Enter the Dragon

Welp.

I’m in my new place.

Big room, decent acoustics.

Currently finishing up listening to the Billboard Hot 100, 1969; a practice of listening to hits which usually kicks off my week of writing and transcribing.

This week might be different though, considering that I barely unwrapped my keyboard this morning.

Been waking up around 4am to catch the worm.  Gotta love the calm mornings!

I’m eager to get back to writing but putting together some sort of show is a priority now.  I’ve got a little bit of admin to accomplish, also finishing up the acoustic treatment in this room but after that I launch my Patreon and start my email list.  There are also cool Hexspa merch ideas for which I hope to arrange.

In case you actually came for Enter the Dragon then just go buy it.

At least Starbucks is close.  Speaking of which…

-m

Unplugging

It’s going down.

My internet connection, that is.  I’m about to break down my computer in this move to a new place.  Being that this desk is the last bastion of comfortable insanity I have, I’m shook.

But we can fear not: I’ll be back up and better than ever in a few days at most.  I have plans to build more acoustic panels and maybe even publish some results of measuring tests comparing fluffy to rigid.  I’m definitely going to return to trackmaking/songwriting, make my Patreon public and hopefully begin playing shows before the end of the year.

Please sub on YouTube to keep updated.  I’ll have my email list for this site happening soon too so look out for that.

-m

Super Sorry Bro

I tried.

Fuckin iMovie.

Doesn’t matter tho since I did the Warren Buffett 25/5 thing and realized that making music videos ain’t for me.

This is probably the first or second most derivative track I’ve done – not gonna lie.

But, you got to learn somehow.

Made it in one week.  Almost broke Ableton.  Need to resample.

Let me know what you think, hit me up over on Patreon and sub for more great music.

-m

Spase-X

Prepare for liftoff.

Here’s a song I did.

I’m currently producing a track, writing a song and transcribing a cover each week.

They say it’s all about completing a large body of work.

Thanks to the winter and delicious beer I’ve got the large body down currently.  Time to do work.

Check it out, let me know if you like it and please consider supporting Hexspa on Patreon.

Thanks!

-m

How To K-System

Pink noise.

Hey guys.  I just want to make a quick post reflecting the content of this video.

Essentially, the K system has been blown way out of proportion in terms of it’s complexity.

It is nothing more than simply using pink noise to set your room’s volume level.

Pink noise approximates music but without dynamics.

You’ll need an SPL meter, any pink noise file, a RMS or EBU-R128 loudness meter and a DAW.

Import the noise, set it to -20dBFS RMS or -20LUFS integrated.

Turn on your SPL meter, place it at your listening position and set it to C weighted, slow response.  You’ll be aiming for a dBC level of about 72-76dB.  Pick any level and stick with it for now.

Turn just one monitor on and play the noise.  Turn up the volume until it’s at your target dBC value.  Repeat for other speaker.  Sub can be on.

Boom, you’re at K20.  It’s useful for mixing and correlates roughly to 0dBVU.

In order to do K14, and from there you can figure out any other scale, just turn the noise UP in your DAW to -14dBFS RMS/LUFS.  Compensate by turning down your monitors until you hit your dBC target value.

The whole idea is that you want to be listening at the same volume no matter how hot the signal is in your computer.

The main secret is to keep everything consistent – your levels but also the pink noise file you use, your SPL meter, your listening position and your loudness meter.

Hope this was helpful.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Consider supporting Hexspa on Patreon.  I’m focused on music right now so I’ll probably be doing less tutorials.

-m

Workout and Vape

Can’t run and smoke.

That’s bs.  You can do it until you’re 17.

Went for “Karlihua Runicles” today with Karla then to the vape shop.

Got the vlog up and now I’m editing my Patreon welcome video.

Should be fun.

Currently rehearsing “Broken Rib” and “Today”.  Planning to record them in a special location.

See you tomorrow,

-m

Starting A Patreon

I’m broke.

Seriously.  You know the cliche of living in your mom’s basement?  That’s me.  Except for the mom’s basement part.

So the good news is that I am living.  That might not be good news to some people (it’s hard to be second best lol) but every waking hour is an opportunity to awaken from the nightmare of your mind.

Deep spiritual discourse aside, I feel bad asking for money.  Starting this Patreon, I don’t think I’m asking for money.  Asking Karla and my grandma for money is asking for money.  Starting a Patreon is my attempt at an exchange of value.

This won’t be the first thing I’ve ever attempted to make money from.  I did sell some CD’s from a band I was in.  I honestly did try to give said band the money I made but they never got back to me so I won’t name them.

