Saturday, October 31, 2009

Song123_Closing In

Today is Halloween...the last day of October, which means that I've been recording for 4 months (123 consecutive days)! I've completed 4 songs on the newest album, Even Steven, and focusing on electric guitar rhythms has been refreshing. I like the combination of elements in this week's music.

I started today's song by recording 2-3 drum sections (to find a good rhythm and to assist with recording the foundational guitar parts). The electric guitar was recorded and edited, and then I added bass guitar, a few solo guitars, and some additional percussion (cymbal swells, tambourine, etc). I didn't decide to add vocals until the final hour of recording, but I'm glad that I did. I wrote the lyrics while finding the melody, recorded 2-3 takes of each part, then quickly did a final mix. I started this song early in the day (around 8:30am), but I took a break (to ride and run at Legacy) and returned to recording around 6pm. This song took a little longer that the average song...maybe 7 hours.

LYRICS: "Your new persona, (is) like an animal feeding. (You're) touring the country, like a wealthy baby. You're at an all-time high. Your sunken eyes tell a bitter story. Fortune at what price? You're rich and lonely. No wonder you're tongue-tied. I can feel the earth changing course. Subtle like your breath on my neck. I can feel the edge closing in. Sort of how the dead wait for us."


Friday, October 30, 2009

Song122_Far From Over

Today's instrumental was more of an experiment with rhythms that anything else. I tried to add and remove instruments throughout the song to keep things interesting...I think it worked, but I'll have to come back and listen again with fresh ears. I started this song around 10am, took a break to eat and run, and I finished by 5pm (about 4.5-5hrs total to write and record this song).

I posted some new photos on the website:


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Song121_All You Ever Wanted

I started today's song by recording some electric guitar rhythms. I like the chords used in this song...just unique variations of the chords 'A, G, and D.' I didn't have a particular sound in mind when I started. This song is mostly the product of layering (with pre-sets selected and parts written on-the-go). The lyrics and vocals were done quickly. I only sang each part three times, and I used the best two takes for the final mix (each vocal part was doubled, panned, and effected for a natural stereo effect). I wrote the lyrics after pondering an article I read about a popular country singer.

LYRICS: "You came along like a hurricane, and wrote the perfect song. (You) made it like a sing-a-long that spreads like fire. You're like a kid, but millions can't be wrong. You wrote the perfect song, and (you) sang it like a sing-a-long. And it spread like fire. All you ever wanted was money and attention. But you used your riches and fame to buy yourself seclusion."

On a very different brother (Ryan) got to meet KISS last night in Nashville, TN. A good friend of his has been a fan for many years, and he purchased the special package that allows you to meet the entire band (along with 23 others) in a room backstage just before their show. Ryan wore his 'OTTO' shirt and had his picture taken with the entire band. I'll post it on my site soon. Regardless of what you think of their music, they are rock-and-roll legends, and Ryan said he enjoyed the experience. When I found out that he was going to meet them I wondered what he was going to say to them. Below were some of my suggestions (I thought they were funny, but I amuse myself easily). He didn't use any of them.

1) Have you guys ever seen Spinal Tap?
2) Can I kill the animal in tonight's show?
3) Which one of you is Ringo?
4) Have you actually met Satan?
5) Can I borrow your costume to impress my girlfriend?

I found out yesterday that Mute Math is playing tonight in Dallas. I got to see them pack an 800 person venue just over a year ago ($12), and this year they're playing a much larger ballroom ($27). They're a solid band...great musicians and great performers. They'll probably play an arena on their next visit ($100?!). Anyway, I've seen them before, but I plan on seeing KISS next week in Dallas for the first time.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Song120_Even Steven

Today's song starts a new album, Week18_Even Steven. I have a few goals (musically) this week that I'm going to focus on. One, I'm going to use more clean, electric guitar strumming. Strumming is one of my specialties (as opposed to lead/solo playing). I've experimented with a variety of strumming speeds and rhythms on the acoustic guitar, so now it's time to focus on the electric rhythms. This will also help from a technical aspect because I'll be forced to find guitar effects and pre-sets that work best for the type of sound I'm hoping to achieve. (Until now, I've mostly focused on creating custom pre-sets within GR3 that fit my distortion and solo needs). Also, I'm going to continue working to create upbeat, interesting percussion sections that build and decrease in intensity throughout the song.

