Twenty Fourteen (2014) was a year of glories, quiet diligence, selfless actions, and crazy fun!
Reflecting on 2014 in March, 2015:
– Not as much content this year, as it was a year where much of what I was up to was working on the multi-camera sitcom, ‘The Stanley Dynamic’, for about 8 months of the year. I also spent a lot of time supporting and creating a lot of altruistic initiatives, as a result of also taking a wonderfully rigorous leadership program throughout the year. Up to then, I had never pushed myself so to the limit insofar as scheduling and balancing every aspect of my life, and cramming everything in. I know a big help for landing ‘Stanley’ was this leadership training, and I kept it as a result of it too. In fact, I was initially just signed on for five episodes as a trial actor.
– This year also saw the inception of ‘Taylor & Bryn’ as a true duo. I was accepted into the Landmark Events Showcase Competition – and decided I wanted a bigger sound to help fill up the big venues it entailed. I began practicing with longstanding friend Bryn Scott-Grimes – and while he started as my sideman, as we kept advancing rounds in this contest series, we realized how well it could work as a mutual creative partnership. Hence, Taylor & Bryn was born! With maybe fifteen to twenty hours of careful rehearsal together, we won the whole thing – basically a prize pack worth about $20,000 dollars that we began really taking advantage of after more prep, gigs & work, in 2015.
– This year, Bryn & I also would discover a dream spot to start leasing, with a detached garage already half-built into a recording studio. We began finishing the job (Which would get dealt with in 2015 after lots and lots and lots of work on it), and as housemates, began practicing together with greater frequency.
– I was also transcribing, creating, and getting recordings done of most of the horns and strings that would appear on my big proper studio album in 2015. This is a very daunting, particular process! There was also a certain degree of trial and error – finding the right environment and people to record with – people who really got what I was up to, and were recording on it for the right reasons. ‘Money’, isn’t a sufficient reason. I was out to get amazing people with beautiful minds, because often – they just play better, and are more malleable! There was actually a disastrous recording sessions I set up in late 2013 to record horns and strings for the album, where I was working with an unreal lackluster level of professionalism. I won’t even get into it, its a waste of your time… but I bring it up just to say: If you’re making an album, be clear you are working with people you can trust, and that you love to be around – or there will be lots of wasted time. Also, I should mention to be very intentional about it – a six hour session might get you horns & strings for two songs if you record it all at once, and you’re in a pro facility. Don’t expect it all in a day.
– I created and managed a leadership program for kids (‘The Captains Of C.O.D.E’) with a wonderful team, and really dug into the Song Creation Workshop with fellow songwriter Signe Miranda. Really, this year the ‘Song Creation’ brand expanded in numerous ways. I wrote my chapter for Signe’s book, ‘The Song Creation Formula’, which took wayyy more work than I imagined it would – but I’m very glad I gave it the extra sweat it needed for the second printing of the book. I’m very proud of that chapter now. We also created ‘The Song Creation Challenge’, an initiative to inspire songwriting around the world that had some great publicity. As I type this, there’s a few large Canadian organizations who are curious about making it a national initiative with backing – so we’ll just have to see where that goes! I was also working closely with many Non-GMO initiatives, creating results and community in that pantheon.
– I’m also very proud of the people I coached to discover their greatness inside of the leadership program I was taking. I don’t share this below to toot my horn, but rather – to toot yours ;). The following is an example story-in-progress of someone I coached who took themselves on and had amazing things start to happen. I met a young man on the Subway who was sketching vigorously. He was an animation student who had recently come from India – scrounged up every penny he could to fly over to take art classes at a University in Toronto. However, he was struggling to stay motivated, financially competent, and found himself bored and uninspired. When I first met him, he was so scared of standing up for himself that after a roommate yelled at him, he had begun sleeping some nights in nearby University lecture halls. I ended up having a coaching call with him once a week (very quickly resolving the roommate situation, allowing him good sleeps again!), and setting up some careful documents with him that planned out a future that empowered him. When we boiled it all down, it was clear that he was out to be the next Andreas Deja, a respected animator at Pixar. I wouldn’t take him at anything but his promises – if he didn’t do what he said he would do during a week towards fulfilling his ambitions, we would get down to the bottom of what was missing in his leadership that had it go the way it did, and create new promises. It was rigorous and daunting – and I would take our weekly calls at awkward hours throughout the week to ensure we always got to have that weekly coaching call. Within two months, my friend was starting to take less time at the restaurant day jobs, and was sustaining himself much more through his art, and through teaching art. He had also become a star student – invited to numerous specialty events to represent his school on a national scale. Then, a month later, he ended up creating the income and the courage to follow his dream of moving to San Francisco, all in pursuit of one day working for Pixar. A couple weeks into his stay – he posted a photo of him meeting the man he aspired to; Andreas Deja. I hope he’s doing well in San Francisco, and I’m excited to meet him working at Pixar someday.
