As this business has moved along I’ve noticed a couple of things – 1) I’ve been busier than I thought I would be, and 2) most clients don’t just want music.
Both of these are things that, honestly, caught me by surprise. At the onset I figured I’d have a couple jobs come along every few months – I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m thankful for this, blessed for this, and elated by this. It’s been more than I imagined, and exactly what I’d hoped for.
Folks like having a soundtrack, bumper music, or sound they can call their own, use as part of their brands identity, and know they aren’t going to hear anywhere else. It’s what I set out to do, and it’s been a pleasure and joy. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really creative, focused, and interesting people.
I’ve also discovered – and it’s something that should have been obvious to me at the time, but I was laser focused on my initial idea and totally missed it at first – that people want an entire package. Images, video, music, ads, etc.
I don’t mind.
TubeWorks has become an “And Then Some” business, and I couldn’t be more happy with that development.
A friend of mine can put out songs at a pace I can’t comprehend – seems like just about every couple of days he’s got a new one posted on his YouTube channel.
That amazes me.
I’ve tried to write fast, but with how I write, – with the work flow I’ve used for as long as I can remember – I can get stuck on a two and a half second section of a song for days. I don’t mind – it’s part of my love for what I do. I get lost in that little bit of inspiration and don’t really notice I’ve been there for a week until I’m happy with it ( and truth be told, sometimes I end up never happy with it – I’ve got a folder full of songs I’ve not finished yet! Maybe it’s writers block…)
I generally write backwards to what seems to be the norm. Most will start with lyrics, come up with a drum beat, write a melody to that beat, and go from there.
I rarely have lyrics – in fact, I can’t remember the last time I wrote something that had lyrics, so I don’t worry much about them – and drums, even though I play them, are the absolutebane of my writing process.
I always start with a melody and add from there. It’s easier for me to program drums around my melody than the other way around for some reason. I think that’s why almost everything I write is driven by either a piano or some goofy patch I’ve come up with on a synthesizer – that’s to say, I let those instruments keep the time and let the drums work around them.
This process allows me to write without worrying about standard timing – I appreciate great timing, but honestly, it gets in the way sometimes…
It’s just how I write.
I’ve never really thought about that process until recently, and, as is the point of this post – if I ever get to it – I’ve never tried to change it.
My friend who writes ridiculously fast sent me a vocal track and a drum track the other day. He asked if I could write something for it – and I jumped at the opportunity.
We generally write two different kinds of stuff and I thought it would be cool to put the personality of my style of writing underneath his – we both love the same kinds of music, but write in very different directions. He’s as metal as they come when he writes – aggressive drums – thick, heavy guitars – and vocals that remind me of Peter Steele and Darth Vader. I love his stuff.
However – about 3 hours into the process I was hitting a brick wall, and I realized I was, for the first time, working backwards. I’ve never written around lyrics and drums before – ever. It’s been a challenge, but it’s been a blast.
I’ve totally mutilated the drum track he sent – run them through a phaser, cut/pasted them out of order all over the place, and really should just be ashamed of myself – but I’m not.
The vocal track is perfect – I haven’t done much with it except double it up in one part so it wouldn’t get lost behind a patch from the Korg Monologue I was using.
I’m sure FooFooRuku is getting antsy that I’ve had his song for a week and half and I’m not finished yet – I’m not even sorry.
If you’re interested, here’s a little bit of the work in progress, not even done yet, song…
The rough, uncompleted piano and drums track from a project I’m currently working on.
I’ve always hated when there’s a post of a song, with a video, that’s just a still photograph or a slide show – so enjoy this weird one minute, 30 second trip we took through a weird tunnel that goes under a weird mountain in Virginia.
A few years ago I bought a 61 key midi keyboard, plugged it into my laptop, and suddenly there they were – every note I played, as I played them, on a staff.
I was blown away.
I’d never seen my music written as music before. I just kind of sat there and stared at it.
I’ve played music just about my entire life. Almost all of my earliest memories revolve around a drum set, piano, guitars, or an organ being part of the landscape of our house.
However, I never learned to read music – which was never a big deal until I started, in my teens, to write – then it became tricky. I would either have to record the song on a tape, or rely on my memory to play it again.
I found the hard drive from that old laptop the other day and this was on it.
I’d forgotten completely about it – it’s the first thing I played when I plugged that keyboard in. I just turned the software on, pressed record, and started playing. I probably couldn’t play it again if I tried.
I’ve not done anything to it – so all the flubs, weird timing, and odd notes are still there – but it amazes me that I can print this out, hand it to someone that can read music, and they can play it.
That evening was one I’ll never forget – it might seem ridiculous to some people, but to me, to see something I’m so passionate about, take a tangible form right in front of me was, to say the least, humbling.
If you’re a musician, or artist, or anyone who creates something, you know that feeling. You won’t have it many times in your life, so when it happens, latch onto it, hold it tight, don’t let go, and take yourself back to it from time to time.
This thing is about to launch. To say I’m a bit nervous would be ridiculous. Nervous can’t even begin to describe it.
I’ve been doing this my whole life – making music- however, I have not been making a public spectacle of it my whole life, much less creating it for someone else.
There’s a first time for everything.
It’s both exciting and terrifying – I’m confident it will work, yet, at the same time, it’s a frightening prospect to take something you have such an intimate relationship with, and hand it to someone else.
In the end, as with most artists, you want your work to touch people. You want it to stick in their subconscious.
You want it to last.
It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a 15 second introduction to a youtube video, or a four hour opus navigating a drama, to the artist, it’s all a part of them, and we treat it as such.
This was really the driving force behind the idea for all of this – there are so many really great podcasts, youtube channels, etc. out there with terrific production values, content curation, and hours spent in production – why not give them an option to have the sound associated with all that work be created in the same thoughtful, careful, deliberate, and passionate manner?
I have no aspirations of getting rich doing this – or probably actually making much at all – I just like to make music, and I like to to have what I make affect people; improve that thing they are as passionate about as I am about this.