Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thank you

It's easy to confuse your natural desire and ability to grow with the judgmental words of "I'm not good enough".
If you strip away the negative connotations that your mind creates during these situations and make room for unconditional acceptance of yourself, it will give you the power and freedom to practice self improvement without losing self-love.
This year has been a huge journey and I cannot thank you enough for the love and support for the growth of this project and in turn, my growth as an individual and artist.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Songwriting and Studio Blog - Day Two with Ken Stringfellow in Paris

Thursday 18 September
Having conversations with Ken this morning I’m beginning to realise that I need to be able to function on a random timetable, which I feel I have done my best at, but it has been very exhausting being in different cities, trying to find my feet. I feel mentally, emotionally and physically strained. But I think this is a good test, a good stepping-stone, a building block. You’ve got to start somewhere, I’m just starting at the beginning.
But that’s just right now, this is an industry that is very sporadic and very hard work. Even when it feels like you’re not working in the studio, you really are, because you need to be switched on at all times. 12 hour days are long (what I did with Ken yesterday).
Yes it’s enjoyable, it’s an amazing profession, but it’s still a lot of energy, a lot of work, time, passion.
I do feel drained.
I feel so energised when I hear the music though. It’s all worth it.
All the time and money, effort, sacrifice.
Remember your goal Steph – as an artist, by creating something, you are testing the boundaries of society, growing, helping others grow.
By expressing myself through music I am doing that. My performance ability has improved tremendously as well, I noticed during the gig at Vibe Bar… I was really in the zone, people were listening, people cared and took in the themes of my music.
I can’t believe I’ve done this – I’m almost at the end of my trip and I’ve come so far… I’ve learned so much, about songwriting, myself, letting go.
Ken is currently playing electric guitar with an his Gibson for our solo part. It sounds fucking awesome. A little scary… but I think it’s very “cinematic”! We have a few tempo changes in this track, which emphasise the drama and tension in the track.

While all this recording has been a great experience, there were a lot of times that I felt a lot of it was over my head, in terms of the “production”. But that’s normal, otherwise I may as well just record in my bedroom at home. But because it’s going over my head and I’m a little separated, I feel like I’m not putting in all the effort I could be… or because I’m not “doing everything” it feels like I’m not working hard enough.
Need to keep reminding myself that this isn’t the case, it’s all a building block for my musical path and goal. I will bring away from these experiences so many learnings on how to write, pull songs together, what sounds good… I have something to offer and present to a band for them to play.
It is a brainchild from me as well, but the concepts have been carried out by others. Let go of ego Steph.

Know when you don’t know everything and that sometimes you need to seek advice or hand certain elements over to others for them to do, as that’s their expertise, or they have more experience.

I just sang harmonies and got the parts!!!!! Very proud of myself!!! I’m usually really awful at them…

I can’t believe I’m in Paris working on my music… and after this, we will have finished… after today… I’ve finished what I set out to do.

I just learnt what scrubbing is – erasing the nocal noises, it used to be done with spot eraser on tape.

Songwriting and Studio Blog - Day One with Ken Stringfellow in Paris

Wednesday 17 September
Doing a lot more songwriting work-shopping. Ken is so passionate and so intricately interesting. A real artist.
I just saw a couple having sex out of their window… on the window sill. Very Parisian?
We are working on Cigarettes and Red Wine, building the song up. Wednesday was a good day the way Ken worked on my vocal... he really let me go free and have an open platform. 

I’m glad we did the vocals yesterday (Wednesday as I’m now writing this Thursday), because I’m feeling really run down and exhausted today. This trip has been massive, all the moving around, all the music, the gigs, the emails, all the preparation and high energy consumption.
This song is sounding really cool. Ken is a really interesting character to work with, and I feel really inspired by him.
The life he leads is so crazy -  touring artist, producer, writer.
Talking to him and looking at the last month and a half, it’s definitely the life I want for myself.

Studio Blog - Day Eleven - at Brighton Electric

Friday 12 September
Last day in the studio is dedicated to mixing. I keep thinking that I need to change parts of the vocal, but that’s only because at uni I used to go through and cut each word up and find the best parts… but no wonder those songs never touched people the way that these will. They completely lost the magic. These performances are a “moment in time”, captured, to relate to others I need to be human, not a mash up of digitalized technology.
Spaghetti western guitar…
We’re back at Dan’s, listening to the tracks, drinking wine. I had a real moment in time tonight.
They are done.
Pure happiness.
I went back to the Airbnb and cried. So overwhelmed that I’ve done this. I feel so powerful.

