Monday, June 15, 2009

Chunka Chunka?

I've been thinking a lot about music lately.

I've dusted off some old demos I've done, pulled out some old sheets of lyrics, and started looking at the bits and pieces that I hope will someday make up the first full length OilCan Drive album.

It's easy enough to post the little sketchbook thumbnails I do to work out my ideas for pieces of art. But, how do you get across the idea of a song before it's written? Unfortunately, unlike some people I've read about, the songs don't fall out of my head fully fleshed out. Most of the time they start with me mucking around on guitar. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, a melody will sing out in my head as I'm playing that riff. I just plunk around, work it out, and hopefully something worthwhile comes from it.

Monika, for Christmas, bought me a small digital recorder so I could record some of these riffs. Too many times I have a great idea for a song but, even if I write it down, I have no idea what it is a few weeks later. There is still a song title on a mocked-up OilCan Drive album sleeve that reads "Chunka-Chunka". If you water-boarded me right now I would still have no idea what that riff sounds like. So, the digital recorder has been really great.

So, here is a clip from the digital recorder of me mucking around on my acoustic guitar. It shows a bit of the process. On the recording you can here me playing the main single note riff. From there I'll figure out what chords I would play over that riff. And, in the case of this session, you can hear me even trying to figure out a decent bass line for the whole thing. All on one acosutic guitar over the course of a few minutes.

One of the things I have learned to do is after I record the riff I'll go through it and call out the chords and what I am actually doing on the guitar. It's like a little lesson from "past" me to "present" me. "Present" me can be a bit of an idiot sometimes so "past" me has to help me out as much as I can. Thank you "past" me, thank you.

So, here is the riff. I have no idea of what it might be called or if it will ever turn into a full blown song. The tempo is all over the place and every little mistake is in there. Like a little thumbnail sketch on a piece of paper, this is how I start most of the songs I write. Enjoy.

And, if the player above doesn't work, the link to the file can be found and downloaded HERE.

1 comment:

Craig Michael Patrick said...

Excellent design work on the silhouettes. You can clearly identify each character without even seeing them.