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  • Writer's picturePeter


I just uploaded this new song to my Soundcloud account. It's fresh out of the oven, written this Saturday evening and recorded the next morning. I'm so excited about it for no good reason, I'm going to tell you about how it came along.

So, I've recently discovered a radio channel on Apple Music, called the Mixtape, that basically plays all my favorite music, okay? Black Flag, the Sugarcubes (gosh, you gotta love Birthday), Cocteau Twins, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Ministry, Talking Heads, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, The Replacements, Sex Pistols, Jesus and the Mary Chain etc. Some of the best rock music ever, all really cool stuff. I had my head chock full of these all week and that came through as I picked up the guitar.

I began playing around with this octave riff, which I guess came from Cherub Rock, and I found this awesome little melody to sing over it. That became the verse. Then, I needed a chorus, so I started goofing with different chord progressions, until I settled for the one you hear in the song now. I think I lifted that from an REM song or whatever.

I always sing gibberish over what I come up with just to get a feel for the rhythm of the words, and the word "innocence" somehow seemed to fit real good. So, why not go with that? What kind of song can I write around it? I was thinking about how the music I was listening to now inspired me to play guitar back in the day. Aren't we all innocent and starry-eyed when we start out in music? So this kickstarted the lyrics and it all went really quick. I couldn't wait to get down into my studio to record the thing the next day.

I start recording by setting up a basic drum track using the Drummer plug-in in Logic. I wanted to keep the acoustic guitar as the backbone of the song, so that was the first track I laid down. It's all pretty simple, I was done in one take. I actually screwed up the middle part where the solo was supposed to be but I liked it the way it came out so that became a part of the song. I left in the count in I had at the beginning of the take, 'cause I thought it went well with the vibe.

I haven't figured out a bass part, so that was all made up in the studio. After running through it three or four times, I had a good line. I always like to add little interesting bits on the bass, like the rhythmic scratching of the string in the intro over that drone note and the ascending line in the verses. Man, I love playing bass!

The two electrics, a Strat (that sweet neck pickup-tone that marries so well with an acoustic track) on the right and a Framus Mayfield (basically a really nice knock-off of the ES-335) just follow the acoustic guitar. And the solo, also played on the Framus, was basically the first thing I came up with. I used my Jam Pedals Fuzz Phrase and Retro Vibe pedals to give it a psychadelic feel. I topped it off with a healthy dose of reverb on the track.

The lead vocal was a cinch as it's pretty much in my range. Since I have my studio, I spend more and more time experimenting with harmonies, and I put quite a few in the choruses.

As far as the mixing goes, I mostly go by my ear. I have some idea of how EQ and compressors work (I probably use a too much of the latter) and usually end up finding stuff that works by tweaking presets in the plug-ins. My philosophy is that I should hear the right amount of all the instruments, I'm not chasing the holy grail here. The main thing is recording a good tone, because no twiddling of virtual knobs is going to make up for that. As I was doing the mix, I had this revelation that I need a drum machine over the intro, kind of like this, but really simple. I love that 808 vibe, anyway. I didn't have to do much adjusting with Drummer, as it's pretty good with straight 4/4 rockers.

So that was that. I know there's a bunch of stuff I haven't talked about, don't hesitate to ask. Oh yeah, and tell me if you like the song or not, I'd love to hear from you. :)

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