Archive for Songs

Film Soundtrack: In Deep

Posted in Creativity, Film Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by Gideon K

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I met Keir at a film networking event. Josh was screening his Japanese Doctor Who film and Keir was screening a short film he had made. We got talking afterwards and he was telling me about this film he had shot all in one day with two actors and a soundguy. When he sent me a copy of the film I pretty much told him that he HAD to let me do the music for it because he wasn’t going to find anyone else who got what his film was about as much as I did.

I gave him some kind of bullshit rap about that which was 100% earnest and genuine, but seems kind of funny in hindsight. Then again, I guess it’s important to work with enthusiastic people.

Initially I had this whole other idea for how to go about the music for the film (quite a good idea that I’m not going to divulge because I plan to use it for another project someday). Partly it was based on metamorphosis and diversity since the film is quite long for a short film. Ultimately the initial idea didn’t work, and all that remained from my first sketches was the main theme that opens the film and reappears later on. I ended up pursuing more of that vibe and all of the pieces for this film have that soft, dreamy quality to them in one way or other. The aim was to capture a feeling of space and softness, mostly.

I tried to match the tone of the film in the sense of having two or more, but mainly two instruments weaving in and out of each other and tentatively touching around each other. Also, because of the relative sparsity of notes, I used a lot of tremolo and reverb on most of the guitars partly to try to accentuate the sense of space, light and softness, but also just because I like the sound of them.

Indulgence is ok if it works.

I started recording the pieces shortly after I had upgraded my recording gear, and it was a lot of fun experimenting with recording at home with some of my amps and outboard effects units rather than using just using plugins. I usually prefer the sound of a nice warm tube amp over a VST plugin if I have the choice.

One of the reasons this project took me a little while to finish, is that I have this ‘problem’ if you will, in that sometimes I can’t quite bring myself to make a piece of music that is only the duration of the bit it is used for – I feel like I have to make the segment or section used into a fully developed piece, even if it’s quite short. I don’t like leaving musical orphans lying around in my wake. So some of these pieces are 5 mins long even though they are only in the film for about 30 secs each. I don’t mind that though, because in the end I think film music should work as music that can be listened to on its own as well as with the film, in much the same way as I think often a good film will still work if you take all of the music out of it.

Sadly I can’t share the video of the film at this point in time. There’s a little trailer here (which I didn’t do the music for). But I will share the full film if/when I get the ok from the director.

In the meantime, all of the music below is in the film.

Some of what I’ve been up to in the last year.

Posted in Creativity, Me Oh My, Songwriting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2014 by Gideon K

Gideon K @ Velvet Tongue Autumn 2013

As you’ve seen I’ve  not been blogging much, but I guess I’ve been actually DOING a lot of stuff. Mostly musical projects:

Black Hay:

After finishing the EP and then putting it out earlier last year, I spent a heap of time finishing off a full-length Black Hay album. It was a lot of work because I wrote and arranged everything, and then played all the guitar and bass on it, as well as doing all the singing. In fact for the most part, it was just myself and David working on the tracks. There are a number of tracks with drums on where we enlisted the ever-reliable Guillaume to smash the tubs, and a few cameos by some mates of mine, but other than that it was pretty much a solo thing. It is a good thing because now I’ve mostly got that out of my system and can get on with making band music.

Also, regarding Black Hay, I’ve finally found a semi-solid lineup and we’re releasing a single, made a video directed by Josh, and featuring Missa Blue.

JB Newman & The Black Letter Band:

Since late 2012 I’ve been playing bass and upright bass with my padre JB Newman and his band. We’ve done a fair bit of gigging, most of which have been amongst the liveliest shows any of us have ever played. We recorded a bunch of tracks in march 2013 at River Rat Studios and have put out a single and an ep since then and played some incredible shows. One of the best bands I’ve played in.

4-Track Tape-Traders Club:

On top of all this, I’ve got a bit of a curveball to throw in. I started a 4-Track tape chain-mail group with a bunch of guys I found on soundcloud as well as some guys I already knew. It’s the furthest I’ve been into ‘experimental’ music and the project I have the least amount of control over. It’s gloriously unpredictable and you can hear some of the sonic chaos over here.

More on this little project soon…

I’ve been doing some session work here and there as well as writing more songs, and doing the occasional bit of poetry. I’ve become a regular at the amazing and still relatively unknown (erotic) literary event Velvet Tongue. I’ve done a bunch of different poems at their open mics that have gone down really well and have my first feature-length slot as a poet in May this year.

I’m intending to outdo myself this year.

How?

Finish writing another album and record it with the band. Play lots more shows with Black hay and JB, do more tape collaborations, work on some films, make some videos. You name it, I’ll try it. I’ve got too many ideas to fit into one year ahead of me.

Songwriting Challenge Week 13

Posted in Songwriting, Songwriting Challenge 2012 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2012 by Gideon K

I still don’t know how good any of the recent stuff I’ve written has been. I don’t get the feeling that these have been songs that I will be singing year after year, or that people will ask me to play to them etc. Although I don’t want to judge these poor scabby babies just yet.

