Andy Samford - Day 2/3

not much progress after a productive first night. I wanted to get some more work in last night, but after an evening out with my mom, I was too exhausted to be productive. Tonight, I am at work, which gives me an opportunity to either work on putting together drum loops, or write lyrics, of which I'm gonna need plenty......   

so, worked out some words and a vocal melody for the song which had a working title of Tiny Dinosaurs (cause the chord change is a total J Mascis ripoff, so, junior dinosaurs = tiny dinosaurs, get it? haha).....  anyhow, with lyrics the song is now called Seeking Shelter, the melody is a bit of a Pixies lift, so I guess this song is gonna be a total 90's alternative rock bonanza... or something.....  

with a bit of the creative buzz that always happens when a new song starts to take shape in my mind, I hope to maybe have a little left in the tank to record a bit when i get home....  I have a play (starring my daughter) to attend to Saturday night, and then a double shift on Sunday (more lyrics and drums if I get motivated!)  so the next batch of lots of time to get in deep will be Monday/Tuesday.....   

at this point 3 songs that are definitely gonna be on the album: Seeking Shelter, Search Your Feelings, Sinking Ship......  no more "S" titles!!!!  

 

 

 

 

 

first song

After a couple days of noodling tunes I have 6 or 8 ideas.

First song on my player:

LIMB FROM LIMB

I can feel the madness of the month already and I'm lovin' it !

See y'all on the funny farm !

 

Phase: first quarter

Wrote and demoed (sort of) three songs today. Didn't break any new ground, but it shut up the "you shouldn't have signed up this year, really you should stop wasting your time with music" conscience voice of self-doubt I'd had slamming me since 9:00 PM on January 31

Current provisional title: Mythology

"Please Don't" Synth Layer Technique

"Please Don't" Synth Layer Technique

 

First track just finished production process. Just sharing a few cool techniques I incorporated that might be of use to you guys. 

 

The first is this layering idea. 

 

I started with this idea for a synth bass line. 

 

https://soundcloud.com/allen_aloe/please-dont-take-pills-synth-bass/s-v51V4

 

It's a really cool detuned triangle run through some light distortion. I liked it a lot but it didn't have the sort of punch I wanted so I decided I'd need to do something kind of weird to add that in. 

 

So what I did was layer in a kick. It's triggered via the note layout midi. (The kick follows the melody of the synth)

From there I

 

1. Sidechained the synth to the kick so it would duck when the kick hits

2. Comped the kick and the synth together so they would sound more like one thing.

 

https://soundcloud.com/allen_aloe/please-dont-take-pills-synth-bass-kick/s-K8j3D

 

Still a little rough, but I'm confident post mix this will sound really dope. The synth itself is kind of unorthodox, so it'll give a different feeling to this track once it's done. Looking forward to what the end product sounds like.

 

There was also this really cool vocal flanging technique I used that I hadn't done before, but I'll save that for another blog. This Dr.Scientist Bitquest pedal is really dope & I'll be using it on vox and synths more in the other tracks. 

 

Hope the challenge is going well for you, hopefully this blog has some value to you. Wish you luck. All the best. Talk to you soon. 

 

-Allen 

Day 2 - Small steps

So there's a great RPM thread I've been following (http://www.rpmchallenge.com/index.php/component/kunena/tips/14-important-tips-to-remember-for-rpm?start=30#506) full of tips and interesting writing prompts for both new and returning users. 

When it comes to songwriting, I realize that a lot of my songs are inspired by drum patterns or a bassline. Today, I spent a good amount of time trying to start writing lyrics first before worrying about anything else. There are really some great prompts in the thread, but I wasn't able to get too much done with them. I ended up going through a ton of my old notes and found a message that I wrote to myself over a year ago: 

 

"Stop holding people to a standard that YOU created out of thin air. If your friend is inherently a jerk, stop getting
pissy when he acts like a jerk; accept it or bounce. If she keeps showing out after all this time, that's who she IS.
Either learn to accept it and adapt or LEAVE.

