The Abyss

The Abyss – An Original Garage Band Creation

When I started recording my original songs, whether it was solo or with Junior Chills, I recorded using the voice record feature on my tablet and phone. Not realising (pretty stupid of me) that I would still be using the same microphone of my device, I downloaded Garage Band in the hope that I would be able to make my songs sound better by editing and mixing them up a bit. Although the recording quality itself for vocals wasn’t great, the different instruments and the effects you could use was, for a novice, excellent.

I remember faffin’ about with the app for ages and I made a few instrumental tunes (such as Head of a Weasel and others which I will put on the blog at some stage). However I inadvertently decided to put together a song using only the instruments available in the app and putting my own lyrics to it. I think it was born out of playing with the guitar instrument in the app and getting some nice sounds from it. I slowly but surely put a varied mix of instruments into it including a strings section, drums, hip hop drums and an electric piano…pretty random to say the least but I think that they come together nicely. I have only recently revisited playing the song as I was finally able to connect my Shure microphone to the tablet to make the vocals a bit clearer with less interference. A word of advice…it was an absolute nightmare finding the right app to allow me to build a video with this song. A lot of the apps wouldn’t play the file for whatever reason despite multiple attempts at converting the file to different file types. Fortunately in the end I got a free app called Viva Video which worked perfectly!!!

The song is made up of two verses which are repeated. It wasn’t so much of a laziness thing but rather I liked the two verses I had and thought that if I was able to put a bit of a beat into the song it would sound good.

In regards to the lyrics of the song itself I like to think of it as a bit of a haunting song. The abyss of life in a way can itself be haunting. Deep in your life when things aren’t going great you can see a light…the light at the end of the tunnel which so many people talk about. It is haunting as although you can see the light at the end, you also see the other things which are all around you. These maybe are the things which have made times difficult for you.

I am a fan of staring into the cloudless sky at night time and looking at the stars and searching for satellites as they move (I saw a shooting star once before which was pretty amazing!!). Maybe there has been a lot of influence from the likes of Predator, Event Horizon, Alien and Interstellar where I wonder what the stars can hold…a species which can wipe us out? A species which wants to wipe us out? Is there just space? Or maybe is there an accumulation of all three? I don’t know…it is only a song at the end of the day.

Here it is. ‘The Abyss’.

D.M.

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‘When The Time Comes Round’ – Our Song Which Was Omitted From 28 Days Later Soundtrack

‘When The Time Comes Round’ was our first song which we put onto Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook. A Battle of the Bands was taking place in our local area but in order to register to perform you had to send in a song which your band had recorded. We had a few different recordings made via our smartphones but nothing which sounded ‘professional’. We then had to delve into the world of the recording studio…a place which the Arctic Monkeys in ‘Teddy Picker’ made out to be a fun, happy place where you can chill out and make music and have the craic and what not. It is a fuckin terrifying experience………..at the beginning anyway!

Don’t get me wrong the studio itself was excellent. It was situated in a converted room in a house and was owned by a friend of my brother. We went to the studio to jam before we decided to record a song and were told that we could make as much noise as we wanted which was like a red rag to a bull as, during our usual house practice sessions, noise had to be to a minimum – I suppose I didn’t actually having to keep noise to a minimum as quite a lot of the songs I was writing at the time were just nice wee acoustic songs. The addition of a bass and an electric guitar changed the dimension of the songs…for the better!!

So why was the studio a terrifying experience?

For two reasons to be precise. It was one thing singing in front of your friends in a room in the back of your house, it was another singing into a microphone in a studio which amplified your voice ten fold. I had never sang into a microphone before and this was a baptism of fire for me. My voice isn’t strong but listening back to some of the first recordings I made on my phone it sounded as if a light breeze would blow me over. There was no strength there at all…I suppose this is part and parcel of my fears of singing but I think I am slowly but surely overcoming this fear. I knew that I would need to get used to singing into a mic and hearing my voice boomed back at me. Following the session, and after a bit of research, I purchased a Shure SM58 microphone…to be honest I hadn’t used anything else so cannot compare it to other microphones but I’ll say this. It does the trick.

The second reason is as follows. I have told you that I have played the guitar since I was thirteen (and left it down for quite a considerable amount of years). I used to be able to read sheet music but now I read tabs if I am practicing a cover song. I know a few chords. I have forgotten all my scales. I sometimes have difficulty changing strings. Some of these things may be universal problems which others experience or have experienced. When we went into record our song for the Battle of the Bands I needed to be able to play to a click track…I didn’t even know what a click track was.

Having now been schooled in it, a click track, for those of you that don’t know, is a form of metronome which you keep time to which allows for easier editing in garageband, for example. We wanted to record When the Time Comes Round but if we wanted to add in drums to our song, which was advised and is quite an essential instrument needed when you don’t have a drummer, we needed me to be able to play to a click track. After two hours of start, stop, rewind, record, and over and over again I didn’t get it. I couldn’t get it. For whatever reason I could not play to the click track on time. Don’t get me wrong I am good with time in that I can tell time and I am punctual so how hard could it be to play to a metronome…pretty fuckin hard let me tell you!!.

As such we abandoned the click track and made a ‘raw’ recording of the song which I really liked (probably because I wasn’t under any pressure then). For our first professional recording I don’t think it was wise that we chose a 6 odd minute song but we did and we submitted it and we got into the Battle of the Bands (another tale for another time).

‘When The Time Comes Round’ is one of those songs which has very little in the way of meaning and more in the way of convoluted things thrown together. It doesn’t follow a story or anything but has one or two small messages contained in the lyrics. I think one of them is a reflection of myself in regards to writing music and now, in hindsight, writing this very blog – “write your story about your life, end on a high or start afresh its your own tale its not a test”. There are no right or wrong answers in what I type into this blog about me, my music and my collaborations. There is just me, my music and my collaborations so I shouldn’t be afraid to write away…and I will try…

Recently a friend said to me that he thought that the song sounds like it is off the 28 Days Later soundtrack…I’ll take that…

D.M.