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Found 142 results

  1. "Hey, can you come play my party for free beer?!" "If you come play guitar for me for $50 this time there will be more gigs to follow!" "Do you have some unlicensed or royalty free music I can use for my video?" "I can pay you in (insert social media platform) more followers if you do this for me." Knowing one's value or worth is the best advice I could ever give anybody wanting to jump in this crazy music industry...OK, the end!! Whew, thank goodness you don't have to read anymore! Seems so simple, right? Monetarily speaking, knowing your worth can be an incredible advantage to your career, or not knowing what your "product's" value is can be a horrible disservice to you and your fellow colleagues. This is what I mean. What we do in the music industry whether it be a song writer, jingle composer, player, artist, manager, booking agent, etc. is entirely different than any corporate structure set in any other genre of business. There is no infrastructure to evaluate how much you should be making on a global scale. There isn't a chart on the internet to tell you how much you should be making. That certainly would make it a lot easier. From what I've learned, culture and the city you live in seem to set a standard. Granted I can only speak as an American understanding the evaluation process in music. Los Angles, New York, and Nashville are what I call the big 3. From there I would say the next tier cities could be an Austin, Texas or a New Orleans, Louisiana for example. But the big three usually set the trends in the largest commercialized music markets (Pop, Rock, and Country). They also have more opportunities in all areas of music as well. How much should I charge for my services? It all depends on your culture, city, and what will you gain out of it. In Nashville, a guitar player hired to play some songs have a pretty standard base rate of a local show getting paid $150 and if there is travel involved no less than $200. But I've excepted gigs for a lot less. Even $50! In corporate business suit and tie world they would ridicule you for taking a 75% cut. I don't blame them. Let that percentage sink in. I didn't know what I was doing was undermining a system that would devalue and under appreciate a player that would be well deserved of a base pay of $150. Integrity in the market place is a concept that , in monetary terms, people will know what to expect. Consistency if you will and it even sets a bar predicated to a system that can establish tiers. For example, do those local shows for $150 and when you have the street credit eventually you can make the jump up to $200, then $225, and then so on, and so on!!! Your culture may have something set in place. Maybe? Maybe not? Isn't it funny? Do you ever wonder if somebody slapped a sign on your back that says "will work for free" instead of "kick me!" Know your worth. Set a standard. Educate yourself from other musicians/writers/engineers/blah/blah/ bah. Let those that have walked that path mentor you. Help your community by establishing that your vocation as a creative is important to be worth given money. I had a coffee with a friend when I first started traveling to Nashville. I expressed that I didn't know my value or even when should I take a gig. I still use this rule to this day and I absolutely love it, and I think it applies here. After he mentioned base rates in Nashville he ended the subject by saying, "Two out of three ain't bad." 1. Is the money good? 2. Do you like the music? 3. Are they good people or are they fun to hang out with? "If you can say yes to at least two of those...two out of three ain't bad."
  2. Hi: Sometimes years after I've "finished," and "released" a song on CD, I see ways to make the song better. When I perform the song live now, I do it with the improvements. Just because the song's been recorded does that mean the recorded version is "it?" After all, none of my songs are on the charts. It's not like Paul McCartney changing parts of "Yesterday." But still some people in the audience notice and ask "why did you change it?" Is it my obligation to keep a song the way people know it even if I can make it better? Tamara
  3. For all members using Soundcloud - we now have our very own Soundcloud account. https://soundcloud.com/songstuff-community Please follow us and look out for our regular Songstuff Community Member Sets where we showcase songs which have been posted here on the site.
  4. One of my all time favourite songwriting collaborations is that of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook - the founding members of UK band Squeeze. All the Squeeze hits were co-written by the pair - Chris writing the lyrics first and then Glenn composing the music. Chris has compared the moment he first hears Glenn's compositions as like opening his Christmas presents. I met Glenn Tilbrook last year and shook his hand which was a dream come true for me I'd be interested to know about other Songstuff members' all time favourites........and have you ever met them?
  5. Quite an oldie from me but I thought I'd post the acoustic version here. Collaboration between myself and composer Serg Butler from Moscow. The lyrics were written to a keyboard melody. Before You Go (Music composer: S Butler, Lyrics: J Hutchinson) (Verse One) I used to think that life was very simple And nothing ever magic happened Time just passed me by I always thought that I was no-one special I'd always be alone It was the way that things would be (Pre chorus) Then, you just came into my life And now, everything has changed (Chorus ) Before you go just tell me one thing I'm left always wondering When I think of this I cry Say that you know that I'm always waiting Nights anticipating When you're back again I'm high (Verse Two) I used to think that love would never happen I often used to wonder if This chance had passed me by I always thought romance was just for others I'd spend my time alone Love just wasn't meant for me (Pre chorus) Then, you just came into my life And now, everything has changed (Chorus ) Before you go just tell me one thing I'm left always wondering when I think of this I cry Say that you know that I'm always waiting Nights anticipating When you're back again I'm high (Bridge) I can't explain How you've made me feel about everything I won't complain No matter how often that you need me (Chorus ) Before you go just remember one thing I'm left always wondering When I think of you I cry And don't you know that I'm always waiting Nights anticipating When you're back with me I'm high again (c) 2012 S Butler/J Hutchinson Recorded at Discolife Studio, Moscow.
