I was working a night shift last night so I caught the bus back home at 08:30 this morning.

As often happens to me after a night shift, I started to feel really quite philosophical about things and I have to say that sitting and watching people go about their business at that time in the morning, you really get a feel of how the city runs. The workmen in their overalls, the office workers clutching their morning coffee, the city types in their sharp suits – this is what we do. This is who we are and it’s people like this – millions of them up and down the land – that keep the country going.

Once you get out of the box of your own mindset of “I need to get to work, I’ve got x,y and z to do this morning,” watching other people go about their business is fascinating, I think.

I’m very much a “people person.” I find other people more interesting and fascinating that anything else. I’d much rather have an afternoon alone with a stranger than an afternoon alone with a new guitar – for example. Everyone has their story and, once you scratch the surface, often their stories are remarkable.

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Busy bees

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Gigging, Recording, Song Writing

Since my last blog, we’ve recorded our debut EP, we’ve played a great gig at 229 The Venue in London and written a couple of songs.

Not bad eh?

“You get dealt a new hand soon after you fold” is a line from my favourite song of last year – Airplanes by B.O.B. feat Hayley Williams.

The reason I’m thinking of this is that things seem to be conspiring to frustrate me at the moment. We were meant to be recordin our first demo in the studio last weekend and this, but for differing reasons, both sessions got cancelled. I feel like we’re banging our heads against a wall. We’re ready to record. We’ve got the songs, we’re tight, we know how to play them, it shouldn’t take us long to do it – but we’ve spent about 6 weeks trying to do it and have got fuck all to show for it.

Aaaargh!!!

I suppose it’s times like this that you have to just keep believing and pick yourself up and try again. I want to have the recording done, mastered and printed so we can give to people at our gig on the 27th, but it’s looking less and less likely that this is going to happen.

But, as they say, as one door shuts, another one opens. Let’s hope that something better is round the corner.

I’m going to play the video of that song to cheer me up.

My Frustration

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Music Production

I’ve got my “music producer” hat on and have been in my home studio trying to get “Sans Me Parler” to sound as good as it can be. To be honest, I’m thinking of renaming this song “My Frustration” because I’ve been trying to get it “right” for days now and progress is painfully slow.

I’ve always had a really healthy respect for music producers and engineers and this is why. I’ve spent hours fiddling with EQ, adding and subtracting compression, altering reverb etc… etc… because I want this song to bang hard. I’m slowly getting there, but it’s taking a long, long time.

The recording of the parts is done. My vocals and Ellen’s vocals are flowing nicely over Youri’s beat, but what I’m finding tricky is hammering it into an actual song. We’ve got a plethora of intruments playing on this track and I’m slowly realising that less is more. I’m creating more “space” in the mix by just having parts drop out altogether, but it’s slow work.

I think the old saying 1% inspiration, 99% persperation is proving to be true in this case, but I feel that I’m slowly making progress.

 Now, I’m going to get back to it an think about where I can put the French Organ part that Youri’s just emailed me…

Peace

I spent all day yesterday and a large part of today with my “music producer” hat on. Yuri and Ellen came round to mine last week and we’ve recorded the parts to Sans Me Parler. I’ve been trying to mix it, arrange it and get it sounding as sweet as it can be.

So far, the results are promising. Most of the work has been done (compression, EQ etc) and the arrangement of the song is more or less sorted. Still got some work to do – tweaking with vocals and distortion effects but it’s nearly there.

I’ve got to work long days tomorrow before a full week from Monday, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to get back to it one evening next week.

Iambic tetrameter

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Song Writing

Following on from my post about finishing things, here are the lyrics I’ve written to a new song.

Youri’s had the idea for this song for a long time. The chorus is lifted from a French poem and the beat is pretty rapid and house-y. I’ve been thinking about prose and poetry recently. I know Shakespeare wrote a lot of his stuff in iambic pentameter, and I’ve been wanting to try something similar with a song. The beat that Youri’s got for this song lends itself really well to iambic tetrameter, which is the style that Byron used in his poem “She walks in beauty” so I thought I’d give it a go and it actually works really well. Some might say it’s showing off, but I don’t care.

The song is called “Sans me parler” and the lyrics go

She stops at her favourite café
On just another Saturday
He’s sitting reading Georges Bataille
And sipping a skinny latté.
He glances up and their eyes meet
Her heart literally skips a beat
Tries not to stare but can’t succeed
Her mouth goes dry, her legs go weak
She’d read about this in books
How much is said with just a look
He runs his fingers through his hair
She steps outside to get some air
He follows now the scene is set
She closed her eyes and held her breath
He lit another cigarette,
He didn’t say a word then left.

Sans me regarder il h’allume
une cigarette sans me parler
Sans me parler il est parti.

She’s moving on trying to forget,
She believes in life with no regrets
But in her head plays the same song
With a different meaning no he has gone
He keeps tugging at her mind
Ephemeral and undefined
Promise falls like autumn leaves
She’s finding it hard to believe
How much is said without a word
She cursed the feelings that he’s stirred
She doesn’t even know his name,
She’s sure their paths will cross again
She downs her shot and shakes her head,
Decides she’s going to dance instead
She shakes her hips and moves her feet
She loves this deep, dark funky beat.
Now, call it fate or call it chance,
She takes a random sideways glance
What she sees stops her in her tracks
She sees him. He’s not looking back.

Sans me regarder il h’allume
une cigarette sans me parler
Sans me parler il est parti.

Not looking back, she sees him, he’s not looking back
Not looking back, she sees him, he’s not looking back

He’s focused on a random blonde
Like they’re sharing a common bond
He runs his fingers through her hair
He doesn’t even look at her.
He waves an unlit cigarette
She cursed the moment that they met
She doesn’t even pause for breath
She didn’t say a word – just left.

Finishing Things

Posted: February 9, 2011 in Random Noise, Song Writing

This sounds really stupidly obvious but I’ve realised how important finishing things is.

I’ve had some ideas for songs and half written songs kicking around my head for ages, but in the last week or so, I’ve made myself sit down and actually finsh two of them and it feels great. It’s like I get a sense of closure. Instead of thinking “I need to finish that song” I think “Right, let’s do a new song” and it’s a nice feeling.

It sounds so obvious but it’s so true.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to be like Walt from Gran Torino – the man who finishes things.