I’m making a sort of online demo on my SoundCloud page so head over for some cuts from the new album!
I’m making a sort of online demo on my SoundCloud page so head over for some cuts from the new album!
One of the biggest mistakes ever has certainly got to do with dreams.
We tell people to follow their dreams but that is it, which inevitably has them either fail and think not for me or they actually move forward. The second case is sadly more rare.
But the point here is how are you learning something?
To me the classic has got to be when I was in scouts as a kid. We had to learn knots, as in all the different kind of ways of tying two ropes together (or one in the examples) like the bowline, reef knot and so on. It’s been a while since this all happened. I will also admit it is not super magical but bear with me.
I couldn’t do it at all. I could tie my shoes but even then only just barely. I remembered left over right, right over left, but that’s it. (Or was it the other way around? Anyways)
Years later I wanted to help fix up my dad’s boat and have everything perfect and for some reason I decided to learn the same knots by myself. In one hour I could flip through the same knots, the exact same ones, over and over.
What happened? Well, it’s the same as with music. I did take guitar lessons once as a kid and got bored. Years later I’m studying bass, then guitar, then keyboard and I have an album coming out.
What happened was the way I learned. The person is the same. The material is the same. The difficulty is the same. But now as a Adhd person who deep dives into subjects, my self teaching makes it actually work.
That’s the magic here. It isn’t limited to guitars and reef knots. Our approach to anything including how people learn can be opened up. You can become literally what ever you imagine.
If you have the dream you have what’s in you to succeed.
First Single off The Goldblacks album to be released May 1st!
Click and enjoy!
Thank you for checking this out and supporting an independent artist!
It is really easy to feel like to have plateaued in what you are doing and creative endeavors are no different for this. I don’t have lots of time as I’m writing this between gigs and I have the release for the single She Lives There literally in under 24 hours but I wanted to pass this along.
Any regular time spent working on something does have a positive effect, in fact anything you focus on regularly will become refined. I’ve noticed this over the month with, of all things, music production.
I don’t consider myself a music producer or engineer by any stretch, but I’ve sort of had to play that role while recording The Goldblacks CD and onwards since I still have the same gear. In doing that there’s little nuances that have improved or approaches I learned in the blur that was the album recording, like how to give myself plenty of virtual tracks of a take to lessen the stress, or my trick of singing backup to a temporary instrument track for guidance.
The point is you may only improve what you’re working on like 1% each day. But truth is that is actually huge because if keep doing that the difference in a year isn’t 365% because you will adding that percent to the day before. Your learning method will also become refined too, like in my recording example. I wasn’t trying to become an engineer, I was trying to make some songs, but the engineering advances came as a by product. Sometimes you can blow through plateaus through consistency, sometimes it comes thanks to an outside source but as long as you keep that focus and show up to the page each day like I said before, you will get there.
Some stuff isn’t easy or fun, but it can lead to more fun if you hold on. I like my new philosophy for being at the gym which works in creativity too. If you’ve shown up and you’re doing it you’ve succeeded. The effort takes you immediately past where you would have been, and anything you actually do is just a bonus.
Enjoy the journey!
“It’s not very rock and roll…”
Andrew Fletcher Depeche Mode
(talking about his depression)
If you feel unwell all the time and feel the need to be near a washroom when you don’t actually need it then know right now that you are not alone.
Three years ago I got to the point that I felt gross and nauseated no matter what, especially if I ate something which being someone who performs regularly was just unbearable.
It had started a few months before that, with me going home sick frequently from both work (luckily for me I soon when self employed for a year so I could focus on it) and at least one rehearsal where I had to leave half way (only to feel better before I even got back home. Ugh.)
I had been to my doctor, walk in clinics and the emergency thing to see what was wrong. They started with tests and then prescriptions that didn’t work. I did that test you do at home that nobody wants to have to do involving saran wrap…yeah, that one. I won’t go there, but it didn’t help either.
