Guitar

Commitment by Nick Bullock

Commitment: The scary thing about committing is that you are officially on the hook. The scary thing about being on the hook is that you might be taken to task for not seeing it through. And if you fail, not only do you let others down, but you let yourself down, and that doesn't feel good.

But commitment is also confidence, it's a way of publicly stating your intentions. It's a powerful statement that "yes, I can" is in action. And the funny thing is, even when you trip up and make mistakes, people usually respect those who have whole heartedly committed themselves to something (an ideal, a job, a process etc), and rather than hanging you out to dry, they tend to give you a second chance. The question then is how do we want to perceive ourselves (therefore have others perceive us)? Whether we commit a "take to tape" at a recording session or commit to a relationship, I think the answer is obvious.

commitment

 

this week in 52 in 52:

The Hand That Pushed:

to stream, go to: https://soundcloud.com/nickbullock/the-hand-that-pushed

Patience, Wisdom, Courage and Strength by Nick Bullock

Cartoon girl:guitar Strength (from Webster's Dictionary): the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way

Strength is easy, it's really about taking action. Do it. Whatever that is. That is having strength. It has nothing to do with size, and everything to do with intent. To dare to dream is great, but it's in the first step, and the second step that strength is shown. So write your song, book a show, show your face... it takes strength to make those first steps (as well as every step there after)

Courage (again, Webster says): the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous

Yup, strength's big brother. Before the step can be taken, you need to come to a realization that you are not doing what you were put here in this planet to do. This might be one of the hardest things to admit to yourself... "yeah, I don't love my job, but it does have great benefits" etc. I'm not shitting on anyones desires to lift themselves out of poverty, or anyones goals to make more money, but money is just energy, and so is courage. It builds until one day you say "f the benefits, i'm miserable". Whether your happiest when writing a book, or poem, or acting, or singing songs or whatever, courage is recognizing that steps (strength) that need to be taken, and admitting your truth. And doing it everyday if need be.

photo-7

Wisdom (Webster's Dictionary): knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life

That's the thing... experiences... you don't know you love acting until you have the unique experience that comes with it. The first time I saw a guitar player doing his thing, I thought it was really cool. And, as a small child at the time, I remember thinking I wonder how you do that... Where are those sounds coming from? Fast foreword about ten years and I have the experience of picking up the guitar for the first time, and the wonder and frustration that comes with learning a new instrument. Fast foreword another ten years and I have the experience of going to school to study the instrument, and playing my first professional gigs with it. Maybe, beginning to build a little bit of wisdom on how to use the guitar properly, for me. Another ten years, and I have all the experience and wisdom that I have now (and i'm still working on it!). You can't fake passion, passion doesn't start with knowledge, but it can go hand in hand with wisdom. Without all my experiences, I wouldn't have cultivated whatever knowledge I do have in my early thirties about playing guitar, being a professional musician and making music. Without that wisdom, I wouldn't understand my passion nearly as well as I do, and I wouldn't be able to do what I do... Without the experiences and wisdom gathered, I would be lost. Even with courage and strength.

Patience:

More often than not, this is the one that I struggle with the most. But in all honesty, it might be the most important. When you're playing a solo live, improvising your way through with your band mates and friends, patience can be what makes or breaks the experience. When you're in the studio, searching for the right tone and part, patience is the saving grace, other wise you settle for less than what your creativity is demanding of you. When you're writing a song, patience is being able to take a deep breath, and stay present and with it until you've figured out the next line in the story you're telling. It's also knowing a good song when you have one, and not becoming negative about it when the first person you show it to/play it for doesn't loose his or her shit and have a come to Jesus moment like you think everyone one should. And patience is being able to smile and relax when you are meeting someone who wants to help you along your path to success. In this case, it's the comfortable pair of jeans that never looses its popularity, because patience tells you that you are worthy of success, and it doesn't really matter if the person you are meeting with right now actually comes through or not.  patience is being in it for the long haul... the long game.

