So this year I am once again attempting the RPM Challenge in the hopes to get some music written and recorded and released to the wonderful of peoples of the world. For those of you who are not familiar with the RPM Challenge is, well it’s an online challenge that tasks musicians to write, record and release an entire 10 song record or 35 minutes music within the month of February. The only rules are that you record ten songs and burn it to a CD and send it to the RPM Challenge home base somewhere in New Hampshire. There’s no rule saying it has to be good, just completed. Though they encourage you to actually write all the music in February, as far I can tell there is no hard rule on that.
Two years ago when I first heard of the challenge and jumped on board I went with the whole write, record and release in one month option. I can’t really remember exactly how I approached it, but I seem to remember going through and writing the basic structure of the songs first, then once I had ten songs in the can, I went back and rerecorded and mixed them. I did manage to complete the project with a day or two to spare though I can’t say I’m too happy with the results. A few of the songs were decent tunes that I liked, while others were terrible and I hope no one ever listens to them. But as the whole nature of the challenge suggest, the fact I finished it is the main point, so in those terms it was a success.
Last year I attempted to do the challenge but ended up failing miserably and dropping out within a week or two. The reason being is I was working a 15 hr a day job Mon – Fri and was completely drained by the time the weekend rolled around I just never felt like working on music. A sad excuse I know, but it’s what happened for better or worse.
So this will be my third attempt at the challenge and I’m feeling pretty good about it. This time around I’m taking a slightly different approach than I did with the first one. My first RPM Challenge I went into each song with a complete blank slate for every song. I may have pulled out an old unused riff here and there, but for the most part I simply went in with nothing and did my best to crank out something in the time I allotted for myself, which was usually an hour or two each day. As I stated before I had mixed results using that method. This time I around I’m trying to come into the project a bit more prepared. I have already written and recorded the frame work for at least four songs, and hopefully once I finish this thing I will start writing a fifth tune. I also pulled a couple of tunes that I wrote back in NY a couple of years ago that sort fit in the musical theme of the project, just in case. So coming into the month of February I’ll have a good amount of material to work with, and I’ll only have to write four or five more songs during the challenge. So this time around I’m quite a bit more prepared, and I have some pretty strong material, so chances are this could actually be half way good by the end of the month.
As I suggested this year’s project has a theme to it, at least a musical theme, which is black metal. I’m not sure why I chose that genre for my musical theme, but it was just what I was feeling when I started writing for the project. Of course it won’t be pure black metal for every song. Every one of the songs I’ve written so far have a bit of thrash and stoner metal thrown in there. Ultimately I have no idea what the final product will sound like when I’m finished, but I will be doing my best to maintain the black metal feel of this record though out the writing process.
And finally provided I actually finish this project, I plan on taking at five of the best songs from this challenge and using them to try and record a proper EP for release sometime later this year. For all intents and purposes, the challenge is essentially the song writing and demo phase of this project, so I will be performing everything, and probably will be all in the box. But when it comes for the actual EP I want to try and bring in some outside people for the production. I have an idea for a drummer, and possibly some music and vocal production and even design work with someone else. I’m also thinking I may want to try and record all the guitar parts using real amps whenever possible. Luckily for me I happened to work for a back line company that has as wide of a range of amps and instruments for me to choose from. I’m still thinking about the logistics of that, but that is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I started working for the company and it would be silly not to take advantage of the gear I have at my disposal.
So that is a nut shell is my plan for the RPM Challenge this year which will hopefully result in an EP or full length record by the end of the year. Wish me luck.