Friday, December 14, 2012

bumper stickers

hey, calm down a minute. i know you're incredibly mad right now. i know what you're thinking. "dangit nick, you haven't posted for 6 months". and you know what, after i do a little math (carry the one) i would agree with you. but i'm not even gonna apologize. i'm just gonna act like it never happened and we can let the healing begin.

so last weekend tricia, #babybombs and i were on a road trip for a show in illinois. i couldn't help but notice a few choice bumper stickers. i didn't notice how funny, clever or offensive they were. here's what got me - i'm pretty surprised by how much information they give out. here's what i'm talking about....



we've all seen these. they're cute and endearing, right? chances are your soccer mom has this on her gas guzzling SUV. but for a second, let me put on my psycopathic killer hat. this bumper sticker tells me exactly how many people live in the house, their approximate ages, gender and in some cases, their names. "hey little Bartholometwix, get in the car. your mom, Quantumleapeesha said it was ok and i've got some candy." it also lets burglars know whether or not you have a dog guarding your place.

and then there's this genius....


most guys with this bumper sticker probably own a lot of guns, have a genuine distrust for any government and are preparing for the apocalypse. but here's the thing. if you distrust any sort of government and want them to stay off your back, then why would you put this bumper sticker on your car? it's like a giant bullseye for cops that says, "hey, stop me - i probably have illegal class 3 automatic weapons in my car." and hey, i'd actually kinda consider myself a gun nut, but you'll never see this guy on my rear end.


pleeeeease.....seriously? you're such an enlightened person yet you don't realize that some of the religions these symbolize have basic tenets that call for the extermination of the other ones? i think i'd actually respect the darwin fish with legs more.

and there's this - political bumper stickers. why would anyone EVER put a political bumper sticker on their car. has any good ever been done by this? have you ever met someone who actually changed their vote because of this? "well, i was gonna vote for that one guy, but then i saw that R squared logo and i was SOLD." and secondly, the nation is about equally divided between republicans and democrats. let's say you get pulled over by a democrat cop for going 6 over. he probably would let you off, but then he sees your "don't blame me, i voted for romney" bumper sticker and then decides to stick it to you.

and then there's this one...


so you ran a marathon. great. good for you. but the fact that you put a bumper sticker on your car to let us mere mortals know how amazing you are tells us a lot about you. the saying goes "you never get a second chance at a first impression", right? is this the kind of first impression you wanna be leaving?


believe what you want. it doesn't matter to me. continue to put bumper stickers on your car. but aside from lowering the resale value on your car, you're not really helping your case. i don't think i'll ever put a bumper sticker on.....however, i'm very tempted to put truck nuts on my car just to see how long it takes my wife to figure out what's going on. hahahah....but that's a whole different post

Friday, June 22, 2012

super string theory and bill murray

ok, i just had a revelation. i'm watching groundhog day right now and something just occurred to me. if you haven't seen the movie, (don't worry, i'm not ruining anything for you) you just need to know bill murray is stuck re-living the same day over and over again. he tries everything he can think of from taking advantage of his plight to going on suicidal binges until he finds the right path before it all ends. the movie never really tells why he's re-living the same day over and over. that's not the point of the movie, but still the question lingers.

so it just occurred to me that the story could possibly be shaped by the laws of Super String Theory - most notably utilizing multiple universes, a.k.a., the Multiverse. i'll try to explain. let's start from the beginning

when you see a movie, it is in two dimensions - height and width. 2D. the screen is flat. but when you see a 3D (or 3 dimensional) movie, the image appears to also have depth. the 4th dimension is time. our brains perceive time as linear, but theoretically, that is just an illusion. we'll get to that in a minute. anyway, string theory states that for every decision or random possibility that happens to you, there are infinite alternate universes to account for those other possibilities. did you decided to eat a ham sandwich or a peanut butter sandwich today? you chose peanut butter? well according to string theory, there is an alternate universe where you chose a ham sandwich. there's also a universe where you ate both. we make thousands and thousands of choices everyday and there is a universe for every possible choice.

now this will blow your mind - what if bill murray wasn't living the same day over and over again. what if somehow his consciousness stepped out of linear time, which in turn would allow him to move between different universes within the multiverse. so everyday he is living out different choices and continues to try out every possibility until he finds the right one.

what if there was a being of some sort whose consciousness was not bound by normal time and space and was able to move from universe to universe sorting out infinite possibilities for every decision until they found the right decision? that being would technically be omniscient, all-knowing and omnipresent. that being would always know the right answer. to that person/being, a day is like 10,000 years and 10,000 years is just a day.

it almost becomes conceivable, from a scientific perspective, how a God could exist just beyond our understanding and our perception of space and time. i'll leave you with a quote from the movie:

Bill Murray:   I am immortal

Rita:   why are you telling me this?

