First off, happy not so new year, and then the gong xi fa cai, and the very belated merry happy easter celestial zombie offspring day…now that we’re all mostly caught up. Hope you are all well, and thanks for checking if I’m still twitching from time to time. I’m appreciating the facebook pokes, tweets and general updates in your world. Keep your stories coming.
The first order of business is that we’ve got the emo bunny in check. For her crimes of hijacking the blog post she has been wiped by the Internal Ninja Muse Squad and has been placed in the attic. The rest of us are thick in the middle of bon-fire celebrations…yeeehaaar! Feel free to join us…offerings are welcomed
Now as long long promised, we also bring you…Updates! Updates Updates and answers to the long evaded questions of “How IS your album going?”
It’s taking a millenia and three quarters and counting…I’m painfully aware of that. But hopefully, some details I’m waiting on are locked in blood soon, and I can start telling you stories I’ve been bursting to for a good while now. As mentioned the writing bit has been long loooong finished, what remains is that we’re thick in the performance, production and recording of it with some songs practically done, some three quarters through, and some we’re still hiding away from….AND you will soon see why. I blame the voices that go “WHEEEEEEE!!!” in my head.
So here are some discoveries I’ve made in the process of album creation that are fun to share and won’t kill the concept album surprise when it’s finally all done.
1)This album is starting to feel like a long running thesis. I’ve just stolen a look at the number of news/historical and musical references and sound samples tied to the album and now realise that the little worm of a list has grown into a mammoth python of sorts. I’m enjoying the process…slow as it is, but I’m realising how much this feels like a thesis we never meant to write. Still, I’m looking forward to sharing the long list of references once this is done. Tis very good minion fodder…
2) While I think that it is good to write in a multitude of different genres for ONE concept album, one has to be able to perform it too. This means getting into the headspace of different genres of singers and trying to pick up singing in the said style very quickly, while not sounding like an overly schizoid voice actor with a million voices. Make sense?
This means it’s important I still sound like me so there’s a connecting voice throughout the album. I guess it’s kind of like variant type of method acting and in the words of my dead panned manager/producer Lee McIver ” as long as it’s not methodone acting.” (ahaaar..haaar…very funny Lee).
My latest project includes climbing into the headspace of a 75 year old drug addict/ ex-hollywood wannabe who now lives in an alleyway as a lady of the eventides…. I remember that it was difficult to write her into being as a songwriter who only quite recently discovered the interestingness of Jazz (2.5 years ago to be precise). Now, I’m finding it even more of a challenge to sing her into life…or at least deliver a performance good enough to do the wonderful production justice. So practice, practice practice…and a lot of blind faith, a sprinkle of delusions…and alot of listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday – for the purposes of this ONE song. ( You’ll hear of this in another post)
3) In a similar point to point no.2, I’m discovering that the songwriting bit is positively the eeeeasiest bit in the making of this album…everything else is an exponential up-hill climb from there. So there have been periods of re-learning, unlearning and then fast-tracked learning of in the realms of the implicit and explicit. Oh, and trying to wimp out by giving challenging songs to other singers wasn’t an allowable option. The result was that I was frog marched to take a whole heap of vocal lessons…and history lessons, to get some genre deliveries in context. The lessons are coming good, my tendencies to sound like a banshee has been minimised, (this possibly a good thing for the life forms that work with me). Also, no more sandpaper throat from incorrect technique.
On top of all that, long lists of listening homework to do, depending on the genres, which seems to keep the muses very happy…which is always good.
All this prep work builds up to a certain math-rock-like song written with a time signature of
33/8 ( for verses)
3/4 (waltz – for chorus)
2/4 (Swing- for bridge)
This – for all the stalling and procrastination in the world – will need to be recorded.
The song was last seen lurking in the back of everyone’s minds last week like an especially sick and perverse AI in the Ultimate Boss Stage….The Kraken…the Horror…
4) The fourth point is simple chemistry… Coffee. Coffee + Your Royal Madness = B A D. I recently found out that trace amounts of caffeine makes me hear time funny and I speed up like a speedy speedy rocket..Weeeee!!!!
So just like that….a lifetime ban of my all time favourite beverage at all live sessions.
Oh the humanity…
5) As I much as I thoroughly enjoy the whole lengthy process of making the concept album, working with an awesome team of people etc… etc….I’m finding the whole process quite a lonely one as I can’t talk about too much “making of” stuff with my dear minions in real time while I’m creating it. This lack of sharing it is proving to be very un-fun because Your Royal Madness is really very egomaniacal and craves minion attention at all times. So there, something to consider the next time I attempt another concept album…
So this is it for now minions, some sneak peaks, some revelations. More on the way. Till then…
Your Royal Madness,