Between weekends

Been a few days since the last one and I swear I’m learning about how to organize.

Organization is tricky and it is probably one of the hardest things for creative people because our natural default is to go with the flow. The problem with this is that you want what you do to grow and develop.

I’m not talking about getting necessarily to some career place but just getting to a good place with what you do. You have to get through the rough of not being able to play or having songs you’re not happy with to where you want to be. The only way to do this is to out the time in daily.

It’s not about hours and hours either. There’s a book worth checking out called the Talent Code which says the best stuff happens whe you look like this guy…

It’s the eyes. Basically if you are focused on what you are trying to accomplish, eyes narrowed (or this kind of focus) that’s when you make forward motion.

So its getting even a little of this each day and reinforcing your art daily.

It’s not like with a job where if you dont show, you’re in trouble. If you dont tend to your craft nobody’s going to get immediately upset, but you’ll stay where you were or even worse as the muscle of the skill gets forgotten.

And I’ve got to work on this too, clearly as I think the last day was Friday here. I had a show and a photo session. The former had me moving my schedule around and the latter had me cleaning just everything. The challenge with that is that taking everything apart to rebuild clean is like a vehicle overhaul and then you need to get used to the next vehicle. Each thing today was still slightly different and it was just crazy.

For me right now things are busy and bit wierd. My ultimate goal is to develop as a songwriter. I want the different instrumental skills to be strong (or grow in the case of drums) but I need to bring in the actual songwriting work, plus I have another two hour show on Friday and possibly two more in September.

Here’s us at the last one, in 98 degree heat. Whew!

Great fun, especially these days with the advent of Covid being able to play.

Getting tired and going to have a short nap before going to work.

Cheers,

Tom

Not a weekend warrior I swear! 😜

Cookeilidh the Celtic Band : Me, Woody Wilson, Kim and David Cook

I know! Day three and I’m already out lol! Still here, I swear!

Spend extra time today gearing up for this show on Sunday and then a show next weekend at the new water tower in the Western Communities here in Greater Victoria. Been very lucky to have a situation where we can do these socially distanced reduced audience shows this summer so I want to make sure I do good work.

One thing I found was how working on drumming has had me focused more rhythmically on my playing. Seems silly but I swear it’s like different musical things have you focusing on different things. When I started playing bass it was like I was a pointer spaniel every time I heard the bass in the song do something.

If you are over hear definitely come out. If not follow our Facebook, our Instagram or head to our main site at cookeilidh.com which has lots of links, clips, photos and more!

Thank you for stopping by!

Hoping to write tomorrow even it’s short like this one!

Cheers,

Tom Pogson 😊

Starting Songwriting Somewhere

Just DO IT! – Shia LaBeouf

We all start somewhere. And we are all not that great when we do. I started actually really late. I have had songs on the radio a few times which got me Socan membership here in Canada but I certainly didn’t start at 8. Not real songs anyways…

My first instrument was bass which is still to this day my strongest instrument and the thing I get hired for the most. I presently play in the celtic band Cookeilidh which I’ve been in (when I wrote this anyways) as of about 2006. Nobody is actually sure. We started so gradually and went through a few changes so nobody really knows exactly.

Anyways who’d write it down? Wierd…

Songwriting always seemed like lead guitar to me, something that was like “super talented genius” types only. But being a bass player I think slowly introduced me to how it actually was pretty reachable. And oh yeah, at first everything was pretty clunky and simple. That one on the top was one of my earlier, but that was one of the good ones. I think the first one was called Passages and it was described once as a “Car on square wheels”. Not really complimentary. I did have one song called Take Me Higher though which is now on my first album that I wrote back then in about 96 and it worked. My production of it wasn’t amazing but it was my nineties open stage winner at the time. How did I write it? It was lyrics first, it was guitar chords that seemed to work in church and other than that it was so simple and basic I though it obviously wasn’t any good.