Queen Cartton

*clearly none of this artwork is mine

Touring: Experimental Existentialism and Shut Up and Play by Nick Bullock

Have you ever toured before or wanted to hit the road in a van, with your best buds, playing your music? Who wouldn't want to, right? A few weeks ago, my band went on a ten day tour, starting down south and eventually ending up north to play a festival set near my old stomping grounds of Ithaca NY. All in all, playing eight shows along the way. I thought I would share some thoughts on my experience, both anecdotal and practical. First, a brief background for those of you who don't know where I'm coming from. I spent the majority of my 20's, in a van touring with my best friends. tour6

We lived together, worked together, partied together, did chores together, wrote together, and recorded together. We were, in some ways, living the dream. One day at a time, we were figuring out how to be professional musicians in a professionally touring band, playing original music. We hit the jam band circuit hard for years, playing well over 150 shows a year for the majority of our time together. That is a lot of days on the road, I don't care who you are. We sacrificed much of our personal lives for the greater good of the band, and for our shared vision of what we wanted out of life. I'm very proud of those days, and I don't regret a single moment. Being in that band taught me many many things.

tour8

 

But, like all things, everything comes to an end eventually. When we split up, we all went our different ways, and I, out of my creative restlessness started a new band called The Sound Awake a few years ago. In the time that has passed since my "touring as a living" days, I have gotten married, started a business, sold that business, moved to Nashville, and started my studio, and a new musical/professional life here in music city.... so this tour that I mentioned above, was really like a dipping of the toe back in the warm waters of the touring lifestyle. More than anything, I was curious to see how I handled everything... so here we go.

tour7

The Existential Experiment:

Playing music you write to a room full of enthusiastic people is really one of the greatest feelings I've ever experienced in my life. It is an experience that I would encourage anyone who writes their own music to aim for. The good news is it's a reachable goal. I didn't realize how much I missed the camaraderie of being in a band, hitting the road, and doing it together. There is a bond that gets formed, regardless of personal differences, or personality traits or whatever... it's unavoidable. You get tighter as people (sometimes this means you see both sides of people's humanity, the good and the bad), and tighter as a band. There is definitely a thing called "tour tight"... its kind of unexplainable, but after so many shows on the road, you all just gel better musically. We weren't out there quite long enough to get deep into that tightness, but it was there, lurking, and I could feel it. I wanted to drink it in more, I wanted to let that feeling wash over me more. I got a taste, and it was sweet. Touring is also an amazing social experiment, and way more times than naught, you get reminded of people's innate goodness. The kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing to behold. It is so easy to believe that the human race is going to hell in a hand basket, but when you get out there, meet people face to face, give them a genuine smile, you would be surprised at how many genuine smiles you get in return. Maybe that speaks more for the power of music, than anything else, but the fact remains, there are a lot of kind people out there who will offer you a couch to sleep on, buy a CD to support your dreams, cheer you on,  buy you a beer, talk guitar tones, or lend you an amp if yours breaks. I could go on and on. Touring is also a great time to catch up with old friends that you don't get to see on the regular. It is truly one of the best things about being on the road. I would go through and name all my friends that I got to see and spend some quality time with this last time out, but there are too many to name. I miss them already. All in all, the tour was very successful. When we got up to upstate NY to play the Grass Roots Festival (which is attended by about 10k-15k people), we were in shape, and we brought our A game. Nothing compares to the roar of a crowd after a particular enthusiastic song or musical moment... and my end goal all along was to get that roar, and we did, more than once. I can't tell you exactly what it feels like to be the target of a crowds raging storm of energy, but it feels so good. Its a drug, and I want more of it.

tour2

I don't know what it would be like to do 150 dates a year again, and quite honetly, where I am in life, I would have to get paid way more than we did on this tour to consider doing it. I missed my wife, I missed sleeping in my bed. I didn't enjoy sleeping on couches quite as much as I used to remember. And I like my AC (sorry, it's true...). Touring is hard work. You drive all day, hurrying along the freeway, watching the mile markers count down, only to get to the venue to see there is no sound guy, or the bathroom doesn't have a door on it, or the PA that the venue said they have doesn't actually exist... or all of the above. If you are going to put yourself out there night in and night out, the one thing I would say, is that the music has to be the life blood, it has to be the source and the purpose, it has to be the thing that gets you off the most. And you have to believe in it, more than you believe in anything else, at least for the moment. So, if you're still into it, here are some very practical thoughts I can share with you on the my experience.

