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!

Organize, organize: A music production project micro post.

It’s been a few months since I posted a weblog, since late May to be exact. Yesterday I counted the number of music projects I have started and in the works. These involve personal projects (actual and concept only), plus collaborations with other artist or backing tracks for livestream feeds. The total number came to sixteen. Twelve of them I hope will be completed by 15 Dec 2020, the other four have TBDs before they are only in concept, with track names in the least.

My day job, actually my entire professional career work has been driven by schedule – milestones, due dates, Gantt and Microsoft Project charts, so it’s natural that I tend to go about treating all music production projects (at least my own personal ones) the same way. That said, the process is no different than that of the day job. The same issues come along with it – missed deadlines, unknown forces that disrupt the schedule, etc. The key, even with such disruptions, is to get in the habit of doing something daily to reach the goal. This applies, obviously, to any goal desired (coding is a good related personal example). I think, again, the biggest thing is get into good regular habits, for habits (good or bad) always move you closer to a specific point.

Musicians/artists/producers, who strive to put out regular content, how do you organize yourself to reach your goals?

Thanks for the read,

::: 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!

    film scoring – the journey – day 8 – First submission & feedback

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    11:00pm – Greetings readers…

    Another weekend gone… 🙁 In any event, it was short, but productive. I finally submitted the rough cue music embedded in the video for the director’s review. Had a short telecon and pleasingly got the thumbs up on the title sequence music AND the scene music in Episode 1. With a slight suggested change for the title sequence track and one for the episode, I’m happy with the results, being a newcomer to all of this.

    This evening was spent working on music for episode 2. As mentioned in the first post of this series, the closing scene is comprised of something I, well….never had to compose music for – let’s just leave it at 🙂 Good news is, I think I have something that fits it. I think I have one more scene I need music for and I should be ready to submit this episode as well…we’ll see.

    Anyway, this is a short update. I’m anticipating a long work week ahead, and to get into bed before midnight is probably best.

    Catch up soon…

    peace!
    Fresh

    film scoring – the journey – day 7 – At the scene/in the cloud of sound.

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    Greetings readers (I should say early good morning),

    After what has seemed to be some creative block, so to speak, I finally got back to working on music for the first episode of this webseries. At least I have two ideas (with a third pretty much thought of) for the title sequence music . All my conceptual notes for the scenes have been down on paper for awhile but to get from my head, what I’m conceiving, to what one can actually hear has been another issue altogether. I actually started backwards, so to speak, and composed the music for the final scene of Episode 2 already. Early this morning seemed to be the time where I was able to do it (although what I’m going with is a little different than the initial concept).

    So, I’ve been working with brand new ideas for the first bit of music you will hear in the first scene of the first episode. This piece of music is actually called a “cue”, as, from what I ynderstand, they are generally short pieces of music that cue a following scene. Though what I’m going to try is not conceptually the same as what I originally thought of, I think it will work nicely with some extra embellishments here and there…we;ll see.

    For now it is crazy way past my bedtime. Yes, I will be suffering tomorrow at work, but this is what sometimes happens when my muse decides to show up anytime she wants, with irregard to what I need…LOL (“women”….haha). JK!!

    Incidentally, my soundcloud account is set up. On the site, you’ll eventually hear demo tracks of music I’ve composed for film. When there are a few tracks up, I’ll post the link in a future blog post, Facebook, Twitter, etc….so stay tuned.

    Have a great day, or afternoon, or…well, u get what I mean….

    peace!
    Fresh!

    film scoring – the journey – day 6 – It’s Official (generally speaking)

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    Greetings readers…

    For the past two days, I’ve been in studio but have dont more learning and experimenting then actually getting this ideas I hear in my head out to be recorded. In the meantime, I know that when I submit initial tracks to the director and music supervisor for review, they’ll be going with what’s called a cue sheet. Part of the cue sheet has information regarding my publishing company name. Wait, I don’t have a publishing company name, until today (well, kinda). Today, after soliciting some suggestions from folk along the way, as well some considering some names I had already, I finally decided on one. The initial decision came from a friend, Tyvian Corry. Every time he hits me up on FB, he’ll usually start out by saying “‘Sup Sky Man?” So, he suggested that name after I did a post on my page about needing a name.

