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Month 1: January

Create Every Day Projects for January, 2013

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Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #1 – January 1, 2013 – Dubby Woooaawww Electronic Music Idea

Here’s my first Create Every Day musical idea. I’ve been trying to learn more about creating sounds using Native Instrument’s Massive VST, and this particular sound is kind of a dirty, slow, wub sound, inspired by modern dubstep music.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #2 – January 2, 2013 – Guitar Jam Riff

I felt a little bluesy and jammy, so I thought up this guitar riff that’s got a bit of a dirty jam vibe to it. The recording quality is low as it was recorded through my crappy laptop mic using Audacity. But I assure you, the guitar itself (Martin X1 Auditorium) is a sweet sounding little axe.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #3 – January 3, 2013 – Poppy Club Tune Idea

I got sucked into Fruity Loops for a few hours today and thought up this pop-club type tune riff. This will be a piece I come back to as I already have additional ideas for it that will just take some time (and plenty of YouTube tutorials) to figure out. For example, the orchestra/strings type sound is currently a placeholder for a beefier synth sound – I just have to create said beefier synth… bring on the tutorials!


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #4 – January 4, 2013 – Melodic Vox Idea

The basis for this vocal/lyrical idea is something I worked up while walking along the banks of Kunming Lake near the Summer Palace in Beijing on one of my last days in China. The melody stuck with me, so I figured that was a good sign that I should fill it out with some lyrics and at least get a raw recording of it for future reference. Raw it is (again, recorded with the crappy laptop mic), but I like the concept enought that I’ll come back to it later on.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #5 – January 5, 2013 – Ambient Trance Idea

I have a tendency to write really busy music with way too much going on, so I’m trying to produce a piece that’s more simple, straightforward, and ambient, while still inspiring movement in the mind and body. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, but hopefully it will evolve into a nice piece as I continue working on it.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #6 – January 6, 2013 – Lyrics for Melodic Vox Idea

Today, I’m posting lyrics to the vocal part I posted for Create Every Day #4, as well as additional lyrics I came up with for more of the song. I’m pretty excited to see where this piece goes!

Hey, how have you been? We haven’t talked in a while.
I really miss your smile and the ways that you would always make me laugh – I’m longing for that which we had together.
Where are you now? Am I forever lost within this sea of fear, or will you dare to draw me nearer if I hold up the mirror.
Are you in love? I hope you are.

Hey, where have you been? And have you felt inspired by your new surroundings?
I know your ventures through the days and nights on those non-stop flights have opened your eyes to your inner self.
O’, we move higher up into the atmosphere, and all of these things become clearer when we hold up the mirror.
Are you in love? I hope you are.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #7 – January 7, 2013 – Folksy Acoustic Idea

I was playing around with my acoustic guitar today and decided to record this folksy thing I was jamming on. Since I’m trying to learn how to simplify my writing, I wrote this piece using a simple chord progression and basic chords, and I’m pretty happy with the way it sounds for being more straightforward than what I typically write.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #8 – January 8, 2013 – Poppy Club Tune (Version 2)

I’ve done some updates to the “Poppy Club Tune” I posted for Create Every Day #3, including creating a beefy synth, improving the synth sound for the higher lead line (which I’m still not satisfied with – suggestions?), and beefed up the drum line a bit. I’m having fun with this one, so I’ll probably keep working on it off and on until I finish it.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #9 – January 9, 2013 – A Cappella Idea

What started out as a random melody in my head became a fun a cappella piece. I’ve never recorded nor mixed purely vocal music, but I think the end product isn’t too bad for a first attempt.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #10 – January 10, 2013 – Lightning Bride (Acoustic Intro Riff)

Some of you may recognize this guitar line – it’s from one of my acoustic songs called Lightning Bride. I decided it’s time to buckle down on recording a solo acoustic album, so hopefully this will be the start to a productive recording project! I’m not terribly satisfied with the tone yet, but I’ll keep working on it.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #11 – January 11, 2013 – Melodic Vox Idea (With Backing Guitar)