  6. I've always been of the opinion that music serves very little purpose unless someone listens to it. Really...what else is it good for? You can't wash your car with it, the grocery stores won't let you buy food with it and it doesn't make a very good hat. So....with that in mind, is yours' being listened to? Fortunately, mine is. To those uninvolved in music creation, this question may sound like a stupid one. Honestly, I wish it was! But in the online music world, this topic doesn't garner nearly as much attention as it deserves. Fact is, it tends to take a back seat to things like: What your numeric market ranking is on Reverbnation? How many "likes" your band/artist page has on Facebook? How many "play clicks" you've racked up on your various online players? How many subscribers you have to your YouTube channels? How many false online identities you've set up to aid in promotion of your own material, sites & blogs? How many "followers" you've racked for your "Fandalism" page? How impressive the graphic design of your virtual presence is? In the world of online music generation, it's almost as if "music" has become a trivial detail, rather than the end game itself. Music now serves as a virtual ticket, allowing entry into this huge online video game known as "Indie Music". Players don't win by improving at their craft. They win by doing whatever's necessary to generate numbers & the appearance of credibility. I said the "appearance" of credibility because "likes", "play clicks", "subscribers" & "followers" can be purchased or generated through artificial means. This isn't a new phenomenon either! The illicit world of digital assistance-for-hire has been around as long as the internet itself. In recent years, much of my online musical interaction has taken place on Songstuff.com. While Songstuff is primarily a musician/songwriters resource site, we do our best to assist with any & all musically related questions. More & more, questions from new members touch on subjects like: The legal aspects of the industry (copyright protection, licensing, etc.) The safety & security of their online songs/lyrics (how can they be certain they won't be stolen?) How to get ahead in todays' music business Can we recommend various types of short-cut software?....everything from scoring software to artificial music creation programs. Can we help them get hooked up with a "Producer"? To be perfectly honest, I find this trend more than a little disturbing. Music creation should be about creating art, NOT about protecting rights and quick money! Personally, I was drawn to writing for 2 reasons: my lifelong love of music a genuine interest in creative self-expression It truly bothers me that things are becoming more about short-term personal gain and less about the listener and the overall musical experience. In my mind, when creation becomes more about the artist than the art, the world's in trouble! Anyway, returning to the question posed by the title. For someone like me, the internet age is an absolute Godsend! It allows me to offer my music to a vast pool of potential listeners. Despite my being a tiny fish in a huge musical ocean, listeners manage to find me at tune-smith.com. Although I do maintain a number of other sites, the bulk of my online music is there. I own the domain name, maintain the site and therefore control the encoding quality of the mp3s offered. Since I don't pay for professional mastering of my tracks, encoding control is particularly important. Most sites of this type provide extensive tracking data. Honestly, I don't look at it much, but I do occasionally check to see what kind of traffic the site's drawing. The chart below is an example of one category of tracked data. It's also the reason I'm able to tell you with absolute certainty that my songs are listened-to! What you're looking at are stats for the month of January 2014, taken early evening on the 31st. From this data, I can not only see that "Don't Lie to Yourself" was the most frequently played track (551 times), but I can also tell you that virtually every listener played the entire song. See that "average size" column.....it reads 5.5 MB, which also happens to be the actual size of the song file. "Someday" didn't do quite as well. It shows a 4.98 MB usage, with the actual song file being 5.47 MB. Although it did very well, it's obvious that it wasn't what some folks expected & they chose to move on prior to completion of the track. The portion of the chart I copied covers only 6 of the available songs, yet the combined total of those 6 is in excess of 1,200 listens. Those aren't new songs either. Matter of fact, the average age of the top 5 is somewhere around 10 years. So....in closing I'll ask you once again.....is your music being listened to? Given my reasons for musical involvement, does it feel good to know that mine are? Damn right it does! Music isn't good for much unless you've got someone to listen. ***Next addition to "Tips & Tidbits" is titled....Online Credibility. Should have it posted late Feb. Tom Hoffman Songstuff member profile http://www.tune-smith.com http://www.youtube.com/user/DrumStuffTH
  7. Hey guys, I'm mainly a composer and a songwriter working with a piano, guitar and a bass. I don't have any good recording equipment yet, other than logic pro x. I am content as a songwriter and composer, but as soon as it comes to actually producing what I've wrote, I am never satisfied. There always seem to be quiet a corny, supermario bros vibe to the sound. I'm using mostly pre-set software instruments such as the on board pianos, basses, strings, brass drums etc. I wonder if anyone else has had similar issues? I'm hoping it's my production technique as apposed to the actual intellectual property of the music. Thanks Josh
  8. Hi all! After receiving so much helpful feedback for our last song "This Is Not Me", I dare to post the second song we recorded. This is our new Song "In Your Face": What do you think? What about the mixing? About the violins, the vocals, the song as a whole? It was recorded at the same time as the last song, so all those great feedback you posted for "This Is Not Me" did not yet left its marks in this song. But in the next one! This time, it is a live recording as well, but we did re-record the main vocals again. Also, the guitars where recorded a second time to make them sound bigger. Thank you in advance! Yves
  9. Hello everyone, Excitedly and humbly presenting my song, 'Fade Away'. Please view/listen and give your critique on lyrics, music, playing, singing, video... Looking forward to hear your constructive criticism to learn and better. Thank you, Priyan 'Fade Away' Lyrics: It's a nice morning To fade away There are winds calling To sail away Am I through with the blues Changing hues of the truth Can I fade away Then my words stumble And they fall And I see the writing On the wall As we go down life's road Searching for the pot of gold Can I stay away Plenty of voices fill the air The louder you scream, the more you're heard I wanna blank out all the noise Ride away from all the choice Where I just can be me It's a nice morning To fade away There are winds calling To sail away
  10. Hi There! We just recorded our new Song "This Is Not Me". It is a live recording in our band room (except for the guitars, those have been recorded a second time to "fatten" the distortion). Any feedback, comment, opinion is appreciated and helps us to improve ourselves for the next record Cheers! Yves Lyrics: I lost the ground, can't feel it anymore, where I have to go? Oh I lost the ground, can't feel it anymore, there's nowhere left to go. Let them push me hardly and threw it all away, let it destroy myself until I'm done and gone. You believed in me and gave me all your trust, now you let me be and I feel so lost. My heart is full filled with sorrow, so deep that I can't run away. And empty is the room, where I feel hollow, so sad and freezing cold. I lost the ground, can't feel it anymore, my voice has gone away. Oh I lost the ground, can't feel it anymore, dark clouds have come my way. Oh I never felt so lost, I don't know where to go. This is not what I used to be. Oh I never felt so lost, I don't know where to go, this is not me. Please believe me I need your help to stand, I cry out here just to hear myself. I don't know what I used to be, this is not me. This is not me. Not me.