Anyway cut to beginning of the year and I tried some anti anxiety meds that not only didn’t work but had the warning of “may cause nausea.” Yeah, right. More like “You’ll pray for the end.”
I was lying on the couch not wanting to move, not wanting to not move…playing Angry Birds made me feel gross.
“Oh, for fu.$@$ sakes!”
I don’t remember the exact moment, but (after quitting those horrible pills) I got my things and went out.
I felt like hell doing it but I couldn’t stand not being able to walk around Victoria’s Inner Harbor so I just went there, guts whinging the whole damn way.
They subsided a bit, long enough for me to do this shot…
Yeah, I’m a dork. Anyways…
I wanted more of this and less of the other so I kept going with this, researching my absolute ass off.
I had gained weight after 30 as my usual red hot adhd metabolism had left town so that was a first port of call. I used the Calm meditation app and actually subscribed (I promise I don’t work for them, that’s not what this is about) and did a ten minute meditation practice each day.
I started with a 10 minute walk, 10 min jog, 10 minute jog daily, which eventually I supplemented with the gym membership (Goodlife and the fit fix program. General health training at the Y would be as good)
I discove1red ginger everything. Ginger mint or ginger turmeric teas are my favourite. I quit smoking eventually and tried to cut out pop as it only adds air to your gut (even ginger ale which I was bringing to gigs) Also fennel seeds in tea is ace. Do that. They do that at Indian restaurants for a reason. I have a fennel seed shaker. It is, as Fatboy Slim would say…the Weapon of Choice…
I used the Alkaline app to try and lessen the amount of acidic food. I know this is difficult but one gain was the wonder of steel cut oats with frozen blueberries which are great for digestion, alkaline and a superfood.
And then back to that difficult subject to discuss, but I’ll just say regularity. I cut down cheese consumption and started drinking four of my water bottles a day minimum. I am still working on all this to this day, as I want to keep the weight down and find the best exercise for my gut. I’m not a muscle bound type but at the gym my best machine is now the ab-crunch one. My longest jog is now over an hour but the war ain’t over.
I have noticed how I can be constipated before a run, ran anyways, and my body just puts it aside to bug me later. Just wacky.
So my next thing?
I’m gonna blog about and it’s gonna be this… The Celery Juice craze. I’ve done the cleanse drinks with cinnamon and apple cider vinegar. Now it’s this…
How do you start something creative? It’s always that first line, that first note, that first brush-stroke that’s scary. It can set the whole tone, can’t it?
What if I’m no good?
I’m reminded of the kept-me-up-that-night excitement of a Abba documentary that I saw. I think the music just got me buzzing all over again, but it could have been this bit.
Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus would keep office hours. Bjorn would make the coffee and hike up the hill to their little cabin/studio in the Stockholm Archipelago where he’d hear Benny was already tinkering on the little upright piano they put in the tiny hut. Sure, gorgeous scenery to write Eagle and Dancing Queen but I don’t think that’s what did it.
I wrote a book ages back and just recently finished my CD The Goldblacks which I’m releasing May 1st, first single out on Friday stay tuned lol (plug out of the way…😜) and I genuinely took a leaf out of their book on both things (with the second knowingly)
Just show up to the page (or the easle, or the keyboard, or in my case my little studio spot of my place.)
There’s something that happens thats true of Goal Setting where even if a goal seems too lofty that it’s worth it just to check it out anyway. It’s like the meta-you takes over and makes it more real. If, like my Mom for instance, you play Irish harp then each day at a time you’ve decided is your most focused, got sit behind that harp (add yours here…it would get way too distracting for me to list them each time)
Where were you yesterday in playing? What haven’t you tried? My note app on my phone is amazing for this. Throughout the day you can give yourself ideas to use at this special time to kick you off. Much as you want direction for your endeavor it’s perfectly ok to just ramble, trying things out. Ricky Gervais on set of the Office called it his “mucking about” that often came up with great natural ideas.