This week's (lyrical) theme is about finding (and maintaining) balance in life. During my Paramedic studies we learned a lot about the bodies amazing ability (and need) to maintain 'homeostasis' (i.e. balance). The body can instantly alter individual processes to compensate for changes in other body systems. Most of that is unconsious, but there are obviously many aspects of life that we must consiously keep in check in order to get the most out of who we are. This collection of songs will be based on this topic.

I hope you enjoy today's's the title track on the next album, Song120_Even Steven.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Song119_Scheduled Encore

I had to work until 2pm, then Brandon and I ran the trails at the lake, so I finally got started on this song around 6pm. Today completes another album, but (fortunately) I got the album art designed and the website updated last night. I already had a topic in mind today, and I had written some lyrics during my lunch break, but this song worked pretty well as an instrumental.

I have been to many many concerts in my life, and something that amazed me about a few of the first (big) concerts that I saw were the "encores." In 8th grade I saw The Cure (about 10 rows back), and it was a great experience. I remember them saying 'goodbye' after their set, the lights came one, but no one left. The crowd wasn't leaving until they got more, and they made it known. It seemed very organic...not pre-arranged. I saw something similar when The Sundays came to Dallas for the first time. Their first album had just come out, and they played every song from the album that night at Arcadia Theater. Again, the set was over, the lights came on, but no one was leaving. The singer came back out by herself (after a long stretch of cheering), and she said that they had played all the songs they knew. The crowd didn't care, and they eventually came back out and re-played their 3 biggest hits. It was awesome. I've been to other concerts (more recently) that obviously had scheduled the "encores" as part of the show. That's ridiculous, and it defeats the purpose (and excitement) of a real encore. I saw Coldplay in Oklahoma last year. Great show, but they had 3 (scheduled) encores. I say that they were "scheduled" because the lights never came on when they said 'goodbye.' Who's going to leave when it's still dark in the arena? If they needed a break they could've just said so. Most bands that follow this structure come back on-stage each time...looking a little surprised, as though they have the most generous audience. I guess I can't blame them, though...the ploy works on most people. You truly can control a crowd with lights and sound. I'm just glad I've gotten to experience a few "unscheduled" encores.

Today's song, Song119_Scheduled Encore, completes another album (Week17_Songs For Monsters). This album will be available in a few hours at


Monday, October 26, 2009

Song118_From The Start

I had a simple guitar melody in my head when I woke up, so I started with that (Em-G-D...then C-D-G). I layered a few percussion tracks before recording the bass guitar (that usually helps with timing), and then I took a break to write some lyrics. I decided to write this song for my wife.

LYRICS: "Your eyes alone speak straight to me. Without a sound, one look says everything. Your silhouette plays like an angel's song. Your hair flows down, like a perfect waterfall. I've loved you from the start. For how you make me feel, and for who you are."

I went back and added a few keyboard sounds...a string section, a flute, and a few fuzz synths.

Today is Monday, so tomorrow will complete another week of recording. "Week17_Songs For Monsters" will be available tomorrow evening.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Song117_Color of My Soul

This was a fun instrumental to put together. Brandon came over around 11am to help with today's song, and we decided on a few loose goals. One, we knew that we wanted to work harder to fuse live/analog drums with electronic rhythms. Two, we wanted to keep the chord structure simple and focus more on the melodies and editing. This song ended up having: analog drums, 4 or 5 sequenced electronic rhythms, bass guitar, 2 synths, 3 electric guitars (picking), one distorted guitar (strumming), a tambourine, congas, etc.