 

What I love about all this is the element of surprise involved. I had no idea any of these ideas were in there or that they were coming out. I had no idea they would exist until they did. It’s a nice contrast to a lot of my songs and how they’ve been written, which is that I’ll have an idea, a theme, or an image and from that point it’s a case of wearily carving away and sweating really heavily over them until they feel like they do justice to my inner feeling of what the ideal could be like. My point is, that once I have the image in my head, I have some idea, often a pretty good one, of what the end result will be, especially from a musical point of view and it’s just waiting til the lyrics sit right.

 

By contrast, all the things that have come out in the last month or so have been a complete surprise to me for the most part – and thus a pleasant one no matter how they come out. I just love feeling that I can surprise myself with what I do – it gives me a generous feeling of being touched by or touching, reaching out into the unknown, pulling something raw out of my subconscious. I’ve had that a lot recently, and all along from doing the morning pages, but here is something that has gone into songs. I hope it will continue.

 

This week I’ve been working on a song that was mostly a case of reportage of something that was happening between me and someone I know late one evening. (No, not that – for once). I was just trying to get the important details of what was taking place and why I felt it was both important, and resonant. This has been another song I’ve written lyrics first, and tried to find some melody and chords for it afterwards.

The advantage of this is that in this scenario the rhythmic flow of the words is able to suggest the structure of melody itself.

The disadvantage is that the fairly standard structure and meter of the words means the musical side of the song won’t be too original necessarily. But that’s fine, it will suit it as a late night folky/lullaby, gentle rain song that it wants to be.

 

All is going well, although I’m at another stage where I have far more song ideas than I have time to devote to them. My only hope is to dive into attempting to writing them as fully as I can in the moment they are conceived. If I can do this, and do it well, I will not only be able to capture a breathless spontaneity and possibly livelier aspects of the songs, but a whole new (for me) songwriting skill, talent, or tool.

 

Forcing myself out of my comfort zone.

 

Fingers crossed

Songwriting Challenge Week 9

Posted in Songwriting, Songwriting Challenge 2012 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2012 by Gideon K

The last slump is over (for now) and has been replaced by a renewed sense of possibility.

 

I finished an old song I had lying around that I had chords, structure and a melody for, but could never manage to get words for that did it justice. It always felt trite, corny, twee – like a kid with his pants round his ankles.

This time I think I managed to distil a little bit of wine and some suburban country sadness in there. I finished it but I’m still not feeling it. Maybe it was just one of those things where you have to write to get it clear and on with the next thing. Maybe I just left it too long since the initial idea and I’m just a different person now.

 

I tried writing one of the days this week, the day I finished the song in fact, by setting up a mic, picking up the guitar and just trying to play my way through unfinished songs – remembering the memorable lyrics, making up the rest as I went along, going with feel and momentum. It wasn’t exactly 100% gold but it dragged up some interesting stuff. When you’re forced to react, it can be a lot nicer than sitting around scratching your chin for clever lyrics, and when re-examining half-finished older stuff certainly cuts through to which bits are memorable and which are not.

 

I’ve been reading ‘Flow’ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and have had a lot of personal thoughts and experiences that fit with what is being said. Just looking at the diagram below has made me realize a few things about how I’ve been approaching music and how to maintain focus.

 

 

Problems arise for one of two reasons:

1)      I’m attempting too many things at once, or something overly ambitious – resulting in anxiety

2)      I set tasks that are not engaging, exciting or challenging enough – resulting in boredom.

 

When challenge and skill are adequately matched, heavens collide and Lord, I am changed.

…and songs get finished.

 

One of the ideas that has been playing heavily on my mind is to do with my not setting specific defined challenges, targets and rules for each song I’ve been working on, which in turn hampers progress because there are too many variables to explore. Not knowing what the goal is, I become anxious about my lack of ability to write and am left bewildered. I need to be clearer with my targets, intentions and so forth.

 

I don’t think as human beings any scenario without rules can be fun or enjoyable or even meaningful to anyone participating within. At least I can’t think of any.

 

There are many ways I can avoid doing either of these things, I just need to remember that when I’m in trouble it is because one of these to extremes is occurring and I must devise some way of resolving it.

 

I’ve also had a cleared a number of blocks I hadn’t noticed. I should’ve taken my own advice earlier given that I’ve already written a post about ‘clearing the deck’.

I’ve been doodling away writing poetry, prose based ramblings these past few months with relatively intense frequency for something I do as and when the mood or idea takes me – like a hobby almost. However, I had neglected to sort them or do the 2nd drafts and editing that is much needed if any of it is to be worthwhile or fit for public consumption.

On attempting a full-scale clear-out and tidy up of this raw stuff I’ve been encouraged that some of the work is decent, or at least there is some seed there and have decided to set aside some time to the honing of this particular craft and attempting to ‘perform’ some of it by putting together a spoken word set.

 

I’m very excited.

 

 

Happy New Year

Posted in Me Oh My with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2012 by Gideon K

 

It’s about time I got round to writing this and getting back on track with this blog.

