Tuesday, 22 December 2009

last days of term

ok, so monday was preparation for the gig in the evening - we rehearsed all the songs we were going to be performing and had quite a few fallings out between people - most people being stressed out - but we had a good run through before the evening performance. The performance on monday evening went really well - everybody got into it and had a great time along with playing a really good performance - not to mention we had a good croud :) considering all the problems we had and late notices we had a good audience and good performance well done guys :)
Tuesday, not many people turned up at college - there was only a handful of us so rehearsals were pretty sketchy will little we could all do together and come up with, and then matt's lesson that afternoon seemed pretty empty - but the assignment was fun - with all of becky and larry's animations and dirty minds :D there was also another small gig in totnes that evening which was a disaster but interesting - not everybody turned up who was meant to turn up - so there was an odd group of us having to persevere on the stage and have a go at whatever we could and just make a mash of it all - however from the audience's point of view it wasn't particularly a good performance - it would have been a lot better had there been better and more committment from the guys who were supost to turn up!!!
then on friday, we all gathered together - every body was in so it made it all slightly easier - and talked about tuesday's performance and how crap it was, and the overall decision was to pick at least 5 songs that everybody can learn and be able to play no matter who turned up/didn't turn up to a gig - so we can persevere and be able to give a good performance no matter the people we have available.
Let's just hope that next term/year we will be able to do a better job..... :)

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Friday!!!! Started off in the Studio recording a couple of Fran's tracks - i was assistant engineer/engineer - not sure which, Becky was the other, though i was doing most of the work, but Fran's tracks sound really good, and i love Lander's lyrics - they're really dirty but brilliant lol and while he was recording, Fran, Fran's friend Jenna, Becky and i came up with the idea of adding harmonies which, when Jenna and i recorded the harmonies it lifted the music and sounded really fab - so can't wait for Fran to put it all together it will sound really really great - well done Fran, Larry etc :)
then the rest of the day was rehearsal and performance time at 2 o clock onwards which went really well, can't wait to hear how it all sounds on monday coz friday's performance was really great sounding so monday should be really great and will deffinately show off the music mill - even if it's not a big gig at all - it should still be great so fingers crossed and a good luck to every one :D

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Long catch-up

oops forgot to write in my blog for two weeks now and am really struggling to recall all that's happened over that period of time. I think my best bet is to start again from this week, and carry on from there. Tuesday's rehearsal period was productive, me, Leigh, and Josh had a run-through of Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix - with me helping Leigh to sing it, which i hope from his point of view was helpful :D, then we had a go at one of Pendulum's songs - Propane Nightmares which was really fun :), before we had Matt's lesson which was basically just another kind of assignment to do :( Then Wednesday evening - open evening gig - went really well and everyone played really well. it was great to see that actually quite a few turned up to have a look around and listen to us - well done guys (y).
Now it's just Monday's gig at the Parkers Arms to work towards now :) it's really exciting to be doing so many gigs - no matter how small, and i can't wait till we can do so much better on monday and prove that the music mill has a lot of talent :D - bring it on :D

Sunday, 29 November 2009

New Week!!!

Ok, so had a really busy week last week, Monday was really productive, because Larry, Karl, Leigh and I managed to come up with a great new song called "City Falls" - which although the lyrics are kin of depressing, the song itself sounds really good, though i think the song needs some kind of harmony rather than just monotonous tune. But that's something that needs working on. Tuesday i was in early again, and helped out with some of the guys recording. I was mainly just standing back and watching - without being paid just to see how it all works and the different roles that each person played when engineering, assisting, and producing. It was actually fascinating, :). Then in the afternoon, looking at the board in the reception area downstairs i noticed some guys had put their names down for recording that afternoon and needed some people to engineer and assist and produce so i sort of thought that if it was ok with the guys then i'd put my name forward and have a go at what i had been learning that morning from everyone else, which was really good, so i've learnt how to be assistant engineer in the course of a day. :)
Then it was our turn on Thursday to record the regae track, so we came in on thursday to record, the morning was helpful for a small rehearsal and learning a new track by Dido, which, with Sinead's voice sounded really, really nice!! Though in the recording session in the afternoon, we had a few problems with the equipment and i think it's probably safe to say i think we all fell out with our producer :( So by the end of the session everyone was really ticked off, but the track itself sounded quite good considering :)
Friday we then travelled to the college to do a gig in the danish cafe' which was really good fun, and a good experience for a lot of people to get up in front of an audience for the first time. I loved getting up in front of an audience and singing, though it would have been better if the mics had had better volume - though that was my opinion at least. Altogether it's been a really busy, yet fun week. :)

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Another Productive day!!!