Stop getting in your feelings about shit that's been going on since Day 1. *name redacted*, you should know better by now."

I was obviously in my feelings about something haha, but it inspired me to start writing lyrics using some of those sentences. No title yet, but it's going to be about someone who would rather deny reality then take action (someone = me). We all have had that situation; dealing with a friend/partner who shows you exactly who they are through their actions. It's easy to be too timid to even consider just removing yourself from a situation or cutting someone out of your life. 

 

*whew* Lots of words haha, but soon there will be a melody to help things move along.

 

So, here I am again...

So, here I am again....

 

Sadly all my contacts and previous messages have been wiped clean with the migration to the new website.

That means I am unlikely to find any of the people I have collaborated with before... Shame.

Lets see what I can come up with this year...

 

Songs Written - Lyrics

So I haven't had time to really get going yet. I was out for a works do last night, and tonight I was playing a gig. I did give myself the last two weeks of January to write the songs though as my time is limited in February. So here they are. Some I'm quite proud of, others are pretty throwaway, but I guess that's what you get when writing under pressure.

Round The Bend
 
Eight floors up so don’t look down
The highest point in this little town
So twisting
No resisting
Claustrophobic pressure building up before dying down
 
(Chorus)
Turned around all seems the same
Up and down and round the bend
Driving round in circles just to get to the start again
And never get to go back home
 
Snaking upwards above the streets
Looking downwards onto grey concrete
Can’t leave it
Can’t believe it now
Disoriented glimpses in the mirror of the back seat
 
Fake Applause
 
Hiking through fields to the pill box down the lane
Preparing to meet up with the gang
Hearing the roar of the fighters overhead
Plotting the master plan
Thinking out loud due to the smokers at the back
Forgetting the task at hand
 
(Chorus)
Oh what a thing
Oh what a thing to remember
And oh what a thing
Propelling you off for the cause
Surviving the dangerous game
Pushing on through the campaign
As you wrestle yourself away from the fake applause
 
Laid in the bedsit waiting for the clock to tick
Dust concentrated on the shelves
Dirty dishes piled up high inside the sink
Hiding inside yourself
But then there’s the stage and its constant steady draw
Maybe it’s worth the risk
 
Passing the time between the rest stops on the road
Reaching the end of the line
 
Take The Blame
 
I can’t take all the blame
You take some too
All twisted unexplained
You’ll get what’s due
Believing all you said was right
You can’t bring a knife to this gunfight
That’s bad advice
 
You’re dodging from the blame
You think that’s fine
Perhaps you ought to change
If so inclined 
Never backing out or calming down
Common sense really never ventured out
To this battleground
 
(Chorus)
Take the blame
Don’t sort it
Never get to put it right
It’s not the same
God damn it
What you’ve got to prove is how you ever got to sleep at night
 
Still hiding from the blame
You have throughout
Left weakened feeling drained
Still frozen out
All the times you said you should you can’t
Still spinning the same old tired yarn
To your counterpart
 
High
 
Eyes shut tight while laying on your pillow
Holding your nerve with the face against the window
Hoping you can restrain yourself
Ruing the life and the cards you’ve been dealt
 
(Chorus)
High
You get so high
 
Cover your eyes you’ve come upon another
Lost in the house with your sister and your brother
Laying a trail to find your way out
Breadcrumbs back to the door of nagging doubt
 
Wanderlust tugging at the cortex of your brain
The light in the tunnel is the light of an oncoming train
Blinded by the glare in your eyes
The warning was there but still taken by surprise
 
Six Feet Below
 
Batting the ball again
Around the field of broken dreams
Trying your best to win but
Never like the way it turns out it seems
Keep looking down again
As you’re coming across as strange, my friend
 
(Chorus)
Leaving the army frightened
Sinking so low
And you lost all the naïve charm that you claimed to show
But can you dodge all the bullets that are trying to send you
Six feet below
Still tightly wrapped in the blanket as a barrier against the cold
 
