Indefinite Request

Hey guys,

This is another original track I had to write for my songwriting course at college. The task was to choose three of five words that were chosen by our lecturer. So here is, Indefinite Request. I’m plYing drums on this track as well as vocals and guitar 😀

http://youtu.be/OP4YkLa1FfY

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Lifeline – Daniel Tween

Hey Guys!

This is an original track that was written for my college song writing assignment. We had to write a track in a completely different style that we were used to, so I want for the more “computerised” style. Using mostly electronic instrument (apart from the guitar lines and vocals). It also had to be in the style of an artist that is on the BBC List of 2015, so I chose Laspley. Here is my track, Lifeline:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmnUJz_kHH8

From a Song Writers Point of View

Ok, so I’m sitting in Birmingham Airport, it’s currently 2:30am and I still have another 4 hours until I even board my plane. I’m sitting here and I’m just thinking, wondering what the other people are here for and what their stories are. I know why I am here so early (it’s because its an early flight and I didn’t have any other way of getting here other than getting here 6 hours early) but, why are they here early? Did they misinterpret the date or time that they needed to be here for so they are having to wait? Are they the type that needs to be at their destination hours before needed because that’s the way that they are built? Like me, could they only afford to get here at this time? If you are a songwriter, these are all very interesting questions that you could plan out in a sort of “bubble diagram” to understand more of the meaning of your song.

As I am typing this, a family of four has just arrived (a mother, father and two small children). They all look extremely excited to be going on their travels. Whereas the remaining 10 people that are here at the airport are all sleeping on the cafe benches, and why is this? It’s just the normality of everyday life. Going to sleep at 2:47am isn’t normal for many people, so they will try to do what they can to get as close to that routine as they can. Then there’s me. I’m still awake, observing their appearances, trying to figure out where they are going, why, who they’ll be meeting, when they’ll be arriving at their destination.

As it’s 2:50am, all the stores are closed, all apart from one little cafe. This cafe has had everyone here go to them and purchase items. Now, I made the mistake of not bringing anything to eat or drink to the airport, which meant that I also would have to go to the cafe to purchase something to drink. I bought a beer, costing me 4.75 pounds (yes I regret buying it now). This is not necessarily a downside to my journey, but more of a learning curve.

The airport at this time is nothing but peaceful, filled with people sleeping and others watching others, like myself, trying to get a better understanding  of other people’s journey. But, there are still two policemen walking around the area, holding two very heavy guns that would cause some serious damage when needed to. Why are they here? The building is full of sleeping travellers waiting  for the gates to open so that they can reach their destination. They’re here because even in the most beautiful and peaceful places, there is always a danger creeping around the corner. So, they are here to make sure that the danger is secured. The “Departures” gate has opened up, it’s an hour early so I doubt I can get in yet, but it’s time for me to sign off now.

If you feel like I am ranting on about a load of rubbish, then you simply aren’t getting it. Song writing is everything  to do with what you see and with what you feel. So if you as a song writer or as a human being cannot put down an emotion onto paper in your own words with what I have  just spoken about in this blog entry, then I seriously suggest you get down here at this time (even if it isn’t  to fly) just so you can see what else is happening around you and for you to get a feel for true peace and quiet.
Although I am extremely tired after a late night last night and a long fun day at college, I will remain awake, see in  who else turns up and I’ll try and figure out their role in this one big play.

Cheers for reading guys,
Danny

Pentatonic Improvisation across the neck (CAGED) system in B

Hey guys,

So in Guitar Tech yesterday, we were going over the different position of the Pentatonic Scale that worked all across the neck. This is a brilliant way to build up technique and knowledge over the guitar neck. I have been practising going up and down the scales in thirds and in fourths. This video contains me improvising over these shapes in the key of B,

Short blog, but is proving to be very useful to me. Thanks for the read guys!

Are We Paying to be Musicians?

Hey guys,

We had a long discussion today with our lecturer Andy Edwards regarding a little bit everything inside the music industry, but the main points that were focused on today were:

  • How computers and the internet have completely changed the way that the music industry is run
  • How to react when somebody asks for your fee
  • Gigs
  • Having an E-mailing list and Band Camp

Let’s start off with the first pointer. Around five years ago to six years ago, it wasn’t the biggest thing for musicians to be on Facebook, they were still wondering whether it was a good thing to join or not. Now, if you don’t have a Facebook account, it seems you’ll either be looked at in a weird manner and be called “strange” or you may be respected. The way that most music companies work and hire their musicians now is by looking on their Facebook and Twitter accounts to see how many “Likes” or “Followers” that you have. So this immediately changes the way that labels worked from 20 years ago. You’d used to have go out into the world and give out your business cards to as many people possible and do most of your advertisement manually, now you can do it by a push of a few buttons. “Likes” on Facebook can now be seen as a “currency” towards the record labels and do not necessarily mean that the person that hits the like button actually likes your band or music. In a way, this has made it much harder for musicians to be able to get signed as there are so many musicians out there creating new Facebook pages everyday.

