sixth song

Almost threw this one away and then re-tooled it and it came out better than the first attempt. RPM does challenge !


Now we're havin' fun aint we ?

Day 11 - Big leaps

Long overdue for an update!

Missed out on a few days due to illness (that flu going around is no joke), but it's been extremely fruitful nonetheless. I'm especially excited about the track I started on Day 4 (working title: "Microdose"). Tomorrow I'll have that up as a work-in-progress along with all the other ideas I started. 

The biggest thing I want to avoid compared to last year is waiting until the last minute to start a song; I ended up with two tracks that I rushed in the last week or so that have since been deleted from SoundCloud. On that note, here's a quick list of my track list so far:

1. Black Nicklaus 

2. Krabs Violin 

3. Defy the Gallows 

4. Local Man

5. Microdose 

6. If I Shed You

7. Age of Dinosaurs

8. Fugitive Booty


I started "Age of Dinosaurs" yesterday when a melody popped into my head. In a nutshell, I'll be doing my best imitation of The Aquabats (including impersonating MC Bat Commander's vocals). I started tracking guitars today and as far as lyrics go I have a chorus and verse done.

"Fugitive Booty" is a weird one that I started on Day 10. I'm playing through Farhenheit (aka Indigo Prophecy) for the second time. The same studio went on to make Heavy Rain, so both games are really similar in style. Basically it's an interactive movie with a "Choose Your Own Adventure" element to the plot. So there's a scene where your character (a fugitive who's wanted for murder) gets a visit from his ex-girlfriend who's coming back for the last of her things.

I had the choice of treating her coldly or expressing that I still had feelings for her; of course, the latter seemed more interesting. It lead to a hilarious sex scene that had me thinking "fugitive booty" the whole time. For some reason, I kept saying it out loud and then a bassline popped in my head. I ended up starting a dancehall-y track about a man on the run whose girl still wants his time. One of those things that will only be funny to me, but that's exactly what RPM is for haha. 

But again, the highlight so far is "Microdose". I remembered seeing a video pointing out that Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" really has one chord progression throughout and I wanted a track with a similar feel (I loved that song in high school, can't lie). I ended up riding a huge creativity wave and wound up damn near finishing the song in a day or two. I thought I wasn't going to write any send-off tracks to my ex, but here we are. 


Lots of text, but the point is I'm really happy with this progress and there are some exciting ideas on the horizon. More sketches/ideas/WIPs coming soon! 

Second finished track in the player

Two down.  Ten to go.




Where have you been is all they’ve been asking

Where are you going is what I’d like to know

Why are you running when nobody’s chasing?

What are you hiding?  What can’t you show?


I know you’ve got something you’re dying to tell me

But you don’t know how

Don’t worry ‘bout that right now


Out on the horizon, the sun’ll be setting

Look up from the shadows that’ve chased you around

You might not believe it, but baby I’m betting

The thing that you’ve lost, it still can be found


I know you’ve got something you’re dying to tell me

Maybe someday you’ll know how

But don’t worry ‘bout that right now

Almost Pop

Well, I've come pretty darn close to writing a pop song... 

This one definitely seems to be in need of vocals and lyrics, but that isn't my forte. 

Have a listen, if you're a singing/songwriting type and this spawns something in your brain, let me know! It definitely doesn't feel complete at this point.

Click the link to hear my 'almost pop' track that I have worked on off and on since the beginning of the month... 

Almost Pop


So far behind...

So the first few of days started off pretty well. Every evening I just sat down with my guitar and wrote something - anything. In one case something great came out. In another case something not so great came out. In the third case something a bit inbetween came out.

Then unfortunately a strange series of events took place that threw me completely off and set me back a long way. I had to work extremely long days the first weekend of February, then my workplace got burgled on Monday and I had to deal with that every available minute outside of an already busy job. I got out of London this weekend to visit an old friend, and god I needed it.

But wherever I could, all through last week, I got the odd idea down on my phone, a bit of guitar here, a hummed tune there. It was hardly writing but I was getting enough ideas to know I could turn them into something more later on. And now, although there are nowhere near ten fully formed songs yet, I think I’ll be able to carry on with a slim slim slim chance of competing the challenge. I’ll have to use a few ideas that I’ve had in the past few months, so it won’t be all written in February, but that’s not against the rules and it also means that the whole thing should still all be pretty cohesive, with the same kind of style and themes that I’ll be exploring this month.

So slowly a vague plan has been forming, not just for the songs, but of what time constraints, working alone and access to decent instruments is going to limit me to… however, I realise I’m still a long way behind. I’m going to have to blur the boundaries between each different process.

