Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! My latest Beat of the day is up featuring a cover of the song Head Over Heals from Tears For Fears!
This song is from 1985 the album, Songs From The Big Chair. That album had a load of hits on it and was a really great piece of work!
I lifted the vocals from Youtube and put them in this video along with the synth solo! The rest is me playing the instruments! The bass lines are simply killer and fun to play!
Genesis - Behind the Lines
Remember the story from my last video. I started working at a record store and on day two of my employment... I walked into the store and blammo... Genesis Duke was playing on the turntable... and this song hit right as I was walking in the door. Give this a listen!
I was sitting around today and after a discussion with my kids on jobs I had as a teen... I had a memory... and it hit me... I realized that most of you don't understand how I come up with a Beat of the Day song selection. Usually it is tied to a memory... something I am feeling at the time... Today was a day where I remembered my high school job (one of them) at the record store in Eastland Mall... 1980... Day 2 of my job... Genesis released Duke... and when I walked in... blammo... I was already a Genesis fan... but that whole album played... and it is now a desert island record for me... anyway... here is an explanation of some of my process... and a sneak into the keyboard part I worked out today...
I thought I would post a short video of the software and plugins I used to mix my latest Beat of the Day song - Tom Petty's Breakdown!
Give it a look and let me know of questions you may have afterward!
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Breakdown
This was a fun song to recreate! As per usual... I only did part of it as I am not a singer and there are no vocals.
Imagine trying to recreate guitar parts for some of the best guitarists in the world. Well... I did OK... but I am my own worst critic and these are close... but not perfect...
All of my Beat of the Day videos are not perfect... nothing I play is "perfect"!
I like what Tim Exile says... "you find yourself chasing your tail for perfection"...
I found that the song has feeling and feels more natural with some imperfections... maybe it is my 60s and 70s introduction to music... Led Zeppelin... there was no metronome... no grid... just the mighty John Bonham smashing those drums to his own clock...
Anyway... I digress...
This was fun... probably does not have the same energy as Journey's Separate Ways... but still fun!
I am continually working on the Beat of the Day series of videos.
I plan to write and describe the making of these videos as I complete them. Complete with how-tos and my approach to each area of the song... performance of instruments, recording, sound design and matching, and more...
Please sign up for the email list if you want to be notified about new videos and blog posts!
In the mean time... check out my latest Beat of the Day!
Separate Ways - Journey
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Original Demo Followup
I have loaded another Shimmer Piano Demo and at about 1:30 into it I adjust the sends to the second Shimmer to give you a sense of what would happen if I were aggressive on the send knob position! Enjoy and I welcome feedback - positive and negative.
Sound Design and Processing
To follow up on my last post, I wanted to talk about my process and how it evolved while building my experiment.
Let's just walk through my construction process first.
I selected my sounds to begin. First I added a Steinway 2 Piano patch from the EXS library in Mainstage.
Then I loaded a pad in Retrosynth that was close to what I wanted. Then I tweaked the pad sound to get the rich fat subtle sound I was looking for.
Then I routed the two instrument outputs into a single bus and applied some minor top end eq and some compression.
On that "sum" channel, I pointed the aux sends to a channel that I set up to hold my effects stack. I created a second channel with another effects stack to route signal through as well. Above, labeled Shimmer 1 and Shimmer 2.
I created all of the effects patches and stacked them and tweaked until I came out with a really cool sounding piano sound that "shimmered". It is a matter of trial and error and some knowledge about how each effect would interact and compliment each in the line of effects. In this case, I have a really long "SilverVerb" reverb into a delay, into a pitch shifter dialed up or down a whole octave (12 semi-tones), Then into another SilverVerb with a long trail and size.
I then bus some of that via Aux into the next channel of a very similar set of effects. This is so I can control the amount of effects and have lots of options for my sound depending on what the song calls for.
This technique is not new and is very similar to others out there... but it is my simple twist on some of these methods to give me a lot of options.
I will put this patch up in this post so you can pull it down and tinker with it. IT is assumed that you have Mainstage and the synths used in this patch.
There are 3 patches in this concert that you can flip between. These are variations on my original patch. I am building a complete set of patches for a performance library that will be for purchase soon.
These are the original drawing board I started with.
Enjoy and leave comments on tweaks you make and areas where you think they can be improved.
Mainstage Patch Experiments
I started playing with Apple's Mainstage and creating some new patches. I started with my usual Piano/Pad combo kind of patch that I love to put together. What I ended up with is more of a "shimmer" piano.
It is built solely with a Piano, a soft pad really low... and a lot of processing to really add a nice effect to the piano sound.
I routed the piano through a bus and inserted a reverb, pitch shift, stereo delay, compressor and another reverb. This combination gives the sound a real "sparkle" or "shimmer"!
I am working on the interface and will post the patch as soon as I finish tweaking it.
Listen to the track (Falling Snow) I played with this patch and see what you think!
Bake 60 minutes at 300 degrees
Cool for 20 minutes
Spread topping on cheesecake
Return to oven for 10 minutes
I place a paper towel on the top while it is cooling... it draws some of the moisture out of it.
