Tag Archives: music production

The Horse Dark Lady – how to never speak to anyone anymore

so, this is the third of the series of production videos from the album “Music of Ghouls”. this time let me introduce to you a lady who can’t stand it if people talk to her. she gets physically sick when someone opens their mouth to talk to her. she feels as if the words hit her face like stones. what to do? simple. she moved out of society to live with horses. horses are quiet, calm and peaceful animals and make her feel comfortable. now, she moves from stable to stable to be with horses. she calles herself the Horse Dark Lady and she pulls a gun on anyone who tries to speak to her.

here’s the production video where I explain how I record the bass stereo with 2 mics, how I used breakpads, car shocks and a baby drum to get the percussion section going and how a shaker can play straight 8ths over a triplet swing groove.

here are the lyrics:

she didn’t learn a lot in school
with people she don’t get along
and though she knows all the words
she becomes a mute when spoken to

when spoken to she cries
she’s ashamed of other people’s words
cause all people do is talk talk talk
why doesn’t anybody ever shut up

if she had the time she could prepare herself
for the words that haven’t yet been said
but everytime someone speaks to her
they throw words like stones into her face

when spoken to she cries
she’s ashamed of other people’s words
cause all people do is talk talk talk
why doesn’t anybody ever shut up

she doesn’t want to be compared to others
only the unknown makes her feel safe
over time she grew hard an mean
now she’s a nightmare for husbands fathers and mothers

when spoken to she cries
she’s ashamed of other people’s words
cause all people do is talk talk talk
why doesn’t anybody ever shut up

she moved out of town a long time ago
she lives with horses now in stables dark and cold
she calls herself the horse dark lady
she pulls a gun on any man who speaks to her

now she’s a saint
she’s a sinner
she’s every man’s dream for sure
she calls herself the horse dark lady
she pulls a gun on any man who speaks to her

if you like this song and the production videos, please go ahead and sign up here for more background info on my creative adventures and experiments in the music business.

you can become a sponsor of the Music of Ghouls album and release here.

I’ve Got Money – or can you provide for my millionaire lifestyle?

this is another production video of a song that’s going to be on the album Music of Ghouls.
the song is called “I’ve got Money” and is about a young kid who’s only dream is to live the life of a millionaire. but he doesn’t want to work for it so he just clings to those who seem to have money until they either run out of cash or prove not to provide the desired lifestyle. a real parasite, sucking people dry.

here’s the production video of what I’ve done so far: (sorry for the video quality, I’m new to this and it’s going to get better, I promise!)

here are the lyrics:

I’ve got money in the bank
now you wanna be my friend
a millionaire you want to be
but even if you were
not even your mother would care

you’ll never be that pure again
you’re an angel with a dream
you’re a bird too young to die
bit when the moon shines through the clowds
you’ll fly

all my money, now it’s gone
now you went, you went away
same old story, same old tale
I put my blue, my blue coat on

I hope you enjoy this series of production vids. please leave a comment and tell me what you’d like to see here.

also, you can become part of the album by producing it here.

“Music of Ghouls” fan funded album release

I decided to do another experiment. I launched the album recording of Music of Ghouls on rockethub.
fanbased funding is nothing new anymore with a couple of very good services out there, such as artistshare (the first to launch in 2003), kickstarter, and hypebot, just to name a few.

I decided on rockethub, because it had the most music related projects, though I think artistshare is the most serious one out there and I know first hand they do great work. (they’ve won a couple of grammys, go figure.)

rockethub just seemed to be so easy to set up and get started.

so, here are the packages you will be able to fund there to help release my album “Music of Ghouls”

$ 15
exlusive download of the album, plus 3 extra tracks performed live in my studio.
$ 20
E Book (download) “Music of Ghouls” behind the scenes (similar to this one) including photos, music scores, lyrics, handwritten notes, designed like a tattoo-flipbook. your name will be in the credits as “producer”
$ 50
All $20 Value, plus the complete album as high def. download (no mp3 files, but .aiff), handwritten page of a song score, thank you letter from me.
$ 75
exclusive bass lesson either in my studio (munich, germany) or via online stream, 60 minutes, learn everything I know about recording half the sounds of this album on my upright bass, talk music and profit from my experiments in the music business (availability 5)
$ 100
Printed Book “Music of Ghouls” incl. Photos, handwritten notes, music scores, lyrics, CD (the album) and a handwritten thank you letter from me. your name will be in the credits as “executive producer” (availability 20)
$ 150
All $100 Value, plus instead of a CD you will get a preloaded iPod Shuffle (2G) containing all the music. (availability 10)
$ 250
2 VIP tickets to all my shows in and around munich, germany for 1 year (availability 5)
$ 500
Exclusive Online Stream Concert, just for you, plus a copy of the video tape of the show (availability 2)
$ 1000
Exclusive Show at your Party or in your living room (Munich, Germany only!), plus 1 copy of the $100 value Book (availability 1)
$ 10.000
I’ll fly you to Munich! Follow me around munich, germany. visit the studios (where I’ll show you how the music has been mixed and mastered), visit my studio where I’ll show you how I recorded the bass and vocal tracks, and spend a weekend (max 3 days) hanging out with me in this great city (sightseeing, concerts, theater…) (hotel and flight included, as long as flight costs don’t exceed $1000 USD!) (availability 1)

