Proposal – Bibliography – Context – Research – Practical Skills – Evaluation
Since September 2017 I have made exponential progress in my music. My songwriting has come along greatly, for example I now have a much greater understanding of the guitar neck and instead of just using a capo and playing open chords, i play up and down the fret board using different shapes and bringing a new dimension to my work. I have also improved with regards to my stage presence. At the start of the year i stood very still on stage and looked at nothing but my guitar neck, whereas now i engage with the audience and know our material well enough so i can really get in to the show and not worry about what comes next in the song – it is second nature.
Throughout the units I have learned the importance of putting on a good show. It doesn’t matter how technically good your music is, to a general audience it is all about making the performance memorable so that they come back. What i mean by this is that the way the stage looks and the lighting is just as important as the songs themselves – In South Hours we go for a more simplistic style of music but we really engage with our audience and our aesthetic is key. For example we all wear black and have prefer to have purples and darker colours when we perform to give a more professional look. Another thing i have learned in the units leading up to this one is how important the mix is when recording a track. Unit 2 highlighted this as my own recordings were far inferior to the ones made for us by the tech class. I did not comprehend how much songs come to life in the studio and how much work goes in to just one track. An example of the work the tech class did for us can be found below on our Spotify and also a video from a recent gig at the Queen Street Brew House. This video shows how we have made a name for ourselves around college and in turn, Colchester as you can see everyone dancing and singing along to our single.
This learning has taught us to analyse every little detail of our work and make sure it is perfect before we even think about performing or recording it. We now think about every element of our live shows from where we are standing to how we want to go in to the next song etc. For example our opening song Teeth starts off with a whole band jam and builds up and up until the riff kicks and then everything comes together. This has come from the idea that we need to grip our audience right from the start and keep them interested. Our set list is also tailored to the idea that we want the audience to be dancing and really in to our set the whole way through, so we do not just throw in all of our heavier, dancing songs at once as the crowd will get bored and tired. We have also learned that the songs which have been well made in the studio are more popular and people are beginning to know them and sing along so we throw them in towards the end of our set.
This has influenced our choices for unit 8 as we want to throw in some new tracks which will be released in summer but keep the ones people know, and we hope, love. For example we won’t play the same set as we did at Christmas but we will keep some of the material the same.
The concept behind our project is to be professional. We want our audience to recognise that we are well rehearsed and know our material extremely well. This has come from the 1975’s live performances where the show is very well laid out and very professional. They have a certain stigma around them when they are on stage and we want to recreate that in our way and get people thinking ‘Yeah these guys are good let’s listen’. We are working on that even now by only playing songs which are tight and making sure everything is perfect before people hear it. We have been working on this throughout the whole year and i believe we have cemented ourselves as one of the strongest bands on the course and people know we are not here to mess about. We are planning to just carry this on and keep up appearances – we only let people close to the band hear the new material we create and this means that everyone else only hears the fully polished, fully ready stuff. We don’t like just playing ideas in our lessons and we judge ourselves to a very high standard. An example of this can be found below:
On the other hand, it is difficult to define a professional. By some people’s standards, Ed Sheeran is professional but by others, he is not – he is just mediocre. In my opinion, a professional musician is anyone who can support their lives by working in the music industry and the music industry alone. Another way to be a professional musician is to have a real impact on the world – for example guitarist Tom Morello has a large political impact in the USA as his songs are politically driven and lots of people listen to him and side with his far left views. He has used his status in the industry to express his views to a wide audience and ultimately, that is what music is about.
Throughout the project we will keep any demo ideas we have for our recording sessions with Lukas and show how we added new elements to our songs in the studio, for example the use of synths and keyboard which we do not do live, however work out how to play them on guitar and add them that way. I personally will write down anything we work on in practise sessions and do the odd recording at home when i am writing / practising a part. I will also document any changes i have made to the original, acoustic written songs by Ben. Our songs are made by Ben getting some chords and writing lyrics over them, he then hand them to me and i change it to fit a whole band scenario and in most cases write a lead part and make the song lean towards the Indie genre as oppose to singer songwriter.