Shut up and Play: I'll keep this pretty straight forward.

Start booking the tour at least four months in advance. If you're booking yourself, it takes more time than usual to get all the ducks in a row, line up the routing properly, and make as much of a promotional splash in the market as you can before the concert date.

tour3

It's up to you to get people through the door, and once they are there, to keep them there. I don't buy that it is only the clubs or promoters responsibility for the success of the show. We, as artists, are in charge of our carriers, not the venue. That being said, usually when venues see that you are working hard to promote a show, they will get on board and pick up the slack on their end too. A win win is what we are all aiming for, after all.

Advance the show! At least once, if not twice. Go over all the details with the talent buyer at least a month before the show. This can clear up any little hang ups, and make sure that communication is clean and obvious. This will ensure that you have little to no headaches on the road, it will help you rest easier knowing that all the t's and i's are crossed and dotted. Ultimately allowing you to concentrate on the music and relationships that can form while on the road.

tour1

The music comes first. Don't drink too much, serisouly. Don't overdue the excesses, because it will be easy to. When I was on the road this last time, I started smoking again (why oh why! after months of successfully quitting)... why? because I'm human, and thought I could handle the temptation. Beware, is all I have to say. Have a good time, but music first, and music last. (I am now more than a week quit again, thank you very much... get back on that horse!)

Appreciate your band mates, you are all in it together. You are a team. If someone is in a bad mood, it doesn't hurt to give them space. Don't take everything to heart, people are people, love them for who they are and where they are in their own personal journey. As long as everyone is treating the music with the respect it deserves (see above), all will be good.

tour5

Don't be afraid to warm up! In the van, in the green room, wherever. What ever you can do to make the show a better experience. Warm those pipes, warm those fingers, and don't be embarrassed about it.

You are there to provide entertainment. Read the room, it might not be a great time to take a set break after playing your second ballad in a row. You will get booked again if you keep people in the room, buying drinks. Unless your touring larger venues, and drawing hundreds of people, know that the one thing that will help you achieve your goals is to get rebooked, and get playing for more people next time. The people that were there had such a great time listening to you that they tell their friends, buy your merch, sign your mailing list and spread your gospel.

Have a mailing list. Have your merch table in a well lit and obvious place. Seems like a no brainer right? Bring a light, bring a cool table cloth or patchwork blanket to lay down... anything to make your products/merch look cooler, or more professional.

Know that nothing is perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect tour. Have a a does of thick skin, if the promoter or bartender is being a total jerk, walk away respectfully. If the show is poorly attended, play your ass off regardless. Touring has its limitations, enjoy it for what it is and know that doing your best is all you really can do at the end of the day.

A big thank you to Kevin and Russ, bass and drums extraordinaire, you guys are the rock to my rock n roll. Thanks for making the tour possible. #tsatour

What are some lessons you've learned from touring? What about touring most excites you? Share you thoughts, we would love to hear them! 

tour4

 

A Case Study: "Say Yes" by Elliott Smith by Nick Bullock

elliott4 One of the best songwriters maybe ever. I don't think everyone gets him, at least not at first, but when he hooks you, his genius unfolds. It's not just the words, its the twists of melody and harmony, and how the notes and chords sweep the words along. I'm a big fan, obviously, but if you are unfamiliar, do your self a favor and check it out. I started with the album XO, and my writing, production and taste in music hasn't been the same since... all for the better I like to believe.

Case Study: Say Yes by Elliott Smith

A cold start and a nice descending chord progression played on acoustic... simple right, almost seems like its just another folkie doing his thing.

