Over the past couple of weeks, the live band I am part of have been writing new songs and experimenting with new techniques. We had somebody else come in to add some subtle synth layers to our music, which filled out the empty areas in the songs. This extra layer gave us more room to improvise and experiment as musicians individually whilst still contributing to the band dynamics.
We have also been working on three new songs, all of which are stylistically different but still fit into our sound world. These songs should be finished in the next couple of weeks. So, for now, the aim is to finish these songs and then think about gigging to prepare ourselves for the live show in May.
Mixing for the album is well under way! The mixes I had before were sounding a bit muddy and unclear so they have been tidied up whilst still maintaining the sound I was going for. Waves plugins have helped with that ‘cleaning everything up’ process.
I have been debating removing the acoustic track I recorded because I am unsure if it fits in with the sound of the album. However, I have been toying with idea of recording an acoustic album so it wont go to waste in the long run. This means there is now 8 songs on this album. 6 of those have been mixed other than the vocals. The other 2 will be completed soon.
All of the songs for the album are now recorded. At this point I need to listen to the songs on as many different speaker systems as possible to get a real idea of how it sounds and I may find after doing this that a few additional things need to be recorded eg. using the voice as an instrument to create contextual layers.
However, I am at a good point now because I have plenty of time to mix and master the album before devoting my time to the other half of the project which is releasing the album with artwork and videos. Click play below to hear a taster of the album…
I have been busy with all of the projects over Christmas, particularly the dissertation which is now almost complete. That will be uploaded soon so keep an eye out if you want to read about the impacts the digital revolution have left us with today, including discussions about the value of physical music and live music as well as the separation of control.
In Production, the album is coming along nicely now. Drums, bass and guitar are all done and partially mixed. All that is left to do is vocals and final mixing before I enter the mastering and release stage. That will be available as soon as possible.
This is a short video of a new idea we are currently working on. There hasn’t been much development with this piece yet but we have spoke about what sort of direction we are going to take it in.
This video shows two new songs we put together. The first one remains untitled and the second one is called ‘Hideaway’. With the first piece of material coming from this project being an 8 minute progressive jam, we wanted to write a couple of shorter, more accessible songs. So, now with vocals, this project is developing nicely and the current aim is to tighten up these songs we have and continue writing.
After that, we plan to record some of our material properly and think about gigging.
Here are the pieces of music we have been developing in practice before our first performance.
Here is the current state of this project. We developed three separate pieces and later realised all three of them could sit together quite nicely. So, we gave it a go. The result is this (roughly) 8 minute piece which although not perfect, captures everything this project will be about. The only other thing that may be added is vocals although the style and content of these is still undecided.
This is still in a very early development stage so the direction it will expand in is unknown at the moment but we aim to keep this sort of sound. One idea was to have short up tempo songs separated by longer spacey songs. The short songs would be the more defined vocal based songs whereas the spacey songs would be more improvised and jam styled.
It seems as though the dual drumming project may have run it’s course but it was a good experiment to be part of. Whilst doing this project, I have also been developing another one with two other guys from the course. It is currently a nameless band with nameless songs, but it is beginning to develop nicely now in terms of content. Although a lot of our music taste differs, we have tapped into a certain sound here and it seems to be working.
So, here are two very rough ideas that came from the first proper jam together. The videos cut out, we are sloppy and the songs are incomplete but this footage is simply to give an idea of the sort of sounds we are making.
New footage will be coming soon so keep an eye out!
This time we experimented with a wide range of percussion as well as using the drum kits. It opened up far more possibilities and created new soundscapes.
This time we developed the idea and instead of complete free improvisation, we reacted to a scenario. So, there was more of a narrative to follow whilst still keeping it improvised. The scenario was set on a snowy mountain. The start would set the scene and create a calm, gentle snowy night on a quiet mountain. The next scene would involve two wolves crossing paths and getting into a fight. The approaching wolves would be signalled in the piece by a build up that gave off a feeling of danger and uncertainty before striking each other. It was useful to each think of ourself as the wolf and use the drums to express the impending fight. It would end then with either one of the wolves winning or both wolves going their separate ways. This would depend on how we improvised it.
A quick video I put together for the interlude styled acoustic track I recorded. It has strong connotations with nature and in particular, the sun – hence the title Sungazer.
It’s time to think about drums. Overall vibes through to individual components – the drums are what holds it all together. I have been recording drums as I go along for this album but in order to get a consistent sound that makes the album feel more like one piece, I will be re-recording them. This album for me is partly a step back from the heavier side of stoner rock and a chance for me to experiment with some more gentle, quiet and textured music but as it stands at the moment, about half of the songs include full drum kit, whilst the other half rely more on gentle percussion. So, it is important for me to find the drum sound I want for the songs that include them.
This gives an idea of the sort of snare sound I want to get. Very natural and live sounding with a nice ring. Also in this song, I like the hi hat and cymbal sounds too – again natural and not over done.
Sleep are another essential band to have in your reference list when studying stoner rock. This one is particularly for the kick drum sound. Very punchy, low end, deep and rumbling. One thing I don’t want is for the kick drum to get lost beneath all the other layers so like this song, I want it to be heard nice and clear.
More Kyuss – this one is for the toms. The toms are dense and fat giving them plenty of presence and character. This song was the first that came to my head when I thought toms – it was an obvious choice.
Again, this is for the toms. If you go to 2:00 on this track you will hear some huge tom fills that I love.