Colour me shocked.
First of all, you guys are charming. I write what I think is the most boring post EVAR and you still comment. Love to you. Responses coming.
I'm thinking of shaving half my head. Not the underside like I used to... Just the left half. And I want patterns shaved into it. And I'm also planning two rather large tattoos.
I've always felt that I looked too tame on the outside. Maybe this is the start of the transition towards properly reflecting my trucker mouth / dirty mind. I welcome it. Honestly, I think working a safe office job is making me go a little nutso. Time to break out! BLAMMO!
Speaking of breaking out, it looks like there might be a high school reunion for my class this summer. We all keep in touch over Facebook, but it will be very fucking strange to see everyone in person. Awesome, probably, but strange. Some of my best friends are people I knew in high school, so I see them all the time, but for the majority? I probably haven't laid eyes on them since prom. The same prom where I drank my face off, crawled around in agony on my hotel room floor, got stranded in a dive bar called the Rum Shack, and lost most of my graduating class as soon as dinner was done.
Oh yeah, THAT prom.
Don't ask me how it all played out, because I don't remember much more than that.
I wonder what my 19-year-old self would have thought of Current Me....
She would have congratulated me for nabbing such a hottie, definitely. She would be super into my bulldogs. She'd love that I'm still recording music. She'd probably think my job was suffocating, but three out of four isn't bad. Come to think of it, she'd totally high five me for buying a house in my favourite neighbourhood. Dude, I didn't do too badly!
I feel like my life is in a holding pattern at the moment, which is probably why I'm not blogging as much as usual. I'm going through the motions, doing my everyday stuff, but it's all overshadowed by the looming album prep.
Here's the funny thing: it's not like I'm working around the clock on the CD. Quite the opposite. The only "work" I'm doing right now is helping develop the new web site, planning finances, sorting out my promo ideas, and waiting for my next studio session. It's just that this big goal is weighing on my brain, and it will continue to do so until it's finished. I like the weight - it reminds me of what I'm good at.
The challenge is to think of other things to talk about while my thoughts are stuck on a hamster wheel.
I know... How about French verbs? Do you know how spectacularly bad I am at French verbs, even though I can understand and speak the language without much issue? It's embarrassing, frankly, but I'm too stubborn to give up this easily. Here's my problem: I look at a French verb conjugation question, my brain says "THIS IS LIKE MATH! AAAAH!" and then I freeze. No matter how many tricks I memorize, how many times I go over verb charts, my brain has a seizure and runs away.
However, because I need to improve, I also need to find a way to understand something that insists on remaining abstract and distant. My coworker suggested I start reading in French, more than just work e-mails, to normalize how all these exercises are used in regular conversation. I think that's a great idea. Here's hoping I don't crash and burn. I think I'll start with Harry Potter in French, so I like the story enough to continue.
I could also talk about my dogs, which would be strange and unusual for me.
If you've been reading here a while, you may remember that when we got Frida last year, the transition to a two-dog household was anything but smooth. Both dogs were freaked out, they didn't get along, and Morty was sad. It was the worst.
It's been almost a year since that shitty time, and dudes, it's like night and day. Not only do they love each other, but they nap together (imagine limbs all entwined, porky bulldog dreams, and nuzzling), and they occasionally share toys.
THEY SHARE TOYS.
For about 8 months, whenever Frida would show interest in a toy, Morty would stroll over, knock her out of the way, and remove the plushie in question. Now, astoundingly, they can both chew on either end of a toy and be quite comfortable. It's a delightful transition.
And that concludes today's rambling post about French verbs, porky bulldogs, and heavy brains. Holy shit, I need to get out more.
More of those intense, vivid dreams. What is going on with my brain?
Photo 1: Morty playing couch monster. He squeezes himself under the couch, waits for fingers or toes to slide by, and attacks! It's his favourite game. I would like it too if I didn't get chomped on so often.
Photo 2: Studio mess. Love it.
Photo 3: Dean, being awesome. Love that guy.
Today has been a bit of a shit show, so I'm looking forward to wine and rest this evening. Even if rest comes with terrifying dreams. Do you think I could drink the dreams away? (I'll give it a shot, just for kicks)
Some things I've been up to when I'm not crying in the studio:
Having nightmares! It's the oddest thing. They aren't monstrous or dark, but they replay uncomfortable or unpleasant events over and over in my mind. I guess all this artistic fulfillment comes with a price. My brain is rebelling.
Avoiding my taxes! On top of doing my taxes for regular job stuff, I do taxes for my music, and now taxes for the duplex. I am so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of paperwork that I'm pretending tax season isn't approaching like a steam train. *fingers in ears, lalalala*
Enjoying French lessons! I finally switched teachers after I nearly got in a shouting match with the last one. My new teacher is my age, actually helps me improve my language skills, and gets my jokes. It's the greatest thing.
Painting the kitchen! Okay, I'm not painting the kitchen... My BH is. But he's doing a lovely job. We've been dealing with a serious case of The Ugly since we moved in here - the last owner put vinyl stick flooring on the walls instead of wallpaper. For serious. What a card!
