Mittwoch, 13. Juli 2016

The Constant - Demo for the song "To The Moon"

Everytime we write a new song I demo it as good as possible. Not only for the others to learn the song, but especially to be able to listen to it in an acceptable quality. Demoing became really essential for me to be able to tell, whether a song "works" or not. I mean, you are able to listen to it over and over again. Does it feel good? Does it get boring? How's the vibe? What do friends think about the song? While producing the demos I also produce the samples and sounds we will use live. Apart from all that, it also is a lot of fun.
I think it is important to say that everyting happens in my bedroom, so nearly everything is recorded in the box. Unfortunately, we're not able to record real drums here. We still give our best to make it sound good. 
"To The Moon" was mainly written by my brother, while I helped musically, but most of all shaped the sound of the song and recorded the demo. The inspiration for this song came from bands like "Tame Impala" or in general the sound of 60s and 70s rock bands, which played a more progressive type of rock music. When the first verse and chorus was written, we already imagined the sound to be older, even a little dirty, but at the same time imaginative and vast - just appropriate for a theme like "moon" and everything that associates with it. We very quickly agreed to use the mellotron, playing alongside the guitar to give it this old and spacey vibe. This keyboard, that was in fact the first form of a sampler, was used by the Beatles (for example for the famous intro to "Strawberry Fields Forever") and later especially by a lot of progressive rock bands, such as King Crimson, Genesis and Yes. The next keyboard instrument we wanted to use, was an organ. I gave it a good amount of distortion to simulate the old rock-organ sound, along with a slightly bigger amount of reverb, to add to the width.
To give the sound the dirty vibe we wanted, I mixed the drums nearly exclusively in mono, giving it a little stereo room to widen the mix. In order to contribute to said vibe, there is heavy parallel compression and distortion on the drum track. I also gave the higher frequencies a cut down to 10kHz. On the vocal track the cut even goes to 6k. This creates some kind of telephone-effect that also associates with old recordings. Furthermore there is a lot of short delay and reverb on the vocals to give it this psychedelic vibe.
The last element we wanted to add to the "moon" theme were some of the NASA samples, which you can find and download from the official NASA Soundcloud account. There is a short mission command snippet after the first chorus and at the end you can hear sounds, that were recorded from saturn and a star. Especially the samples at the end add a lot to the idea of going "to the moon". It also really fits the mellotron playling along. This somehow reminds me of this tragic kind of vibe that David Bowie's "Space Oddity" evokes. I really like it a lot.
We are very happy with the outcome of song and sound. Although it's just a demo, I want to produce it as professional as possible, according to circumstances. Of course, this is nothing compared to a legit studio recording. But I hope it evokes some of the vibe we wanted it to have and is pleasantly listenable.

Mittwoch, 25. Mai 2016

"The Constant" - My new band

A while ago my new band, which I am the drummer of, went online. Since the end of 2014 we have built this new band, constantly writing and rehearsing music over more than a year. The idea was to directly display ourselves with a proper design, web presence and recordings. Before going online we were able to record 3 songs at the lovely Studio4, where we had a great time - we are more than happy with the outcome.
The 3 songs we selected from our set broadly represent our music: driving grooves, catchy hooks, sophisticated samples/sounds and single-like hymns - but never without searching for something special. With 2 guitars and a keyboard, that on the one hand acts as an organ/piano/mellotron etc. and on the other hand as a live sampler, there are grand possibilites to create music. I am very happy to play drums for this band, but I am also very glad to be able to produce the samples and sounds for the keyboards. I also like to produce intros and interludes to our songs.
We are currently playing liveshows and always try to push forward. Feel free to listen to our EP below. You can also visit us on Facebook and Youtube, where we already gathered a solid amount of video-material.

Montag, 4. Januar 2016

Soundtrack for short film "Spuren von Ewigkeit"

In the christmas holidays, I had the pleasure to work on a soundtrack for a short film with my dear friend Marvin John Halog. The short film was written and produced by Niklas B├Ânsch and deals with a guy that is caught in an emotional struggle with his new love. You can watch it here!
The whole soundtrack was inspired by a track Marvin and my brother were working on for our new band "THE CONSTANT", which was meant to be an interlude, but eventually turned into a full song called "TRACES", when I was recording and producing it with my brother at home afterwards. He also did the vocals for the song.
In the movie you will basically find two states of mind, along with a scene in a bar, for which we chose particular themes. For the scene in the bar, we decided to write a short, melancholy cool jazz type of track, which had to be put in the background for atmosphere purposes. At the end of the movie, you will find the track "TRACES" in full length, which was source for the themes (minus the scene in the bar). Although the track wasn't written for the movie per se, the lyrics really fit the story and the music adds a lot of emotion.
It was a really fun thing to do and I would love to write a soundtrack again!

Freitag, 11. Dezember 2015

Soundtrack for game "(PL)ANT LIFE" - Indie Speed Run 2015

A good friend of mine developes games (http://theshoemaker.de/) and asked me to participate in and create music and sound for a game jam called "Indie Speed Run 2015". It's one of the bigger ones, where you can win 4000$ along with great public exposure. In game jams you often get certain keywords - in this particular case an element and a theme - on which the game has to be based. We got the theme "rebuild" and the element "ants". After a bit of brainstorming we came up with the idea to play a flower, which has to rebuild itself (branches, leaves, roots etc.) and defend itself from natural enemies (ants). Because we had a time limit of 48h things became a little hectic and not everything we thought of was implemented, but with 9 other games we've made it to the finals (you can play it here)!
With this flowery mood going on I immediately thought the soundtrack had to be some chill-out bossa nova kind of style. So I first programmed a typical bossa beat in my DAW and jammed over it for a while. I love jazz, but instrumentally I'm not that much of a jazzcat (at least on melody instruments), so I oriented myself to a standard II-V-I jazz progression in - well, guess what - C-Major. To create a more authentic feel, I approached the main functions chromatically with kicks on the upbeat as well as a modulation in part b.
As it is common in jazz, I created a theme, which is played over two parts with one repitition. I tried to find a catchy, but still jazzy melody and I hope I did. After I found the melody I jammed over it again and recorded two solos, one on guitar and one on keys. Not only recording the solos, but also composing and recording the accompaniment for the song on guitar and keys was a great challenge for me, but this is what I love about projects like these. I love to play other instruments than drums and I definitely always love to learn some new chops on bass/guitar/keys.
So I think I came up with music, that is beneficial for the game itself, because it implements itself into the world so well (the flower even dances to the music). A quick word about the title: I wanted to give it an easy, relaxing but also grand and maybe "notorious" kind of connotation. That is why I came up with "Nighttime in San Francisco" (I think, subconsciously I thought of "Friday Night in San Francisco" by Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia).
I also made the sounddesign for the game, which was a first for me and I think that's something that is very different from writing music. Athough I also produce electronic music it was very difficult to come up with good sounds. Still, it was a fun thing to do and I would do it again!
You can listen to the song in the player below and please do us a favor and play the game here!