Home Recording Blog:
Ok, it's time to face the facts. I admit it - I have been goofing off for the past three months, but now I'm ready to start focusing on my new album.
In fact, over the past couple of days, I've started building a bed track for a new song (as yet unfinished), that I hope will be good enough to include on my new CD.
Click on this link to hear the sound sample now.
As you can hear, it has a fast (145 beats per minute) Ska groove. I've never written this type of song before, so I have no idea at this stage how it will turn out, but I must say, I do like what I've got so far.
All I'm doing at the moment is looping a series of short samples together, in a sequence that I find exciting to listen to. My musical 'pallet' includes 68 samples across four instrument groups: drums, bass/electric guitar, and organ.
Once I have the bed track down, I will then start adding extra instrumentation, and arrangements to the track, until I have a complete melody. I will also add vocals, of course, but although I've started writing the actual lyrics to this song, I'm a long way off yet from completing it.
At this point in time, I've only spent a few hours on the new song, but already I can feel my creative juices starting to flow. I hope to have more to say, and more for you to listen to in the next few days.
By the way, the sound samples I am working with, are from the Adobe Audition Loopology collection.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006, 10:36pm
Putting the melody together as an instrumental, as I've done here, before adding the vocal, allows me to focus on the overall sound and mood of the song. If the new piece works as an instrumental, I feel pretty confident that it will also work as a song, once I add the vocals, which I plan to do over the next few days.
I particularly like the driving rhythm of the percussion track which really pushes the song along. You know when you hear a song like this, that there is not going to be any time to rest during the course of the song. It's designed to get your feet tapping, your hands clapping, and your body up onto the dance floor.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006, 6:04pm
While it isn't the best song I've ever written - it doesn't have to be! It just has to have an infectious beat, a catchy hook, create the impression of fun, be lyrically upbeat, and keep people moving on the dance floor. Simple, really!
The is still more work to be done before the track is completed: re-record the vocals; add harmonies, add effects to certain tracks, mix and master the final product; etc, etc.
At least I am back at work on my third album. I'll continue to fiddle with this track some more, but I have to get stuck into the rest of the songs, that will comprise the final recording. Hopefully, there will be a few new ones to consider along the way. It should be an interesting journey.
I hope you can stick around and join me for the rest of it.
Sunday, May 21, 2006, 11:52am
If you listen to the basic beat I started with you will hear the musicians playing a collection of notes and chords, rhythms and cadences that with repeated listening, will create a mood or feeling in your head that will, hopefully, suggest ideas for the lyrical direction of the song.
Obviously, the melody doesn't suggest this will be a sad song, or a something with a downbeat vibe. It really powers along with a strong beat. I particularly like the double layer of drums and percussion that are the real driving force behind the melody. When I first heard the second layer of percussion kick in after the first few bars, I couldn't help but start tapping my feet in time to the rhythm. Once I've got the basic rhythm down, I simply wait to see what my subconscious will throw out in the form of lyrical ideas.
Since the album is going to be called, Dance Like No-one is Watching, I am always going to be open and receptive to lyrics that reflect that theme, and this song is not exception. The following lines are exactly as I first wrote them, including my corrections:
‘Til The Night Is Young
Jim Lesses. All Rights Reserved.
I’m gonna dance, gonna have some
Dance ‘til the night is young… 
If you've written a bunch of songs yourself, you will know the songwriting process involves the constant rewriting of lyrics. Title's change, structure and melody changes, and you are constantly adding and taking away from the song until finally you end up happy (or not as the case may be), with your final result.
This is no different for me than it is for Bob Dylan, or a thousand other great songwriters. As I've written elsewhere on this site, in my article, Courting The Muse: Random Thoughts on Songwriting, it is important not to self-censor yourself when you first get an idea for a song. Just let it flow with as little critical reaction to the ideas or direction the song is taking, as you can muster. You can always go back through the song later and chop out the bits you don't want, or try to push the song in another direction.
Personally, I find that pushing a song in a completely new direction doesn't work for me. I believe that when the subconscious presents me with a song, it is giving me precisely the song it wants me to have, and no other. For me, trying to bend and shape a song into another thing always turns out wrong. So I have learnt to just accept the song I've been given, and be grateful for the gift.
< Home >