Sunday, 27 May 2012

Working On Some New Songs

A short post. Currently working on a couple of songs from the Boys Talk days, the first is a reworking of an early demo with updated lyrics which is done, but now needs a video of some sort for my YouTube channel – and some rain! Taking a backing track from an old recording, I've enjoyed doing the vocals and harmonies, keeping true to what Mike and I did in those Halcyon days, whilst augmenting the sound, and so giving an old song a new lease of life. Coming soon...

The second imminent song, was an idea of Mike’s with a great chorus that I completed post Boys Talk, and have been jamming to for a few months; the song has some new bits and is just waiting for me to focus on the recording - taking it from rough to more polished. An upbeat song, inspiring, great to sing, with very positive message that with a little exposure may get picked up.

There is always something on the go, though with life's other pressures progress seems to be slow. It would be nice to be able to concentrate on doing music; there is a lot of material to work through. Maybe needs a plan.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Happy Anniversary!

It's now two years since I uploaded my first song and video to my tinkersong channel on YouTube, the first of 15 original compositions to date – some old, some newer. Hopefully, choosing the date of the sinking of the Titanic wasn't a bad move! I've not been as prolific as I would have liked, but it takes time to get it together – song, recording, some sort of video – still, it's important for me to be doing it, so the journey will continue.

The surprise to me is that that first song 'You Make Me Feel Better', which I went with in spite of it being more basic and raw than I'd planned, has done so well, almost taking on a life of its own. By some way my most popular upload. It is an unfinished Boys Talk song that I reworked; it became quite a romantic number with the idea of someone coming along and saving you. Quite summery too. A song that I really will have to do properly as a 'studio standard' recording. And one day I will… or maybe someone else will (if they ask nicely). [New 2016 version with video filmed on the Isle of Man below.]

You Make Me Feel Better (2016 version)

The journey has had its moments of excitement, as well as disappointments, each having an impact on the psyche, spurring me on or frustrating somewhat. The Lennon/Beatles tribute 'Mathew Street', an old Boys Talk recording, was a promising beginning that seemed to connect, it brought back nice memories of writing it inspired by a John Lennon poster, and of the recording session with Mike Meade (synth/vocals) and Pat Acres (guitar), and the total high of getting a song down; I would be deluding myself if, given its theme and love of The Beatles, it's done anything near what I'd hoped or expected.

'Wake Up,' which sees me writing with passion and cogency about the skulduggery in a political context, seemed to create a little stir within the blogging world, from where I drew inspiration, which was nice – and appreciated. Still a slow burner given all that's going on in the world and being done to people. I will revisit the themes separately in a future blog; I may even dabble some more musically in this area.

The most recent song 'Have You Tonight' has surprisingly done little (so far). Short and sweet. Good feel to it. A bit of a throw-away song borne of brief encounter and the euphoria of a 'moment.' Worryingly, mustering up less than 50 views in a month is something of a bleak reflection of my life and a prolonged period of self-imposed isolation. It is a bit of a rude awakening. Really hoped that doing this (the music) would effect positive change. If I'm honest, generally, the video views on most of the songs aren't that great, the connections are not really happening, even though I'm pleased with most of the songs and recordings, and how I've gone about doing the videos - given the palette and resources available to me.

Have You Tonight

I shouldn't beat myself up too much, to keep me going, there are some good songs in the pipeline and others I'm holding back for when I'm 'discovered', I’ll keep at it. It's who I am, and when I'm in the moment there is no better feeling. Well apart from…

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Everything Is Going To Be OK

Can't believe another age has passed since my last outing here. Sometimes wonder where the time goes.

There was a little hiatus, as during November I turned producer, recording my cousin, Danny Thomas, who visited me and wanted to do a Christmas album. We did 10 tracks over a long weekend and, after some mixing and tweaking, came up with a very good collection of festive cheer and reflection. It was an interesting exercise, recording someone else, getting a performance. Danny, always a fab singer, did a really good job and came up with some really nice harmonies. There were a few moments when listening back the hairs stood up on the back of the neck! And the good thing is, these songs can be used again next year!

Sadly, though it was in the queue, my own, original Christmas song never got recorded. A song of lost love that might one day pull at the heartstrings.

I managed to get one new song recorded and a video produced just after Christmas. That song Look On The Bright Side, was me revisiting one of the very first songs I wrote, not long after owning my first guitar. Thematically, it is similar to It's Alright With Me, basically, using those troubled moments we all have and seeing the positive.

As I do, I start these projects and let them evolve a while before getting down to it, that way when I jam the song, ideas will come; in this case the D shape intro, a slight variation on the melody from the original, a solo... My harmonies with myself seem to come naturally now. In the process of recording I hit upon the idea of having an uplifting, mantra-like outro, coming up with the all new "Everything's Gonna Be OK" ending, which threw up some interesting overdubs and harmonies.

Once I have the song recorded and I'm happy with the mix, the next thing to think about is a video. I'd invested in a new HD camcorder, hoping for better quality and a 'lock on subject' focus seeing as I tend to be filming myself. I took some footage in the local park, with a film crew of one and some funny looks as I mimed to a mobile phone. At home, I filmed in front of a new greenscreen cloth, hoping to add backgrounds; unfortunately, I’ll have to resolve issues of cloth transparency, mock-studio lighting and enough computer processing power! (Green sheet rather than green screen.) The edit was difficult in that the new HD files were 'too much' for the computer (juddery monitoring) so syncing sound and video was hard. After much trial and error, I got there in the end; and, it having enough bits in it to make it interesting, was quite happy with the produced video.

However, an uploaded video is reprocessed by YouTube and on occasion I get syncing problems, which is off-putting to the viewer (and frustrating to me), so the live version is the fourth attempt!

With each song and video I learn something.

Look On The Bright Side

It's very pleasing after all those years to bring such an early song to life. Brought to mind the quote from Star Trek spoof Galaxy Quest "Never give up, never surrender." It’s kind of how I feel about all of these songs and my belated musical foray – and why not?