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Demos Etc 2014, Beaver Den Demos 2014, Lyrics Poems Etc,
Videos, Dictations, Etc.
Demos, Etc – 2014:
Demos are ways of recording a song without solidifying the final performance, arrangement, and whatever various studio magic can be done to a song so it sounds ‘stereo friendly’. The fundamental purpose of a demo is just to get a song down, so you can hear it objectively and figure out what is working and not working about it. Usually, I have the tendency of making a demo and then neglect the song for a new idea. However, sometimes, old ideas filter back into the new ones.
As mentioned before – there isn’t an abundance of files for this year due to the choice of some other pursuits. Also, there simply aren’t as many files because any additional music energy was spent fleshing out songs with Bryn. Demos of those songs that began in 2014 you will find mostly sprinkled throughout 2014, and some in the ‘Videos’ section of this year.
While there may not be much from this year (And most earlier forms of tunes from the 2015 album is in the 2013 folder), I will give you a little taste of recording horns & strings for my 2015 studio album here, in video form!
You can also attempt to find lyrics for the songs in the playlist below by digging through the lyrics for this year (available further down this page), or by clicking here.
Track Reflections, March 2015:
‘You’re My’, this is the audio from the live video. I comment more on the process of filming that video when reflecting in the videos section. As for the making of the song itself – this was really the first time Bryn and I sat down and made a collaboration. He came in with the shape of it, and then I tried a lot of different things to shape it, taking out extraneous bits, changing some chords, etc. Its a much leaner machine from my rewrites, but only Bryn could come up with something in this endearing brand of kooky in its melody and lyrics. Then, once we worked together to figure out our separate parts and added the harmonies… it was clear we really had a special sound.
‘Cyclops Rag’ is a song we farted out for ‘The Song Creation Challenge’, an initiative I created with Signe. We would have weekly calls with a team who were up to expand the workshop and the challenge. The challenge is like the ‘Ice Bucket’ challenge for ALS, but to dare people to make music – and to contribute to any charity they want. It got some good Toronto press. There’s some large Canadian Music organizations who also love the sentiment and idea of it who could take it nationally at the right time, and we’ll just have to see what happens. Anyways, this is the audio from the video of the song we sped out – much in the same way as ‘Exploding Kittens’ that would follow in early 2015. Just making something quickly. In this case, I also used a limitation by choosing a random chord progression from my chapter in ‘The Song Creation Formula’ book, and so we were limited to one chord. One chord, one eye… get it?
‘Medley’ is really more a dictation (We’re not performing all out), but still too rehearsed to fall into ‘Dictations’. We’re rehearsing for our second show really playing together at this point – the second round of the Landmark Events contest. We’re still finding out how to mesh with each other – there’s a long ways to go. Bryn’s not even singing yet! He’s relegated just to a harp player, which is cruel! This is a fun medley though, and methinks we should do more medleys at live shows. This goes through some classic musical-style songs: ‘Hard Knock Life’ from Annie, ‘Pure Imagination’ from Willy Wonka, ‘Hello!’ from The Book Of Mormon, ‘Castle On A Cloud’ from Les Miserables… then we break that with ‘Another One Bites The Dust’… ‘Boyfriend’ (for laughs) … ‘Wild World’, then the ‘King Of The Hill Theme Song’. I love how ridiculous this is!
