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About Nicholas

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    Muse In Training
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    Book hoarder and songbird from the woods of Maine. I like the taste of language.

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  • Lyricist, Composer or Both?
  • Musical Influences?
    Everything I can get my hands on.
  1. “Ghost Radar” is a delightfully quirky lyric combined with a breezy, fuzzed out rock sound. I haven’t heard the words “Ghost Radar” together anywhere else before. Out of all the possible songs I could’ve spent half an hour critiquing, the title drew me in because it seemed to promise weird fun. I confess, though, that the lyric lost me at first. I’d never heard of the Ghost Radar app, so I had no idea what you were singing about. It sounded crazy! I studied the lyric, but remained flummoxed until I pieced the situation together through song comments and a Google search. From there I was up to speed and ready to enjoy the tune. With that initial perplexity out of the way, I love the vocal delivery. Your voice has a great sound and texture for this song. Musically you and your backup band sound tightly rehearsed. The recording sounds great. Once I understood the tune it was great fun, but lyrically there may be a barrier to entry for some listeners. A quick explanation before the song in live performances of what Ghost Radar is could help. Thanks for a fun listen.
  2. That was a great read. I see a lot of musical friends getting mentally hung up on this--discouraging themselves about the state of the music industry. But hey--creating anything is always a risk. (shrug) Music wouldn't be what it is if we could expect some flat, consistent fee for everything we create. Thanks for posting this.
  3. This is interesting! Over years of getting bored while doing dishes, I've become a pretty mean player of the dishpan and the very conga-like kitchen sink.
  4. I hear a lot of talk about caring what others think vs. not caring what others think, but I rarely hear anyone getting detailed about specifically whose opinion they care about. I have issues with the word "universal" because no song sung on this planet connects universally. Consciously trying to appeal to everyone is futile. No matter how well an album sells, it still sells to a limited audience. Caring what others think is totally normal and healthy. Feedback is vital. But I think you've got to be careful not to ask a group of Linkin Park fans to give your Japanese folk/fartcore fusion album a listen, you know? And vice versa. Of course if you can create something so well-made and heartfelt that you even win over a few people who usually dislike Japanese folk/fartcore, that's the biggest win of all. But for the most part, each song you write will appeal to only some people. Others will find it unappetizing for one reason or another. So again, I don't think it's a question of caring vs. not caring; I think it's a question of whose opinion you choose to take to heart. Who's this one for? If not Billboard buyers, then who?
  5. I wouldn't say it's ALWAYS focused on commercial success, but it's certainly common and I do share your frustration. The words "hit songwriting" are enough to put me off my tea. "Well-crafted" and "commercial" aren't synonyms. Realistically, I know my music is never going to appeal to a mass audience. No flash overnight success for me; just lots of hard work, constant learning, and the slow accumulation of a small--hopefully loyal--audience. I have no illusions about that; I've known for a long time that I'm not writing for radio and not writing for Billboard. Yeah. Songwriting is a craft and an art that I'm prepared to spend the rest of my life working on. Stretching myself and reaching past my current limits and learning technique means the world to me. A kind word from the likes of Tom Waits would mean the world to me. Not interested in a handshake and a shiny wall hanging from some RIAA employee. I don't think trying to appeal to a mass audience is a good idea. Drawing a dollar sign on a music staff isn't a good way to start off any new song, if you ask me. I do think that writing for an audience is totally healthy, though. Don't we all do our best work when we know someone's listening (or have faith that someone will listen)? The question is: who's in that audience, how well-crafted is the music, and how genuine is the connection?
  6. That'd work as a chorus. Now you'll need some verses to support its devil-may-care attitude and really make that line glow. Sorry I wasn't able to contribute much--got a busy day today! Good luck.
  7. hahahahaa! You can tell it's sexy just from looking at it, that's for sure. How many speeds does it have?
  8. This is a REALLY cool and ambitious idea. I'm hesitant to offer help because I'm so frantically busy... but man, my hat is off to you and I wish I could throw my hat into the ring. My best to you; please keep me informed about how this is going!
  9. Do you "hear" music by day or by night? Miles Davis and Duke Ellington both said that they worked most naturally by night. So far I haven't encountered a musician who works only by day, and I've encountered quite a few who say it comes after dark. Many also seem to be insomniacs. What's the deal? Do you work by day? Or by night?
  10. Alistair said an interesting thing with "You have to listen to the subconscious consciously..." That resonates. I trust my subconscious for seeds, but then I work hard to understand where a given seed came from--often if I can discover what sprouted the thing, I can sprout many more. What's most difficult is to become aware of habits and creative practices that operate as knee-jerk reactions, and to attempt to insert new processes to replace or supplement those before I can fall into any frustrating ruts. I have a songwriting notebook and a book of songwriting processes that I experiment with. I definitely encourage any songwriter to try picking apart their own process to see what's there and what might be missing.
  11. "•Have knowledge but forget the knowledge" It's nigh impossible to "forget" all the elements of craft that a songwriter may potentially spend hours, days, and weeks learning. They come out naturally when they are needed, and if a songwriter learned their technique and theory inside and out, such thought processes won't steal focus from the multiplication of creative ideas and questions that arise. New ideas don't appear out of a void---they sprout from connections and inferences between existing ideas.
  12. Most days, nobody's holding a gun to my head. And so far, nobody's taken me prisoner and demanded a song of tribute to win my freedom back. My life wouldn't collapse like a house of cards without songwriting. It's just one vehicle of thought--the little reply boxes that we bang around in right here on this site are another form, as are short stories, novels, conversation... the key appeal to songwriting for me is the intellectual challenge combined with aesthetic pleasure and emotional involvement. It challenges, stimulates, and moves me, and I always hope to have that same effect on listeners. So no, I don't have to. But I choose to, almost every day. Thanks for this thread. I want to go write now.
  13. Hey, thanks Gossamer Girl! 1. Orange 2. Sweater 3. Clipboard 4. Spider Plant 5. Bowl
  14. I should've called this one "Interesting Metaphors and Crazy Composite Images." Thanks for the replies, folks! If you scroll up and down and start lining up numbers, there are some odd possibilities already. Feel free to make multiple lists, too. If there aren't many more over the next few days, I'll pad it out with some randomly generated lists.
  15. I found these videos a few weeks back and I love them. I had picked up Pat's book, Writing Better Lyrics, after seeing Gillian Welch's (!) brief foreword. These videos are a great way to see some of the principles from that book in action. Definitely pick up the book if you get the chance. It's great... though I do grumble about the lack of a hardcover version of the second edition...