Monthly Archives: February 2015

SONGWRITING: Finish. Things. Now.

Had a brief conversation with my friend the other day…

me: “I can’t finish anything. I’m really concerned about what people think… even though I say I don’t. I’m afraid they’ll be like ‘man, I hate these lyrics’…. ‘his voice is just mediocre’….. ‘this song is just lame’….. ‘he’s trying too hard’……”

him: “You have to say ‘fuck it’. It doesn’t matter. It’ll hold you back forever if you don’t just put it out. You want that shit sitting on your hard drive, forever? What the hell’s the point of writing it, in the first place? Get it out. Life’s short.”

He’s right. It’s hard, though. But don’t be me, man. Don’t have 800+ unfinished ideas (yes, there have been about 300 added, since I last wrote about unfinished songs… I think the number I mentioned was 500 last time). That’s how lazy I can be about this, and “protective” of it. So stupid. Such a waste…..

If I can’t finish all this stuff this year (and I’m certainly trying), then I am the biggest loser…. but if I can finish at least most of it, then I did right.

Don’t be like so many other people out there… over-protective, scared of what people think, too afraid to announce you released something on bandcamp. Just get it done, and stop making excuses.

Another thing that made me think about this– Ted Demme, director of Blow and Beautiful Girls, died at age 37 of a heart attack, in early 2002. Imagine what else he could have accomplished, had he been in better shape, and had he not wasted a lot of time. Two of the most amazing movies of the 90s and 00s… he helped put Natalie Portman on the map (in addition to her role in the Professional, of course)… but yeah. Two movies. That’s all he’ll really be remembered for. Do you want to go out like that?

I’m a year older than Ted Demme, as I write this. I survived him by one year, and I haven’t done jack shit, in the grand scheme of things.

Don’t go out like that, friends.

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RECORDING: The perfect desk

In all my travels (well, to IKEA, anyway)…. I’ve come across some great stuff…. more on this in a second.

You might be familiar with the companies that make these “studio” desks (see your Musician’s Friend or Sweetwater catalog, or their sites)… these desks are a bit on the expensive side. Case in point… in 2003, I bought the Studio RTA “Creation Station” which has served me well… and is rock-solid….

studioRTA

That desk also set me back $199 at the time. Studio RTA makes a couple desks that aren’t as well-designed as the Creation Station (which they don’t make anymore)— namely the Producer Station ($500 and a bit too big/bulky), and some other thing, which is only $100. I still think this is hella expensive. And there are other companies which charge WAY too much for their studio desks.

With a little creativity and a minimal investment, you can get the perfect recording desk. First, stop at IKEA, and buy these items:

1. LINNMON table top (47″ by 23.5″ one will set you back $20, a 59″ by 29″ one will set you back $36, and a 78″ by 23.5″ will set you back $45).
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50251350/#/10251352 (the 59″)
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60251340/#/00251343 (the 47″)
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80251358/ (the 78″)

2. ADILS table legs (4). $14 for all 4
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70217973/

3. EKBY JARPEN shelf $15 for a 47″ one, $10 for a 31″ one
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20025047/#/20094347

4. CAPITA legs (to turn your EKBY JARPEN into a tier for your LINNMON desk!) $16 for 4 8″ high ones
this requires some basic drilling… the good thing is, these come with all the screws and hardware you need. Line each bracket up to the 4 edges of your EKBY JARPEN, drill pilot holes with a small drill bit…… then attach the screws to bracket, and screw the legs in (and the riser pieces if you need, for uneven surfaces or extra height). Done.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20049538/

I built several of these very functional and awesome studio desks (photos coming soon):

Desk 1 – 59″ by 29.5″ with 30″ tier
Desk 2 – 47″ by 23.5″ with 47″ tier
Desk 3 – 78″ by 23.5″ with 31″ tier

Never did I spend more than $100 on each desk. The 47″ set me back $65 total. The 59″ set me back $67 (thanks to the scrap shelf piece), and the 78″ with the shorter tier set me back only $86.

The desks look great (photo of my 59″ table below), they’re insanely functional, and they’re stable. What more do you need, for your MIDI controller, computer monitors or laptop, audio interface, and speakers/monitors?

Don’t buy into the hype. Stay creative, as always.

ikea
my main studio desk — Linnmon 59″ by 29″ tabletop, Adils table legs, Capita tier legs, and a scrap black shelf piece from the IKEA “As Is” department (for $1). Keyboard/mouse shelf by Fellowes (attaches without screws or drilling).