Bill Murray:   cause i want you to believe in me......Maybe the real God uses tricks. Maybe He's not omnipotent. He's just been around so long, He knows everything.


[[[if you want to know more about string theory and dimensions beyond the 4 that we perceive, watch the videos embedded below]]]






Wednesday, June 20, 2012

i'm only fooling myself

what do you think is the greatest skill that you could learn or master? would it be aeronautical engineering? nuclear physics? or maybe mastering the subtle art of poetry? or what about the machiavellian notions of politics and the ability to manipulate and control others? i think there's an even greater skill that trumps all others. possibly the greatest skill that a person could ever learn is self-control.

countless bible verse, proverbs and ancient wisdoms tell of the value of self control, or taming the tongue and even the value of patience. my greatest obstacle is myself.  ever since i was a little kid i've never had trouble learning how to do a job or even getting it done. what i have trouble doing is just getting started. some people blame it on ADD. i was diagnosed as a kid, but so were millions of other kids. who knows if i even had it or if i was just a rowdy kid. whether i have ADD or not, it doesn't really change anything.

as a kid i would have a study time period available to do homework but i would just sit there drawing or doing something stupid and procrastinating. a teacher or a friend would coax me to just start working and then, voila, i'd get working and would feel great and would be done before i knew what was going on. that STILL HAPPENS. i'll have work i need to do and i'll find myself sitting on my couch watching tv and playing on my laptop for hours just procrastinating, looking at canv.as or browsing ebay, or looking at rifle scopes...i could go on and on...let's face it. the entire internet is one giant time suck. anyway, but once i get started i'll work tirelessly for hours and feel great about it.

while this is a constant struggle, over the years i've figured out a few tricks to get myself working. i've actually figured out ways to trick myself into starting working without it feeling like work.

1. just look/watch/listen - if i have studio work that needs editing or mixing or whatever and i'm procrastinating, i just tell myself to go listen to it. listening is easy. it's not work. i'm just hitting play and enjoying it. but here's the thing - if i can just convince myself to go into the studio and start listening, all of the sudden my brain will kick in and i'll start wanting to tweak this and change that. then before you know it, i'm working and i love it. and you know what, it ALWAYS works. if i can just convince myself to start listening, i'll get psyched and will WANT to start working.

2. SLOW DOWN - another thing my brain tells the rest of myself when i'm procrastinating is that if i start working, i can just take it nice and slow. and when i do go turn on my computer and start working, sometimes i do go very slow. maybe i've got netflix streaming a tv show while i take my time working. maybe i don't get a lot of progress. but the point is, a little work is better than no work. and i'd say about 85% of the time i get psyched and start working like crazy.

3. Set yourself up to win - work and play are like binging and purging for me. when i work, i work like crazy where it completely consumes me till i burn out. then when i do burn out, i'll be so exhausted i won't want to do a THANG. instead, lately i've been working on setting achievable goals and planning a little extra time to accomplish tasks so that i'm not tearing my hair out from work and stress. instead of working in the studio for morning till late at late, maybe allow myself the freedom to turn off the computer around 7 or 8 and relax a bit.

