Das Blog

Digging two graves 

“Before You Embark On A Journey Of Revenge, Dig Two Graves” — Confucius

I’ve been working on a song called Rivers of Blood this week. I thought I’d finished all the tracks for my Grass Mud Horse album, but maybe not. If I’m left with a choice, and I have songs left over that’s a good thing I suppose. I’ll let you watch a video demo I did of the song to give you a taste…

Rivers of blood is a song I started working on about a year ago when I was in Inner Mongolia for Spring Festival, and I left it on the back burner. I was on a big Dungeons and Dragons kick at the time and I’d been writing some storylines and character arcs and I think that naturally spilled over into a song.

The premise is a tale of retribution and revenge. A kingdom has fallen to its sworn enemy. The invaders are savagely oppressing and murdering the citizens. Before he is captured the conquered King has sent his only son and heir away in secret to a land far across the sea. When the Prince comes of age he returns to his homeland to take it back and free his people at any cost. The invaders limp home with whats left of their tattered army. Many years later the stories and songs passed down by the defeated invaders stir up the old hatred again and the cycle of violence is reborn.

Essentially it’s a story of how violence begets violence; whilst also touching on the dangers of nationalism. I also find it interesting how some cultures keep traditions of hatred and violence alive through their songs, stories and culture. Sometimes these songs and stories can be breathtakingly beautiful but perhaps they also serve a terrible and unfortunate purpose?

Lyrics for Rivers of Blood

As I said earlier the lyrics tell a story, however I tried to leave certain details to the listeners imagination. For instance I don’t mention any countries or names. I leave the time-period somewhat vague (though it obviously isn’t modern); and I also don’t reveal if we’re dealing with history or fantasy. Part of my reason for this is to allow the listener to project their own ideas onto what they’re hearing; but it’s also because the tale itself is something humanity has been doomed to repeat over and over again, across continents, and throughout the ages. Here’s a shot of my lyrics diary…

I wrote these up as finished, but have still been amending.

The first verse sets the scene with a young prince in hiding, telling us all the horrific stories he’s been told whilst in exile from his homeland. The second verse talks of his secret return, to unite his people against their oppressors and restore himself as the king or whatever. I think at this point the listener is firmly on the princes side, so that’s why I change the tone for the third and final verse. At this point things get quite graphic and violent. They’re not just going to kick the invaders out, they’re going to decimate them, women and children included. The second half of the final verse then sort of tells the moral of the tale and wraps the song up.

“Before You Embark On A Journey Of Revenge, Dig Two Graves” — Confucius

….ok so here are the lyrics

Rivers of Blood
By Chris Barry

Verse 1

It’s many a year since I ran away,
Since I left the home, where I longed to stay,
They came uninvited, they raped and they stole,
they burnt down our crops, they burnt down our homes,

Tales are told in the Taverns and Town,
That tell of the evil new ways they have found,
To murder my people for no cause at all,
And by rope hang their bodies from the old castle walls,

Verse 2
I’ve stollen aboard a ship where I hide,
Wet hungry and cold for a half dozen nights,
No longer the boy, that I used to be,
By my sword I’m a man, with a clear destiny,

My father ‘oft told me that this day would come,
When his fallen kingdoms prodigal son,
Would return to bring glory and vanquish the foe,
Whose tight hold on our yoke, I would soon overthrow,

Verse 3
For no quarter I’ll ask and no quarter I’ll give,
No enemy soul, will I suffer to live,
Without mercy we’ll slay with axe, sword and knives,
The invaders will perish with their children and wives,

In the years that follow when their boys become men,
All the stories and songs, stir the hatred again,
And so from their homeland, they set sail once more,
To bring death and dismay to our poor countries shores,

Chorus
Home, Home, I’ll find my way home,
Through rain, sleet and fog, I’ll find my way home,
No more, No more, so let it be known,
Through Rivers of Blood, I’ll take back my home,

Home, Home, I’ll find my way home,
‘cross rivers and bog, I’ll find my way home,
A call, A call, that summons me home,
Through Rivers of Blood, I’ll take back my home,

A lesson learnt in time…

Ok so when I started recording the song for the GMH album I instantly hit a snag whilst trying to program the drums and get the project set up. If you did indeed watch the video above then you will have heard that the song has a kind of mid-paced, driving Irish triple time feel to it. Turns out the song is in 6/8 time. I didn’t have any intentions towards the time sig etc when I wrote it, it just came out with that feel.

