Prepare for the greatest European Smooth Jazz party at sea! And make sure to place your reservation early. Brought to you by Christian Bößner of Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival.
I am stoked!!!! Recently, Wes Gillespie of Smooth Jazz Radio Station JazzNet 247 selected my tracks I Count on U and Naiad Theme for his fine programming. This in itsself would be an incredible treat alone, but it gets even better: I recently checked his playlist and was almost falling from my chair from detecting myself among all the BIG names of the genre! Upon tuning in to his radio show, I hear a radio jingle with announcements of the songs to air during the second hour of his show and – shock again! – he placed an announcement of my track between Brian Culbertson and – Herbie Hancock!! I mean – come on!!! This is getting better than whatever dreams I may have had in my late teens and early twens! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
Some of my Facebook family and friends might be tempted to think, I was presenting myself extra-humble in order to “solicit” more attention or support, but no! Take my word on this: I am really, really almost in disbelief over all the incredible things that have started to happen for me!! And excited and thrilled at the same time, of course!
Again, my heartfelt gratitude to all of you, who have and are supporting me in ways I could not have imagined! This is major, major, major and means EVERYTHING to me! And know that I keep working on my chops and material. After all – what could be better than knowing there is an appreciating audience waiting for more to come?
Thank you all! At this point, I’d like to mention Brian O’Neal, who got the ball rolling for me about one and a half years ago, by inviting me to collaborate on his track and then video Dreams in Color and by getting the word out. Please consider supporting his charity organization DO Foundation that came from this musical collaboration. Also, a big shoutout to April Sims and Christopher Fields on WAGTi Radio, for inviting me to be among the first interview guests when the station launched under that name in March 2009. After that, I soon found myself invited on a couple more stations getting interested in airing my music and finding out about my work. Cres O’Neal, Gary Fuston, Mary Ann of U S Smooth Jazz Network, Marissa Caliguire to name a few more – thank you dearly! Please find the complete list of stations and radio presenters here.
This is incredibly exciting, people! Thank you!
wesbound, October 2010
What? Artist VERSUS Musician? What is this about? Don’t they come in one (crazy) package? Well, some do, some don’t. Apparently, I must fall into the latter category according to Janice B.’s brilliantly written contemplation on the subject. Reading her article as to what sets the two apart in a way, reminded me of the first time I may have – more subconsciously – found out about that. I am going to have to elaborate a bit for this statement to make sense.
I started playing in bands at around age 13. I had been playing guitar for four years with some minor formal education for two years until the local music school’s teacher ran out of material to work on by saying something like “I can’t teach you guys anything else.” (doh! LOL). I then continued to work with the only other student in my class and we’d somehow figure out how to play Beatles songs on acoustic guitars and singing along in harmony. Something like that. From that and “performing” around campfires – I was being asked to join a band, which I gladly did. From whatever pocket money I had, I bought my first electric guitar (I recall it being a Fender Stratocaster copy) and shared the guitar amp with the other guitarist in the band. Rehearsals took place in the basement of the keyboardist’s parents house and let’s just say that basement was in questionable condition… But I didn’t care, I was so pumped about being in a band and getting to perform in front of people, I put up with mold, freezing temperatures, damp fingers, lack of light and oxygen for hours on end, bickering and disputes over song arrangements and the correct phrasing of vocal and instrumental parts, the usual amount of friction between “ego mammals”, transportation issues, juggling school and other chores, making time for rehearsals, bugging out Mom to take me there in winter, in other words: The usual “side effects” of being a musician – right? Right.
So, I kept doing that for a while. At 14, a former buddy comes to visit and runs me over with his moped. Result: Ruptured ligament in the left knee, hospitalization for… the entire summer break (6 weeks in my country)! Back in the day, that meant full surgery under anesthesia, total immobility for two weeks after that, cast, crutches for bathroom “breaks”, bed-time, in short: No fun at all! (and this in summer, with high temperatures and such. Can anyone say “scratch me under that thing there? Like NOW!!!!”) My dad signed me out of hospital prematurely, so I got to be in my room at least (right under the roof, during the summer the equivalent of a George Foreman grill for human beings). All my friends were gone for the summer break, so noone came to visit. My sister was out and about. My parents were considerate enough not to go on vacation without me. So, no walking around the house or garden, bathroom breaks had to be scheduled, distraction was scarce. What was I to do? … Yup! You guessed it: Pull out the guitar and play all day! It must have been way above 100 degrees in my room (“I like my wesbound well done, please. Thank you! Got a bun and some mustard to go with that? A cold beer? You know, white people tend to be a little chewy”… LOL). I can still feel the sweat running down my chest and back from only thinking about that. But: I believe it was then when the Muse hit me in full. I would actually listen to the records I played along with, analyze what made ‘em great for me, emulate the guitar parts as best as I could and improvise with the modest skills I had then (and consider not to be too different by now). So: This may have well been my defining time as a musician first. I say “musician first”, because as I went along in understanding, what made the greatness of the song for me, I instantly wanted to do like those great composers and artists. Which is how I got into songwriting, I believe.