4. and lastly, MAKE A LIST - a very rich man once told me that the key to success is this: when you wake up in the morning, make a list of everything you need to do, then spend the rest of the day checking things off that list. every week on monday morning i make a To Do list for the week. if there's  a specific day that i know i need to work but just don't feel like it, if i start making a list of everything that needs to be done, it gets my brain working and in the mood to start checking things off that list. ok i know what you're thinking. a weekly list isn't the same as a daily list like the nice rich man told me about. but LAY OFF ME!! i tweak the list daily so i basically am making a list daily. we're arguing semantics. actually, right now i'm arguing with a fictional reader, or better yet, arguing with myself....but i digress....

that's all i got. i guess i'm writing this for anybody who has trouble motivating themselves. this isn't about motivation when you're at work with your boss breathing down your neck or you're with a client.  that's easy. anybody can do that. this is about motivating yourself when you're alone and there's no one there to motivate/shame/bully you into working. i'm lucky enough that i get to play/write/record music for a living. a large percentage of my work is done without anybody supervising and it's up to me to start working. there's an old proverb about an older indian telling a young boy that inside every person is a good dog and a bad dog fighting. the boy asked which dog will win the fight. the indian responds "whichever dog you feed more". inside of each of us is an evenly matched fight. actually, you could almost arguing the fight is stacked against you. so figuring out ways to trick yourself into taking the road less travelled is like giving an edge to the good side when it's a close match.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

the hard way

there is a life lesson that, after playing professionally for 6 years, i continue to learn the hard way. over and over again i have the same thing happen to me. i think i've learned from my mistakes and have put procedures in place and yet it still seems to happen and it's all my fault. it's like their are little gremlins or gear gnomes always one step ahead of me. what i talking about is gear problems on stage

here's the thing - at any given show there are a million things that can go wrong. cables can short out, wireless frequencies conflict, guitars get banged up, strings break, fuses blow, etc... and even though that is just a part of life, as a player, it's always YOUR FAULT...or i guess i should say my fault.

when the spotlight comes on and the curtain goes up, i am the one who looks stupid if there's no sound coming from my guitar or even worse - the WRONG sound coming from my guitar. it's really not fair, but it's just how it is. i can have every excuse about how someone else or something else caused this, but at the end of the day it's my fault.

i'll give you a few examples. we fly to shows a lot, and when i check my pedalboard, TSA has a habit of opening it up - which is understandable because on the x-ray all the cords and wires looks suspicious. however, many times they feel the need to unplug cables, twist knobs and even unscrew my George L connectors. so we show up at the venue for sound check and when i plug in i just get a horrible buzzing sound and have to waste 15 minutes of our 20 minute sound check trouble shooting which cable or pedal TSA messed with. and then there's guitar intonation. when you fly with guitars, they inevitably get banged around no matter how good your road case is. and there's nothing more frustrating than knowing your guitar is perfectly in tune, but you still hit a chord and something is out of tune because of the intonation.

sometimes the production company doesn't hook up the power correctly and the power your amp is running through is connected to the lighting system and again, i spend 15 minutes searching for ground lifts and extension cords. and don't get me started on wireless frequencies. every show will have different wireless mics and wireless in-ear packs that conflict with the frequency of my guitar. so i'll spend the time to switch the frequency in sound check, and then when showtime comes, i'll still have problems because another band has their own wireless packs that weren't turned on when i was scanning for an open frequency.

i'm not trying to complain here. this isn't a whining blog. the lesson is that it's up to YOU to put in failsafe systems to deal with this stuff. i always carry a spare cable so that if i have a wireless problem, i can instantly just plug right in and work around it. i carry one or two spare George L cables just in case TSA decides to mess with my pedalboard. i carry mini-screwdrivers with me and adjust intonation all the time to deal with my guitars getting banged around. i always have extra picks and sets of strings.

another issue is monitors and guitar tones. when i fly to shows i only bring guitars and pedal board. the promoter provides the amps, also known as backline. and while our contract rider dictates what types of amps to provide, frequently i get something less than satisfactory. but the fact remains that if my guitar tone sounds bad, it's my fault. i can't blame anyone else. so sometimes (not very often) i have to be a diva and tell them they need to find another amp. this has only happened twice, but there was no other way. and in the last two years i've adjusted my pedalboard with 3 gain stages of distortion so that i can deal with almost any amp in those few situations where the provided amp is no good and there's no way to get something else. i'm not a jerk about it. i try to be very respectful and it's been fine. one time the promoter went to guitar center, bought an amp for me to use and then returned it for a full refund after the show.