Lots of songwriters I’ve played bass for are like that by the way. Everyone discredits their best songs because I think of how easily it comes out.

Playing guitar for came from a bass teacher who said I should use a chord instrument of some kind and my mom had this discarded classical guitar so I learned all the basic chords from a book. The church thing came when my first thing of playing bass for them switched when the guitarist left and i was thrust in front of the congregation. They were forgiving (hehe) but it got me to learn the basic open chords and basic fingerstyle fast.

The main thing is to just start. The story of famous musicians who literally learned on the job is almost a cliche and as a bassist I can give you multiple accounts of proof that you are never to old to try. Songs are great fun and have the effect of being like a sound and words version of a diary like “where I was then.”

I have just tapes and tapes (autocorrect fought me on that. Yes, tapes!) of my music from back then. These days people are using more computer software to mix songs but I still use a Zoom L12 multitrack which is just the digital upgrade from how I used a four track tape recorder. You had to use the good tapes to get the full four tracks and you heard stuff backwards when you flipped it over which was wierd but fun.

Anyways I got to get ready for work and I’m totally pushing it. I’m going to see how these posts go. Thank you for reading!

Cheers!

Tom

Writing ideas

If you can’t write anything, write the truth

Kind of later in the day here on the west coast but I wanted to get going on this idea which I’m presently writing into my phone on a break at work.

These days I’ve been really trying to develop my musicianship to take my sort of songwriting and production to the next level as it were. I have my band so that makes bass have a place of priority, but I’ve also been a writer and songwriter since way back.

I guess for me it’s a place of not quite knowing where to go with that side of me. I have done one album called The Goldblacks and it’s sort of a mix of older songs with some newer ones but I like the idea of my work evolving from there and also creating more songs that are ironically not reliant on a multitrack or a whole band coming with me.

I did one show on the album and while it went ok it was a bit frustrating that many songs from it just didnt work live. So I guess my goal is to develop a sort of best of the different worlds with the good musicianship for recording, simpler approach for writing and also keeping the other fires burning like my band and other things.

Now it’s been recommended that as a bassist I journal what I’m doing and I’m doing that with now keys, guitar bass and most recently my electronic drum kit (I’m in an apartment with fussy neighbors). So I was like if I’m already doing that why not bring it into more regular blog idea?

I could try it like this for a while and see how I and everyone else responds. I’m not sure. It could be like a evolving behind the scenes thing. Maybe I’ll bring it to once a week, or every three days. Daily is possible but I just dont thing that there’s that much material and also some days I have more time than others.

I mean today on keys I’ve been working through two books and I’m actually trying to scale back to basic things that i know will help me and on a recommendation of listening to Rick Beato, trying to not just rip through scales but slow down, feel each note, and get more melodic.

Guitar is the same for that, which I’ve never really practiced until this year. Drums are fun but presently with new car payments and Long and Mcquade payments I’m trying to hold onto it all.

I should probably get back to work especially as I’ll be setting the blog up after I sign off.

Hope you enjoyed this or maybe just got a little curious. What I’d like to almost do is maybe show my creative methods and things for others who want to get musically creative or go into songwriting.

I’ll be studying it and working on it either way and it would be interesting to have the chance to take if beyond just selling my own songs but actually reaching further out. It just stems to stories I’ve heard of people being creatively shut down by so-called authority figures and I like the idea of showing that those voi as are wrong and you can do whatever dream you have.

