Ep. 22: Adding Machines – Live Concert at Velour (6/24/2015)

For this week’s podcast episode, I’m sharing with you a live recording from a show I played over a year ago on June 24, 2015. This is the last show I did with Adding Machines and it took place at a Battle of the Bands at Velour in Provo, Utah. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the battle but it was still a lot of fun.

 

The lineup this time was Matt Weidauer on guitar, mandolin and vocals, along with a few friends who filled in; namely Micah Dahl Anderson on drums and vocals, and Andrew Dyer on bass. It had been a while since our last show so it was almost like starting from scratch to learn the songs together as a band. We threw in two brand new songs; “Eye to Eye” and “Elephant in the Room,” while the rest of the set were other tunes from our two albums, “Sweet Dreams” and “Death and Taxes,” which are available on Spotify, iTunes and where else you might stream or download music.

The other bands that played that night were Dry Erase Tracks, Jessica Frech and Jack Pines.

Here is the entire concert on video (6 separate videos on one playlist):

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Ep. 21: Song “The One I Love” (Influenced by The Beach Boys)

When I married my wife, Melissa, 10 years ago, I wrote this song and performed it on our wedding day at the reception. 6 years later, I recorded it for our anniversary.

The production elements, such as the thick harmonies with ohs and ahs, sleigh bells, vibraphone, and cello, are influenced by the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album.

For the lyrics and melody, I was trying to create something along the lines that the Swell Season would write (which are Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, famous from the movie “Once”).

Most of the lines of this songs are quite literally about events in our relationship. For example, “Valentine’s Day I was so anxious that I sighed” refers to the day that I proposed.

The line that says “Did you keep all the letters that I wrote while I was away?” refers to when we wrote each other while I was a missionary in New York.

“Do you remember the Rose Gardens at Thanksgiving Point?” refers a date we went on where the gardens were closed but we snuck in and it was just us alone.

It’s a special and personal song to me so I hope you enjoy it.

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Photo by: Ashley Beal Photography

Lyrics:
Valentine’s Day I was so anxious that I sighed
I’ve never seen a face so beautiful
It’s like the day that we first met
There’s not a chance that I’ll forgot the way
The way you had that look in your eyes

You are the one I love
I want to spend the rest of my life living by your side
You know that you are the one I love
And every single day I try to give my heart away to you

Did you keep all the letters that I wrote while I was away?
There are so many things for me to say
Do you remember the Rose Gardens at Thanksgiving Point?
Oh I never will forget that night

Don’t be afraid
I’ll keep you safe

You are the one I love
I want to spend the rest of my life living by your side
You know that you are the one I love
And every single day I try to give my heart away to you

I do

Download “The One I Love” on Bandcamp

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Ep. 20: Music from “The Woman in Black” (Scary Halloween Sounds)

Last year, a friend of mine named Archie Crisanto was directing a local stage production of The Woman in Black. He asked me to help him come up with some sound effects and write some original music for the play.

We talked about what kind of tone we wanted the music to have and the soundtrack for “There Will Be Blood,” composed by Radiohead member, Johnny Greenwood, came to mind. This really helped to inspire the tone and direction of the music I wrote.

There were 4 pieces of music I recorded for the play. For the first one, I tried to create something where you really felt a sense of despair and loneliness. The guitar line is repetitive, slow and heavily covered in reverb. For the eerie ringing in the background, I strummed by pick on the top of the guitar headstock, which is enough to make the open guitar strings vibrate and sound the way they do. I actually copied this technique from watching the guitar player from Radiohead do this during the opening of the song “Lucky.” We ended up actually not using this piece in favor of instead using the strings piece you will hear later. So, here’s the first piece, which I’ve appropriately titled, “Eerie Guitar”.

The second piece is an organ improvisation. This one actually was used in the play as background music during a scene where a funeral is taking place and a priest is giving a speech. I’ve entitled it “Spooky Organ Improvisation.”