PLAN FOR UNIT 8
Wednesday 25th – Continue writing material and plan which 3 songs we want to record
Thursday 26th – Rehearse ‘Teeth’, our first song in the studio and make sure we know exactly what we want from the recording
Friday 27th – Record ‘Teeth’ in the morning with Lukas. Try and get started on Late Nights and Find a Way. – start on unit 8 blog post.
Wednesday 2nd – Continue blog work and research for our Unit 8
Thursday 3rd – Rehearse full set ready for the final performance and practice this in live sound
Friday 4th – continue writing for future use and rehearse again our set for the gig
Wednesday 9th – Work on blog – specifically the research section
Thursday 10th – Keep rehearsing the set, focusing on Find a Way
Friday 11th – Make Find a Way as tight as possible
Week 4 –
Wednesday 16th – Catch up on blog – specifically the bibliography and make sure it is tight
Thursday 17th – Take a break from the rehearsing – write some new material
Friday 18th – Blog work – make sure i have completed the research
Week 5 –
Wednesday 23rd – Continue on blog, try to get really in to research
Thursday 24th – Get back to rehearsing our set
Friday 25th – Blog all day and make sure it is up to date – Specifically research
Week 6 –
Wednesday 30th – Get a plan for our aesthetic ready for the final performance
Thursday 31st – Make sure the songs are ready so we can work on stage presence for the final show
Friday 1st – A session with Lukas – finish guitars and vocals
Week 7 –
Wednesday 6th – Ensure blog is all don’t bar the evaluation
Thursday 7th – Final chance to practise for the gig – get everyone ready to perform
Friday 8th – Evaluate performance and proof read blog.
Deborah In Live (2018). Live Review, Pale Waves in Berlin, Oct 29th 2017 .[ONLINE] Available at: https://www.indieisnotagenre.com/live-review-pale-waves-in-berlin-oct-27th-2017/ [Accessed 3rd May 2018]
The 1975 (2016). The 1975 – Full Live Show – (Vevo Presents: Live at The O2, London). [Online Video] Available: .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kiY87XLahk. [Accessed 3rd May 2018]
Pale Waves (2017). Pale Waves – There’s A Honey. [Online Video] Available: .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfPZ6hukcw8 [Accessed 10th May 2018]
mac1984rhcp (2009). Couldn’t Stand The Weather – SRV & Double Trouble [Online Video]. Available: .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcN4cvoTgSA [Accessed 13th May 2018]
BBC Radio 1 (2015) Zane Lowe meets Kanye West 2015 – Contains Strong Language [Online Video]. Available: .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Rn0hDB6Z8k [Accessed 17th May 2018]
Fred Bambridge (2014). Before They Were Big – The 1975. [ONLINE]. Available at: .http://www.itsallindie.com/2014/02/before-they-were-big-1975.html [Accessed 1st June 2018]
South Hours (2018) South Hours Top Played. [ONLINE]. Available at: .https://open.spotify.com/artist/4hlMk1QpAYiVkgoZjdhMKE [Accessed 14th June 2018]
Lukas Wallis Music Tech Level 3 (2018) Teeth – South Hours. [ONLINE]. Available at: .https://soundcloud.com/user-630024634/teeth-south-hours/s-30oKQ [Accessed 14th June 2018]
Lukas Wallis Music Tech Level 3 (2018) Late Nights – South Hours [ONLINE]. Available at: .https://soundcloud.com/user-630024634/late-nights-south-hours/s-de4as [Accessed 14th June 2018]
Lukas Wallis Music Tech Level 3 (2018) Find A Way – South Hours [ONLNE]. Available at: .https://soundcloud.com/user-630024634/find-a-way-south-hours/s-Lx0fV [Accessed 14th June 2018]
Max Hughes-Jones (2018) BREW HOUSE [Online Video]. Available at: .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1jv_69I9Ig&feature=youtu.be [Accessed 14th June 2018]
Max Hughes-Jones (2018) TEETH FINAL [Online Video]. Available at: .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8ISXxDqcuY&t=1s [Accessed 14th June 2018]
Max Hughes-Jones (2018) TEETH BREW HOUSE [Online Video]. Available at: .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYvT24Am4A0 [Accessed 14th June 2018]
There are many artists whose work have inspired my own in relation to the Unit 8 project. One such artist is Pale Waves with the song There’s A Honey. The song includes a lead guitar riff which has a tremolo and chorus on it, which inspired me to write the lead riff during our song, Find a Way. There’s A Honey also has a 1980’s vibe with heavy chorus and a strong emphasis on the bass line. This is coming through in our song writing as we are simplifying the tracks down and making them easy listening – we have tried the complicated songs and they are just simply not as popular. In order to achieve a similar sound to this I am working on keeping my playing as tight as possible and making sure I hit each note and each chord goes on as long as it should. This is something i have struggled with the whole year – i can play the songs but they sometimes sound far too processed and robotic when i play it and i want it to be just as tight and just as fluid.
