Friday, 21 January 2011

One step back, two steps forward?

I spent a couple of hours this morning in The Kennel tinkering with my latest song Long Distance. I'm just finishing getting the arrangement laid down and all I have left to sort out are the backing vocals.

I headed off to work with the rough mix on my MP3 player and gave the track a listen. I was settling in to the track and feeling a little too smug with the first verse and chorus and then got a bit of a shock when a new BV for the second chorus was missing. Oh well... then the third chorus rolled on and I had the terrible realisation that my morning's work had just made the track worse!

What I have to remind myself is that this is just how the process works for me. I'm not good enough to get it right first time, every time, and often I have to go through what doesn't work before I can find what does.

My missing BV will be hiding somewhere on my hard drive and now I know with certainty what I don't want to do with the third chorus so today was a success. Progress is all I can ask for.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Massive Dog interview

Take a trip over to Entangled author Cat Clarke's rather fabulous blog to read her interview with me. I talk about theme tunes, a book about bunnies and answer the important question "chocolate or cheese?"

Go read it here.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

I wish I'd made this - #1 Gramarye by Remy Zero

I've never had a song burrow it's way into my subconscious in such an aggressive manner as Gramarye. Way back in 1999 I'd been watching MTV late at night and stumbled across this. 

Although I only heard the song once, I couldn't escape it and found it constantly stuck in my head.  For a short, but rather stressful period, finding a physical recording of the song became my life goal. I eventually completed my quest in Virgin in Romford and can clearly remember thrusting the CD above my head in celebratory fashion before rushing home.

For me Gramarye is the aural equivalent of a great horror movie; not the scary part where you jump and scream, but the bit before, where you know that something sinister is lurking in the dark and you try and huddle yourself into a tiny ball on your sofa.

There are two things which make this song stand out for me. First up is the dissonant piano refrain which first occurs around 28 seconds which can only be described as haunting. It shouldn't work, but it does. The second thing is the use of noise. Shimmering guitars, feedback and reverb are allowed to build up and are then abruptly cut off and it's these transitions between dirty and clean that give the track momentum, pulling the track along, and the listener with it.

After 11 years of listening to this track, I still couldn't tell you what it was about, but I don't think that's important. This song is all about mood and atmosphere and I struggle to think of any other tracks which come close in that respect.

Monday, 10 January 2011

CLASH trailer launched

I couldn't think of a better occasion to launch my blog than with the release of the trailer for CLASH by Colin Mulhern.

I found CLASH thoroughly gripping and I hope that the soundtrack conveys the tension in Colin's writing. I wanted to create something that suited the tone of the book (tense and gritty), reflected the narrative (a coming together of two very different characters with a dramatic conclusion) and respected the musical taste of the characters (Slayer and Metallica).

An MP3 of the Clash soundtrack can be downloaded free here.
Clash is out in March and is available for pre-order here.