This third piece of music is another improvisation but this time on piano. I used something called a “whole tone scale.” Most scales that we’re familiar with hearing, such as the major or minor scales, are a combination of half steps and whole steps. Because of this, there is a note called the “tonic” note that you brain wants the song to eventually resolve to. With the whole tone scale, there are no half steps and no tonic note to end on and so, the music just tends to drift without ever really getting resolved. This is something that the composer, Debussy started to use a little later in his career, which really gives it an other worldly sound, which is what we were going for with the play. I also took some of the notes I played and reversed them on the computer to give it even more of a supernatural sound. This one didn’t make it in the play but I think it’s still really interesting.

The last piece was used in a scene where the actor sees the woman in black for the first time. The string really add a chilling effect to the story. I wanted it to sound like a massive string orchestra but with this being a low budget project, we couldn’t really afford to record an orchestra. Luckily, I played violin from 4th grade through my high school years and even though I’m a little rusty, I thought I could pull something off.

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In total, there were 24 different string tracks. To start, I began with a minor chord played across 4 different tracks and with the same note held it out for about two minutes. I did a lot of different copying and pitch shifting with those parts so that there were some lower parts the sounded like cellos and violas and higher parts that sounded like very high violins. All together, it sounds like a massive group of strings playing a drawn out chord. I then added several tracks of myself gradually sliding the notes upwards.

Played against the drone of the minor chord, the effect is a very harsh, clashing sound with everything all together. I also added reverb and reversed some of the string parts to give them even more of an eerie quality.

I wish I could say I was innovative here but this atonal technique is actually a pretty common sound used a lot now in film scoring. Johnny Greenwood frequently uses it. One of the first people to use it is the polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki, in his piece “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” composed back in 1960. You’ve probably also heard this type of sound at the end of each episode of the TV show, LOST.

I’ve collected these tracks and made them available on Spotify, iTunes and my Bandcamp page. Enjoy!

Download these songs from Bandcamp

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Ep. 19: Song “I’ll Sit Here and Wait” (Influenced by The Beatles)

This is one of my early songs written back in junior high school. The style didn’t really fit with my band at the time so it sat on the shelf for a while. When I started my 50 Songs in 50 Weeks project, it seemed a like a good opportunity to finally get it recorded. I was just starting to into the Beatles at the time so this was influenced by the song “It’s Only Love” from the album “Help.”

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It was also influenced little bit from the Goo Goo Dolls. Take a Listen.

Lyrics:
The days pass and I’ve gone nowhere
I sit and let you talk to me
When will I get to know you
You said I guess we’ll see

The days keep getting longer
The sun keeps shinning in your eyes
Stay, stay with me tonight.

We can’t walk away from this today
I don’t know where I’ll go tomorrow
Til I know I’m go and ready
I’ll sit here and wait
I’ll sit here and wait

I should have seen it coming
I thought that everything was alright
Stay, stay with me tonight.

We can’t walk away from this today
I don’t know where I’ll go tomorrow
Til I know I’m go and ready
I’ll sit here and wait
I’ll sit here and wait

Download “I’ll Sit Here and Wait” on Bandcamp

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Ep. 18: Song “No Wall” (Influenced by The Beta Band)

brassed-off-640x434This song is influenced by the group the Beta Band. My first exposure to this group was a scene from the movie High Fidelity where one of their songs in played in the record store. I later witnessed the group open for Radiohead, which really got me into them. Their album, Hot Shots II is one of my all time favorite albums. But their song “Dry the Rain” (off their also excellent Three EPs album and the one featured in High Fidelity) is probably my favorite track of theirs.

So, as you will probably notice, my song heavily borrows on several of the production elements from “Dry the Rain”:

  • The strumming pattern of the acoustic guitar.
  • Layered drum machines and tambourines for the beat
  • Double tracked vocals to imitate the sound and mood of “Dry the Rain.”
  • Electric guitars for texture (one has a cool tremolo sound and another has more of light overdrive).
  • A big, epic ending theme that eventually fades out (along the lines of “Hey Jude”).
  • 8 vocal tracks that sing the ending theme with Ohs (As you can hear, I didn’t have pop filter so there’s a lot of wind from my mouth blowing against the microphone but since the song has so many layers, it kind gets buried in the mix so you don’t hear it).
  • For some extra punch at the end, I added to some handclaps and sleigh bells to the rest of percussion.
  • Each time ending theme is played, more instruments are added: organ, strings, brass and a heavily distorted guitar

This is one of my favorites in the project so far. I think the dense layers make it sound really interesting.