Tuesday, me and a few other people arrived early at the mill and we worked on the reggae track, adding another verse, and working out the whole layout of the tune. It sounds really good and really effective, however, it still needs harmonies before we take it into the studio next thursday.
Matt's set us a task to do marketing - posters etc for our gig - even more assignments!!! In a way as much as i'd like to get these assignments out of the way before christmas i do think it would be better if we just concentrate on rehearsing our songs for the gig in December.
Rant over so we'll have to see what Friday has in store :D!!!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

What's New??!!

ok, so, yesterday (Monday 16th Novemeber) we had another meeting. Not good news so far. Although we've now officially settled on a title - not too sure on it myself, but i'm not going to cause problems for everyone by complaining about it, we've all got enough to sort out without me causing more problems on title's of the event. On the down side, we still don't have a venue for the event and it's getting really late in the day. The Venue in Torquay has backed out because we still don't have all the details, leaving us with no venue, and still with other organisation problems such as marketing etc. This really needs sorting quickly now because this gig is suppost to take place on the 16th of December and we're really pushing this now. It really doesn't look like the gig is going to take place. If we're not careful we'll be reduced to either no gig or a pub gig which will be a shame considering the hard work we've had to do.
However, on the bright side, rehearsals yesterday went really well. Because there were a few of us left over doing nothing, me, Larry, and Becky got together with Glyn, Alex and Rob and helped them to further one of their starting points (a reggae track) we added some very basic lyrics and it sounds really good, so i'm hoping we can perhaps get the song finished soon so we can record it and maybe use it in the christmas gig - though that's very optimistic :)
Today however, i think a few of us are supposed to be meeting at the mill late morning to rehearse more and gain more ground on the song front :D, so we'll have to see what today has in store.

Friday, 13 November 2009

End of week!!!

ok, so i,ve spoken about Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, so i won't repeat those days, however, being the end of the week, i thought i'd better do a single post for Today before my mangled brain forgets what's taken place :D.
Well... first lesson (Music Theory and Composition, with Simon) interesting... on my part i won't beat about the bush, i'm really confused at Simon's teaching of the theory work. That's my problem more than his i admit, but i'm still trying to confuzzle my brain around working out what the hell the modes are all about :s sorry Simon - my brain isn't in top form today :(
Then even more confuddling than that was the next lesson filling in those booklets and talking about DAWs etc when i could hardly take in any simple sentences the last thing i could deal with at the time was what was being said, but determination won out and with Issy and Leigh's help, i managed to get the information i needed :) - Thanks guys.
well, ok, we practiced Supermassive Black Hole, and California Dreaming.
Supermassive Black Hole is so very nearly there but the first time we perform it it isn't our best but then again each time we perform it, it goes back a step each time until, every one gets so irritated by all the stupid mistakes that it just doesn't work, more practice needed guys - whether that be timing using a C.D or just sitting somewhere quiet-ish with one of the other performers in the band and going through any timing issues, tuning issues etc, but we really need to nail this song - it sounds really, really good, but not the best yet, come on, we can do much better :D
California Dreaming... ok, i won't lie, it's still in need of quite a lot more work on touch up jobs and the remainder of the tune needs figuring out, which i know is Rob's job for the keyboard and i know he will really practice hard along with all his other songs and he's done a brilliant job so far, i'm not knocking that, it just needs a bit more work needed and a few more touch up jobs and we'll very soon be up to the same level as Supermassive Black Hole. :D Hooray :)
While i'm on a ramble, i managed to get another song to boost my time on Tuesday - helping with the keyboard bits on Bad Touch, however today i came to the conclusion of after practicing both Wednesday and Thursday, my fingers and brain just weren't going to co-operate well enough together as well as with trying to find time to worry about the other songs that are in desperate need of practicing, and are really beginning to worry me as to how little time we've got left and how much still needs doing. So i handed the job over to a less stressed and more nimble-fingered Issy :).
Ok, in respect to these other songs.... well..... Ok, so i'll come straight, trying hard not to hurt anybody's feelings etc with my post - i really am not trying to do that by the way, but we really need to practice Big Yellow Taxi again, to tidy it up, because it's been months since we have practiced this song and we've only practiced it once :( not good, Time Warp we will be focussing on next week so that one will have to wait before i can update the progress on that one, and last but by no means least, Jason's Composition. This one is worrying me most of all because we've gone through it once and even then that was by literally bringing me down to the studio and chucking me in at the deep end to record some kind of humming noise on top lol. But it's getting to become a problem. I know every one is busy rehearsing their songs etc, but each time i've bought it up, i feel as though i'm going around in circles and i'm not getting a straight answer, which is really annoying and each time i go to find anybody to rehearse, either they've gone home or we haven't got the right people, and what's really irritating is that when they do have the right people and time no one comes to find me to tell me that they've got both people and time to practice, which is just taking us round in circles - maybe i've got it wrong but, this lack of rehearsals etc is really beginning to tick me off, because of lack of communication between everybody. The main problem being that because we're in separate groups none of us know when we've got rehearsal time. It would just be really helpful if i can get answers without trying to feel my way through the dark and go around in circles and if everyone can communicate properly with each other.
Ok, i've rambled enough now, i think i'll stop moaning and go to bed now :D
night, night :)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

