Monday, 4 July 2011

Two new songs, and holy crap theres an album there.

New Songs: Till The End Of Time and Better Dreams

So, yeah. There's now an albums worth of content that you can listen to in full and download from my Last.FM page. I'll update the Soundcloud at a later date.

As I said before, it's far from finished and it will be a while before I consider it finished properly but it will definitely be worth it once It's done. You can go ahead and listen to all of it now but some of it is very rough around the edges. If you don't mind then that's cool with me.

It's pretty cool to listen back to it as a whole and realize that I did it all flying solo. Definitely something I'm quite proud of. I like pretty much all of the tracks too. There isn't a track where I think that a song could benefit from more writing or being stripped back to be more simplistic. As they are they're all pretty good. Just need a bit of polish.

I remember that I said that song Number 12 would stay off the album. Well truth is song Number 12 doesn't appear on this album but there are 12 songs there. That's because song 11 is a totally new song and number 12 was the intended 11th song.

It's a bonus track and I have no idea if bonus tracks count or not. It ended up being a bonus track because I didn't like it as much as the other song and it sounds a bit too much like "Where It Starts And Where We Are" for my liking but I like the lyrics and melody enough to not scrap it completely.

So what about the 11th addition then? well I wanted to do something simple with the acoustic guitar. I had this little melody that I've been playing over and over and not knowing what to do with and I finally found an effective way to use it. I really like the way this builds up and I really like the piano on the track too. I didn't intend to include strings and piano, in fact I wanted to keep it as simple as it can get with just the guitar and me singing but then I decided to make it a bit more interesting by adding more in and it worked out great.

and uh, yeah, that makes love song number 2. my apologies.

So, now comes the quite daunting task of going through the songs with a fine tooth comb. some I may even re-record in their entirety. It will be a long process with probably a lot of frustrations along the way but it will make the album just that bit better.

Until next time

- Dex01

Sunday, 3 July 2011

One Down....

New Song: Help Me Off This Shelf

Only one song to go until I have successfully written, recorded and released a whole albums worth of songs, although some are really a lot like rough ideas. Especially "Get Up And Go" which was just me and the acoustic guitar and was really supposed to serve as a reminder so that I wouldn't forget the song idea but I ended up adding harmonies and a little bit of extra guitar work and I figured I hadn't put anything out in a while so, why not.

So, about this song then. I've had the concept for this one in my head for a while. Originally it was totally different, There was a pre-verse bit that was a bit more complex than is usual when it comes to my guitar work. The verse was pretty much lifted from the pre-chorus of the Foo Fighters "I Should Have Known" and the chorus was simpler than it is in the finished song but contains the same essential chords.

So what happened to that version? Well I found that I just couldn't pull off the fiddly little pre-verse bit I had written for myself. I tired and tried and tried but I just couldn't get it to sound right.I tired approaching it in a variety of different ways but it just wasn't working. I do have a really rough recording of what it would sound like and I might post that at some point so people can get an idea of what it was going to sound like.

As you can imagine I was pretty down about the fact I couldn't perform what I had written for myself and I sulked for a couple of days. I went back and tried to see if I could re-work the song in some way. So I started messing around with the chorus bit and found a riff that was much simpler but really sounded good. This is the riff you can hear in the chorus which is reminiscent of "Enough Space" by the Foo Fighters.......well damn one band in particular seems to have had a lot of influence on me this time around.

As for the rest, it's essentially just the chorus chords but in a different order but it gets the job done and sounds pretty good. The little sort of orchestral bit at the end I thought up at around the same time as the rest of the song. I thought it would be a good way to end the song and because it sounds like it does I have placed it in between "Five Long Years" because that's very rock based and "Where It Starts And Where We Are" because that's more light and floaty like the end of this one.

Of course the important part of any song is the lyrics. And. Well. It's a love song. Not in a conventional sense though. It's not a ballad or an acoustic song, I described it to my friend as "a love song hiding underneath a rock song" which is pretty much exactly what it is and the ending pretty much backs that one up. And this kind of love song has been done before. "Always" by Sum 41 was quite close to what I was aiming for.

Was it difficult to write? Um, yes. I have been agonizing for close to over a year about this song. I always knew I was going to write a love song I just had no idea how I would go about it. Eventually I just stuck to the old writers adage "write what you know" so I decided to write how I felt. Then I realized I felt a bunch of different ways. One moment I could feel really strongly, the next I could sort of just feel contented and happy. And I kind of just worked those two together. This reflects more of the high energy feelings and then kind of just settles down which honestly is pretty much spot on.

When I wrote "This Doesn't Concern You" I thought about a lot of things from the past that either hurt or made me angry. When I wrote the line "you put me on a shelf" I was thinking mostly about my last relationship. Not that she just up and left without a word it was a mutual thing but she definitely left a big hole. So I thought "what better way to describe how I feel than to explain that all the past wrongs had been undone" And that is where "Help Me Off This Shelf" comes from.

Yes it's all soppy emotional stuff this time around and I do apologize for it but hey, this stuff happens and I really wanted to get this one done because it was an idea that has been bothering me for quite a while now so it's great to have that finished.

Only one song left now until all my bigger song ideas are done. Even though I have to go back through them I'm quite keen to hear how the more polished versions will sound.

Until then

- Dex01

Friday, 1 July 2011

Another hair-brained scheme

Before I launch into what will probably be the most long winded blog-post ever, I should probably introduce myself for those of you who have no clue who I am. Real name is Alex. but everyone calls me Dex.

It was my online screen name that one friend got so used to that he started using it in the real world and then it caught on. before I know what's going on I have a girlfriend who knows me by a name I never had. It gets confusing sometimes but I like to keep the name as a reminder of my past, uh, I guess trials and tribulations.