Lyrics:
Give me one more try to make things right,
I’ll make it up to you
And I will be right where I belong,
For a night or two, yeah

How far we go depends on you
Whether I’m right or wrong
How far we go depends on you
And I’m standing by

There’s no wall to walk behind
There’s no place for me to hide
When I’m away from you
There’s no wall to walk behind
There’s no place for me to hide
When I’m away from you

Turn me inside out define the flaws
and pinpoint the lies,
And you’ll never doubt that I was wrong
Never wonder why, yeah

How far we go depends on you
Whether I’m right or wrong
How far we go depends on you
And I’m standing by

There’s no wall to walk behind
There’s no place for me to hide
When I’m away from you
There’s no wall to walk behind
There’s no place for me to hide
When I’m away from you

We always dreamed that there was more
But we’d never find the door,
To escape from here
There’s no wall to walk behind
There’s no place for me to hide
When I’m away from you

Download “No Wall” from Bandcamp.


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Ep. 17: Song “I Feel My Savior’s Love” (Religious)

This week, I’m breaking a bit from the usual format by posting a cover song. This one is actually a religious children’s song from the LDS Church’s Primary songbook. I remember singing it as a kid and it’s always stayed one of my favorites.

When I got a little older, I served as a missionary in New York City. We weren’t allowed to have a guitar in our own apartment but occasionally when I would visit a member’s house, there would be one sitting around and this would be one of the songs I played.

Later on when I attended BYU, I found out the music was actually written by one of my music professors, Newell Dayley. Getting to know the person behind the song added another level of appreciation for me.

In the back of my head, I’ve thought to myself, “I need to record this song someday.” With the current state of the world, it seems like there is a lot of friction and frustration and I felt like there were things I wanted to say but this was the best way to say it. I think the message of the lyrics is very simplistic and powerful. It’s about loving the savior and trusting that he’s looking out for you.

Lyrics:

I feel my Savior’s love
In all the world around me.
His Spirit warms my soul
Through everything I see.

He knows I will follow him,
Give all my life to him.
I feel my Savior’s love,
The love he freely gives me.

I feel my Savior’s love;
Its gentleness enfolds me,
And when I kneel to pray,
My heart is filled with peace.

Chorus

I feel my Savior’s love
And know that he will bless me.
I offer him my heart;
My shepherd he will be.

Chorus

I’ll share my Savior’s love
By serving others freely.
In serving I am blessed.
In giving I receive.

Chorus

Words: Ralph Rodgers Jr., K. Newell Dayley, and Laurie Huffman
Music: K. Newell Dayley

Free Download of “I Feel My Savior’s Love” from Bandcamp.

Ep. 16: Song “Over Me” (Influenced by The Beatles)

With this song, I initially had something in mind close to the Beatles song “Across the Universe” when I started recording it.

I planned on putting bongos but I didn’t have one handy and I couldn’t get any of the midi bongo sounds to sound right. So, I started to drift in a little different direction by layering on the harmonies with heavy reverb and adding multiple organ sounds layered. I think the result ended up more along the lines of Panda Bear’s album “Tom Boy” with the repetitive lines and drones.

I’m think it turned out pretty cool. Take a listen.

Lyrics:
Watching the sun rise
Nothing’s quite the same
Shadows fade away
The light dries up the rain
You wonder who you are
You seem to be alright

Tell me now, how is the sky over me
How are the stars over me
How are the birds over me
How are the clouds over me

Everywhere you go
You stop and say hello
Just wanted to belong
A place to call your home
You wonder who you are
You seem to be alright

Tell me now, how is the sky over me
How are the stars over me
How are the birds over me
How is this love over me

Anything you want
Anything you want
Anything you want
Anything you want is yours

Download “Over Me” on Bandcamp.


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Ep. 15: Song “Anonymous” (Influenced by Mazzy Star)

This week’s song is influenced by the atmospheric Mazzy Star song, “Fade Into You,” which is one of my favorite tunes of all time. I could listen to it over and over again and not get sick of it. For those of you not acquainted with this song, it was minor hit in the early 90s and it’s been on a handful of movies and TV shows since then.

