Recording Journal Vol. 38: “New song, old habits” - NoScheduleMan.com

Recording Journal Vol. 38: “New song, old habits”

I accidentally wrote some new stuff this past weekend. When I say “accidentally,” I mean that I was not in any way intending to write more music. In fact, I was hoping to have less to think about, not more. But when the ideas hit you, they hit you. I suppose I could do it Nashville-style and just sit down and try to write songs that sound like other hits. But that’s not how it works for me. How it works is that the ideas just show up and I either take the time to write them down or record them, or I don’t, in which case I lose them forever.

Through the course of completing last weekend’s errands, I had a little hook line running through my head. After I decided I liked it, I kept singing it to myself over and over and over until I got back home to sing it into my handheld recorder. I came back to it later and quickly wrote the lyrics and the rest of the melody calling the song, simply, “Sing.”

I went back to it later and tried some different transition chords, adding or taking away a seventh here or there. It still needs a little arrangement help, but I figured we’d get to that when KG and I had a chance to hash it out (which has already started to happen, but more on that in a moment).

The same day, I had the melody to an upbeat song in my mind so I hummed that into my recorder and then forgot about it. A day later, I had another hook line and lyric in my head. I recorded that and asked the Gods of music to let me be for a while, as my struggle this week has been keeping some balance in my brain!

A person that writes songs should never shun inspiration. You should take the ideas whenever they come to you. But I’m at a point where I have more to think about than I can handle. And most of it does not relate to music as much as my day-to-day responsibilities as a business owner. But the music project needs to keep its place in the overall balance of things to think about.

To that end, I entered this work week knowing I needed to get my head clear. I’ve been spending every spare minute I can find in the evenings and weekends sitting at my desk in front of this bloody computer. I’m guilty of getting out-of-balance once I sense some momentum, be it positive or negative. If I feel like things are taking a turn for the worse, I tend to feel as if I should dig in my heels and push harder to make things right again. And if I feel that I’ve hit on some positive momentum, my natural tendency is to keep pushing to try and capitalize on the positive energy to make more good things happen. I think there is a time and place for both. But there is also something to be gained by getting the heck out of the way and letting things move along themselves.

Sometimes the best thing you can do to solve a challenge is to step away from it and let the answer show itself to you. But that’s harder than it sounds. In a similar vein, it can sometimes be in your best interests to just stay the heck out of the way when things are going well. That’s also harder than it sounds. At least, it is for me.

Following last week’s session with KG and Alyssa Sestric, I was so charged up that I felt like I needed to pour on the energy. So I did. But I quickly ran out of steam, as I wasn’t giving myself a chance to rest (I don’t like sitting still. It’s a character flaw).  As this past work week began, I had to promise myself to leave music out of my mind. I decided to deliberately NOT update my profiles on ReverbNation or on the Facebook fan page, MySpace, Sonicbids or on my official website. I had said last week that I would put out the CD Release show info this week and I was ready to do that. But then I realized I was the only one who really cared much about that at this point so I decided to stuff it until I felt ready. That might be this next week. It might not. I’m not sure.

I didn’t even go to the studio this past Tuesday night, which is one of our regular weekly session times. KG told me it was just as well for me to leave him alone to edit and mix. So I did. Now, what KG and I did do was go to the gym together to play a little squash and do some other exercises. It was fun and good for both of us to spend some time together away from his studio.

I did return to the studio later in the week and had a good experience. Upon arrival, I found KG with another one of his pals, Jim, who was sitting nearby while Kev edited vocal tracks from our songs. KG played back a little of the vocals on “Hope Over Hurt.” It was neat to hear, even he though he and I somehow got our wires crossed on what I was hoping for on a couple parts. But what pleased me most was what Jim said: “That kinda’ sounds like Great Big Sea.”

Well, thankya Jim. I considered that a high compliment.

Shortly thereafter, Kev asked if I would play the new song for him. So I did. Before I’d finished, Kev had moved to his grand piano to play along. When I was done, Jim smiled and said, “I really like that.” KG quipped, “This is my new favourite song.”

Well, great. So there’s more to do. But you never know. Once we finish what we started, maybe this new tune will turn into a bonus download or something like that. Or maybe it’ll be the first tune on the second record, even though we haven’t finished the first record yet.

Curiously, the lyrics to the other song snippet I wrote are built around the concept of “Idle Hands.”

Ironic, huh?

– Kevin

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