As a person, I guess I'm sort of difficult to figure out. sort of an introverted extrovert. Quiet with a lot to say for myself. Shy but want to be seen. Sometimes I can be hesitant to talk to new people but I want to perform in front of strangers. my brain is wired all wrong.

I'm into all kinds of different things. I love video games, films, animation and, unsurprisingly, music. I'm studying film at the moment and the music stuff kind of fits in between when I have time for it.

As for WHAT music I like it's really mostly rock but there's a bit of everything in there. everything from AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Weezer, Motley Crue a bunch of stuff. There's a bunch of orchestrated video game music in there too along with what the kids call "chiptunes" because I am naturally a huge nerd.

What inspired me to try and get myself "out there" as a musician was a man called Jonathan Coulton who you MAY have heard of as he wrote the ending songs for the video game Portal and it's sequel. Here's the best part: Coulton quit his day job to write music. THAT is inspiration if ever I saw it!

So, what's up with the shelf thing? well, when I started this project, I didn't know it was going to be a project until song idea numbers 2 & 3 popped up. originally I just wanted to see if I could write a song and it turned out that I could! (in my opinion at any rate) so I took my first stab at writing lyrics in a very long time (I don't remember if I ever wrote good lyrics before) and the very first verse read:

I live for no one else
I am all by my self
I think I need some help
and you put me on a shelf

not terribly inventive but not terrible either. When I wrote this song, I think I was on a real "I am my own person and you can't tell me what to do" kick. It was that way for a lot of these songs. I had quite a lot of lyrics about being myself and not being false.

When song number 2 rolled around, I figured I would just put both of these out and that would be the end of that. Then song number 3 happened and I figured I would just write two more and call it an EP. taking what I felt was the most "poignant" line from the songs I had so far I titled the EP "You Put Me On A Shelf" and did indeed write two more subsequent songs.

Did the ideas stop there? nope. Apparently my brain misunderstood what I wanted and turned the number 5 into 11 and so a full album project is born. I knew I was in trouble when song number 6 arrived. I had a moment where I said "okay I'll just put that with the other ones" and then there was 7, 8, 9, & 10 and then that's too many for an EP so may as well call it an album.

This album isn't even finished yet and I already have ideas for my next TWO albums. Having lots of ideas is great but it gets to a point where you (somehow) think "WHEN WILL IT END?" There could potentially be a song number 12 on the current album but I think I'm going to leave that idea in the vault for now. I don't think it'll be there for long at any rate.

What's the album about? good question. my best answer: Everything. It's a jumbled mess because it wasn't planned as an album and I had no reference for a starting point and it just kind of "grew" naturally. It's cool to hear me get steadily better at songwriting as the album goes on but it suffers because the album has no context or central themes.

Is it a long album? not really. the first five songs that were meant to be the EP were only one to two minutes in length. that's why it was going to be an EP. then three four minute songs happened and that idea went out of the window. at present it's about 25 minutes long, unfinished songs not included ,so that's subject to change. final run-time will probably be something like 35 minutes

The album will be "finished" soon but it will be a while before I consider it done as in completed. some songs are not really "mixed" right e.g. Some vocals are too loud, that harmony doesn't work, that part is slightly off beat etc etc there are a bunch of problems that need to be fixed before it's passable as a proper album and I do want to get it to that stage. I could just leave it and feign ignorance but I would only end up going back to those songs later anyway (and cause more ideas).I'll leave everything as it is on Soundcloud but I will delete old versions and replace them with newer ones on Last.FM

You Put Me On A Shelf by Dex01
(Note: not all songs have been uploaded to Soundcloud. Last.FM stays updated most regularly)

Only two songs left until the, I suppose, "beta" version of the album is done. one song is pretty much finished, just needs to be tweaked. second one I know where I'm headed with which is not always the case and I kind of merged two ideas for songs together into this one. looking forward to getting those done soon.

As for the next two projects I want to work on, I have some idea of what I want to do. The next album I won't consider a continuation of this one because I want to work with lots of different people. I'm basically going to invite anyone who wants to participate to write song lyrics for me. Lyrics can be about anything from why you love toast to how much you hate fire I really don't mind. Doesn't have to be a whole song either can be a verse or a chorus or even just a first line. It's a project that I just want to have some fun with and collaborate with people and hopefully maybe get a bit more noticed. maybe. It's probably going to be quite fun and I'm sure there are many people out there that are better lyricists than I am.

So will there ever be a You Put Me On A Shelf:A Storage Unit Compendium II? Yes. Eventually. It won't be called that. (probably). Now that I'm nearing the pseudo finish-line with the current album I'm having thoughts about how I would go back and re-do this one if I knew it was going to become a full album. It would probably be a lot more personal and tackle a few more sensitive issues that I don't touch on in here. most of this album is "bad person did bad thing to me and I am mad" and that's okay when it's backed up with some good sounding music but there's definitely a few things I haven't tackled that I would be quite tempted to at least take a stab at in round 2.

Will it be as serious? I haven't decided yet. I got inspired and wrote a song called "Working Man's Lament" on a whim. A song about average Office-Working-Joe having a bad day but with humorous lyrics. Ended up being something I'm quite proud of and prompted the collaboration idea. So it would probably be a mixture of songs like that and others that are more serious which is much more my style. This is all one huge learning curve for me and I'm just mostly shrugging and following the path I'm setting up for myself. Now I'm looking back at said path and realizing I've missed bits. Or some bits are a bit off. analogies!

I hope that every poor soul who decides to read all this and has been bored to death now understands my thought process a bit more. Maybe one day you will see a blog post about HOW I COME UP WITH IDEAS. don't worry it will only be 1,000 pages long!

Until then.

- Dex.