Friday, September 30, 2016

Well you missed several songs!

As you might notice: I really stopped blogging. Why? Well I released a ton of songs...
Nr. 11
Nr. 12
Nr. 13
Nr. 14

And I even launched my Off The Grid series (this is the 3rd song)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

New video

I am just worried about what's going on in the world. Right wing populists are popping up everywhere and threatening the freedom of us and bringing the world closer to darkness...

So I had to write a song about this

Monday, July 11, 2016

Announcing: latest video and new channel trailer

Well...there'll be a few changes (additions) to the channel:

And I released song no. 10

Working on the next releases so blogging will continue to be paused. If there's anybody out there wanting more blogs - let me know. Otherwise I'll focus on the videos...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

DrScythe Thoughts - Part VI: How good feedback can be demoralizing

I already posted something about feedback and critique but I've got to add something: good feedback can be demoralizing. Don't get me wrong here: I absolutely LOVE the good feedback I receive. It was necessary to give me the confidence to launch Project 100. But I recently had to think about life and stuff again...

I soon will release my 10th song and it's a little more ambitious than the ones so far. Not in terms of the music but in terms of the lyrics and setting. But while working on this one I also was thinking about what I achieved so far..more than doubled my subs on YT, got the attention of a company (although that's mostly due to my reviews on a forum) and a relatively large number of "great song(s)!" "you're talented" "keep going!". While this is incredibly uplifting for the artist half of me, it's really frustrating for the rational part.

I am struggling to find a job at the moment so money is a big issue. I studied something very different from music because I always was (and still am) ridden by the idea that my songs and abitilies will never be good enough for people to like them. So I chose to do something more solid (IT management). Apparently companies are looking for people with my knowledge according to their advertisements but not me. So with every positive comment about my music I am now closer to cursing myself for wasting my time with this degree. And also cursing the whole internet for being so cluttered that it seems to be impossible to be noticed by more than one or two persons every time I try to promote my stuff.

It would be a completely different situation if I would've got a job (or a mysterious source of income..). I could just be happy about every single nice word and keep on working towards the 100 songs. But now I am always split between the two parts of my psyche which kills motivation for both things - the 'real world' problems are killing the creativity and the declined applications kill the motivation for applying again and again. It sometimes feels like everything is absolutely pointless. To have these feelings again (last time I was 16 or 17, now I am 28) is worrying me even further...

I have to admit that this blog was one of the first things I couldn't do anymore at the moment. So I figure that this will be one of the last posts for a while until things are back on track again...sorry for that...

so long


Saturday, May 28, 2016

DrScythe - announcing PROJECT 100! 100 songs within 10 years (91 songs and 9 1/2 years left)

Project 100

Video version:

Right after I’ve released the 7th and 8th song I realized that two of those eight songs weren’t part of the initial ‘more than 30 songs’. That means I am close to forty songs in the catalogue and as a matter of fact there are still many more ideas and parts lying around. This revelation spawned an idea: to record one hundred songs. I am the first to admit that I had no idea where the DrScythe project was headed. Just go on making songs and videos? Form a band at some point to play live but change the whole approach accordingly? Both options lacked something to me. I know that I am quite disciplined so just going on releasing songs wouldn’t be much of a problem no matter if there’s a lot of fans or not. But with no goal to achieve it felt a little random. And forming a band might not even work so my brain came up with a finish line:

100 original songs in 10 years!
-       Covers/Traditionals
-       Acoustic versions of own songs
-       the recently introduced Vaccines
-       Collaborations with more than ~20 sec guest part

Some may think that 100 songs over the course of 10 years aren’t that many others may be impressed by the sheer number. I myself simply instantly loved the idea of looking back one day and having released one hundred tracks.

Technically there’s a little discrepancy between the 100 songs and ten years when releasing monthly. It’s either the 123rd song in November 2025 or the 100th in December 2023. But one central element of project management is headroom and I think it’s fair to leave some space and just say: completing 100 songs within 10 years is big enough for one artist alone. If I can pull it off in seven so be it. I don’t want to force a certain date for the ‘big finale’ so if it turns out to be April 2024 it’ll be April 2024.