Anyway I couldn’t quite figure out what the correct time signature was at first and I really thought it was in 3/4 time…I also had the click track twice as fast as it should be. So essentially the drum program is trying to create a pattern that follows a baseline that’s at about 90 BPM in 6/8 time, but I’m telling my DAW that it’s 180 BPM in 3/4.

If you know music theory, you know that technically it should all still work as 90 is half of 180, and 3/4 is divisible within 6/8. HOWEVER life doesn’t work that way and things are much more complicated with drums and where the downbeats fall etc, so I ended up with something that wasn’t exactly wrong, but didn’t sound at all right either. There is a lesson here and I’m getting to it, so bare with me :).

Essentially I was contemplating just working with what I had, and admitting defeat; but I wasn’t happy and I refused to compromise. So I went back to back square one. I actually deleted the whole session and started over. This time I revisited grade 6 music class and clapped along to my demo to find the time sig, and then I saw what I’d missed.

Something I’ve learned as a musician/songwriter is that of all the battles you face on your road to success (and they are monumental), perhaps the biggest battle is against yourself. The urge to “just compromise” is an ever-present issue to be confronted by songwriters. If your gut says “this is shit”, or “somethings not quite right.” You NEED to pay attention. If you record a vocal take and think to yourself, “that one will do”; do it again! I know it’s annoying to hear this, but you know I’m right.

The song isn’t ready to share unfortunately. It’s got a different feel than even the other folky/Celtic punk stuff with Grass Mud Horse…this one is slower and feels like heavy metal at times, so I’m taking my time to get things right.

I do have a couple other things I can share though that I worked on this week. Firstly I did a drawing as a mock-up for a mascot/logo type thing for Grass Mud Horse…so here’s that….Lliam the Llama…

Lliam the Llama

Also I did a lot more work on my pirate punk shanty No Prey! No Pay! and added some cool sound effects…..boat creaking for intro, cannon shot, and a sword being drawn out…I think the mix is better now, so check it out below!

>>>Listen to No Prey! No Pay! Here<<<

Well that’s it for this blog. I’m hoping next week I’ll have some Christmas jumper photos of GMH to share, and hopefully my Christmas single will be out and available….but I don’t know for sure. It’s kind of last minute to release it for this Christmas, but we probably will anyway cos we got to start somewhere. Also next week I should have a mix of Rivers of Blood ready to share.

Thanks for reading….please subscribe and leave comments etc!

Chris 🙂

Christmas Time in China 

Over the past week some ugly Christmas jumpers (featuring llamas on them) inspired me to write a Christmas Single. Now the reason for inspiration is that my band’s called Grass Mud Horse, which is the literal English translation of the Chinese term for the animal known to us as a llama or an Alpaca.

The llama Jumper in question

In Chinese the llama is named 草泥马 (pronounced Cao Ni Ma.) Now the reason we chose this for our name, is because if you say “Cao Ni Ma” with the wrong tones…you don’t say Alpaca at all, in fact you tell somebody to go fornicate with their mother. 🙂

In addition to this being quite funny, China is of course a land of extreme censorship and to avoid getting in trouble for swearing, young Chinese angrily exclaim “Llama!”, when in fact they mean something else entirely.

And that is why some ugly xmas jumpers with lamas on them inspired a xmas single!

We obviously had to buy these jumpers for some xmas pics and I thought that the pics may as well be in support of a xmas song. Which could in turn act as a really nice lead-up to our debut album.

It’s Christmas!!!!!!!!

I’ve always been a bit fascinated with the idea of a Christmas single. It’s a pretty big deal back in the UK where I’m from, and artists usually battle it out for what the media calls “the Top spot.”….i.e. the Christmas number one (in the UK singles chart). Some of my favourite songs where Christmas singles, such as Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade or Fairy Tale of New York by the Pogues.

I love Christmas and I’ve always wanted to do my own Christmas single. I wrote a Christmas song for my previous band The Strange, but it never got recorded unfortunately. It’s not a bad song though, and I could maybe rework it one day. Heres a demo I did acoustically of that song.

Writing a Christmas single!

My first idea for the song was simple; a Christmas must have Sleigh Bells. Next I decided I would write something about the Christmas experience for a foreigner living in a backwater city of Northern China. The first demo I did of the song was actually a video, so I’ll let you see that before we continue.

