A One-Man-Band's DIY Production Journal.

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“Her Name Here” Video!

Here it is! World premiere of my latest music video!

From the new album King Friday, here’s “Her Name Here”

Filmed with a Sony bloggie HD pocket camcorder, at Studio923 in Manhattan.

Originally, the video was supposed to open with a 1960’s talk show host introducing the band known as “Richy and the 923’s” and I was going to play the part of the host, but I didn’t want to overkill the fact I was doing multiple roles. (also I ran out of disguises).

So instead of getting too crazy with the cuts, angles and edits, I wanted to keep it simple. I figured I should get a little stylistic with some good coloring and film grain filters instead.

And through my “band” I get to present my geeky/creative side which is the singer, along with the mild/chilled side with the bassist and my goofy/hyper side with the drummer.

Video Shoots

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been preparing to shoot two music videos for the King Friday album, “Her Name Here” and “It’s Not Karma If It Doesn’t Hurt”.

I’ve gotten a hold of a new HD pocket camera, some tripods/monopods/misc camera mounts (to get some pretty cool high angle shots), FINALLY some lighting equipment, as well as a couple of camera-happy friends who are willing to help me out.

“Her Name Here” is gonna take a classic 50-60’s ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ kind of approach, while “It’s Not Karma…” will have more of a conventional style with a narrative intercutting with the “band” performing.

Now… the past few music videos I’ve done, it’s always been: fast cuts of different angles of me in different outfits, playing the different instruments to kinda create the feel that it’s a full band. I’ve always thought getting a ‘mock band’ together might be a good idea (with actors playing the other members) but then I feel like I should promote the fact that I am a one man band. So I’ll be doing the same for these music
videos.

Video production starts after the weekend.

And on the music production side of things, I kinda put my “Fast Food” mini-album-made-on-an-iPad side project on the back-burner to focus on writing my 3rd official record. But with the new GarageBand app coming soon for iPad, I will definitely be going back to that side project.

Heavy Steady

Sunday afternoon, I started work on a new track for the Destiny album called “Taking Over”.

It’s going to be one of the heavier, hardcore songs of the entire record. So far, I’ve layered 3 guitars, some heavy bass playing, strong, crunchy drums and I plan to add a strings section in the last half to make it more of an epic piece.

I have yet to record the vocals, mainly because there’s some rearranging I have to do with the lyrics to fit the structure of the song. Also, I definitely have to record it somewhere other than my apartment… there’s gonna be some screaming involved.

For those familiar with my music and the past few albums before face:the.music, there’s gonna be a special treat in there as well.

First Live Performance

So last night, I performed my first solo gig. Some thought I was on fire, others (including myself) might’ve thought I crashed and burned, but overall, I was glad I got behind the wheel. Small deal for some, big deal for me. Here’s my rundown of last night.

Before I got to the gig, I decided to do away with playing acoustic and instead just play along to a fake band on CD. I rendered “stage versions” of the two songs I planned to perform: Rush and Running With Roses. I took the original tracks and just cut the volume of the guitar/main vocals by 40% and kept the harmonies. Tuned my guitar to the instrumental, practiced along with it about 5 times and it sounded great. The 3 hours later at the venue, it’s 5 minutes to showtime and all hell breaks loose. Some performers were no shows, so I was asked to play two more songs.

The last guy just finished singing and rapping. Then the host brings this short, baby-faced Asian kid to the stage, armed with a guitar plugged in to his iPhone (using an app that turns it into a amp) and an iPad with lyrics. Might I mention, I’m about 3 beers and a couple of stoges in …just to calm my nerves on an empty stomach. This would be my first time singing to a crowd. Ever. I figure I’d start off with a disclaimer, something like, “I know this is hip-hop night, but I was asked to bring something different tonight.” That got some cheers. Then I nod to the DJ to kick off the first song.

1) “Insomnia In Song”
This was one of the songs that was added last minute …and I played it first. I figure I’d start off with a slow jam to keep with the vibe. Probably not the best way to start off, due to lack of rehearsal and prep time. Since I didnt have a “stage version” of the song ready, I just played along to the original version from the CD. Kinda wack. The guitar was out of tune with the song, I missed some chords, forgot some lyrics, dropped my pick… It was a real shitshow. But whatever, the show must go on, right? I promised the crowd that the next one wouldn’t suck.