We both needed a break around 3pm, and I came back (solo) for the final mix. This song was written and completed within 4 hours. I like the energy and sounds created from this group of instruments. I had lyrics ready to go, but I decided to save them.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Song116_Your Unnamed Wars

Yesterday and today I have focused more on creating simple progressions that easily facilitate vocal melodies. This song began with a strumming electric guitar (D-E-A...A-F#/A-B-E...with a bridge section playing minor chords). The bass guitar and drums made it sound full and complete, but I still added a string section, synth sounds (flutes, fuzz, etc), and additional cymbal swells. I had already written down about 10 lines of lyrics earlier today, so I chose a few, rearranged a few things, and started singing. There are a few vocal tracks on each (repeated) section...sometimes singing the same melody and sometimes singing in harmony).

LYRICS: "Lies wouldn't exist without the truth in place, but it's a cut-throat race. If your patience is wearing thin, then put another layer on. It's not done 'till it's done. Through the silence and sounds of your unnamed wars. Your heart bleeds for love. It's what you're waiting for."


Friday, October 23, 2009

Song115_Give It Back

Today's idea started with a message (instead of a chord progression, sound, melody, etc), so I focused on the vocals before starting the music. I've only done it this way a handful of times during this project, but it definitely makes it easier to work in reverse like this. The song can be structured to the lyric patterns instead of vice-versa. Once I had a rough version of the vocals I recorded the distorted guitar (C-Am...C-B/C-F, etc), the bass guitar, and the drums. Each of these parts is fairly straight-forward...nothing fancy, but it provides a solid foundation for the vocals (which were recorded next). The verse sections have two simultaneous vocal tracks (I sang the same part twice), and the Chorus sections have 3 vocal tracks. The transients and levels of intensity changed with each phrase that I sang. I can usually control this during the "input" phase of recording (by moving closer and further from the mic as I sing with varied intensities), but I liked the takes that I I made them work. I effected each section of vocals individually (EQ and compression), and then I 'bussed' each group of vocals into a separate 'axillary' track to add a common reverb and compression.

I don't typically vent (lyrically) about politics, but occasionally it helps. (Ultimately, I believe that there are other things more important, more pertinent, and more long-lasting to write about). However, today's song is an exception. As much as I love our country, I was disappointed when I found out about the recent Nobel Peace Prize give-away. I took the facts within these lyrics from sites such as: NPR, CNN, and the official Nobel Peace Prize website. The opinions are my own, but in fairness I do realize that you can't nominate yourself, and it isn't realistic to decline the offer. I probably should've directed my comments more towards the voting committee.

LYRICS: "Your greatness is based on speeches you deliver. Written by others. Practiced on mirrors. Nominations were due two weeks into your job. Were you recommended for visionary promises? Soldiers were killed the day you were recognized for making peace in the world. So who's running those wars? If wars promote peace, then give the Peace Prize to the Generals. You could've declined, but there's still time to give it back."


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Song114_Orange and Blue

This song didn't start sounding like a song until a few hours into the process. I started with a distorted guitar (a second distorted guitar was added to the Chorus sections later), and then I recorded the bass guitar. Both were recorded to a click track (100 BPM). The chord progression is kind of strange, but I wanted this song to have a certain uneasiness about it. The fuzz synth sounds and the distorted guitars add to this effect. Once I got the drums in place I was able to add a few picking guitars (for melody's sake) and some cymbal swells (to tie the sections together as well as create extra intensity). Like yesterday, I felt that this song said what I wanted it to without lyrics and vocals.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Song113_Songs For Monsters

This upbeat instrumental is the title track for Week 17's album. This combination of instruments and sounds holds my attention, and it would be fun to recreate this sound with a live band. I wrote this song by selecting a BPM (150), and then I candidly recorded some bass lines that fit the mood that I envisioned. The distorted electric guitar was next, and this track played throughout the entire song until moments before the final mix (when I decided to remove it from the verse sections). I had some lyric ideas, but I didn't work on them for long. I thought this one (as an instrumental) was a good introduction to this next collection of songs.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Song112_Online Sweetheart

This song was structured around the distorted guitar progression (G-A#-A-C-G-A#-A-G#). I added bass guitar next, but then I recorded vocals (instead of adding percussion first). I wrote the lyrics during a 30-minute break, and just tried to have fun with this one. Singing these parts kind of made me laugh, but with other lyrics the melody could be taken seriously. The drums were the last tracks to be added this time.

