That day or rather that night has finally come! Nightwatch on A&E has its season 2 premier tonight and yours truly composed the music that opens the show.
You read that correctly. I wrote the opening theme music for the show Nightwatch on A&E – airing at 10/9c. Set your DVR now, save the show! Watch each week. Tell your friends to watch. Hopefully you don’t end up on the show in the future – and I really do mean that.
HIVE is alive! You’ve seen pictures. I’ve blogged about it. Now you can see the actual device in this teaser trailer.
Get ready to hear the future of guitar tones, cause I’m taking this on tour in the near future.
I’ve been doing a lot of recording in the past several years where the guitar tones are important. Who am I kidding? Guitar tone is always important. I’ve recently made the switch to using software and computers for all my guitar sounds and amplification.
Great Guitar Tones
One thing I’ve found in my exploration of sound is that there is more than one way to get great guitar tones. This is a different mentality from a majority of guitar players that believe there is only one way which involves a classic guitar and a hardware amplifier. No matter where I go and mention that I’m using a computer for my guitar tones, I get people that say its not possible. Not possible that is, until they hear it. Then they change their minds.
Looking around on YouTube and other parts of the internet, I’ve been unable to find anyone who is really showing how to use a computer to get great tones. Thus I recorded a short series of simple tutorials on the subject. Here is the first one that gives a beginning look at how I’m doing it and part of what I’m using software wise.
The revolution is here. Enjoy and stay tuned for the next two videos.
Ah the behind the scenes part of playing music live that most people never think about – rehearsing
I’ve been putting together a new group of people to start playing out live more. Having done a ton of music for film, TV, and now even a theme song for a TV show (more on this to come in the next few weeks). Plus, I’ve created a special MIDI controller (HIVE) for playing live. Whether it be for a solo acoustic show or a full band type of show.
See, I’m now running a computer for all my guitar sounds. No more heavy amps. No more multiple speakers. No more worrying about the mic placement and hoping the sound guy is able to get a good sound. Maybe that last part is still prone to issues if the sound guy isn’t any good. Consistency is now the name of the game. Once I get the setup for a song, it remains the same time after time. Mind you I can still tweak and do things. But if I’m out on tour and wondering if its going to sound correct to the audience, I know I’m providing a consistent feed to the PA.
The first show for this new rig is happening October 16th at Brewskis in Ogden UT. Lucky devils get to experience the future of guitar players.
One thing I’ve come to enjoy is the process of getting a group of people together to play music. Its a time to hash out how to perform the music in a way that makes sense at the time its being played. Plus it gives me time to work the kinks out of the entirely new guitar rig I’ve gotEach song now has it’s own sound. Sometimes its directly related to the sound on the recording. Some of them however go into different territory sonically. Setting up each sound varies in time. Meaning some sounds took no more than an hour. However, the more complex ones can take several hours of tweaking.
In the first rehearsal, all the sounds were there, but I hadn’t really gone thru them to find out how loud they were in relation to each other from song to song. Thus I had to make notes and spend another couple of hours after rehearsing to fix songs that had sounds that were either too loud, or too soft.
The second rehearsal went much better, the rest of the band knew their parts better. My guitar sounds were way more consistent from a volume standpoint. Though there were still a couple of tweaks that needed to be made from an EQ standpoint. Due to the way I’m now creating sounds, I use no outboard/plugin EQ. Its not needed. But one song, which sounded great in my studio didn’t sound so awesome with the rest of the band in a PA. It needed thinning out. Pull up the amps and tweak their EQs. Problem solved.
The owner of the rehearsal studio sat in with us, listening, taking pictures and occasionally adjusting sound. Actually he didn’t really do much of that after we got the levels set at the start. BTW – the photos in the post are all from him, Dave at Razman-Studio. After rehearsing we chatted a bit. He had some initial reservations about a computer being able to put out great guitar sounds. From the pictures you can understand why: he’s got tons of amps sitting around waiting to be used. Then he said something interesting. He stated, I am now a believer.
You will be one too! See you on the road soon.
I’ve been on vacation and little bit under the weather for the past several weeks, aside from my appearance at the UMAs.
Dancin To DNCE
I’ve been helping my mom and sister with the building of a cool little vacation shack in the city of Torrey. It prides itself on being “The Middle of Nowhere”. Actually its right next door to a stunning national park called Capital Reef.
I shirked my musician responsibilities for a couple of weeks and donned my builder’s theory. I’m not a construction worker, but I played one for a couple of weeks. During the process I got to roll around in the dirt while playing with insulation and plywood. No. Really. I did roll in dirt in confined areas attempting to do stuff. Did it work? I think so.
Unfortunately, though I was wearing a breathing filter mask, I still took in a lot of dirt and probably some insulation as well. Shortly thereafter I came down with bronchitis. If there’s anything that sucks more for someone who sings for part of their living – its not being able to breath. Add to it the fact that you get to cough violently in the vain attempt of expelling whatever is filling your lungs with goo.