Studio Blog - Day Ten - at Brighton Electric

Thursday 11 September
Second last day in the studio.
I feel like I’m walking with more purpose and power. This experience has really taught me to trust myself, my instincts, what my body needs.
To stay calm amongst the haste, hustle and bustle of every day life.
I’m really nervous to do guitar today, and also to almost be finished recording.
I’ve come to realise that I really do love recording vocals, but guitar I found quite frustrating. Probably firstly because it’s not my main instrument, but in The Dust, maybe it’s a good thing that I was playing with frustration?
This morning I recorded vocals for Hunter and did a REALLY good job. Felt like I was in the zone, didn’t want it to end at all.
I really lapped up and owned those moments.
I was in another world.
I know it has come through in the tracks too.
God I feel good about this now.

I feel like I’m making the most of this experience, but that it has also been fucking hard work. That’s like any job though. I can’t wait to feel the satisfaction of listening to these tracks.


So that’s it, I’ve finished vocals and guitar. It’s all in Dan’s hands now. I’m going to keep a close ear and see if there’s any vocals I think I did better in different takes, but I trust myself, I really, really did a good job of them.

Fuck I’m proud of myself.

What a process…

Studio Blog - Day Seven, Eight and Nine - a blur at Brighton Electric

Monday 8 September
First day back, getting back in the swing of the tracks. Still feel half asleep though.

Tuesday 9 September
Today I felt a little backward, worried unsure. Almost felt like I was doing all the wrong things. I wasn’t feeling centered at all and was a bit overtired.  

Wednesday 10 September
Working with two musicians today who are totally understated. Awesome, and just “are”.
I love the songs.
The sound fucking rad.
I have new found sense of accomplishment and achievement.
I reeeeeeeeeeeaaallllyyyyy want to do more vocals today. I’m feeling so much more into the tracks.
Couldn’t find olive leaf extract today, which was a bummer. All of this is teaching me to have faith in where I am and what I’m doing and my own abilities.

Studio Blog - Day Six - at Brighton Electric

Saturday 23 August
I’ve given up a lot of control with these tracks, which is good, it’s what I wanted to do with the music, get other creatives on board. It’s not all glitz and glamour, there’s a lot of sitting around, listening, I feel like I’ve tried to have my own input though, but feeling very brain fried.  As it’s my first time in this kind of setting, I feel a bit whack, kind of like I should be doing everything, but that’s not why I’m here.
I’m here for a full experience, working with other people to lap up their knowledge and learn from them.
I feel really overwhelmed, because I’m used to having full control.
A While, Hunter, The Dust, Unknown Water.
I feel brain dead – kind of like I’m putting a lot of reliance on Dan and Mike to produce things.
This has been such a long time coming and I’ve built it up so much in my head I just want to make the most of it.
I hope I have. I feel like I’ve tried to and that the music has grown so much. I’m just hoping that I’m growing with it and really learning from these two.
It’s almost like they’re both just so talented that I just keep saying “I like this” I like that”.
I worked hard to get here. I’m working hard on every single thing, it’s hard work breaking the barriers of your songs and letting other people in them.
Lots of long hours in the studio and a lot of the creativity has come from Dan and Mike. My creativity has been there too. With vocals in the second week, that's when I'll shine. 

I think I just built it up in my mind to be all fun and games, kind of forgetting the long studio hours at BPM and the reality of it.

I think comparing these tracks with my original ones will help me learn too.

I think I’m just struggling with handing over a lot of the power, which I’m not used to as a solo musician.

From where I was on day one though, in the kitchen, to now… this has come so far.

I’ve gotta remember that this is how I felt in my marketing job, that I was inadequate. Now look at me, super professional.

Studio Blog - Day Five - at Brighton Electric

Friday 22 August
Today I went into town to pick up a few things and then walked to the studio.
Found a great park and meditated.
Skyped mum, really nice to hear her voice and see her face.
These songs are coming along so well, it feels like a dream. I’m so happy where it’s all ending up… and we haven’t even done vocals or solidified everything!
Very tired and crazy today. Tried recording some guitars and vocals as a guide – I’m getting a lot better at playing to a click track!

