My second single release is called "Train To Hyderabad". While I have traveled the world, I have never been to Hyderabad, a city located in India. But I have heard a lot about it. The motif of this song contains Tabla, a percussive drum that is really expressive. I created the song without the Tabla at first. But as I was composing, I realized the song was not complete. Then in the process of finishing the song, I stumbled into the Tabla as a sound in one of my sound libraries. I remembered visiting a friend in Cupertino, CA and she had a Tabla. She showed me how to play it and how to get the expressiveness from it. Anyway, I quickly played it in and it added a lot of mystery to the song. Thus, how I came up with the title. The city seems mysterious, large, bustling and full of vigor. I am hoping I pulled this off. The idea is to close your eyes and dream you are on a train from the outskirts of the city on your way into the center of it. The people, the bounce of the train, then coming to a scheduled stop. Then after a few minutes, the train is back on its way on the journey to the next stop. I hope you like it!
Find it where ever you get your music at. A Link below will allow you to preorder if you wish.
It will release February 1st, 2022
Well... I have decided I need to get some of my music out into the world. While I have done the "Beat of the Day" series for a while... I decided it's time to release my music.
With this decision comes fear, anxiety, gratitude, sense of accomplishment, sense of failure, all kinds of emotions. Let me tell you why...
Once upon a time... I was in Jr. High School... somewhere in the mid 70s... I started playing trombone. Then one day... I heard an amazing drummer for a band called Rush... well and the bass player too! I wanted to be a rock and roller in a band... and play like Geddy and Neil play! We were poor... so I built a drum kit out of whatever I could find... boxes... pans... pan lids for cymbals. You name it, I tried it. I figured out how to play drums this way. Then I started to play on the kit at the school. Once I got over my fears of rejection... turned out... people liked my drumming style.
Along the lines of bass playing (being Geddy Lee), I had an acoustic guitar that my mom had purchased a year before. I removed the B and E strings and learned bass on this acoustic guitar. Have you ever tried a Geddy Lee bass part on a 4 string Acoustic Guitar turned into a "bass"? Not easy I will admit! But I did it. Then I borrowed different basses from friends and acquaintances that were brave enough to lend a kid a bass... And I got pretty good at it. I was finding acceptance with my peers and we all know how difficult that is at the ripe old age of 15 or 16.
But one day... my mom had this statement for me... she said... "You will never amount to anything in the musical world... find a skill to prepare you for a real job".
My hopes were crushed... I was a pretty good musician with a potential career as a good one. I had visions of being a studio musician one day. All dashed by that one statement.
I went to vocational school the following year and took electronics and dropped out of the high school band and orchestra. I learned electronics. I was good at that too!
Most of you know the rest. I went in the military. Had the time of my life in all aspects of that timeframe! Travel, working on and flying on some of the coolest planes in the air. Drinking. Partying. All things boys tend to do as a young early 20 something. But I was missing my passion... the true deep calling on my life if you will. Creating music in some form or another.
Now... keep in mind... the economy in the mid-late 70s was pretty bleak... we were poor... my dad had left us... my mom was starting to develop her mental issues at the time (and I was not even sure at the time, what was going on with her). But I was devastated. I have resolved her statement to be an antidote to the condition we were in at the time. But young male brains don't process things that deeply.
I am not complaining! I am who I am now because of all of the paths the journey has taken me! I quit partying, no drinky for me anymore. Not even in a social setting. God came into my life and the experience has been second to none! I picked music back up! I found my wife... my love! My soulmate! Developed more skills. Kids arrived in our lives (that far outweighs any other experience in my life with the exception of finding my wife!) Started overspending on musical and audio gear (still do that today)! Started creating songs and passages with music!
I am in a place where I have resolved all of those things that my mom dropped on me as a young kid! And have vowed to never do that to my kids!
Success creating music is defined by me. Not society, not Billboard, or a record label. It is for the sole purpose of expression. While I may be behind the curve with that epiphany, I am going to execute it now! I am going to express! I cannot sing! So my music is instrumental! I like all genre of music. Some will come out of me with appeal to a narrow population and some will come out with a broader appeal. I used to fear that! I used to fear that people would hate my music and the damage it would do to my psyche. No more!
The regret is I did not do this sooner! Putting fear behind me!
But here we are! I am going to move forward! And music will come out of my being!
I believe God gave me this beautiful gift! It is different than others! I do not possess the talent others do! But, I have a level of talent given to me by the Creator! And music, it is the one thing that speaks to my soul! I am complete with this gift! And the gift I have is specific to me! God gave this to ME!
I am a firm believer that God, in his image, created me with these gifts to express myself and to reflect Him. To use them to worship Him. To connect with others using them! He knew my destiny before I took my first breath! And I am on the journey toward the destination!
If you get a chance, listen to my music! Enjoy it! Know where it is coming from! Streaming services these days allow for consumption without buying it. So no excuses! You don't have to buy it! Unless you like it!
My hope is you do like it! My hope is it connects with you! My hope is you feel what I feel with it!
Here is a link to my first release, Summer Breeze
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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!