved this - the Audio Technica mic has a nice long cable, and I can whisk it and the headphones through into the bedroom, out of earshot of the noise box that records everything.

Couple that with Cubase IC for the iPad, and I have a remote control for my recording system - perfect!

This has got me all set up and ready for recording vocals again, so I was able to wrap up "Even When It Hurts" today (lyrics seen above on the bedroom cabinet.)

Interestingly, I've been yearning for older sounds from my state-of-the-art equipment - with "Black Widow" I wanted a smoke-filled blues bar from wayyy back, and this time I had started inspired with the jangly spangly Strat sounds from the 50s, or the kind of bright guitar heard on The Byrds' recordings.

The song itself is about remaining cheerful and positive, and spreading that to others, even when things are rough and hard - and when you see someone who has a positive outlook on life, don't mistake that for them being ignorant of how tough things can be. Could be that they know, and they still choose to be happy.

Which is a good choice to make.

The song itself is a "rough n ready" not all super polished, this is all about writing and getting them down in "good demo" form and moving on, as I have lots more to finish up writing!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Merry Christmas!

When I say "Merry Christmas" I am not asking you to have the same philosophical / religious / spiritual approach that I have to life (and it's very non-traditional anyway!), nor am I asking you to say it back, nor am I asking you to betray your own personal beliefs - I am simply wishing you light, love and happiness, peace and contentment! So - Merry Christmas!

Have pretty much settled in after my unexpectedly short-notice move, below is the corner of my world where all my creativity takes place, from music to 3D and video. You'll note the shelving that all the machines sit upon - this is because a mere week after the move, there was a minor catastrophe with main sewer lines backing up and pools of water forming right under them!

That sort of "newly moved in getting used to the new place" chaos has still kept a crimp in any new writing or recording, though I did jot down the starts to a couple of new songs. I had a target of 20 songs written and recorded in rough n ready form before the end of the year, and another 3 or 4 will see me there! Still plan to hit that, as will have some time over Christmas to take a pause from work and just lose myself in music.

Now that's what I call a merry Christmas! May yours be filled with all the things you love, too.