See, I’m usually super anal about things. I’ll write a song and only when I’m confident it can’t be developed any further, I’ll record it all in one go. Then and only then will I mix it, removing all plugins and effects that I added during the recording process and starting from scratch.

But I don’t have enough time for that, so I’m going to make myself uncomfortable by doing things differently to how I usually do things… but then this whole challenge is not the kind of thing I usually do. I don’t usually set myself challenges. I don’t usually put myself out to the world. I don’t usually blog.

So, for the next week I’m going to finish the writing process by programming and getting some rough parts down. I’m hoping that these ten songs will flesh out enough in that time. Next weekend, I’m going to focus solely on recording anything that’ll be in every song - guitars, vocals, rudimentary drums - but I'll keep that I can from my demoing and writing. The week after I’ll continue recording but begin mixing decisions as I go along.

It’s going to be tricky and I’m doubtful I’ll finish… but hey, that’s what a challenge is all about.

Sketches now replaced with finished tracks!


My previous "Sketch2" and "Sketch3" are now up as finished tracks, along with a new one as well. 

It's still weird to be doing an all- acoustic album, but I'm having fun and getting unexpected results.


cheers everyone.

brandi "tella"

A Friendly Reminder

Hi everyone!

This post is meant to be a friendly reminder to everyone who is recording their project on a computer or similar medium...

Have you backed up your files lately?

I backed mine up a few minutes ago and I'm starting to get a little paranoid so I might back up my back up.

Continuation of yesterday, but...

This morning I wrote 5 lyrics, then recorded drums, bass & piccolo bass to them. I got 10 songs now including yesterday that need vocals and mix and then DONE! 😀

Day 11: Slow and steady

I know it's not a race, but I feel like I'm falling behind schedule. I wanted to have the main recording done on all 10 songs by the end of today, but I'm currently at 4 songs ready for vocals. So, I've got some work to do. I've got 17 days left to finish. No sweat. No muss, no fuss. Easy-peasy. Or something. I'll see what I can knock out today...


First song done

The album's opening track (at least that's the plan) is up in the player.  I originally thought I'd call it "Canada Dry," but the new title "Into the Light (This Lazy River)" makes more sense.

Nice little track indicative of the sound and feeling I hope to have on this year's album.




Take me down to the river

Throw the jackets in the hull of the boat

Let the current deliver

To the bend at the bridge where it’s harder to float

What’d you pack in the cooler?

It’s hard work lying back in the sun and the sky

I see you sipping your root beer

Please tell me you brought me a Canada Dry


The only son and the youngest daughter

Our parents sure did raise us right

Pull the oars from the water

And we’ll just float on by into the light


Nothing lasts forever

All good things come to an end

Like this lazy river

You never know what’s coming ‘round the bend


The only son and the youngest daughter

Our parents sure did raise us right

Pull the oars from the water

And we’ll just float on by into the light

17d 17h 17m 17s

Seems like a good time to check in. Outside are some of the biggest snowflakes I've ever seen and I'm heading out to the local market for plastic-free supplies, and to look at the river.

I have a half a dozen guitar parts that will form the bones of songs, but I'm not happy with the sound. It's my first time recording in a new place and my 'workflow' is not. A workflow.

I am spending lots of time creating ragtimey variations on a theme in D, and then trying to record them when the traffic backs off after midnight. Wind in the chimney, and crackling fire sounds lovely one one take but not on multiple layers. Having not played much for a year I haven't found that ease that will arrive if I keep at it. Restrung my guitar with 11s after putting the usual 13s on them late january. my fingers are happier but I had to learn the dreaded truss rod to get the action right!

Halfway through is often the time when songs start to arise spontaneously. I remember this and am hopefully creating a space for it. No lyrics yet! This is a little worrying.

Yesterday I set up an old marshall amp to play through and record acoustic guitar. Not ideal but it means I can maybe record during the day. I really appreciate Jim's do do do re-do blog about this time of the month being doubts and the start of the real challenge. Just keeping going and including the uncertainty and the snowflakes.

Where is Mick?

What do you do? In the bath?

In this case, today, more or less work out the structure for will probably be my album's opening track "In Singapore" - not for the first time, it seems more insights come when you're not staring at a screen/grid!

Of said track, 'slow burn' is probably a decent description - I know some people like to get something catchy or upbeat in at the start to draw the listener in, they're out of luck here though! :D

Lemon Jelly - In the Bath

Continued strength

Song 2 is started. I almost didn't think I'd get to it at all today. The structure will end up simple, at best. No lengthy developments here.

