What makes the Sound unique is the opportunity to record music, sounds, and sessions along the way while learning how to become a musician. I guide individuals of any skill level based on their interests and encourage them to be themselves. I pride myself on striving to help people be authentic and original all the while learning how to make music. Many of my long time clients have moved from strictly taking lessons, to being collaborators. I am happy to share some of these songs, sounds and moments with you here. To me it's not about perfection, sounding like other bands or musicians; but capturing the moment and having fun. There is a mountain of music on my computer that was recorded here at the Sound, and this page aims to provide a glimpse.
The 2018 Emerging Sounds event was a smash success, and the Keys to the City opened the event with the song "Homegrown." Featuring Solomon and Gretchen Hergesheimer, Hadley Laviolette and myself on the drums, we knocked it out of the park live, and decided we should record a studio version a week later. Enjoy the Homegrown vibes!
Tidal Waves is a track Tiana and I worked up, trying to do a polyrhythmic drum part, meaning have the drums be straight while the guitar had pushes happening on different beats. I made up the words, and we played it live off the floor (our fave!) guitar, vocals and drums, and we added bits later. Tiana on drums, bass, iPad strings, percussion and vocals.
This is a song featuring a vinyl record we use a lot at the Sound. SKargo band and i put together this track, recording it live off the floor with drums, bass, guitar, vocals, turntable, sampler and ipad! Nothing like capturing a performance live! Well done, lads.
The Price (feat Susaanm)
This one was really fun to do! Tiana has a Korean pen pal so we decided to do a K-pop song, where Tiana played the piano, Bass, synths and percussion. We then contacted a stranger through the website Fiverr, who for a few bucks sang our lyrics in Korean and came up with an original melody for us! A few back and forths, (from Venezuela,) and here it is! Special thanks to our collaborator Susaanm for all the communication and the great vocal!
This is often how things roll out at the Sound: we workshop an original song together - in this case, with Shamus on Bass, Wes on the drums and myself on guitar - and then I make up some words, that may or may not be decent. In this case, I liked the tune so much (built on showing them a diminished fifth - the "devil's note") I wrote some lyrics. Lucky for me, I found out the same day I had been the victim of Identity theft! So, as much as a pain in the butt it was, it gave me something to write about. Thanks Universe!
David and I were talking about this tune and decided to give it a shot. Originally by the band Tears for Fears, this acoustic version was made popular by Gary Jules. We found out David has a low voice and so we sang this an octave apart, live with two acoustics into one mic! I then slipped a few tasty bits overtop. Enjoy!
Sometimes a kid just walks into the studio with a new electric guitar, and I get excited too. I called out a few chords to "Harmonic Josh" and off we went. I improvised the words, and remembered a few of them for later. Was feeling anthemic, and Josh came in to the recording session with the final verse. We laid it down, added another guitar, bass and synth, and here you go. One of my favourite songs to play live and I have since gone on to show other students how to play the track.
Happy accidents are lovely. The previous recording session had microphones set up on the drums, and when Shamus and I started doing a beats based improv with Ableton Live and turntable, we could hear the drum sticks left on the floor Tom were rattling. We immediately needed to record! So we kept the mics up and went for it.
A great track written in the summer with the summer of rock band Gone to the Park, and covered by the new Sound band SKargo. The title came from gathering the letters from band members names, and off we went. Anarchy rules! Check out the track and you'll see what we mean.
Pretty soon, I'll have to have a whole page dedicated to the recordings that Tiana and I make. A young musician always pushing her own boundaries, Tiana wanted to tackle something completely different than the moody ukulele song we had recorded the previous session (see below) so she decided on a metal tune, with her playing the drums. We had a blast recording this loud instrumental at the studio. T even brought in a trumpet and recorded a few horn parts. Me on the guitar and Tiana on the drums recorded live, with a few bits put in afterwards. Tiana on the bass too! Metal Tee!
All of this
Tiana and I faced each other and picked a few chords and came up with a bridge and played Ukulele together. I made up these words on the spot based on the melancholy tune we were playing. T took the solo on the Uke! Later I added Ipad, strings, synth and piano. A song about life, I think. Enjoy!
A song written in one session with the always amazing Tiana. We decided to start by finding a chord on the ukulele we had never played before and went from there. I asked her what the sound of the chord made her imagine, and she responded with "an empty beach," and off we went. A nice song about slowing down. Way to go lady T! Tiana on the electric Ukulele, bass and back up vocals.