I wanted the song to be funny and perhaps touch on a few stereotypes, but I wanted it to avoid anything that could be confused with racism. I also wanted the song to have a little bit of a social conscious and perhaps an underlying message (which I admit it does). The message is perhaps only thinly veiled through sarcasm, but to avoid anymore trouble I won’t elaborate on that any further (figure that out for yourselves). My band plays punk music with a lot of what we do in the Celtic Punk or Paddy Punk genre and I thought this style (much like Fairytale of New York) would be really nice for my Christmas song.

The initial writing process for this song was a little bit strange, because the title (also the hook), and the lyrics (for the most part), all came before any melody or harmony ideas. For me the writing process usually happens in reverse, chord progressions/melody, then the lyrics. Anyway here are my first ideas, and the lyrics for the final version of the song.


Christmas Time in China
By Chris Barry

Verse

It’s Christmas time in China,
no tree to dress and no turkey either,
this year there’ll be no Yule-time log,
just an apple if your lucky and lungs full of smog,

Verse
It’s Christmas time in China,
and while they’re knocking up the latest designer,
all the kids in the fashion production prisons,
Sing songs of joy for Communism,

Bridge
I know it’s not the normal way,
but please could we have boxing day,
to nurse the massive heads in store,
from all the beer the night before,

We only have one day each year,
to spread some joy and Christmas cheer,
lets order Guinness and Whiskey too,
we’ll make this merry if it’s the last thing we do!

For those who don’t know Christmas does exist in China, however it’s mostly just used for advertising purposes. There is a tradition of giving people apples for Christmas here, and that’s why that’s included in the song. I also referenced the famous winter smog in the northeast of China, which is horrific and goes a long way to dampen the Christmas spirit.

I’ll talk a little bit about the arrangement. Firstly when structuring the song I deliberately allowed created space for a riff to be played on mandolin and tin whistle and also an instrumental/solo section in the middle.

During the recording process I decided to restructure the third verse into a broken down verse that builds back up halfway through. The third verse then cuts out right at the end before launching into the final verse with the full band. It was a little difficult to edit the song after having recorded everything one way.

I could have simply re-recorded everything for that verse, (and I did re-record a few instruments), but I viewed this editing task as a challenge and opportunity to improve my production abilities.

The song features drums with a slight swing to them and also bass guitar sitting high and in the centre of the mix. I then feature two different distorted guitar rhythm track, panned quite wide. There are acoustic guitar and mandolin rhythm tracks panned out a little bit opposite each other. I have the lead mandolin, tin whistle, and guitar sitting quite high in the mix each panned slightly. The vocals are double tracked, with some occasional harmonies that are also panned left and right. This is all just my basic mix, the song will now go to a producer who is mixing and mastering the album that the song will be included on (he is fast tracking this track for pre-release).

Well I’m quite happy with the song, and I hope you like it too. If you have any thoughts, questions or ideas please comment! Heres the song so far, you get to hear it before anyone else…maybe you think that’s cool, I hope so anyway!

>>> CLICK HERE TO HEAR CHRISTMAS TIME IN CHINA <<<

Chris 🙂

Pirate Punk Rock! 

I missed posting for a couple weeks on here, so sorry about that. I live in China and unfortunately the government here has been cracking down on VPN use over the last little while and I’ve not been able to access any western websites until now!

So what have I been up to? Well I’ve been working on the last song for the Grass Mud Horse album, it’s titled No Prey No Pay! I started writing this song about six months ago and it lay unfinished. I wasn’t sure if I was going to include on the Grass Mud Horse album or not, but the album needed a final song and after going through my lyric books and ideas, I found stuff for this song and decided I would give it a go.

To whet your whistle, I’m going to let you hear the very first demo version of No Prey No Pay and at the end of this post I will include the latest pre-master version that after mixing and mastering will go on the album.

>>> CLICK HERE TO HEAR NO PREY NO PAY DEMO <<<

No Prey No Pay!

The premise behind the song was basically a Celtic Punk song, sung by a Pirate Captain. I did a bunch of research into old pirate/Naval slang and language to find some inspiration and some ideas for my lyrics.