LYRICS: "Lovers connected. Modern digital wonder. Sweetheart on my monitor. Online sweetheart. An old soul on the comeback in a changed time. Streaming dreams through your land-line. Love is now online. You don't have to ask for your date's father's permission. Just enter your password and specify gender. These are changed times. Love is online."

Today's song completes Week #16, and 7 new songs are now available on the latest album, Atomic Darling. Carly (my wife) designed the album artwork this week. The picture is something she drew a few years ago (it's made up of hundreds of tiny ink dots), then photographed and edited. Nice.

Did I mention the new videos already? Matt Coleman,, did a great job filming and editing these videos. I've only had them online for a week, but I've already gotten a great response.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Song111_Waiting Outside

Today's song is pretty basic...a few picking guitars (heavy with delay and reverb), a string section, and percussion. I started with the main guitar picking the progression (C-G-F, then Am-Em-F-G), and then I recorded the bass guitar. The vocal melody was created in a few takes (also heavy with reverb).

LYRICS: "All of your life has been about starting all over again. Maybe this is the last try. We'll start once again for the last time. It's snowing, but warm on the inside. But love makes us wait on the outside."



I have to be honest and admit that I've been feeling worn-down lately. I haven't run out of things to say, or ideas for music (though inspiration seems secondary when I find myself just 'going through the motions'). It's been a combination of challenges that have brought me to this point. This project is time consuming, and I can't neglect my job, my wife (who has been a consistent source of encouragement and support), and other responsibilities. However, I can usually combat this frustration with some simple rationale. One, no one is making me do this. Two, you don't grow if you don't challenge yourself.

I was listening to an author on talk-radio earlier, and she was talking about the detriments of "relentless positive thinking." I happened to agree with most of her philosophy about that subject. It's okay to be realistic, to be human, to analyze a situation accurately, etc. I haven't written much in this journal about the mental and emotional aspects of this project. I'd rather use the music and lyrics for that purpose, but for the sake of documentation I thought I should interject these thoughts occasionally. Overall, I'm still very glad to be doing this project, and I knew there would be times that were easier than others. I just have to be careful about entering a recording session in the wrong state-of-mind. I don't always have to be positive and happy to write music with purpose, but I do have to be intent and focused. The handful of days that I feel like I've just 'gone through the motions' have ended up taking just as long, but the lack of intent and focus is reflected in the final product. Fortunately it isn't always noticed by others, but that's not the point.

Like most songwriters, I am not really shooting for quantity. I would be happy to write just one great song that inspired everyone who heard it. I've written lots of songs during this project that I really enjoy, but I don't think I've written that one great one yet. Hopefully I never feel that way so that I never stop trying. I imagine that there will be many times during this project that I'm forced to take a step back and regroup. Endurance events are like that. I got a little off-track (musically) this week, but facing these issues has helped me regain perspective. Regaining that perspective and moving forward doesn't mean I'm a strong person. It's more about being willing to accept strength, guidance, inspiration, etc from sources outside of myself (God, wife, friends, family). If I was alone in this I might've already failed.

Today is Monday. I have completed 110 consecutave days of successfully writing, recording, mixing, and publishing a new song every day. It's 3:30pm in Texas. I'm going to start writing Song111_(currently untitled).


