Wednesday, 16 November 2011

'Enjoy the silence' and 'The life of a crafty pebble'

Enjoy the silence? ..
Thought I'd better post something here as I havn't for quite some time.
Things tend to get in the way!

I've been working on a new project at -  (the site isn't really open yet, It's in early stages). Just a little art 'n' craft idea. I used to paint lead soldiers (sold in Harrods btw) and thought I'd try it out on making personalised pebbles. It takes time to get these things set up (and to make them!) I've made a few trial versions and now just about have all I need to set up and open up on Ebay and the pebblecraft web site. Take a look and check beck soon if you like hand crafted gifts and art :-) Nice Christmas and Birthday gifts! (As the web site / shop not open yet, just reply / mail me if you are interested , will see what I can do)

Musically: I've been thinking about how to follow up 'Whittlesey girls' . Not easy to decide but have made a start on a parody cover of Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode.

So I thought I'd share how I sort of go about starting these ideas and how to technically and musically go about them. (Not the same as making an original track - I'll share that one another time)

Whittlesey girls was meant to be a one off. I have never done a cover before, ever. (though all my songs could be called semi-parodies maybe!).
It caught the imagination ( and humour) of the local wildlife and was put on the front page of the Cambs times, played on Indie Cambridge radio and also on BBC radio Cambs/Peterborough so I was caught short with my trousers down!  So I basically panicked, had some beer and then did nothing at all for a couple of weeks. Having come back to it I sat and thought of random songs, old and new, different styles, that could fit a local lyric in some way. The only real criteria being that they had to be well known songs as thats sort of the point.
I have a list of around 20 I put together including Prince  Purple rain (Your a pain) and The sun always shines on tv / Eastrea) by Aha
I may well use some of the others later but decided on DM as the lyric will work for March town ... and the file I got to work with was reasonably good.

Which brings me on to how to cheat a little - For a cover version you don't necessarily have to write everything in completely form scratch. There are many free midi files out there unrestricted to use. So I grabbed some of those and choose the best out of about 6 versions.
I put these in Logic and then have to spend ages tweaking the notes, choosing instruments and editing a lot . (Infact the Pet Shop Boys track I did in the end probably would have been easier to do from scratch the original midi file was so BAD !)
I prefer Logic for editing midi files in this way, it's a lot easier and more powerful than on my PC using reaper.  I prefer the pc/reaper for original / creative stuff and for audio due to size / interface / connections.

There is no easy way to do it other than a good ear, patience and a nice bank of instruments to trawl through ( making good choices and being prepared to change your mind a lot!)

The drums are always hard to get right. I tend to use two or three different kits to get the sounds how I like them. (In my original tracks I often do this too)
I also try and change a few things deliberately so it sounds new and fresh and not just an outdated identical copy of the original.

The ending and opening always need a lot of work. adding extra parts and layers to make it start strong and stand out.
the end of midi files are usually terrible and just sound like the band died.
then the lyrics... well they neeed work too.... so far.... the basic idea....

All I ever wanted, all I ever needed , is here, in March town
Wisbech is so unnecessary, it can only do harm......
or; other towns are unnecessary, they, don't know how to farm ;-)

(well, I've already annoyed Eastrea and Whittlesey, may as well take out Wisbech while I'm at it. )
(I'll be lynched everyime I go anywhere at this rate)

So there you go, some insight into my crazy musical processes.

On my 4th album; well I havn't done much more there to finalise it but it Is pretty much done. I have been re-mixing/producing some of the tracks such as Hereward the Wake ( the violin was too thin at the start and end, forgot to pre-amp it in recording - cat dying effect!)

not 100% decided on track or order but pretty much.
not decided on album title at all
not thought about cover / art / production at all yet
hopefully done by new year all being well.
Depending how much beer gets consumed of the holiday period ;-)

previous albums are here:

I've started really yawning at the XFactor incase you were wondering. Still half watching it but It's just gone a bit damp and squidgy in my opinion.

Same about Freddie Star on I'm a celebrity :-( Didn't look well enough to have been there in 1st place. But now Pat Sharpe (minus hair) and Sinitta (minus any talent) ? Nightmares of my teenage musical life return to tv ! arghhhhh!

till next time
-Ant / DV