Another way in which Pale Waves has inspired us is their aesthetic. Their stage set ups are all black with bright white, piercing lights and purples – not too dissimilar to the 1975 – and we want to reimagine this is our own way. We are planning to wear all black in our performances and keep a more serious, professional vibe. We also wear a lot of vintage/retro clothing which is another thing that Pale Waves do. To achieve the aesthetic we are going for we need to decide exactly what we want and let the tech team know and make sure it fits the stage well.
Pale Waves live in Berlin, 2017
Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
A second piece of work that has inspired us is the 1975’s show at the O2 in 2017. The show encompasses everything we strive for when we perform live – it has the aesthetic, the music, the lights and the large venue. The reason this has inspired us (and ultimately influenced our decisions when we play live) is that the 1975 have come such a long way in such a short period of time, for example it was only in 2011 they were playing the Chinnery’s in Southend, a venue which fellow band Suspects recently performed. This is inspiring to us as it shows that it is possible to go from smaller venues like Chinnery’s to the O2 in under 10 years. Watching videos of this has influenced our live shows and decisions for unit 8 as the show is professional. The band go on stage and know exactly what they are doing and get straight on with putting a good show on – there is no messing about plugging guitars in and tuning, they are ready to go and don’t give the audience a chance to calm down before they play Love Me, the first song of the set. We try to model ourselves on this by not talking to the audience before we play our first song. We want a sense of wonder when we walk on stage and play Teeth and are not going to mess about and waste valuable stage time saying ‘hello we are South Hours from Colchester and we hope you enjoy our set’. The reason for this is that people are either coming to watch us or are out to listen to good music which we can and will provide, so why introduce ourselves right off the bat. A way we could become more similar to this performance is working on a backing track for us and playing along to it. Our studio recordings have a lot of synths and electronic sounds in them which we simply cannot replicate live and it would be good to bring that in to our performances, much like The 1975 did in this show.
A third example of work that has inspired me is Stevie Ray Vaughan’s (SRV) live version of Couldn’t Stand the Weather at Austin City Limits in 1989. This song is performed wonderfully and it is hard to imagine there are only 4 people playing instruments when you shut your eyes and listen. The song itself has always been a favourite of mine with its funky, choppy riff and then it drops in to some of Stevie’s favourite blues chords which always seem to fit so well with whatever vibe the song is going for. This performance especially was one of Stevie’s greatest – the song is played flawlessly with his signature guitar tone and when the build up to the solo kicks in and each band member plays a little excerpt you can’t help but get gassed for Stevie’s solo and the satisfaction when he does that first bend in fantastic. This song alone inspired me to buy a white Stratocaster and start playing funky music and trying to bring that in to the indie genre. The way Stevie uses the chorus effect to thicken up his guitar is something which i use on a daily basis with South Hours and it is because of this song i fell in love with chorus. This song also inspires me to work on keeping my playing as tight as possible as Stevie makes it look so easy to play all these notes at once in a funky strumming pattern and when i try to do this it quite often becomes messy and does not sound good, however I am getting better at this and it has been a real focus throughout the whole year. I am also using a lot more double stops in my playing and finding new triad chords every day to add to the depth of my songs and this is something Stevie did a lot. See 39 seconds in for example this.