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Song110_Seeing Stars

Brandon came over early today to help me record this instrumental...well, 7am which is early considering I finished yesterday's song at 11:30pm (and went to bed around 1am). We worked until noon, and we got 80% of the song completed. I took a break and came back to it around 5pm...nice to have fresh ears before making final decisions about the mix. This song started with a simple concept, and we recorded the bass guitar, acoustic guitar, and main electric (picking part) within the first hour. Arranging the song, editing, and adding "icing" took some time. The "icing" turned out to be a few extra (picking) guitars, a string section, and a few other ambient synth sounds.

I really like the way the new Fender Strat plays. It is definitely the best playing (electric) guitar I've ever owned.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Song109_Everyone Has Problems

This is a fun song that was written as it was recorded. The distorted guitar track was first, and then I recorded the bass guitar. I found a few percussion loops that fit, and these tracks alone made for a full/complete I decided to fit some vocals to it. It was structured for vocals, and it had simple chord progressions that allowed for simple melodies. I wrote and recorded each section of the song separately (vocals only), but I think they blended together nicely. The bass and drums drive this song, but I like the sections of textures created by the distorted guitar, string section, choir section, and other miscellaneous synth sounds. The theme of this song is straight-forward..."pessimism is mostly due to lack of perspective." And, "self absorption is a common cause of skewed perception." The tone of the lyrics are sarcastic and sung with a "get over it" feeling, but I'm singing this one to myself as well as others. Hearing others complain makes me realize why I need to stop.

LYRICS: "Hey, you're not alone. It's a common fault. It's not even unusual. You think your problems are bad. You need sympathy fast, but that's not unusual. One of your worst days might look the same as another's best day. Hey, it's not that bad, and you're not alone. Answers come with time, and change can't be denied."

Carly and I went to the Guitar Show earlier today at the Arlington Convention Center. I have been searching for a particular guitar, so we were there when the doors opened. Out of hundreds and hundreds of guitars I was only able to find two of the type I was looking for (they stopped making this model in the late 1990's). I now own an American made Fender Stratocaster Plus Deluxe (1991 and red with a pearl pick guard). I have always enjoyed how these guitars play, and I am partial to the locking head-stock and red, blue, and silver lace pick-ups that are unique to this model. I got a late start on recorded, but it was worth it. Thanks to John for driving this guitar down from his shop in Indiana.

PS: I'm selling my Fender Twin Reverb amplifier ('64 reissue model). Do you need one?


Friday, October 16, 2009

Song108_Right To Left

This instrumental was build around a simple chord progression/melody. There was a distorted guitar recorded (which you won't hear) that was designed to give certain sections more power and energy, but I opted to get "power" in ways that didn't make the mix muddy. There aren't many tracks involved with this song, and the structure is simple (yet not very traditional). I 'book-end' the song with the main sections, and then there are two separate parts (neither one repeated) that fill the center.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Song107_Atomic Darling

I like how this one turned out, but it wasn't clear how it was going to turn out until the final hour of recording. I wrote the original progression today on an electric guitar (which you won't hear in the final mix). I recorded the bass to the 'click' and distorted guitar, and then I completely re-arranged the song. The "Bridge" section sounded better as the "Chorus," and the "Chorus" was deleted. I lengthened the "Verses" and then added a "Transition" part just before each "Chorus." There was a fuzzy synth that ran throughout the song, but I cut it from all sections except the "Verse" and it really opened things up...gave the picking guitars more room in the spotlight. The choir section and violin were added to the "Verse" (G-A-C-F#m-Bm-E), and most of the percussion was removed from the "Transitions." The bass guitar lines have been very fun to play lately. There aren't too many notes involved, but it's a fun challenge to keep it constantly evolving (alternating strings and/or octaves often, going from smooth to choppy, etc). I decided early in the making of this song that it didn't require vocals. I think I could've found some melodies to compliment the music, but I like this one as an instrumental.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Song106_It's Up To You