On the other hand, with the revolution of technology and the rapid change that the internet is constantly going through, it does allow artists such as myself to be able to advertise and get our music viewed and seen by the world at a much cheaper cost. Back in the old days, you’d have to go into a recording studio for a couple of days, recording your music, paying for technicians and sound engineers (which isn’t cheap), whereas now you can buy some recording equipment at a reasonable price and do it all from the comfort of your own home. Then all it takes for the artist is to upload it to Soundcloud, Reverbnation, any sort of music site which will promote an artists sound. The big one that we are talking about at the moment is BandCamp, which is an up and coming site which allows musicians to upload their music for free and it allows the customer to either purchase or download the track for free. The artist can set a minimum fee or they can have it set for the customer to purchase it for as cheap as one pence. Obviously, this has been the major down fall for Record Labels, forcing them out of business due to the ease of sales via the internet and home recording. For an artist, your main priority is to get a website sorted out, somewhere you can post all of your news, tour dates and information about yourself. It’d be an idea to Google your own name, see what information comes up and if information does come up, then make sure it’s the important parts, not just Facebook rubbish.

So the evolution of technology and the internet have had major effects on the way that music is released, produced, and approached. Let’s move onto how to react when you’re asked how much you charge for a session. You need to make sure that you are confident, especially if you are asked over the phone. This is where the negations start between you and the person asking you to session for them. If they call you up asking for your fee, you need to make sure you know exactly how much you charge. Be strong with them, this way they will hear the professionalism in your voice. If you answer with a mumbled voice stuttering your words, they will own you, taking advantage of everything that they can. Have a fixed fee. Of course there is always going to be emotions with certain gigs. You may altar your fee due to certain situations or opportunities the gig may lead to. If you are going to play a big festival gig, your emotions and “pure want” to do the gig will change most probably change your fee, as you’ll want to have the best chance on getting the gig, but do not lower the fee too much, as there is still a certain level of professionalism to keep.

Andy, who has drummed for Robert Plant, I.Q, Frost* and has played on many other projects, as you can well imagine has played many gigs, worked out a rough estimate of what a single musician that gigs has to earn to cover their costs (without making much of a profit) and it was around 138 pounds (and this is assuming the gig is within a 50 mile radius from your origin). If you are gigging and are earning less than this amount to play, than according to Andy, you’re just doing it as a hobby and putting more into it than what you are getting out of it (money wise). I agree with him to certain extent, but if you love doing it and don’t mind losing out on the money, then why not do it?

So are we paying to be musicians? I have mixed feelings with this question, as I have spent out a great deal on equipment and travel to be able to do the things I’ve done. I have played many gigs up till now and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. I love it, it’s what I do best. So if I lose out in money from doing this, at least I’ll lose out by doing something I love, not sitting in an office talking junk to people down the telephone. So in a way, Yes you are paying to be a musician, but to me, not at all.

Thanks for reading guys! Let me know how you feel on that last bit!

Danny

Evaluation of our Jazz Performance

Hey guys,

Today in our lecture, we were reviewing the Jazz show that we performed last Wednesday at our college. Pointing out the good and bad bits made by each of us (if there Jazzwere any). In all honesty, Andy Edwards (our lecturer) was very pleased with what we all brought to the table, in fact I think to a certain extent he was quite shocked that we managed to keep it all together so well, as jazz isn’t your everyday Jason Mraz rubbish (same old four chord progression, beach guitar music). But yes, we pulled it off, and I am going to miss the show dearly, as everybody was dressed beautifully and put their heart and soul into getting their tracks right.