Anyway, I’m going to start this Patreon page soon.  It’s already there I just need to jazz it up and make it, you know, workable.

There are some awesome rewards I have planned for those who are interested.  Pretty much, if you like what I do you’ll like my Patreon.

It’ll mean a lot to my family and me.  It’s also good for the world since no one needs another barista that hates their job ‘namsayin?

Once the page goes up I’ll be linking to it regularly.

I’ve also got a new EP coming out soon and that’s a whole ‘nother topic I’ll probably explore tomorrow.  I’ll see you for lunch tomorrow, how bow dah?

-m

New Beginnings

No more talking.

I’m done making fully produced videos on topics no one cares about.

I enjoy writing songs more than I enjoy teaching it.

If you guys want to hear more about how to do a songwriting technique or anything else just hit me up.  This internet is a two way street.

Until I get some requests I’m just going to be posting daily vlogs on whatever topic piques my interest for the day.  It’ll probably be music related since that’s all I really know.

If you haven’t noticed my channel and this site have new artwork.  It’s supposed to reflect the more diverse and light approach I’m taking.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to do my best.  There’s just no point in putting in so much effort if it’s not appreciated.

I was watching this video by Graham Cochrane of the Recording Revolution.  In it he says the new music business requires three things:  1. Understanding you’re a brand, 2. Understanding you’re a content creator and 3. Getting stuff out.

I think the fact that I have a logo, a name and a somewhat unified web presence reflects that I understand branding.  Obviously I’m a content creator.  The third one is what’s hitting home lately.

So like I said, hit me up.  Talk to me and tell me what you like or don’t like.

Check out today’s vlog and I’ll see you tomorrow.

-m

How How To Write Amazing Second Verses – Escape From Second Verse Hell – Pt. 3

Fellow songwriters – it’s time to unpack your baggage!

Welcome to the third installment of Escaping From Second Verse Hell.  Check parts one and two to get up to speed.  This week we’re going to deal with the problem that happens when you don’t give enough detail.  If you’re more of the Cliff’s Notes-type writer then this week’s info is for you.

This tip is not in Pat Pattison’s material at all as far as I know but I still recommend his book Writing Better Lyrics.  You can click the link to read what other writers think about it.

Week one’s tip was pertinent when you write a decent verse but in it you tell the song’s whole story.  In that case you just put that verse second and then write another verse before it to set the scene.

Week two dealt with “boxes” and how to include your character’s deeper motivations into a sequence that builds momentum.

Now we’re going to learn how to add detail and emotional weight to a verse that might be a little light in the heart and mind department.

In my YouTube video that corresponds to this article (check it out here) I gave an example of a verse that reads like a plot outline.  Then I use a technique I learned by analyzing how the greats write.  What they do is write a line and then immediately follow it up with a supporting line.  Let’s take a look at the opening lines from Sting’s “Fortress Around Your Heart”

Under the ruins of a walled city

Crumbling towers in beams of yellow light

No flags of truce, no cries of pity

The siege guns have been pounding through the night

What I see here is two lines that set up ideas and two lines that support it.  Line 1 zooms you in to a ruined city from wherever you’re sitting.  Line 2 gives details about the former.  Line 3 introduces a human element, through negation, which contrasts the inanimate nature of dead walls and line 4 gives a positive sense of action and immediate history – but, critically, relating directly to line 3.

If you wanna get really fancy you can bake the supporting line into the second half of each of your lines.  Take a look at “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” as performed by The Righteous Brothers:

You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips
And there’s no tenderness like before in your fingertips

I left black the words that tie those two halves together.  Incidentally the black words deal with time, the red words negate the presence of something and the blue corresponds to the parts of the body.  In any case you can see how there’s a wind up and a pitch.

You could also say that the whole first line is red and the whole second line is blue but I’m arguing that the detail is built into the line.  Regardless, these two songs do not read like a outline – they have detail, take their time and make you feel something without being overly verbose.

As a side note, know that they’re showing you what’s going on with the use of concrete imagery.  Sting isn’t saying, “Man, when I love girls I’m so possessive.” He’s showing you the world in which that feeling lives.  Phil Spector wasn’t saying, “My old lady’s left!”  He’s talking to her and giving details which prove it.  That’s a whole ‘nother article.

Anyway guys I hope that was helpful.  Make sure you’re following up your new information with some supporting detail.  Be sure to check out parts one and two and check back here every week for new Hexspa updates.

I’m going to be on Patreon soon so if you like what I’m doing please consider going over there to check me out since I’ll have some awesome exclusives for your contribution.  Also check out Writing Better Lyrics if you want to work on your writing in earnest.

See you next week,

-m