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Couldn’t Stand The Weather
The song we wrote called I’m Fine With It has taken elements from this as it has a funky, off beat section which uses only double stops and the bass line comes through. I also added a heavy amount of chorus on to the ‘diddly bit’ as we call it and always play this song on my Strat. This again came from Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The biggest challenge in the way of our ambition for the project are conflicting personalities. In the band we are all such perfectionists and it is difficult to all come to an agreement with what we want the tracks to sound like and what we want the stage to look like on our final performance. Everyone in the band has different influences, for example Ben’s lyrics are very metaphorical and my guitar playing is inspired by a blues background from artists such as SRV, and also a modern twist from artists such as Tom Morello. This makes it difficult to come to agreements as we all have such diverse tastes in the band and therefore we all have different ideas on what we want our sound and aesthetic to be. To overcome this, we make sure we write all together and spend a lot of time in the studio after the tracks are recorded to make sure they are perfect and ready for release. We also make sure to listen to each others ideas and don’t disregard anything anyone has to say – because of our wide range of influences, everyone brings their own spin on the tracks and i believe this makes our music more unique and ultimately, better written.
(14th May 2018)
One key piece of research I have conducted (admittedly accidentally) has come from my part time job. I work in B&Q as a customer advisor and when it comes to achieving my concept, my tenure there has been extremely useful. I have learned many skills that i can use to aid my future career in the music industry with regards to professionalism such as the importance of being punctual and reliable – this can relate to a career in the music industry as if you turn up to shows late or don’t show up to rehearsals / studio sessions, your work will suffer. Being in a retail job also teaches you to know your stock well and always know what you are talking about – this can be related to music as if you have a studio session booked and then go in and mess around, you won’t get anything done and it is a waste of time and money. I admire punctuality and dedication as in my eyes the only way to get things done the way you want them is to show up and put your all in. These are 2 key functions of being professional as you must show that you want it and be entirely devoted to what you are trying to achieve. I am passionate about making a living out of music and being professional is the first step in achieving this goal as it shows to everyone around you that you are putting your all in and taking it seriously as oppose to it just being a hobby.
Another factor of professionalism I admire is the desire to be / do the best. What i mean by this is that in order to be a true professional in any field, you must have a certain degree of skill in whatever it is you do to earn the title of pro. I admire this because if you’re a professional people often look up to you and come to you for advice on things and this is a nice feeling to have. In relation to music, i want to be seen as one of the best, not only for guitar but also for:
- Stage presence
- Stage set up
- Song writing
It is only with a true desire and drive to be as good as you possibly can be that people achieve the role of being a professional musician and this is something i have always strived for – it is not that i just want to be a famous artists, i want people to take me seriously and realise that I want this as a career, not a bit of fun.
A third factor of professionalism i admire is the fact that it allows people to take music as a serious career. If you can prove to people that you are a professional and one of the best that there is then you can do this as a career and earn real money from your creative works. This appeals to me as i have always wanted a career in the music industry, more specifically, i want to play in a band and progress my career that way. Instead of just working in an office or a manager in a retail chain, you can boast the title of professional musician and support yourself by doing something you love every day. I have a lot of respect for people who devote their lives to music and really pursue it and in my eyes, these people are true professionals of their fields.
(17th May 2018)
A factor of professionalism i hate is the idea that you have to be deadly serious 24/7. Some people get the impression from musicians that they are arrogant and think they know everything, and I think this is an outdated view and stems from the media’s portrayal of some famous musicians who are horrible people to give them publicity. Morrisey from The Smiths is a perfect example of this – his controversial views on women and how the world is run have brought a stigma around him and because he is one of the most famous front men of the 20th century, people can get the wrong impression of what musicians are like as people. People like Morrisey are seen as professional musicians and are portrayed by the media as bad people because of what they have said in interviews and while they were at the height of their fame. Some people are always in the limelight and have certain media training to express themselves as serious all the time – they do not joke around and they feel as if they have to come across like they are the absolute best and can’t be seen as anything but a big shot.
