Music

Hunt for the guitar hero begins

The epic quest to find the ultimate guitar god began yesterday. Over the weekend, I made a few calls to a few musician-friends to get some advice on how to go about this whole ‘starting a band’ thing. I got the best advice from a very good friend I met at a guitar-solo competition (read about it here) a while ago. He said, “if you have a clear idea of what exactly you want to do, then you don’t have to be afraid to do it by yourself. You might have to put some time, energy and money into it. But at the end you’ll know if you are on the right track. So if you can’t find people to play ‘with’ you, find people who can play ‘for’ you. Eventually, things will pan out and you’ll meet the right people along the way”. Kids, this is why you need to have friends.

So on Monday, after work, I took a bus to meet up with a friend who I met at a concert a while ago. Dude’s a videographer. I know. Not a guitarist. But I thought he could give me some tips. AND HE DID!!! This is what I learned from the long interaction I had with him. It’s one thing to have the ability to explain your idea to others and create enthusiasm and excite them (like that part in the movie Jobs, where Steve Jobs convinces the CEO of Pepsi to join his company. But it’s a whole other thing to actually show them some of your creations. And believe me when I tell you this. It creates a lasting impression on the person when you actually, physically show them what you are capable of. I realized this when the videographer showed me some of his work. I mean, he hadn’t done a lot of shoots or anything, but the clip he showed me was enough to give me an idea of what he was capable of. I understood that he’s not a big fan of the traditional music-video- camerawork(I am of the same mind-set). So an idea came up and I said, “maybe we should work together on a percussion-based project”. Boom! magic! So basically we talked and talked and talked while his girlfriend kept calling him mercilessly. At the end of the day, it went well. We spent about two hours eating the worst French fries in the world and talking about music, artists, video, cameras, dolly tracks, all that good stuff. So I can safely conclude by saying that yesterday was a success. I dunno. I feel like somewhere along the way I’ll be able to make use of this person’s skills.

 

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winner of 2018 high definition picture award

 

Death of a dream

This is going to be a very negative one. So skedaddle outta here if you don’t want to ruin your day.

A few months ago, I got to live my dream of playing in a professional rock band. Initially it started out great. I was overwhelmed by the amount of talent in the band. People from different walks of life came together to make music.

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There was a finance analyst, a school teacher, a videographer, an audio engineer and myself. It was amazing to see how each member of the band added their own personal touch to the music. It was like, there was a little bit of each of our personality in every song. I was enjoying every second of it. The band and their friends were like family to me. More importantly, I could be me for a change. I didn’t have to put on a mask to be socially acceptable anymore. I was free to be my weird self. All that was until today when I got a call saying, the band was dis-banding due to scheduling issues. My heart broke. I’ll be honest. The last time I felt this bad was when I got dumped! I was carrying groceries when I got the news. I felt like throwing it onto the ground and screaming. My dream had faded away. 

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So that happened. But now, it feels like a wake-up call. Maybe I have to do it myself. Get together a group of musicians with similar interests and make magic happen. But for that, I need to find people with that special spark, that light of creativity and willingness to consider someone else’s opinion. It will be hard but I will not give up. I will rise from the rubble. I will not fade away. Wait a minute…this is turning into a gladiator speech. Besides, I’ve got bigger life-problems to deal with. Like, the light in my bathroom is too bright. It hurts my eyes.

 

 

Kids, listen to Beethoven

What is the oldest recording you’ve heard? A speech? Classical music? Beethoven? Chopin? Random farts? I read on the internet that the oldest recording was made in 1878 by Thomas Edison using the Phonograph (didn’t even support Dolby ATMOS. No wonder it didn’t hold up). What intrigues me about old music is that it is complex and simple at the same time. Be it Western Classical, Eastern, Southern, all directions! I personally know a lot of people who have refined their musical interests to such great extents that they have ended up going back to classical music. For most of my friends, it usually goes like this:

