Music Monday – 30 Nov 20 – The Journey Continues

Greetings all. I’m back with another edition of Music Monday. This series was supposed to be weekly, however, habits only stick after consistent application of them over time – something which didn’t happen from the get on, BUT, I caught it today, so here I am. That’s said, I’m going to let the words fly as they may.

Yeah, we all have the same amount of time each day – 24 hours – so GTD always boils down to time management AND discipline (to me, motivation doesn’t count). Since the last post, I’ve been working on multiple music projects of varying kinds. One recurring one is creating instrumental backing tracks from live instrument recordings to accompany various church choirs, within the church I attend, for an overall streaming product, during service, on any given Sunday. What this also involves is creating a video product of my wife, a choir vocalist, singing against either the original music or the backing track I’ve created as stated above. This recurring project came about because our church, while streaming services over the internet, has not reassembled in public due to the pandemic. It is also an idea that came to fruition to get those vocalists and musicians to continue to participate, albeit remotely, during the pandemic. Needless to say, this is a first time activity for ALL involved, which is not without associated challenges of not only rehearsing alone and delivering vocal and musician audio/video to me for editing and assembly, but trying to solidify a process that all can follow that will result in the best product in the end. I won’t get into all the examples of said challenges here, but suffice to say, they are present.

Outside of that, I’ve been reassessing the amount if projects in various stages (including non-start) that I blogged about in the first edition of Music Monday. Some dissipated but were replaced by new, smaller ones. Nevertheless, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really need to assess where and how I’m trying to go with completing projects and, moreover, needing to assess whether I’m being to ambitious in some way or another. Why? The primary reason is I want to release more of my own projects more frequently, but balance that between getting on the road to music placement, and getting back into writing for film/TV/media, the latter two creating better opportunities for residual income over time. All three will require a systematic plan of development (SPD) and that SPD will require doing less of a bunch of other things. That “less doing” has been a constant planning exercise for the last two months, in preparing to hit the ground running in 2021. The failure of New Year resolutions (I just read a stat that about 67% of people fall off the wagon in the third week of January), is that a habit or habits are not developed ahead of time. I’m not trying to go out like that, but there are 31 days left to in 2020 before a new decade is started, so I need to focus big time to get those habits in gear. Nuff said.

As always, thanks for the read.

Oceans of rhythm….

Fresh!

Music Monday – 12 Oct 20 – Back To The Roots

Back in 2007, I registered this domain, vibesnscribes.com, to start a blog about two topics: (1) reviews about music I listen to and (2) general daily topics I felt compelled to blog about.

Back then blogging was all the rage. Twitter just got off the ground, as well as Facebook, but to me, one’s blog was always more personal and self-controlled. As my long time friend in tech and podcasting, DarrenKeith (http://myloveformusic.blogspot.com) says, it’s your OWN digital garden. Well, this is an attempt to begin a weekly series on my music production journey and all the paths that encompass it. Other days of the week will be left to the two topics above (where I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time over the last 13 years blogging about). I often miss blogging, with the draw of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter seemingly always taking over my online time with algorithms always attempting to show me and tell me what I should be looking at (which most times is inaccurate). While Medium is huge as a blogging platform, my own site is, well, my own. Blogging like this will, again, have to be a created habit so, we’ll see how that goes. Consider Music Mondays just a brain dump on what I’m involved with and what I hope to achieve.