I wanted the song to feature Tin Whistle, so I came up with some chord progression in the key of C (I have whistles in C, D, & G). I had this really simple driving chord progression D5, Bb5, C5 and it was over that that came up with a fast melody that was reminiscent of a Sailors Hornpipe or something, so I thought it was perfect as the main riff to base the song around. The melody is supported on Mandolin and I gave the mandolin a solo, which I’m quite proud of. Heres a video of me trying to write the Whistle part (finding when to breath was a challenge) and writing the mandolin solo for it as well.

The lyrics where a little bit difficult as I had basically created a character in my mind (a Pirate Captain), and so I was writing for him not myself which is something I think I’ve only really done on this album (The hill I chose to die on is also from a characters point of view). Once I got into character I found the process quite enjoyable and I even got into character to sing the final version of the song as well as you saw in the video above.

I used some of the ideas I got from my research, but a lot of it just came from my head depending on what rhymed or flowed right. Anyway here are the lyrics.

No Prey No Pay!
by Chris Barry


Bridge
We’re setting sail once more to raid,
the Spanish Kings own gold,
We’ll hunt his scurvy rotten ships,
and plunder all they hold,
We’re setting course, with no remorse,
We’re as rotten as we’re damned,
We’ll spill their guts, just ‘cos we must,
it’s to fortune, or be hanged!

Chorus
No Prey No Pay! – Our code our way!
No Prey No Pay! – We fight, we slay!
No Prey No Pay! – To the devil we say!
The order of the day – No Prey No Pay!

Verse 1
Prepare to come about,
a shot across the bow,
the chance to end this now,
strike your colours be a coward!
If you stand your ground, you’ll be shark bait when you drown!

Verse 2
Throw the boardin’ hooks,
Draw your cutlass, swig a dram,
prepare to board her men!
Smell their fear, drink it in!
Lads we’ll soon be rich, while this lot will soon be dead!

Verse 3
Crack of muskets, dyin’ screams,
clash of steel strikin’ bones,
The sweetest sounds I know,
blood streams into the sea,
another battle’s won and the day is ours again!

I think it’s a really fun song, hopefully it has some potential for any TV shows or movies about Pirates, that’d be really cool! I love this song a lot and I hope you do too! Here’s the premaster of the final version for you to enjoy. Thanks for Reading! Chris
>>> CLICK HERE TO HEAR NO PREY NO PAY <<<

Finish Line in sight! 

So this past week I’ve mostly been working on this folk/punk song The Hill I chose to Die on, which as you may remember I wrote the week before and shared a very rough demo with you. I made the decision to gift this song to my punk project, Grass Mud Horse and I’m glad I did. It works very well as a Celtic Punk song and I was able to break out me Tin whistle and Mandolin again.

As an aside I’d like to mention that with the inclusion of this song on the GMH album, it means that I only have one or two more songs to add and the album will be complete…in fact this week I began uploading session files for the guy whose going to mix and master the project, so that is very very exciting.

Grass Mud Horse (I’m holding the guitar)

This album and the band Grass Mud Horse itself is something I didn’t expect to be working on. but here I am a year later wrapping up an album. The whole thing grew out of a weekly meet up with a small group of like minded foreigners here in China, where we’d get drunk and come up with funny song ideas, mostly Hip-Hop and Punk….I made some demos out of the ideas….we decided to start a band because the demos were actually pretty good and Grass Mud Horse was born.

Certain things happened that we never expected. For instance I didn’t expect to be arrested, detained, and interrogated because I was in a Punk band and who I associated with etc and maybe one day I’ll discuss that stuff further…but that for now…that’s all folks!

Grass Mud Horse did a photo shoot and decided to keep collaborating to finish the album, but our plans to tour the album where scuppered which is sad as our demos had prompted a couple labels to make enquiries. None the less the album is almost upon us and I’m really proud of it, as I’ve written almost all of it and recorded all the instruments as well.

Ok so back to The Hill I chose to die On. My initial demo features me and an acoustic guitar and the final album version is still heavily based around exactly that, with a few additions (Tin Whistle, Electric guitar, drums, bass, mandolin).

The song is very simple, its basically G, C, D and switches to an Em, C, D thing for the bridge…so it makes nice use of the relative keys of G and Em. It has a slight swing to it and is moderately tempo’d, making use of the Irish triple time feel with some of the instruments. I intended from the beginning to feature the Tin whistle playing a riff and a supporting harmony during the bridge and that’s exactly what I did. So without further delay, please enjoy The Hill I Chose to Die On.