I tried to capture the same atmosphere that “Fade Into You” has by having a similar strumming pattern with the acoustic guitar, the same sort of tambourine part, a fair amount of reverb throughout, and a 6/8 time signature. I used the drum set sound on the keyboard for the kick, snare and cymbal.

Lyrics:
Hello to me, to say I know
To want and dream, your need to fall

For you I die, the tears we cry
I know your face all too well

You never know why we came
You never know what to say
I finally found that I was much more than
I can be alone

To speak and sign
Your heart will try
I wanted nothing but the best for you

I am so in love with you
And I don’t think it will ever pass
I want you so bad but I don’t know what to say
Well I can’t be with you

You never know why we came
You never know what to say
I finally found that I was much more than
I can be alone alone alone

In space you hide, the dark your guide
The pain it brings to end with goodbye

Download “Anonymous” on Bandcamp.

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Ep. 14: Song “Lonely Day” (Influenced by Smashing Pumpkins)

Growing up, I was a fan of the Smashing Pumpkins. Their discography (for better or worse) is all over the place stylistically, which I think has kept them interesting over the years. But this week’s song is influenced by the electronica sound of the song “1979“, along with some of dense guitar layers and octave distortion lines on the album Siamese Dream. While I’m talking about the Smashing Pumpkins, they are also somewhat the inspiration behind this whole project. Back in 2009, they started a 44-song concept album called “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope.” They have released songs sporadically (on their website for free) as they were recorded one at a time. I liked the idea of a massive project released one song at a time so I decided to put my own twist on it and try this out.

 

I recorded most of the guitar parts for this song using my trusty Marshall full stack. Killer tones, man! But seriously, although this is a little tiny novelty practice amp, the tones sound surprisingly big, wouldn’t you say?!

The background of this song goes back to around 2001. When I started playing it live with Declaration,  it sounded much slower; more along the lines of Pedro the Lion or Low.

Not having access to a drum set has caused me to use programmed beats a lot more lately, which has steered many of these songs so far in a new (and I hope exciting) direction. I also recorded a tambourine and sleigh bells to add a little more texture to the programed beats.

The song also features several tracks of electric guitar played by an Ebow. In case your wondering what an ebow is, it’s a small box that sends an electric pulse without touching the guitar strings and makes them vibrate in a way that sounds like a cello or other string instruments.

Next, I added a few layers of synthesizer parts to give it an other worldy, video game like feel. Another synthesizer part accents the bass hits. Last nice organ sound smooths out the whole thing and adds some glue to make it all sounds cohesive.

This is one of the most densely recorded songs I’ve ever done but the results are pretty satisfying.

Lyrics:
I am feeling all alone when you’re not there
And I am feeling safe all alone and I’m not scared

And now I’ve gone too far I can’t go back

I am feeling all alone when you’re not there
And I am feeling safe all alone and I’m not scared

And now I’ve gone too far I can’t go back

Must have been a lonely day
I can hardly speak at all
And I see you waiting there

Fade away until I’m gone

Must have been a lonely day
I can hardly see at all
But I see you waiting there

Fade away until I’m gone
Until I’m gone

Download “Lonely Day” on Bandcamp.

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Ep. 13: Song “I Needed More” (Influenced by Lit)

This one is an oldie written back in high school and left unrecorded until now. At one point, I played it with Declaration as a full band with the distortion and full drums kicking in after the second chorus. Keeping it acoustic gives it a little different feel but I think it works.

When I wrote it, I had something in mind of the Lit song “Miserable.”

So, I guess you could call it acoustic/emo/punk? I think it’s a product of it’s time.

Lyrics:
We’re all, we’re all here begging on our knees for you
Silent, silent spaces left for us to wonder

I needed more, my time has come
Again I cry
What can I do, I need someone to tell me why

Falling, falling faster I think I lost my place
Happily, ever after a smile on your face

I needed more, my time has come
Again I cry
What can I do, I need someone to tell me why

I needed more, my time has come
Again I cry
What can I do, I need someone to tell me why

I needed more, I needed more
I needed more, I needed more

Download “I Needed More” on Bandcamp.

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