Phase 3

23 Sep

Phase 3 is where i actually make the damn thing. You know, what i’m doing right now.

I am pretty much exactly halfway through creating the Bonus Act. I have 4 songs basically done (24 minutes), although i might go back and rework orchestrations if i see fit. Lyrics for 3 of them are done (barring corrections). I’m well on the way.

Phase 3 is where i sit down in the studio every day for as long as i can or as long as concentration holds, and in song order create and record the music. (See it records while i play everything. So i just play different instrument sounds together until it sound like a song.)

When i sit down to begin a new song i may have a melody (recorded into my phone at 1 in the morning or while walking down a street most likely) for the vocal section. If this is true i will decide on a key for the song based around who is singing the melody. If i don’t have a melody, i’ll just guess a decent key based on who is supposed to be singing it. Then i just… start picking a bunch of sounds and putting them together until i like it. I pick a bunch of chords and wing it. My chord choices are usually very pedestrian. I’m never going to win an award for creative chord choices and i really should work on this one day.  I know my stuff is banal in this regard, but i like my simple catchy melodies too, and they work without a lot of fuss. Perhaps the next project i’ll start spending more time developing more complex chords and melodies (i always say) but for this one i’m going with my usual.

I don’t work out music beforehand other than maybe the sung melody, but remember, i know exactly i want the song to do. Song 2 for instance… big bombastic intro.. then get quiet with a finger snapping feel for the male vocal section which will build. That’s plenty of a song blueprint.

Working out the orchestration is the big thing and i spend a lot of time on it. Often, after the first day or so, the song is there, but sounds strangely like shit. At the end of the following day it’s amazing the difference.

Sometimes i might suddenly stop work altogether and go write lyrics. I never used to do this, but these days i do. I get really into the mood and the melody is going round my head and my ears need a break, and boom, i’m upstairs writing the words.

A song takes on average 3 days to make. After that i can fiddle and fuss with it for the rest of my natural life.

Phase 3 takes weeks.. months, but the work goes best in big stretches. A big 3 week stretch, then back off a bit, then another big stretch. As i mentioned earlier, the are many plot holes going into this and this is good. While working on Phase 3 ideas come of their own accord AND you may realize where you need to go based on the music. You suddenly KNOW that after this song ends the mood of the next one NEEDS to go over here or there. This process is extremely immersive and ideas come now very steadily. You’re not going about your day trying to think of a story or of music ideas, you ARE making.

A song starts off soft. Okay let’s pull up a soft sound. Piano? Not air enough? Are belly thingsd appropriate? Sure why not. Here’s a belly sound. Eh, too synthy. Another one. Too Christmassy. Another one. Oh this is nice. Play a pattern. Nice pattern. We need something to go with it. Since the belly sound is high we need something lower. Cello-y? Sure. FInd sound you like. Cello doesn’t work but weirder cello like sound odes. Now play a part that sound good with bell-y sound. Good.

Rinse and repeat. Eventually you have a song.

Obviously every part of a song has a specific mood or emotion it’s going for and one must make sure that is being served. You can work on something for hours, walk away and come back to find you ended up totally missing the ball. Erase everything to back where you last had it nailed. Begin again.

If you are not prepared to throw away weeks worth of work in a single instant because it’s not up to snuff than BEGONE with you! Don’t be too proud of your shit. It keeps you realizing it’s shit and should be flushed. Seeing that anyway is tough enough. There is no album i have ever made that’s not full of stuff i could have and should have done better, but couldn’t see it at the time. (LooOOOOOOTS of dumb mixing choices. Holy crap i specialize in dumb mixing choices. But that’s Phase 5. We’ll get to that in about a month.)

Anyway, there you have it. Phase 3, sit and play and are record away until you can listen to in multiple states of mind and not be offended.


Posted by on September 23, 2014 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Phase 3

  1. among_many

    September 23, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Hey Paul, have you ever considered composing a voodoopunk song that transitions from Steampunk, Dieselpunk then to Atompunk? Just a random thought that came to my mind.

    • paulms

      September 24, 2014 at 12:04 am

      OOOOOOO that’s an intriguing idea. I have no current platform in which to do it as the Bonus Act does not contain any Voodoopunks, but DAMN that is a GOOD idea. Who knows? On day if the chance arises i would definitely do that.


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