Tag Archives: music

Laryngitis

A few weeks ago, I went and got sick. Shortly after I got sick, I lost my voice. Well, that’s no help… but I had an idea.

During that weekend where I had almost no voice whatsoever, I started to write instrumental music. I’ve always liked instrumentals in the first place, and I couldn’t sing at the time, so why not just play stuff? I promptly wrote two tunes that weekend – this guy here and another one coming later called “Side Effects May Include…” Needless to say, there’s an instrumental EP in the works.

As always, thanks for listening! Feel free to let me know what you think. Take care and I’ll see you soon.

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The Frogurt Is Also Cursed

Admittedly, 2018 started in a lull for me. I didn’t write any new music in January or February because I simply wasn’t feeling it. March started the same way until one seemingly random day. While talking to friends online waiting for my next student at work, somebody said “The Frogurt Is Also Cursed” and I immediately thought “oh, that’s a good song title!”

Within about a week, the instruments were all recorded. Vocals had to wait until early April (darn laryngitis), which then in turn gave me another idea: Since it’s this big evil metal thing, why not release it on Friday the 13th? So, uh… here we are.

The musical premise is simple to talk about. The main riff is in seven, which if you’ve followed my music long enough you know I like to do. The main riff is also the first in my entire catalog with legit sweep-picking, one of the newest additions to my bag of tricks. In this tune, I play a note on seven of the eight strings – the poor A string only gets muffled string hits.

As always, thank you for listening! Let me know what you think and I’ll see you next time.

Distinct Hitting Motion: Ever Onward

After seven months, Distinct Hitting Motion finally reaches its end.

From the onset, this tune was going to be the longest one in the project. For one, it seems to make sense that the closing track is the longest… especially with how long most of the postseason games took. For another thing, I fully admit I was thinking a lot about the band Coheed and Cambria, particularly their song “The Light and the Glass” which clocks in at over eight minutes. Of course, I can’t sing nearly as high as Claudio Sanchez, but…

The lyrics were written in one night, the music was definitely not. The first half of the closing riff and the opening bit both came to me while I was at work – the benefits of teaching private lessons for a living! Musically, the biggest challenge was bridging the gap between those two parts. Lyrically, the biggest challenge was just getting started – that “struggle to find the words to say” line was both a snapshot of me at that moment and the catalyst I needed to get the ball rolling. Go figure, huh?

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good day and I’ll see you again soon.

Distinct Hitting Motion: Final Four

We’ve made it to the semifinals. Time for something completely different!

I knew in this spot I wanted to do something poppy, especially after how the last song ended. Couple that with the fact that everything so far was played straight with no real shuffle/swing feel and this one nearly wrote itself. To really compliment this, I decided to gleefully ignore the music theory rules of diatonic harmony and go nuts with chords that “don’t belong” in the key of G. Lastly, I realized that the bridge was an excellent time to call back to the first song, complete with solo.

Lyrically, this one’s completely straightforward. They’re among the final four teams! Hooray! Too bad they’re losing…

This song’s recording trick (besides all of the vocals, most of which are intentionally buried in the mix):  The guitar solo on this recording was the first take… but I felt it didn’t have enough dirt. So, solo’d the track, ran a cable out from my interface, and recorded the solo going through my Orange amp. It didn’t add a lot of dirt, but it was enough to separate it in the mix. Also, for you guitar freaks: The left guitar is the Gibson, the right guitar (and the solo) is the Telecaster. Both rhythm guitars had the pickup switch in the middle position. See if you can hear the difference!

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Take care and come on back in two weeks for this project’s finale!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Pennant Chase

Middle of September? Already?! Where did the time go?! Suddenly the regular season is almost over and it’s time to wrap up those playoff spots!

This song is another classic case of “new gear, new riff” – in this case, a new pedal. I went into this song thinking of making a straightforward, driving tune with a fuzz pedal. So, I got my hands on a fuzz pedal, hooked it up to my Orange amp, plugged in my seven-string, and away we went. I had originally played the main riff on a six-string, but I wanted that low B and using the seven was way easier than detuning…

For the ending, I was torn. I originally wrote a sudden ending, which was fine… but part of me wanted to fade out. After some thought, I decided to do both! I kept the sudden ending, waited around, then went back to the main riff for the fadeout. Why choose, right?

