So Vocal Media is having a challenge for Vocal Creators like me called “Behind the Beat” where we write about a song that changed our lives. I wrote about “Home” by Three Days Grace and ultimately it was a bittersweet experience, but so very awesome. Here’s the beginning:
The perfect parent doesn’t exist. There will never be a guardian with flawless parenting or the supernatural sense of knowing exactly what their children need all the time. However, every parent and child will come to experience the bittersweet fact of life called pain. Pain echoes in the hearts of the emotionally neglected with a perfect resonance that could bond them or break them. It transforms our relationships with one another and our relationship with life. That echo has reverberated for generations. In my time, the echo thrust into me through the song “Home” by Three Days Grace and it not only woke me to the pain I didn’t understand or know how to express, but also acted as my personal catalyst for self-expression and retrospection through the arts and friendship.
I promised myself I’d work on music this weekend and actually share what I’m working on. I made a TikTok as a way of sort of “vlogging” about it. I have done some singing and piano playing on there if you’re interested in following. My username is authentikei.
But guys…holy shit, I forgot how terrifying it was to record myself while I sing and play. My hands started shaking as I shared the video. My singing lost its confidence with each passing moment. I had to take a break. I forgot how much I wanted to be a musician. I mean, I already am one, but to share my art…holy shit. It was so terrifying. The videos aren’t even that spectacular. I wanted to keep it simple just to figure out the app, how well the audio works, etc…
Holy shit. What a beautiful terror. It’s a blessing to have so many ways to express myself, but music has always been my primary. Doing this almost led to a panic attack. It’s so strange and familiar. I’m going to keep going, even while trembling.
No, I’m not talking about writing lyrics. I mean writing down the notes and all the other note signatures you need if you’re trying to improve your classical piano skills.
If you know anything about music, you can see for yourself that those notes of mine really aren’t anything complicated lol. It’s just crazy how long it took today to write this piece today. I warmed up around 4:45pm, then started actually playing/composing the original piece around 5:30pm and stopped at 8pm. So 2.5 hours for a two minute song. It was really fun though. I hope to be able to have the stamina to compose more and more. Studying classical music has always been a love of mine, but it became even more important when I discovered gothic and symphonic rock. That’s why my last post has a long list of musicians I admire.
I started taking classical piano lessons as a kid before I started training in karate, so my music theory knowledge faded a bit. I played by ear mostly when the lessons stopped and now I’m trying to get back in the classical saddle. It’s fun, but there’s a lot to remember and new things to learn. Hopefully, I’ll have an actual grand or upright someday. My keyboard is awesome enough to be sensitive to dynamics, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my fingers were super weak since the keys are basically plastic.
To find some music inspiration for music production in the future, I went hunting for some bands. Some bands I knew and some bands are new to me. I’d like to share what I found if you’re into this kind of genre.
Okay, well I already knew about EPICA, but I didn’t know the lead singer was a fan of Attack on Titan so that’s NEAT!
Lacuna Coil is an old favorite. I think my friends like this band more than I did when they became more popular. Their album Delirium though is extraordinary! Blood, Tears, and Dust is fantastic.
House of Shame is a great too.
Okay, for a few artists who are new to me.
So, LACRIMOSA is a gothic rock/darkwave band that really reminds me of older “trad” gothic rock bands, which is spectacular. It’s the kind of music you want to listen to when you really feel dead inside (it’s just satisfying to find music that really captures that).
This band is less goth and more symphonic rock. Their music is truly mystical, I’m in love with the lead singer’s vocals, and I’m hoping to hear more music from them too. Lunatica (which by the way, they really missed the chance to name their band Lu-NAUT-ica…) has music that reminds me of high fantasy stories. Their newest album, New Shores, really seems to capture a steampunk-like story. I’m all for it.
I already knew about Akiko Shikata and although they’re neither goth nor symphonic rock, I want to recommend this group if you like glorious, folk inspired music. There’s something really heavenly about it. Hard to describe, just listen.
And now for something completely different. Dremora is a deathcore band. I really liked the lyrics to this song. Apparently this band makes quite a few songs based off The Elder Scrolls games, like Skyrim and Oblivion.