Pop
Rock
Heavy metal
Death metal(sometimes)
Hip-hop

Soul

Jazz
Classical
Sounds familiar? I wouldn’t say I grew up listening to classical music, but when I was a kid, my dad got a CD player. It came with two CDs- Abba and a collection of classical music. Man…those two CDs played 24/7 in the house. And thank god it was those two CDs! I am thankful to my mama and papa for giving me the best childhood ever. But then, as I grew older, I lost interest in classical music. I was into Michael Jackson, Deep forest, Safri Duo. Then came the rock phase with Deep Purple, Van Halen, Rainbow, Dream Theatre, etc. Now it is a bit more refined into alternative/progressive rock. However, every now and then, when I hear classical music, I feel that pull. Like its calling me. I feel the calling to go back and work more with that style of music. Its like, all my ideas stem from classical music. Weird. Is this happening to me because I listened to it on repeat during my childhood? I understand that this genre of music is very complex and basic at the same time. But what makes people go back to it? Is it because all music has evolved from old music(or as I call it, root music)?
Speaking of old recordings, here is a 15 year old recording of one of the most influential drummers of all time.

Just kidding. Its just me. I made it yesterday with the hopes of becoming world famous some day. Head on over to Sound cloud and check out my ginormous collection of three tracks. Feel free to make a donation(not to my sound cloud account, but to some charity). There are people who were not as lucky as you and me. Plus, I don’t think you can donate money via Sound cloud. Just give the money to someone in need. Or do something nice alright? Help someone out.

How not to copy your influencer

Its simple. Like this:

Michael Jackson

Influences: Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, James Brown, etc.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson( ‘copying’ does not apply here but other aspects of influencing does)

Influences: Carl Sagan, Isaac Newton, etc.

Iron Maiden

Influences: Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Yes, Led Zeppelin, etc.

Robin Williams

Influences: Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, etc.

Skrillex

Influences: Marilyn Manson, I don’t really care

Graham Linehan (Creator of The It Crowd)

Influences: Don’t really know. Just slipped in.

Antonio Vivaldi

Influences: I’m pretty sure he had influencers. You got my point.

What all of these people have in common is that they took specific ideas from their influencers, moulded it into their own, mixed it with their own fresh ideas and then built upon it. In other words, they picked up where their influencers left off. I think, if you are creative enough, all this will happen subconsciously. They did not try to ‘imitate’ their influencers. They did not purposefully alter their content to avoid similarities with their influencers. They did not actively try to borrow ideas and manipulate them so that people won’t notice it. The ideas for which these people are known for, were birthed within them. They only needed influencers to fuel their inner passion.

I hate it when we lose great artists. I really do. It’s because we don’t know what amazing things they would have done. A creative mind doesn’t just stop manufacturing ideas. It’s the body that fails. Not the mind. I’m a 90s kid. The type of music that I like is dying out slowly. I don’t have anything against modern day music. I enjoy it. But there’s this deep nostalgia. I can’t let it go. That’s why I love it when new, awesome artists have the balls to pickup from where great artists left off.

Greta Van Fleet

Influences: Led Zeppelin

Airbourne, Jettblack, The Treatment

Influences: AC/DC (in my opinion)

 

 

Mean stage

When someone performs on stage in front of people, they really are putting themselves out there. Open to question, open to praise or even abuse. 

What makes someone want to perform in front of people? (This is coming from someone who is terrified of general social interactions. So forgive me if my analysis is a little skewed. Wait…I just remembered. I don’t give a shit what you think).

  • To get attention
  • To make money
  • To raise money for a cause
  • To have a good time
  • To make people happy
  • To show off
  • To get feedback
  • To teach
  • To spread joy

There’s so much more and I just realised that I don’t want to talk about all of them. So I am just going to stick to one. ‘Feedback’. Why talk about feedback? Well, I was at a solo instrumental competition the other day and I saw the soul get sucked out of the participants.

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Mean Stage

So what exactly caused the soul to exit the participants bodies?