This idea is especially prominent in the hip-hop genre. Rappers like Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar are always serious in interviews – they do not joke around at all and are entirely focused on their music. The reason i wish to avoid this stigma is because music is about being yourself and expressing your personal views – I am not a particularly serious person and if I adopted this style of presenting myself, then it would not be a true reflection of me or my music. An example of this can be found below:
Accessed on 17th May, 2018
Another factor of professionalism i dislike is the idea that you have to be at the top of your game at all times. Everyone has bad days and musicians are no different – for example some days writing music can be extremely difficult because you could not be in the right mindset, or nothing could come to fruition and it gets frustrating. Because you are a professional, people would just expect you to be amazing straight away whenever you pick up a guitar, however even the most adept players still need to warm up and sometimes sound bad. I am no exception to this idea, I have awful days, even weeks sometimes where my productivity is low and i get frustrated easily. I don’t expect this to change going forward as a player – if i could write brand new songs every day i would be very rich already however this is just unrealistic. People’s expectations of professional musicians is that they can just conjure up songs from nowhere and know every song under the planet, however this is just not the case.
A third factor of professionalism i dislike is the fact that you have to keep up this appearance. Coming from my earlier point about people being serious all the time, when you are in the limelight as a professional, people come to expect certain things off of you. Again, people expect Kanye West to be outspoken and arrogant, same as Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys. You have to be careful which persona you choose as first impressions count in the media and if you choose to be moody and dark then the will stick. Everyone goes through different moods and it can be difficult to put a personality on just for the sake of keeping up an appearance. This is not something i can see myself doing – We’re all human and we all change with the seasons.
(24th May, 2018)
During my research into my concept and how different artists relate to it, a lot of it can also relate to South Hours and how the band is going forwards. We are well on our way to being more professional, for example the amount of studio time we take up is of a parallel to many famous artists today – many go not the studio for a year at a time to record an album and make it perfect. We have stopped writing in the studio as well. We use our free time to come up with songs and only when they are finished and ready to record do we book a studio session, however we do use the ideas of the tech guys we are working with to add depth to our songs such as the addition of synths and keyboards. In regards to our persona, people on the court know we take a lot of time and care when it comes to our music, making sure each element of the song works and sounds good. We also seek the approval and opinions of our teachers who are ex industry professionals in order to expand on the quality of our material.
When it comes to researching how we want to be as a band, we all look to The 1975. They have everything down to perfection – no mistakes on stage, the right aesthetic and the sound is massive. This is where we have taken inspiration to wear all black, use chorus effects and make funky rhythms. They also inspired us to add synths and keyboard effects in to our recordings as they use the production to make the bulk of the songs and then use guitars, bass etc as layer instruments. This is something we have tried to do in the studio but reversed – we use guitar and bass as lead and the electronic stuff as layers.
1st Studio session: Friday 27th April
During our first session, we encountered many issues with regards to recording our tracks. We had agreed with Lukas and had a clear cut plan to record the drums and guitar for all 3 tracks in the first session so that he had plenty of time to start mixing them and get them prepared for our next session where we would do vocals and then add any extras (such as synths) that we wanted. This plan did not come to fruition as we experienced a few conflicting personalities with our drummer who argued with us about using a metronome. This impacted on the whole session as for starters, he couldn’t keep in time to us playing the guide so it took many attempts for him to be satisfied with his playing. To just record one song took us over 2 hours and our plan fell to pieces in this time. Because the drums were taking so long and there were so many timing issues, this led to our drummer getting frustrated and him taking it out on the rest of the band which then put us all on a down.
Once the drums were finally finished, we tried recording the rhythm guitar for Teeth and this ate up the last 45 minutes of our time because the drummer didn’t play to a click track and there are sections in the song where it is just guitar and vocals on their own so Rhys was playing blind. This was not his fault and it took a long time to get it bang on because in order to get it perfect, he had to just guess when the song came back in.