  11. Dear All, this song was submitted for an electronic synth Brand contest. I would like to hear about critique of songwriting impressions, vocals (my daughter) and production. Thanks! https://soundcloud.com/kv331synthmaster/not-now-with-me-by-diego-rengifo?in=kv331synthmaster/sets/synthmaster-2016-song-contest
  12. My name is Delvonnie Stephens from Cincinnati, Ohio seeking collaboration with other talented writers, singers, producers, etc. I have instrumentals/beats that require vocals, male and female. We'd collaborate on lyrics, music and anything song-related, right down to pitching. I have a list of music publishers, record labels and film/TV sync placement companies that accept demo and catalog submissions from songwriters. I want people with vocals, but other songwriting skills as well. Contact me at stephensdelvonnie@gmail.com, and listen to my instrumentals at soundcloud.com/writer24. I also have lyrics that can use music, vocals, arrangement, etc.https://soundcloud.com/writer24https://twitter.com/DelvonnieShttp://www.findmysong.com/djdeath
  13. I know nothing about composing, but plan on learning lessons on youtube. I am very serious and am willing to put in the effort of many years to become a professional composer. But recognition for my music is my only reason for pursuing composing. All my effort would just be wasted if I can't get my awesome music recognized and featured on youtube, soundcloud, etc. I have a heart condition that could kill me before I get the chance to attain my goal. If I can't attain my goal, then I would not even bother with composing at all. So should I even bother with composing then if this is my only reason for doing it? I don't think it is an idiotic attitude at all. It's no different than how a body builder wishes to attain the goal of being in the magnificent muscular body of his dreams. Otherwise, if he had some sort of condition that somehow prevented him from building muscle, then he would not even bother body building. He would not even bother lifting weights just to lift them and the whole process of lifting weights would now be meaningless to him since he cannot achieve the goal he wanted. Some people would lift those weights anyway. But I know that I wouldn't. So in that same sense, I would not compose just to compose. My reason for composing is to attain that goal of having my music featured and recognized on youtube, soundcloud, etc. You can pay to have your music and videos promoted. Lastly, I have created awesome and strange unique music in my mind that I don't want to go to waste. But the only way for that music to get recognized would be to become a professional composer because that is the only way I can reproduce the music just as I hear it in my mind. I plan on then getting that music promoted on youtube where it can get recognized by many viewers. I do not plan on just getting recognized. It is the music I hear in my mind that I want recognized.
  14. Hello Guys, My name is Larry, Just joined the site. I am looking for artists/songwriters to collaborate with. I have reliable contacts in record labels,TV and advert firms. If your interested in collaborating with me just send me a message. My email address is : lanixon8562@gmail.com
  15. Subject Matter Written, recorded & copyrighted in 2003, "Borrowed Time" was inspired by an actual event…the death of my boss Fred Marshall. Several years prior, Fred had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Once traditional treatment had failed, Fred received the bad news. There was little more medical science could do for him. For all practical purposes, he was living on borrowed time. He knew the "what", but not the "when". Grant it, Fred wasn't the first to receive a terminal prognosis & he wouldn't be the last. But, I couldn't help wondering....how does someone come to grips with that? What's it like to live with that knowledge? Questions worthy of a song, don't you think? I did In the end, Fred lost his battle with cancer. The day of the funeral, our company closed so that everyone could attend. He was laid to rest in his hometown, several hours North of St. Louis. As you might expect, it was a very quiet drive back. Since I was a passenger...with the back seat to myself, I made good use of the time. I wrote the majority of this lyric. Given the circumstances, it seemed a fitting activity. Lyric Livin’ on borrowed time Not sure how he’s gonna use it Livin’ on borrowed time Knows he can’t afford to lose it When life gives you a surprise It can open up your eyes Should already be…part of history Dead & gone before his time, but he’s… Livin’ on borrowed time Not sure how he’s gonna use it Livin’ on borrowed time Knows he can’t afford to lose it Livin’ every day In a different way Cause he’s never sure How much longer he’ll survive Told him he’d be dead last year Doctors say the end’s still near Still he’s tryin’ to…use the time to do All the things he holds so dear, cause he’s… Livin’ on borrowed time Not sure how he’s gonna use it Livin’ on borrowed time Knows he can’t afford to lose it Livin’ on borrowed time Livin’ on borrowed time Copyright 2003 – Tom Hoffman Personal Insights Back-in-the-day, I participated in a number of songwriting competitions. The Billboard World, Song of the Year, American Songwriter, USA, UK & Great American to name a few. Out of all the songs I entered, “Borrowed Time” scored the highest ...one of 5 finalists. The most traditional, mainstream song I’ve ever created…and they liked it best? Go figure! Take from that, what you will. Musical Fundamentals Genre was an easy decision. Given the subject matter, traditional country was a perfect fit. It’s set in the key of G…a commonly used country key. BPM = 104 …a comfortable, easy-going pace for this type of song. Structurally, it is different. Following a brief introduction, it flows immediately into a chorus section. That’s not unheard of, but it’s certainly not the norm. For this particular song, I thought it was an excellent choice. It allowed one of the primary “hooks” (the song title) to be heard almost immediately. Instrumentation Choices Fender Strat Acoustic Bass + Harmonica (Hohner) & Keyboard Strings (Yamaha P-80 digital piano) Production: Tascam 788 Performance Credits: • Guitars, Bass, Drums, Harmonica, Keyboards – Tom Hoffman • Vocals – Tom Hoffman YouTube Video Version (*includes full song) - https://youtu.be/EbeVOh7m5FE Tom Hoffman Songstuff member profilehttp://www.tune-smith.comhttp://www.youtube.com/user/DrumStuffTH
  16. Ok, so I have a lot of music and even vocal melodies but I'm not too into writing lyrics, it's basically like homework for me and I don't enjoy doing it because i don't do it well and I'm usually just "meh" about what I've come up with. I am very specific about the type of lyrics I like. I'm a fan of imagery, metaphors and just interesting or clever lyrics. I'm not looking for the norm cliche lyrics, I can write those. I'm looking for someone who listens to and enjoys the stylings of modern day indie rock. Bands like, Wye Oak, Widowspeak, Sharon Van Etten, Portugal. The Man, The Shins, Death Cab For Cutie, Washed Out, Beach House, etc. If you can write like Ben Gibbard or James Mercer or remotely similar to any of the above bands or bands similar to those, I'd love to hear from you. I'm not looking for sappy love songs or cliches. Just think INDIE ROCK and you'll be in the area of what I'm after. Thanks and hope to find some collaborators soon! Mark PS - if you have links to some of your work that'd be most helpful as well.