To come back to the subject at hand being discussed in Janice’s article: I am in total agreement with her as to what makes a musician. And there’s no judging on my part as to that, either, whatsoever. Matter of fact, it is now that I feel the ambition to become a better musician and look into ways of accomplishing that (practicing at home is just a part of that equation). And as to artist: In my book, I believe this species to be a being, who look into ways of expressing themselves and their experiences by way of their artform of choice (music, painting, writing… you name ‘em). There is a prevalent urge in saying something in such a way that everyone (with open ears and mind, that is) can relate to it. Much as for Janice, to me the greatest joy and reward in music is to write a song. Work out a chord progression. Find nice sounds to go with that. Optionally lyrics to tell a (personal) story. Make the “inner track” audible to the public. That sort of thing.
I’ve been writing songs eversince (I trashed a large stack of unfinished lyrics when moving out from home at 18). 25 years later – I have just started out (again). With a bit of life on my hands. Some insights, some lessons, some pain and some joy. I consider myself that bottle of wine that stayed dormant in the basement. The door has been opened, new light falls into the room. Time to pick up the narrative and journey.
Care to come along?
wesbound, July 2010
P.S.: On a little less serious note: When you forget the lyrics, it’s still better to hum and look involved. Like this:
just a little update to let you know that I had the honor and pleasure to do an interview on Gary Fuston’s GHP Radio. If you missed my event announcement on Facebook, feel free to catch the recorded podcast here, segment #15. Hope, you’ll enjoy – the entire show outside my interview was and is great, you should definitely go check it at some point
OK, so now there’s 36 bars of a guitar track for my next track in the making. This equals about half a day’s work. Why that much? And why was I being slow? Can’t I play at all? Let me explain:
I left it the way it is now at about the 30th take into it. When I say “take”, I mean to say one ENTIRE track of recorded guitar, from bar 12 through 38. Don’t get me wrong: I had a decent take on the first attempt, yes. But then: It was only decent. I don’t by any means claim that the current track is perfect or anointed or anything. But it’s the least quality I’m satisfied with. So now why does it take so long?
Ok: I found out that I sound more organic when doing “entire tracks of takes” – in this case: About 36 bars at ONE GO! That again means, if I mess up anywhere in between … – you guessed it! – I stop the recording, go right back to the top of the track and start all over. Most often, I delete the current take right away unless I feel there were some parts I might be using later (which I rarely do, given the approach of taking the entire track in one go). To give you an example: Let’s say, a string accidentally snaps or “tingles” (in not a musical way) on the neckboard at bar 37… YES! I go RIGHT BACK TO THE VERY TOP and start all over!!! And I keep doing that as many times as it takes for me to be “OK” with the recording. When I say OK I don’t mean to be fishing for compliments, either. It’s really just that: When I’m ok with it, that’s when I leave it as is and move on. No sooner than that. If that requires for me to come back for an entire week until I got it right – I will! If it means, I have to drop some heavier parts and play something simpler, I will. If it means I’ll drop the take altogether… I will. The bottomline: Only – when I can lean back and listen without getting a knot in my stomach, only THEN will I warm up to the thought of actually “freezing” the take and move on to the next one.
For the songs I’ve put out so far, there’s typically between 20 and 30 individual tracks. Not all of them are single instruments. Sometimes, there’s a track with only fill-ins on drums. Other times, there are some ad libs (“random” additions) on the instrument. Sometimes, it’s a midi-track I’ve already recorded, which I copy and assign a new sound to (to “fatten” it, mostly for bass sounds, sometimes for bass drum or snares). This is just about the “raw” process of tracking instruments. The editing process… guess, that will be a different chapter.
OK, now I’m gonna take a break and do a lap of bike-riding or swimming, then back to the “sweatshop” later LOL.
Have a great day, everyone!
via Jazzdrummerworld.com: Interesting article on a new file format that might eventually supersede the somewhat dated MP3 format. The idea in a nutshell: Attach additional information like lyrics, photos, live tweets, updates of all kinds to the song itsself. Sounds promising to say the least. Apple as well as traditional major labels are experimenting with this format as well as derivatives. Digital music lovers should keep an eye open on that.
I’m pleased to report that the Naiad Theme is now available on both iTunes and Amazon as well as some other outlets, which I’ll try to find out about.
