Northern Thorns

Dance Rock | Seattle

Category: Songwriting (page 1 of 2)

New Show on the Calendar, Recording Updates Etc.

August 6th at Barboza, with Brandon Krebs and Stella Crest. It should be a great night playing with good friends and other supportive friends in the crowd.

Northern Thorns at Barboza

In other news, work continues on the full-length, with Bob Cheek at ExEx. It’s a fun way to make a record, passing the files back and forth in WAV format between ProTools and Logic. Lalo Bello came in and laid down some congas for a rumba-ish song that may end up as the final track. Now I get to edit them and give them back to Bob. Fun!

And we’re re-amping guitars. It’s great hearing them come alive and picking out pedals. A selection of what we’ve been using:

More on that soon! We hope to finish the re-amping this afternoon in fact.

So Many Riff Ideas

I feel like a bottomless well of rumba rock guitar riffs. My phone is full of like 200 voice memos, each one a recording of me whistling a theme after a count-off. No shortage of vocal motif ideas either. The more I listen, the more I hear.

Finding time to sit down and string them together into a song is the hard part. That, and lyrics.

Voice Memos

Voice Memos

Kinda New Tune Comin’ – Malevolence

Northern Thorns had been performing a song called Malevolence for quite a few shows, though I’d taken it out of our live set and never put it on Soundcloud because I don’t consider it finished. When I completed Kill Me Again, I replaced it with that in¬†the set.

It’s about a string of killings/disappearings/suppressings of pan-African leaders during the cold war, and how the 1960’s kicked off a renewal of imperialism that had existed on the continent since the European age of discovery. The lyrics, which need a bit of work still,¬†include an adapted piece of a Patrice Lumumba poem:

 

“These hosannas, tuned to your sorrows, give you hope of a better world to come.”

Especially because of the subject matter, and because I am a white American man writing about black African struggle, I want the words to be their best form before I release this one. I’m taking December to edit charts, rerecord parts, reimagine melodies, etc. where I think that’s needed. This song will be getting a whole new comping pattern and more. I’ll get it out online before 2017.

Also, thank you Google for this entirely helpful definition of the word ‘malevolence.’

Malevolence definition

New Song – Kill Me Again

At long last, a new song on the Soundcloud. Another mixolydian soukous-rock tune, and I like the way this one came out. The words are about wishing that an emotional state that you’ll never get back will last as long as it can.

Kill Me Again

Welcome New Website!

It’s been a very long time since I wrote anything here, and this is why. I’ve now turned my static site that I hand wrote into a WordPress site, and while I was waiting and planning to do that it just didn’t seem worth it to blog anything in the meantime.

Also, some other shit kept me busy. Like getting married, that kinda stuff.

This site is built off someone else’s template. I’m really loving WordPress, and looking forward to making my own templates and delving deeper into all the functionality in the future.

Lastly: New music coming! I promise. I did a writing intensive recently, finished one song, started two others. Stay tuned.

Syllables, cont.

I should add to the thoughts from last entry, I love the sound of the syllables in the Lingala language. Tons of vowels, super round sounding and sung warmly. And the Congolese/Belgian pronunciation of French is also really beautiful, strong and smooth and not as slippery as French spoken in France itself. They occasionally sing in other languages, English and Spanish, though not often.

My own lyrical ideas almost always originate in syllabic sounds. The words and sometimes even the entire subject matter follow from that. I hear a melody, decide if it’s better suited to guitar or voice, and if it’s a vocal melody the next thing I hear is the sounds of the words. Filler or nonsense words, initially.

The other thing I wanted to mention today is that a single fiery Orchestre Viva La Musica song that I discovered (it’s in the blog post from the 14th) has got me on a new music kick again, and for that I’m grateful. Time to write and record some new stuff, very soon.

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