[sarcasm]Happy Happy Joy Joy[/sarcasm]
The end result actually is that we now have a really cool place to get away from civilization. Really get away from it. Real silence.
At night the stars are incredible. To the point where its extremely easy to see the arm of the Milky Way and a veritable plethora of stars, constellations, and pin dots in the black sky of night.
I’ve rambled… Back to DNCE.
A few days back, I was finally starting to feel better. Cough was abating. Nose not so stuffy. I hopped in the shower after putting on Apple Music (yes, I’m a music streamer). In the middle of the shower a song came on. It had me feeling so good that I literally started dancing in the shower. Before the song ended I stepped out of the shower as I wanted to know what I was listening to.
I dried my fingers and hit the home button on my iPad and it revealed that I was listening to Cake By The Ocean by DNCE.
I finished my shower, toweled off. Then tweeted about how I felt so good I was dancing to Cake By The Ocean by DNCE. Who’d a thunk. I looked up the twitter account for them. So new that it had very few followers. But people started RTing and Faving my tweet about the song and about DNCE.
As it turns out DNCE is a little project of one of the Jonas Brothers and another guitar player that I’m following on Instagram is playing for them. Go figure.
Its a weird title for a song. I wanna say its fitting they’re calling themselves DNCE, but it’s a bit to “hip” to be removing the ‘A’ from the title. Whatever. If a song can get me to dance in the shower – it doesn’t really happen – then they’re doing something right. Right?
Its always nice to get some recognition for the music I create. Recently I was nominated for Best Pop Song for the Utah Music Awards of 2015.
Best Pop Song
About a week prior to the event, I was contacted by the group putting on the awards and asked if I would be willing to introduce and announce the category for Best Soundtrack. I responded with a “Sure thing, I’d be happy to.”
Of course I told a few close friends and one of them asked – do you think they’re asking you because you’re not going to win your category? I wasn’t even thinking about it. But then I decided I’d go listen to the other songs that were nominated. One was a somber ballad. Another was an alternative rock song and the 3rd nominee was a folk tune. None of which really fit the category of Pop. I figured I was a shoe in and responded with nah.
Held at the Covey Center in Provo, it was like attending any other award show. People and musicians milling about, taking pictures, chatting and having a good time. I was given my card of nominees and the winner for Best Soundtrack just prior to the start of the event. I was given a seat front row center. I was feeling pretty darn good.
One thing I noticed about the awards was how fast they were burning thru the categories. Faster than any awards I’d ever been too.
It came time for me to head backstage to get ready to present for Best Soundtrack. When I was announced as the presenter, the announcer screwed up my name. WTF? ran thru my head as I walked out with mic in hand. Touch was playing in the loud system. and I walked out with a smile and proceeded to make a comment about doing music for soundtracks. Of course I’ve got experience with that.
I got a quick laugh with the off-the-cuff joke I made and on to the nominees I went. Reading out the names. I opened the envelope and announced the winner.
I was looking out into the audience and even asked if the artist was there.
The response was silence and then I was surprised by a video being played behind me of the winner making an acceptance speech video a pre-recorded video.
My thought as this happened? Thanks for informing me the winner wasn’t there and making me look like a moron on stage. Appreciate that one.
I got back to my seat and a couple of categories later, they announced the Best Pop Song. Read off the nominees and before the presenter could even open the envelope the screen behind him was showing the name of the winner and it wasn’t me. The presenter, clueless to the fact that he didn’t really need to read it, got his envelope opened and read the name. Odd that this was the only category of the night where that happened.
Was I disappointed? You bet. It sucks to lose. For a brief moment I wanted to go Kanye on the stage.
After the event, I did have several people question how the song that won was even classified as a pop song. What can I do? I didn’t have a hand in the voting or categorizing. I lost. But I will express it like this. I think I know how Metallica felt when they lost to Jethro Tull at the Grammys for Best Metal Album.
Waking up via an email in your inbox saying Touch nominated for best pop song is a pretty cool thing!
Touch Nominated For UMA
This morning my inbox contained an email from the Utah Music Awards, kinda like the Grammys for Utah, stating that Touch (feat. Jacarri) would be up for an award come this September for Best Pop Song. That’s enough to help get this week started off on a good foot.
Makes a musician/producer feel like all the hard work putting a lush pop song is worth the effort. Next up is submission for the actual Grammys. Yup, Touch will be in the initial voting round for the 2016 Grammys. Fingers crossed it can garner enough votes to break into the nomination round. Anyone willing to hold their breath for me?
Its gonna be an interesting week as other big changes are about to occur.
HIVE Is Alive:
The custom foot controller, HIVE, that I’ve been chatting about in the past couple of months, has finally been completed!