New Week!!!!!

Ok, well this week's been interesting... what with the trip to Birmingham etc. The trip to Birmingham was interesting, we had a small meeting for an hour on the journey up about the change of dates for the gig and to explain to everyone that we're opening the Music Mill to late night shoppers on the 8th to come and listen to us performing, and we're having people from the music business coming to listen to us on the 9th of December. To be honest i found the actual stuff at the NEC was disappointing, the stuff being sold was mainly guitar orientated with very little people to talk to and give advice. Personally i felt that it would have been more beneficial for me to stay at the mill and get on with something productive than walking around hoping someone could perhaps give me some meaningful information and who knows what they're talking about.
However, yesterday was more productive because we had a big meeting and came to some really helpful decisions about the gig. We've managed to decide on a ticket price now, how many tickets each performer is allowed to have free, and the performance name i think we came to a few other decisions but i honestly can't recall all of them at the moment :), but we also managed to practice California Dreaming yesterday evening which sounded as though it's coming along well, and to top things off, i managed to get my sister in to listen to it and help by giving me the helpful feedback later on that evening. It wasn't one of our better performances - mine especially but it was helpful all the same.
And among the other things that happened yesterday, a group of us were left over from practicing so got together to start composing a song (of sorts :D) ( Becky, Karl, Leigh, Luke, Simon, and me) the basic chords etc sounded great after a few practices but the writing of lyrics is slow. Personally i've never been good at writing lyrics, so instead i sort of recruited Larry to help both me and Becky come up with something that fits, but it still needs a lot of work - and that's just lyrics :(
Ok, rant over, I'm now going to be more optimistic and stop moaning :D

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Tuesday 3rd November

Last week we were all assigned with the task of composing five starting points to start off our composition work. We had to have at least one starting point with us actually playing something and then for the others we could use loops on logic or any other composition stuff we could come up with. Then on Monday when we got back to the Mill, we transferred the compositions over to an audio c.d. Most people however hadn't even started their five starting points so the whole day was just wasted on getting everybody up-to-date on their tasks which was just a waste of a day where everyone could have been practicing their cover songs and using the time constructively. Everyone was at different points in their composition starting points because some had completed theirs, others (me included) just needed to place their points on an audio c.d and write up their ideas sheet, and the remainder just hadn't started. This not only wasted the beginning of the day, but of course some of us are going to Birmingham on Friday so rehearsals on Friday will be limited by some people not being there for practice. Also, the P.A's arrived at long last for all the rooms which is a bonus. The sound in each room is now phenomenal, it sounds great though.
However, yesterday afternoon we managed to practice super-massive black hole and California Dreaming which was really helpful especially for me because it gave me a better chance to work out vocal range on California Dreaming so i can do more practice for next rehearsal. Today we managed to practice supermassive black hole again and record it which sounded really good live but sounded only ok when recorded. Larry needs to work on his dynamics with the microphone so he doesn't drown me out and i need to work on making my voice heard better down the mic. The whole song sounds really good but it needs to better than best if we are going to pull it off, which will take a lot more work.
On Friday Rob and Glyn will work on California Dreaming instrumentals so we are slightly up-to-date but we won't do a full go-through until next week so it means extra work but it will sound really good once we manage to pull it off and we should be up to the same stage as supermassive black hole soon and only need to perfect it to better than our best.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sunday 25th October

