Saturday, May 29, 2010

Picture Book

I pick out a picture each month for the song of the month. It's sort of fun.

I was thinking of finding a nice pic of Serge and Jane for this month but I thought it would be nicer to use a pic from our wedding. I got out the picture book from our wedding for the first time in years. It was weird/fun to look at the pictures. I/we look so young! I found a picture of Julia that I sort of forgot about. I think she looks really pretty and beautiful in it. Like a movie star. So that's the pic I'm going to use.

Actually I'm planning on scanning a bunch of them and putting them up on Facebook. My friend James of Five Lake Arts did the photography. It was the first wedding he ever did. One of the happiest days of my life. :-)

Fun day!

I had a really fun day on Thursday. I was so busy I didn't have a chance to write a post about it.

Basically I really worked on the song for June. First I worked on the vocal tracks. That was interesting. I had trouble getting the first word out of several of the lines because the words were so close together. I would still be singing the end of one line when I would have to start the next one really quickly.

So I thought about it and decided to try a little recording trick. I used two tracks for the vocals and alternated lines. It worked great! You can hardly tell it's two tracks put together as one. I tried double tracking the vocals in a few parts of the song as an experiment and I didn't like it at all. It needs just one voice but the way I did the recordings it sounds like one voice.

Then I really listened to the music. While I was doing the vocal part I started to hear a string part in my head based on the string part in the original song. I also wanted the drum part to have a little more punch. Very specifically I wanted there to be a nice hard snare sound.

So first I played with all the drum sounds in Garageband and got the snare sound I wanted. It was "hip hop remix" as I recall. Then I practiced a few times and recorded me hitting it for 4 minutes straight. I must admit I impressed myself and got it on the first take. It's a little "funky" in some parts but I kept the beat going strong. I think it sounds great with the percussion Spoon recorded and the original percussion in the song.

Then I added the string part. That was the icing on the cake. It makes the whole song sound so awesome and beautiful. I ended up listening to my creation about 10 times in a row. I love it. I think it's a great little song and once again I can't wait to drop it out there. Once again I'm curious what the reaction will be. Love songs aren't "cool", and yet I think this could be the most accessible "pop" song I've recorded. Even more pop than "The Hate Song".

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Catch 22

so I was thinking more about yesterdays post about illegal music.

it's a total catch 22. I can have the freedom to do what I want creatively as long as I stay anonymous, underground, unknown, and under the radar.

but if any of my songs were to attract attention and I started to make a name for myself, the corporate vultures would come swooping down to get their money, and I wouldn't be able to afford to make the kind of music I liked.

so ultimately I don't want fame if I want to be able to create my own music. what a world we live in...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Illegal Music

The "song" I'm going to put up on June 1st is without a doubt another "illegal" song from me.

It is "illegal" because I didn't pay the licensing fees or get permission from the publishers of the song that I sampled so heavily from. and how could I? I have no idea how much it costs to legally pay to use a sample anyway. If it's over about $100 I couldn't afford it. I did some research on the web and found some really interesting sites about sample clearance.

It looks like things are taken on a case by case basis and it's a huge hassle. "Real" groups/artists like U2 or DJ Shadow have their labels legal departments take care of this stuff for them. It also appears that the bottom line to a large degree is that it's all about money in many ways. If you're U2 and you use a sample to make your latest hit record the artist that you sampled is going to want a cut. If you're an underground artist like me who has never made a dime and is completely unknown and under the radar it's a big gray area.

and I think it is a gray area. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Stop making the kind of music that I like? When I start to make one of my songs should I say to myself. "hmmmm... I better stop and clear these samples and pay some lawyer thousands of dollars so I can release this stuff for free and have about 100 people listen to it"?

the point is this. copyright laws and licensing fees as they currently exist inhibit and crush artistic expression. at least legally.

I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing and I'm guessing that I'll be fine because I am under the radar. I would be thrilled if one of my songs became famous and I got a cease and desist letter. I can also say that it has always been my intention that if one of my songs ever were to be a "hit" and make any money that I would split any royalties 50/50 with the artist that I sampled. This is one of the reasons why I often list the original songwriters along side myself in the songwriting credits. That will certainly be the case with this month's song.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Silly Love Songs

I must admit I'm a little nervous about this month's selection. I'm going to put up something very odd on June 1st. A "silly old love song" as Sir Paul would say.

I think in all my previous bands I've ever recorded only one "love" song and that was "Miscegenation" by DragKing and that was cloaked in a protest song. I recorded a love song for Julia was back when I was first doing this stuff on my 4track and I haven't listened to it in years. I remember being kind of embarrassed by it. It was a super cheesy poppy guitar thing.

But our 20th wedding anniversary is coming up in June. It seems like the perfect time to drop a love song out there. Love songs aren't "cool" though. I'm very curious what the reaction will be...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just not in the mood

I really should be working on the song for next month but I'm not in the mood.

I had a job interview last week, I was all hyped about it, thought it went great... but I got yet another rejection letter yesterday.

The song for next month is a happy song. I'm just not in a happy mood right now. I'm going to have to force myself somehow over the next week or two to get into it.

Which brings up a point. There are good and bad things about the project of the month. mostly good... it is forcing me to work on the songs one at a time and get them done. that's a great thing. but... in the past I would work on music when the muse really struck. when I was in the mood. when the creative juices were flowing. I think that shows in some of the songs. you can tell the joy with which they were created. I wonder if some of the songs in the future will sound more "forced" as I try to just get stuff out? I hope not.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Version galore!

One of the weird things about this whole project is that I'm pretty much a month ahead of my "audience" all time. I just released this month's song but I'm already deep into thinking about/planning the song for June 1st.

I really like the song I have planned for June as well. Totally different from last month's song. One of the other thing that makes it different is that I consider it a "version". So far I've released several sample based songs and one original. This next song is different. In many ways it's based on reggae versions of rhythms. It's not a cover version. But it uses the music of a famous song with very different lyrics. Maybe it is sort of like "The Hate Song" in that way? But I think it's an even more extreme example. "The Hate Song" had a very different sound from the original because of the bass and guitar parts. Next month's song keeps the sound of the original but changes around the lyrics. That's what makes it a "version" in my mind.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A legacy

Two different friends have died in the past month. It was sort of strange to take a couple of emails off the mailing list at the beginning of the month.

Last night I was talking to a coworker about "modern" deaths. How often it seems people end up putting up some sort of website that becomes a virtual morning area to share stories and pix, etc. I was saying that I thought it was sort of a cool use of technology and the web. A great way for people across long distanced to connect and share thoughts. Just what the web is for. It also ends up leaving a site that is sort of a legacy to that person. One of my friends who passed away kept a blog about the experience. It was sort of sad to see her stop posting after awhile knowing that the end was near.

Then it sort of hit me this morning. The Pudge Song of The Month will be a nice online/virtual legacy that will remain after I pass away someday. What a morbid thought. I hope I can contribute songs each month for years to come so I have a huge legacy that remains.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Pudge Song of the Month for May

It hit me the other day that I should probably go ahead and post the song of the month each month on the blog as well. Hit it from all angles. Perhaps there are a few people out there that have stumbled across the blog but don't know about the actual website? In any case here is the song of the month for May.

I was going to send out the email yesterday but it hit me at a certain point. I could wait one more day and release it on a Sunday. For some reason it seemed more "appropriate" for some reason. :-)

I hope I don't offend too many people. I really like the song a LOT! and I also know that next month's song is going to be a "nice" song. So my karma will all even out in the end.