the same is true with your monitors. when i first started playing gigs i didn't care too much about what my monitors sounded like. i just didn't want to be a pain. but again, i learned the hard way that if my mix isn't right and it affects my performances, it's nobody's fault but mine. if the guy running monitors isn't very good, it's up to me to keep working with him until it's right. back with TFK we played to tracks and it was important to hear the click track clearly or else i could get off time with the tracks and the rest of the band. the same can also be true for singers - if you can't hear your voice clear enough, it's your responsibility to make sure everything sounds and feels right because in the end, you're the one who looks stupid if you go flat or sharp - regardless of whether or not you can hear yourself. you can't apologize on stage. well, i guess you can, but nobody cares. you look stupid.

there's no way to get around having technical mishaps on stage every now and then. stuff happens. but here's the thing - they don't have to happen twice. my strategy is this: if some sort of technical glitch happens, i figure out a way to install a safeguard so that the problem will never happen a second time. it's reasonable to make mistakes, but only once. after the first time it's up to you to figure out a way to make sure it doesn't happen again. yesterday i played a show and was having trouble with my wireless and couldn't figure out what it was. but i made a mistake and switched the channel and assumed it would be better. when the show started, it wasn't. luckily i used my spare cable and worked around it, but the first couple songs i had serious problems and looked stupid. i broke my own rule - and that is that if it's not sounding right during soundcheck, don't leave soundcheck until is it right. cause nothing magical is going to happen in between check and showtime that will repair your gear.

just remember, no matter how many and how good your excuses are, in the end it's still your responsibility to make sure your gear is working correctly and your responsibility to make sure that you are ready to play.

Friday, May 4, 2012

We'll Do It LIVE

Nowadays there are many ways to put a record together. Sometimes we put them together piece by piece, sometimes we record live and sometimes we do a little of both. The most important part of any recording process is not necessarily recording something that sounds clean and pristine. The most important part of any recording is capturing the energy of the performance. Sometimes that means we keep recording guitar parts over and over and over until we capture something special. And other times we work very hard before hand to create a vibe and to create an environment that's conducive to performance magic. and then of course, we are well prepared to capture that vibe.

A few weeks ago i went back to CRC in Chicago (www.chicagorecording.com) to work with the worship band Before Morning (www.facebook.com/beforemorning)


I've worked with these guys in the past before. And first off, i have to say that i am very proud of them and what they're doing. they're a church based worship band who are working within their own churches and communities but who have also grown and stay pretty busy running around the country playing youth events and camps. they've grown as songwriters and players and it's really cool to see them grow. for this project we decided to go into the studio to do one song in one day - and not just that. our goal was to create a live, in-studio performance to capture the energy when they all play together as opposed to overdubbing each individual part.


this is a picture of our drum setup - except without the Neumann 249s in an X-Y stereo configuration as room mics. stevie, the drummer, was playing his vintage ludwig kit with a classic ludwig black beauty snare. this setup is similar to what i've done in the past, except i experimented with two new things. first is the overhead mic placement. the inherent trouble with recording drums is that we mix drums to be very symmetrical - the snare and kick in the middle, toms and cymbals spread evenly. but look at the picture. the snare is a little to the right, one tom is higher than the other and the cymbals are at different heights as well as being stacked more on the left side than the right. in the past i've viewed the overhead mics as purely a stereo pair that captures the kit, but this time i experimented more with trying to get the cymbals to sound even in the left-right balance as well as the snare being in the middle. notice the overhead mic on the right is a little higher than the one on the left. even though the mics aren't placed symmetrically, we had to get outside the box a bit to get it to sound symmetrical.


the other new thing i tried was with the snare top mic - or i should say, mics. in addition to an sm-57 on the snare top, we took a neumann km-84 and taped it to the 57 so that the capsules of both mics were perfectly aligned to avoid phasing issues. from there, we ran the km84 through a compressor and smashed the crap out of it. when you mix the two mics together, the 57 captures the hard hits well and the 84 really highlights and accentuates the ghost notes and rolls that might normally get lost.


we put the bass and the lead electric guitar in the same room and separated them with studio baffles or gobos. Alex there on the left has a gorgeous Gretsch Tennessean and Sean has a nice Fender P Bass. And yes, i know what you're thinking. yes, there is sound bleeding into the other mics, but that's ok. that's part of what contributes to a more "live" sounding recording. if you go back and study recordings from the 50's and 60's you'll discover that many times it's the bleed from the other instruments that really lights up the recording. that was a magical period before muli-track recording became ubiquitous where everything was recorded live and capturing that performance was the primary objective. this is one of the rules you can break if you know what you're doing.


this here is my buddy @adambarriesmith playing keys. for the live performance he played a soft pad on the nord. we planned on overdubbing some piano but ended up decided that the recording didn't really need it. 