So let me explain the exclusions. The ‘Vaccines’ are obviously just for fun and do not count as a full song (especially as they’re limited to 1:59min). Although I am giving away the surprise now I want to say that I want to do acoustic versions of some of my songs and some traditional folk songs in the future on a random basis which are not even included in ‘monthly release’ (thus the ‘random’ tag) under the label ‘DrScythe raw’ or something like that. This would also include covers of copyrighted newer material if I’ll ever decide to do those.

As for collaborations it will depend on if they’re ever going to happen. I guess that the number of my future subscribers will be the central figure here for others to be interested in a collab. If there’ll be collabs I will allow the song to be a part of the 100 only if the guest part is around 20 seconds total. Anything way beyond that will get a different label. What I’d see as a possibility is to reissue a previously released song with a guest musician and simply do not count it again. But that’s to be figured out later…

Fun facts:
I’ll keep some statistics. All the instruments used are on their 1st set of strings since I began the project (and no, I don’t need to change them, I don’t use regular nickel- or stainless steel roundwounds) but sooner or later that’ll change. I am on the 5th pack of coffee. I use too many different picks to keep track of those accurately.

Aaaand let’s finish on a song; number 9 of 100!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

DrScythe cheap excuses part I

Hello there,
I am sorry to let another week go by without a post but I am working on the 9th song and the big announcement for the week (which will contain a post here) so that I am too busy to put my mind to something useful.

As I plan to release everything on Friday you don't have to wait for too long. Maybe enjoy the music..

So long, greetings to all of you who read this blog! If anyone does follow this blog it would be nice to know

Sunday, May 1, 2016

DrScythe Thoughts - Part V: Status update

Well…six months already. Eight songs done. I intended to stay motivated. I knew that my self-discipline is quite strong after more than two years of pushing myself through bodyweight exercises that became more and more difficult. But I also thought that I would struggle after the first two or three songs. Instead of struggling I sped up to release the 3rd one just to allow myself to enter the D’Angelico endorsement contest. And that resulted in a third place and two fantastic guitars being lent to me. What a boost!

So month after month I kept my focus on finishing recording and mixing on time although my overall mood isn’t too good: looking for a job, no money – the usual sorrows. But what else should I do? Can’t apply for jobs all day long, there’s not even enough offerings for that. So making music is quite a thing to avoid wasting time (or: use it purposefully).

Eight songs that roughly outline where the whole DrScythe-music is headed with more to come that brings new nuances and colors to the project.  The first song just hit 500 views. That’s not a large number compared to other YouTubers, that’s not even a large number compared to some other musicians in the region. To me it’s incredibly cool. I don’t have hundreds of friends who watch the videos. It’s not even a dozen of people I know personally who watch the videos. So 500 is quite a milestone for me. Obviously I’ll celebrate the 1000th one when it happens.

Before I give you a small status update I want to tell the story of ‘Home’, the 7th song and ‘Mind Pirates’ the 8th. Let’s begin with the latter one. The main melody goes back to 2005 or 2006. It just lay around for a while and then, during the Meinthat-era, I played around with it and the idea of using a violin. Then the band split up and the idea was buried until I began sorting out the songs for the DrScythe project. I instantly thought: ‘how could I ever abandon this?’ So it made the list. And I recorded it:

My fiancĂ©e has been asking me for years if I will ever write a song for her. I always said no, partly because I didn’t want to disappoint her, partly because I feared I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. When I finally came up with the idea for ‘Home’ I tested the ‘riff’ out of context and she liked it. So I began writing the rest and here we are. To cover up the recordings I pretended to work mostly on ‘Mind Pirates’ so that she wouldn’t notice the progress until it’s almost done. And it was successful. She suspected nothing (at least she said so), was quite surprised and loves it. Mission accomplished.

So what’s the next mission? Keep on releasing one song per month! Try to gain more fans by doing so. Improving my mixing skills, improving my videos. Releasing the first 14 tracks as album. And then, depending on what’s going on in my life and how much the number of fans grows, begin looking for musicians to perform live. But for now it’s more like trying to promote my stuff as much as possible without being annoying. What seems to be impossible...