For today’s Create Every Day project, I recorded some basic backing guitar with updated vocals for the Melodic Vox Idea (Create Every Day #4 – lyrics posted on Create Every Day #6). It’s all still very rough, but I’m starting to flesh out the idea. Next, I want to learn how to sequence drums because I would like this to be a track with a full band using a prog/djent sort of styling.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #12 – January 12, 2013 – Bluesy, Funky Jam Idea

I felt ultra funky/jazzy/bluesy today, so for today’s Create Every Day project, I conjured up this little guitar/vocal jam.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #13 – January 13, 2013 – Funky, Bluesy Jam idea Lyrics

Today, I’m posting the lyrics I wrote for the jazzy/bluesy/jam piece I recorded yesterday. I felt moved to express some thoughts I’ve had brewing for a while, and I wanted to be as concise as possible, so this is what I came up with. I may add a second verse later, but for the time being I’m pretty happy with what this expresses.

Ain’t nobody change
Ain’t nobody change
Ain’t nobody changin’ that much about the future
Everybody say
Everybody say
Everybody sayin’ they got the plan to cure us

But we just want love
We want love
But you keep waving flags and shooting guns
We want love
We want love
But your idea of peace is terrorizing us
You’re terrorizing us – I don’t care about your “noble” cause

Put the guns down.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #14 – January 14, 2013 – Apple Sauce!

I created apple sauce! For today’s Create Every Day, I’m posting a photo of apple sauce that my friend Ally and I made from apples we dug out of a dumpster. She has a pressure cooker and a Victorio strainer, so I got to learn how to use these fine kitchen products to create shelf-stable applesauce. And it’s delicious! Since my kitchen skills are minimal and this was such a fun experience, I may try to incorporate additional food creations into future Create Every Day projects. Creating is delicious!

Homemade applesauce made from apples out of a dumpster.

Homemade applesauce made from apples out of a dumpster.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #16 – January 16, 2013 – Country Western Song Idea

I had this random country western idea in my head this evening, so I decided to record it. I’m definitely going to add to this one later because it makes me smile.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #17 – January 17, 2013 – Comedy Song (Guitar Riff)

I’ve never really written a comedy song before, but I was inspired by a display of affection I saw today, so I’m going to try writing a short comedic tune. I recorded a guitar line for it today, and I’ll try to record a vocal melody for tomorrow’s Create Every Day. I’m going for a ’90s TV show theme song sort of feel.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #18 – January 18, 2013 – Comedy Song (Rock Version)

I decided to try making a rock version of the comedy track from yesterday’s Create Every Day including drums, bass, and electric guitar. I think it sounds pretty cheesy, but I’m not too upset for a first attempt. I’ll get on the vocals sooner than later – just had too much fun playing with this track today to get any vocals recorded.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #19 – January 19, 2013 – Bro Hug!

After recently witnessing a lovely display of affection in downtown Seattle, I started singing a tune to myself in my car as I drove through the city. Through my Create Every Day project I ended up turning this idea into my first comedy song. While it’s only 37 seconds long, I hope everyone enjoys it and gets a laugh or two out of it.
I’ve posted the lyrics below.

Hey, what’s up, brah?
Not much, bro… wanna hug?
Yeah, hugs are totes sick, bruh!
Cheah, hugs are so chill.
Hyeah, hugs before snugs!
Bro hug!

Bro hug! (Yeah!)
A bro hug – it’s something you must understand. (Sweet, bro!)
For a bro hug is more than a normal hug – it’s the way we show love man to man.
You hug me, and I hug you, then I compliment your new Ed Hardy tattoo. (Sick tat, brah!)
That’s a bro hug! (Sweet!)
A bro hug!


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #20 – January 20, 2013 – Country Western Song Idea (Intro with Mandolin)

I revisited the country western song idea I posted for Create Every Day #16 and decided to incorporate some mandolin into it. I wrote a little intro tag and added a mandolin solo during the acoustic intro that mimics the vocal melody for the verse.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #21 – January 21, 2013 – I Made Beer!

