Archive for the ‘alternative’ Category

New album!

You probably have noticed that there haven’t been any new posts here in quite a while. That’s life for you. I was away from recording for quite a while pursuing other interests, but now I’m back.

Yes, I’m back and there’s a new Postal Blue record in the works. This may look like the same post as the last, but a lot has happened between then and now, and this time the album is actually going to be finished and released and it’s going to be great. So as I was saying two years ago, it’s a full-length, and it’s on Plastilina Records. Release date is not set yet, but it’s still several months away since we’re still working on pre-production.

I’ll be writing extensively about the whole process here, and I’ll make sure to post some sound samples and exclusive previews of some of the song demos for the album. Stay tuned.

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So You Wanna Be a Rock’n’Roll Star

*Disclaimer*

Before we continue my songwriting saga, I must first warn you that I’m not and I don’t pretend to be a master songwriter. I’m still learning, and constantly trying to improve. What I’m trying to do here is to share what I have learned already from experience, and hope that it will be useful to someone.

*End of disclaimer*

So here we go.

If you want to be a songwriter, you need to learn how to play at least one instrument to accompany yourself, especially if you have aspirations as a singer/songwriter kind of artist.

I suggest you learn both the guitar AND the piano. Although any instrument with polyphonic capability that you can play and sing at the same time will do.

I picked the guitar first, since I was a big rock fan, and it looked much cooler than sitting behind the piano like a dork (or so I thought at the time – I was a teenager, for Chrissake).

Later I decided I needed to learn how to play at least some piano in order to make my life easier, as I usually record a bunch of tracks using midi on my computer. I came to like it a lot, though, even if I still suck at it.

I’d have done it the other way around if I could go back now, and if a piano wasn’t so expensive.

I found it MUCH easier to learn the piano than the guitar, maybe because I’d been making music for many years already. Your mileage may vary, of course.

From the point of view of someone who is not naturally musically gifted, one huge advantage of piano and keyboards in general to me is that you can just press the keys, and they will make a sound. No need to grow callouses or get your left hand (if you’re right-handed) much stronger than your right one. You can play with only one hand, dammit. 😉

Anyway, at the risk of sounding like your dad here, learning the piano first is what I think would have been much better for myself. I’d probably have been forced to learn music notation if I had learned the piano first (I only learned it a few years ago), because you don’t NEED any of that formal stuff to play the electric geetar, do ya? You don’t need it to play pop music, it’s true, but it’s VERY useful.

Ok, so you have a guitar or a piano, a teacher or a good book (I personally like the ones that come with CDs) , now you can start learning how to play.

I’ll see you back in six months.

…fast forward to six months from now…

Now that you have some basic skills on an instrument, you can start writing your own songs. Of course you can write songs without having any music knowledge whatsoever, you just have to do it. It’s just much easier if you can play something. That being said, there have been singers/songwriters who didn’t and don’t play any instruments, like Morrissey, for example.

If you intend to sing your own material, you might need some singing training, since not everyone is American Idol material. If you think that you do need it, the best option is to hire a coach. If you can’t afford it, you may try, again, getting a book, preferrably with a CD. The only one I have is this. I can’t compare it to any others, because it’s the only one I have. It did help me a lot, and I wish I’d bought it 10 years earlier. I still have a long way to go to be a good singer, but I’m getting decent at it at least.

Again, taking singing lessons is not mandatory at all, you can do whatever you want as long as you write your damn songs, I’m just trying to make your life easier (or harder, depending on your point of view), just like your dad would.

Since I’m playing this whole songwriting series by ear, I’ve written two posts already, but they’re in reverse order. Now that you have some basic music knowledge, you can go back to last week’s post, and see how I write my own stuff. Maybe there’s something that can be useful to you.

Next week I’ll discuss topics like basic song structure and chord progressions. I’ll even get to the fun part of dissecting specific songs so you can see what each part actually is and what makes some songs work, in my opinion, at least.

Now back to the weekly song post. This time I’m uploading a song that’s going to be on my next single, coming out next May 1st on Cloudberry Records. This is not the actual single version, I still need to finish recording some bits and mixing it. But it’s at least halfway there. I’d love for you to comment on it, and on this whole songwriting business.

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Laughing and Crying

Brand New Day

Monday is new song day at the Weather Sensitive lair. So inkeeping with my original plan, I’m posting song number three today.

This is another one of those click-through-arrangements, like the other two I already posted. It was all done within Cakewalk Sonar with soft synths, the b-4 organ plug in and soundfonts, so everything you hear in this recording apart from guitar, bass and vocals is digital.

I have nothing against real instruments, in fact I’d love to have done this recording with a few thousand-dollar tube mics on live drums and some vintage gear, like a real B-3 organ, and some analog synths like a Prophet or a Moog Opus. But, alas, I lack the wherewithal.

However, that has (partially) changed since I now am the proud owner of a vintage Farfisa Mini Compact (that I actually had to do a lot of work on, but that’s for another post) and a snazzy piece of digi-analog sound called an Alesis Micron. I love those two pieces of gear. You can’t hear them on this recording, though. That’s reserved for a future and more recent recording.

This particular tune was recorded a couple of years ago, but is only now surfacing because I have been away from music for about a year, and previously I had my mind set on releasing this (and the other songs I posted previously) as a solo record. I have actually already released a solo song in the compilation “Hey, Where’d the Summer Go” on Humblebee Recordings under the name Adélie. I’ll probaly post that tune here in the near future, as it’s a great song, and not many people have heard it. It actually deserves a proper release for itself, as I think most of the songs in this blog do. That is why I plan on re-recording them in the future.

Back to the song of the day, this one is also a number I’m firmly intent on including in an upcoming release, as it’s one of the first I recorded all by myself. Yes, all you hear in this is yours tryly, playing guitar and bass, clicking away at the sequencer and singing. This is one tune that I’m also planning to make into a video that will probably be surfacing on youtube or wherever soon.

Anyway, you now know a lot more than you did before about this song and my gear, so let’s get to the fun part:

When You’re Not Here