Tuesday, 15 December 2015


In our MIDI lessons over the past few weeks we have been working on soundtracks and development of our musical ideas by creating short phrases for different adverts.

Here is one of the longer projects for the soundtrack part of the course

This piece was called 'Movement in a Scene' it was about two people in bed together that has a macabre feeling to the piece

Monday, 14 December 2015

Recording over the past few weeks

In the recording aspect of the course we have been working on the track 'Supermassive Blackhole' with Matt, Amy, Sophie and Reuben; we started the track from scratch. We started off by recording drums, we used the AKG microphone set for recording drums, this includes:

  • AKG D112
  • AKG C 430
  • AKG D 40
  • Shure Sm57
(Yes we used the Shure mic for a snare, as there wasn't one for the snare in the AKG box). We found this a very good way of recording the drums, we patched these microphones into the stagebox. From the stagebox, the signal went into the Focusrite and TLA pre-amps, where we then recorded the signal into Logic. 

For the vocals we used a Rode NT2a in the booth, again going into the TLA pre-amp. The Rode NT2a is a great sounding condensor microphone, we used it because it is very versatile and worked perfectly for Sophie, Matt and my vocals. 

When we recorded the guitar, Matt and I recorded it in the live room without the studio, so we had to run it all off my laptop. We had Matt's guitar running through a Blackstar amp, then had 2 microphones (a Shure Sm57 and a Sennheiser E606). 

The bass was the easiest part to record because all we had to do was plug the bass into the TLA pre-amp and then patch the pre-amp into the desired channel. 

The MIDI was just recorded on a MIDI keyboard through the MIDI interface. 

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Music Performances

So far in the past few weeks I have played live in three different situations.

The first was playing on Eastbourne Youth Radio with my friend Reuben playing on the drums, We played two for my composed tracks.

The second was playing at Printers Bar in Eastbourne, this was the first of my live gigs playing my music, you can listen to a very bad recording of some of the gig here: https://soundcloud.com/catsloveyoutoo/for-your-viewing-pleasure

Finally the third was a performance with some of my friends in my Music Performance class at The Archery Centre in Eastbourne, we only played one song (Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix).

All of these performances have boosted my confidence for performing live dramatically, I can not get up on stage without any worry or butterflies.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Is Live Music Needed in the Technological Age that we Live In?

Music isn’t just an art form, it’s an experience, and it brings people together, evokes emotion and is beautifully time consuming. To live in a world without music would be like living in a world without colour.

Every different culture has it’s own style of music, so to completely take away music from the world then there would be no culture in the world. Music fuels the mind and thus fuels our creativity. A Creative mind has the ability to make discoveries and create innovations. The greatest minds and thinkers like Albert Einstein, Mozart, and Frank Lloyd Wright all had something in common in that they were constantly exploring their imagination and creativity.
Music is universal in that there are no boundaries to understanding music. Even animals like Birds, Dogs, and Whales can understand music to a certain degree. It transcends all boundaries of communication because you can speak and tell stories to someone on the other side of the planet, even though you both don’t speak the same language. But I believe it’s important for one to have an open mind in order to be in touch with that sense of understanding. Many people immediately push away certain styles of music without having explored what it has to offer. Not all styles will appeal or resonate with a person, but one may discover a new part of ones self when you are open to all the possibilities.
Music can whisk you away on an extended journey. Music can make time feel frozen. Music also has the power to suggest movement. All these things deal with the human senses. I’m sure anyone can remember a moment where a song has made them particularly sad or very excited and happy. But how does organised tones create such an effect on our senses? No one really knows why or where it comes from but there are many studies that have been done to show that there is an agreement of which emotions pertain to certain scales, chords, and harmonies.
What is amazing about music is that it is imbedded within all of us. Everyone can understand it and feel something if they open themselves up. Playing music with other musicians is an incredible feeling. Some people describe it as rowing down a river together. There is a certain type of connection that comes when you make music in a group. The same is true for those who are listening to music in a group and interacting with music through Dance. This type of behaviour is rooted in our history and our discoveries as human beings. I’ve had many experiences where a random person would ask to play with me and within an instant we were having a conversation through the piano or guitar or voice. It’s a level of playing around, communicating, and copying each other that creates the connection.

Home Recording / My Music

I have a small home recording studio in my room in which I use to record and create ideas with MIDI. My setup at home includes a pair of KRK Rokit 6 G3s and an Alto 1604 analog mixer. I also have a Danelectro 59', a Rockburn strat model style, and a Ridgewood bass which I have modified with different humbucker pickups and a larger cutaway for the higher notes on the bass. I also have MIDI keyboards and a MicroKorg. I am saving up for a Focusrite i1820 audio interface so that I can record multiple things at a time.

