Helping you to get your music made

From The Boiler Room: “Physician, Heal Thyself”

photo credit: jfcherry via photopin cc

photo credit: jfcherry via photopin ccThis site was set up with the aim of sharing what I’ve learnt, (and am continuing to learn), about making music, so that you, gentle reader, can get your music made, as it says in the strapline above.  Well, that’s fine and dandy, but there comes a point when you gotta practise what you preach and so, starting here, I’ll be posting “from the boiler room” as I set about arranging and recording an album’s worth of music, sharing with you my adventures, (and mis-adventures), along the way.

Now, much as I’d love to say it’s my NEXT album, that wouldn’t be true.  Despite having been writing and recording songs for over 30 years, I’ve never actually gathered together a group of songs with the intention of recording them as a single album.  Loads of demos, but nothing that I could say is a finished product, and lots of songs gathering dust and waiting for me to do something with them.  So it’s high time I took my own advice to finish my songs.

I decided that a few ground rules were in order:

  1. All songs, (except one – see Rule 4), had to be written only by me – no collaborations.  This gives me freedom to arrange the songs as I will, but also meant that there’d be plenty of material left over for “that difficult second album” – assuming I finish this one!
  2. None of the songs should have been recorded before.  Much as I love the Changes songs, recording any of them again would be the third or fourth version and you can’t just keep ploughing the same field.  Some of my others were recorded when I worked with Andrew Stapleton, but I wanted to approach this project with no prior idea of how any song “should” sound.
  3. The big challenge – I want to end up with a coherent set of songs that sound like they were meant to sit together, no matter how they were originally conceived.  I also want to explore my musical roots, as it were, and ensure that all of those different styles and genres are reflected in the end result.
  4. Finally, one and only one cover version.  I’ve settled on a song that reflects where I’m from and that has been a personal favourite for a long, long time.  What is it – ah, well you’ll just have to wait.

Armed with these rules, I trawled through my back catalogue, coming up with 27 songs that met the rules and which I still consider to be worth recording, (and there were a lot that failed that litmus test).  Too many for one album, (this isn’t “Use Your Illusion” or “The River”), so I pruned the list by looking at things like key, tempo, mood and refined it down to the final 12, (and in the process set aside material for that difficult second album and some for the triumphant-return-to-form third album). Now I have my final list and it’s time to set to work.  I’ll keep you posted.

photo credit: jfcherry via photopin cc
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