I'm in love with the world trough the eyes of a girl  Who's still around the morning after

Then the acoustic guitar becomes two acoustic guitars, panning immediately in time for the second half of this first verse. You also have an electric guitar appearing too, with his voice being doubled as well... maybe this isn't so cookie cutter after all. And I want to point out the lyrical/rhythmic phrasing here, without getting too music geeky, its so easy to follow along, and sing along... and the words are pretty straight forward and honest... simple and honest usually wins for me. More on that below.

We broke up a month ago and i grew up i didn't know I'd be around the morning after 

elliott-smile5002

Followed by the guitar playing the melody, panned on the right side still, then the second verse. Same simplistic beauty as the first. Again, that phrasing, and I love how the first three notes of the melody start by going up in register, as the guitar/bass line is moving down... yay for counterpoint! In general, the melody has more upward movement too.

It's always been wait and see A happy day and then and then you pay  And feel like shit the morning after  But know i feel changed around and instead falling down  I'm standing up the morning after 

Then the bridge, instrumentally, pretty much the same thing is happening... the doubling of the vocals, the electric guitar panned right, the acoustic doubled with one more or less down the middle, and the 2nd one panned to the left. That electric guitar is almost playing more lead type stuff, nice double stops... Also, worth it to mention that the bridge, depending on how you count it, is a five measure phrase.

Situations get fucked up and turned around sooner or later 

And then back to a quick verse: This is the first time in the song that he gives away his control, "you tell me"... I never knew what to make about that line, is he resigned to his role, resigned to play the fool, and he just doesn't care, or is there something more... the next section, I think, answers this, but I always wondered about this lyric, as if this is the point in the song where the main character is teetering... whats going to happen?

And I could be another fool or an expection to the rule  You tell me the morning after 

The second bridge! He harmonizes with himself, which he does really well, does it with two voices an octave apart too, which is a little bit different than what you would normally do... in a classic pop sense anyways... Other than that, it's the chord changes, and the extension of the bridge and phrase that is so cool, especially on the word "is" (and notice the electric guitar mimicking the vocals there too)... any you guitar playing songwriters out there, check that second chord out (thats how you use an augmented chord!). Lyrically, this is where he answers my earlier question, to me anyways... its not up to him who loves him and who doesn't. Just like its not up to me who loves me and who doesn't, who cares for me and who doesn't... these are all things out of my control, but we still have to ask. It's worth it in the end, even after the rejection, to ask someone to care for us, to ask someone to say yes. This moment right here, this is why I love this song, and its arguably one of my favorites by one of my favorite songwriters. Simple. Vulnerable.

Crooked spin can't come to rest  I'm damaged bad at best She'll decide what she wants I'll probably be the last to know  No one says until it shows and you see how it is They want you or they don't, Say Yes.

elliott2

And how does he end the song? With a dash of optimism... i think. And wraps it all up in barely over two minutes.

I'm in love with the world trough the eyes of a girl Who's still around the morning after

If you're a fan, there is a new documentary on Elliott called Heaven Adores You, you can find more info  here:  https://www.facebook.com/HeavenAdoresYou

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGB8meDWQeQ

What song or artist should I do next??

 

Play For Me... by Nick Bullock

famwash

Hi, Musician on stage... I'm here, I'm the only guy in the room... can't you see me? I'm listening, I'm clapping, I'm engaged in your music... this is your soul, remember, and I am liking your soul... hello? I don't need or want you to stare at me the whole time, thats just creepy, but some eye contact would be nice when I'm the only one clapping. Just saying.

And at the end of the show, come say hi, because I stayed, I am still here, and I'm not counting the wasted girl who is flashing the bartender, or the drunk dude passed out and slowly sliding off his stool, they doesn't count. Lets talk, and get to know each other a little bit.

I was hanging at the Family Wash over on the East side in Nashville, which is quickly becoming one of my favorites spots to hang, and saw a band there in this exact context. And you know what, the singer made eye contact, and came over and said hello, and thanked me for being the only one paying attention.

It makes a difference.

A little eye contact goes a long way.

 

 

Infinitely Available by Nick Bullock

Infinitely available... Probably the most important thing you can ever be. The biggest gift to someone else is your time. That is the most precious possession we own, because we only have one life, and it goes by fast.