‘Habibi (Early Cut)’, and now for something completely different! This is a fully produced version of a song I co-wrote. It was just an exercise in writing a pop song with Omar, who hired me to write with him. I wrote most of it – he helped create the chorus, and would say if he liked what I was making up or not. He’s been building this song up, as well as various other songs, to create an album. He definitely has the financial resources to get this on the radio… Wouldn’t be surprised if this was a big club hit. That sax line is sweet. And heck, he got hit artist Danny Fernandes to duet on it! The shape of the song is a little strange at this point – I sent a list of careful suggestions to him, things that I think would ensure its chart potential. He wanted me to sing on it a bit too, so you’ll hear me doing some melodies near the end. That’s one of the things I want removed from the song, actually :). It sticks out like a sore thumb to me! Omar is a lovely human being – I taught his son guitar for a while as well. I look forward to whatever comes of this song, and his album. Omar hired me to write and re-write various other things too – not sure how much of that is okay the share, however. I also had a session writing for his brother.
‘Animation Demo Feb 2014’, So, as a change of pace, again – I’ve included a voice demo that has been used to represent me through my voice acting agency. I have copious amounts of voice auditions recorded on my computer, as many had to be home recorded auditions during nights while I worked on ‘The Stanley Dynamic’. However, since they have a lot of private script content, etc, included – it really wouldn’t be legally kosher for me to share that. However, this demo uses fragments from various cartoon script pages that, since they had aired by that point, it was okay for me to perform them. The idea was to present a variety of characters and vocal ranges in a brief period of time. I’ve definitely gotten work from this demo, and it was great training making it. Voice acting is a mysterious, fun art that I’m always learning about. Its much more complicated than one may think! Its a true, 100% mind and body workout if you’re doing it right.
‘Everyone’s A Zero’ was for that old Mario Musical that never happened in 2011. There was a brief attempt to resurface it, so I wrote out some files for those involved with the proper chords & lyrics to the two songs I had previously written, and gave them this one I rushed through for kicks. Its very Monty Python, and very meta – Of course everyone’s a zero and a one, they’re binary!
‘Something Bit’, is part of the un-mixed/mastered version of ‘Something’ from the year prior, with the bass line put through some weird effects so its up an octave and sounds like a sweet, fat keyboard. I was making some different instrumental bits I could use for an informational video on ‘The Song Creation Challenge’. You’ll hear my mouth horn/string sounds still in place – they would ultimately get replaced by the real thing.
‘Everybody Wants To Give’, a re-made version of the tune, for a contest to choose a song for kids to sing across Canada in support of keeping music in schools. I had a couple hours to put it together one night, and thought it would be poignant to re-write that old song of mine for it. Much of this song is totally different – the verses, pre-chorus. Its a bit saccharine, but I love that about it. I remember having to speed out this demo of it very fast, narrowly getting it in by the deadline, which is why the guitar edit off the top comes in rather abruptly. It was an editing flub. I’m actually surprised this didn’t win, to be honest with you!
‘Gay Siddhartha’, from the studio version from 2013. Reworking it more. I suspect the lyrics will be quite different on the final version – it becomes hard to follow! These have new mock horn/strings that I had get transcribed for the players. I really like the mellow kookiness of the tune however – its got a sense of humor on it, which my album dearly needs some of. I wanted a title that stuck out like a sore thumb, so ‘Gay Siddhartha Vs. The Texas Chainsaws’ will do just fine. A gay Buddhist living in Texas… now that is a hard life! If you want to see the brilliant horn/string players in action, I’ve included some phone videos of them in the studio in the ‘videos’ section. Most of the ‘mock’ horn string versions of album tunes can be found in the 2013 section.
‘My Honey Came To Me’ is a tune Bryn initially wrote, and then I helped with various musical/lyrical things about it. This is a pretty lacklustery version of it, me making a voice demo for him with altered lines, and lines placed in different ways to make them more natural and conversational. We worked on it together more after the fact and made the song much better. This was really just a resource for him to listen to. I’m trying to emphasize words in each line that would be naturally emphasized if one were to speak the sentence out loud – that is a great songwriting trick that really separates the men from the boys. Its a trick I’ve worked carefully at, and its helped my writing a lot.
