JUNE 16, 2021
It felt like a good time to update this front page, although I don’t have a strong list of things I can think of off hand to tell you. I’ll need to search my memory to remember what I’ve done since I was here last. This morning I am up a little earlier as I have to take some guitars up to my workshop before the guy who shares the room with me rocks up to have his weekly session in there. I’m listening to Skream and drinking a stovetop coffee out of my All Are Welcome diner mug as I do everyday.
This past week I’ve been diving back into some 2-step and UK Garage to inspire me to complete a track that I made using some guitar chords which I recorded and threw into a sampler. The tune I made was very different from the original vision I had, but once I’d come up with the initial hook there was no turning back. I had to roll with where it felt it needed to go. I’ve gotten a little stuck with the ‘verse’ section of the song, but I have the hook/chorus and a bridge that I am happy with. Perhaps I should push on and finish it but now that we’re into a new week, it has to be time to work up another idea and come back to it.
It’s been good to revisit productions by EL-B, Horsepower Productions and to discover a few tracks via random Spotify playlists. This diversion has also meant spending some more time with synths and ROMplers which is fun. I would love to have some hardware to play with but the software version of classics such as the Korg M1, Roland JX8P and Yamaha DX7 are still great tools for learning how to get those sounds. I’ve also been using soft-synths to recreate some Juno sounds and watching some YouTube channels that showcase these legendary pieces.
I used to listen to Lady Erica’s UK Garage show on 3RRR on Saturday nights back in the early 00s and it was one of my favourite shows. It’s no wonder that I would go on to run a night like Heavy Innit!! which was centred around a the underground club/sound-system culture in the UK. Dubstep and Grime came from the darker side of Garage, Jungle and DnB and I have been into this type of heavy dance music since the rave days of the mid-90s in Melbourne. Whilst I was very into guitar music, I also found the local underground club culture attractive and the music was very exciting.
It’s no surprise to me that I enjoy to try my hand at these genres also. Electronic music is easy to make on your own and fun too. There’s an entirely different palette of sounds to work with and the sound design aspect is very challenging. Making a dance track is a lot different proposition to putting together a band/guitar type song, which is what I was doing the week prior.
Doing some kind of follow up to the Sandpit recordings has been something on my to-do list forever. It’s a daunting task but after 20+ years of honing my studio chops and returning to guitar, I feel ready. This project will get worked on when I am in the mood for it. My tastes and interests swing from week to week, day to day. Though it was good to develop some ideas to kick things off and to see what my strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to being a ‘one man band’.
I can record guitars just fine using the gear I have, but programming the drums was not easy and I think I need to improve on the hybrid kit I have made. My room is just too small to house a bigger electronic kit. I really need another room/space to use as a drum room. I only own some decent hi-hat cymbals and will try to save up for a crash and a ride. This is something I will write a article about in the future.
Despite my shortcomings, I am still reasonably happy with how the track has taken shape for now. It’s still in a very basic form and could do with some more details and greater dynamics, but for one person writing all of the parts over a week, I’m satisfied with the result. I really need to write some tabs in Guitar Pro before I forget how to play them. The bass is in standard tuning but the guitar is played in a Sandpit tuning (‘Greater Expectations’) with a capo – in a secret position. I challenge you to work it out!
Aside from making some music – which has been a lot of fun, I’ve also been attending NEIS training online for my guitar servicing/restoration business and fixing guitars ready for sale at the Music Swop Shop. A Honey SG5 has caught my eye and if it’s a good player, I may keep it. This guitar is a Rickenbacker 330 type copy but it’s got it’s own flavour that makes it not just a copy guitar. Tomorrow will be the moment of truth when I string it up again after cleaning it thoroughly, reconditioning the hardware and bringing it back to life again. This work is quite rewarding and it’s a pleasure for me. I hope that I can keep it going.
I’ve decided to scrap the Nomad Crush concept as it was, but will still continue to do some conversions of these guitars. There’s two of them sitting in my workshop that I own which will be converted. You’ll have to keep an eye on my socials to see the progress on those. For now, the guitars I had for sale on Reverb have gone to the Swop Shop so you can go and play them there if you are keen.
So yeah, Nomad Crush is still a thing but I’m gonna focus on doing the customising rather than selling the regular, factory-made instruments. There will be a ZO-3B bass and another ZO3-T at the Swoppy soon. I’m excited to build the next two Nomads I’m making but I need to save up for the parts first. You can see that I’ve already started on one via my Instagram.
Well I think that’s plenty to share with you this month. I managed to cover most of the stuff I’ve been doing that might be of interest to you. I’ll be back next month with another update.
Until next time,
NOTABLE VIEWING FROM RECENT TIMES:
It’s all YouTube this month…
• Espen Kraft
• Mark Felton Productions / War Stories With Mark Felton
• Synth Mania
• Which Bass
+ random guitar repair/restoration and pedal videos…