I’ve always had a music production studio of some sort, one that has grown over the last 25 years to a space that has allowed me to release my own projects, work on projects of remote and global collaboration, land an opportunity to score a ten-episode webseries on YouTube and helped me sharpen my skills (although not as sharp as I believe they could be). I love composing/writing, producing, and releasing the music, though it’s the latter that seems to be most difficult for me on a regular, not because it IS difficult, but because the system(s) I desire to put into place sometimes just don’t really get off the paper (from a habitual standpoint). Last I checked, I have (in various states) twelve projects going on. The latest (personal) one is releasing a 10 track project on Bandcamp next year. The project will mostly be comprised of tracks I started back in 2012 or so (that have since been removed from my Soundcloud page) and involve me getting back to some older methods of how I was recording and producing tracks (hence the image of the Akai MPC 2500 above). It was fun getting back to re-learning that tech this weekend. It showed me that ,even though some of the processes are not as convenient as what I use today, it’s still as enjoyable using it to bring those older tracks into the present. Many times (as I heard mentioned on a YouTube video last night), often times, limitations can spark creativity and more simply put, everything involved in the “longer harder” way can also be enjoyable for many reasons I’ll save for another Music Monday. That will continue for sometime as I bridge the use of the MPC, Logic Pro X, and Native Instruments to get this project moving and done. I’m looking forward to releasing it, not only because it’s been two years since the last release, but listening back to these older tracks showed me that I was creating more music (even though WIPs) to share on Soundcloud. Some got some great comments, but they were essentially just sitting there. With the advent of distribution and music streaming platforms, there’s really no better time to get music into the ears of whatever audience one hopes to. I released a project under another alias that hit the streaming platforms. The purpose of it was tri-fold: (1) See how well my chosen distribution works, (2) see how well this new genre I am exploring does, for me as an artist, on major streaming platforms and how it is received by listeners where ever I expose it, and (3) allowed me to begin to learn the ins/outs of a new synthesizer I purchased. Surprisingly, with no marketing push, a few listeners in a Facebook group I belong to really liked it.

My new journey, one I hope to fully leverage (after getting the bug from composing that webseries) is two-fold: sync licensing and film scoring. I look around my home studio and grow tired of saying “you’re fully equipped”, so the old saying is ringing loud in my brain: “Don’t talk about it, be about it” (and that means passed brain dump blogging).

Have a great week…

#oceansofrhythm

Fresh!

POTD – 13/365

*Definition of a throwback*You really know the meaning of “throwback” when your childhood friend, same guy who was the bass player in our neighborhood R&B band in the day, texts you a picture of the original lyric sheet of the very first original song the band played, co-written with him and the band’s trumpet player. “All I Need Is You”. Music composed, arranged, and recorded by five teens just starting to do gigs around town….mannn! ✨✨✨.

Gone… A Loss of Fond Technology

EDIT (27 Jan 1) SHE’S ALIVE AGAIN

It started a few nights ago. Someone in a music production forum on Facebook posted a synthesizer advertisement from back in the day…a vintage synth. Before long, members of the forum were chiming in about what they remember about those days – things like they used that synth at one point, how it compared to others of its timeframe, etc. Even I pulled out a set of old music production user group magazines and posted a pic of them.

This got me reminiscent of the first computer I was every able to purchase. The backstory (some of you may know) is when I started my professional career out of college, I was a young systems engineer working in a Naval satellite system program office. This office, surprisingly, had a mix of Macs and PCs. It was then, in 1988, when the Mac was only four years old, that my love affair with the platform began. Our business affairs guy was the keeper of the Macs in the office and it was through his enthusiasm and love for the platform that got me interested, not to mention (as I found out shortly thereafter), the magic of Apple. For the next two years, I dreamed of owning a Mac.

In 1990, I was settled into my own apartment (no more roommates) and was making enough to finally afford a brand spanking new Macintosh Classic. I purchased that computer for a whopping $1200 from a small computer shop in Silver Spring, MD. Until then, I was recording the music I was composing to a Tascam 424 multitrack tape recorder. Getting the Mac was way more exciting then most of you could ever imagine – it opened up the world of music sequencing and facilitated greatly how I composed music. It was also the first time I was able to connect to BBSs online via a blazing fast 2400 bps modem (LOL).

Since that Mac, I’ve had many more, some of which I still have in storage, some not, but it was that all in one Mac, the 9-inch B&W, the tiny sequencer, MasterTracks Pro, and a lot of other things during my early journey into using a computer for music production, that leave me with fond memories.

Two nights ago, I pulled it out of storage, set it up, turned it on, and set it in my studio. A little, but well know screensaver called Darkside, was installed. I set it to fade to the “Kitten” screensaver, a little spunky kittne that ran around the screen chasing a ball of yarn. A lot of memories came flooding back, especially those of what I could do with so little hard drive space and processing speed compared to what I have today. Having to load programs via 3.5-in floppy disks, and all the other charming things that only Apple could make you experience.