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and come on back in two weeks for something completely different from anything else in this project!

Distinct Hitting Motion: The Challenge

You know what number always comes to mind when I think of baseball? SEVEN. Not nine, not three, but SEVEN. Because, you know… OK, not really. But I wanted to write in seven, so I did anyway.

The first riff came about literally trying that specific guitar in a music store. I picked that guitar up, plugged it in, and started playing that riff almost immediately. I’ve been wanting to use more complex chords in my writing and this was the perfect opportunity. Funnily enough, the song wound up being structured kind of like a march or a rag (double-binary form – ABABCDCD) and I didn’t even realize it until long after I had tracked it.

Lyrically, I was struggling for this one – in fact, this tune almost didn’t make the cut for this project because of that. But right as I was about to shelve it, an idea was hatched. Manager’s mad about a call and challenges it! And, of course, doesn’t like that the call stands and gets himself ejected. I tried a new style of harsh vocals since the low growls didn’t seem to make sense for this one.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and come on back in two weeks for fun with a fuzz pedal!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Sellin’ at the Deadline

Today, we enter some uncharted musical territory for me. In honor of my favorite baseball team occasionally being on pace for 100 losses this year, here’s a tune about being a “seller” at the trade deadline.

Blues rock is decidedly foreign territory for me. I’ve studied enough music to know the basics – twelve-bar phrase, sing a line, repeat it, then compliment it – but I’ve still never really dove into it as a writer. I probably wouldn’t have either until one day, bored at work… I started playing this riff. I fleshed it out a little more while I was still there, then came home and figured out how to end the song, and just kinda sat on it until the time came to write the lyrics. Finally, I’ll tell one on myself: The organ solo is one continuous take, the guitar solo is a combination of takes. I took multiple passes on both solos, the vocals, and the drums, leaving me with a lot of video footage to sift through.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song featuring a callback to a previous tune!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Break Time

We’re halfway through already? Dang… let’s take a breather and enjoy the all-star festivities.

Oh, right. A song about taking a break probably shouldn’t be that fast, should it? Oops…

I had been thinking a lot about fast and loud music lately, from Slayer to Sick of It All, and that’s how this tune came about. Loud, fast, sloppy, and brash as all hell. For all the times I’ve used harsh vocals in the past, this is strangely enough the first song in this project where I don’t actually sing. I don’t fully know where September and October will take me, but there’s a good chance this might be the only song in this project with only yelling/harsh vocals. So why this time? Simply because the tune’s punk/hardcore/metal vibe called for it.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song in a completely different style!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Day Games

It’s no secret that I love me some good ol’ power pop. Between “I Wanna Go Outside” and “Opening Day“, I’ve made no bones about my love for simple pop songs played loudly. And, since the last tune was a weird and heavy instrumental, I thought why not just keep it simple and have some fun this time around?

Even though I am as pale as it gets and prone to sunburn, I still love the concept of going to a ballgame in the early afternoon. I’ve been to two this year (as of this post) and they were both awesome. I think it’s a combination of just kinda hanging out outside for a few hours and also having the evening free after the game that appeals. I know I missed an opportunity and didn’t wear a hat in the video, but I have a few free hats from baseball games in my collection… Incidentally, as should be no surprise, I had a LOT less footage to sort through for this song than the last one – helps when the two rhythm guitar tracks were nailed on the first take…

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Do You Want to Know the Terrifying Truth?

It was about time for a track like this, wasn’t it? I thought so, too. As soon as I knew I wanted to use a Simpsons reference (the song for the second half of it is actually mostly written and coming later this year), this one started to form a little in my head. Because it came first, the title really helped shape the song itself. Vocals? Lyrics? Who needs ’em?!

Even though I could’ve gotten away without it, I used the 8-string anyway. This is largely as a setup for the second half… and also because I reached for it long before the “7-string in drop-A” lightbulb went off.

Thanks to the title, I knew I wanted changing time signatures and plenty of dissonance. This tune, with the exception of one section, goes back and forth between 3/4 and 5/4 time. As for dissonance, the easiest way to achieve that was to have the guitars one fret off on the high notes in the 5/4 riff. I then had the bass decide who’s “on” and who’s “off” through its own line.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and I’ll see you in two weeks with a new song!