 

First off, hello to any and all of you who read this blog, and if you’ve just joined us, welcome.

 

I’d like to wish a special set of greetings for everyone who over the past year has come to my gigs, listened to my tracks, read my posts, watched my videos, ‘liked’ my facebook pages, followed my tweets, shared my content, commented on any of it, given me feedback and generally inspired me to do further work.

In an age where we are inundated with information and we all have to quickly, immediately and almost right off the bat make decisions about what we will or won’t give our time to, it is hugely humbling and hugely appreciated that you have designated any of my creative endeavours and offerings as worthy of your time.

 

Overall, as far as blogging goes I think this year has been pretty good. I know I certainly haven’t pushed this blog as far as it could go in terms of readership, or turning my posts into conversations and interactions with all you people out there, but a good start has been made.

 

I pretty much kept up my end of the bargain. I put up 49 new posts, which since I started the blog in February, works out as just above one a week for the duration of the year. I have also drunk a hell of a lot of tea this year.

 

For a while I was having visions of all the ghosts of teabags from the last year coming back to haunt me and ask me if I’ve made their sacrifice worthwhile.

 

I hope I’ve used their fuel to further my trajectory towards the heart of the unknown blogosphere…

 

 

Here are the top 5 posts that got the most views this year:
1 ‘Art is Work’
2 Top Ten Alternative Queens
3 The Sound of Modern Music
4 Do You Remember the First Time?
5 Why Don’t You Smoke?

 

My most commented on post was Certainty vs Uncertainty.

 

My 5 most active commenters were:

1 opheliacomplex

2 Anna

3 John Clay

4 Miller

5 JB Newman

 

 

Thank you all for your time, wit and wisdom, and to everyone else who commented.

 

 

My ambition was really just to keep the thing up for a year and see what happened. I don’t really know how this year is going to go. All I do know is that it can’t be the same or stay the same, because I seem to be incapable of doing that.

 

I will continue writing this blog and experimenting with different formats for writing posts and sharing ideas thoughts etc. I have a lot of ideas for new things including some fairly wacky ideas about how to expose and embarrass myself online, but I think being uncomfortable is relatively healthy.

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to inform those of you who don’t already know, where all my online content can be found…

 

Primarily, all my online content can be accessed via two main hubs: www.gideonk.com and www.blackhay.com. Each has their own links to separate soundcloud, youtube, facebook, twitter and myspace pages.

 

http://soundcloud.com/black-hay is where all my serious heavy music is at, my sweat and blood masterpieces and what-have-you. It is also where most of my gig listings will be found this year.

 

http://soundcloud.com/gideon-k contains all the other stuff that doesn’t fall under my main project banner – my strange and wacky cover versions, soundtracks, my session showreel and that sort of thing. I might occasionally post some RAAAAAW demos on there for sneakpeaks of upcoming songs and changes.

 

 

 

Thanks for checking in. I hope you’ll stick around. I would love to hear what you people have to say about anything and everything.

 

And finally…

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR PEOPLE!!!!

 

(better late than never, eh?)

 

 

Peace, love and used teabags

 

Gideon

 

 

 

 

What I’m currently up to 05/03/2011

Posted in Me Oh My with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2011 by Gideon K

I’m currently working on my own band or project called Black Hay.

I had a band under this name in 2009, but that didn’t quite go as far as it could have before temporarily falling apart, and in 2010 I’ve been playing with Ghostnotes too much of the time to concentrate on anything else.

I’ve been meaning to revive the beast though. I have an almost album’s worth of songs, along with a clear concept sonically, thematically, artistically. And it won’t go away.

I thought it made more sense to try and get the material recorded (or at least demoed) first instead of trying to put another band together and THEN recording.

I realised it’s not the kind of project where I’m looking for someone else’s input to help me realise its potential, I’m going to be singing these songs, I can play guitar, bass and keys to the sort of level I need to play my music, I just need people with certain skills to do the things I physically cannot.

I’ve been highly inspired by my mate Lee’s DIY approach to this regarding his band Dumbjaw, and getting some great sounding tracks done for very little money with just a bit of grit, persistence and balls.

What I have been doing is looking for:

– A drummer, the right drummer, a groovy, hard-hitting ROCK drummer to help me realise these songs.

– A producer/engineer to help record and get it sounding good.

My plan is to take each song one at a time, rehearse, arrange, demo, and get everything tight and shiny. Then and only then do we go about recording perhaps only bass and drums live with everything else on top.

Once one song is done, repeat the process with the next song, rather than trying to tackle a whole bunch of songs at the same time.

That’s pretty much all I’m focused on at the moment, writing songs for this album idea.

I know a few guys who play bass and guitar that might be able to help out if I need them, and should I require other instruments, I’ll look for them but for now that is all.

Who knows which ones will go into the final thing or what I’ll use it for or do with it once I’m done. All I know is this urge is driving me crazy if I don’t do it.

Do the work, decide what to do with it afterwards.

Crazy? Silly? Moi?