  17. This is the second installment of a blog series begun in 2011. The series is intended is to provide a peek behind the creative curtain, taking an in-depth look at the process itself. For this installment, I'm going all the way back to the beginning. "Slow Down" was my very first song. Originally written/arranged & recorded in 1995, it was re-recorded in 98. The Idea In past articles, I've pointed out that my songs typically evolve from one of 4 starting points: - a chord progression - a riff/pattern - a section of melody - a central theme In this case, the idea was a basic progression I stumbled upon. Not really a chord progression in the strictest sense, but never-the-less a progression. While experimenting with combinations of 2 and 3 note intervals, an interesting pattern began to emerge. It's built upon traditional I-IV-V framework, but layered changes within that framework give it a unique flavor. Rather than try to explain it, I'll show you in a brief video which...... Shows a tablature rendering of the primary pattern positions Demonstrates the actual progression http://youtu.be/yxWZMHQy10c Fundamentals The song is set in Mixolydian mode. For those unfamiliar with the term, Mixolydian mode is essentially a diatonic major scale/key, with the 7th flattened. The flattening of that one note alters the fundamental step pattern of the key. That single change in structure has a huge impact on the flavor of the resulting composition. It's common practice for songwriters to step outside of strict key structure. In other words, it would have been OK for me to employ notes not contained within the basic 7-note scale (A mixolydian). That being said, I chose to remain within the confines of that scale! The vocal melody, bass guitar, 2nd & 3rd guitars were set in A mixolydian, as was the entire arrangement for the bridge section. The secondary guitar part is comprised of 2-note intervals. Guitar #3 is single-note leads and fills. The 3-note combinations played at the outset of each A, D & E section, are the only things vaguely resembling traditional chords. Each combination is comprised of a root (tonic), a 5th and a 9th. Definitely chords, but by no means traditional. Structure Introduction (8 sec.) / 8 Bar Musical Interlude / Verse-Refrain / 4 Bar Interlude / Verse-Refrain / Bridge (Middle- / 8 Bar Interlude / Verse-Refrain / Ending w. fade Subject Matter Because of the feel established by that primary guitar progression, the song wouldn't have worked with an uplifting lyric. Serious, darker subject matter was called for. Substance abuse (specifically alcoholism) was my final choice. The lyric was written from the perspective of the alcoholic, in this case a male. It's intended to depict the typical downward spiral of both the substance abuser and the relationship. The idea was to reveal the changing mind-set of the abuser as the addiction progressed & the relationship disintegrated. As is the case with most of my songs, the melody was written before the lyric. I also had a specific meter structure in mind. The downside of this particular structure was that it wouldn't allow for a wordy lyric. I had to rely heavily on subtle changes in the person, tense & exact wording to get the lyrical message across. Personally, I enjoy the challenge that comes with this style of writing, but it does present obstacles. The message/meaning isn't as obvious as it is with other styles. A greater burden is placed upon the listener to listen intently. Unlike more popular lyrical styles, the listener can't cherry-pick key words and phrases. The lyric needs to be taken as a whole for the message to come through as intended. Lyric I smile and start another day You smile and tell me it's OK We should have known we would get through it You'd think we'd know by now I promise I....won't drink much tonight I know I blame my life on you You tell me I don't have a clue You should have known not to back-talk me I'd think you'd know by now I know that I....said I would slow down Should slow down Must slow down Will slow down Next week swear I'll slow down! I get up & start another day You're not here to tell me it's OK I should have known you didn't love me You'd think I'd know by now I don't care if....I ever slow down! Final Production Notes Both the 1995 and 98 recordings of this were done on a Tascam 424....4-track analog cassette recorder. Some years later, when I upgraded to a digital recording setup, I dumped the original 4 analog tracks onto 4 empty digital tracks, cleaned them up a bit, compressed & remixed the song. To give you an idea of what I was working with...... The drum track was recorded all at once. No overdubs were possible, because it was done using a freestanding electronic metronome. With the old analog decks, if you tried to record a standard click-track, you'd get ghosts of it bleeding through to other tracks. Even after the click track was erased, remnants of it remained and would be heard on the final recording. The drums & bass guitar shared a single-mono track on the cassette recorder. Drums were recorded first, then primary guitar, then bass. At that point in the process, a combined premix of drums and bass were bounced over to the only remaining track. That allowed the original recordings of each to be erased....opening up two additional tracks. The 2nd guitar was recorded on one of those, lead vocal on the other. The final lead guitar bits were recorded last, wherever open track space remained. All the guitar parts were recorded through a mic'd amp, with effects already applied. Drums had to be recorded with individual EQ adjustments & effect already applied. Compared to current standards, this was the equivalent of working with stone knives & bearskins. Honestly.....given the limitations of the process, I'm amazed that it sounds as decent as it does. Overall, it's a bit muddy, the vocal could sit a little higher in the mix and there are several predominant "s" sounds in the first verse vocal. Hopefully, you're able to overlook the production shortcomings and enjoy the song. YouTube Video Version (*includes full song) - https://youtu.be/RCk-QW_smaw Tom Hoffman Songstuff member profile http://www.tune-smith.com http://www.youtube.com/tomhoffman1