There’s songs in the wood

-Alan Hutchinson

Cheers,

Tom

Taking a break

I’ve been working on my usual two primary fronts now for ages and I’m one of the few who the current situation didn’t effect as much.
My day job is as a cleaner and the contracts got reduced but more spread out so there’s no lack of leaving here.  I’d say the main thing I miss is coffee shops. 
Two of these posts were written in them at the very least and they have been great for escaping my environment here to consider options, challenge myself and more importantly, focus.
When I’m there I’m not as surrounded by the little details of things that beg and behoove my involvement.  My first television pilot Bass Line was written entirely at the Starbucks near the intersection of Gorge and Tillicum here in Victoria.  As it was a comedy and I was the most influenced by Ricky Gervais at the time I had this thing of leaving first thing in the morning (my then-girlfriend and her kids would be asleep in our bedroom and livingroom so turning a light on was not an option).   Going with my influence I would then put on the Office Theme, the original Rod Stewart version of Handbags and Gladrags, as I walked past all the morning commuters to where I would be working for the next few hours.  I had always used cafes as escapes but this cemented it as my office.  I did have an office  with my former cowriter as well and I genuinely miss that little spot we had in downtown Victoria.
Anyways today is the first day I’ve had off, due to the Victoria Day long weekend since this thing began.  I am doing final edits to the Quiet City novel which I’ve been working on slowly for a little under a year (though parts of research and the idea has been around since before Bass Line in 2013.  As I said on here how content creators should create content during this lockdown I have been trying to put out song a day on Instagram (tompogsonmusic).  I sometimes do them on Sundays but this is usually the dead day for that, though maybe that has changed as the idea of days has.  And without Cookeilidh I have been primarily focused on music study so I’ve been using some online sources to improve at keyboard and of course bass guitar.  There’s been some songwriting as it just happens organically but I’ve not wanted to push it as it’s so easy to make music about the most obvious subject.
I still maintain my belief that this whole thing is the natural world’s shot across our bow.  I think it’s more one part of a whole, which can be solved.  If we didn’t feel pressure to achieve, be number one, conquer seemingly everyone around us, whether a single soul, a corporation or a country maybe we wouldn’t be creating the pressure which has us pushing our luck.  We keep adding pressure until something breaks.  This doesnt work. 
Anyways, steering away from my politics I feel like creatively I’m finding my own threads musically and as a writer like finding what my groove is with more certainty and what sounds like me.  I’ve been listening back to my work and putting it into playlists and finding what has actually worked.  I mean I like everything from hard rock, industrial and electronic to Sibelius, Kurt Weill and Shubert but there is a sound that is my natural home.  Havent done as much livestreaming lately as my devices aren’t up for that but that’s fine.  I am curious to see how different things will be after all this is over. 
I dont know if I’ll put out an album soon as I have done Goldblacks (over in the Music section  click here for more on that ) and might put out just singles.  I wanted to do that album to prove to myself that I could, but its interesting as Depeche found their groove during the creation of A Broken Frame, and I think in some ways I did the same.  From it and beyond I know what works and what won’t. 
I also have my really out there vanity project called Song of Devotion which is script based onto the most controversial and dramatic part of the Depeche Mode story from 1993 to 1998 but that’s just when I’m between edits.  I like the creation process for screenwriting but I have had enough negativity in the production processes to stop a train so I’ll see how this goes.  If fully fleshed out I might bring it so someone but theres the question of who with something like that.  Due to its subject matter it could not be small budget so I would have to be connected to someone with serious firepower.  Not sure about that, but it is fun to work on anyways.
Fun is hard, which reverts right back to the political side again.  Artists shouldn’t feel like their activities are based on what has the most financial potential.  I should be able to suddenly start using watercolors without thinking I’m on the wrong course.  After the death of the legendary Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk I watch a documentary on that scene and the level of out of box thinking that led to them, Tangerine Dream and Krautrock and eventually synth-pop like DM was incredible.  This included a non musician artist who formed a band stating how he didn’t like melody as it “grows in your head like a worm”.  Some of these supposedly crazy things are how real change happens.  Instead of trying to catch up to what’s happening now, like singers tried to sound like Eddie Vedder in the nineties, your better off starting it from scratch on your own and finding your trail.”Go the other direction, your chances are better”
Anthony Robbins Cheers,
Tom

Wrap on Recording The Goldblacks

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!

🙂

Tom