2) “Running With Roses”
Okay, this is it. I rehearsed this one. Again and again. Song starts. For the most part, all goes well. The guitar tuning was a little better than last song, I didn’t drop the pick, missed a few unnoticed chords and the lyrics were on point, save for some minor pitchy-ness.

3) “Rush”
Even though they wanted me to do 4 songs, they wanted to split up my act into two. I was ready to walk off stage, but then I hear the opening cymbals of Rush. I look at the DJ confused, and he tells me to keep going. I start the song… then half way through the chorus, the DJ cuts the track to a slow spin-out. I thought he was either remixing it or telling me I suck. I see the host and the DJ give me the “kill it” hand motion. Apparently I exceeded my 6 minute spot. I say thanks to the crowd and I walk off stage. I guess 2.5 out of 4 ain’t bad.

Overall… I crashed and burned. But I enjoyed myself doing it, in an afterschool-special-learned-my-lesson kind of way. I contemplated if I should continue with the second set (Rush and Payday). I was already a little embarrassed and felt out of my league… but I hate running away from challenges. Ultimately, I asked to scrap my second spot on stage, since I would’ve had to wait another 45 mins… and I was already starving. I thanked the host, packed up and my friends and I went to eat at the Filipino bar up the block… where they had another Open Mic. It was a smaller, laid back atmosphere, so I figured I would jump on the mic with the acoustic guitar they provided and repeat my setlist to redeem myself. It felt good… and I had some Bistek and a Red Horse too.

Videos coming soon.

Karma?

Through the magic of Facebook, an old highschool classmate offered me a spot on a monthly Open Mic that goes on in East Village.

It’s at Karma lounge on 1st Ave and 4th St. I’ll be performing 2 or 3 of my rock songs (either backed by a bass/drum instrumental or just acoustic).

-Rush
-Running With Roses
-Payday

(If I suck, i should end it with “It’s Not Karma If It Doesn’t Hurt” …lol. Because it’ll hurt, and it’s at a lounge called Karma.)

It’s mainly a hip-hop open mic, but they feature poets and guitarists as well. It’s also my first performance. Ever. Wish me broken legs.

karmanyc.com Tonight @7pm.

Destiny 2011

I’m currently developing my next full length album, titled “Destiny”.


Here’s the album cover. I like to start backwards with the artwork developed first. Having a visual to work towards keeps me more productive. Aiming for late spring 2011.

Story-wise, it continues from “King Friday” and will serve as a bookend to 2008’s “face:the.music” like the third chapter in a trilogy.

Production and composition-wise, I’ll of course have to push my limits further. More lead guitar, more range in vocals and harmonies, more groovy bass lines… And style-wise, although I do want to go back to more pop-punk styles to reflect “face:the.music”, I plan to incorporate some 60’s garage and funk as well as some epic-sounding prog rock.

I’m hoping to create a more dynamic masterpiece this time around. Not to say it’s going to be a darker album overall, but some songs will get pretty deep while others will maintain that pop-punk edge. I’m hoping everything I’ve learned along the way, musically, thematically, lyrically and at the production level, will converge in this new project.

And the reason I’m doing this so soon after the release of King Friday is a little bit of a personal experiment of my own. I don’t really like to discuss song meanings and get all artsy-fartsy on this blog, but I’ll say this much; I guess it’s no secret that the past couple of albums are a loose interpretation of my past few of years. For all writers, it’s always “write what you know”. This time I want to have a little bit of “write what will be” and see if we have the power to write our own… destiny. Ooooohh!!!

In the meantime, help me with some funding and buy King Friday from iTunes 🙂
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/king-friday/id404106516

Richy2011

Along side my “Fast Food” recording experiment, I’ve decided to keep the creative juices flowing and start putting together songs for the 3rd official Richy923 record.

Here’s a new song “At The Bridge”, which might appear on the album…