Praised at the welcome home
Though you never really had a chance
Judged as a waif or stray
But just a victim of circumstance
Gained over twenty pounds
And then lost it again by the final round
 
Left a note to the counsellor
Tied plenty of knots in the rope to be sure
 
Hit Reset
 
What you wanted has now become
In the future, the chief has won
Beat your rival now but hide the bear
Spinning up and down
And round again
Discrete affair
 
(Chorus)
Don’t want to be reminded
Of the latest threat
Already been decided
The road’s all set
If only they would hit reset
 
Investigation starting, so build a wall
Offering mass relief with no grace at all
Nose poked out in front yet come in last
Rivals taking turns
To gain the lead
As the rest all pass
 
(Middle 8)
Thinking of the forces
But none go home
Settler divorces
They’re all sent home
 
The Grass Is Always Greener
 
Waiting on the outcome of the cut
Decisions made, the reasons covered up
The thought of doing nothing
The thought of doing right
Surrendered forcibly without a fight
 
(Chorus)
The grass is always greener
Or so we’ve all been told
A certain fake demeanour
And a pot of endless gold
But when they turned the lights out
At the fifteen star hotel
We just stumbled round to find it all withheld
 
Never had a need to look elsewhere
Reclining back in the comfy easy chair
Didn’t spot the signals
Didn’t spot the signs
It wasn’t till the credit got declined
 
On buyout day the massed all faced the chop
The balance held, the cheques had all been stopped
First they got the teachers
Then they got the pawns
The final grim conclusion was foregone
 
A Vista Let Go Fallow
 
Heading off, west of Sheffield station
Aboard the dark, foreboding tunnelled line
Reach the peaks, bedecked in wreaths
Of soft white fluffy down
That lift
As they drift
Past the town
 
Staring up, relishing the journey
It’s good to be, up here once again
On the slopes, the wind whips round
The cloven ravaged trees
Then subsides
As it sighs
Finally free
 
(Chorus)
Climbing, high up on the hillside
Climbing, up above the clouds
Below
A vista let go fallow
 
Contemplate, the panoramic landscape
Bouncing off the distant rolling hills
Purple locks of flowers bob
Gently in the breeze
As they wave
To the passing
Honey bees
 
Fight Night
 
Four shandies at the bar
Three Jägerbombs, and a cheap cigar
Pre-drinks before the club
And a couple more, at the local pub
 
(Chorus)
Fight night, good times, time to down another
Fight night, face down, head laid in the gutter
Fight night, last night, same as any other one
 
Focus on the floor
Break eye contact, slope towards the door
Pretend you don’t exist
Slip out quiet, minimise the risk
 
Should not have mixed the drinks
Take a leak then throw up in the sink
Draw cash out from the bank
Then fisticuffs at the taxi rank
 
New Job Blues
 
After bacon and eggs in the morning
Ready to walk to the train x 2
Standing in line for a ticket
Only just made it again
 
Hurtling off to the city
Starting to gather some speed x 2
Be in London town in an hour
Then faced with the tube train stampede
 
Arriving on time at the office
Nothing’s been set up to work x 2
No laptop no login no nothing
Man this first day’s gonna hurt
 
At least I’ve discovered the coffee
To aid with the caffeine abuse x 2
First to arrive yet the last to leave
It’s the new job blues

Day 2: Getting started

2.8 days per song. That's the rate of effort required to get this done in the time we have. That feels insurmountable as I sit here typing this, but at least I've started well.

Today started in Guitar Help in Mokotów in Warsaw. Late last year, I'd taken the Rickenbacker in for a set-up, and after month it needed some fine-tuning, so I did that first thing, then headed off to the office. Some record label business, and a small list of other tasks were quickly ticked off and I came home with a sense of purpose to get this first song well underway.

It didn't start as ideally as I'd like - the demos from last night were almost immediately thrown out and I started again, but this time I knew exactly what I wanted to do, so I just got on with it.