Tiana and I pretty much are producing a song a week at this point. The beauty of collaborating with another musician for so long is they start to understand your sensibilities and performance style. T wanted to write a rock/pop song and I grabbed a C#m (she didn't want it in a major key) and off we went. We recorded the tracks in one session, and wrote the lyrics a few days later, doing lots of fun vocal overdubs. This is a song about people experiencing life through looking at it through a screen. Tiana had some great lyric ideas, and of course - she's amazing on the drums, bass and back up vocals. Turn this one up loud!
Ryder is a young musician who plays the drums and is always into doing our own thing, which is what I strive for. It's fine to learn a cover, but I can show you how there are only a few chords in that song and we can do that too. This one was totally off the cuff - he started with a beat and I grabbed a diminished flat chord and off we went. We worked on the chorus a bit and the next session we recorded it live with me making up all the words on the spot. I'm fond of the line: "let's get all the levels out and we'll measure things - count the distance in between of things we say and what we understand versus what we really mean."
This is the only song ever written using a Satellite as metaphor! Ok, it's totally not, but this is ours! The amazing Tiana on the drums, with a tune we worked out start to finish in an hour session! I made some words up and recorded the demo, later going back and re-writing them, but using the core theme which was about a satellite. We love playing this together. Way to go T! I really want to play this one live! Stay tuned....
In B Flat
An improvised track with myself on guitar and voice and Shamus on the website "In B Flat," a great community sourced website where individuals uploaded videos of themselves playing random sounds in B Flat. You can do your own by clicking HERE! Try it out!
Watch it all fall down
Malachi returned to the studio after a long hiatus of travelling, and it was great to pick up where we left off and jump right into it. We worked up this tune on two acoustics, and played it through maybe twice. I was improvising some lyrics and the title of the song stuck out in the chorus so we kept that idea. I made up the words around that idea, of things falling, falling apart, even falling in or out of love. We recorded it live with vocals and two acoustics, and Malachi added bass, piano and synth. I liked it so much, I went back to the studio later and added drums and electric guitar to finish it off. Enjoy!
Joy is a bright light and a great student of the guitar. For the end of the year sessions, we decided to write a song. We came up with some chords and I wrote the lyrics, and got approval and suggestions from Joy. Then we recorded the song live on two acoustics, facing each other with me singing. Later I went back and overdubbed other instruments. Enjoy!
This is an amped up cover of a Radiohead song from OK Computer that Kai (on drums) and myself worked up in one session and recorded it in the next. I went back and added some bits. A great live off the floor recording with lots of energy!
We are Kanye West fans here, at least in following the sometimes interesting things he does and says. For his recent release for "The Life of Pablo" he held a fashion show at Madison Square Gardens in New York, and a copy of the "rules" for models was leaked to the internet. We took the list of these very demanding and contradictory rules and made a song out of it. As we do. The mighty Sjkate! Enjoy.
This is a nice improvised piece based on a guitar bit Malachi constructed using an acoustic guitar and the first time trying out a loop pedal. I guided him through adding a few more guitar tracks and then I improvised these words and melody while he did an electric guitar track with an e-bow, which gives the effect of a violin bow on a guitar. I added piano and bass after and a little mixing of levels and here it is!
This is why I do what I do. Tiana has gone from a student, to a collaborator, to an inspiration, bringing in an idea and some words. "I want to record a song about my teacher who is kinda sick..." so off we went. This was written, and recorded in a one hour session at the Sound. It has since filtered out into the world, inspired many and is a shining example of a student taking the reigns and saying "I have an idea," and me helping guide it into reality. So proud of Tiana, and her understanding that music changes lives. Believe it, people!
Hard to put into words how I feel about this one, as I was standing there and participating when it happened. Simon is one of my young talented students who has been playing music at the Sound with me for a few years now. He's heard me improvise every week: making up words, melodies and delivering them with passion and commitment. I asked Simon this particular day that I wanted to encourage him to sing more and to try making up some words. He asked what I thought we should sing about, and I said "let's just do it the way we do it....then sang "this is the way we do it..." we decided to do a call and answer thing...I showed Simon two triad chords on the piano, and I played a synthesizer. This song was recorded live and made up on the spot, and is an edit of about 5 minutes of us doing this. It's one of my favourite things, ever! Check out the track to see why. I think the words, passionate delivery, and skill that Simon displays is truly remarkable, and I'm really proud of him. This is sometimes what happens when kids are encouraged to try.