Entering into the world of writing and recording an album always has the feeling of wading into dark uncharted waters for me. Even though I have been doing this for 30, yes, 30 years now, the creative process has always felt like an unexplainable mystery.
Case in point - one of the things that I am enjoying the most this time around is that I have access to studio space without a formal contract. That means I can use the space whenever it is not being used. Unhindered by the usual financial pressure to perform on demand, I have occasionally taken to just going in to have a mess around with no plan whatsoever.
A couple of weeks ago, during one of these mess around sessions, I hit upon a few chords that I liked on my acoustic guitar. Within 10 minutes I had something that felt like a complete song. It just fell out of the air and I quickly caught it.
Since I am using Logic Pro as my digital audio workstation, I found a nice Drummer pattern that I quite liked and used that as a guide for tracking my acoustic.
Next up was the bass guitar. I am not a bass player but I love playing it. That means I play it uniquely like me which allows me to be unorthodox in my approach. Since I had no melody yet for the song, I played the bass as if it was the lead singer.
Next was electric guitar. I wanted to find a heavily effected sound and did so using a setting called “From here to there” in Logic Pro. Basically a Vox amp sound with a mental amount of delay. For ease, I just plugged the Gibson hollow body electric directly into the Apollo audio interface. No amp.
30 minutes exactly since I first struck the initial chord on the guitar, the backing tracks for the song were finished. Let me tell you that this never happens to me. I am usually laboring for ages.
I loved it so much as an instrumental I was determined to leave it as such. But, the next week I found myself recording a vocal of whatever came out of my mouth on the first take. Listening back, there were words and word fragments that intrigued me. Within another 30 minutes I had the lyrics in full and recorded a few takes, adjusting the melody as I went along.
Now a couple of weeks later, I am basically finished with my first new song for my new album called “So Alive”. I love that it is 1 minute and 55 seconds long. I love that it is a very different song for me musically, mainly due to the way it was composed and put to “tape”. It feels like the album opener to me as both musically and lyrically it is a propelling, reaching for the stars, aspirational pean to a desire to live life to the fullest. There will be plenty of time for darkness and hurt in the other songs, but “So Alive” boldly leaves its mark from the start.