I have a couple guilty pleasures when it comes to my taste in music. First, and one that isn't TOO guilty, is shoegaze. Shoegaze and it sub-genres have been very good for me over the years. The next genre in my guilty pleasure list is chiptune music. Yes. Chiptune. While it is true chiptune music is but a stones throw away from dubstep, chiptune holds a very special place in my heart. Perhaps it a nostalgia trip to the back of my dad's Volkswagon, where I spent my time hammering away at Magination on the GBC. Perhaps it is the simple calculated nature of the music that appeals to the right side of my brain. I'm not going to try to argue that it is right, I'm just saying it exist as a guilty pleasure. Very important information regarding my latest dumb project.
Which just so happens to be a chiptune song! Not actually a chiptune by definition (I do not have a LSDJ or any other means of actually sampling chip sounds) but definitely one that draws upon that genre for style. This song isn't very long, but I feel as though it does what it needs to do.
Is the riff/melodies interesting enough to carry the song?
Did I crunch the quality too much?
I'd love some feedback. I have absolutely no experience with anything in this area, and this song was really just me taking a stab in the dark. I don't know how these things should be structured.
Other news: I got my custom ukulele back from NZ, which I am pumped for. That thing sounds absolutely amazing, and I feel like recording some of the songs I wrote with it. It is officially the only ukulele I own at the moment (I'm on a year long waiting list for a pretty prestigious builder) and it feels good to have a four stringed instrument back in the house. I have a more traditional song in the works after this chip tune nonsense that is about 15% recorded. It should be done within a week or two.
After what seems like two weeks without free time, and probably what totals 30 hours of stumbling around Logic, I finished a demo. First of all, FUCK YES. It feels so good to finally get something done, no matter the quality of the end product. Secondly, I actually kind of like how my song turned out. It's weird, raw, and is pretty much what I imagined when I wrote it a year or so back. Being able to spend the time to control every aspect of production really allowed me to be expressive in ways that just "being in a band" didn't. Third, I actually kinda hate some parts of my song, so I'm breaking it down.
Things I like about it:
The levels are pushed in a way that it follows modern music conventions. By this I mean everything is as loud as it can be without clipping, while still remaining balanced. Everything else I've ever tried to record had some issues in this regard.
This synths are cheesy goodness. Logic's soft synths are absolutely phenomenal, and I enjoyed the emulated analog sounds I got.
The panning is pretty good. Nothing is super right or left speaker heavy, and is correlated throughout the song.
I think the acoustic guitar sounds fairly natural, not bad for the mics I was working with.
The keyboard solo was fun. =D
It's about mother fucking Kurt Russell.
Things I didn't like about it:
The vocals. Oh god the vocals... I understand that singing correctly is incredibly hard to do, and I do not consider myself proficient by any means. I can tune my voice to pretty much the root of a chord, which works well for impressing my friends at campfires, but holding a melody is incredibly difficult. Combine this with the fact that my voice can be classified in the bass-baritone range (think Eb2 to F4) and the result is a singer not suited for pop, rock, or alternative. I got it done, but it ended up sounding over the top (which I like) in a weird way (which I don't like). Sorta a cross between Matt & Kim and Mewithouyou.
The mastering was hastily done, and parts are over compressed. I'm not a sound engineer, and it shows in this case. I think the snare and bass guitar got the worst of it.
It ended up being a fairly long song, which isn't terrible, but not what I like to do.
I recorded some things in a fashion that would make audiophiles cringe.
Logic has made it pretty easy, but there are a couple things I don't like about it. The environment window looks like something from the late 90s, and is entirely too convoluted and not intuitive. Also, constantly bouncing tracks gets tiresome, and I feel as though I ended up with way too many extra audio files on my desktop. It is also work noting that stereo mastering should be more smoothly incorporated into the mixing/arrange window. It would be awesome if I were able to change slight mistakes in my mix/tracks while still retaining the work I did in the mastering process. The multiple projects thing seems kinda silly.
