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?