I'm thinking my approach is rooted in gut reactions. Whatever feels right, goes, and think through the details later.

Almost time to start planning song 3. I thought it would be a theme and variations, but now I want to look it together. Rondo form it is!

12 hour day

I spent about 12 hours on RPM today.

I failed a lot.

I also made some decent shit!


i think I'm @ 25%

Next 2 weekends should be lit.

Session view is fine in abes10.


Whats better ... coffee or liquor for music?


Liquor is great atm

Andy Samford - Project #2 Underway

With the solo album wrapped up and complete (minus artwork and a title....details...)  it was time to begin my 2nd RPM project this year, a collaboration between myself, Jeff Ray, and Matt Farmer. 

Jeff and I have been working on music stuff together off and on since 1991, including 3 previous RPM albums as Say Zohn in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Altogether between all of our different projects we have released 18 albums and 6 EP's of music together. 

Matt and I jammed a couple of times back in the early 90's, with the lone evidence of this event being a boombox cassette recording of our one original song and poor attempts at playing Silent Lucidity, Don't Cry, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Another Brick In The Wall, and Time Warp, all of them featuring 15 year old me on vocals. Quite an amusing listen 27 years on. 

We recently tossed around the idea of working on some music together, and RPM seemed like a good excuse as any to try and make it happen, and so the plan was formulated: write and record an album over the course of 3 Saturdays in February. Today was Saturday #1 and the goal was to write and demo as many songs as we could come up with, hopefully at least 10. 

So, we did pretty good, we wrote 8 new songs and also brought the old co-write from 1991 back to life, giving us 9 songs, with rough demos of all 9 recorded today. We then spent about a half an hour recording some freeform improv jams, which is something Jeff and I always like to do, to create some interludes, and some insurance..... the idea being that we can always use the jams to get us to 35 minutes should we fall short of the 10 song mark. The second jam created the germ of an idea for song #10, so it looks like that won't be an issue this time around, provided we are able to get all 10 songs recorded on Saturdays #2 and #3. 

Between now and next Saturday Jeff & Matt will be listening to the demos and getting the parts and arrangements hammered into their brains to facilitate a smooth and efficient day of tracking, while I will be working on putting together drum tracks for all of the songs. Next Saturday we record as much as we can and the Saturday after that we get everything finished and mixed. 

We don't have a band name or an album name yet, but we do have some song titles:  Better Or Worse, No One Would Choose, Is Off, The Space Between The Nights, All The Way Gone, Tired As A Way Of Life Part 2, Dangerous To Know, The Voice Of They, We Steal Secrets, and Tired As A Way Of Life Part 1.  




Getting the flu during RPM... not fun. And, it takes away time from one's schedule. I have been feeling pretty ill since last Tuesday, so I did not get as much recording done as I would like. But, I have a couple of snippets which I will be posting momentarily. I hope to make a full recovery, and do this thing.

Making Progress (And Sad News)

So I'm making good progress so far, a little behind my mapped out schedule, but not so far behind that I'm overly worried.

10 songs written - Check

10 drums tracks recorded - Check

10 bass track recorded - Almost (1 to go)

Not started on proper guitars, keys or vocals, but getting the rhythm section right for a song is always the hardest part for me. After all it dictates the whole direction of the song. The rest usually just comes naturally.

Demos have been uploaded to the player, and this will be the last time I upload now before the final submission.

I other news, a good friend of mine and a pillar of the local Cambridge music scene, Lui Di Martini, sadly passed away in his sleep last night. I'll miss his tireless promotion of local music, his passion for helping those less fortunate than himself, his great guitar playing and singing, and his great sense of humour.


do do do re-do

After re-mixing and re-singing vocals I'm still not sure of


I may trash it completely and re-write it again for the third time Ha !

Fifth song up... also a re-write....hmmmm I'm sensing a theme here.


It's getting to that time of the month when self- doubt comes to visit and everything I do seems pointless.

Not fooled by demons in disguise I soldier on unaffected by my own idiosyncrasies and re-group.

For me, this is where the challenge really begins.

Aint we havin' fun ?

Phone Updated

I just noticed that the beginning got chopped off the tune when I did the bounce, so I fixed that, otherwise it's the same mix. 



Redo Redo Redo

Who says there are no do overs in life? My Contradictions (today's song) just nagged and nagged at me. It wouldn't sit right on any system, I went through three completely different full mixes, had to redo the vocals entirely...ugh. Eh, sometimes they are hard to reel in.