However a positive of this session was that at least all the drums were now finished and we didn’t have to worry about them, be it to a low standard. This was good because Lukas now had time to make the drums sound professional and from our previous experiences in the studio with drums, they can take a lot of mixing to sound half decent. Lukas provided a good sound on the song Teeth and overall we were moderately happy with the song. There was not too much we could do to overcome these issues due to the time restraints, however we did book out 2 more studio sessions to try and save the tracks.
2nd Studio session: Friday 1st June
During our second session we recorded the guitar, bass and vocals. These were difficult to record because of the drums not being done to a metronome. This made it incredibly difficult to play in time to the songs as there are many parts where the drums cut out completely to build suspense, so we were just playing blind as there was no click track. Despite this set back, we did get the guitars done and they are recorded (sound wise) to a high quality and this was good. The guitars (even slightly ropey) sounded very good and had a good tone. This was the main positive of the whole 2 sessions.
Due to the time restraints and because so many people have to record their songs, we did not have time to re do the drums to a metronome and have decided to re record the tracks we did here next year, ready to upload on to our Spotify and Apple Music. During these future sessions we would be a lot tougher on the drummer and make sure he realises the songs are mine and Ben’s and that he needs to tone it down on the fills and play to a metronome as it will sound a lot more professional. We would also make sure that we have already written any extra synth sections before we go in to the studio as theses didn’t appear in these mixes when we really would have liked them. Overall these sessions seemed rushed and despite us being fully prepared and knowing the songs extremely well, things still didn’t work out how we wanted them. This second session made us realise that time is tight and we need to get the best work done in the situation we have – We realised this is more of a real life scenario and thought about how this would work in the real world and acted accordingly.
The outcome of these studio sessions can be found below:
With regards to our practise sessions i would say that these went well. At the start of the unit we were extremely productive in making the songs ready to perform, with very little messing around and a lot of focus on how we can make the songs better. It was only by the time we had finished the recordings with Lukas that we added the more thought out lead line in Find A Way. This came about as by the 24th May we realised the song sounded a bit bland the way it was and was a bit too simple. Because of this we added the more in depth lead and decided exactly when we wanted it come in drug the track. The downside to doing this was that we added a new section 2 weeks before we had to perform and it was quite easy to forget when it came it, however with personal practise and more time in college, we got it down to a tee.
In my own personal practise at home i really focused on making my playing as tight as possible in both tracks. During the second song i mainly play a complicated picking pattern which adds the girth to the song. This is tricky to play live but at home i was able to practise how i wanted, without the added pressure of having the whole band around in case i made a mistake. The way i chose to practise was in the dark and whenever i made even the tiniest mistake, i started again. This made it easier for me to get the song tighter as playing in dark allowed me to not have to look at the guitar neck as much as i usually do when i play with the band.
This was a good idea as it meant i could work on my stage presence in college and the song came as second nature. A negative impact of playing this way was that it was frustrating starting over every time i made a mistake, however this benefitted me in the long run as i no longer rely on vocal cues or have to communicate on stage to know where I am in the song. I started doing this method of practise on the week commencing 21st May. I chose to start it then because i had rehearsed solely with the band from April 18th and I needed to do something different to really nail the songs.
A video of us practising Teeth can be found below – this is a week before our final performance so the song is as tight as possible at this point. It was only now that we had every part down to perfection. An older video of us playing teeth live will be there too, and you can tell the difference as we play much faster and i play double stops on the 12th fret of the high E and B string, however we scrapped this idea.
The version we are rehearsing is much tighter and sounds a lot better composed than the first draft which we performed in the Brew House.
Our final performance in Swinburne Hall went reasonably well. Personally i feel my guitar playing was at its best that night and i made very few mistakes that were noticeable to the crowd. I feel it came across that night that i knew the songs extremely well and that i was there to do my absolute best, not just to mess around. A personal criticism i have is that my guitar sounded quite weak and thin. Watching the video back i would make my guitar tone have less treble and try and make a thicker, warmer sound by possibly using a different pickup on my guitar and changing my amp settings to have much more low end. A criticism of my overall sound would be that i was very quiet in the mix and Rhys was very loud. My guitar failed to cut through as much as i would have liked, however this was down to the mix at the desk and not my own fault. I could hear fine through the monitors so i presumed i was loud enough but looking back, i wasn’t.
