Failures and Successes

So, it’s been a few weeks since I posted here. I was trying to throw myself into Tune A Day June, but my efforts basically fell apart after about 11 days because I was super-tired at the end of the college year, and then needed to focus my efforts to prepare for the end of year gig on 1st July at one of the local pubs*, which is great at supporting the arts and especially music.

I was finding that because I was tired, it wasn’t a great time to be trying to write music, and I was not finding the deeper creative streak I wanted to reach.  What I really wanted to achieve was to write some more songs with lyrics, as I’ve focussed a lot on instrumental music during this year. But I was finding that in order to meet the requirement to make something every day for Tune A Day, I was going for the default option of writing a tune without lyrics, rather than approaching writing from the song’s meaning, taken from words. It wasn’t working and it was actually demotivating to be ‘failing’ like this. After taking some time out from forcing creativity, I’ve written some meaningful lyrics that I want to make use of at a later stage. It took a while before I started to find some natural creativity again, as I was beating myself up a bit (not literally, don’t worry!) for not being more productive, even when I had stopped pushing myself to make something. Stopping and just thinking about life and – critically – slowing down enough to observe have helped me find motivation.

The other important thing that I’ve started to do during this time – apart from helping my Dad out with some chores – is to learn more about how Ableton Live Lite works, after having had a brief introduction earlier in the year to Ableton at college and stewing on thoughts of how I might use Live Lite, its cut down version, for a while. This program should be very useful for my live performances, so I have also begun to transfer the songs that I played on 1st July into this new format so I can start to rehearse for a gig in September that I’ve been asked to do. (This gig request came from a friend who has persistently encouraged me to start doing Stoneygate gigs… and who helps organise a regular electronic music event.*)  Working in Ableton Live Lite looks like it could be more flexible and better suited to my music than working on the college’s Maschine unit I borrowed for the 1st July (at least in the way I was using it), and it looks like I’ll be able to make my live performances sound more similar to the recorded versions of my tracks with how I have started to work.

*If you would like details of future Stoneygate performances, so you can attend, and other significant news, please join my mailing list.

Day 10 – Courage

A third of the way through the challenge already!

I wrote a couple of tunes yesterday, but wasn’t happy with either. One just didn’t seem to have much of a life, and the other one was starting to come out a bit on the similar side to something famous that I would need to check it against. I decided to leave both on the computer.

Today, I seem to have had a little more inspiration, and have produced a demo called courage. Maybe it would work for an action scene or something like that.

Day 7 & Day 8 – Ascent & Rebellion

I was unwell for a few days so Tune-a-Day got put to one side and I did a lot of sleeping…  Now I’m trying to catch up again. This is day 7 – not quite sure where all the darkness came from, but it works its way up as it goes along, hence the name.

As I’ve been out of action, I pushed myself to get a second tune written and demo’d today. So here is day 8’s tune as well. I’ve been trying to use unusual time signatures so that I hopefully write something different.



Day 5 – Spy Kidz!

Today’s tune is probably one of the wackiest I’ve written yet. It starts off as funk and arrives somewhere in the land of fun, aggressive commercial electronic pop. I’m not sure about all of it, but I’m not really trying to get to fully finished productions. It’s more about getting ideas and exercising the ‘creative muscle’.

Tune-a-Day June 2016

Last year, my friend Max said he was going to write a tune a day in June. I felt challenged and joined in. It was an enormous struggle to get past the two week mark producing a proper tune every day, but I made it to about three weeks in before the writing petered out. It was as tough as any physical workout.

This time, I asked Max if he was up for it again this year… I wanted to do this, because I don’t feel like I have written enough in the last twelve months, particularly writing purely for pleasure and wanted to concentrate on some songwriting.

I managed to forget June had started though, and suddenly saw Max posting a tune on 2nd June. (What am I like?!) So I have started a bit late, and am going to try to catch up.  The first couple of tunes were just small ideas, loops to get warmed up to the idea of writing music again after churning out various college assignments over recent weeks. Most of the last year’s music writing has seemed to be writing to a brief, with a few exceptions, so I need to find the strand of pure creativity and draw myself in deeper. It might take a few days or so to get where I want to be!

The tune for Day 3 is a step beyond where I got to with the first couple of ideas, so is the first thing from this year’s challenge that is worth sharing. (Note: It’s just a demo of the idea – not properly mixed and produced.)