I already knew about Blackbriar, but if this song isn’t witchy AF. I listen to Blackbriar on and off, but this is my new favorite song. In addition to…
…this song. This I’m sure is about two sister witches…or they’re lesbians, I don’t know. I’m fine with either story. I think for these lyrics lesbian witches makes more sense. I think the song is melodically beautiful.
My last discovery was Erutan, who is such a precious gift to this world. Her music based off of literature is great, but I recently learned that I listened to one of her older songs on Spotify a while ago. She has a wonderful voice and plays multiple instruments. Very mystical and fantasy like. I like her song “Tarts” too.
I laid down some vocal tracks for the “Love’s A Burden” cover today and am starting to hone in the sound I’m wanting to portray in future music productions. I’m quite thrilled, but I am a bit stumped on what genre to call this. As I’ve said before, I’m exploring a goth subgenre, but it’s not really darkwave or anything of the like. It’s this goth, electronic, classically-influenced…thing. I don’t know what to call the thing, but whatever it is, I’m excited to share it. Hopefully, it will be shared with you all by this weekend. Fingers crossed.
I’ve been messing with this program since 2013 and I’m still so grateful for it. Like I’ve said before, I do want to graduate to Logic Pro X, but man you can really make some amazing beats with Garageband. Don’t knock it so quickly. I think Windows users probably hate on it the most, but maybe that’s my Mac bias speaking? I don’t know.
“Love’s a Burden” is still a process, but I’m nearly done with the instrumental itself. I really wanted to define the music style I’m aspiring for to achieve. I love electronic and classical (I love heavy metal too, but my guitar skills are garbage for now). Those two genres can wonderfully meld, but I want a darker tone to my music, but not so dark that it’s not catchy. What do you call that? I know there’s darkwave, synthwave, witchhouse and the like, but I’m really not brave enough to say my genre fits in those categories. Perhaps categorizing it isn’t that necessary at the moment.
Aside from my cat jumping on my piano keyboard one time, I think my cover song of “Love’s a Burden” by Beyond the Black is coming along. Today I kept some things in mind that really helped me stay grounded and stable while recording.
My Music Recording Weaknesses
I record for too long without breaks. I don’t really know how long professionals record, but I used to do 5+ hours and it totally stress me out. I’ve cut it down to 2-3 for my own sanity.
The fatigue made me too critical of myself. I would be tired and grumpy and that would skew my perception of all the progress I made in several hours.
Forgetting that it’s a learning process. So, even though I’ve been using GarageBand since 2013 (and I hope to graduate to LogicPro X soon if it’s necessary), the program has changed a lot and there’s still a lot about music engineering I need to learn. There’s no need to be frustrated when this is a skill that just needs sharpening. I can’t be mad at myself for learning at my own pace.
Forgetting to pat myself on the back. This goes with being too critical. Progress is progress. It’s better than nothing at all.
Keeping all that in mind, I was able to enhance my strengths as well.
My Music Recording Strengths
I have a good ear. Because of this, I’m able to catch my mistakes and learn more about editing and engineering along the way.
I am obsessive, but empathic. Music is more about feeling than it is having perfect technique, perfect rhythm, perfect pitch, etc. All those things help and I strive to meet them, but the feeling of the song isn’t in its perfection.
I am developing confidence in my creative process. I have to amend the way I approach a song all the time. Change is the only constant. It’s quite fun to have new ideas pop up and experiment with them. I’m trusting my imagination every time I give it a try.
I realize my resourcefulness. There are so many awesome tutorials, plug-ins, and more sources of information that will help me understand GarageBand more and more. I’m not crawling in the dark here and I shouldn’t force myself to do that. The information I need will come to me in time. Remaining open to whatever comes my way gives me hope.
I truly hope any fellow musicians reading this relate and treat themselves with more compassion, give themselves more pats on the back, and take breaks when they need it. Working ourselves to oblivion will actually obliterate the enjoyment that comes with creating music. So love the journey and stop obsessing about the destination.