let’s see how this is going to work out.

here’s my pitch:
if you like my music and would like to be part of the album, please visit rockethub to fuel one of the bundles and get the album on the road.
if you don’t like it you might still know someone who does! please don’t just throw out my album, but forward the rockethub link to someone who you think might like it. you’ll do them a favor, yourself and me. this way you at least spread good karma.

thank you for your support!

Music of Ghouls recording experiment

as many of you already know, I like to do experiments in the musicindustry and regarding every aspect of music making. this whole site is dedicated to that.

so, for the recording of my current project Music of Ghouls I came up with the following scheme.

1. I pre-recorded most of the 12 songs in my own studio in munich, playing almost all the percussion tracks on the upright bass. the bass is the ideal instrument to not only play notes, but to make it screech and punch it anyway possible to get interesting sounds out of it. there’s a whole genre based on it. my favourite bassist being Joelle Leandre from paris, whom I had the pleasure studying with in 1998. check her out, she’s amazing.

so, about 10 of the 12 songs already have all the percussions tracks.

2. now I’m in new york and I decided to ask my friend Steve Blanco, if his new not-fitting-into-any-category 3 piece band (drums, keyboards, guitar) would like to record the album with me. instead of hiring freelance musicians and putting a band together I asked an existing band to play with me. this has one bis advantage, they’re well rehearsed, have good chemistry going on between them and they know what they are doing and what their sound is.
the aband is called El Chico Blanco, check them out.

3. since most of the percussion tracks are already done I only need drums on 2-3 songs, which I wanted to record live to get a live atmosphere on the tape. the other tracks will be only my percussions, bass, vocals, plus guitar and keyboards. the other 2 songs will be live band plus my vocals.

4. I decided that for the live tracks with the full band I don’t want to use any bass on the recording. I want the band sound of El Chico Blanco and I’m afraid I would water it down if I added my own bassplaying.

the recording process experiment: this is the real challenge here.

5. instead of doing rehearsals and then the recording I limited the time of both to 2 days. yes, two days to rehearse and record an entire album. we’re going to rehearse intensely in the mornings and record in the afternoon. this way everything we rehearsed stays fresh and the recording will still have that kind of raw and unpolished sound I aim for.
the big challenge here is the timeframe, of course. there’s no room for bullshit or distraction of any kind. we’re going in, set up, play our hearts out and that’s what you will get on the CD. another benefit of doing this is, that I can record the rehearsals, too, and maybe there’s a couple of tracks that can go on the CD as sort of a bootleg prior to the finished recording.

6. the rehearsals will hopefully be streamed live online. we still have to figure out the internet connection and how to best set it up. if all fails and the live stream is not possible I go to plan B, which is to video tape the rehearsals to provide a video for you of the creative process of those two days. I’ll let you kknow the status of the internet issue so you can all tune in when it happens.

this is a real challenge, because I set the timeframe very tight and I hope we can get everything on tape that needs to be recorded. I believe we can pull it off, because the band is excellent and the musicians are strong musical beasts with a fullhearted can-do mentality I’ve seldomly come across.

here are the dates:

August 18th & 19th 2010
Live Stream on the same days, times to be arranged.

“who’s my audience?” newsletter & giveaways

a lot of times I feel I don’t have any connection to my fans, clients, whatever you want to call them. the people out there, so to say. I’m in the studio working on music or my ideas most of the time. it’s a closed think tank kind of environment, which I love because it provides the mental and physical space to create create create. yet, at the end of the day I often feel disconnected, despite all the social media interaction. something along the lines of “I don’t know who my audience is”.

well, it’s going to change because it’s crucial.

here’s the ultimate newsletter signup.