Today's song is nothing short of a miracle. Not because it's the best song I've ever done, but because of how well (and how quickly) it came together...under pressure. I didn't actually start this song until 8:15pm, and I had no idea what I was going to do. I started with 4 drum loops, then I added bass guitar. I created sections, added some synths for textures, and then I quickly wrote down a few lyrics. The lyrics were written in about 10 minutes, and I had trouble making things fit at first. By this time it was already 10:30, and it usually takes an hour to mix the song and get it uploaded. But, I knew I wanted vocals on most of the songs this week, so I gave it a few more tries. A few tracks were recorded in one take, and the ones that took longer caused me to skimp on my editing this time (but I think I hid the un-edited sections well). I was racing the clock during the mix, but fortunately it came out pretty balanced the first time through. This is one of the quickest songs I've written and recorded so far. This will be the first song on the next album, Atomic Darling (Week 16).

LYRICS: "Time races by, then races out of sight. I think I might like to try one more time. What will you do once you've caught your own tail? What will you do without the busyness around?"

I have been busy these past few days with work, and also with trying to update the website ( Check out the new videos! Matt Coleman ( did a great job filming and editing these short commercials.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Song105_Parting Skies

This song, Song105_Parting Skies, completes another album. Week 15 has been an experiment with new instruments and a new genre (sort of). I like the direction this music is going, and I feel like certain things are making more sense. It's getting easier to place and write guitar tracks into the dance rhythms. Also, I've learned to write the bass lines early in the process so that everything else compliments the rhythms and bass. I think I'm getting better at mixing (and EQ'ing) this new sound, and I've already learned new editing techniques (for creating pockets of intensity). There are many ways to build a techno song, but pop/rock songs have more of a direct formula (which can still be altered). I like the freedom of this music...taking any turn at any time, repeating certain sections, playing some section once (and never repeating them), etc. I plan on continuing this pursuit into next week, but I will add vocals into the experiment.

The newest album, Reverent Awe, will be online tonight.


Monday, October 12, 2009


Today's song is a little different than the others from this week. It still incorporates a variety of synths, but it's much slower and smoother than the others. I started this song with a guitar track (that I cut before the final mix), and then I added bass guitar. I tried to play each section of the song in a different way on the bass measure sustaining each quarter note, one measure double-time but sustained, one measure staccato with moments of silence between each note, etc. This helps things to sound different even when the drum rhythm stays the same.

I started recording this song around 6pm, worked on it for 4 hours, and ran out of time. I still need to update the website tonight (so the most recent songs are available), but I feel like I could've continued developing this song...possibly even adding vocals.

I met with Matt Coleman today, and we made the final edits to the video for this project. I hope to have that online tomorrow.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Song103_Reverent Awe

In a few ways, this song is my favorite (so far) of the week. I like the way the rhythms, synths, and guitars partner together on this one. And, it has a variety of sounds and sections so that it always seems to be changing. Each change doesn't just add instruments or get louder/quieter, but they also seem to have very different textures. I'm using synth sounds (and software) that I'm still getting familiar with. There are lots of sounds, and a limited amount of time each day. Sometimes I can't be too selective...especially if I already have a sound in my head that I'm searching the computer to find. I try to narrow down the qualities of each sound that I'm looking for, and then find something similar, record it, and move on. The mixing and mastering techniques have changed slightly this week because of the new sounds and style. After five days of this style I have learned some new tricks, and I'm happy with the final E.Q./levels.

I encountered another problem with the online jukebox that I'm using, so please be patient while I find a solution. I created a new account with SnoCap (so I'd have room for the next 100 songs), but there have been issues with publishing rights on the newest songs (?). I think I confused them by created two accounts. I have asked them for recommendations, but they typically take a while to respond. I will try to get things working as soon as possible.


Saturday, October 10, 2009


The past few days have been an interesting learning experience. It's been a challenge trying to learn how to write songs in an unfamiliar genre, but I'm not just trying to copy one certain band or style (that would be easier). I'm trying to take the foundational qualities of dance music and blend them with my favorite type of guitar-based rock. So far some things have worked, and some have not, but I think I'm closer to what I'd like to accomplish this week.