Don’t forget, you’re supposed to enjoy it. I don’t believe in everything being final-end product focused but to be true-you have to enjoy it for them to as well.
Some stuff is certainly hard, and one thing worth looking into is deliberate practice where you can make great stides but first…
Make the coffee.
Go up to the hilltop.
Sip your coffee.
See what your hands do.
Take a chance,
Really had fun creating this and had to share it straight away! I was like.. shouldn’t I wait and be strategic with these but then just thought, it’s fine. Saturday is great for this so enjoy the clip with the little version of The Approach riff!
Been up early working on this! Can’t wait to share more about this but for now here is a little sampler from the album out May 1st!
Shows, other singles and more to be announced!
Why even do a solo CD?
Well first, these two weeks was a whole lot more than just recording. Last night marked not only my last night on vacation which I used for recording my first solo effort, but it was also my first day back on stage with Cookeilidh after almost the same two weeks.
But recording this now was for a mix of reasons. After ages of collaborative things I wanted to prove (mostly to myself) that I could be creative without someone to lean on. I was inspired by the project Low Roar which was essentially started as Ryan Karazija by himself in his kitchen in Reykjavik with a guitar and a laptop. (He’s since gone full time and has way more production going on).
I also had been working with the keyboard and for some reason got into this Instagram habit of a post per day, primarily a song. Some were covers like “Up Where We Belong” but some weren’t and they gave rise to songs like Reason, which this little teaser clip comes from…
I also had a few songs from the past and just this desire to create things that don’t necessarily fit in a Celtic band. It is fun to lead the charge, but of course it’s more demanding so I knew I wanted to give myself some actual time off to do it. I certainly learned a lot over both this recording process and the time building towards it. I’ve decided to give the whole thing some time so I can work out what to do with the project in post. I am busy with Cookeilidh and that’s still moving forward so how do I incorporate this new thing in? Anyways I will be releasing singles before the now May 1st release, starting with She Lives There and Reason.
The process hasn’t always been easy, which is one of the reasons I’m very proud of it, whatever it does. I’ve found myself listening to it regularly, like when I was in Vancouver filming parts of the She Lives There music video. There are parts I’m really proud of, even if they are less straight single material like Precipice, Missed Connections and parts of Secret Star.
Can’t wait to share more of this with you!
Thanks for checking me out!
It’s the first week for everyone which is partly the reason for the title as it’s also the first week of Goldblacks recording.
And my first time off in about eighteen years, which naturally, I used to work on something.
As I’m writing this, the protest here in Victoria is marching up Fort Street in solidarity with the BC First Nations who are, long story short, being put through the same crap that they did in Standing Rock. Really unfortunate this still needs to be sorted out but great to see such a large crowd of support on a rainy January day.
For those who we should be building bridges with we are quarreling with, pulling Elders (First Nations seniors) out in the snow.
For me the first cuts of each song are recorded and now it’s going over, fine tuning, remixing and some rerecording. Just did a live version of Take Me Higher, a song that’s been around for just decades, it being requested many times including at work and on a #4 bus
I also have some plans for a music video for She Lives There and maybe two more. I did that Such a Drag one to kick the year off but Ill have to see. The main thing is to finish the CD in time for this Summer.
First Cookeilidh rehearsal is this week so getting ready for that, with the focus being on Robbie Burns as his day comes up on January 25th.
There is a few shows this year that we’re doing including Craigdarroch Castle with the address to the Haggis. The castle has been a wonderful partnership with us all these years and we are very lucky to play such a beautiful Scottish castle for this date. If you are in Victoria at any point check it out, and especially during Robbie Burns or Christmas season.
It has been a politically busy first week, but I think that’s because we are finding more and more that we can’t take things for granted.
We should be all able to enjoy life at it’s fullest or as Freddie Mercury sang
“this could be heaven for everyone!”