Last night, when it was appearing everything was fine with it, I decided to move it. I went to shut it down via the shutdown menu, but the mouse froze on the screen, along with the kitten. All I could do them is manually shut the power switch off. When I turned it back on, the video screen essentially malfunctioned. An awful looking pattern was now frozen in place. I repeatedly turned it off and on, trying to see if that issue would fix itself. I followed my a short shake, then firm pounding on both sides, as if I was trying to resuscitate it. All of that…amounted to nothing. It was no more.

Interesting how attached we can become to inanimate objects. While it wasnt necessary the object itself, it was more the memories attached to using it, the things I was able to accomplish during the beginnings of a journey that I’m still on. I admit that I miss it, despite the fact it was sitting in storage for years, despite the fact that the Macs I use for music production now are vastly superior to it. I just miss it…call it tech nostagia.

Today, after some research, I’ve decided to purchase another for posterity. For an original price of $1200 I paid 27 years ago, I’ve seen that computer in flea markets and classified ads selling for as little as $20. On eBay, one in good condition is well over $250. I won’t spend that much, but I’ll continue to research, continue to look around and just maybe, a sort of resurrection of sorts will occur one day in the hopefully near future.

oceans of rhythm…

Fresh!

New EP in progress ::: Day 3 ::: 19 Jun 17

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11:30pm EST

Greetings readers. Yeah, 11:30pm on a Monday night. I should have been zzzz an hour ago. In any event, just a quick post on the movement of this track. Finally got around to laying a guitar track on Day 2 of this officially documented journey. It may be the only guitar track, as I’m a few days behind schedule in getting the entire song mixed. At least I got a good, but minor idea, for the outro, which was also recorded tonight. Provided I don’t come up with any more “11th hour” ideas (LOL), I should be starting on the mix this week, since the arrangement is done. It’s push time. Speaking of which, I recently read a good article on the subject of “deep work” as it pertains to music production. As you may guess, it overall applies to focus in getting any task done. I’m going to post it, here and on FB, in a few days…Stay tuned.

That’s it for now….off to bed…

::: oceans of rhythm :::
Fresh!

New EP in progress ::: Day 1 ::: 16 Jun 17

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Greetings all….
As I customarily do, when I start a new project, I usually blog about for two reasons. First, to sort of document the journey so I can look back on it in the future (it helps when/if it gets down to interview time and I want to cite certain things about the creative/production process and related thoughts). Secondly, I do so for those who have a general interest on the “behind the scenes” stuff that goes along with an entire creative process such as this.

While I won’t drop the name of the project until it’s time to start pre-release marketing near the drop date, I will give you a little background along the way. That said, this project is a collection of tunes (a smaller collection than originally created) that was inspired by a business trip I took long ago, halfway across the world, ten years agi. The tunes (with the exception of one) was inspired by various aspect of daily life that I experienced on this first trip (I actually made two trips, two consecutive summers, to the same place, but the tracks were inspired by the first trip).

All the tracks, with the exception of the title track, are written, recorded and arranged by me. The stage I’m in now is track editing and mix preparation. Over the last three days, I’ve been in the studio doing just that. For example, tonight I demixed the drum track and began preparing to bus them to their respective auxiliary channels. This basic process allows for grouping those bus tracks to allow greater control over track automation and effects processing over essentially what is an entire drum kit. The next step will be adding a guitar track and essentially following that same process with respect to a single guitar track.

As for the overall concept, all the tracks tell a story, cohesively, but individually tell singular stories in and of themselves. For those of you who are on Instagram, you can get a sneak peek, if you will, to the creative journey by following the simple hashtag #bsun2017. Hope you come along for the ride.

It’s Friday….enjoy the weekend. Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers (biologically or not).