Once the case was in my hands there were three days of soldering the internal wiring and a late night session of a little rewiring of the LED lights.
Add an additional three days of reading manuals and figuring out how to code the brain of the unit to be able to work the software I’ll be using in conjunction with it. And voilà – HIVE is alive!
What Is HIVE:
The plain and simple is that its a midi foot controller. With 11 buttons and two real time controllers. The real genius is the computer monitor that gives real time visual feedback of what the computer is doing. It was inspired by the Chewie Monsta. However this is much more versatile in application.
Pure speculation on my part that is. Ed Sheeran’s pedal only deals with looping as far as I know.
I will be using HIVE for my live performances for solo acoustic and full band events.
In the not so distant future I’ll be posting videos of how it works and how I’ll be using it. Until then… stay musical!
Another Open Letter For Apple
Dear Apple & Taylor Swift,
A kind thank you goes out to Eddy Cue for taking swift action (pun intended), or rather reaction to the open letters from Taylor Swift and many other artists in regard to Apple about Apple Music and their non payment of royalties to artists during the trial phase of an account.
Here’s his three tweet response to Taylor Swift and Indie Musicians:
@cue: #AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period
@cue: We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple”
Eddy / Apple Music obviously felt more of a sting from Taylor Swift than they did from musicians like me. For that, I am happy to have Taylor speak up about something all musicians should be more vocal about.
Personally I don’t allow my music to be on services that pay no royalty at all. While I can understand why others aren’t happy with Spotify’s freemium model – I actually like it. I’m very interested in seeing how Apple Music can differentiate itself from the herd and build a product people want to use.
In referencing what I tweeted last night: Thank you Apple, Apple Music @cue and Taylor Swift for Thinking Different. I appreciate that a company can see the forrest for the trees and make good for the very art they’re attempting to build their platform with. If only all the other services did the same thing. I only support those that do. However the streaming landscape pans out, I will have my music on the services that properly compensate artists and people use and pay for. That you can count on.
Thank you for reading this, supporting my music and I hope see you in the streaming future!
Open Letter To Apple & Apple Music:
That’s right Apple Music, time to listen up from the trenches.
Do the right thing.
Dear Apple & Apple Music,
I’ve been using your products for a long time. I’ve enjoyed every computer, iPhone, and iPad that I have had in my possession. I’ve defended your business on many an occasion whether it be on price or about your software. In doing so, I’m quite sure that I have helped your business grow to the behemoth that it is now – the richest corporation in the world.
I have purchased and I still purchase your products to create the music I put into the world. I respect your business and it should be compensated appropriately – even when you purchase a company I had an endorsement with (Emagic) and you in-turn disband their endorsements. I still buy those products I use to create the music you need for your service.
I was excited when I helped CD Baby create the path for artists to be a part of iTunes. Which I saw as a way to level the playing field between those signed on major labels and those who opted to avoid them.
However, the recent news of your Apple Music streaming service has me befuddled.
How can the richest corporation that once heralded the arts and their creators, especially music, now drive a stake through our hearts? Seriously. Apple & Apple Music, asking those of us without major label deals to forego royalties for 3 months is OUTRAGEOUS. Its reprehensible. To put it mildly its thievery. The humor is Taylor Swift, an artist who could actually weather this type of “lull” in her income, has also stood up in solidarity about this injustice.
Mind you Apple & Apple Music, I’m a massive proponent for streaming. Its where music is going, I fully understand it and welcome it with open arms. But what I do not understand, is how you can place such a burden on the very people that create the content you need to make your streaming business actually work. At least Spotify pays on their “freemium” model, and pays quite well.
Apple, Apple Music, or more directly Tim Cook/Eddie Cue, unless you’re going to start giving me computers, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches for free 3 month trials and subsequent lower payment rates – I see no plausible reason why I, or any of my colleagues, should give you the labors of hard work to promote your business for free. That’s bad business. Its bad enough that you won’t allow non-signed artists to get promotion on the iTunes store [nor likely in Apple Music either]. Its bad enough that you won’t allow us to sign our own small labels directly with you (forcing us to use 3rd parties to distribute our catalogs to you at additional cost to us and introducing more middle men into the system). Treating us like 3rd world citizens despite the fact that non-signed music represents more than ⅔ of your catalog over the major labels is, what I call, classism at the expense of art.
This is what I [and I’m sure many of my fellow musicians who do believe in streaming] would ask of you: Think Different and Do The Right Thing Apple Music.
What is “Do The Right Thing Apple Music” you might ask?
Simple: Pay us our paltry royalty for every stream regardless of the 3 month trials you’re offering. Hell, right now you’re getting a discounted royalty rate as it is; as has been set by Congress. Paying us (writers, publishers, producers, artists) out of the billions in your hoard of cash reserves should not be a problem for you. While at the same time it will prove to your customers that you have a service worth paying for because our musical art is there and properly compensated.