Todd Gehman in Seattle is doing 40 things including…

Participate in NaSoAlMo 2007

6 cheers

 

Todd Gehman has written 6 entries about this goal

worth doing again

The third time might not have been the charm, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. It’s done!



home stretch

I thought the five-day weekend was going to be magical. I’d write a whole slew of new songs, they’d be brilliant, I’d scrap everything I’d done so far and emerge with the best songs I’d ever done. Then I realized that that was the wrong attitude to take during NaSoAlMo. Last year the pressure on myself to make good songs, which is not really possible for me at this pace, messed with my head. And I realized I didn’t want to let that happen this year. So by Friday I’d decided to throw in the towel on songwriting, and just concentrate on making the existing stuff sound as good as possible. I rested, I socialized, I mixed a little, I relaxed. As is standard during the final days of the challenge, I am consumed with embarrassment about the songs. But I’m keeping my spirits up. Yesterday I reasoned that there are two possibilities, both positive. The first is that I don’t let anyone else hear the album, and therefore I have nothing to be embarrassed about. The second possibility is that I stay in such a good mood that I won’t let the embarrassment get to me, so I put the songs online. Even if I’m not in the latter state, as the steward of the competition, I want to release the songs purely out of principle. So I probably will. I scrapped A Minor Chord, Love Story, and NaNoWriMo Fight Song, leaving the current playlist at eighteen songs, just about 29:30:

Number One Rock Song
Sixteen Minutes
Fast Food Blues
B.C. Runner
Enunciation Breakdown
Brain Eats Heart
Cousin (formerly Riverboat Gambler)
Having Hadn’t Had
Rhyme with Orange
Fifty Ways (Paul Simon cover)
I Won’t Crack
What the Devil
Taking It On
Out of Ideas
Twenty-Third Day
Down to the Wire
November is Over
Next Halloween



missing my stride

Must-see rock shows, must-attend birthday parties, and must-catch-up friends from out of town kept me pretty distracted from the album this weekend. It’s funny to be in such an obsessive state that I consider it a lost weekend even though I probably put a good fifteen hours or so into tracking and mixing. I did lots of rewrites, tracked a few solos, finished a rough draft of “Having Hadn’t Had” and wrote “Love Story”, but the latter might be too cheeseball, even for me, even with a punchline. If I keep it, I think I’m at about 24 minutes now. With a four-day weekend coming up and the option of doing a cover, I’m still feeling pretty comfortably ahead of pace. I also found a little vintage (ungrounded) Fender Vibro-Champ at Trading Musician and the periodic electrocutions it delivers while recording have been very exciting.

Number One Rock Song
Sixteen Minutes
Having Hadn’t Had
Fast Food Blues
NaNoWriMo Fight Song
Love Story
B.C. Runner
Enunciation Breakdown
Brain Eats Heart
A Minor Chord
Cousin
What the Devil
Twenty-Third Day
Next Halloween



getting the hang of it

Strange weekend of NaSoAlMo obsession. On both Friday and Saturday I had that “oh, it really was all downhill from last weekend” feeling. I made rough drafts of a few songs, wrote lots of lyrics, did lots of tracking on existing ideas, but didn’t have the energizing experience of a song bursting out from nothing to near completion within a few hours. By Sunday I had low expectations but my mojo seemed to have returned, and when you sum up the overall progress I’m at 12 songs, about 22 or 23 minutes of album. With 18 days left to finish 7 or 8 more minutes (which can include a cover), that’s nothing to shake a stick at. Although, if you heard these songs, stick-shaking might be a natural reaction…

My plan is to finish all writing and basic tracking by the end of next weekend, leaving the last ten days for retakes, adding solos and accents, mixing, and mastering. Or, if I’m really lucky, writing better songs so I can scrap a few of these:

Number One Rock Song
Sixteen Minutes
Fast Food Blues
NaNoWriMo Fight Song
Canadian Runner
Enunciation Breakdown
Brain Eats Heart
A Minor Chord
Riverboat Gambler
What the Devil
Twenty-Third Day
Next Halloween



three days of recording

Had a pretty productive first weekend and I’m having a blast so far. I’m a little bummed that GarageBand’s new song arrangement feature (supposedly letting you reorder songs structurally) is so buggy that the simplest action (copying and pasting a verse, for instance) badly breaks the tracks. Oh well, there is at least Undo. The positive surprise has been finding out that even rudimentary drumming can help the songs and the songwriting process. I expected to cringe when I started recording my drumming but so far I’ve been head bopping instead.

My approach this year is to attempt as many short songs as possible, hopefully averaging about one per day but knowing that many of them will fail to meet even NaSoAlMo standards. So far I’ve toyed with six or seven ideas, five of which I fleshed out into nearly complete songs, four of which I’m expecting to keep. Four keepers by November 4th has me thinking it might be all downhill from here. But I’m fired up anyway. The tunes add up to about 11:30, but after cleaning up intros and outros I’m guessing it’s really 9 or 10 minutes. Still not bad for the first week.

Titles subject to change, so far I’ve got Number One Rock Song, Enunciation Breakdown, Brain Eats Heart, and Next Halloween.

Theme for this year is “Meta Songs”. I’m writing songs about NaSoAlMo itself so I can be earnest without being earnest.



chomping at the bit

Website updated. Drums tuned. Guitar strings changed. GarageBand upgraded. Theme decided upon. Now there’s just the infinite wait until the starting gun fires Thursday.



Todd Gehman has gotten 6 cheers on this goal.

 

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