Oceans of rhythm….
Fresh!

film scoring – the journey – day 10: the final episode

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Greetings all…

Wednesday night , 11:01 PM EST. I’m sitting here in the studio, just finishing up scoring notes for the final episode of the webseries I’ve been scoring, At Risk. This last episode is definitely classic in that it is a CLIFFHANGER for sure. With that, I have to say that the scenes shot probably provide for more musical creativity and interpretation than most of the previous ones (although, or course, that is sujective, yes?). Tomorrow I plan to actually begin scoring them film for a weekend delivery of the music and associated cue sheet info, to the director (who I chatted with earlier tonight).

It’s been quite and experience, one that I’m glad I was given the opportunity. I learned a lot, not just from dealing directly with the director and writer, but by gaining knowledge for other professional and semi-professional film scorers in the industry. While I’ve always had a “love/hate” relationship with FB (to eadh his/her own, eh?), I’ve found a particular film scoring group on here that has been nothing but a great help to me. All and all, in the end, this has been a win-win situation for me. So much so, that I already know the next step I’d like to take in this music for film/TV journey, so stay tuned.

I’ll be posting one more blog to introduce my demo page and music publishing video site where you’ll be able to hear all the original music that did not make the final episodes for the series.

In the mean time, catch all the series from this season at the official site: At Risk Series. and past in studio shots of the scoring process on my SFTF Productions, by searching on the hashtags #arws2016, #skysongsmusicpublishing, and #skysongsmusicworldwide

To all, thanks for coming along for the ride and providing all the encouraging comments. Chat soon…

::: oceans of rhythm :::,

Doug

Summer, summer, summer time…music on my mind.

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Greetings readers….
Thursday at 8:04 am. Siting in the studio (I should be on my way to work), I’m thinking about where the summer has gone to so fast. I wish it could start over. Seems it was MUCH longer when I was much younger. There’s so much I want to do before it’s over and I’m constantly looking towards the weekend or some better after work time management to do some of these things. Oh well. c’est la vie…it’s not over yet.

Lately, I’ve been blogging on this film music scoring journey I’ve been on. It’s been a good one thus far, learning a lot, connecting with folk who regularly do it on different levels, and looking forward to continuing this ride, making it better along the way. Currently, I’m waiting for the next draft episode to be sent. In the mean time, the excitement of working on my next personal EP is again here. This one is definitely personal because the songs are birthed out of, and influenced by, two trips (same place) to the other side of the world, that occurred almost ten years ago (yes, I’ve been sitting on these songs that long). I’m glad I was afforded the opportunity to spend the amount of time I did there, the memories are still fresh.

I’ll be sharing more about it as the months go by, as I plan to drop this release before Christmas, so stay tuned.

Have a good Thursday,

Peace,
Fresh!

film scoring – the journey – day 9 – Good vibes, next moves…

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Greetings readers…

Yet another Sunday night is upon us. I had a good weekend, despite this mad heat (which will remain in the upper 90’s throughout the week.). That said, it was productive on the scoring front. Episode 2 is done and submitted to the movie producer for review. So far, looks like she likes, so it looks like the title sequence, Episode 1, and Episode 2 are a wrap!

Talked to the film’s director this evening as well. Seeing as though his company is juggling multip;e projects at once, it was good to have a few minutes to chat with him on the process of music submission (at least from a clarification standpoint). The result of the conversation pretty much aligns with the result fo my research, so we’re definitely good to go.

I also got a chance (finally) to interact with two of the actors/actresses in the series, via social media (Instagram) this weekend. It was good exchanging comments with them after watching them so much via video…both had mad talent through and through. Looking forward to interacting with the rest of the cast.

Well, while awaiting the next episode to begin work on, it;ll be time to d a few things:

  • Start work on my next EP
  • Register my publishing entity, Sky Songs Music Publishing, with BMI
  • Continue work on me and partner’s next CD
  • Work on the guitar tracks for a cover of “Fever” by female vocalist in the UK
  • Work on guitar tracks from Todd Kelley’s next EP, Seasoned Veteran
  • Etc, etc…….
  • We’ll see how of THAT goes. 🙂

    ‘Til next time….

    peace,
    Fresh!