I am in the midst of making an album which is getting a CD release at Pebble Records store in Eastbourne. I am so happy about this and I can't wait to get my music out there. I've also put my music onto the BBC Introducing page online, so I'm hoping that one of my tracks will get played on the radio. This is a link to my Soundcloud where you can listen to my music :) JUST..... DO IT!!! https://soundcloud.com/catsloveyoutoo

Studio Power-Up

In the studios at college we have a power-up routine that we go through when we enter the studios so that we either don't break anything, or so that the studio actually works and everything is talking to each other in the right way, the studio power-up process is listed below:

  1. Computer 
  2. Souncard/Audio Interface
  3. MIDI interface
  4. Mixer
  5. Outboard (reverb, gate, pre-amp)
  6. Monitors 

Recording Methods

Recording has changed dramatically over the decades and centuries.
Originally if you were to record a piece of music it would be written out on a sheet of music. Then things progressed and people were able to record onto vinyl, where a needle would etch in the waveform into a circular dick of plastic that would be played on a record player.
Then tape was developed and you could record onto that. Tape works by magnetic dust in the tape strip that after you record through a tape machine would put in the waveform by moving the magnetic strip of tape around the spindle.
Then DAWs were invented (Digital Audio Wavestation) and people could record and save and edit on computers. When recording you would record using an audio interface or 'sound card', this converts the analog signal of your microphone or guitar and changes it into a digital signal. You can achieve a thing called 'sequencing' in a DAW which is layering instruments and effects, this is also called multi-tracking. You can also make loops, all these thing dramatically make the entire recording process a lot easier.

Studio Flow

Above is the routing of the studio flow in Studio 1 in our college. Studios 2-4 are slightly different due to different gear. 

Performance: Styles of Music

In class we were covering the genre of blues music and why it is how it is. Initially, how one would write a blues track. 'The Blues' is typically in the time signature 44 or C for "common time", the track will most likely have a 12 bar structure where the structure alternates between 3 chords. The track will most likely have a walking bass line in it. 

Blues was usually written about hardships of the citizen, oppression, women, money, drugs, alcohol, you name it. Blues then developed to become the early stages of rock and roll. 

Above is Jimi Hendrix, he is named one of the best guitarists ever to set foot on this planet. We listened to his track 'Red House' which is in formulae, a blues song. 

To the right is BB King, He is a legendary guitarist. We listened to his blues track 'Three O'clock Blues' which is in the 12 bar structure. 
Left is the blues guitarist John Lee Hooker, again a legendary guitarist. We listened to his track 'Boom Boom' which isn't actually in the 12 bar structure, it is a 12 bar broken up to fit the staccato structure of the piece. 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Patch Bays.... more like "Patch Bae"

Patch Bays are a wonderful thing, they connect everything up in the studio and make the time you use in the studio much easier.

The idea of them is so that you can plug a guitar into channel 18 (for instance) through the patch bay rather than having to reach around to the back of the mixer and making things very difficult. However, it gets better. Say I wanted to send a guitar out to a compressor or a reverb or any outboard things then what I would do is have the insert send of the channel going into the into the input of the outboard, then have the output of the outboard going into the insert return of the channel.

Here is a photo of my patch bay skills.

In the photo above was the patch bay from recording a drum kit, we had a mic on the kick drum, a mic on he snare, one for the hi tom, one for the low tom and 2 overhead mics. 

Here is me looking extra groovy with my patch bay cables.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Music Performance

In my music performance classes my group and I have been working on a few tracks, some of these are:

  • Aloe Blacc - I Need a Dollar


  • Smash Mouth - All Star

In my group I have been playing bass, guitar and singing. Our group dynamic is very good, because we can jam together an physically 'play' with the music, which is always great fun. We also plan to write our own music. 

However I have formed a ban with Matt and Reuben who are both on my course. We have started writing tracks together and have already started recording stuff, here is a photo of a live room I have made in my girlfriend's garage. This is where we will soon be practising:

This was at a party we had there the other night, Reuben is at the far left, Matt is sitting down wearing a denim jacket, I am standing up wearing a denim jacket. 


Microphones are a very important thing, they can capture almost any sound. On my course so far we've been using many different microphones to record different things here are the names of some of the microphones we've been using:
  • Shure SM57
  • Shure SM58
  • Rode NT2A
  • AKG D112
  • AKG C1000s
We've recorded drums, vocals, guitars, claps and non-sensical mutterings on these microphones. 

Here is a photo of myself using a AKG C1000s in a lesson recording for a radio program:

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Welcome to my blog!

Hello! I'm Hal, and you're reading my blog about music.

This is a blog about music and my music course that I'm taking at the moment.
I play bass, guitar, keys, vocals and ocarina, although I do production work and sound engineering as well.

Here is a photo of me and my classmates in our Music Tech class.

After my course which I am attending now, I plan to go to university and have a degree in either Music Production or Sound Engineering. Though at the moment I'm really looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends on my course as well as attending my course and having a really good time :) 

A list of some of the musicians I like are:
  • Mac Demarco
  • Homeshake
  • The Velvet Underground
  • Flying Lotus
  • Doja Cat 
I like all of these musicians and bands because they create amazing music, pushing the boundaries of 'the norm'.