With all those things In mind, I learned a ton about making music. I'm pretty excited about the next song to work on, which should be MUCH quicker to get done, and is also very different stylistically. Awesome. I will put that one up as well when it is done, and hopefully get more feedback. Thanks for reading/listening! More is to come, and I hope I continue to improve.
I apologize in advance if this is long winded or contains typos. I am still coming to grips with touch typing, and that is making my life hell. Actually, lots of things are making my life hell. This includes a new co-worker who is simultaneously a know-it-all and kiss ass, an english class that I'm really having trouble with, and a healthy dose of clinical depression and insomnia. Truly a dark place. It is not without reprieve, however, as I have recently began to explore creating music again.
Generic outlet for stress? It is possible to perceive it that way. Plenty of people write and create music, and plenty of people are fantastic at it. Taking that into consideration, I view myself as an exceptional musician not because of how good I am, but because I'm pretty bad. That's not the typical "please compliment me because I need an ego boost" type of statement, it's a statement that stems from an exhaustive and honest look at my abilities. It's not meant to be negative either, as anything that is bad can be improved, especially when it regards talent in a particular area.
Just for records sake, I'd like to outline my musical journey thus far:
Age 10--Played flute in school band, was absolutely terrible at it.
Age 12--Parent's bought me a boxed guitar for christmas. I have no fucking clue on how to play it or why they bought is for me, but guitars are pretty cool so I was happy. =)
Age 13--Parent's sign me up for guitar lessons at local music store. Still have no idea on how to play that thing they bought me, so I agree. Walk into first lesson alone, and find my teacher (some dude named "Mitch") sleeping in his chair surrounded by whiskey bottles. He wakes up after 15 minutes, burns my a Guns and Roses CD, and sends me on my way. I decide that music is scary and I don't want to do it.
Age 15--Played guitar hero. Was awesome.
Age 16--Bought myself a bass guitar as a birthday present. I really wanted to be in a band because it seemed cool, and google said that the bass guitar was a pretty easy instrument to pick up. Went deep into the tablature world.
Age 16.5-Learned what notes are, and that the tuning pegs are not just there for looks. This unfortunately was discovered at a public venue, with me and a friend doing a cover at a school open mic. SUPER embarrassing looking back on it.
Age 17--Bought a ukulele, started strumming songs. Also joined the school choir around this time. This helped me learn a lot about music, and I started developing my singing voice too.
Age 17.5--Bought way too many different ukuleles, also joined a garageband. We were pretty terrible.
Age 18--Started a new band. It was just me and two close friends, I picked up guitar, and we wrote songs and practiced like crazy for our school's version of "Battle of the Bands." After about six months of hard work, personal growth, and tri-weekly practices, we rocked out hard. It was a pretty big high point in my life actually, people didn't think we were terrible, and I got farther then I thought I ever could.
And that pretty much brings us to present day. My band mates/friends moved away for college while I stuck around and got a part time job and started to attend community college. I thought I would probably not embrace music again, leave it as just an "adolescent phase" I went though. I sold a lot of my gear I had (almost five ukuleles o.o) and was ready to give it all up. Something happened though, and to put it simply, I had the urge to make music again. I had the urge hard.
Quitting my procrastination, I signed up for guitar lessons (not with Mitch), bought myself a keyboard and electric guitar, and invested in Logic Pro 9 for my MacBook. I'd like to point out that Logic is a ridiculous download (25GB??)
So I'm diving right in. Fuck it. Going to start recording some songs, starting with the one I wrote with my band mates, and moving toward more recent ones. I intend to keep this blog continually updated with my progress, and upload songs I finish and such. If there are members of the Giant Bomb community who have experience with these sort of things, I'd love some input. I'm at a loss on how to do somethings, such as making my acoustic guitar tracks fit in the mix (is it because the recording is tinny or my levels aren't high enough?). This is really just another chance for me to improve myself. I've got more gear coming in this week (Apogee ONE, WOOT), and am excited where this takes me. It might be slow at first (like this forsaken touch typing) but it will be worth it.
Little secret: All the goods songs are in mono
First up is a song about Kurt Russell, cause fuck it. Thanks for reading, it was therapeutic to write.