Once again, Brandon was able to help in the studio today. We talked through this idea before starting, and we were able to work out the details on guitars.

Today's song is ready (17:25 CST), but it will not be uploaded for another few hours. I'm incorporating an additional jukebox player into the website (to accommodate more songs), so please be patient.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Song101_Hard Drive

Brandon is in the studio with me today, and we're still experimenting with new equipment. The focus is to create a song driven by rhythm and bass...and loaded with synth. Most good songs of this style have multiple highs and lows...constantly creating and releasing tension. There's creative and technical techniques for achieving that, so we're focused on some particular tasks that will (hopefully) give us the outcome we want. There's always some degree of a learning curve when you start writing songs in unfamiliar genres. I've enjoyed this music for years, but I don't listen to it very often...nor have I taken the time to analyze it as much as I have other types of music, but it's been fun so far.

I realized today that yesterday's song didn't upload to the online jukebox (provided by SnoCap). This is because they have limited my account to 100 songs. They didn't say that I was limited to one account, so I have created a new one, and I hope to have yesterday's (and today's) songs uploaded by tonight. If you read this before the song can be posted, then you're welcome to send me an email and I'll attached the mp3 files in my reply.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Song100_Bright White

I enter into triple digits with this dance song, Song100_Bright White. This type of music has great energy with a solid bass line and layers of drum sequences driving the song. It's interesting how quickly a song like this can change directions (during the recording process), but that's to be expected since I write as I record. I plan on singing along to some of this week's songs, but I had a dentist appointment earlier today. My mouth was numb for hours.

100 songs is a good checkpoint. I plan on listening to everything over the weekend to critique things so far (there are lots of songs that I haven't listened to since recording them). Overall, I'm very happy with how things have gone. No technical difficulties. No (major) lulls in creativity.

I'm going to sleep now, but I'll celebrate this achievement tomorrow by recording another song.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Song099_Game Face

This song begins a new album, so, in effort to stay creatively fresh, I am changing a few things. I have tapped into a few software resources that I have not used before, and I now have access to hundreds of new sounds. (I got 5 new synth programs just before starting this project, and until today I had only used 1). This album, driven by rhythms and synths, will be a great opportunity for me to explore these new tools. I barely scratched the surface today, but I am already happy with the new sounds and features.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Song098_Drones Appear

Bass and drums drive this wash of bent guitar strumming, synth sounds, reversed guitar solos, and other miscellaneousness. I like the melodic sense of chaos and the comforting uneasiness of this type of sound (which was probably influenced by bands like The Swirlies and My Bloody Valentine).

This is the final song of Week 14, so that means a new album will be available online later tonight (Mayday). I wanted to get an early start on recording today, but my plan backfired. I worked on an idea for 3 hours before trashing it completely. I decided to look through a folder of old ideas that I store on a separate hard drive. I found one that had a guitar part that I liked, but there was a lot wrong with how the song was structured, edited, and mixed. I deleted about 16 tracks from this session (leaving only 2 guitar and a backwards solo), and decided that was my new starting point. This old idea got new drums, a new (synth) bass line, synth vocals, an organ, and a few other things.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Song097_Storm Chaser

I wrote this song on an electric guitar, recorded it to a click, then deleted it after recording the bass guitar and solo electric guitar. This has been a reliable way of structuring the chord progression without always having a guitar strumming throughout the song. I really like how this one turned out. Especially since I didn't have a particular plan or a sound in mind. This one just worked. The opening section is very smooth, and it has minimal tracks (maybe 6?), and the Chorus section is dramatic (the "ahh" choir sends it over the top). The distorted guitar solo and fuzzy synth provide good contrast between the two sections, and the cymbal swells tie it together. I found a vocal melody that I liked for the Chorus section, and I wrote a few lyrics. Even though I liked the part, I felt like the singing distracted from what I really liked about the song...the instruments.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Song096_Sorting Beliefs