Picture a scene... dad and daughter driving home from a school based fall festival event. We had just dropped off two of her friends at their homes and were on our way home!
Daughter says... can I have a McDonald's smoothie? Dad agrees and proceeds to the drive-thru!
McDonald's now has these dual drive-thru stations So I pull up to one of the speakers and sit and wait, prepared to order both of my kids a smoothie! I sit there for a little while and a car pulls up in the next station over... places an order and proceeds... then another car pulls up and places an order... and pulls up...
By now... I am furious! I am ranting in the car about the "injustice" of it all! I hear this little blurb from my daughter (under her breath) "you are being very impatient". (I am normally laid-back and patient... but this just got to me for some reason... late in the day/tired/other life stresses/etc... all excuses for improper behavior in this instance!)
So I engaged her... trying to sell her my side of the story! "WE PULLED UP TO ORDER A SMOOTHIE... AND THEY TOOK THOSE OTHER TWO CARS FIRST! IT IS JUST NOT RIGHT!", I ranted! She did not really engage at all... she just sat there... her eyes were saying a lot... but her mouth, silent!
Finally! The voice on the other end of the loudspeaker exclaimed, "Hi, Welcome to McDonald's... May I take your order?". My fury meter is off the charts by now... so I proceeded to educate the person on the other side of the loudspeaker about how long I have sat there and how many cars she took in front of me! In a rather loud... unforgiving voice/tone!
The voice on the other side says "I'm sorry... what can I get for you?". I order the two smoothies for my kids, get the total and pull up behind the cars whose orders were taken in front of me. I get to the window and pay... in this case... I blew a perfect opportunity to ask for forgiveness... but I was still angry!
So as we are sitting there... the car that placed the order in front of me must have ordered something special! It took 5 minutes... and they did not move him up at all! He just sat at the window! So while we are sitting there... I am getting more angry and also I was processing my daughter's statement about my impatience (I remember hearing my wife tell me this during certain times... but it did not sink in). So I started a conversation with Morgan roughly as follows...
"I don't understand why you think I am impatient... we were there first and they took two orders in front of us!" Her response... "it's no big deal... just 5 minutes" Well... I am already upset... so this answer did not sit well with me! I started getting louder and more angry and explaining my case... and my frustration that she did not see this situation my way! She, all the while with an even tone and a calm voice gave this response. "I don't understand why you yelled at her... it is just an extra 5 minutes... she is waiting on other people and maybe made a mistake... do you like when people yell at you for mistakes?" She then continued, "I hate it when people yell at me and they only see their side of the story and what they perceive as my mistake!" I quickly responded with "I wasn't yelling at her... I was merely telling her about my concerns for her handling of the drive through!" She just looked at me with a calm demeanor... and said, "you did not have to yell at her!". I was frustrated and angry... Why does my daughter not see this the way I see it!
We finally proceeded to collect our smoothies and drive home! I am still roasting inside from the issue at the drive thru! Morgan and I exchange small talk... she knows I am upset and proceeds to switch channels on the radio (something she always does... we have a game we play with songs and artists) and lands on a song that always seems to be on while we are in the car together! So she starts nudging me and smiling trying to change my attitude and make me more happy! But my "old man" grouchy attitude was just not going away! I am always right! I am always in control! I hate when something does not go the way I see it! (as I have discovered, these are all related to insecurities I have dealt with for most of my life!)
In any case... a seed was planted!
I eased up as the night went on... but still a little frustrated! The kids went to bed... I finally went to bed (Keep in mind, Barbara is out of town at her annual scrap-booking retreat).
The seed Morgan planted germinated all night long! I woke up at 2:35 AM... wrestling with my actions... reactions... words... Morgan's reactions and more importantly... her words! I went back to sleep and woke up at 4:30 AM... again... more wrestling! Again at 6:15 AM! Wrestling!
All night long I wrestled with this and it finally dawned on me that my daughter was right in her approach and attitude... and I totally failed as a father and an example in front of her!
I realized that the bulk of my elevated frustration and anger was because Morgan was right... and I... not so much! I wanted my way and I was not getting it! I wanted others to see my side of the story and agree! And it was not happening!
[An excerpt from my wrestling episodes during the night]
How can this be! I am her father, who is supposed to be demonstrating Christ-Like values for my kids in all areas of life... and she has out done me here!
Needless to say... some very important reminders surfaced during this event!
The biggest reminder for me... my kids are ALWAYS watching me and my actions!
If I am not willing to allow them (my kids) to speak up and challenge me on my actions and behaviors, I give up the chance to be a better human being! In this case... my daughter taught me more in a 10 minute event than most others have during my life! (Barbara has this ability as well!)
I am grateful that Morgan had the courage to stand up to me, take the position she took and challenge my thinking... my attitude... my interactions... and ultimately, the way I was treating someone! All things I was blinded from because of my frustration and anger!
There are moments when you feel like a complete failure as a parent... then your kids demonstrate a different story!
Thank you baby girl! You are as beautiful inside as you are outside!