On Friday last week, I went into the mill along with a few other people such as Glyn, Rob, Leigh, AJ and a few others. I managed to work out a few loops on logic, which need a lot of work and i managed to speak to Simon about the compositions, and he offered that both he and Digby help me to compose a song that will really show my voice to its full potential, so some progress has been made, yet the lessons for guitars, singing, keyboards, bass and drums still haven't been sorted, which is really infuriating because for those of us that are only vocalists we have no instruments to help us to compose. These lessons were supposed to be set up at least four weeks ago which is really infuriating, plus some equipment still hasn't turned up either. Some one really needs to sort it all out and get it up and running. However, on friday, listening to Glyn, and Rob, they,ve managed to get the instrumental in Supermassive Black Hole right, which is really going to sound fab when we put it all together to practice it through again.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Monday 19th October

Last week we learnt how to mic up the drums in the studio and we worked with Sean (one of the tutors at the mill), playing with compression on Logic and working out how it works. I worked on California Dreaming vocals with Issy on Friday trying to find the right key to sing it. The problem was that the vocals were either too high for both of us to be comfortable with or too low for Issy to sing comfortably, however we decided that we would give the lower vocals a go and see how it works out. The performance in the afternoon when we all got together was interesting, we hadn't practiced Super-massive Black Hole for a while, but as a whole it went better than expected.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Progress through the weeks!

Last week we started rehearsing our chosen song covers and with the help of Issy, we have finally got schedules and timetables for rehearsing which change each week to accommodate our choices on which songs we wish to practice that week. Last week I rehearsed one session of each of my chosen songs which all had very pleasing results, and we managed to record the first basic run-through of Supermassive Black Hole, which although went really well, it will need probably the most rehearsal time out of all of my chosen songs.
I've run through California Dreamin' with Issy, which went well, but we still need a guitarist to play for us, and the composition by Jason and Steve went well, but I still need to work on backing vocals to lift the rap music from becoming monotonous - adding shape to the main rap vocals. I think the song 'Big Yellow Taxi' by Joni Mitchell is the furthest ahead in practice because we've got the lead vocals and backing vocals in place we just need to work more with the guitar, and we need to start to practice Everybody Hurts and Time Warp with everybody involved.
This week we'll be looking at practicing the songs that need most work and the ones not yet covered with first practice. Though I feel that Supermassive Black Hole, Everybody Hurts, and Time Warp should be the main songs that me and the people from the group of each song should focus on this week.

Friday, 2 October 2009

My Learning Journal

One of the tasks we have been assigned over the year is to write a learning journal about our progress, working methods, thoughts, responses, queries, complaints, joys and inspirations. I might as well start with any inspirations I have had over the years with music.
Most of my musical inspirations come from very different types of music, such as the Bee Gees, the Carpenters, Robson and Jerome, Abba and Phil Collins. I have always loved these music groups, ever since I was a young child, when my parents would play them in the car and we would all sing along. It always used to amaze me how these artists managed to to write such emotion filled songs full of meaning, and be able to perform them. I always wanted to find out more and be able to write my own songs and perform them.

Brief overview of my work in progress...

Over the past week we have been working towards doing a Christmas performance, and throwing together the initial ideas to make it work and choosing the song covers we would like to perform. We have all split up into different groups for different song covers and have been practicing with different people. At the beginning of the week my choice of song cover was 'A Thousand Miles' by Vanessa Carlton and I was working with Larry (a fellow student at the Mill) on the vocals before we decided that the song was not going to work. I have also worked partly with Issy this week as well and partly Ryan, looking at Issy's choice of songs and asking for their help with melodies and harmonies.
I have learnt over the course of the past two weeks that even working on song covers is not as easy as it looks. There is so much involved with music in itself, without even producing your own material, everyone has to work together in sync and organize themselves and everything else involved, it really made me see music and the jobs involved in music differently.
Over the course of the two weeks I really feel I have started to progress in the way I think about things and how they should end up at the end.

About Me

I am studying music through South Devon College at the Music Mill. I can play a small amount of piano, and I sing - mainly classical, but would love to extend my vocal range and experiment with different types of styles of music.