    I thought it was really cool, so I did a Google search on it earlier today to see what results it would bring up.Ironically a few came up. I still like it a lot, but wanted something more original that would bring up the least amount of search results (at best, none at all). I thought of SkyTunes, but that was taken. After a short time, it hit me, so I did a domain search to see if this name was taken as a dotcom. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t, so that sealed the decision. I came home from work and registered the domain for two years. I also have a logo concept which I will flesh out and post soon. In any event, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my music publishing entity: SkySongs Music Publishing. The website will be at skysongsmusic.com, so stay tuned in the coming months. The business structure will be a sole proprietorship in the state I live in. Under state law I don’t have to file for taxes, but will be registering the name at some point (I think). Next stop is to register the name with my PRO (performing rights organization), BMI.

    Incidentally, you may be wondering where Tyvian got the name “Sky Man”….hit me up and I’ll fill you in.

    peace,
    Fresh!

    Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 3 – On and on….

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    Greetings readers. 12:28am Monday morning, and yes I work today (why do I do this to myself….?). Pressed forward a lttle more last night. I’m pretty much complete with the second idea for the film’s theme music. A third idea should cap it off for now and will allow time to discuss all three with the director in the near future.

    Last night it was back to going over notes on tracks for scenes in the first two episodes. As said before, I have ideas/cocepts for what I think will sound good, time to start recording this week and see how they manifest….should be interesting.

    This alarm clock will be going off before I know it, needless to say, this is a short post …. (now I’m hungry…sigh).

    Have a great week.

    Fresh!

    Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 1 – The Background

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    Greetings readers, thanks for stopping by.

    This is the first of many planned posts that I’m sharing with you regarding my foray in to film scoring. I ope you come along for the ride. Most of you reading this post already know me as a musician, composer, songwriter, producer and home studio owner (for those of you that don’t, check the About Me page here on my website). That said, I’ll start this debut post with some back fill as to how I took the first step on this journey…bear with me.

    My first steps (or should I say crawl) took place about two years ago. My cousin asked me to score a 10 minute film that he and his friends shot. This film was to be submitted to an international film festival. I jumped at the opportunity because I had never done music-to-film before and figured, “Why not? It can’t be that hard”. After I started I found the complete opposite to be true. Couple that with the fact i was unemployed and constantly looking for a main 9-5 again, it didn’t work out.

    Fast forward to last year, my current PR gal, Felicia Hodges, turned me on to her cousin, who happens to be a screenwriter that has heard my releases and work in progress tracks on my Soundcloud account. Next thing I know, I’m being asked to score the music for her webseries which is already in production. I, being in a better space than I was with my previous try, jumped on it again. Doing so made me realize that, despite getting another crack at this, found it is no more easier than it was before.

    Scoring music to film is not like writing and producing music for yourself. That music for the film must be synergistic with the visuals that lie atop the music, so it helps convey the story in the way the screenwriter intends, as well as delivering the essence of what is going on at every place music is used to convey whatever is meant to be conveyed. That is no easy feat, but I have been told by mentor to “make it fun and enjoy what you’re doing: (more on him later).

    Prior to writing this, I’ve received rough video for the first two episodes as well as the title sequence (the opening video for each episode). I (as I usually take this logical approach) have been reading a lot articles and spending time collecting YouTube videos for reference. So far, surprisingly, the juices are flowing 🙂

    In these posts, I’ll go in to some detail about the composition tools I’m using (my music production friends will love that), as well my own feelings. I’m excited but I admit my confidence level is not where I wanted to be yet …guess I need to correlate this to learning how to ride a bile – gotta start off with training wheels.

    Much thanks in advance to my mentor, various composers and music producers on Facebook that were more than glad to spend time sharing their thoughts and advice – it’s highly appreciated – more of who they are is forthcoming,

    Last night I completed the first musical idea for the aforementioned title sequence and have an idea for another. My in-house creative consultant (bka wife) likes what she’s heard so far for that. As for the bridging music for the first two themes, I’ve got detailed notes written down in studio log…..let’s see if I can translate what I hear in my head to what everyone else will hear (and see) for the video. The challenge begins.

    In the next post, I’ll elaborate a little more on what’s been done and how, as well as the tech side of what I’m using, tool wise.

    Thanks for bearing with my “long windedness” and thanks for the read as well.

    Peace,
    Fresh