  18. Hi there, I'm totally new here, I chose to use this quote on songwriting by Steve Earle as the post subject, I just love quotes, short bursts of valuable human knowledge and experience! I'll follow @john's format for my post so I'll be answering your questions John! 1. Do you sing, play an instrument or instruments? What instruments? I play drums, piano, I sing and I am a songwriter. When did you start playing? I started playing when I was 14 years old. Did you teach yourself? I went to music school alongside my normal school, music college, and then music university. BA in Music Performance, MA in Music Performance. 2. Are you in a band or bands? What is the name of the band? I have been in many bands and played with/for many artists as a drummer. Some well known people are: Bias Boshell (Moody Blues), Scott James (Stereophonics), Svetlana Vassileva (Moby Europe), and supported Arthur Lee's Love and PP Arnold. Played with a few famous Greek artists too. My own project is called E-Mute and it's an alternative rock project. My music was featured on Music Week, the Indie Rock Cafe and Soundcloud. What do you play? When I perform my songs live I play piano, sing and I also have a few drums next to the piano, playing a few drum duet stuff with the drummer. What other instruments are in the band? Drums, bass, guitar, sometimes synthesizers and backing vox. It is not a band. Different musicians help me out to perform live. Do you have a band website? Of course. All of us need to have our own website nowadays! http://www.emute-music.com/ 3. Do you write songs? Do you write lyrics, music or both? Both! I started writing everything on my own after a bad experience when my band with Scott James split up. Do you have a writing partner? Years ago, when I was in the band with Scott he was my writing partner and .... songwriting teacher... I learned so much then. But since then I kind of went off to do my own thing musically. 4. Do you record your music? Do you use a home studio? If so what gear do you use? I do use a home studio, nothing too fancy, a Mac, Logic and GarageBand, a decent audio interface, pre-amp and a few good mics. I prefer using GarageBand I find the interface ''songwriting friendly''. Do you use a recording studio? I do. Once I'm done with the recordings at home, I take the files in the recording studio and either write all other instruments on top of the home studio tracks or I re-record everything. It depends. For my last EP I went for a live raw full live band sound. Do you have music available on the web? if so where? Everywhere. iTunes, Spotify, my website... We have to be everywhere these days. 5. What other roles do you perform in the music business? Management? Label owner? Publishing? Promotion? Other? I am very experienced with social media and social media marketing. 6. Are you a tech head? A little bit yes. Until recently I was also working for Google as a Google trainer. Useful knowledge for... social media marketing and music marketing I suppose. It was a fun job. 7. What country do you live in? I moved from London to Austria. My girlfriend is Austrian so we decided to move here in Salzburg. I am originally from Athens. 8. What are your ambitions? To develope even further as a musician and as a person. 9. Do you draw/paint/write stories/computer art/dance or other creative pursuit? Me and my girlfriend are running a jewellery business. All jewellery is handmade by us, we have a small (but well equipped) workshop and when I'm not playing music I'm ... hammering away... What are your pastimes? Watching good documentaries, reading about history and exercising. 10. What would you like to get out of Songstuff? I just want to meet like-minded songwriters. Here in Salzburg I don't know a lot of people yet and especially musicians. It feels a bit lonely (musically...) but at the same time, it has been very productive with music here. I have much more time in my hands... Thanks for reading! Theo
  19. I'm going to try something different here....a dual format, 3-part blog series. Each of these 3 installments will include: - A 1080p video version, complete with audio & video examples - A text-only version Readers can select the format they're most comfortable with, or utilize both. Some who view the videos may find the text useful for review & quick reference. The intent of the series is to deal with the thought process behind the composition. It's meant for songwriters & drummers alike. All comments are welcome. YouTube Video Link - https://youtu.be/F1IDKRjpmAc Part 1 Text While I enjoy writing these drum tutorials, I'm always on the lookout for ways to incorporate my singer/songwriter side into them. This topic presented the opportunity to do exactly that. I've structured this series in such a way, that both drummers and non-drumming-songwriters should find it useful. Whether you compose through electronic means or utilize an actual drum kit, it's helpful to know what works best, what doesn't....and why. The thought process is the same, regardless of how the end result is achieved. As a starting point, I thought it would be useful to come up with a short-list of variables. These are things I take into consideration when structuring drum parts for a new song. 1. What's the genre of the song? For a multitude of reasons, I don't begin structuring a final drum part until the basics of a song are pretty well set. By basics, I mean: Melody At least a rough idea of lyrical content & subject matter Backing chord patterns (basics of the song's musical movement) Tentative song structure (intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc) Once I have those basic components, I can tell what type of song I'm working with. That matters! Regardless of personal preference, the drum part you craft should be an appropriate match for the song & genre. For example, a typical metal drum line probably won't fit very well in a country/pop song. By itself, it may seem like a cool, impressive part. More so, if you happen to be a big fan of metal. The thing is.....no one will ever hear it by itself. It'll only be heard within the context of the song. Bottom line - writing new parts is always about how they affect the song as a whole, NOT about the part itself. As a drummer, I was slow to learn that lesson. As a songwriter, it was immediately obvious. It's simply a matter of perspective. Genre is a vague concept. Because of that, it's not unusual for a song to straddle several. Proper arrangement choices can help push it in one direction or another. For example, say your song straddles country & pop. You could push it in the direction of country by employing twangy guitars and a country sounding drum part. For that to work, you need to know what a typical country drum part sounds like. So....regardless of your own music preference, make sure you're familiar with whatever style you're writing in. 2. How is the movement of the melody structured (meter, flow, rhythm)? Remember...the melody is the single most important part of any song! Whether it's sung or played instrumentally, that melody & its appeal to the listener have a huge effect on the song's overall likability. If you're the songwriter, this is your money-maker. Protect it at all costs. If you're the drummer, you need to recognize & accept a harsh reality. Your drum part will NOT be the reason that listeners like the song! It can certainly be a contributing factor, but NOT the big reason. I know, I know....it's not fair! What can I tell you though.....it-is-what-it-is! I was a drummer long before I became a songwriter, so I've been on both sides of this argument. Drummers want to write challenging parts that their musician friends will find impressive. After all....we're drummers, that's what we do! Once again, I empathize with your plight, but my advice is to focus on how your part impacts the song as a whole. It's simply a question of the big picture. That big picture is made up of many small facets, the melody being one. Be sure you have a clear understanding of how that melody moves, so you can craft a drum part that compliments that movement. Once you have something specific in mind, try playing it