‘Allah’… Egad… My phoned-in demo vocals sound ridiculous with this! Its actually just embarrassing sharing this, but its interesting still. Its actually written by Omar Adim, and this is a voice demo for him that had some suggested musical alterations and changes the arrangement of the song that he could take or leave. This was just for his reference. He had some nice players on this. He wrote a nice song, and I was just trying to punch it up. This is early 2014, before The Stanley Dynamic took over my life 🙂
I have other co-writes I could have shared with various artists from during this year, but its not really my place to present their work without their consent.
Beaver Den Demos, 2014
The Beaver Den is a musical I began creating years ago with Jennifer & Jaclyn Enchin. Its a show that is slowly gaining a cult following due to its ribald humor, its heart, and its unapologetic-ally Canadian charm. An early version made the Top 10 at ‘Best Of Fringe 2012’. As of March 2015 when I type this, Five different productions have been produced, including one that a bunch of enthusiastic small-town high school students created themselves. We’ve received lots of four star (out of five) reviews from various entertainment publications, even just from these early versions.
If you’ve seen the show, you already have a sense of the story of the show. Its really not my jurisdiction to directly share the story, but I will give you a general premise at this time. First off, here’s a general promotional summary:
‘Set in 1999, at the wake of the children’s entertainment revolution, a cast of young Canadian actors are “stuck” on an outdated kid’s show filmed in Northern Ontario. Will they save the show from complete corporate takeover? It’s a musical…so probably. Get ready for a hilarious, outrageous, and perfectly polite time at The Beaver Den’
Now, a summary from the journey of a main character: ‘Tom, a budding actor from Toronto, finds himself at The Beaver Den – a long running children’s program that is struggling to keep alive. But after he begins enjoying his time there and truly becoming a ‘Beaver Bud’, he’ll have to discover what matters more – following the path of his hero, Keanu Reeves, or being there for those who need you.’ There’s a variety of interesting characters, all with their own journeys. I’ll dig a little more into things in the song summaries.
Regarding These Demos
Well, there really isn’t much from this year. While I did start some in December 2014, where you’ll get a ton of demos for the early 2015 production is on the 2015 page. I encourage you to look there. There’s just a couple things I dabbled with included here, in not very great shape.
You can also find some of this year’s Beaver Den lyrics, lyric fragments, chords charts, etc by clicking here.
Track Reflections, March 2015:
“Pretty Girls Go For The Douchebag” was an early attempt at what became “Canadian Famous”. This is a late night, cruddy demo of it, just so I would remember it. I wanted something for the smart-aleck characters Simon & Phoebe to sing in Act One, since they didn’t really have a song. Because there was still a love story at this point between Tom & Patty (two of the main characters), despite Tom being a total jerk, I thought about pointing out the absurdity of that as a good way to make a song with some humor. This was still an Aqua-style song. This evolved into “Canadian Famous”, which took the place of the il-fated “Trendy Trance”.
“Timmys” is a song that never made it in. I was imagining a big ensemble number from workers at a Tim Horton’s in the middle of nowhere, where they’re forced to sing this song. I never really refined it, cos the general idea of making a big deal out of finding a Timmys was scrapped. I was trying to think of set pieces the cast could visit during their adventure in the woods throughout Act 2, like any typical story of a quest. Who knows, maybe this will get resurrected. This is obviously the first time I’m ever dictating it, after just writing it, so there’s stops and starts as I’m trying different things out. There’s also deliberately odd pauses and breaks built into the song, which I like. ‘Welcome to, a place with food!’… I say ‘Morton’s in the big leagues’ because, maybe I was thinking it would be Tim Mortons, so we wouldn’t get sued somehow for mentioning the company directly. We got away with it by calling everything a ‘Timmy Bit’ or ‘Timmys’ instead. I was also thinking that they had to do the song as a front, because its not only a Timmys… but a front where you can get a green card illegally. This would have been a funny song in the February production, lifted up Act 2. ‘Its just another lovely quirk at, oh how we love to work at, third-degree burns at…’
“When You’re Not Alone” is also a dictation of sorts, stopping and starting, trying to figure something out. After more constrained dictation/experimenting, I go anywhere I feel about a minute in – and a couple minutes later, I’m close to the heart of what would become ‘Alone Together’. This is me conceiving of it then and there, pretty neat how that can happen. That’s what I love about these dictations – a really great idea can not exist, and then suddenly be born. I still really like the initial verse idea I had for this, just maybe its not meant for a musical like ours. Or maybe I should reinstate it.