I finally have a moment to tell you about studio happenings. Where to start?
I have ten songs to record over the course of three full weekends. This past weekend was the first of those. We started off recording "scratch tracks," which is a rough version of a song done (usually) to a click track. A click track is where the metronome clicks away loudly on top of the music - we do this to help the drummer (and everyone else) stay in time. The click gets taken out once the main work is done.
We got all our scratch tracks done, all our drums done, and a few real vocals / instruments done too. In short: a very, VERY productive weekend. We were a bit flabbergasted that it went by so quickly. We even finished a song, beginning to end.
Jack, the drummer, is by far the most professional drummer I've ever worked with. Not only did he chart out every song with his full part, but he got everything on the first or second try, and nailed every idea we threw at him. I was astounded, since I've worked with some very *relaxed* drummers in the past, and most of the time it's been a bit of a headache. Jack used to be my drum teacher, so it was neat to get to know him as a studio musician this time around. He's quite the perfectionist.
Dean is my engineer and producer. He was my engineer and producer for the last album too, so this all feels very familiar. However... One major thing has changed over the past four years:
We've both gotten a lot better.
I'm not saying that to be boastful. I'm really a bit surprised by how much we've learned since the last time. To put it in perspective, the last album took a year to record. This one may be finished in a month, maybe less.
Now that the meat and potatoes explanation is out of the way, let's talk about our feelings.
FEELINGS! - TIMONEER
This album didn't arrive with grace; it fought the whole way. As many of you know, I've been dealing with writer's block for over three years. As a songwriter, I was feeling pretty lost through the whole experience. My writer's block was kicked to the curb when a childhood friend of mine died this past summer - I had to write about it, or I was going to turn into a nervous wreak. So I wrote. And wrote. And the gates opened. And now there is an album in the works.
The song that started everything is called Timoneer, and I've had a hard time playing it since it was written. It just makes me so, so sad. But it needed to be recorded, so we dove into it yesterday with the intention of getting a scratch track finished. An hour an a half later, we had a completed song with four layers of harmony.
Dean put the song on when it was done so we could listen back in the comfort of the studio. He turned off the lights so that we wouldn't get distracted by all the mess. It was a good thing he turned them off, because I turned into a puddle as soon as the song started. I had been really focused during the recording, but now that it was done, it had the usual effect of making me feel like I'd been kicked in the stomach. I bawled my eyes out while it played, mopped up my face on my dress, and decided that now was a good time for a break.
The song is crazy good. It's just not very uplifting. Now I'm trying to decide how I can contact my friend's family to get them a copy. I think they would want it, but I don't know. I really don't know what to do about it.
FEELINGS! - MY BOYS
"My boys" will probably also include some girls, but for now, they are very much dudes.
I have a small group of musicians on this album due to the lack of time, and although we've only had one weekend so far, I feel like adopting them all. Maybe it's just me who sees it, but there's a real connection between me and the people who are helping me get this album done. I have no idea how to thank then properly (other than pay them, of course). They are helping me reach my goals, and I would fucking throw down for them. Basically, I'm saying that I love them to pieces. Especially Dean, who seems to share my brain, and is already talking about ideas for our NEXT album when this one is done.
FEELINGS! - MY JOB
Well, shit. I spend a lot of my time explaining why I like having a day job, why I am happy not doing music full time, why I am good at multi-tasking, and most of it is true. But then I get into the studio and I feel like I'm finally doing something right. This is what I do best. I'm good at my day job, but I don't miss it when I leave, and it doesn't invade my brain the way studio work does. What other job makes me cry because something comes out sounding exactly the way it does in my head?
So the question becomes... Is there any way I could be supported by my music?
I'd need to get out of debt, and I'd probably need to transfer major payments over to my BH, but even then..... Who knows. It feels like a lost cause. But it's on my mind.
Thanks for being patient if you've made it to the end of this post. There are so many words in my brain right now, and it looks like a lot of them spilled onto this here blog.
More studio updates soon!
Now that the album prep is in full swing, I'm being asked a lot of questions about my plans. Titles, song arrangements, design ideas, etc.
It's been tough deciding how much info to divulge before I start to censor... And this is for a few reasons. Mainly this: I question my judgement when I get too much input.
Last time I released an album, I let others guide me through the process. I got a lot of advice, weighed my options, and tried to make the best choices given what I had been told.
The thing is, after it was all done, I realized that I would have been much happier with my original ideas. I didn't like some of the things I tried; I didn't like how I had let myself be swayed by people's comments and suggestions.
So I think I'm done. Unless I deem it completely harmless, I'm not going to share too many album details until the work is finished. When it comes to creative projects, my gut seems to know what it's doing.... And I'm thankful for that.
Some things that are moving forward:
- The new website should be up by April! Squeee!
- I'm rehearsing this week with my drummer, and we record together next weekend.
- I have another new song, and I like it.
In unrelated news, look at my adorable dogs: