It’s not much of a stretch to say that I’ve been in a music funk for the better part of a year. I’ve been experiencing some significant “imposter syndrome” when it comes to the music I write, and it’s seeped into the cracks that were already showing in my drive to get back into releasing music again. While I’ve started the process of putting new music together, I derail myself more often than I see something through to completion.
“To Friends Who’ve Said Goodbye”
In April of 2023, we had to euthanize our 15-year old Tortie, Frau. For years now, we’d say “Frau’s a friend” (because who doesn’t love alliteration), but I was Frau’s person. She showed affection to my wife, but she’d follow me around like a dog might…never wanting affection, but always craving companionship. We’d realized that she’d lost a lot of weight and enough behavioral changes led us to take her to the vet. We expected her to have thyroid issues, but we received the shock that she had cancer on her heart and a large mass in her abdomen. They told us we might have a month. We had five days.
Just before this, a friend I’d met through the primary Twitch community I’d been a part of posted that she had to put one of her cats to sleep after he’d become ill rather suddenly. Shortly after Frau passed, a friend I went to high school with also had to put an older family pet to sleep. While pets from three separate households, it was tough to know people I know were going through the same loss that my family was.
As has been the story of my life, I turned to music to serve as an outlet for my grief. “TFWSG” came together rather quickly and I immediately thought it’d be a fitting tribute to the furry friends the people in my relatively small circle had lost. It’s the only one of the 3.5 songs that I’ve actually fleshed out into a 2+ minute song, and has become the first song to be released for whatever this next album will be called. I’m not sure if I’m going to stick with the “Volume” theme, especially as I remix and release the previous songs into two albums instead of three.
There are parts that need to do be redone, but the audio above gives a pretty good indication of where the songs going to finish up.
It was the first time in the past year that music just happened with relative ease. A the same time, it got me to thinking about how many songs I’ve started and given up on. In that time. I’ve written a total of 3.5 songs, including “TFWSG”.
Let’s take a quick look at the other 2.5 members of this little group:
The Theme Song
After six years of using the previous theme song I’d written, a friend asked me to write a new theme song for his podcast. He listened back to the songs I’ve released under KCWM and asked for something that had bits of “All the Feels” and “The Original”. I sent him some basic ideas that I’d quickly written on my acoustic, he picked the one he liked, and I knocked it out. It was a pretty quick process…maybe a few hours. I mean, it’s a 45-50 second song (hence the .5 in the 3.5 songs I’ve written), so it makes sense that it’d come together quickly. I suppose the “glass half-full” part of me should say, “Don’t dismiss the fact that you came up with, fleshed out, and recorded the song in a short time simply because it ended up being short. That was the plan”, but the other part of my mind simply rejects that idea.
I recently went back to try and flesh that song to a good two and a half minutes, hit a wall, and gave up. OK, so that last bit is 100% on me, but that’s where I was at creatively, and likely where I’m still at. I feel like I have to find my songwriting legs again before I can go back to it. Maybe it’s the fact that it leans heavily into the pop-punk genre that I’m an absolute fraud at when it comes to writing. I should probably circle back around to it, but for now, that’s simmering on the back burner of my mind.
A New Song for Low-Fi, Nice Try
My friends and I recorded an EP for their band back in 2017. It was a great experiencing adding to the songs my friends had written, even if I feel like some of the parts I wrote haven’t aged as well as others. The recording process was so much fun, but the end result was a mixed bag. While I’m happy with the songs (with the exception of the aforementioned parts), I’m not happy with the quality of the recordings. It was a learning process, but I feel like I’ve come quite a way from what we learned from that process.
It’s six years later and those guys have been putting songs together for a new EP or LP. This time, as a member of the band, I wanted to contribute songs. If I recall, the writing process for the song I’m contributing was one of the last streams I did on Twitch and I recall I struggled a bit. Eventually, the song came together and I’m actually quite happy with it. I threw together a second guitar part for it, but held off on properly recording a clean version with that part because I want my friend to come up with a vocal part and then write the second guitar part around it.
Between Volume Three and releasing the single, “Go On”, I wrote a number of songs on my acoustic guitar that I intended to turn into KCWM songs. These were different than all of the other KCWM songs that started with drums first. I’ve found that writing guitar parts to drums is considerably easier than arranging drums to existing guitar/vocal parts.
Even though “The Original” and “Too Cold” existed as songs prior to their release, they didn’t get considered for release on Volume Three until I’d arranged drums that just happened to work with them. Now that I think about it, the pre-chorus for “The Original” took a lot of editing and adding to make it work, and that didn’t even happen without input from JD, one of the members of the aforementioned Low-Fi, Nice Try.
“Fire Intro Song” was one of the songs that started on my acoustic, and it took me far longer than I’d like to admit to get that right, and part of my crazy brain would argue that it’s still far from right. Out of the eight songs I wrote during that time, I put together drums for two others: one I called “Drop D Twiddle” and another called “E Walkdown”. While both songs will actually see release along with “Friends Who’ve Said Goodbye”, there’s been hesitation on fleshing them out.
For a while, I lost interest in the music I’d written for “E Walkdown” and I wrote this new song that fit the drums, recorded a rhythm part that I sat on for a few days, and abandoned when I went back to listen to it a few days later. It was garbage.
I went back to “E Walkdown”, broke it down to be two different guitar parts, recorded the rhythm part, and learned that it separating it didn’t work as well as I thought. I then decided to write a new 2nd guitar part and, though it needed shaping up, I really liked what I came up with. It definitely has what I identify as my “style”. I labeled it “Incomplete Rock” in the Google Drive folder that I have for a small circle of folks to listen to, and there it’s sat. I will get back around to it.
I need to keep up the momentum I feel I’ve started with “TFWSG”. With Toontrack releasing EZKeys 2, the push to include more piano in my songs, or even add piano driven songs, was a bit of motivation I was waiting for. It released on May 16th, and I only just installed it yesterday, May 22nd. Once I wrap up “TFWSG”, I need to get right into writing the next song so that I can keep moving forward instead of stagnating like I have for the past year.