Monthly Archives: June 2013

RECORDING: Cable mess, disorganization, laziness

I’m pretty clean and organized, in general. I HATE WIRES and CABLES and all that fuckin’ SPAGHETTI MESS. I hate tripping over them, I hate running them all over my room and I hate when they lazily lay on top of some of MIDI controllers on my studio desk, when I’m running some mics to my audio interface (which is rack-mounted right below my monitors on the right side of my desk). No matter what I try to do, wires and cables are everywhere. And I’m just one lone dude… with not a lot of studio shit! A very modest, humble setup. But the wires always seem to be ten times the amount of gear I have. But this is a good thing….

What’s so good about cables all over the place? They’re running stuff that is ACTIVE and PLUGGED IN and READY. Allow me to explain…..

How much music do I work on or find myself completing when my studio is completely clean, with no visible wires to trip over? None. I don’t work on music when my studio is clean and picture-perfect. When I have wires and cables laying around…. (my guitar pedalboard plugged into my amp and completely in my walking path, drum trigger cables running haphazardly all over my electronic drumkit, all of my mics plugged in and mic stands completely in my way on most days (but not in the way at all on the days I want to record, bass plugged in, USB cables powering MIDI gear)…… I GET SHIT DONE.

If everything’s plugged in and ready to go, I am inspired to work.

So what do you do, if you’re like me and you friggin’ hate cables and tripping over them? Get longer cables. Run them against the wall. Unplug the gear (and put it on a shelf or something) that you know you won’t use for the next ten songs you write. Move the mic stand ever so slightly so it’s not directly in the walking path. Or just briefly unplug the XLR cable from the mic itself. Organize your studio so it is logically laid out where you WON’T have cables running across the middle of the studio. No matter what…. LEAVE SHIT PLUGGED IN. It’s not like it’s going to use that much more electricity…. Leave the shit plugged in, and always have your recording software open and ready with a template that suits your style/tracking methods best. Have fresh batteries in your little SD card field recorder (for those quick ideas… I love my damn Zoom H2, still).

I’m mainly writing this post because I hate being so friggin’ clean and organized…. because my head/brain certainly isn’t. When I just get down and dirty and IN THE MOMENT (headphones tangled up in the mic cable, guitar tangled up in those two…) I get shit done. Because I’m sitting there in my chair, making stuff happen and NOT GIVING A SHIT ABOUT THE MESS. I know the cables are tangled and in the way, but if I don’t need to get up immediately, who gives a fuck? Press record in my recording software and just GO. If I have to get up to piss or grab some water, then what I should do is slowly, carefully untangle the shit, or just unplug the cable from the source or destination, and just get it out of the way temporarily. When I’m back, I plug shit back in and stay in the zone.

Too much time is wasted, being a clean/neat-freak. It’s not like I have ten guests coming over, or I’m hosting a dinner party in my recording studio. If it’s a mess, it doesn’t fuckin’ matter. You’re likely to stay in the zone when shit’s plugged in and cables are everywhere. You see the mess and think… “cool. I’m inspired. Let’s do this.”

Right now, I need to finish some fucking songs. And guess what? So do you.

So get to it. And fuck the cable mess!!!

SONGWRITING: Look to indie rock (and female singers) for melodic inspiration.

So I’m sitting here listening to a playlist I created on Spotify, with some really melodic and gorgeous indie rock. I think indie stuff gets a really bad rep because a lot of snobby people write it off to be talentless music. They couldn’t be more wrong, and it drives me nuts when people are such assholes about it.

So here’s a Spotify playlist for you, if you’re looking for some melodic/melody inspiration. I think these songs are extremely catchy, well-written, and interesting. Nearly all of the songs (and there’s 100 here) have great vocal harmonies and lyrics, so please… enjoy.

And yes, I do realize there are a ton of female-fronted bands and singer-songwriters in this playlist… and for good reason. It is still my firm belief that females have a better melodic writing ability than males. This isn’t always true, but most of the time, it is. My biggest songwriting inspiration always comes from female singers and songwriters. I’ve talked to many other people, including my new roommate Drew Brightbill, who is also a songwriter (and a quite good one, too– check out his music here), and most of his inspiration comes from female-vocal bands.

So again…. hope you enjoy.