On the one hand it’s a great experience to receive a lot of positive feedback and even get a manufacturer of fantastic guitars interested in you especially because every release is accompanied by the typical artist’s mixture of feeling: doubting oneself and exposing your soul. On the other hand is the stagnation of response to that. Only few new followers/subscribers, only the initial larger amount of views which quickly dies off to the slow increase over time. Don’t get me wrong here: I am incredibly thankful for what I achieved so far and I will keep releasing songs. But it’s a little weird to be encouraged to go on and nothing happens. I know that consistency is key on YouTube, but I fear for my computer breaking every time I boot it up – and that would be the end for the whole project for a while. No spare parts, no money, nothing. So my job situation is becoming a larger problem every week and drawing away my attention every time I make music – because I fear to be stopped by defective devices…

Well…that’s it for this week. Happy with the project, happily in love, anxious about the usual topic: money/job. Just like everybody else…

Small extension to the first FAQ

I will definitely enable free downloads for the album. Until then I don’t want to spread the ‘not-on-spot’-versions as downloads out of context.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

DrScythe - working, no blog today

In case you follow this blog: there won't be a post today (except this excuse). I am just too busy working on the two tracks that I will release next friday. Which will be the "half-a-year" mark so that I want to sum up the first six months and what I took away from the project so far.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

DrScythe Recording Blog - Part IV: My mixing philosophy

I wanted to do a blog about EQing and then noticed that I didn’t explain my approach to mixing so far. And that would leave you with my tips for using EQs without knowing why I do use them in this way. So my mixing philosophy boils down to this:

Keep it as natural as possible but do whatever necessary to make it sound good to your ears.

This leads to several consequences.
1. My mixes will never sound as modern as most of the others.
This is pretty obvious. Modern mixes sound everything but natural and are pushed to the max in terms of usage of limiters especially the releases of mainstream artists or the big players of some genres. Of course this doesn’t apply to every major release…but the ‘plastic sound’ as I tend to call it is a standard at the moment. A standard I chose to avoid for matters of taste. I know that some of my songs would profit from an overly processed sound (Calling The X for example) but I prefer to keep learning how to achieve a fat but also warm sound that keeps the character of the originally recorded tracks. It seems that gluing the tracks together is a little bit more complicated this way but I will keep on learning and improving.

2. My mixes will never have a constant volume.
If there is a more quiet part in a song I won’t use the tricks of modern loudness to eliminate the overall dynamic of it. What you might have noticed is that I am very cautious when it comes to compression so far and that’s something I am working on. Controlling the dynamics on track level so that I don’t need much compression on the sum. I think it’s becoming better. Compression works a little counterintuitive so that I think most of the people will struggle a little with that when beginning to mix music.

3. Very few effects.
Well…I had a POD XT Pro, POD X3 Live, POD HD and a Vetta II Combo for years and used all the effects extremely rarely. I like effects when just fiddling around but not really in a finished song. A little chorus on an arpeggio here and there and the almighty duo of reverb and delay. But that’s it. Bit crusher, phaser, flanger, ring modulators…nice to play with but nothing more to me so far. We’ll see…I am not against them by default (although ‘natural’ seems to suggest no effects) but it’s basically just not my style.

4. I don’t care about competitive loudness.
Seriously. I just don’t care. I don’t think it’ll ever have to compete on airplay so I can just keep it at a normal level.

5. You wouldn’t normally…too bad.

You wouldn’t pan the drums from the drummer’s point of view – I do because it sounds and feels right to me. One of the most important things I took away from reading and watching interviews with well-known mixing engineers: they really don’t care about things like ‘normal’ or ‘regularly’. They are called if someone wants their style of mixing applied. Try out their tricks and tips, try out the standards but be honest with yourself and ‘mix it your way’ if that’s what you want the music to sound like.

6. But your mixes sound really cheap so far.
What a surprise I am still a beginner. I am not even able to achieve the things I want to but that’s part of the whole learning process. And instead of ruining other people’s hard work I am practicing with my own and will be able to easily remix everything later on.

Well this was a shorter one as I am busy getting two tracks out to you this month. And I am pretty sure that only few will like both songs. And owls won't like either of them.
Guaranteed displeasure if you're an owl

So long,