When you are meeting a friend for coffee, or going on a date with your husband or wife or girlfriend or boyfriend, give them your full attention. Look at them when you listen, and look at them when you speak. Smile with your eyes. Those non verbal cues are the most important.

When you are writing a song with a friend, give their ideas 100% of your attention. Really listen. If both of you do this, the inspiration will run over, and you will write a great song.

photo-5

When you are making an album, put away your phone. Listen to what the guitar player just overdubbed, and cheer him or her on. Tell them what it was that was awesome, before you say anything else. Be goofy, make jokes, and laugh with your band mates. Celebrate at the end of each stage. Even if it is just a high five.

photo-3

Be like a puppy, infinitely available. As best as you can. In the end, your art, your relationships and your life will have more of an impact.

photo-2

 

Thanks to GoodSex for a great week of recording. I love your songs, and I'm excited to mix this record!

 

Nashville, Updated by Nick Bullock

Here is my week: Wednesday: day session with my buddies Goodsex. They are a great garage type band, and super cool guys, and hillarious. The session went great (once I figured out how to solve that weird lattency situation!). They're going to be releasing a 7 inch this spring. For a listen to their first record, go here. http://goodsex.bandcamp.com/

goodsex1

goodsex2

Night time rehearsal with my band, The Sound Awake. Thomas Elefante (drums/vocals), Kevin Harper (bass/vocals), and Alex Tomkins (guitar/vocals) are super f-ing talented and rad dudes. I'm lucky that they like the tunes, and are kind enough to play with me. If you see them around Nashville, give them a hug. We're going to be doing a bunch of recording together, not to mention playing shows in the Nashville area.

NB-home-page-pic

Thursday: a bunch of meetings (which I won't bore you with, but they were with some super friendly and helpful folks, so thanks folks!)

Night time session with Danny Leggett (he's so legit!). Danny is the man! Great songwriter, and singer. He hasn't put out anything in a while, so we're both excited for this EP! You can follow him on instagram @dannyleggittman

Leggett

Friday: more meetings, followed by some work for Will Musham, for his third recording to be released at some point in the future (after he releases his second record which I produced and engineered last year). Will is a fantastic songwriter. You can check him out at http://willmusham.com/ and look for his release sometime soon.

Will

Friday night (tonight!)... we'll see, was supposed to have a session with my other Danny Sierra! I've posted pics of Danny before and mentioned how absolutely rad he and his music is, but I'll do so again. He's an amazing singer songwriter. This is his debut EP, and it is going to be really great!

Danny

or i'll go see my friends from upstate NY, Driftwood perform tonight at a house show. I caught them on tuesday at The Basement here in Nashville. You should DEFINITELY give them a listen, they just released a new record and are out on tour. They're tighter than a frogs ass. http://driftwoodtheband.com/

driftwood

Sat/Sun I have all day/night sessions with my buddies The Heavy Heavy Hearts, a really great guitar/bluesy/rock band from here in Nashville. Super excited to work with these dudes, they're great players and have a really cool sound going. http://theheavyheavyhearts.com/

heavy hrts

(photo taken from their fb page, no idea who took it, but i didn't!)

Monday, back to The Sound Awake rehearsal! for our first ever show in Nashville, which is happening the day after...

Tuesday, the show! We're playing at the Basement, as part of their "new faces" night. My/our first nashville show... sighhhh

selfie

And on it goes... So how is Nashville you ask? GREAT!

 

 

New vs Old, Why Jack White Is Wrong, Kind Of by Nick Bullock

Let me start by saying that I am indeed a (fairly big) fan of Jack White. I have seen him perform live, I own a bunch of his records, my favorite possibly being the first Raconteurs record. My love affair with Mr White goes back to the White Stripes. So when I saw that he and Conan O'Brien had a sit down, informal, chill/hang/interview, I stopped whatever I was doing and sat there on my couch with my laptop in complete attention to two of my favorite "celebrities" yucking it up, talking about music and life. Check it out. Jack White and Conan O'Brien

One of the topics that they carry on about, quite a bit, is about how digital music and technology has hindered       our experience, as a mass, and gotten us accustomed to auto tuned vocals, non-performances and the like. I am paraphrasing here quite a bit, but if you're interested, go to minute 24, through about 27, and listen for yourself.

