Archive for the ‘songwriter’ Category

0439

March 23, 2009

this is a track i made for 411God, a project that i compose music for weekly.  this one was particular satisfying for me.  prolly in a couple of weeks, you can hear the final version with the voice-over at http://www.411god.net/archive.php

i’ve been writing for this project for a little over a year now, and it’s been a great way to get lots of short ideas out and expand my pallate as i go.  it’s essentially what’s replaced the “song a week” project for me.  perhaps i’ll post some more of these favorites as i go.  maybe weekly!  i always appreciate the feedback and support of my friends, and it’s a nice way to review what i’m making and how things are progressing (or not).

thanks for listening!

http://www.jonsteinmeier.com

j

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let’s go sailing

August 28, 2008

aka “pure american water”

aka “p.a.w.”

aka “sail away”

aka “little ponies”

———-

music

the main goal of this one ended up being melodic material, and i basically wrote in this order:

1. main beat

2. chorus section chords

3. chorus section melody

4. other synth parts

5. guitar parts, which gave the verse section harmonic clarity

6. verse melody and all lyrics

not an unusual or particularly interesting writing order or scenario, but it was nice to get back into focusing on “melody over chords,” and chords which are mostly inside but go “outside” just a bit.

the words speak of a dream to one day be able to sail into another magical world where freedom is free and all cares are cut off by the magical sunshine and we’re all ponies.

thanks for listening!

j

freaks of nurture

July 9, 2008

hi friends! thanks for tuning in!

Freaks of Nurture

“freaks of nurture” is a poppy little romp through my last few weeks, and simultaneously through years of field work in the area of relationships and human interaction.

MUSIC

this was another song written from the “guitar.” this is often a good bet for me, if i give it time and enjoy playing the instrument. as a keyboard player and drummer, the guitar is both a nice break and an environment with welcome limits. the verse section of this song is a testament to that: very simple and melody driven. the “chorus” has a “strange change” that i think helps get its’ point across, even though the “nothing new under the sun” theory still applies.

for the geeks: i go to the the four chord for the chorus, but make it it IV, IV/I, #IV. what the hell?.

also for the geeks, or anyone who feels like singing along, the melodies in the verse and chorus start exactly the same way…with the same four notes, but in different keys! yay!! this is one of those “continuity” issues that i was really happy with.

after writing the core of the song on my back porch with guitar and voice and verse one lyrics (and coffee), i went to Ableton Live and laid down the fake drums and keyboard parts. i was going for simple, synthy, and a bit funny. i then added guitar, bass, and background vocals that were vaguely in my head from early on, but as usual, came together during the recording process.

WORDS (also known as “lyrics”)

whew…ok…well. this is another song in the “serious” category, which i’m getting increasingly comfortable with for some reason. while it’s understandably vague (i think), it stems from a short list of things:

1. the maplympics (july 4th weekend of events here)

2. girls

3. human nature, social verses innate

4. a funny compound plural noun coined years ago by my friend, steve williamson: “freaks of nurture”

5. a couple of recent dates i’ve had.

woah. dates? i won’t get into it here. but let’s say that i know some lovely people. this song isn’t “about” anyone but me ultimately, but touches on some of my “romantic” relationships, and the conflict and joy therein. in this song, it’s something that reminds me of how wonderfully humans are made (creationist theory), and how interesting and tricky it can be to operate as one (inherently).

————-

thanks for listening! if you’d you find me interesting enough to send you updates about “song of the week” postings, please click HERE for the mailing list.

if you don’t, thanks for your patience.

j

floyd goes to the open mic

June 5, 2008

episode four:

floyd’s really nervous about going to open mic night.  he’s got some songs he’s been dying to try out live, but he’s nervous that they won’t go over well, and generally has a hard time with social scenes.

listen, and see how it goes.

ABOUT:

this was another experiement for me, initially to find a way to combine a lots of instruments without maxing out my computer completely.  i ended up with a lot of instruments, all generally playing minimal parts.  i wanted lots of different color’s, and wanted to play with more instruments than i have been.  so i started a session of about 5 or 6 orchestral instruments or sections, then 5 or 6 more in another file, and so on, until i had about 4 sessions going, that all got mixed into the final live recordings.  the last step (live stuff) was the melodica, some sound effects, guitar and vocals, and mixing the end to sound cinematic, with volume and panning choices.  considering the number of things going on, and time it took, it feels very short to me now, but hopefully effective.  let me know what you think!  this was also fun, because it started without any clear idea, just sound and idea searching.  the one thing i wanted was the sneaky/creapy/pensive thing, which influenced some of the instrument and note choices.  the entire openning of the piece takes place inside floyd’s head, until he gets out of his head and into a bar at the end of the piece, and makes his decision on the “open mic” experience.

thanks for listening!

sign up on the mailing list here

and see detholz, baby teeth, danny black, and dj bobby conn at hideout this saturday night for a benefit for lena yohey’s trip to Nepal this Fall!  http://tmt.detholz.com/yohey-fest.jpg

in the cans

April 24, 2008

hello faithful readers/listeners. thanks for stopping by!

this weeks song, “in the cans” (mp3), centers loosely around my Christian faith, the commandments, death, and wanting to KNOW things that ultimately require FAITH because we they’re not provable. it’s an old dilemma for me, and an old one for humans in general i rekon. i don’t think i bring any fresh insight to this necessarily, but it’s been on my mind.

MUSIC

guitar, bass, drums, a coupla synths, and strings. the strings are new samples i’ve been working with, trying to get to sound realistic, which is tough. they’re a little fake in this one too, but i’m excited about figuring out ways to make ’em more believable. this music was written primarily from the piano, which often, for me, means that it moves around a fair amount harmonically.