Here were the good points and the bad points that were given to me by my fellow classmates on evaluating the gig:

Good Points:

  • Confident
  • Interactive with the crowd
  • Tight and well rehearsed

Bad Points:

  • Cheesy
  • Pitching

The reason “cheesy” was brought up was because I wore this suit  and waistcoat with my hair completely gelled back (which I agree isn’t the best look) but it was something different, something new that I wanted to try and HEY! What’s the harm in that? I was always told “You never know what it’s like until you’ve tried it”. So it had swerved away from my normal “on stage” look I agree and I am glad that the fact was brought up as now I know NOT to do it again (unless it’s for a laugh). The pitching however is something I have always been aware about as a singer and I can be quite self-conscious about this. I’ll know if I mess up on stage, but I won’t let it show as that could bring down the whole performance and the way that the audience react to you. I know I’m not an amazing singer, but I am learning new tricks to becoming better and I am always practicing different singing routines at home. Granted, this was a very difficult song to sing (‘Easy‘ – Al Jerreau) but from the moment I heard it, and from the moment Andy said it was going to be a challenge, I immediately wanted to take it under my wing and get it tight and well rehearsed. The band that played the track with me (Louie Marlow Smith, Harry Schlanker, Joe Davies, Mirron Webb and Andy Edwards) did an outstanding job at learning the track. I am very proud of them for being able to back me on such an amazing track, and they did it so well.

So the pitching is definitely something I need to work on, maybe practice some more “scale training” exercises at home and present them to Rob Groucutt (Singing Teacher) and see how he feels, whether there is an improvement developing or not. The cheesiness can be easily avoided by wearing the right clothes. Now, this is a very important point to look into when it comes to a music performance. My usual outfit is jeans and a grey or black t-shirt (most of the time). People know me to where this whilst I am on stage, so for me to vary from this dress code proved to be a bad choice.

A couple of the good points that were mentioned: “confidence” and “interacts with the crowd” I believe has just come from me playing so many live performances. I am a naturally confident person anyway but it seems to come to me in a more natural way when I am on a stage performing music, it’s where I feel like I belong. I never used to be as confident as I am now (not to the extent where I wouldn’t look up from the floor) but I wouldn’t of been able to engage with the audience as much as I can now, and I think that age has something to do with this as well. I was playing gigs in bars at the age of 13 and people will look at you in a very different way. It’s a lot harder to get your point across, whereas now I am older, I’m not so scared to get into people’s faces and tell them how I’m feeling on stage. Keeping up this “front man” mask can be tiring. Here is my gig list from August 2013 and there were a couple of dates missing from this list:

1st – Dream Bar Moraira – 21:00h
2nd – Tapes Joan – Les Poblets – 21:00h
3rd – Private Birthday Do
4th – Grant A Wish Festival
8th – Dream Bar Moraira – 21:00h
9th – THE HOAXX – El Tinglao Dénia – 23:30h
10th – THE HOAXX – Benidoleig Pool Bar – 20:00h
13th – Cumbre Del Sol Pool Bar – 9:00pm
15th – Dream Bar Moraira – 21:00h
16th – THE HOAXX – El Carrer Calpe 00:30
22nd – THE HOAXX – Benidoleig Pool Bar – 20:00h
23rd – La Mistelera Dénia – The Hoaxx
24th – Passage Bar – Orba – 21:00h
25th – THE HOAXX – RockStar Benidorm  5euro enrty
27th – Cumbre Del Sol Pool Bar – 9:00pm
29th – Dream Bar Moraira – 21:00h
30th – Tapes Joan with Cesc McLucas!
31st – Gata Music Festival – The Hoaxx

This was a very busy time for me, I didn’t get to see much of the day time as I spent most of my days sleeping to regain my energy. So to have to do this every night, although is brilliant and something I dream of doing, it can be very tiring. So if you are doing dates like these, make sure you are eating the right foods and getting the correct amount of sleep.

I was very pleased with my performance and especially the band that accompanied me on ‘Easy’. They did a fantastic job of getting the track solid, so a big well done to them!! Same shout out goes to everyone else that pulled their weight in to get their tracks nailed for the show, they all sounded awesome!

Thanks for reading guys.  Any questions, feel free to send me an e-mail or leave a comment!