In the absence of a live drum-kit, I'll be recording drums largely using Kontakt and some drum sample sets I have. Tonight I've been using the Abbey Road 60s Drummer set and M-Audio's trigger-finger to perform them.

Once that was done, it was time to get into the bass and though it took a few hours on the drums (the Trigger-Finger isn't great, and after performing, there's a lot of tidying up), the bass came together very quickly indeed.

So that was this evening - tomorrow, guitars and vocals - and then maybe some added extras - depending on how it all sounds. For now though - I'm feeling good.

Video blog: day 2

Ghosts in the machine

Oy. Rough first day filled with technical problems, broken mics, shitty preamps, and overall ghosts in the machine. Lots of re-tracking to do tomorrow. 

time flies

Taking it slow.

Noodling out tunes and getting the flow going.

Will post as they become reality.

Trying to "GET OUT OF MY WAY".

Possibly the album's title.

Time flies when you're swatting flies.

 

 

Tracklist

Playing off my theme blog post, I have taken some time to find my theme and put down some ideas to my phone.

I also took the time today to write out song titles. Perhaps, this is not the best way to approach impromptu writing sessions, but I have found this to help develop my theme even further.

In a way, this was very much a stream-of-consciousness exercise. Basically, writing out song titles that seemed to fit with the theme I have in mind.

And surprisingly, I came up with a lot more names than I expected.

With my previous work, I just created the music and worried about the names afterward. This time around, I am writing out the names and matching music to the title.

I think this will be a very interesting experiment. We shall see how it goes.

New blog, same challenge?

The same challenge... or is it? The "rules" stay the same, yet each challenge has its own flavour to it and brings me back to its particular recording circumstances: the lo-lo-fi acoustic weirdness of 2007's "Chronicles... vol 1"; 2009's "Tired of People" dominated by a 15 minute ambient piece, 2014's subdued "Trashcan Pennybags" and the Californian double album blowout of "In D" in 2016.

This is my 12th RPM now, and last year was really the first year that I was more or less happy with the full thing. So what to do this year? Clearly the answer is to move country, move apartments, change job, join a band, change setup... not sure what this February will hold yet but it's all part of the fun.

I made very little progress yesterday, as I've got a few different ideas and didn't know what to work on. Today I've done a little bit on almost everything: why finish one track when you can work on 4 at the same time?!

Inspiration vs. Hopelessness

So, I brought my brilliant musical daughter with me to Caffe Lena last night to see our favorite local band, Driftwood.  Their virtuosity on their instruments (guitar, banjo, fiddle, and upright bass) along with the impossibly perfect blending of their voices left me with two simultaneous thoughts:

1.  I need to record something amazing

2.  Why the hell do I bother?

Those same two thoughts battle each other every time I see Bruce Hornsby, Indigo Girls, or any other band that does what I do infinitely better.

The only consolation I have is knowing that they haven't lived my life, so my stories are different.  My limitations force ingenuity.  My weaknesses at times can come across as strengths.

In the words of brilliant songwriter Tim Alexander (known to the music world as Letter Seventeen), "As for mistakes, I've made a few, but I've lived a life.  I've seen things you'll never see, and I've earned my right.

Well, here's to an album that matters in it's own way.  Besides, what self-respecting artist would ever record an album called Saco River Pirate?

As another brilliant lyricist - Sid the Sloth - has said, "Dignity has nothing to do with it."

Firsts

Its only day two, but I’ve already had a few RPM firsts come up.

First of all, I’m writing an RPM blog post on my phone.  That’s a first.  I can’t thank everyone involved in bringing the new site live enough. You are all a bunch of rockstars.

Second, last night I wrote a little groove that turned out to be in 5/8 time.  That is definitely a first for me.

Third, a few minutes ago I was working on a new idea while in the hospital.  I’m visiting someone (everything is fine) and they are off having a test done.  I was alone in the room so I messed with a bass part on GarageBand on my iPhone.  I love living in the future.

Trying to outwit myself...