Jack White

I have conflicting feelings about this. I too love real performances. I love singing/playing guitar on a track that I know I can do well, or working with musicians that are amazing. I hate the idea that people can just go in, move some things around in an edit window, and come out with a brand new "performance". I love the accidental little mistakes that make a track sparkle with humanity and emotion. I love the sound of analog tape, and all its gooey warmth. That all being said, it is 100% impossible for me to pursue recording the same way Mr White does. Number one, I don't have tens of thousands in disposable income to spend on buying, and maintaining (by which I mean fixing) old analog equipment and tape machines. I did actually own an eight track tape/recording console (Tascam 388) before moving to Nashville, but I sold it before moving down here. I was a little afraid of what kind of damage would happen to it in the move, and truthfully I spent more time elbow deep in it trying to figure out why it wasn't working properly than I actually spent using it. Number two, I have to work hard and fast to make my income as a musician/producer. I don't have the luxury of taking all the time in the world to record in an all analog environment. Case in point, I have a band coming in today to knock out two songs in two hours. This is going to be hard enough to do without having to rewind tape every take, or punch in after the fact, or god forbid have to splice anything.

tapemachine

So, I love Jack White, and I would love to have Jack White produce me one day, and have him school me in analog mastery. I would learn a lot I'm sure. And I love the idea of performing all to tape, dumping to 2 track and mastering on the way, but it just isn't practical. Whenever I work in the role as producer/engineer, my first thought is to always serve the song and artists vision. The how of that comes second, and at the end of the day, I'm not sure the how matters much if you are being true to the artistic vision. I have heard it said, and believe art to be about conception, with execution coming second.

I would love to hear what my musician/engineer/producer friends think on this, as well as what the casual music lovers think too. So what do you think?

Conan Jack

Listening: The Art of Telling a Story by Nick Bullock

Slowly but surely, I'm getting better at writing songs. It is a craft as far as I'm concerned, and yes, sometimes we stumble upon complete luck/grace/inspiration and we can write a great song that seemingly comes straight out of thin air. But even that scenario smells of sweaty preparation to me. So I practice, and I write a lot. The David was not created by a man who was picking up the chisel for the first time. We, as humans, learn and get better. We soak in our surroundings and even despite ourselves, we allow it all to influence us and the art we produce. Since moving to Nashville I've made it a priority to get better at listening to the new people I meet. Really listening, not just shaking my head and thinking of my response even before they're done speaking (which can be very hard to do). It is a skill that I think many people take for granted, and one that I want to get better at.

There is a wealth of inspiration that can bubble up when you meet someone for the first time, and hear their unique story, and not just hear it, but feel it. I want to start paying attention more, and capture that empathy, and maybe a bit of someone's story in the songs I write. I wonder if we could wipe away writers block if we practiced our art in the context of listening to the world around us.

When I really listen, I am also a better husband, friend, producer, musician, brother and son.

Writing a great song is often a result of telling a great story, and there are so many amazing stories out there.

Have you ever created anything after being inspired by someone's personal story or journey?

thebeatles     Dolly neal

Duke   stevie

BobbyD   barry

 

"Trust Me" by Nick Bullock

"Trust me". It seems like there are a million different ways we communicate that short little phrase. I've been reading a lot of books lately on growth, trust, business, and the world we live in. Trust seems to be a topic that keeps bubbling up each and every time I turn a page, in one way or another. At first, I thought that it was a no brainer... you know, don't tell a lie, etc. But the more I think about it (and I say think, not thought, because it's still very much an on going process), the more I realize it is a lot more complex. Do you trust what people say when they give you their opinions, do you trust the internet, and social networks, or the people on them? Do you trust the quality and character of our leaders (churches, schools,  corporations, institutions, universities and so on), do you trust what they say? Do you trust the advertisements that we see on television, or read in magazines? I could go on and on and on. It seems like we have needed to cultivate this ability to make snap shot judgments on who and what to trust just so we can wade through the waters of every day life.