It had nothing to do with the audience. There was a panel of three judges who basically wrecked the musical careers of some young people. The way I see it, when someone goes on stage for the first time in their life, in a way they are walking onto a platform, butt-naked. They are frightened, they don’t know what to do. All they want is to play their part and get the fuck out of there. If possible, get some feedback too. If they are lucky enough, they get what they want. But in some cases this shit happens. The judge feels a sense of responsibility to single handedly humiliate the first-timer in front of the whole crowd. To make it even worse, the other two idiots( also students of his) partake in making jokes while the participants are performing.

‘Constructive criticism’. Doesn’t that word actually sound good?  It feels good just to say it. ‘Constructive criticism’. Everyone wants it. Everyone needs it. It is the best thing you can give someone. Yet this ass-wipe judge felt the need to scar the vulnerable new-comer for his entire fucking life. The worst part is that this judge is an accomplished professional musician. I don’t understand how can one be so foolish. What kind of a person takes pride in shutting someone down? Is he trying to show off his judging skills? Has he forgotten his roots? Has he gone insane?

 

 

 

 

I got the job

I got the ‘gig’. I did it! I did it! The nerd is in a rock band. All I can say now is shit’s about to go down.

I haven’t played in that many bands but I know the feeling you get when a bus bearing your band’s name comes to pick you up for a show. Yes, I do believe in that ‘band is family’ shit. It’s a mysterious musical-interest-based-bond that refuses to go away even after the band breaks up. Enough gay shit.

After the audition was over the lead singer announced that they would be happy to have me play the drums. So naturally my first instinct was to go over to the mic and announce that I was not gay. But I held it in for a better opportunity. It also gave me a brilliant idea. I could do some stand-up when we play live. That would kill time in between songs. Also, I get to humiliate hecklers.

To quote the great poet Nikki Sixx,

When we started this band
All we needed, needed was a laugh
Years gone by, I’d say we’ve kicked some ass
When I’m enraged Or hittin’ the stage
Adrenaline rushing Through my veins
And I’d say we’re still kickin’ ass

There is no bad music

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Everyone knows musical interests are subjective. Why then, do some people beleive that certain genres of music is garbage? There is also a tendency to think less of people who listen to certain genres of music. Does the type of music you listen to say anything about the type of person you are? I really don’t know. What I do know is that there is no such thing as BAD MUSIC.

A few years ago a friend of mine made me listen to a song that she liked. At the time I was trying to win her over so I pretended to listen carefully. I chuckled and said that her taste in music was a little weird. And that was the end of it. This so called “song” that she made me listen to was basically static noise with some kind of a beat laid in between. It was the “uh oh” moment for me. I could not understand how it could be called music.

I realized later in life that this was a major flaw in me. If I didn’t understand something, I was automatically inclined to dislike it. I came to realize this flaw in me while learning to play drums. I used to wonder how amazing rock drummers would end up playing jazz as they grew older. I was ignorant at the time(much more now). I did not understand jazz and obviously disliked it. I’ll be honest. I thought it was gay(which is another problem altogether that I will have to deal with later. One problem at a time). As I got better at playing, I slowly began to appreciate Jazz drumming. I still don’t like to listen to Jazz but I “understand” it now.

I think that in order to understand and appreciate the beauty in some things, you have to reach a certain point of intellectual maturity and understanding of the subject. Same goes with modern art. I used to wonder why the fuck are these people staring at spilt ink on a piece of paper when there is so much more going on in this world? Why waste time like this? Little did I realize that those papers of split ink were speaking to the artists. It was moving them emotionally. Almost like a new method of communication that came from another dimension. That’s the magic of art. There are so many ways to look at it. Many scientists are excited to send artists into space to show them the vast magnificence of the universe. It will be super exciting to see what they will come up with after experiencing the deep unknown.

So there is no bad music. I feel like music has an uncanny ability to invoke particular emotional responses. Its just that every individual resonates to different styles of music. Its sad that some of them are ashamed to reveal their musical interests and have to keep it a secret for fear of not being accepted by society. Don’t get me wrong. “Call me maybe” might not be a scientific marvel but it is entertaining to some and it is noise to others. If you are one of the people who dislike it, just accept the fact that you don’t get it and move on.