I've got to admit that I'm really not feeling the vibe this time around. Probably something to do with the enthusiasm sapping flu I had at the end of January.

I've completed seven RPM challenges so far, but this time I just can't face the methods I've used over the years to create stuff. I usually do 8 tracks over the 35 minutes. This time, if I can drag myself out of my gloom, I'm going for a single 35 minute behemoth of a track.

Well, it is a Challenge after all.

 

RPM 2011 and 2018

Well, I did it--I signed up! After years of thinking about it! 

Waaaay back in 2011 my friend Emily  and I decided to give RPM a shot and we were so pleased with the turnout that we decided to actually start a band, The Barn Swallows. You know what's really awesome? Being in a fun band with your closest friends. 

That album was essentially done in a week, due to the flu and work schedules and all. Thank goodness for Jason Phelps' help with recording and for school vacation week.

 

I left new England and moved back home to Louisville in 2013, and leaving The Barn Swallows was one of the saddest parts of that! Anyway, here I am in Louisville, now trying to do this alone. Am hoping to draft a lot of friends for help. Especially with the recording part--I am not very savvy with GarageBand. And so far it looks like I'm the only person in the entire state of Kentucky who's registered. WTH?

You can check out our 2011 RPM recording here: https://thebarnswallows.bandcamp.com/

Here's to RPM!

 

BTW RPM 2011 t-shirts were the coolest ever and mine is now destroyed--are you sure you don't have any extra women's XL or men's M laying around?

 

Song one done

Song 1 has been written and demoed, just need a bit of time to record keeepers but it's a solo guitar/vocal so I'm not worried about that. 

I have an idea and some lyrics for song 2 and a mate is coming round tonight who is an ace bass player so I'm planning on finishing writing it together then recording live bass and guitar against EZ Drummer which should be fun.  He's also an ace mandolin player so song 11 which is going to be acoustic guitar/harp/mando might get done too.  Loving it so far.

Day Two, synths and acoustics battle for supremacy

I approached yesterday in my usual way. I built a song off of a synth sound that I liked. When I had all the instrumentation finished, I decided that I'd like to add some acoustic guitar on top of it all. Time will tell if it makes the final cut, but I like the way it turned out so far. 

Adore from The Smashing Pumpkins is one of my favorite albums. The way my work seems to be shaping up for this project reminds me a bit of that album. I can see a form taking place and that can only help me. Like a sculptor chiseling away at a slab of marble...

I'll have to see what appears before me on day three.

Matt

Day 2 nearly over in the Antipodes

Given Day One started 3 hours into a night shift for me and I slept for much of the rest of it and was a zombie when I woke up (I'm getting too old for night shift, seriously) I am happy that today I have managed to put the bare bones of a couple of tracks down and tidied my work space a little (something I really should have done in January but oh well) I am enjoying listening to other RPMers sonic adventures so far and reading blogs at random, but I really have to watch that, as it can serve as a procrastination strategy, something I have never really needed extra help with (procrastination I mean) 

Day 2. rise and shine you animals.

Yes, yes, it is time. I'm still running on no sleep, just got off the graveyard shift at the slave pit that pays the bills. Third day I believe, with three hours of dream land.

I'm borderline delirious, and I smell like shit,  but this is what it feels (and smells like) to be balls deep in the sweet stank of rock and / or roll.

by the end of the day I aim to have the drums and guitar done for at least all ten songs... which means six more.

This is still the easy and fun part. It doesn't get hard until I get to the leads and vocals... which still isn't necessarily difficult, it just requires more focus than jamming on riffs, drums and basslines. And heaven have mercy on me if I decide like a dick to put keyboards on any of this stuff.

Currently, the tunes are shaping into some bizarre hodgepodge of doom metal, dream pop, black metal, grunge and punk rock... which is pretty much what I have always kinda done anyway.

I'm not reinventing any wheels here, just doing what I like to do and hoping it doesn't sound like a turd.

But even if it does, I'm a pretty good mixing engineer, so at the very least it will sound like a polished turd.