This slow, simple love song sticks to this week's theme...low track count with vocal harmonies. I actually wrote this song with a distorted guitar (recorded to the 'click'), and then added the two electric guitars. It was easy to find melodies to pick on the guitar while the distorted track was playing. The bass guitar changes notes quicker than the original distorted guitar, so I had to delete the distorted guitar track before recording the bass. Next, I added a soft string section and a solo violin. I took a 20 minute break to write some lyrics. I didn't want to use too many words, and I tried to record the main vocal track in a pure, heart-felt manor. Technically, that meant: proper E.Q., proper placement within the stereo-field, the right amount of reverb and compression, etc. Musically, that meant: singing quiet, 'breathy,' and close to the mic. It also helps to sing as though the person you're singing to is right in front of you.

LYRICS: "Holding you close, it's easy to see. What matters most, and why I believe. All that I am belongs to you. Always."


Saturday, October 3, 2009


This song, the title track on this weeks album, was fun to record. It's a dual-personality song...part rock, part space-rock. It started with a distorted guitar progression played to a simple percussion loop. I liked the combination of the different sections, and I thought it was a good challenge trying to make them connect. (verse: D-C, chorus: E-G-F#-B, bridge: F#-B-E-F). After the distorted electric guitar I added bass guitar, and a solo electric (also distorted). These few tracks filled the chorus, so I focused on building up the verse. I added a strumming electric (with deep reverb and a slight delay), and a string section. I'm still trying to keep things simple this week (i.e. low track count), so I decided to write and record vocals before adding anything else. I took a 30 minute break, wrote a few lyrics, and then I noticed that the best melody for the chorus was already being played by the electric guitar (solo). I re-arranged the words so the syllables fit the notes, and then recorded the first vocal track...mimicking the solo guitar melody. I'm also focusing on vocal harmonies this week, which I really enjoy doing, so I added two additional vocal tracks to the chorus. The verse has two tracks of vocals doing random "oohs" and "ahhhs." After recording the vocals the song felt pretty much complete. I added two gritty synth sounds to the bridge, and then I mixed, mastered, bounced, transferred, titled, saved, uploaded, emailed, blogged, twittered, prepared for tomorrow, and then ate some cheese and hummus.

LYRICS: "The system has lost it's course. Mayday follows. Radio Ground. Standby Control. Awaiting command. Procedure followed, but mayday resounds."


Friday, October 2, 2009

Song094_Ten Times Over

The foundation of this song is an acoustic guitar that strums throughout. This was how the song was written, and it was also the first track recorded. The bass guitar and string sections were recorded next...followed by the two electric guitars (picking single notes in different octaves). Brandon came by around 1:30pm and recorded the drums live (simple set-up...2 overhead mics and one on the snare...kick drum created using MIDI). Brandon engineered while I recorded the 3-part harmony section of vocals. I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 15-20 minutes, so it was seeming like we were close to finished, but the final details took another few hours. I had to mix this one 3 times before I was happy with the final E.Q., mix, and levels. My ears are tired. How does it sound?

LYRICS: "Love is such that it never goes bad, (it) spreads like wildfire. Ten times over."


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Song093_Chaos As Strategy

I wrote this song around 11am today on the bass guitar. I didn't want other guitars playing throughout, so I added two tracks of simple parts (filling the sections without vocals). There is one keyboard part in this song...a string section. It doesn't demand attention, but the song sounds bare without it. There are also 3 vocal tracks and 2 percussion tracks (added towards the end). I think every track has some type/degree of reverb.

LYRICS: "There's the way it should be, and the way that it is. Staying might make it worse, but leaving won't make it better. One fighter fights for freedom, and one fights to rule the world. Neither are God's soldiers. Just misguided martyrs. The innocent, the majority, beg for peace and quiet, but the silence caused a riot."