With regards to the band overall, there was one major criticism of the night. My concept was to be professional – to show everyone in the crowd we are ready to take on music as a career and show them that we are the best the Colchester Institute has to offer however this did not come across in the end. Ultimately the thing that let my concept down was Rhys’ playing on the night. As the lights went down and we all agreed we were ready to play, Rhys stopped and had forgotten his capo. The lights then went up and we had built all this suspense for us to start playing and then it all went once Rhys had realised his mistake. This ruined the atmosphere and people started laughing at us and taking us as more of a joke which is not what i wanted to achieve. Next time we need to make sure everyone is completely ready backstage and make sure we have everything we need.
During the performances Rhys made yet another mistake by playing the wrong notes in his lead section in Find A Way. It was quite noticeable and ruined the impact of the build up to our big finale as it just sounded like he didn’t know what he was doing. Everyone else was really going for it at this point and none of us noticed until afterwards that he had been playing is wrong and this was a real downer on the night, but the first song Teeth went very well with no obvious mistakes from anyone.
The project as a whole was satisfactory in my opinion. We came in to the project with a multitude of original songs to pick from and we picked the best 2 in my opinion, however there were certain band members (despite us having been rehearsing / writing these songs for 6 months) that still did not know the material and this was frustrating. This came to light in our final performance where a combination of nerves and lack of personal practise brought the show away from professionalism and more in to the realms of that we don’t really care enough. The studio sessions could have been a lot better organised and moved on much more swiftly than they did. The biggest set back was our drummers bad moods and refusal to listen to us when we asked him to use a metronome to record the tracks as this made timing incredibly difficult and took up much more time when it came to recording the other instruments. We also didn’t get round to adding the depth to the tracks that we usually have, such as the use of synths and extra guitar parts which was annoying but not a flaw in the project.
Next time we will make sure everyone is completely ready to perform and practise a lot more in our own time to get everyone on the same level with the tightness of the tracks. We would also be tougher on our drummer and make sure he uses a metronome to get some recordings which we can use to further our musical career, as oppose to just passing a unit of work.
With regards to achieving my concept, I don’t think we were able to as professional as i wanted. The whole project was just a bit unorganised and we failed to follow the timetable i made earlier in the task which led to us not being quite ready for anything. Personally i came in to the studio knowing exactly what i was doing and was completely ready and in the zone when we played our final gig. With regards to the rest of the band, i suspect some members were not prepared enough and this impaired their performances both in the studio and on stage. Next time I will make a much greater effort to be more prepared with every aspect of the task. This time i feel Ben and myself took off away from the others as we wrote the songs and knew them best while the others were left behind trying to get to grips with them. This had a negative impact on the whole experience and ultimately led to us not achieving the goal of professionalism.
My progress through the year has been steady with my guitar playing. I feel like i am a much more advanced player now and I no longer just pick up the guitar and noodle, i play actual songs and think about what i am doing. This is a positive step and a good advancement as it shows that i am learning the fret board more and have a deeper understanding of the type of things I’m playing. i.e. which key a lead part is in and which notes will sound best depending on the mood of the song. Next time i intend to really expand my chord knowledge as this has held me back all year and I have often fond myself asking my tutors which chord i could use next and it is a personal target of mine to be able to do this off of my own back.
Throughout this unit these flaws have come to fruition and i plan next year to work extremely hard on expanding my chords. A way in which i plan to do this is by learning more of my favourite songs as my guitar playing before this unit has been rather stagnant – I found myself just playing the same riffs over and over again and this put a holt to my progress. I plan to learn a lot of Red Hot Chilli Peppers as they have a fantastic guitar tone in all their songs and they are all extremely well written. This will help my chord knowledge as i will be learning songs that are already established and can steal the ideas and chords from them to use in my own work.