Danny

 

 

 

Alternate Tunings

Hey guys,

As all of you guitarists know, when you sit down to play your guitar, it’s default tuning is standard (E-A-D-G-B-E). But what if you felt a little adventurous and wanted to try out some different tunings? Is there a harm in this? No, of course not. Alternate tunings are a way of guitarists portraying their emotions in a different way. I am sure most of you have heard of the “Drop D” tuning which consists of lowering the top E string a tone down to D. It’s commonly used by bands such as Foo Fighters. Here’s an example with their track ‘Everlong’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crOZk88eCcg

Now, let’s say you want to go a little further with it. Let’s look at another famous tuning: D-A-D-G-A-D. Again, achieved by lowering both E strings down a tone to D and by also lowering the B string down a tone to A. I believe that Nirvana used this tuning in a few of their tracks, ‘Heart Shaped Box’ and ‘Lithium’ spring to mind. This tuning is also used a lot in Celtic music. A tuning I have been messing around in for a long time is the “Fourths” or “All Fourths” tuning. Instead of having E-A-D-G-B-E, you would tune the bottom two strings up a semitone, so it’d be E-A-D-G-C-F. This makes your guitar neck more symmetrical and more mathematically understandable. For example: You know the method of tuning your guitar where you would play the 5th fret of your top E and it would imitate the A string, same for the A and the D string, until you reach the G string, you would have to play the 4th fret due to it being out of tune. Whereas if you tune to “Fourths”, it would be the same the whole way down the neck (all on the 5th fret). This also gives you the advantage of having all intervals identical wherever you play along the fret board over each string. I use this tuning for the beauty that the two bottom strings give off when left open, used in my bands track ‘Skyline‘.

Another two tunings I use but haven’t seemed to have found anyone else (any famous artists at least) that use these tunings:                           D-A-D-A-B-E and E-A-D-A-D-D. These two originated for me after the “Fourths” tuning as I then went on to change the pitch even more, until these arrived. The first one I use for my track ‘No Apologies‘ and the second for my track ‘Dust Particles on a Desert Island‘ (click on the songs to head to their links). The closest I have found to a major league artist using a weird yet wonderful tuning would be the Goo Goo Dolls with their song ‘Iris‘ using their own B-D-D-D-D-D tuning, giving it a sort of 12 string guitar sound. To pull this tuning off, or in fact any of the ones I use as well, you need to be using the right string gauge. If you were to tune up to B-D-D-D-D-D tuning using a higher string gauge than 10’s, you’d be risking snapping them or the string life in general as strings at that gauge aren’t meant to be tightened so much. Using 9’s or 10’s should be fine, I use 10’s on mine and haven’t had a problem so far.

A couple of friends of mine, would frequently blog on here (check them out at bassistchatfield and michaellprice92) do not like the alternate tunings that I use or just alternate tunings in general. Michael in particular cannot stand tuning up a guitar string from standard, he’ll happily drop them down by a couple of tones, but if you were to ask him to raise them, he’d say “no”. This is purely due to fear of snapping strings, as tuning up raises the chances of this happening. So in the end, Alternate Tunings aren’t for everybody, but I enjoy hearing the different and variations of chords that can be achieved by changing your tuning.

Thanks for the read guys, hope you enjoyed this one!!

Danny

Life Changing Decisions

Hey guys,

This post is about the major change in lifestyle that I had when I made the decision to move over to the U.K from Spain. If you’re a friend reading this or you have me added on Facebook, most of you will know that about 9 months ago (the beginning of Summer 2013) I was working like crazy, playing gigs and different concerts wherever and whenever I could (I did before this summer also, but this was the big push). With the band gigs and my solo gigs that I also performed, I was playing something between 3 – 4 gigs a week, and this being Spain, we would start from anywhere between 9pm – 12am. By all means I am not complaining about this, I enjoyed and thrived on every minute of it. Sure it had it’s ups and downs, being tired a lot and missing a lot of the day time, but it was still the best working summer I’ve had. This being said, I also worked hard to get those concert dates booked in. I was forever contacting new venues to take the band in and myself for solo performances. So the question is: Why did I make the choice to move from a beautiful location where I had work and was creating a name for myself?

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The answer is the same as why you’d go to University. You leave home at the age of 18 and you go on to study what you want to do with your life. For me it wasn’t so simple, as I was already doing what I wanted to do, but on a smaller scale. I have big dreams, as do many musicians, so I made the move to go into the wild and learn the in depth tricks of the trade. Whilst in Spain, I felt like I was on top of my game, with all the gigs and followers we had at our gigs, I was feeling good about our music, I still do, but you as musician have to realize how big this pond is, how deep the rabbit hole DOES actually go. Since moving to Kidderminster and joining the college music course, I have learnt a tremendous amount on the world of music, things that would’ve taken me much longer if I hadn’t made the move. I get to go into a building everyday, with my guitar in one hand and my microphone in the other, be surrounded by other musicians and by people that have lived and been brought up/molded by the music industry. So in one hand, the decision to move is simple as the payoff is GRAND, but is it?? Since leaving home, I have had to live in a country I am not too fond of, I have had to leave my family and friends along with these, the gigs. It’s been like starting from the beginning for me since m