along with the melody. That'll give everyone involved the opportunity to evaluate how well they function together. Trial & error is a big part of this process. Keep working with it until you have a part that compliments the melody, not one that competes with it. Remember, in the end it's all about THE SONG! 3. What type of arrangement do you have in mind for the song? I'm not suggesting that you have the whole arrangement set-in-stone before starting the drum part. Chances are though, you'll have at least a rough idea of what may work. Are you thinking of using piano? Are you picturing more than one guitar track? Might additional percussion be a good fit (congas, tambourine, shaker, etc)? The point I'm getting to is this....if you have definite ideas for your arrangement, factor those into the writing of your drum part. Again, in the end, everything needs to work well with everything else. Here are a few specific examples: A. If you're planning a busy arrangement with lots of instrumental movement, a simpler drum part may be better. A song isn't a contest for dominance! Ideally, parts of your arrangement work together....towards a common goal. For instance, if you have cool ideas for intricate piano parts & a tasteful signature guitar track, your drum part should allow those to shine through. No....the drums don't have to be boring! Just build the drum complexities into song sections that allow more room for them. Those piano & guitar parts I referred to.....let's say those are only for the verses & bridge. That means your chorus sections could employ dominant, driving drums. When you vary the dominant instrument from section to section, it builds variety into an arrangement. It also makes that dominant instrument much more noticeable to the average listener. When that chorus section rolls around & those drums start kicking butt, the change immediately grabs the listeners' attention. This type of approach not only works well for the song, but gives the poor drummer some well-deserved attention. *If you're interested in specific examples of simpler drum beats, you're welcome to check out one of my previous tutorials - "Essential Drum Beats". It contains a number of basic patterns, with charts & video demonstrations of each. B. Sometimes arrangements are very sparse. For instance, many songs employ sustained chords, struck primarily on major counts. Sometimes a writer will utilize just bass & drums for the verses of a song....really strip it down. Situations like these offer the opportunity to get really creative with the drum track. You can experiment with intricate or syncopated parts......really flex those creative muscles. Limited, simple instrumentation = fewer potential conflicts. C. If some instrument parts are already written, do those parts heavily accent specific counts? Do several of those parts accent the same counts? I ask these questions because it is possible to over-do accents. Typically, it's not good to have every instrument emphasizing identical counts. That can result in a very stiff feeling song arrangement. But, as with any other guideline, there are exceptions. You will hear the occasional song that actually benefits from an overly-rigid feel. D. What impact, if any, would you like the drums to have on the songs' development....beginning-to-end? In an effort to clarify that question a bit, I'll break it down into more specific questions: a ) Do you want the song to build as it progresses? If you do, you may want to utilize the drums to aid in that process. It's not uncommon to bring them in gradually, layering in complexity & momentum a little at a time. b ) Do you intend for one specific section of the song to jump out & grab the listeners' attention? One way to achieve that, is to hold much of the instrumentation (including all the drums) back, until that specific section. c ) Would you prefer the drums play a minimal part in the songs' development? That can be accomplished by utilizing a consistent sounding drum track. Something with virtually the same feel start-to-finish. If you're looking for a reference point, "Rain King" by Counting Crows should serve nicely. d ) Would a change in the drum tempo, from half time - to full time be useful? It's a common method for varying the feel of a song, from section-to-section. Let's look at specific example. Say your basic song runs at a rate of 120 BPM. The beat used in the verse sections can be made to feel as if it's being played at 60 BPM, while the choruses are played as full-time 120 BPM. It's that shifting from one to the other that generates the noticeable variety. Part 1 Summary Most of part 1 shared a common theme. None of these variables are even worth considering unless the basics for the song have already been established! Hence my earlier statement that to that effect. I'm not trying to tell you that this is the only way to do things. I simply feel that it's the best way! Part 1 dealt with some of the general concepts, questions & variables. Part 2 will deal with specifics of actually building (structuring) the drum parts. I'll try to give you a clearer picture of what works best, where & why. Tom Hoffman Songstuff member profile http://www.tune-smith.com http://www.youtube.com/user/DrumStuffTH
  20. Time for the final installment of this 3-part series. As with the previous installments, it's provided in 2 formats - hi-def video and text. Unlike the previous installments, part 3 depends heavily on video demonstrations & charts. Bottom line....you won't find those in the text version. For this 3rd installment, I strongly advise viewing the video, then utilizing the text as supplemental review. Video Link - https://youtu.be/Y_R7SLHzsLA Overview Parts 1 and 2 of this series dealt primarily with the theory & thought process behind crafting drum parts. Now it's time to dissect a specific example. "Pentatonic Playground", an instrumental of mine, will be the example used here. I've chosen one of my songs for a specific reason. Since I made every decision for every part of this arrangement, I have the best possible insight into why those choices were made. Hopefully, that insight makes for a better, more informative tutorial. Choosing A Direction "Pentatonic Playground" is a rock-alternative instrumental. It was never intended to have mainstream appeal. I'm telling you this because, as a writer or a drummer, it's important to understand where you're trying to go with an arrangement. Simply put.....you can't accomplish a goal, without first having one. Knowing that I was striving for uniqueness, provided me with a basic direction. Even though I didn't have specific drum parts in mind yet, I understood that I probably wasn't going to achieve uniqueness by utilizing cookie-cutter drum parts. I would have to stretch my creative muscles a bit. About The Song 1) The structure of the song is pretty basic. verse / chorus / bridge / verse / double- chorus / ending 2) My songs generally evolve from one of the following starting points: - a chord progression - a riff/pattern - a section of melody - a central theme This particular song grew from a riff that I stumbled upon while practicing stretch scale patterns. Major pentatonic patterns to be