“Saskachewanaroo” was from a time where we wanted to have a cute little song for Simon & Phoebe to interrupt with Rice Fighter stuff. It became, at least for the Feb 2015 production, a hastily written scene that didn’t really work unfortunately. I would try and rework some of this into ‘Playin In The Creek’, a song that also didn’t make it into the Feb production. Poor Saskachewanaroo, he was destined to fail. I still love the innocence and cute kiddy feeling I get with the lines ‘Listen to the forest, busy with life. So much to see a Fox and his wife!…’ Makes me miss nature so much, here in the city.
Lyrics, Poems Etc 2014
Click here – literally, right here – and you will find a zip folder rife with some of the lyric/poem/etc fragments or final results that were typed out in the year 2014, for an insight into the creative process. There’s again, not a ton this year, as I’d been focusing on different commitments.
You can also find some of this year’s Beaver Den lyrics, lyric fragments, chords charts, etc by clicking here.
All videos are completely edited by me, except if on another channel. Ordered generally from newest to oldest, with some of the highlights placed near the start. Some of these are only visible here, and have since been made unavailable on the main Youtube page. This is simply because some of these are so old, they no longer reflect me, or are honestly (embarrassing!), and it would be confusing for newcomers to my page to see such drastically different Taylor.
If a video bores you, don’t be afraid to skip ahead, I’m sure you’ll find something you like.
I’ll make some notes on some of the videos below the playlist. However, I won’t make as many notes, since you can click on the videos themselves usually to learn more about it, and read the video descriptions.
Video Reflections, March 2015:
‘You’re My’. This video works well, but making it happen was also a bit of a disaster. There’s different audio sources that weren’t working that we couldn’t draw from for the final audio, I woke up with a zit on my eyelid, my lips are really dry and I did nothing about them, etc. This is me during a brief hiatus week from The Stanley Dynamic while dealing with many other things in my life, taking a moment to make a video basically. You can do a ton if you schedule your life mercilessly. I probably had five scheduled calls a day minimum, and was constantly dealing with other things. I was managing many different things as a part of numerous teams at that point – teams inside of my leadership program, Song Creation Workshop Teams, Non-GMO initiatives, etc. Bryn’s sister, Cailleah, graciously filmed for us, and did a great job. I edited the footage together (and the audio), and it was very meticulous and time consuming. But I won’t bore you with that. Some of the video are from different takes than the audio, simply because it looked more interesting. The discussion off the top is slightly rehearsed, the nugget of the idea stemming from a conversation Bryn and I had the day before. We have ridiculous conversations often, as you will find if you look for the TaylorBrynMinis, a channel where I collected a couple, and some of my other Youtube videos over the years.
“Cyclops Rag” I’ve spoken about more in the audio section. This is the video. Make sense?
“About me for Moose Academy” is freshly uncovered. A clip where I present myself to a friends business that never really took off – an online web-based music school, especially for people who don’t have access to teachers otherwise. I’m in my short-lived room near High Park. What a bad room that was! Nice place though overall, lots of greenery and a nice view of trees. Tranquil.