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oving here. Nobody knows who I am, nobody knows where I’ve been or what I can do, whereas back in Spain, many people would know me and always talk to me about music. But this is life, not some fantasy dream world. Nothing is perfect, nobody said it was easy. It’s going to be hard and the road is incredibly long, especially for musicians. The practice hours are massive and the determination level needs to be at it’s highest if you are to succeed in this business.

It has been a life changing decision for me to move to the U.K, but I do not regret making the decision for one second. I have had opportunities that I would never of had if I’d stayed where I was. So to all young musicians out there wondering whether they should take that difficult step into the unknown, I say do it! Otherwise you may live your life looking back and saying “What if”, and that will eat away at you.

Thanks for reading guys, the next post will be up soon, hopefully on a lighter and more jolly subject.

Danny

Difference between the Spanish and British music scene

Hey guys,
So this is my first blog. Looking forward to maybe hearing your feedback and getting your thoughts of my input.
This first blog is about the difference between the music scene in the U.K compared to the scene over in Spain. Basically, I will be pointing out the main benefits and down sides to both scenes and how they differ.

I feel I am able to comment about this seriously as I have had expose to both (mainly the Spanish scene) but I have been watching many gigs in the U.K and speaking to the band’s trying to get their feedback on how they feel about the music scene around this area.
I started playing gigs in Spain with my first band Sex For Money when I was about 13, we would get booked to play for 15minute slots before the main band were to set to come on. Even at that age, we were able to get a pint in the bar. From what I’ve seen, over here at the age of 13 you couldn’t even get into the bar, let alone gig in one. But as I said, I started at the age of 13 and am still doing it today. Since Sex For Money, I have been in two other bands: The Shy and the band I am currently in The Hoaxx. Since starting The Hoaxx with fellow band members George Parker and Sen Baldwin, we have been playing gifs regularly up and down the Costa Blanca along the Mediterranean Coast, from bar and restaurant gigs to Fiesta and Festival gigs. The bar gigs we play in Spain, like everywhere you play, tends to differ. You could have a packed venue one night and then play the same place two weeks later an it’d be empty. But on a whole, the treatment towards band’s and artists performing is very good. The money can always be hard to get the amount you want (as it is everywhere) but in my mind, they don’t take the piss, they will try the best they can to meet the artists needs. We get payed good money for a three piece Alt.Rock band and we’re also treated very well. In most of the venues that we play in, are Spanish (not to be racist towards the English, but we prefer the vibe from the Spanish venues). The owners will make sure we don’t play for over the necessary time, they make sure the money is there and more often than not, we’ll get a big Spanish feast after the gig as well 🙂 . What’s great, is that at every gig we play, there is always free bar 😉 But anyways, the treatment towards working musicians in Spain is rather good, and plus the life style is great, to be able to wake up and spend the day in the sun then head off to the gig. Me and the band have been very fortunate as we got into the Spanish crowd well and they started following us around to our gigs. If you are going to play gigs for money in Spain, most places will only want to hear cover songs but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to hear your bands original material, but as I said, the pay won’t be so high, but it’s good exposure for your songs. Since the end of summer 2013, I have moved to Kidderminster, U.K to start music college. Since being here  I have been going to as many gigs as I can get to and one of the band’s follow is Time of the Mouth, a band that gig regularly from Worcester area to Birmingham.  Like The Hoaxx, they also play a range of cover  Which funds them to be able to travel to play original material gig  in venues such as the O2 academy. I have spoken with them and other artists working around this area trying  to get an idea of how musicians are treated and to be honest, from what I have heard, they’ve all said that there are many owners and managers that will look after you as an artist, but many of the places treat you terribly, no meal at the end  of a gig, no free bar haha 😉 but in all seriousness , from what I have heard from musicians around this are, it’s be a good idea for them to get out of the area, maybe go abroad and try and gig elsewhere so that you can get an idea of what it’s like to gig elsewhere, but obviously that requires money, so it’s now a waiting and saving game.

If you guys have any questions or anything you’d like to talk to me about, feel free to comment or send me a message.
Hope you enjoyed my first blog and watch this space for many more to come 🙂

Cheers guys