I made beer! Well, at least, technically. It’s not the most amazing thing in the world, country, state, or city (in all likelihood, it’s probably not even the best in my neighborhood), but it’s drinkable, and it contains alcohol, so I’m counting it as a success! I was going for a spiced winter ale, which it definitely is – what I wasn’t going for was such a strong spice flavor, which it definitely has. Yet, as I was advised by my dear (and spectacular) home-brewing friend, Mike, a little spice goes a long way. In this case, one cinnamon stick and one clove in a two gallon batch was enough to make an almost pumpkin flavored beer (without using any pumpkin, whatsoever). It’s got a strong, spicy, almost floral nose with a biting initial taste that’s almost mouth-pucker inducing. The center mellows out a bit, which is also where the pumpkin tones come in as the clove becomes more apparent and less shocking. The body is rather simple, however, and it’s lacking the round, full flavor I would have liked. The finish is mostly just more subtle spice notes, so it’s also lacking complexity. I’ll be calling some of my beer-brewing friends for pointers on these aspects. The color is really nice, however – check out the photo! While I’m obviously not blown away by it, I’m happy to have finally created my own beer, and I’ll definitely continue trying new recipes and learning more about brewing. Hurrah for creating, hurrah for beer, and two hurrahs for creating beer!

My first home-brew! A winter, spiced ale

My first home-brew! A spiced winter ale which my friend, Ally, aptly named “Attack of the Cloves”.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #22 – January 22, 2013 – Poppy Club Tune Idea (Verse Riff)

I revisited the Poppy Club Tune I posted for Create Every Day #8 and came up with a verse riff for it. I’m going to keep this one moving along and try to finish up the instrumental portion of it soon.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #23 – January 23, 2013 – Ambient Trance Idea (with Vox)

I revisited the Ambient Trance Idea I posted for Create Every Day #5 – I added some ambient vocals and did a little more mixing to the kick and bass. I’m really happy with the vocal line I’ve come up with, and I’m excited to see where this one goes next.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #24 – January 24, 2013 – Country Folk Idea (Intro & Chorus with Vox)

I decided to keep working on the country western song I started a few days ago (Create Every Day #16 & Create Every Day #20), so now I have the intro and chorus with backing vocals completed. Since the style of this song is pretty basic, I should hopefully be able to finish this one up before the end of the month.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #25 – January 25, 2013 – Country Folk Idea (Verse with Vox)

I continued working on the country folk song and came up with a vocal line and lyrics for the verse. I still need to do some backing lines for the verse, but other than that, there isn’t much left to write – I’m still aiming to finish it by February 1st… we’ll see!


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #26 – January 26, 2013 – Film Project

For today’s Create Every Day project, I spent nine hours filming with a film crew in Oregon, and the experience was absolutely fantastic! Along with all the fun I had, I learned a great amount about how much time and energy goes into any form of film media; despite the fact that we worked the entire day, we still have a decent chunk of filming to complete tomorrow, and this is just for one portion of a video that has a total length of about four and a half minutes! Not to mention the huge amount of post-production work the crew will be working on, including an ambitious amount of CGI and special effects.

While I happened to be the main actor in the project, the crew was small enough that I still got to take part in setting up dolly tracks, carrying bags of rocks, holding green screens, general gear schlepping, and a bunch of other fun film crew things. I even learned some filming vocabulary, including some pretty important words like “glow,” “pizza,” and “jib.” At one point we moved a boulder so we could drive our gear truck through a “no vehicles permitted” area in order to get to one of the filming locations. Such a rebel.
Don’t worry, we put the boulder back after we drove back through.

I also learned that lighting is the most important thing in the world when you’re filming. At one point around 4:30pm, the clouds momentarily parted and the sun appeared on the horizon casting a beautiful glow on everything. At this moment, the director, who had been pretty easy going for most of the day, sprung into action like his life depended on it. In about twenty minutes, we took as many great shots as we had in the previous six hours combined. This made me feel pretty lucky as a musician where my optimal time frame is years of my life, not minutes near sunset where the clouds slip away for a few precious moments.