“Testimonials” is really what co-leading The Song Creation Workshop is all about for me, making this sort of difference for people. Anytime I doubt myself, I just remember the impact I’ve had on people through things like that. And I jumped into it having no idea if I could do it – only one way to find out. And honestly, I’m just proud I took the leap. It really solidified for me that you don’t need to know ‘how’ to do something to do it – you just have to commit to it, give yourself a deadline, and you’ll have put yourself in a situation where you’ll naturally start to figure it out by shooting blindly in the dark until you hit the light switch. Fake it till you make it! And you’ll surprise yourself. Story of my life!
“GMOses” is a funny little tune that I sped out in a few minutes as my own personal entry in the ‘Song Creation Challenge’. I’d told myself I’d write a funny song about GMOs for months – but now, I finally did it, in a couple minutes, because I put myself in a situation where I had to write it. Limitations are a songwriter’s godsend! This is pretty funny – not incredible, and a bit pretentious: ‘Stuff you wouldn’t feed to the dogs if you knew enough’, comes to mind. Its a topic with a lot of contested information – I do eat virtually all organic regardless, because I feel better that way. I’m very suspicious of Monsant-O, and they have caused some unspeakable harm that has gone unpunished. There’s lots of stories of scientists who have been silenced or fired for sharing their research on the dangers of GMO foods. Its truly messed up. Last year, I threw myself completely into making a difference in the GMO world. Presently, I am tempted to get back into the degree of activism I had taken on for Non-GMO initiatives, and I’m also just seriously weighing all my options. I really like the rhymes of ‘GMOses, smell the roses… while you got em’, before for the ecosystem… craps out’.
“Cirque” is Bryn & I at The Mod Club in Toronto. This is from the third round of performances that finally won us the Landmark Events Showcase Competition, and ton of ridiculously good prizes – including a free EP made by an extremely accomplished producer. We’re cashing in on that stuff in 2015 as I type, getting ready to anyways. “Cirque” was a song of Bryn’s that was called “2012” initially. I added guitar, and sing a little bit of Gorillaz’s ‘Clint Eastwood’. Sometimes I ask for audience suggestions and do a little improv section in the middle based off the audience suggestions. This song has gotten better since this one :). Regardless, Bryn is always dazzling on the harp.
“It Keeps Turnin” is an old song of mine – early 2010 old, right after I finished with ‘Here’s Some Songs’, I began writing it. I think I had just listened to ‘Centerfold’ by the J Geils Band, and that helped inspire the chorus. The guitar part is sweet. This would make its way onto my 2015 studio album, in a totally different shape. It works really well this way as well – maybe better. Probably better. It works very well as a Taylor & Bryn song.
“Long Time No See…” is just a little video update, from my dressing room, while filming The Stanley Dynamic.
Dictations, Etc – 2014
Dictations are generally that capturing of an initial spark of an idea. These can be done in a variety of circumstances – with laryngitis, very softly as to not bug the people around me, full-out, etc. In the playlist below is a sampling of dictations. I would be crazy to truly go through all of them. Really.
If I truly looked through all of my recordings on my phone, laptop and other devices – the amount of content to sift through becomes 500-1000 files per year – ranging anywhere from a second to a couple hours each. Simply put, I would probably spend the next year of my life reflecting on my life and sifting through files rather than living it. This screen-cap put some of the tedium in perspective of how much there would truly be to look through. At a certain point, I have to trust that the best of my thousands of dictations find their way into my work unconsciously.
Track Reflections, March 2015:
There’s a ton of files on my phone I haven’t even touched yet – in fact, most of this years dictations were just made on a phone.
‘Simpsons’ is really an A Capella demo, but its included here because the melody still leaves a lot to be desired in this, and I am feeling it out here quite a bit. It would change plenty, lyrics too. This song I would sing to various guest stars while in our Stanley Dynamic dressing rooms, to get their thoughts. They were all very positive about it, which meant a lot to me. It really gave me confidence to pursue musical comedy more, which has been gradually happening – but its a tricky pull. To really do it justice, I worry I’d have to compromise some other musical pursuits, and I don’t want to do that. I have a few little shticks I can do, and audiences in comedy settings always eat it up. I also have another dark comedy song called ‘Gameboy’. This song, with ukulele, is way better, and gets people laughing and thinking. I really am disgusted with a lot of things in the western world, and this is a nice, jarring way to get that out – especially once I start listing off atrocities. I’m also singing about myself – its disgusting that, here I am spending so much time making an ‘Abravault’ when there’s so much suffering in the world. Its the spell of the ego, something all my leadership and personal growth training has given me a lot of power in dealing with, you could say. But yes, it is still not enough. However, I am out to make sure all these fragments in my life that seem irrelevant, mean something, and forward those larger ambitions. It just doesn’t seem that way to me sometimes these days.
