So it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here. I’ve recently got a new job that has totally eliminated most of my free time. Hopefully that will change in the up coming weeks. But for now I wanted to put something out there to let people know I’m still here, and am occasionally making some music and videos.
For the last few weeks I’ve been taking part in these weekly challenges on this forum, Home Studio Corner VIP Members Forum. Each week some one comes up with a new challenge with certain rules and we are given a week to come up with a new song using those rules. Since I’m usually only able to work on these ideas on Saturday nights, I’ve been finding myself writing, recording and mixing these songs in a matter of a three or four hours. But dispite that short time, I’ve been coming up with stuff that I’m really enjoying. The recording and performances haven’t been the best, but the ideas are there, and I’m really digging what I have written so far. I’m hoping if we keep doing these challenges over the next two months or more, I will have enough good material to to record and release an EP or full length album by the end of the year.
But for now I thought I would share with you the songs I have produced so far. As I said these are pretty much just the demo’s of the songs, and they may change dramatically when I re-record them. But I still think these version are pretty cool and worth sharing.
So for the first week the challenge went as this:
“Love song. No holds barred – love of bacon, love of country, love of HSC, etc (easy right? wait for it…)
- The following word is FORBIDDEN from your lyric: love (and if you really want to push your creativity add heart and tears to the forbidden list)
- Record a guitar or piano with vocal (at minimum) doesn’t have to be fancy at all or a full blow production if you have the time
- Aim for 3.5 minutes in length because (hopefully we’ll have a lot of songs to listen to and give feedback)
- Tempo, structure, genre, are all up to you – no limits – whatever floats your boat”
For this one I initially wrote a sort of southern rock type song. But when it came down to writing lyrics and coming up with a melody, I went completely blank. So I decided to take it in a completely different direction. This is what I came up with:
Through out the week before I recorded this song, I had this idea of taking lame, cliched, over used love song phrases and putting them over some black or death metal type music, with growling vocals. The idea sounded funny to me, so I went with it. I’m not sure about any one else, but I’m amused by the results.
The rules for the second challenge went some thing like this:
“pick three seemingly unrelated chords Like CMaj-AbMaj-Fminor (hint: these aren’t that unrelated because they all share at least one note in common “C”)
- write a one chord song! Example: Fly Like An Eagle by (Steve Miller Band) – technically you could say there are three chords being implied over a pedal tone but I digress…
- do something with chords outside of your norm: i.e. tune your guitar to an open tuning, or use a capo, etc”
This can be summed up with a couple of excerpts from my post on the HSC VIP Members Forum when I submitted this song:
“And far as this song goes, this one was a rather interesting experiment for me. Though the end result may not sound like it, it was my first exploration into indy rock. I based the drum beats from a Metric song, and used their arrangement as a sort of template as I was building the structure of the song. At first I was using the same progression (G, B#, and F) over and over again in different positions, but that got monotonous, so I just played the chords in a different order for each section. Then just layered the keyboards over that structure.”
“Now I really wanted to add vocals to this song, but…I was running out of time, and needed to keep the creative process going, so I played with the audio clips instead. It works really good in some parts, and in others it falls apart…”
“This challenge is about interpreting the spoken word (a short speech, a poem or some other recorded spoken text) in such a way that the music adds a backdrop/an accompaniment/a musical illustration to the content of the text. The words could be your own and recorded by yourself, or they could be ‘borrowed’ and read by yourself (or friend or partner?) or they could be an actual recording of someone speaking”
I embraced this challenge head on. By this time I was into the groove of writing and producing the song in one evening, and just went into this one with a blank slate. This is what happened.
Again I’m just gonna quote what I wrote on the HSC VIP forum at the time.
“I seem to be in a weird experimental stage as of late, and this song is no exception. the music is sort of a nod to my fondness of early Pink Floyd and Butthole Surfers.”
“As far as the video goes, last weekend I was watching this documentary on experimental film makers, ‘Free Radicals’ and was inspired to make my own weird artsy type video. “
So that’s the HSC VIP Members Forum weekly song writing challenges so far. Hopefully we’ll have more and more as the weeks progress. I’m really enjoying these so far. They remind of writing sessions with Azag Thoth, where we would write and record six or seven songs in one weekend. Many of those songs written during those session are some of my favorite songs I have ever been a part of. It’s been nice to be able to revisit that vibe with this project. Hopefully it continues.