I started to whip my newsletter in shape. please sign up if you’re interested in my world of “Zen and the Art of Rockstarliving“.

as a start, I’ll give away 3 songs during the next 3 weeks. 1 song per week.

the cool thing about it, these songs have not yet been released. they are not even finished. they are in the progress of being recorded and will be out in october. what you get are exclusive raw tracks from rehearsals and preproduction of the album.

cool?

let me know what you think.

  • first song goes out to you may 28th
  • second on june 4th
  • third on june 11th

p.s. if you’re not interested in my music, please tell those of your friends who might be interested. this way you do them a favour, yourself and me.

happy hunting!

“we’ll fix it in the mix” sucks – rehearse before recording

when you record in the studio, make things simple. easy and fast. most of all, don’t waste your money on studio time! here are 10 simple tricks to avoid high costs, nerve wrecking sessions and mediocre final recordings.

1. rehearse the shit out of your material.  play it in front of live audiences, tweak, make it perfect, then play it again live as often as possible. tweak some more. then, after hours, days, weeks on tour, months, go and book studio time.

2. don’t book more time than you need. there should be no “we’ll play until it’s good, then go on to the next track”. instead, count on playing no more than 3 takes per song. after that they’re not going to get any better. choose the best version and move on. saves money, lots of money.

3. no “we’ll fix it in the mix”. there’s no such thing. bad quality on the tape is going to be the bad spot of the final mix. fix it right away. play it again! done. next! (this saves not only your nerves, but also the nerves of your engineer. you want to keep them happy, because they are a key factor of the recording quality!) it also keeps momentum in the recording process, which again makes the whole recording, sound and quality more energetic. it will show in the final product!

4. repeat the first recorded song again towards the end of the session. this way you can warm up while already recording when you play the track the first time. you repeat the song when you’re warmed up later in the session and get a more relaxed and energetic atmosphere in the music!

5. 2 days before the studio session, check all your equipment, batteries ok? all cables ok? sound ok? strings good? (don’t start to change strings in the studio! wastes everybody’s time and money!). I say 2 days before, because this gives you another day to fix things, buy batteries etc.

6. day before recording: (my favourite routine) go get some really nice light food to eat in the studio. I prefer italian antipasti, get drinks, some sweets etc. to bring to the studio. don’t forget your engineer! they’re very happy when they get a treat (often even ends in a little discount at the end!). it’s also a nice gesture. you’re invading their workspace for the day, treat them and yourself right. makes all the difference. also, this saves studio time because you don’t overeat on junkfood, which makes you tired and slow.

7. recording day: get up in time (go to sleep in time to be fit!). light breakfast, relax! grab coffee or tee, enjoy the morning, don’t do anything music related. just breathe.

8. make quick decicions in the studio. don’t rush it, of course, but make quick decicions following your instinct. choose the right version fairly quickly and build on it. don’t listen to every track 100 times before making the choice. trust your gut feeling.

9. delete all versions you didn’t choose! why keep tracks you chose not to use? you want to build on the strong tracks, kick the week ones out. they only take up space on tape or harddrives, and they make it really complicated to keep track of what’s what, especially in larger productions.

10. plan the recording process. who’s going to record when? don’t record the saxophone for an hour when the backing singer is already waiting outside for their turn. having to wait around turns people off and takes the edge out of their performance.

bottom line: have your shit together before recording. don’t rush to have a cd in your hands. build your art in front of live audiences and then, when you’re really ready, hit the studio like a thunderstorm. burn down the house. done. next.

musician’s to-do list

I got asked recently about what a musician’s to-do list should contain?

short answer: practice, compose/produce, manage.

practice is obvious. work on your skill, improve your talent. this is so obvious, it should not even be on a to-do list at all. if it’s on your to-do list, there’s something wrong with your view on musicianship. so scrap it off the list! this is your profession. you do it every day. obvious.

compose/produce: for me those two are actually pretty much the same thing. I produce while I compose and vice versa. anyway, this is just as obvious as practice. produce as much music as you can and get it out there. this, too, is so obvious it shouldn’t be on the list.

manage: ah now we’re getting somewhere. manage your career. what does it mean? it means: don’t spend time on twitter or facebook! don’t look to get signed! don’t work on a website for hours, days, weeks! don’t look for distribution (use tunecore or cd-baby and do it yourself in minutes!), don’t beg “important” people to come see your show!

it really means: work on your music, your show and play gigs to create your tribe. just focus on the music and how you present it live. the rest will follow, they’ll come to you: fans, important people, press, labels, fame, etc…

here’s a great free to-do list application that allows you to put down the basic things that need to be done to play your next gig. make it a remarkable one!

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