Studio Blog - Day Four - at Brighton Electric

Thursday 21 August

Feel a bit sick today – will push through. Have had a whirlwind of a morning, getting lost, running out of credit and internet, my phone almost died and had to borrow the café’s one to call Dan.
I saw a palace, the Banksy kissing cops, the North Lanes, Brighton Pier again and had a beautiful breakfast at the café called ‘Ground’. 
We’re working on structure today and I’m learning so much…
Went out for lunch and still feeling a little squirmish, but better after all the walking!
Things are feeling so productive, a lot of it is in Mike Lord and Dan's hands, but they're smashing it. Feels good to put trust in others, let go of all control. 
Booked flights to Venice in the night WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Studio Blog - Day Three - at Brighton Electric

Wednesday 20 August
We are working very fast which is a whirlwind, but really great experience. I feel separated from the music, which is probably a good thing, working with amazing professionals who are experienced and hard workers.
Working on Unknown Water, love this song really, even though it’s mine. Am I allowed to say that?
I’ve never worked like this, giving so much control to other people, really teaching me to be clear about my musical choices and what I want to sound like. Mike and Dan are capturing it beautifully though.
We are making “Canyon Music” as Dan calls it, like a storm across a canyon.
I want to make music that is powerful and makes a point.
I feel like we’re achieving this.
Mike is working so hard.
I learnt today that Dan says no to some bands, this must mean that I have something to offer. That makes me feel a sense of achievement.
Dan describes Unknown Water as “Unrequited sizzle”… otherwise known as lust.
We’re building like a Laura Marling song, who would have thought after loving her music I’d be emulating elements?
We’re onto The Dust now… Dan describes it as Gypsy Spanish music.
Mike samples through his Komplete Ultimate, we’re achieving some sweet sounds. I can’t believe I’m doing this for myself, I’m so proud of myself. Mike is programming this percussive beat that captures effortlessly the “oomph” of and drive I want for this track.
I don’t think I realized until today how out of place I was feeling, everything seems a lot clearer upon reflection… I’m feeling so much more settled today and really like I belong.

Feeling like I’m growing as an artist from working with these two.

Studio Blog - Day Two - at Brighton Electric

Tuesday 19 August
First up we work on A While. I meet Jimi, James, Tom and some others in the café part. It’s an interactive little area where everyone goes to hang out. I like hanging about out there… it’s nice. Makes me feel like I’m really being myself in this environment. Could bump into someone cool too!
We came into studio and felt like BPM (the studios where my Bachelor degree was based), immediately felt more relaxed.
I slept awfully last night and haven’t really woken up yet or meditated, maybe feeling disheveled today is the best way to be? Stormy..?
Mike Lord has set up his synth and I have my guitar out about to change the strings. Jimi changed them for me, which was lovely of him.
Today we are getting a good scope on the songs and how they will sound. I’m excited and scared and nervous and thus... feel like it’s just a regular day. SO WEIRD!!!! Have too many reactions to feel any.
Also had some emails from home and work this morning so my mind is a few places. A
bout to have a deep breathe and become mindful and in the present moment. 1,2,3 BANG I’M here!!! Does it work like that? I know it doesn’t. Count five things count five things.
Working on A While – introducing electric guitar, which is different but awesome!!!
We start working on Hunter, this song Dan told me he wanted to “wet himself” over.

Both of these guys are so experienced and fluent in the studio, I almost feel a little numb to everything, but need to remember that I wrote these songs and that’s where they’re coming from, so I’m an important element too.

Studio Blog - Day One (prelude – kitchen sessions)

Monday 18 August
We are sitting around the kitchen table. It’s all very human. I can see into the backyard and it’s a beautiful day, stunning really. That is helping with the nerves. Dan asks me to get my guitar out, and I’m super nervous. So nervous I hit it on the case while pulling it out and it made a little dint in the front. We are pulling the songs apart and I’m feeling very vulnerable.
After a while…
I start feeing real success and accomplishment with my song Unknown Water; really feel like I’m connecting with the music and in the right direction.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Human condition

To pry away from the human condition
To oppose what’s known the norm
Finally free
Finally me
Finally happy to not conform

The only life worth living, is that which is lived for others - 'Albert Einstein'. 

Live the life you lust.