exact.....hence the title of the song. All of the verse & chorus guitar parts are based upon variations of that pattern, in the key of G. 3) Even though "unique" was the overall goal, a contrast in feel & flow from section-to-section often makes for a more interesting song. Some song sections (the verses) would have a decidedly unique feel, while others would employ a more comfortable feel & flow. The Breakdown OK! I've given you some background information on the song and a general overview of what I intended. Now it's time to break it down into specifics.....section-by-section. I'll try to provide you with insights into what decisions were made and why. The Verses - Rather than construct a separate introduction for this song, I started it with the distinctive guitar riff/pattern that inspired it. The pattern does a nice job of setting up the unusual feel I wanted. - I was interested in establishing a fairly consistent flow throughout the verses, so the drums don't build. They simply begin, along with the riff, then remain constant throughout the entire verse sections. - I decided on a 2-measure beat, set in 4/4 time. I'll talk a bit more about the characteristics of this beat after the demonstration. It utilizes cymbal bell, snare & bass drum. Snare & bass drum were components from the start, but I did consider other options for the right-hand element. I tried high-hat, but it seemed overly staccato. Ride cymbal was too ringy and lacked the high-end clarity I desired. Cymbal bell seemed the best choice. It sounded crisp & distinctive, yet subtle. As promised, I'd like to talk a bit more about the characteristics of this 2 measure pattern. Unlike more traditional beats..... a ) there is no snare on primary counts 2 & 4, except at the end of each 2-measure sequence b ) the bell line is mostly 1/4 notes, but is sprinkled with groupings of 16th notes. The end result is a pattern with a half-time feel. When played in combination with the verse guitar riff, it creates the impression of circular flow. This effect is a direct result of its unusual structure. Let's look at it from a slightly different perspective. Even though I wrote it as 2 - 4/4 measures, it could also be viewed as 2 - 3/4 measures.........followed by 1 - 2/4 measure. Those consecutive 3/4 measures give it that circular (revolving) characteristic. The final 2/4 measure adds a resolved/finalized feel to it every 8 counts. However we chose to view it, the bottom line is this. It contributes to the song in a positive way and works nicely with the other verse elements. When constructing parts for new songs, your top priority should always be .........how the individual element impacts the song as a whole. In this particular case, it's win-win. The pattern is cool & it works well within the context of the song. In addition to what's shown on the chart, 3 cymbal crashes were used..... - one marks the entry of a lead guitar melody - a 2nd marks the exit - and a 3rd is combined with a roll & utilized at the end of the verse section. The roll fills an intentionally vacant musical space and also serves to announce the coming change into the chorus section. The final crash, following the roll, marks/accents the actual point of that change. As you can see, each element is there for a reason. The Chorus My intent was for the overall momentum of the song to pick up at the choruses. They're meant to represent the high point of the song's energy. In part, I accomplished that by shifting the drum track into a more traditional sounding, straight-time structure. The primary guitar parts also change. The chorus guitars create a smoother, more traditionally melodic flow. They lack that busy, dysfunctional feel generated by the verse guitar arrangement. The chorus section drums are essentially made-up of two, 2-measure beat patterns........sprinkled with roll/crash combinations. Coming up next, I'll list some of the specific choices made & connect them to the various concepts discussed back in parts 1 & 2 of this tutorial. - The 1st roll/crash combination fills a space, adds variety to the drum line and announces entry into the second half of the chorus section. - The 2nd roll/crash combination fills a space, adds variety and announces/marks the beginning of a new song section - the bridge. - Overall, crashes are used more frequently in the chorus sections. They re-enforce accents, add color and assist in raising the energy level & volume of the sections. The Bridge Because this tutorial's already a bit lengthy, I'll briefly summarize the final song sections. After that, I'll provide you with a direct link to the actual song - "Pentatonic Playground". That'll allow you to hear the finished drum track within the context of completed arrangement. The bridge section enters immediately following the first chorus. The drum part consists of variations on the chorus patterns. There's not a dramatic change in the feel of the drums.......only a subtle one. This is the only section of the song that was intended to have a melodic, flowing, pretty feel to it. For the most part, that's accomplished by means of the surrounding instruments (strings, chord-based guitar, etc.). The bridge drums weren't supposed to stand out. They simply needed to blend into the background & work well with everything else. Summary of 2nd Verse / Final Choruses & Ending - The basic beat patterns are almost identical to that of their earlier counterparts. - Since I didn't add much variation with the patterns themselves, I got it done in other ways. Several new elements were introduced in these final sections, allowing me to achieve the variety, color & additional momentum I wanted. 1) Intermittent breaths were introduced in the final verse section. 2) A tambourine track was added at the beginning of the final chorus. Once introduced, both the tambourine & breath elements remained in for the duration of the song. 3) The final choruses & ending are interlaced with additional rolls & crashes, which assist in raising the overall momentum of the sections. The Finished Song As promised, here's the direct link to "Pentatonic Playground" http://www.tune-smith.com/Pentatonic_Playground.mp3 Tom Hoffman Songstuff member profile http://www.tune-smith.com http://www.youtube.com/user/DrumStuffTH