I think this is why people guard their trust so much today, or why some people say we live in a "low trust world" now more than ever. Which I understand, but I also think it's very sad.

As an independent musician/artist, studio owner, entrepreneur and business owner, I have boiled it down for myself to a few basic ideas. First and maybe foremost, I always do what I say I will do (the old integrity principle, which I happen to believe in very much). Show up on time (related to the first, and I'm still very much working on this one!!!), have a firm handshake, and look people in the eye. I'm a simpleton, so these all seem to make sense for me. There is also something to being a good listener, and listening with out an agenda that I find very important.

These are also things that are actually in my power to control, which is nice. I'm not helpless.

When some one trusts me with their song/production/mix or whatever, its my job to care as much as I would if it were my own piece of art. Sometimes that can be a challenge, but usually not, and it is always rewarding. Again, its something that is in my control, and helps facilitate trust, so it builds and builds, and relationships are born. Good ones, where the two parties don't have to make snap shot judgements towards each other, they can just let the relationship grow, and be.

Like I said earlier, this is still very much a process that I am learning and thinking about, so these are just my thoughts today.

How do you feel about the state of "trust" in todays world? What do you do to facilitate trust in your every day life?

A picture of trust...

frog

Friends Who Write Songs Together Stay Together by Nick Bullock

This past week has been a fun one. Some dear friends of ours, on their way here to visit us from upstate NY last Thursday, had some rather bad auto-mechanical failures. In other words, they need a new transmission AND clutch, and it was on a truck that they had just purchased three days before, and they drove all the way from NY to Colorado to pick it up. So, basically a cataclysmic failure of a trip. But they took it in great stride, and despite the unexpected, but considerable dent in the wallet, I have been amazed at how calm, collected, and positive attitude-ish they have been. And we have made the most of their time here. We've eaten at some great Nashville restaurants, we've gone out to bars, cooked meals, watched movies, dealt with a clogged kitchen sink, and played cards. And two days ago, after reading a passage from the book "Thinker-toys", we decided to write a song together about the experience. Maybe you've heard of the "Exquisite Corpse" before? In the book, this particular exercise outlines a set of instructions that focuses on group thinking, and cohesion. I won't go into the exact details (you should read the book... very good), but the basic idea is you take random words that each person associates with the given topic without over thinking, and you then have a brainstorm session, and for our purposes, write down together any phrases that come to mind once everyone has shared their words. Essentially taking two different and seemingly random words, and connecting them. Some of the repeating ideas or words were: clogged sink, Nashville, train tracks (they back up to the studio), broken down trucks, garbage disposals... you get the idea. Later we went in the studio to turn these phrases, ideas, and lyrics into the realized song.

The whole process was totally different compared to how I normally work. It was also with people who are dear friends, but people I have never had that kind of working relationship with before.

I am constantly and pleasantly surprised at the genius that can happen when people are excited working in the  cooperation zone together. There seems to be a new level of awareness that becomes apparent when people are in to making it happen. It takes honesty, and a commitment to listening and understanding before speaking.

I can't wait to take this same spirit and energy to the production/engineering sessions I have coming up, and my first co-writing sessions too.

What is your process for writing? What tips or techniques do you find inspirational or empowering?

EricAndNick

Eric wearing the magical Wizard Hat...

KimandEric

Kim rocking the Tele...

Meredith was the one taking the pictures...

 

Welcome to Awake Studios: My Dream Client by Nick Bullock

My dream client is someone who values adventure. Studio 4 My dream client is someone who loves to create, breathes to create, and lives to inspire. Studio 2 My dream client is a singer/songwriter, or a band, or a one (wo)man band, or... Studio 3 I love being a mad scientist, locked away, inventing textures, and sounds. I love mixing. I love the gear I have, and the gear I can't afford. Gear-disease, it's real. Studio 1 My dream client allows me to help them achieve their vision, a sonic "dreams come true". Who is your dream client? What type of person do you want to work with? ps: Every studio should have at least one Beatles book somewhere for your perusal. It is law.