Job Title: Singer/Songwriter/Self-Psychoanalyst/AudioEngineer/Manager/LabelOwner/Distributor/Mailman/Promoter/GraphicDesigner/WebDesigner/Blogger/ (aka: Unpaid Intern)
1) make songs ——— 2) ? ————> 3) make a living making songs.
2) google + last.fm + myspace + facebook + ilike + twitter + sonicbids + tumblr + photoshop + illustrator + final cut + winzip + buttons + crayons + markers + felt + construction paper + stamps + scissors + bubble wrap + envelopes + cell phone + webcam + gmail + wavelab + cubase + nero + sendspace + cd-r’s + rental car + gas + map + printer + sunglasses + sleeping bag + pillow + college radio + food + brain + exhaustion + confusion + determination + breathing + exercise + sunlight + microphone + headphones + guitar + keyboard + drum + toys + vocal chords + electric bill + money + credit cards + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you + you…..
DUDE: “So, what kind of music do you play?”
ME: (sputtering/muttering/stammering) “Well.. umm… it’s like, you know how — in high school — you had a really lousy band that practiced in your parent’s basement and you just kind of copied all your favorite songs and changed them very slightly to pretend like you have creativity and thought of them all by yourself? So, it’s kind of like that, only it sounds more like… ummm… you’re supposed to be playing punk songs, but all you know how to do are the same 3 bossa nova power chords over and over, and so you wiggle around the tremolo arm because it’s the only thing that makes sense to do (and it happens to sound exactly like the inside of your brain when it’s attempting to function at a respectable level). Oh, and you left your Nintendo Entertainment System on while you’re practicing. And your friends that are playing along with you don’t know how to play very well either, so they just kind of hit things and goof around mashing the keyboard making weird noises. And you found an old drum machine, but don’t play drums and only know to do hip-hop beats made prior to 1988. And your friend’s little sister tries to sing along sometimes and it’s cute, but he’s a mean older brother and yells for his mom to make her go back upstairs and leave him alone. And every song is about being disappointed, only it’s supposed to be happy and optimistic, not angry or stupid or sad but sometimes it comes off that way?”
DUDE: (clearly regretting asking me this question, but trying hard not to let me notice that he’s slightly annoyed with the answer ) …So…. is there, like, a band that you sound like?
ME: (a blank stare followed by a furrowed brow after frantically flipping through my mental record collection and finding no good examples)
EAVESDROPPER: They sound kind of like Clap your hands say yeah. And they do a good Magnetic Fields cover too (then looking at me for approval).
DUDE: (nodding in recognition) Cool.
ME: (shrugging shoulders/squishing face) I guess kind of, but not… yeah.
What was going to be a day recording demos has been abbreviated due to the fact that my hard drive has begun to make a shrieking/squelchingly hideous noise like bad brakes screeching in a high-pitched blender, so it became backup day.
Oh, the low hurdles! Oh, the inconvenient potholes! Oh, the poorly made Chinese electronics at a price that is certainly too good to be true!
Me am aurally illiterate.
Today was spent going through my entire record collection (and by “record,” I mostly mean hundreds of cd-r’s and dvd-r’s, since I had to sell most of my records and every cd when I ran out of money in college) trying to compile examples of what I would consider to be “beautifully recorded songs.” I am doing this for my benefit, yes, but more so as a point of reference so that I won’t have to stumble all over my tongue trying to explain to the more musically-intelligent kids helping me record:
“I know that it’s loud and fuzzy, but could the guitar sound less tough? I don’t want people to think we’re mad or that we’re trying to be macho.”
“Is there a way to make the hand claps sound more like they’re coming from the back seat of a station wagon?”
“Can my vocals sound more like you’re listening with headphones underneath a pile of dryer-fresh laundry?”
“It sounds too good. Can you crud it up a bit?”
So the question is: can college kids just learning how to record accomplish this task using a computer and their school’s fancy microphones?
we shall see….
Why I should not do an interview in person. e v e r :
- My brain is an abandoned storage shed with very little order; two chewed up Nerf football’s and remnants of a long-since abandoned possum den nestled amidst haphazardly thrown lawn chairs and rusty power tools all cloaked by threadbare blankets of spiderwebs.
- My brain is a trusty old windmill on a calm summer afternoon and — in this age of nuclear power (and all other sorts of instant gratification) — I’m not sure that people have the patience for it.
So, when a perfectly nice college freshman asks the perfunctory question of what I want my music to sound like, and all I can think of to respond with is “ummm… I like the sounds of different things falling off of a table,” it makes me think that I should ask to see the questions ahead of time so that I don’t give such confusing answers.
I am a samonela-riddled chicken breast. Please let me cook first before eating.
This is the louder, 2nd version of “them pleasures of the flesh. Many have called it the “best” version, as the album version doesn’t quite have that same amount of in-the-red digital distortion that the kids love (and radio stations hate) so much.
This is the very first version of “them pleasures of the flesh.” It was written for a band i had just started with a girl in Santa Monica, CA who — once hearing it — decided we shouldn’t be in a band anymore.