Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The sound of my voice

Do you remember the first time you ever heard a recording of your own voice? I remember it very well and thinking to myself, "is THAT what I sound like?"

I pretty much hate my voice. I wish I could be a better singer. I like singing. But I've never really liked the sound of my voice. I think I'm an OK backup singer but I was never meant to be a lead singer.

I've done about three or four different versions of this month's song over the years. Trying to get it to sound the way I wanted. At one point the beats were more "hip hop" and I really wanted to try to do a rap thing. I love rap. It was a horrible experiment. I really think I'm the worst rapper ever. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I've never found my rapping voice. I do this thing that sort of sounds like Chuck D but lamer. It's an obvious rip off. I wish I could be like Slick Rick or MC Guru in Gang Starr and just sort of talk and sound good. But I think that's the crux of the problem. I can't just talk because I've never liked the sound of my voice.

On that note, I think the vocals I recorded for this month's song sound great! Some of the best vocals I've ever done. Perhaps it's silly to even say that because they probably last for only about 20 seconds. I only sing in the choruses. But I really like the way my voice sounds in this song. and that's odd for me.

Stuffy nose

I woke up yesterday with a terrible head cold and stuffy nose. I had wanted to re-record a few vocals tracks for the song but I knew I couldn't sing in the shape I'm in.

It got me to wondering. Does this happen to "real" rock and roll stars? Has David Bowie ever booked an expensive session, had the band all lined up, and then gotten a stuffy nose? I'm guessing it happens all the time, but it's not the sort of stuff that rock and roll legend is made of, so it's rarely mentioned.

and I listened to the vocal tracks I recorded the other day and I think they sound fine!

Friday, November 26, 2010

What genre is my new song?

I suppose it doesn't help to ask this before I've posted the song but once again this month I'm asking myself... "what genre of music does my song fit into?"

It's not rock. it's not punk. it's not "indie". it's not hip hop. is it techno?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The whole mixing thing

I remember years ago reading an article in Musician magazine about how Camper Van Beethoven mixed their albums. They would do a mix and then create a cassette and pop it in their boom box and listen to it. They knew that most of the people listening to their album would be listening to it that way instead of a nice fancy stereo.

So when I mix my stuff I listen to it first on headphones. Then I put it in my boom box. Then I listen to it on my nice stereo. Then I listen to it on my car stereo.

My car stereo is important to me because it's the only thing I've got that has the "boom". Sometimes I listen to stuff on it and hear things in the low end that I just don't hear on my other stuff.

I make my mix in Garageband and burn a CD, rip it to iTunes, and then transfer it to my iPod.

I decided tonight that listening to it in the car stereo was the best thing because I really wanted to make sure the bass was booming in this track.

I listened to it the first time and thought the bass was too loud. Some of the tracks sounded a little distorted also. But it sounded great! and then to my surprise one of the older versions I had recorded of the song came on next. So I listened to that as well. There were some things I forgot about. Some good stuff, and some really bad stuff.

I had been trying to decide if I should keep this song an instrumental or not. I really liked what I did in the chorus in the older version I listened to. So I decided to try to add it to the new version.

I went down to the basement and tweaked the levels a bit and added a vocal track in the chorus. It only took me about 10 minutes. I burned another CD and went out to the car to listen to it again. I thought it sounded fantastic! It was so good that I started to sing along. I thought the sound of the double vocal sounded really nice.

So I went back to the basement one more time. I added another doubled up vocal track in the chorus part and burned one more CD. I thought it sounded amazing! I think I have my track. I think it's done for the month. I'm going to listen to it a few more times over the next day or two but I really like it.

Sunday Funday!

In between all the daily chores and grocery shopping and dinner etc... I worked on the song today.

As far as I'm concerned it's pretty much done. I "might" re-do the vocal tracks. but I might not. they sound great right now even though I recorded them with the built in mic in my MacBook!

I have such a hard time being objective with my own songs/material. I knew that the past few months were more "difficult" material. but I've listened to this month's song probably 30 times today. and I think it's one of the best things I've ever done! really. I think it goes straight to the "Best of Ted" album. one of my fave songs of all time that I've done.

I wonder if I'll feel the same way tomorrow? I was telling Julia earlier this evening that this whole experience sometimes reminds me of that King Crimson song about Adrian Belew's wife making a sculpture.

"I'm looking at it, trying to decide if I like it. I DO!"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Samples and loops and beats, oh my!

I spent hours this morning working on the song for this month. It's taking a long time to break down all the different parts and put them all together. But it's also been a lot of fun and very interesting to me. A learning experience. I think I'm getting down the whole sampling thing.

There's one part of the song that bugs me though. The piano part just isn't syncing up just the way I want it. I'll probably go home tonight and spend hours trying to get it just right. The neat thing is that once I do get it, I can just pop it right into the spot in the song where it goes. It's almost like a jigsaw puzzle at this point. You can look at the computer screen and "see" where the pieces go.

It also hit me this morning that I've spent a LONG time working on this particular song. I've recorded at least three different versions so far. This is the forth. I've spent hours working on this version alone.

The reason I say that is because once again this song is made up of samples. So far I haven't played a real instrument on it. I'm not sure I will need to. So some people might listen to it and think it was easy to create. But there's a lot of work that went into it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trying to keep up...

One of the things that I’ve found with this “experiment” is that it’s a LOT harder to keep the blog updated daily/weekly/whatever than do the song each month. I have no idea how people write in their blogs each and every day. Maybe you have to be a super compulsive person to do something like that. I’m just too much of a slacker at heart to keep it up.

I’ve been working on the song for November but it’s been a lot of work. I hope I can get it done by the end of the month. It’s another sample based thing and I’ve been hard at work breaking down each part bit by bit and building it up so it’s all “in tune and in sync” as they say. I’ve “finished” this song several times in the past but I’m starting all over from scratch to try to get it done right. I have the first half of the song pretty much done but I’m working on the break right now. I have a feeling I’ll be up late some night this weekend working on it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Last month was easy!

Last month was easy. On my iPod last year I created a playlist called “Halloween” and filled it with “scary” songs for the season. I was listening to the mix a few weeks ago when “Mental Music (Halloween Mix)” started to play. I listened to it and realized that as far as I was concerned the song was already done. It was nice! So no real work last month. It was sort of a bonus month for me.