I’ve been terribly naughty as I’ve been absent from my blog for a while!
Semester 4 has come and gone in a flash! Where did Second Year of DkIT go?! I can’t believe my 4th YEAR of studying has finished. This has been the best 4 years of my life without a doubt! Thank goodness I still have a few years still to go! I think I’m one of those types who likes studying somehow! (nerd!)
Results have already come out and I’m just delighted. A weekend of partying was had and many much-needed laughs!
The sudden appearance of summer has left me almost winded! I had a couple of weeks of “Oh no! What do I do with myself now?!”. The first thing I did was finish reading the 4th Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book. (Awesome! Now to get the 5th one!)
I’ve been feeling a bit blue due to a writers block. I wanted to jump straight back in with new material but nothing was happening! I hate times like these! My acoustic 12 string was the only thing which felt half good and brought about a few ideas. What I’ve been really wanting to do is start a new Logic Pro project and create a new chill-out song/instrumental.
With not much musical inspiration I decided to throw myself into the next best thing- running! I’ve been running like a mad thing and slowly starting to shake off this block. Energy, self esteem, positive self image, motivation, creativity- is all returning.
I’ve also been doing a bit of creative and personal writing online! That’s a lot of fun actually.
And I’ve been taking in some amazing scenery around Northern Ireland on my days off from work.
It looks like I’m embarking on a new musical project with the fabulous Lauren Murphy. We’re great friends (since the first week of DkIT) and we’ve been planning songwriting sessions for a while now. Ideas have been emailed back and forth and it’s looks like the collaborations are going to start very soon!!! (Watch this space).
Tonight I decided to remix a project which I thought the world deserved to hear. Until I decided it was another days job (if I ever feel it musically again) and started writing something new. Something chill-out, something deep. We’ll see if the feel stays!
It’s that busy time of the semester again! The time where time itself is running out and the assignments are piled high! Recording projects are wrapping up and are in the final mix stages, essays are full speed ahead and how I wish there were more hours in each day!
Tonight I finished tracking my Music Production Project for semester 4. I haven’t blogged about the production process like I did last semester, so apologies for that! This semester FLEW, I think the Erasmus trip to Norway accelerated that, where does time go when you’re having fun, eh?!
I have been working on one of my own songs for this semesters’ production project. It is a song I started working on over Christmas, inspired by Electronic/Dance music I had been listening to a lot (and still am- I’m also currently enjoying various Dubstep tracks while walking, the Sound City album while driving and Evanescence while running!). I have been writing New Age/Chilled Electronic for a few years now as I really have been enjoying creating music “in The Box”. Logic Pro 9 is my little getaway place!
While I was in Norway I continued working on the piece of music, structuring and shaping the sounds and taking deep inspiration from the emotions and experiences of the Erasmus Programme and the natural beauty of the cold, snowy, sunny, fjord and mountain landscape. The programme was very intense emotionally as I struggled with homesickness for my friends, college, home and family, I felt slightly lost at times as workshops made me close my eyes, look inside myself and think about sound, light and creativity in new ways.
When I came home I had a draft mix of synths, beats and ambient nature recordings, which I was very happy with. There were only 2 lines of lyrics, which I tracked at home “Close your eyes/What can you see?”. I listened to my mix on the lovely Genelecs in the college studio just for fun and it was suggested that I make the the music into a song, go write lyrics and melodies and think about bringing the song to a whole new level, record acoustic drums and other instruments! Make it my production project! I was skeptical at first as I was rather attached to this piece of music (music for thinking to- as I saw it as), which I composed entirely by myself.
Enter Keith Caffrey. If you have been following my blog, you’ll already know that Keith is like the other musical half of me! He is my songwriting partner and close friend, the music I’ve written with Keith through the years has always had deep, personal meaning and a creative enjoyment I never experienced before. I sent Keith the draft mix and emotional ideas I would love to communicate through lyrics (closing of the eyes, looking inside myself and being more aware of myself yet still feeling slightly lost).
Very quickly the music turned into the song. Keith came down to my bedroom studio and we tracked the entire vocal idea. The lyrics were so deep, personal and emotional, Keith understood perfectly what I had been feeling (as spiritually close friends, there are few who understand me so well!). It was also as if Keith KNEW we had only been studying the art of vocal expression in college, he felt the song should have lots of aspirate on-sets and releases, creaks and shakes.
With minor structure adjustments and a guide vocal done (and a huge migration into Pro Tools 10!), the song was ready for addition instrumentation. I’m not going into the nitty-gritty details of my sessions but I recorded drums in session 1, harp, piano and electric guitar in session 2 and female vocals in session 3.
During my time in Norway I made lots of new friends and valuable contacts, Fiona McErlane being one of them. We met in the airport and sat next to each other on the plane from Dublin to London and hit it off straight away with giggles over drinks! I heard her singing in the music performance workshops in Norway and was blown away by her pure, crystal clear, angelic voice. I knew back then I wanted to work with her in the future but didn’t know for what project!
I asked her to sing on the project and play a little bit of traditional harp. She was excited about the song and the inspiration of the music and lyrics (she was actually present when I made the recording of the fjord shore in Norway).
So tonight was our final recording session, we tracked lots of vocals and had a very productive session. I was so happy with her performance, she gave it 110% emotionally and technically, she jumped right in with suggestions and gave it her all. I was also happy that I got to finally track using the Distressor compressor (gentle 2:1 ratio) and got to try out the Rode K2 valve mic, it sounded sweet!