I am pleased to announce a new venue and date for an appearance at Green Leaf Indochine Restaurant, Munich. This is what the Green Leaf brochure reads like:
“Our claim ‘Freshen up your life’ allows you to not only experience the wellness feel to healthy living through preparation of our courses, but for the first time ever through enjoying a drink at our cocktail bar. Our renowned bartender John Kindall from Florida will create drinks for you that are not only well aligned with our motto, but which are going to be an all-time first. Or can you say that you’ve ever had a Gingerrinha with fresh ginger before in your life? Or a Tai Chi Harmony topped by Aloe Vera?”
In addition, Green Leaf will celebrate China’s traditional Lantern Feast on February 19th, 2009:
“The Latern Celebration is held at the first full moon after Spring Festivity. Traditionally small spheres made from sticky rice called Yuanxiao are being served and enjoyed. They are a symbol of family ties and the implied coherence and loyalty amongst family members.”
I have the pleasure of tending to the live music repertoire that night. In addition to my regular repertoire I seek to find a song suiting the night’s motto.
Reservations are being accepted at +49-89-211 11 060. You’ll find the Green Leaf on Erhardt 15 at Cornelius downtown Munich.
I’d love to see one or the other familiar face.
Update: Please find the brand new info trailer, images and detailed information about the Green Leaf (in German, though) by following this this link. I am looking forward to seeing you there for a culinary delight dipped in smooth music.
Update 2: I had major technical problems that night, which I hadn’t expected that way. Otherwise I would have taken more time for a thorough sound-check. Hm… Hope, I didn’t all bust it… I got the feeling, though that customers and audience were still appreciative of me, some even openly grooved along. So… this is hoping, I’ll get a second chance to make good for the occasional feedback I had to struggle with…
I have been dining a few times at a new Indochine restaurant in Munich, which I discovered by pure chance after a business appointment one Friday afternoon. As the appointment had gone fairly well and put me in good spirits, I spontaneously decided to reward myself by dining at the Green Leaf on Erhardtstrasse at Cornelius- in Munich, in walking distance to the former building of “Deutsches Museum” on the Isar. It wasn’t prime dining time, yet, so the place wasn’t crowded – much to my liking! I had a most delicious meal (and I can tell the differences, as I mostly prefer Asian cuisine when dining out) and the opportunity to chat a bit with the owner and the bartender. The place had just opened about a week ago and you could tell they hadn’t gotten around all finishing the furnishing, but I didn’t mind. What was already there looked and felt promising, especially the tasteful lighting. On top of it, service staff was really accessible and very, very nice – which is a rare thing in Germany in general and Munich in particular.
So I took chances and presented my music repertoire to them, handed them one of my advertising postcards and let them listen to an original tune I had just finished and happened to have with me on the iPod. Before I left, I had a larger version of the most delicious welcome drink, which is a Mango-Kiwi-Daiquiri – very tasty! When I finally headed out, the owner as well as John, the bar-tender said they’d call me about potential live performances. So, after having been there a second time and then finally today, a third time and delivering a demo CD on their request, things look, as if I might get to play there live beginning of March. Nothing’s carved in stone, yet, but I get the feeling this could be a great place to perform, as John had Smooth Jazz on the PA system all night – and every night I went there. And on top of it all, I get the impression that we get along well with each other as people, too. I had a quite nice and lengthy talk with Tran, the owner, tonight after returning there when I had fnished watching Seven Pounds.
Along with Vielharmonie in Alling, who also announced they might book me on a rather regular basis, project wesbound is picking up pace faster than I thought it would. Hm… should I have struck the right nerve with my selection of tunes? From the looks and sounds (sic!) of it, this might actually be the case.
Interesting… in the past few years things didn’t always really pan out for me. Tentatively speaking again, this looks and feels, as if times were about to change for me – for the better… I certainly wouldn’t mind THAT at all!
I am currently in the process of – hopefully – finishing another tune.
I guess it’s commonplace to state that when working on a creative piece you sooner or later end up with tunnel vision: Not only have you thought of gazillions of slight variations here and there, you may have already tried and dimissed them altogether and thus sooner or later find yourself taking things off as you go along. In simple words: The more you LEAVE out, the better it tends to get. *sigh* – I should heed my own warning here, as I keep shoving stuff into the arrangement of above linked tune. Also, I HATE my voice. I can’t stand listening to myself singing and I also never get the performance right, as I’m recording this at home, where I don’t have studio equipment, such as e.g. a sound-proof box for recording voiceover or vocals. Hence – I’m always timid about disturbing one of my neighbours or getting unwanted attention of one kind or the other.
So, in other words: As soon as I’ve managed to get something recorded and listen to what I’ve just done … I feel like throwing it in the garbage. Personal issues, like not liking my voice set aside, the process is a tricky one.
I’m afraid, I’ll have to adjust to that and learn to love it to some extent….