Challenge of digital songwriting

Oops I did it again – B.Spears

I could have just as easily called this confessions of a songwriter in 2020 or oh to be young in the nineties again but there you go.

I had this song about helping people with universal basic income (dont @ at me please, I think ubi could work, especially for our lot who have lost gigs, street performing, and some have even lost teaching gigs).

So, this…I’ll call it a song…was literally written and improvised in two takes after it “happened”. The germ of a song is that moment when you (or I, anyways) suddenly realize there might be something before me.

This song I titled “Give People a Chance”.

I hadn’t planned that Lennon connection…maybe it was playing a song like this on the black and whites…

Then after I recorded a phone video of me singing and playing it on my Yamaha keyboard, I loaded the second take into an app called Powerdirector. I had done editing a long time ago when I worked on my first film Bass Line so for me this app is a easy simple version of using something like Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro.

Even with having a very simple idea (I used Canva for the final image) the process of that took about 45 minutes which is a sizable chunk of a morning’s practice routine. I don’t do this full time and I have from nine to about 1pm to practice keys, guitar, bass and drums.

But, I suppose you can absorb that. One easy rationalization is that being creative with music that you make is surely the point of what you are doing, especially if you start bringing those other instruments in. I play bass in a band, but my other instruments are all about making music at home.

So that should be perfect, right? I mean, that is what all the practice is for. It’s applying the craft.

Well, there is a problem and yet again I got excited and swept up in all that excitement.

It was way…way to soon to launch into the public consciousness.

Glen Hansard (Once, The Frames) said it in this absolutely amazing YouTube broadcast that you have got to watch…

click here !

…songs shouldn’t be put out there until they’re ready.

You’ve got to be able to let them grow and develop. The best songs resonate with you on a personal level. They are an organic thing that grows from the first moment you conceive them.

The challenge which I swear I am trying to push towards is not so easily falling victim to just launching it out for that immediate fix. We have this same, almost flipside problem with studying music with YouTube and Instagram lessons.

Scott Devine of Scott’s Bass Lessons has said this repeatedly, that it is so easy to bounce from YouTube video to YouTube video and think that you’re practicing. You’re not, you’re watching videos.

Even if you went to a traditional music lesson I wouldn’t call that practicing. Practicing involving YouTube would be to watch a video, get the information down, and then put the device aside and actually work on what you just learned. In a way it is an extension of how we all learned back in the day, playing along to music. Only thing is, we didn’t just stop playing and stare at the radio.

One of the coolest, coolest examples of switching to lo fi (not that they switched per se but…) songwriting has to be the story of two men who, along with there wives, lived in two cabins in the Stockholm Archipelago in Sweden.

They would go to one cabin where they would write for eight hours a day with just a guitar and a piano. They didnt record anything. They didnt even bring a pen. They’re attitude was “If I can’t remember it, well…it probably wasn’t any good!” Now we dont all have that kind of time but even still it did work for them.

It gave them songs like Dancing Queen, Fernando and Eagle.

This was the writing process of Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and the foundation of ABBA.

The world of online is a powerful tool and it is exciting, but allow yourself that offline time. It is in the moments of quiet where you can make magic.

Cheers,

Tom

Ok, I can’t resist…here is the guys of ABBA talking about it themselves…

https://youtu.be/FHDRRiX1now

“…it takes time to get through all the rubbish…to make something special…to hear it…that takes time” Bjorn Ulvaeus

But seriously, Meditation

It’s totally fine if you think I’ve gone the full hippy. Even looking for an image that wasn’t embarrassing wasn’t easy. They do end up being a bit “and you’ll find yourself floating somewhere near Tolkien’s Houses of Healing

I started because my health was crap and I was lucky enough to be a self employed writer at the time so I could blast through research on how to deal with the chronic nauseated feeling that I had then. It got so bad i was on the couch and playing candy crush made me feel gross too.

I promise this is not a commercial for them by i used the calm app. It worked for me but from experiencing some of the others the idea is basically the same. There is no religion involved and you can do it alone, or in a group (I haven’t but they have that at some fitness groups). Its not so much zoning out as it is having a relaxed complete awareness of yourself and the world around you. The other part is breathing which sounds obvious but focusing on breath is both calming and always available no matter where you are – something that can come in very helpful when you are on a road trip or what have you.

Try one of the apps and give it a chance. Treat it like a ten minute daily exercise at what ever time you wont be disturbed or distracted. You will feel more clearheaded afterwards and all kinds of health results soon enough if you stick with it.

Plus taking care of yourself is infectious, but in a good way. Here’s one you try sitting where you on looking at this very device.

So go over to PlayStore or you iPhone equivalent and look up a Meditation app you like the look of.

Give yourself your best!

Cheers

Tom

So near great distances

I always like those shows that talk about a character that is suddenly bumped out of their life into another reality. In truth, most movies are about that, the crossing of the threshold, but how often do we do that?

I genuinely believe that the human frames we inhabit are capable of more than we realize. You could be so many different people in one lifetime. This idea is sort of a mix of marrying the last few blogs plus how on Saturday I was going for a run and ended up at Gonzales Bay, soaking up sun and jumping in the water.

My run was going this way and then I saw this one road and was thinking how I never went that specific way. Ran up to the top of the observatory and down the other side which finished my 35 minute run.

It’s metaphoric to me about how little choices can suddenly put you a life you never would have expected, and then again. I didn’t have my bus pass so had to walk with my socks in my wet jogging shorts all through the sun of Fairfield’s streets. Walking always brings this thought to me, how you can take different roads on a whim and give you entirely different days.

Also kind of reminds me of how I mentioned that “Once you’re out there you will like it”. You can get swept up in the energy of a situation and you’re physical self is capable of either being worn out or springing to the most life.

Consider the story of Scott Rogers who had his leg horribly amputated in a shotgun accident. I mean, when it comes to reasons to just give up and watch tv with some nachos, hey that’s a good reason. He may have done that too (homemade nachos and actually watching Netflix all the way. Was laughing last night watching The Disaster Artist) but what he did do was become the first above-the-knee amputee to complete the 2,174 mile Appalachian Trail.

If you spent all the money in the world you would never obtain a vehicle as intricate, fine tuned and powerful as the thing below your nose. You do what you can to keep it running as smooth as any GTO Judge

Thing of beauty, but nothing on you.

but then just know, that like that great car, it can truly surprise you when you “get out on the highway”.

From the quiet of a library where you read the thoughts of those who have made incredible distinctions, or found beauty in their artistic adventures to being in the shared energy of a live event

the living complexity of the world is there to explore and you’re most incredible machine is your portal to a million different realities, from five thousand miles away to a single inch.

Raise your hands and feel it.

You’re alive.

Today’s special for music is Angus & Julia Stone – Down the Way

click here to listen 😉😄

Groove on and talk to you later!

Tom