Even though we were all freezing for most of the day today (our actress was barefoot and wearing nothing but a thin dress!), I’m excited to head back tomorrow and finish up the filming portion of the project. While I won’t have any chunks of the video to post anytime soon, I’m very excited about the potential of this project, and I can’t wait to share the finished product with everyone once it’s available!

Reflecting through the mirror...

Reflecting through the mirror…


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #27 – January 27, 2013 – Film Project Part 2

Today was the final day of principal filming for the film project I have the opportunity to be a part of. However, rather than filming during the daylight hours like we did yesterday, all of the filming today was done at night. One of the major lessons I took away yesterday is that lighting is critical, so to see the way the lighting rigs were set up and adjusted and gelled and tilted and panned and flagged to achieve the exact images desired tonight was quite amazing. I had no idea how much work went into getting proper lighting. I’m sure this isn’t news to film people, but for one of the shots – which only constitutes one or two seconds of the entire film – several lights were set up and meticulously adjusted both inside the room and outside the windows as well as reflection boards and flags (to block certain sections of the light). Again, that was to get what will end up being a second or two of the film.

Needless to say, it’s quite cold outside. Yesterday, our poor actress was wearing nothing but a thin dress for most of the day. However, today it was my turn. While I definitely had it easier than she did (I was wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt), it was quite the experience being barefoot and kneeling on wet pavement for most of the night. What made it even more exciting is that many of the shots tonight were taken in the road. I felt like a kid playing catch in the street – every few seconds, one of us would yell, “car!” at which point everybody would scurry to the curb while the vehicle drove by, the driver staring out at this motley crew of people with cranes, dollies, lighting rigs, and a crazy barefoot guy in a t-shirt.

Of all the things I learned over the past couple days of filming, the most significant thing is that I have had a lack of appreciation for the kind of hard work that goes into creating film. All of our crew are volunteers, and most of them are students who have plenty of homework to do and midterms to study for. The time and energy devoted to getting the lighting just right is an art form in itself. The vision to see the shot before it’s taken and the devotion to taking just one more shot to get it just right is inspiring. The storyboard itself is beautiful and fantastic. And the physical stress that actors and actresses (and crew) put themselves through is quite impressive – not that anything I did personally was all that crazy, but the stories the director told me about some of the hardships his other actors and actresses have endured were quite amazing.

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful project with such great people, and I hope to find similar opportunities in the future. Once the film is completed – there’s apparently a ton of CGI work, lighting adjustments, and other fancy film stuff to be done – I’ll be posting it for everyone to check out.

Crew Shot with Tawny Acting

Preparing for a shot in a beautiful Oregon forest.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #28 – January 28, 2013 – Light Acoustic Guitar Riff

Today, I used my phone to record a light acoustic guitar riff with my Martin. I’m a bit surprised that the audio recording quality of my phone is far superior to that of my laptop microphone… however, they did cost about the same amount, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #29 – January 29, 2013 – Another A Cappella Idea

This random vocal idea popped into my head today, so I decided to make a little a cappella piece out of it. I tried adding some beat-boxing to it, but I can’t get the tone I want, so I’m leaving it out for the time being. I’ll check out some tutorials and see if I can get some good info on recording and mixing beat-boxing.


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #30 – January 30, 2013 – Country Folk Song (Verse & Chorus)

I’ve been working quite a bit on this country folk song to stay on track for completing it by February 1st. I added a high backing vocal line to the chorus and created backing vocals for the verse, and I also did a bit more mixing. I’ve got almost the entire song recorded, minus a mandolin solo and the final chorus, so I should be able to meet my goal and have this one ready to roll out in a couple days!


Skinwalker’s Create Every Day #31 – January 31, 2013 – Country Folk Song (Mandolin Solo)

I’m not terribly good at mandolin, so this solo took waaaaaay too long to write and record, but after a gazillion takes, I finally got it! The song is almost complete!