‘Nice Song…’ is me dictating something I want to finish as Bryn listens. He hears ‘Californication’ by The Chili Peppers in it.
‘Never Ending Cold’ was written after listening to some more serious Tim Minchin songs and being enamored by them. They lyrics to this are actually very interesting, but harder to get into fully because they don’t have quite enough time to breathe. Its something I’m stopping and starting, figuring out as I go along, which is why its simply in the realm of dictation. I was making up the melody and chords as I went, which is how I oft do these sorts of things. The lyrics came out in a neat stream as well – very unconventional lyrics for me.
‘Let It Die’ is about a moment that had happened minutes before at a Hard Rock Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia. I was talking to a nice girl, but then just left. I really didn’t have a reason to go – well, I did have a leadership conference to attend the next morning very early, and surely had work to do, as always – but I could have enjoyed myself much more. So I made a song up about it. Pretty coherent this one, and there isn’t a lot of starting and stopping. I’d like to do more with this! I feel from it. With dictations, there usually aren’t full lyrics yet to anything – but sometimes I prep some beforehand, as I clearly did off the start of this one. The latter half is more in the pursuit of words, and letting any sounds that feel right come out. Eventually, those tend to morph into words that are phonetically similar, and feel musically right. Brian May of Queen talks about the band making up lyrics for their songs with a similar technique.
Same technique in the improv dictation of ‘Living With A Broken Heart’. I wanted to limit myself to really basic strumming and not changing chords constantly. Its not really unreleased George Harrison, of course :). And really it sounds vocally more like a bad Bruce Cockburn or Roy Orbison impersonation. Its a very Traveling Wilbury’s moment. Good, simple improvised shape. Really like the little instrumental break I made up. I reference ‘I Don’t Need You (But I Wish I Did)’ from ‘Here’s Some Songs’ in it as well. I end at a good time too – you can tell I’ve run out of ideas for that dictation, or that the best has passed for that moment.
‘Mr Skyscraper’ is me trying to still make something of this old bass idea, something I try to use in numerous Beaver Den demos: ‘A Boy And His Beaver’, ‘Canada Day’. It would make its way in just as background music during a scene for the February 2015 workshop production. I’m trying here to imagine it as a Taylor & Bryn song. I’m sure its time will come. Such a cool, hooky melody. Its like heroin. It will pop in my mind for no reason whatsoever. Wait till the 0:50 mark for some lyrics I was trying out with it.
‘Personally’ was me writing something speculatively for my 2015 studio album. I wanted something that could be done just guitar, voice and vocal overdubs. A scheduled phone call interrupts in the dictation.
‘Hey Android’ reminds me of a hillarious video called ‘Hey Africa’ by, in large part, by the comedic brilliance of Mark Little, who I’ve met at acting auditions and at The Comedy Bar. He’s so great. I’m a little jealous! 😉
Some sweet dictations all around… not sure what else to say about them.
‘Love Again’ has some weird overtones from banging hard on the guitar. If a better mic was picking it up, you’d hear what I mean.
‘Sing Song’ was my first attempt at a song for the contest where ultimately submit ‘Everybody Wants To Give’ in altered form. Maybe I would have been better off with this.
‘Rockin Song’ would become, in part, the Taylor & Bryn staple ‘Kill The Melody’. You can hear that in the 2015 section. You get a sense now of how many sweet ideas have to fall on the ground before a song is done!
‘Pity Me’ is me partially ripping off the ‘Roadkill’ melody that you can hear in 2013, and perhaps elsewhere. ‘Very quickly, you’ll be prickly as a porcupine in heat’.