Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Micro Song Construction

One of the goals of this blog is for me to interview musicians that I love. My heroes. One of them is Nate Reinauer, song writer and singer for the band Sweet Diss and the Comebacks. This is the second time I've written about Nate and his band.

He recently told me about a new song writing technique that we have deemed "Micro Song Construction". You can read a transcript of Nate talking about it below.

[Nathan Reinauer]
For the past 3 or so years I have been recording song ideas into my voice recorder on my phone, whenever I get one. So by now I have like thousands and thousands of little song ideas. Well, about two months ago I dumped ALL of them onto my computer and listened to every single one, deleting the stupid ones, and renamed them with their tempo at the beginning of the name. It took like two weeks to finish.

So now whenever I am recording, I just pick a tempo, and there are usually like 40 song ideas around that same tempo, and it makes it way easier to combine song ideas into one full song; like three years worth of different ideas all coming together. so for the last few songs I've been recording, I've been using my favorite song ideas and just using ones that have the same tempo and it makes it way easier to get lots of great melodies in one song, but it's a lot of work to go through and catalog them all like that..

What do you call this technique?

[Nathan Reinauer]
Um... I don't know! I never thought about naming it.

Micro song construction?

[Nathan Reinauer]
that works!

Give me some more details. What was the first song you wrote using the micro song construction technique?

[Nathan Reinauer]
Mia Moore! that opening ukulele riff was one song idea I've had for like a year and the verses were something I'd written in Seattle, while the chorus was from like 2 years ago. They were all sitting next to each other in the folder because they had the same tempo so I just stuck 'em together!

Obviously it takes a little more thought than that... I have to sort of audition lots of different ideas that have the same tempo, and change keys and stuff, but it's not too hard!

what about the other 3 song you just released? Were they all written in one batch, or were they multiple ideas put together?

[Nathan Reinauer]
All four of the songs were made up of different song ideas I've had for the last 3 or 4 years. I tend to use ones that are more recent more often, because for some reason I like those better, but there's always a big selection

Do you think you are going to keep writing songs this way for a while?

[Nathan Reinauer]
I think so! Before, it used to pain me to record my song ideas in my phone because I knew they'd just sit there forever and be forgotten, lost in the shuffle, but if you name them and order them by tempo it gives them all an equal shot to be used
and you rediscover them.

that's a sampling of what I'm talking about

Sweet Diss and the Comebacks just recently released 4 new fantastic songs on their facebook page.

Maybe Someday by Sweet Diss

Cherry Park by Sweet Diss

Never Stop Wooing You by Sweet Diss

Mia Moore by Sweet Diss

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Electric Orchestra - Out Of The Blue

I want to take a minute to write about how much I appreciate Electric Light Orchestra and Jeff Lynne. This post is specifically about their 1977 double album Out Of The Blue. By the time this record came out ELO were already superstars all over the world. They had had a string of hits that quickly had them playing on radio stations everywhere; hits like "Evil Woman", "Can't Get It Out Of My Head", "Fire On High" and so many others raised the anticipation level for Out Of The Blue practically through the roof.

By this point Jeff Lynne was so adored that the individual members of the Beatles were all calling him to ask him to produce their records, even going as far as to say that "If the Beatles had not broken up they would have gone on to sound just like ELO". That's some crazy stuff. Fortunately Jeff Lynne delivered the goods in a huge way.

According to wikipedia, "The album had 4,000,000 pre-ordered copies and quickly went multi-Platinum upon release. Out of the Blue spawned five hit singles in different countries, and was ELO's most commercially successful studio album."

Every song on this album is a masterpiece. The production is incredible, the lyrics are brilliant, the harmony vocals are impressive, the string parts are all great and the effects on songs like Standin' In The Rain, Turn To Stone, Night In The City and Sweet Talkin' Woman were all state of the art at the time of this album's release. Basically, this album was the hottest thing on the shelves when it was released and anyone who owns this record can still be proud to display it at the very front of their collection - for quick reaching.

My favorite moments on this record are: The bass vocals on the song It's Over (try singing them!), the "she's gone so long, what can I do?" section in Sweet Talkin' Woman, the "24/7 just left funk gate 11" section in Night In The City, The tap dancing break in Jungle, the build up of Standin' In The Rain (this song is way too intense! it needs some slamming power chords), the long, dramatic, dragged out outro of Mr. Blue Sky and Wild West Hero's A Cappella section! (I know some pretty serious guys who can weep at this song).