Tag Archives: introspection

Cover songs can be a tricky proposition

I recently made a list of songs that I plan on doing cover versions of.  It’s hard to determine what songs will be worthwhile to put one’s own personal take on.

  • The first criteria, and possibly the easiest to determine, is the obvious one, do I like the song.  Almost seems like a no brainer, but if it’s not one of my favorite songs why cover it.
  • The second criteria I looked at was does the song invoke an emotional response in me.  If I don’t have an emotional connection to a song, why would I attempt a cover of it.  The original artist created the song for a reason, the least I can do is have a reason with more substance to it than “it’s got a good beat and I can dance to it”.
  • Criteria three?  Will this song translate into my style of music?  That’s a tough one.  I’m pretty sure that the songs I’ve chosen so far will adapt to my brand of music, but really I won’t know until I start laying the tracks down.  To me, the best covers treat the original song with respect, but seamlessly infuse the covering musician’s style into the original intent.  The new artist makes it their own.  If I want to listen to someone do an exact copy of the original, I’ll listen to the original.
  • The fourth stop on the criteria train is popularity of the song.  Now I’m not saying one should cover only an artists most popular songs, actually in some cases quite the opposite.  I absolutely love Blue Monday by New Order, and it fits the first three criteria almost perfectly, but there have been so many covers done of it due to its popularity that I just don’t have an interest in doing my own version at this time.  On the other hand, another song I’ve chosen to try my hand at happens to be one of the most popular (and covered) songs by a particular band. I think this may be due to a particularly strong emotional bond I have with this song.  Like I said, this can be a tricky process.
  • A fifth criteria would be how will the fan base of the original song respond to the cover.  This is another tricky one.  In some cases the cover is so different that the original fan base may not even be a concern as I’m aimed in a totally different direction.  Sometimes the fan bases overlap, and again, I want to respectful towards the original, and it’s fans.  But, this is music afterall, and frankly you can’t please everyone with everything.  The fanbase I’m aimed at may think my cover sucks, but the fans of the original may think its a fantastically fresh take on their world.  Or just the opposite.  Or everyone hates it.  Or everyone loves it.  You just never know.
  • Finally, the sixth criteria, which dovetails into the fifth one to a certain extent, is how would the original artist respond to the cover.  As an artist myself, I feel that I should handle another artists work with the utmost respect.  It is their sweat and emotion that went into the original, and I am merely adding my own twist to it, but I know I would not like to hear one of my songs done in a blatantly grotesque manner, ill-fitting of the original intent of the song.

That’s pretty much it  I’ll keep you updated as to the progress of my covers.

The CD’s are here!

So last Thursday involved me rushing home from my day job to gaze upon the beautiful cardboard box that, thanks to UPS online tracking, I knew was gently placed on my doorstep at 2:37p.  It was a sight to behold as it sat gracefully behind the potted flowers.  Of course, after bringing the box inside I tore it open, defiling the pristine tape job done to keep the box’s precious cargo safe from harm.  The view as I opened the vessel was glorious, as 100 sparkling jewel cases glistened under the glow of a barely too dim yellow tinged fluorescent bulb.

Remotely Programmed Moonshot had arrived.

I carefully pulled one cd from its cocoon of security and cast my gaze towards its gleeming shrinkwrap.  Would it be what I had imagined all those weeks ago when I decided that this would be the album given commercial life?  As my eyes penetrated the plastic covering, a smile snuck out from my lips.  The cover was vibrant in its color.  Precise in its alignment.  Truly a spectacle to witness.  Turning the case over revealed even more beauty as the spine was justified and the barcode, oh the brazen commercialization represented by that barcode, screamed “I’m ready to profit for you!”

Yes, Remotely Programmed Moonshot had arrived.

Like a child on Christmas morning, I could wait no longer.  The treasure that hid inside yearned to be exposed.  I tore open the shrinkwrap, tossing it aside as one would a Publishers Clearinghouse envelope hoping that Ed McMahon would be inside telling me that I was already a winner.  The smell of fresh plastic and ink wafted up to my nose as the case was opened, the intoxicating aroma of fresh music exciting my senses.

The CD itself was an image to remember, second only to the crispness of the liner note photography.  That is where the real treasure was.  I already knew what the music held in store for me.   The hours of effort put into every note had resulted in a magical experience as I knew this collection was worthy of unleashing upon an unsuspecting world.  What was unknown was the imagery.  How would it appear once professionally manufactured?  Working on screen, followed by cheap inkjet mock-ups only give one a small sense of what the finished product will crystallize as.  To say I was not dissappointed is an understatement of the highest degree.

The printed artwork was magnificent, reflecting the too dim light back to my eyes ten-fold.  I could see every detail, every nuance of color, every layer of ink, just the way I had imagined it would be.  Holding my first commercial CD in my hands was truly a sight to behold.  An experience I will never again have.  A moment frozen in my memories.

Finally, Remotely Programmed Moonshot had arrived.

Now if only I could do something about that typo.

Sleep is a wondrous thing

Sleep is a wondrous thing
Current mood:  sleepy
Category: Life

In the final week of the RPM Challenge I kinda forgot how refreshing a good nights sleep can be. While I didn’t have the need to pull an all nighter for the sake of the album, I did string together multiple nights of 3-4 hours of sleep. By the end of the week, I was pretty much useless to my co-workers. I was amped on energy drinks most of last week simply for the sake of staying coherent.

Oh to be 20 again, when Steve and I would stay up all night, slaves to whatever modtracker we were using at the time for music creation. Yeah, the body doesn’t allow for that anymore, especially on sequential nights. But on the bright side, I’m proud of what I accomplished in February, making the whole sleep deprivation thing pretty much worth it.

Now to sleep, perchance to dream.

Currently listening :
By Kiln
Release date: 13 November, 2007