Songwriter’s journey

In the early days the very idea of making a melody that went with guitar chords seemed like something only people could do if they were raised by Andrew Lloyd Webber and they were descendent of Jean Sibelius.

So my first attempts were only after I had seen other people playing their songs as a bassist…a long time after that. I had also already played lots of other songs on my mom’s old classical guitar. Eventually my first attempts started. And they never used much more than four chords.

This song I released today was actually one of those. I was at a friend’s place and couldn’t sleep even though she and her baby daughter were. The guitar was there and I just started doing this “E minor” and “A minor” riff back and forth.

I was making music with a mod player called Scream Tracker which played sampled sounds in order and I tried putting the song there, ending up on my first 3 song demo CD.

Now twenty years later and hundreds of songs later I decided to try it out. That’s really my favorite thing. Give a song a real try and see the reaction.

My new album “The Goldblacks” was made up of mostly media favorites.

But yeah, if you have wanted to write just have pen, paper, instrument and maybe something to eventually record your ideas (way easier today with what devices can now do). Social media is a fun way to share your ideas and from the start you can grow your ideas by learning from the masters and just experimenting. I still do. Each one is me trying things out. It’s exciting, which you get swept up in.

Anyways here is my lastest as of literally this morning, Tattered Sails based on how my friend and I had gone through so much in our recent years.

Enjoy!

And if you want to write then find time you know you will be productive and go to it. As I said previously…just show up to the page. And again. You will be surprised!

☺️

Cheers,

Tom

☺️

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Goldblacks Stories – #1 Take Me Higher

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!

Cheers,

Tom

Rock’n Rule #3. Show Disasters

Imagine starting a show that made everyone leave the room, or playing along to a classic song that you never actually learned, or starting a show with a guy holding (no kidding) a pumpkin (wasn’t near October) and saying to you that he’s sure you can’t play.

You guessed it. These are but a handful of mine. Now I’m not gonna say that I sell out stadiums like Sting and the boys up there, but I can almost bet you they had those early disasters too. Sting, Andy and Stewy were in sooo many bands before they ever met so you can bet there was the occasional weird amp problem.

On continuing yesterday’s Rock’n Rules on how to make great music, or be a success, I found another little clue. I will drop more if I find more, but it came from the fact that I am on a bit of an ABBA kick right now, and on doing some reading their first time(s) playing as a four piece actually totally flopped. Like nobody liked it. At all.

ABBA had every reason to go and quit and say “It didn’t work, why bother.”. But they just kept at it anyways. Music is what the four did so it was back to the drawing board (or the cabin).

Same goes for the boys from Depeche Mode…

Don’t be nervous 😊

The first two shows by these fresh young faces, which they spend time setting up were a complete disaster. Two shows in a row! On one of them all the keyboard stuff when crazy and one guy just kicked something and all the electrics went out on the whole stage.

They kept going. They even make weird mistakes to this day. You can look that up, but it’s only rock and roll.

The trick is to keep going. You get used to it. On the musical side you learn to “recover” if you played it wrong and 9 times out of 10 you notice it more than anyone else around. Nobody is going “hey, what’s with that Bm7 chord!”. It’s about connection to the people in front of you. In fact disasters can be funny and get them on your side if you stay chill and just go “wow, that was neat!” or something and just try again.

Screw up.

Screw up huge.

You’re in world-class company.

πŸ˜‰

(And yeah, this works off stage as well 😎)

Today’s music I blogged to was a classic instrumental CD called Black Sands by Bonobo

Black Sands – Bonobo

Cheers,

Tom

πŸ™‚

On this other writing

It’s the sort of thing I wanted to do with my first comedy pilot. I can’t bring you right in of course, that’s physically impossible. But it’s also part of my goal, to change your perception to mine, even if for three to four minutes.

Songwriting.

Now of course, not all songwriting has to be deep and cerebral. Kurt Weill championed the writing of silly songs and the “just fun”. Hey, we gotta eat too, right?

I’ve been writing since I simply could. Even before that, considering it certainly kicked off before I played my first note on that purple Series A bass I had at the age of nineteen. Guitar would still wait a year.

Actually doing it scared me at first, like it was only done by geniuses who were born under a music school piano or something. Between people I jammed with in those early days and music I was learning it seemed more and more reachable. Then came my first role model.

This guy.

Martin Lee Gore of Depeche Mode was the first person to not only pave my first road, but also to show what could be so great about it.

He brought in the idea of taking every subject without filter, layering the modern and creatively limitless atop the traditional, and the storyteller’s approach to sounds versus the idea of endless rock solos. From the first album I got ( a friend’s tape of Some Great Reward ) I was hooked. My first multitrack cassette machine was soon going to arrive.

And I sucked. It wasn’t good at all. It’s one of the reasons I don’t believe that there’s such a thing as bad art. First because any attempt beyond our day to day is beautiful like an early cave painting, but also I will beat anyone to the finish for the just bad.

But you go through this and soon I became a Socan member after getting on the radio a few times.

Since then it’s just always been there, though just recently it has got a resurgence to when I first heard Martin’s work (not to steal his thunder)

This guy.

Ryan Karazija of Low Roar. I discovered this music in the way many probably have, by simply surfing in and seeing the intriguing album cover for the self titled debut (a deer with birds flying out of it’s mouth. It reminded me of the Canadian artist Hayden). I was doing morning pages and other writing and just wanted music to work to, like my use of Harold Budd and Cocteau Twins that had been my go to for just years. That album of Ryan’s was instantly a favorite and it sparked the idea of trying to actually move forward again. So from the beginning of this year I started working on my first song “She lives There”, and while it’s becoming clear that I need to upgrade my recording equipment before I put out a first EP, I still would love to do that and until then I want to hone my sound and songs in preparation.

Songs for me come from anywhere and have come in on literally any instrument. I’ll hear something or learn about something and go “ooh that’s good”.

An example of this was Moonwatcher which is now on my SoundCloud page, which came from studying my girlfriend’s First Nations culture in a dissertation by her late Aunt, Allis Pakki Chipps-Sawyer called Standing on The Edge of Yesterday

In it she mentions the traditional Moonwatchers who would literally stay up all night and observe the moon and there findings would make decisions easier for Elders in the day. Just the name sparkled before me, but I knew it would be too much like Moonshadow if I went and did it acoustic, so I tried for an almost dance feel.

Precipice on the other hand had to be written as I kept having a waking nightmare of being swept over Niagara falls, on a loop so I never actually fell (clearly a stress thing). The cascading arpeggio at the start came first and then the first half fell in place. I resisted the dramatic “chorus” at first but it grew on me. Is it a hit? Probably not, but I love both songs for what every song I have ever done. It is a capture of me exactly at that moment, in both the words and how those words reverb.

Have a listen to Precipice

https://youtu.be/hKC82a_d8JE

Cheers,

Tom

😊

Apps for Musicians! The Ear Gym!

In the interest of trying things out, I’d thought I’d give a try to trying things. Hopefully that made sense!

I’ve loaded and deleted lots of apps over the ages as I have a little, little phone with not much room and I just keep a few in play.

Let’s kick off with the second in a series of ear training apps I’ve tried, “The Ear Gym.” Ill keep this brief and tight as I’m short on time like yourself.

Way tougher than “functional ear trainer” it actually puts you through paces with interval recognition which is excellent. I’m a big believer in “The Talent Code” (check this out or maybe I’ll do a bit on it later), and anything that puts you in that just-beyond-ability sweet spot is great. I do wish it would go more into recognizing full chords but maybe that’s soon to come ot elsewhere.

8/10

Know an amazing musician app? Post in comments below!

Cheers!

Tom