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.
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.
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
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.