Our session was the first official night time recording session in DkIT 6pm-9pm. Yes! Finally! A night time recording session!!! I’m a big fan of working in the evenings/nights (last semesters’ Monday 9am-12pm were not to my liking!). Energies are high, vocals are warm, people tend to be more relaxed in the evenings I find! So please, for next semester, more night time sessions please!
I better go to bed, it is 12:30am now and tomorrow is a new day of vocal editing! I will of course share the song “Close Your Eyes” when it’s mixed. Special thanks to Keith Caffrey, Fiona McErlane, Craig Sullivan, Gavin Clarke for their creative input and help and to my friends for their support!
I’ll leave you with this fun snap from tonights session!
I have been feeling creative lately! I’m announcing the follow up track to “Ashes Forever” which I posted online a couple of weeks ago… “The Key”. 🙂
Composition for this piece started about two weeks ago in my bedroom studio. I wished to complete it before my trip to Oxford so I could mix it over there, but feeling this song was coming from somewhere very deep inside me, I didn’t want to rush the creative process.
I had composed all the music by the time I got to Oxford and there I mixed what I had and structured half the song.
I returned home to Ireland in a whirlwind of emotions and penned the lyrics and vocal melodies shortly afterwards. This song is a deep one to me and I hope the listener enjoys my creation.
It’s the first time I’m publicly showcasing my violin skills on a recording and also my lovely B flat tin whistle, I was really surprised how nice it recorded, adding just a touch of reverb! It’s probably also the first song I’m actually not playing guitar! Written, composed, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered entirely by myself with the exception of giving my friend Lee Fitzpatrick some deserved credit for advising me on my equalisation curves at the early stage of mixing!
So put on your headphones, sit back, relax and breathe and enjoy “The Key” 🙂
Have to share this! I’m so excited about this song!!!
Completely spontaneous, completely natural, definitely inspired!!! I present my latest creative, collaborative production; “Don’t Assign Yourself” composed, mixed and produced by the brilliantly talented Trend-E!
Trend-E is a young, up-and-coming electronic music producer based in Drogheda. We actually got to know each other through Facebook after our bands played a few gigs in the town (Sarsfield’s Bagfull of Songs open mic night, the Purple Room’s Jam for Japan, multi-band charity night to name a few!). Trend-E is also a very talented rock drummer! He got in touch with me and we got to know each other, sharing music videos of our favourite bands (of which we have alot in common actually!) and sharing our original compositions through SoundCloud.
We actually never formally met until last week!
Trend-E uploaded the original instrumental mix of “Don’t Assign Yourself” last week online and when I listened to it, I was immediately inspired. I don’t consider myself a vocalist (only on rare occasions!) but this music really turned me on! I quickly downloaded (ahem, bold me- much to Trend-E’s amusement!) the mp3, threw it into Logic and recorded some vocal ideas. I bounced a rough mix and emailed it to Trend-E, thinking he probably would be flattered if anything and carry on as normal.
Quite the opposite! He immediately Facebook-ed me back and was so excited about my ideas, we met up that afternoon (for the first time!) where we exchanged the vocal audio files. I told him to do whatever he wanted with them, in-fact he asked for more! He asked for a verse and the next available moment I had to spare, I wrote some lyrics and recorded the verse! An hour after that we met up again and exchanged the files.
3 hours later the mix was complete, much to my shock and amazement! Not only did he place the vocal parts where I recommended, he chopped, edited, filtered, sampled and tweaked several of my vocal parts and added them in all over the song, it sounds CLASS! Trend-E the Ableton genius!
I am highly impressed and addicted to the song! I love the creative things he did to my vocal, it’s nice to be on the opposite side of the glass, so to speak! Normally I’m the one editing and processing vocals, and doing all the fun creative music stuff, mixing, producing, it was nice to record myself and just give the files to someone else to have creative fun with!
Completely unexpected! I didn’t expect to fall in love with a song and actually collaborate with a DJ! Oh yes, by the way, DJ’s rock! 🙂
Have a listen, if you’re in the mood to head out clubbing or dancing or driving your car or whatever, this should lift your mood and I hope you want to sing along! Just in case you do, here’s my lyrics;
Hey folks, as I’m in a super-generous mood today, I’ve decided to release my instrumental mix of my original song “Breathe” for free download on SoundCloud for a limited time! (See link above! grab, grab, grab!!!)
I composed and performed this music last year using my favourite DAW Logic Pro 9 and with the help of Keith Caffrey (the other half of my acoustic-rock duet Shock Sorrow- no relation!), lyrics and vocal melodies were added soon after. The full version was received really well amongst my friends and colleagues and even got played over-seas on a TKS Radio podcast in Canada, Manic Mondays hosted by Fallon Bowman (my vocal idol!) and Andrew “Draco” UnaSchulman. Draco reacted to the song extremely well and his comments were actually hallarious! He made me cry with laughter and Fallon herself made some really lovely, positive comments.
The original podcast can be found on YouTube: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKkqq0VtnUM]
I have uploaded an edited version that skips directly to the comments: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGjRldtOFno]
So enjoy the free download, this mix focuses on the instrumentation and I’ve included some backing vocals for good measure!
I do wish to release the rest of my chilled-electronic solo material in the very near future! Watch this space!