  21. As a long-time participant in online musician/songwriter forums, I've seen countless references to the infamous phenomena known as writers block. The thing is.....I'm not certain it actually exists! At least not in the way we've come to think of it. Writers block is one of those catch-all terms. A shapeless, indefinable brain-fog held responsible for any & all blockages of creative or productive thought. Whatever the issue, be it..... lack of a viable idea absence of inspiration or personal motivation difficulty in finishing, or developing a specific project inability to find a creative way to phrase a lyric, or make point The tendency is to chalk it up to writers block. Like many other creative fields, we musical types tend to shroud our process with a bit of delusional mystique. Simply put, we don't want to be clearly understood by the general public. After all, what we do is special and we wouldn't want just anyone to think they could do it. Would we? Our use of deliberately vague terms such as "inspiration", "writers block", "talented", "gifted" and "emotion-filled" help us to maintain that shroud of mystery. Seriously....I dare you to try and explain to someone what "inspiration" is! Clearly define it in 10 words or less. I certainly can't. Our industry elites are often the worst offenders in this area. Most of us have had the pleasure of hearing a famous artist interviewed. Have you ever wondered about some of the stories and advice those interviews generate? It's a tough position to find yourself in, particularly when it's one of your favorite artists. You worship the ground this person walks on. You want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Still, you can't help wondering about some of what you just heard. One of my favorite stories is the tried & true "it came to me in a dream". Good luck explaining to an aspiring writer how to go about writing a song in their sleep! My nominee for favorite piece of misleading, useless advice is this one - "I never keep records of my new song ideas. If it's worth remembering, I'll remember it. If I don't, it probably wasn't very good to begin with". OMG....seriously? Unfortunately yes! As closely as I can recall, that's what the man said. It's so wrong....on so many levels, yet I'll bet there were listeners who took him seriously. So, what's the motivation behind these fabrications of fact? Simple! They want to make our creative process sound just a little cooler, a little less attainable and a little more mysterious than it actually is. Fact is, the tales they tell are more interesting than the truth! So is telling everyone that you have "writers block". Despite its lack of definable meaning..... everyone's familiar with the term using it implies artistry. After all, one must actually be a writer if one has "writers block"....mustn't one? Over the years, I've noticed a pattern. The term writers block is typically used by younger, less experienced writers. That being the case, I'd like to point out a rarely discussed songwriting fundamental. There are 2 basic steps involved in creating a new song. First comes the idea itself. Without the fundamental idea, there can be no writing. Development of that idea into an actual song. This is the lengthy, grueling part of the process....the actual writing. My fear is that far too many novices attempt to approach songwriting as a single step process. They schedule time to sit down and write, without having an idea.....hoping that one arrives, like a lightning bolt from the heavens. I have very simple advice for anyone employing this method. Stop!!! Scheduled writing time should never be spent trying to come up with new song ideas. Either have them beforehand, or don't sit down to write! If your difficulty is in coming up with viable ideas, you are not experiencing writers block. You simply don't have any good ideas. The two are not synonymous. Typically, ideas for songs don't arrive in a scheduled manner. They come when they come. In my case, they generally evolve from one of 4 starting points: - a chord progression - a riff/pattern - a section of melody - a central theme Those 4 account for the majority of my step #1s. Many of these starting points (ideas) are discovered completely by accident. They come while practicing guitar, driving, watching TV, speaking to someone about a totally unrelated subject, listening to music, or waiting to fall asleep. The trick is to keep good, organized records. That way....when you do schedule time to write, you actually have a starting point (idea). From there, you can develop an actual song. In my 18 years of songwriting, I never sat down to write without first having an idea. Not only have I never done it, it's difficult for me to imagine why anyone would. Think about it for a moment. Would you go out to change the oil in your car, without having a car? Of course not! Only an idiot would do that, right? Then why in the world would you sit down to develop & expand upon an idea without having one? The truth is, an experienced writer wouldn't! I'll make one final point in closing. Not everyone is a writer! The ability to..... begin with virtually nothing (a blank slate) conceive a viable new idea then develop that idea into a fully fledged song ....isn't something everyone can do. At least not by themselves. Fact is, I know knowledgeable musicians who by their own admission, couldn't write a song if someone held a gun to their head. Most would love to and many have tried. For whatever reason, they can't. If that last description sounded a bit like you, but you still crave involvement in the creative end of the process, try partnering up with someone. Figure out what your strong points are, then find someone who's strong where you're weak. If you're good at developing ideas, yet never seem to get any of your own, team up with someone who does! Last time I checked, 2 halves still make a whole. Topics like this are difficult to address on a music forum such as Songstuff. Were I to post something like this as a response to a question or problem, I'd run the risk of someone taking it personally. In my opinion, subjects like this are better dealt with as blog articles. Hopefully, someone finds this one useful. Tom Hoffman Songstuff member profile http://www.tune-smith.com http://www.youtube.com/user/DrumStuffTH
  22. Hi all, I'm hoping to find some people to do some lyric brainstorming with. I have a few topics I want to start working on but am having a bit of a hard time with some of the words. If anyone is in the same spot, we can help each other hopefully, songwriter to songwriter!
  23. Hi I just finished and released a new song called "Sandbags"! It has a great melody and a strong chorus - a nice ballad! Listen here: I would love to get some feedback More songs: https://www.youtube.com/c/masterplansongs/videos Thaks Tian
  24. Window Shoppers Verse 1 Sometimes I wonder to myself But I don't say my thoughts out loud I'm scared they'll put me on the shelf But I'm still trying to get down Chorus I've heard what the cool kids said The boys want me and the girls wanna be me But they want my body, not my head Window shoppers, that's all they'll ever be Verse 2 At times my daydreams last for hours Time to me means nothing But all of the time in the world will be ours If you give me a sign, give me something Chorus I've heard what the cool kids said The boys want me and the girls wanna be me But they want my body, not my head Window shoppers, that's all they'll ever be Bridge But it's not just them now I rarely ever say my thoughts out loud It's everyone now They're all the same face in the crowd Chorus I've heard what they all have said The boys want me and the girls wanna be me But they want my body, not my head Windows shoppers, that's all everyone will be
  25. Hi Everyone, I write Lyrics for different genre songs. I started with a Blues, called, A Thousand Mountains, and progressed to Rapping-type lyrics, with songs like, Sorted. I have now completed four of these latter lyrics, and this is ongoing. I would love to collaborate with a Musician who can put the vocals and tune to my lyrics.