LYRICS

i used a recording session as my backdrop or metaphor this time, which was fun. the main idea is that the process of learning how to live is similar to making music. the trial and error, the listening (through headphones in this case), copying others, and making mistakes on your way to a salvageable or even excellent take or idea. your guidance can be other stuff you’ve heard, friends who listen to your drafts, and rules for harmony, rhythm, line, etc. all the while though, there’s something you can’t explain about what you like. what sounds good or feels right.

“cover me” first draft

March 27, 2008

hey kids! welcome back!

this week i’m posting something i consider to be a draft of a song. an unfinished project. a POP SONG! i’m working on a couple right now, for reasons i won’t explain right now. 😉

cover me” (mp3) was approached as a dancy pop tune. changes and melody came close together, but i think changes ultimately won (it’s not a race, changes). i went for some standard movement, with a fair amount of “color,” and a couple of less ordinary movements, especially that one in the chorus, the one on “lover, be” i think. that one i’m pretty happy with. here are the changes:

verse: em7, Ebdim/Eb, Ebdim/Gb, CM7, bm7, em7, am7, C/D

chorus: G, Bbdim, C, EbM7/Bb, BbM7, G, CM7, C/D

what i mean by “color” is notes that are added to a chord in addition to it’s original three notes. for example, a C major chord is comprised of any combination of the notes C, E, and G, and adding some color to it could include adding a B natural somewhere middle or high in the voicing, and therefor creating a C Major 7 chord, aka CM7. also, some of the color in this tune comes from those “slash mark” chords like C/D or EbM7/Bb. think of those this way: the first letter (let’s take C/D) is the chord: C. the letter after the slash is the BASS note, or the lowest note you should play underneath this chord. notice though that D is NOT usually in the C chord, and THIS is where we get color! if you have a piano around, try playing a C major chord in your right hand, and a D, or D octaves in your left hand, all followed by a G major chord. 🙂

form: well, this song has a bridge, but it already got cut. being a pop song i’m gonna try and keep it as direct and to the point and “hooky” as possible, and will probably rewrite said bridge with something more like the chorus or verse. keep’n it simple. the first draft of the bridge (now cut), can be heard here:

bridge idea (mp3)

lyrically, this song is made up in sooper cheez love pop song styleTM. oops!! this is a first draft for lyrics too, so they may undergo some surgery in the next week or two.

that’s all for now! thanks for tuning in! i hope this melody sticks, but lemme know if it does or doesn’t. feedback is great! i’m working on this through a couple of drafts and really trying to iron out a solid pop tune, so i’m welcoming critique.

thanks for listening,

jon

p.s. videos are here (including a new live version of “our universe“)

p.p.s. detholz tonight at Abbey Pub (chicago)

p.p.p.s. mailing list is here

EVERYTHING IS PERFECT

October 16, 2007

well, not exactly. this song for example, is not perfect. but hey! welcome back to the weekly song a week for the weak songy song-time leek seekers song blog!

everything is perfect” is a three part diddy i wrote over the past week (give or take), and started with the idea to just make a guitar rocker.

PART ONE:

once i came up with the rhythmic idea (drums first), i looped it and added the crunchy, dissonant guitar chunks. i liked it because it was confusing and sporadic, but that’s a funny thing about writing and recording a song, that as you know it better it gets a little boring to you. this is part of the reason this openning is so short i guess. it also made sense to me to keep it short, cause it’s so noisy and high energy that it sounds like a scream in my memory, which i like. (“run-on”, sorry english buffs).

lyrically, this guy got pretty cheezy to me, but you should’ve heard the first version. 🙂 the “we’re gonna be ok!” shout chorus just made sense to me hearing that repeated “chorus” at the end. i was thinking teeny-power-emo-punk a little here in general. the openning is so convoluted rhythmically, that i found the straight ahead chorus to be a pretty satisfying break. so…”we’re gonna be ok” was easy, repetitive, common, and the lyrical break from the tense, worrisome “verse” lyrics before that, which are appropriately TENSE. in general, these are all general lyrical ideas, actually about some other characters that i neither am nor know. (man, i think my writing is really confusing right now, sorry). bascially, the lyrics were written by high school kids.

PART TWO:

i wanted this MADNESS to go in to something totally polar. i opted for a little organy sound (actually a sine wav) that reminded me of a not-so-memorable prelude or offertory in church. something that was relaxing and unobtrusive, to contrast the openning section. i thought of singing choiry reverbed four part over this, but decided to go “super stripped down simple style” for effect. i like this section a lot acutally, in the context of the whole piece. the calm after the storm.

PART THREE:

this part, started with the drums again, and i went for another pretty different character altogether. the electro element for one, the light and clean guitar parts, and the pitch shifted spoken parts i’m such a fan of these days. the joke of the piece is in this section, but it’s not actually the voices, although chipmunk steiny always makes me laugh. i was thinking of singing over this section as well, but ended up liking the little skit with “lucious” better, imagining who this weirdo is and why he’s in my room when i wake up and why that doesn’t seem to bother me at all. 🙂

but, i guess it’s because everything is perfect.

thanks for listening!

tune in next week for one of a couple of ideas:

1. a piano trio doing an original steiny JAZZ number

2. another boring pop song

3. some sound design

4. maybe something for strings

5. maybe a recording of me eating a burrito.

-j

p.s. the mailing list is here (updated weekly)

Welcome…

July 20, 2007

thanks for visiting. this site is dedicated to music that i’m writing and recording weekly, part of a personal “song of the week” project that i started in january 2007. i currently post a song a week (at least) at www.jonsteinmeier.com that i write and record. my plan on THIS site is to give some insight into what i’m writing and why, to open the floor for questions and comments about said writing, and even suggestions for subject matter, style, etc…requests. feel free to get involved. i hope you have a lovely time here.

thanks for visiting,

jonny