>>>CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SONG<<<

CO-Writing a Pop Punk Song

I’ve always just wrapped up a demo for a pop-punk-rock tune I’ve been writing with a fellow song-writing student a year below me. The Song currently has two names, Making Other plans and Life Happens…we’ve yet to decide finally on this.

We arrived at the premise for the song, during a brain-storming session where we discussed the idea of time flashing by and the feeling that it’s running out and as you get older you wonder if you’ll have enough of it to see and do everything you want to. From this the John Lennon quote, life is what happens, when you’re making other plans came up…and we decided to write something around that.

We wrote the lyrics together. Alexandra did the first draft then I re-wrote and tweaked them, she then offered some good input such as simplifying them…which would prove quite apt later when I was setting them to the music. Next Alexandra told me she felt the song should be pop-rock, I wasn’t leaning in that direction at all…but I decided to go with it and see what happens. I’m the musician and have recording equipment so it fell on me to write the instrumental and record the demo, which I have done.

I’ve written the song in the key of D, its a pretty standard pop-punk, pop rock song. I’ll be honest I’m not 100% on my vocal take, it doesn’t quite capture the top-line I hear in my head…and I’m not sure if I just couldn’t quite nail it, or if it’s not suited for my voice or something else. Anyway, the arrangement is fairly simple with a couple quirks thrown in. During the bridge I swapped out the bass guitar for a synth bass and made it sound a bit disco like, I also added a xylophone part over the following broken down verse. The song ends with the chorus doubled and the drums go full punk at one point, cos I thought that was cool sounding. Ok so here is that song

>>> CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SONG <<<<

That’s basically it for this week. I wanted to work on my other song for GMH She likes it Rough, but I didn’t have a chance. My intentions for this week are to do the tweaking on she like’s it rough, maybe do another attempt at the topline for the co-write song as well. I also want to take a stab at doing a better recording of a song I wrote last year called the Youth as I think it’s really strong and something I’d maybe like to start a solo folk EP with. I also have one of the final GMH songs I need to work on called Beijing Bikini…so could be a busy week.

A folked up week… 

So carrying on from my last post I thought I’d post a little bit more background on the song She likes it rough. As I said I’ve been learning piano and I chose to study the rock n roll style to teach myself to use both hands and also to be able to change chords quickly and smoothly.

This song is basically rock n roll style following the 12 bar blues, to write the piano part I learnt a few different left hand patterns and I then used what I’d learnt to play some famous songs from the genre. I chose not to learn the songs properly, so that I would have to adapt what I’d learnt in order to play them and I thought this would help me writing my own ideas for She likes it rough.

The songs I studied where Roll over Beethoven and Great Balls of Fire. The former is in D and because of that has some tricky chords. I’d mainly been practising in the key of C which is very easy, as the chords don’t have any incidentals (black keys)….however in the key of D the D chord uses an F# and then there’s a C# in the A chord, which is played during a quick transition from G7 and then back again (so quite tricky at first).

Great Balls of fire has a flurry of chords in its opening ,which I’m still working on, but the rest of the song is relatively easy and features some really fun slides and other ideas during the solo. I chose to play around with changing the left hand rhythm part during the bridge, I think I’m actually doing the reverse of what Jerry Lee Lewis plays on the original…but as I said it’s my own interpretation.

For your viewing pleasure here is a snippet of a video of a guitar player attempting Great Balls of Fire on piano (badly).

My song-writing teacher has made some suggestions for my delivery of this song, and I found them interesting so I will be attempting to make a few changes of the next week and hopefully in my next blog I will have an updated recording to share.

The Hill I chose to die on

Ok so I’ve been enduring a bit of writers block lately, however this came to end with a post I saw on facebook. I think our society is going through a monumental change at the moment, at times it’s very inspiring, sometimes scary, and sometimes sad. I feel like somebody is trying very hard to divide society into as many opposing camps as possible, and I don’t like it. I won’t get into the politics of all this on here, but my newest song is influenced by one of the divides I’ve seen.

There is this horrible polarization of different generations. Some people want to blame all of our current strife on the needy entitled “Millennials”, who in turn blame the environmental disaster and economic down-turn on the so-called myopic and greedy “Boomer” generation. In one of these arguments between generations, somebody asked a “boomer” why so many of his ilk chose the issues in discussion (I don’t remember what it was, except that it was something trivial) as the particular hill they choose to die on.

