Welcome back, folks. And happy May!
This month’s song was a fun and somewhat educational adventure for me.
I spent a week on the road for work and many other days working late. This posed the problem of sitting in my basement, firing up the microphones and cracking away at a new April song. But it did give me the opportunity to play around on my iPad, sitting in a room up in Caraquet, NB.
A few weeks back I took a couple of chords I had and hobbled together a small arrangement and started tinkering with a beat. Things took off from there and I ended up with a song that challenged my musical theory and fought with my ‘half’-snobbery for using Garageband and other app toys to make music.
I don’t regret using it and plan to engage with it a little more now that I’m learning what can be done beyond the front end of ‘user friendly’ side of it.
Sure, I would love to get (or become) a fantastic piano player, record drums with mics that do the right job for each frequency… or even play a real Erhu. But I’m not doing that anytime soon and really, for what I’m doing here, practicing and seeking new ideas while making home recordings of songs on a monthly basis, it serves the purpose just fine. And hell, watching this thing grow was pretty exciting for me.
I played finger drums and pretended I had ten arms with ten little tiny sticks! I used four grand pianos in a little miniature Carnegie Hall and explored Moog’s electronic workshop for some sub-bass thing that slid my fingers around like I was using a Theremin.
The theory part was a fun experience as well …
When I started this monthly project, I wanted to make an effort to find melody. Even if it was a little more than I could muster back when I used to play more music. That means finding the right keys I’m playing in, and trying to keep up with a scale or movement that suits the melody I half started with.
The samples and instruments in Garageband and IK Multimedia Pianos can be pretty unforgiving if I go off the beaten path with a melody vs chord. Not that there are any rules to this, but I wanted to stay in the confines of the Key signature and learn from it.
There’s some guitar and cymbals and vocals I recorded in my actual Garage (amidst the sound of cars driving by) so this isn’t all in-the-box, but it really doesn’t matter. I’m enjoying this month’s addition.
I’m already cooking up some ideas for the May song. Which I’m hoping will be a band effort if I can manage to get some folks together to practice and write. We’ll see …
It won’t be much longer before we see ourselves hitting a beach, or lounging out in a backyard, or enjoying a fresh beverage out on some deck in an uptown concert.
Whatever your spring/summer contains, I hope it’s an awesome one!
See you next month 🙂
Considering my lack of recording and writing in, well, just about forever. I figured it might be good to take a step back this month and record only a guitar or two with some vocals.
Clinton, along with friends Adam Kierstead and Bill Preeper helped me out tremendously by adding their touch to this song. You can’t beat having the influence of other musicians help shape a song.
When I started writing it, I had no idea it was going to become a big ol’ strummer.
But Clinton added a fresh drum track, recorded by Bill Preeper at his place Bonnet House, Adam ripped out a great bass part (a headless rocker bass at that) which was recorded by Clinton somewhere in Saint John and Bill added a great slinky slide part to add some depth to an otherwise pretty acoustic sounding song.
I love all of what they did!
I managed to get everything recorded a few days before deadline, but I spent some time mixing things. Mixing, listening, scrapping, mixing again …
I’ll give the big pro studios a nod. Tyring to mix in a basement with modest gear is challenging. But in the end this IS a home recording. And I feel it is a step up from last months song.
So here’s hoping I can swindle some other friends to record with me and I can step-up the recording once again.
Perhaps next month I should record my sneakers and a cucumber. Art-rock!
This one is called ‘Casualty‘
“Allow myself to introduce … myself.” – A.P.
I’m Chris. I used to make music. And now I’ve started again! Yeah, babay!
Thank you Clinton for thinking of me when deciding to take a break from January Through December. It’s a pleasure and somewhat frightening adventure to take this on.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy the time off to pursue … um… more music?
Folks, Thanks for checking in. If you don’t know me (I suspect many don’t) I’m a Saint John ‘Expat’ of sorts.
7 or 8 years ago I changed up my musical habits from recording and playing in a few local bands to hitting the books and settling on a carreer in Electronics Technology.
I love it. But it came at a price.
My family and I ended up living and working in Cape Breton. With a new career on the go, routines and monstrous drives back to visit SJ, I didn’t have a lot of time to work on music.
Flex the musical muscles, so to speak.
Which leaves me here. With a challenge from Clinton. To write, record and deliver a song by the first of each month.
“Sure I can submit a song way earlier than February 1st!” – Tired Me
12:52am Feb 1st:
I totally didn’t have the song done earlier than just now…
I’m happy with this months song. For being the first one I’ve tackled like this in a very long time, it turned out pretty good.
My vocals,lyrics, and drumming will need more practice. And I look forward to learning about some recording techniques (old and new).
My recording and mixing abilities have also been a little dusty, but all this will improve – right?
The idea behind writing something during the same month is a fun challenge for me. It made me look at things from a ‘current mood’ or ‘event’ and then try to wrangle something out of it.
And unless I’m going through something that would normally make it easy to be cathartic with, makes it tougher.
In August, my family moved again. This time a lot closer to YOU, my friends. We now live in Kensington, PEI.
What better place is there to work on, and polish up on some musical strengths and weaknesses? Inspired by harsh windy winters and absolutley glorious summers.
And the best part? I don’t have to try and convince my friends to come over and play on FUTURE recordings for monthly submissions.
Asking someone to drive 7 hours to what seems like the end of the planet (although beautiful) to a 2-3 hour drive on one of Canada’s best beaches?
I suspect the summer songs will be the strangest and strongest ones of the year.
This months song is called ‘Exit Stage Right’. Recorded in my basement with my computer, an iPad for piano and a few mics.
I could get into the recording and mixing stuff for any audiophiles here, but I think this is already long- winded enough.
We recording people won’t shut up (or stop debating) when we get started on recording practices and gear.
In the following months I plan to get out of my shell a little more. I may try different ways to record. Or use different ways to produce something.
Like say, record only on my 4-track, or ALL UKES! … or get my 15 year old to mix a song in whatever way he wants – good luck to us on THAT month.
Thanks for reading and listening. Be easy – I’m an old new.
See you next month.
“When I started this project back in 2011, the idea was always that I would share it with others. In fact some of you may even remember a few entries by Chris Braydon back in 2012. As 2018 came to a close I approached my friend and collaborator, Chris Fudge, about taking over the project for 2019. I was thrilled when he told me he was up for the task. It was such a rewarding experience and great motivator that it would be selfish to keep it to myself (though selfishly I really want to hear new music from Chris!). I look forward to hearing the songs, reading the blogs, and being on the other end of this project. I hope you’ll be listening too”