EP #2 Diary – Part 2

It’s the school holidays so I’m attempting to get song 3 completely rerecorded. I’m trying to do what Stephen King calls ‘outrunning my self-doubt’. Second guessing, agonising over every little bit, will kill this project dead in the water. It’s great when you can nail that last 5% of awesomeness, but the problem is that last 5% can take 150% of your time and budget by which time you’ve lost perspective and all enthusiasm for the project. Once you’ve written the song you should just get it down as best you can. I’d love to be an awesome singer (and guitarist for that matter) but the sad reality is that my playing on the first couple of takes is probably as good as I’m capable of at this time in my life. So I have to be humble, do the work and maybe in a few years I’ll be a a bit better guitarist, singer, songwriter, whatever.

The other issue is trying to get recording time at the studio when my upstairs neighbour isn’t teaching breakdancing (last night) or playing hip hop and using power tools (tonight). But it doesn’t matter. I’ve been working for a few hours and my brain and larynx are fried anyway.

Tomorrow night Rachel is coming over to lay down some cello. If the hip hop won’t stop, we might have to take over my living room.

And a very talent someone on the other side of the world has offered to play some bass.

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EP #2 Diary – Part 1

I tracked most of my first EP in the studio. This time I’ve decided to do all the recording myself at home then get Mark to mix it. Not because I can do a better job (I know I can’t). But because I have to work more quickly. Relying on favours means sessions have to be spread over a long time and the project loses focus. Also I have to find a ‘rhythm’ that fits with where I am as a writer. I’m on the bottom rung. Possibly in a small rut at the foot of a ladder. It might be nice to be a dolled up and look far nicer than I really am, but I’ll only end up releasing a few songs once in a blue moon.

For the same reason I’ve decided to do 3 songs to Airport’s 5.

EP 2 started off on a whim. I fired a few Facebook messages to friends asking for help knowing if they agreed to help the EP was a ‘thing’ and I’d have to start work. They did, so now I have

  • A mix engineer/producer/mastering engineer
  • A graphic designer

Of the three songs

  • Track one is finished, bounced down to stems and with Mark the producer
  • Track three is finished but needs bouncing
  • Track two …needs minor rewriting/rerecording…

…except when I went back to the original session IT WASN”T RECORDED TO A CLICK!!!

Every time I demo a new tune I always say to myself “do it to a click and in concert pitch just in case you want to rework it later”. And I always have a little argument with myself, because I never go back and redo those old demos. I guess when I recorded this track I gave into the dark side. AND NOW I HAVE TO RERECORD THE WHOLE THING FROM SCRATCH. There’s a lesson there.

As of today I’ve done scratch guitar, drums, vocals, strings and bass. And most of the ‘real’ guitar and piano.

After much time online I found a cover image taken by the amazingly talented Ariel Hache from Buenos Aires, tracked him down and obtained permission to use it. (check out his work here).

The EP is going to be called

Everything In The World Is Fighting Everything In The Sky

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EP #2 Diary – Part Zero

Things I learned from Ep 1

Let’s Build An Airport was my first solo release. I spent 28 1/2 hours arranging and preproduction (not including writing and original demos). I spent 71 1/2 hours recording/mixing (not including the time Mark spent mixing without me) A total of 100 hours. Calling lots of favours and using ‘off peak’ studio time, the total cost was approx £500.

I decide to treat the whole project as a study exercise. I was (and still am) really happy with the finished project but here’s what I learned

  • Mastering is an incredible thing.
  • I should trust my musical decisions more.
  • I should start all the non musical stuff (artwork/press etc) much earlier.
  • It’s hard to keep focus when you take too long (about 14 months).
  • I need a mixer, mastering engineer and press copywriter.
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Ruining Songs With Science #2 – Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy)

Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
Somewhere in the town
Tonight there’s gonna be trouble
So don’t you be around

Call me crazy, but I’ve got this hunch that it might just be AT THE JAIL! And the only people who will be around are prisoners (who have no choice but to stay there) and prison guards, who might want to stick around to like, you know, PREVENT THE JAILBREAK!

Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
In the obvious location
Tonight there’s gonna be trouble
So don’t you be around (unless that’s your occupation)

There – fixed it!

Ruining Taylor Swift Songs With Science

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Tom Waits On … Kids, Religion And How To Play The Piano

Your kids are not your fans, they’re your kids. The trick is to have a career and have a family. It’s like having two dogs that hate each other and you have to take them for a walk every night.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.361)

I always thought religion should be more visceral and that you should get beat up a little by it, you know?

Interviews And Encounters (p.432)

Jim Jarmusch once told me “Fast, cheap, and good . . . pick two. If it’s fast and cheap, it won’t be good. If it’s cheap and good, it won’t be fast. If it’s fast and good, it won’t be cheap.” Fast, cheap, and good . . . pick (two) words to live by.

Interviews And Encounters (p.446)

The recipe for making an album? You write two songs, you put ’em in a room and they have kids. Songs travel along the same line that jokes and stories do. They get written down, forgotten, and resurrected. You tear the wings off them for a while and they grow new ones. Songs are kind of like your memory of something, your homeland, or what you had for dinner last night; something for your kids. We all do it naturally, and kids do it better than any of us. So in a sense, it’s kind of like children’s work.

Interviews And Encounters (p.252)

Never have your wallet with you onstage. It’s bad luck. You shouldn’t play the piano with money in your pocket. Play like you need the money.

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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