Well the phrase jumped out at me and I started scribbling down a lot of lyrics….Here is a photo of my lyric journal…

I originally started writing the song as a kind of slow balad thing….was a bit Elton John sounding. I didn’t really enjoy the direction so I decided to try it on Acoustic guitar. I switched the keys and chords and it became a much more upbeat Celtic/Folk/Punk number. The lyrics still need a bit of work but here they are in an easier format for reading…

The Hill I chose to Die on
By Chris Barry


Verse 1
So this is the hill I chose to die on,
This is where you’ll find my grave,
I was a man who folks could rely on,
Quiet, reserved, with not much to say,

Verse 2
Built a world that gave you freedom,
Fought the battles, and won the war,
Did all that, so you wouldn’t have to,
So who the fuck are you to ask us for more?

Bridge
The world was changing so fast without me,
people seem much colder than before,
Everyday I hear young people shouting,
But I don’t know what they’re so angry for,

Chorus
So this is the hill I chose to die on,
Where I made my final stand,
This is where I put my foot down,
Where I drew my line in the sand,

I started writing this song as an almost angry response to the older generation. I was born in 1982, so I’m in a weird cusp between generations. I don’t identify with those who came before me, but I don’t identify with Millennials either. Internet and cellphones didn’t exist for me until my teenage years, I played outside after school every day and my parents didn’t worry. None the less I do feel angry that past generations have seemingly left the world worse than how they found it.

So as I said the song began a bit angry, but after some writing and thinking I started to feel sympathy for my fictional “boomer.” The world is changing at a much quicker pace than it ever has before and that must be quite scary to somebody who feels out of touch and increasingly insignificant. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this battle between generations may be extremely pronounced presently, but it’s nothing new. This is a battle that has always raged, and will always rage. If you want to start getting really deep, you might even argue that we’re actually just fighting who we’re embarrassed to have been, and who we’re frightened we will become. Well anyway here is a very rough demo I recorded very soon after having written it…

>>>CLICK HERE FOR THE SONG<<<

That’s it for this blog, I have another song in the works with a cowriting partner, so I will possibly post a second blog later this week detailing whats up with that.

Thanks
Chris

A whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on 

I don’t currently have a lot going on song-writing wise. I have been trying to put the finishing touches on the Grass Mud Horse album (my punk band), so my writing has been focussed on the last couple songs I need to compose for that. This past couple weeks I’ve been working on a song called She Likes it Rough for this album. Heres where thats at so far…

http://chrisbarrymusic.com/track/1832344/she-likes-it-rough
She Likes it Rough – written by Chris Barry

The story behind the song…

For midi recording purposes I have a small midi keyboard and I’m not bad composing little melodies and bass lines with my right hand…but up until recently my left hand piano skills where none existent. I’d mentioned this to my wife and in her infinite wisdom she bought me a full sized keyboard for our anniversary and I set about learning to play with both hands.

I’ve always loved early Rock n Roll and blues music. I find the Rock n Roll piano of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard to be awe-inspiring, and I thought it’d be really cool to learn to play this style…

I also figured it would help me get the hands-together stuff and chord shapes down really fast. So I started watching some how to videos and began coming up with some of my own ideas. I pretty quickly decided it would be really cool to write a rock n roll punk song for the Grass Mud Horse album I was working on, so I started work on She likes it rough.

The Lyrics

My idea for the song came from an old relationship. I had a very explosive romance many years ago with a girl who lets just say…knew EXACTLY what she wanted. I’d never had an experience like this before and it was strange to take a back seat and also a little bit scary. I personally think it’s quite funny in retrospect and I thought it was exactly the kind of thing Jerry Lee would’ve written about. I gave the lyrics a bit of a tongue in cheek vibe, the song never out-right says anything, but it suggests an awful lot….

She Likes it Rough
By Chris Barry

Chorus
It felt wrong,
It felt right,
and then I couldn’t sleep that night,
She said I hope you’re man enough,
‘cos I like it rough,

Verse 1
I never questioned why she had handcuffs in her underwear drawer,
I thought she really must love ping-pong,
with all these paddles on the back of the door,
Everthin’ was goin normal,
Although a bit too formal for me,
I nearly told her she could kiss this,
When she said to call her Mistress…Please!,

Verse 2
Everyday I wake up brusied and I feel a little used you see?
Thought I’d be hangin’ out some beddin’,
Cos she suggested tryin’ peggin’ to me,
Although I kinda like it,
It’s still a little frightenin’ and odd,
And I wouldn’t see the Dr so much if she just spared the rod!

Outro Tag
I hope I’m man enough,
Cos I like it,
I hope I’m man enough,
Cos she likes it,

The Recording

Well I’ve stuck close to the format I’ve been using for almost all the songs on the GMH album. Basically theres a double tracked distorted guitar panned out quite wide. Drums and bass are in the middle with the vocals and lead guitar. The challenge with this track is that I’ve included the piano part all the way through, and so I’ve been battling to find the right room for that as it seems to either fight with the vocals or the guitars depending where in the mix I place it.

I’m not completely happy with the vocal takes and will attempt to try some new runs. I’d also like to say this is the first track I’ve used my new RODE NT1A condenser microphone on and I need to play about with that more as it is much quieter than my other microphone (yes it’s famous for that).

I love my guitar solo for this track. I typically just wank over the track until something comes together, but this solo I pieced together quite deliberately as I wanted to some quirky rock n roll/country style licks in there and I’ve got that.

well…what’s next?

The title of the GMH album is tentatively Beijing Bikini and I’ve got a ska-punk track in the works based on that idea….a title track for the album I guess. I think after that song is finished I will write just one or two more and then the album will be ready for final mix and master.

I’ve also volunteered to help a student at the university whose a year behind me, but has nobody else to co-write with….so hopefully some good stuff will come out of that.

I’m also still working on a hip-hop track that’s been over a year in the making…it features myself and the P.O.E. from Canada…a very good rapper from Texas is taking a month of Sundays to get his verses together…so hopefully that will be done soon.

Well that’s me, I’ll try to keep this up each week….if you have questions for me or think I should do this differently somehow, please let me know!

Chris

My First Blog Post 

…in the beginning

Hello to you, 

If you’re reading this then you’re most likely a friend or member of my family who has been press-ganged into doing so, so thank you for your time and patience! If you’re somebody who found this post in a different way then I would like to say welcome and thank you for taking the time to come here. 

What is this thing? 

Well I’m in my last year of University studying a degree in Creative Song-writing and part of my course-work is to write a weekly blog that deals with my song-writing process.  Essentially that is what this space is intended to be. 

The Blog itself…

The truth is that I don’t know very much about blogging, so I will be learning and developing as I go. The type of things I intend to include in this blog will be short insights into my moments of inspiration, i.e. what happened that sparked inspiration, or exercises I did to develop new musical content/ideas etc. 

I will try to talk about my process when it comes to song-writing and how it differs between genres/styles and how the process itself continues to evolve as I develop as a writer. 

I intend to include some videos and sound files so you can visualise and hear the progress. I think it would be cool to document a song through video and/or MP3 from the initial idea to the final recorded demo, so maybe that’s something I’ll do. 

Something else I will include is my lyrics and their development. I think lyrics are quite difficult for most people, so maybe I can show how I go about it.  For me personally the music is rarely a problem, i can sit at a piano or pick up a guitar and write a song instantly (whether it’s good or bad is a different matter), however writing the lyrics for that song is not something that typically comes so instantly. 

Another thing I might be able to do here is a podcast, as I see thats an option in this program. 

Ok, so this is just my introduction and first post to test things out. I hope you find this all very interesting and check back often. Please comment on my posts and let me know what you think of my blog, my songs, my ideas, etc. Your thoughts and suggestions are very welcome. Also if you have any questions or things you’d like me to chat about, please ask me in the comments. 

Thanks 

Chris!

From Penny Lane to the Great Wall! 

Hi there! I’m Chris Barry. I’m an award winning singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, originally from Liverpool England, who now lives in China with my wife, daughter and dog.

As a baby I lived on the world famous Penny Lane in Liverpool. As a teenager I moved to Canada where I discovered punk and heavy metal music. For a decade I wrote recorded, and toured with The Strange, we put out one album in 2010 which won best indie-rock at the Toronto Independent music awards. We played all over Canada and the UK, including such amazing venues as the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, and the Cavern club in Liverpool. After the Strange I moved to China where I learnt to speak Mandarin very well and met my wife Melissa. I currently play in a punk band here called Grass Mud Horse as well as writing and recording my solo work.

At this time I’m writing and recording Grass Mud Horse’s debut album and studying for a songwriting degree from Falmouth University online. Please check out the songs and videos I upload here regularly. Thanks so much

Chris Barry