This was our main vocal mic. if you don't recognize it, it's a vintage tube AKG C12. i just checked the internets to see how much these things are going for and i found one on sale on ebay for $14,000. so ya, it's a pretty rare mic. and for good reason - it sounds great. our vocal chain was basically just running this mic through the Neve VR-72 console pre's and then through a Distressor. 


we had mister Josh Blick playing acoustic guitar on a very nice Taylor (sorry, i don't have the model number) and we using a stereo pair of AKG 451's as well as the plugged-in direct signal from the guitar. also, please notice my gut. i am getting fat. BLAH.


for our background vocals and choir vocals, i did them in separate layers. this i think is probably the most important part of a recording like this. the choir vocals really paint the audible picture of a live worship experience, and that's very hard to accurately re-create other than recording a live worship event. the first layer is the lead vocals. that's the obvious part. for the second layer i did what has historically been known as a Group 4 configuration. this technique is actually simple. it's just putting 4 singers in front of a single microphone. of course, nowadays most people would record each person individually and mix it later. but what you miss there is the space. notice how far each person is from the mic. plus, people seem to sing a little differently - sometimes more confidently - when they're with a group of people. the Group 4 method comes from the time of jingle singers and radio singers. when there was a jingle to be sung, they would cram all 4 singers behind a mic - and they would mix themselves by adjusting their own volume of voice and tone as well as how far they are standing from the mic. when it works like it's supposed to, it's super quick and easy. 


the last layer was the full-on choir vocal. remember those neumann 249's that we used as room mics? well we through them up in the drum room for choir mics. the best way to get the sound of a choir is to actually have a choir. so the whole band, as well as their wives, girlfriends and friends went into the studio. the choir vocals and the group 4 vocals were stacked a couple times. from there it's just a matter of panning it out a little, adding some reverb and serve!

we spent a lot of hours in the studio that day and as a result, we were all spent. but we were so happy with how it turned out. i was hoping to find a youtube video link to post so you could hear the final product but i can't find one. instead, you can find it on itunes. the band is Before Morning and the song is called "Awake". here's the link - http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/awake-single/id517272582

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

News News News

Ok, let's start this blog off with a bit of cliche. What cliche you ask?? the cliche of saying sorry that i haven't blogged enough. I mean, seriously, starting off by apologizing for not blogging enough is about as expected as the facebook drama that you will inevitably encounter if you ever post anything about raising kids. you see, about two weeks ago @superchicktrish and I had our first baby. she's a gorgeous little girl named Ava and she is the smartest and cutest baby ever. she will probably win the miss USA contest, discover the secrets of cold fusion and find the cure for cancer before she graduates high school....well, those are my conservative estimates. here is a picture of my little princess - however, be warned. if you have a heart condition the cuteness of this little flower may cause you to go into cardiac arrest.


well good morning!! ok, i'm assuming that whoever is reading this had to put the computer down for a day or two in order to recover. anyway, speaking of babies and social media, baby pictures are a great way to increase your number of followers on facebook/twitter/whateverotherthing you're into. so if you really need to up your followers/friend requests, just have a baby. it's that simple!

ok, i'm going to need a moment to contemplate whether some kids out there are actually going to take my advice and get pregnant. so while i do that i'll let you know what else i've been up to.

Of course i've been playing for Stellar Kart as i have been for almost two years now. most of the winter has been spent flying around the country playing shows and trying to talk our way into the delta skyclub without having to use a pass. the last month or so we've been on tour with Me In Motion and Finding Favour while also filling in on some Revolve Tour dates. Jamie Grace has been on the Revolve shows so of course we asked her to come sing the Princess Jasmine part of A Whole New World.


in addition to all the SK touring, i was able to actually do a whole tour with my wife's band Superchick. I got to fill in on guitar for a west coast tour where we went through Montana, Utah, Nevada, California and about 6 shows in Arizona. seriously. it was practically the Arizona tour. it was actually good timing cause i got to be on the road with my wife while she was 7 months pregnant. and let me say she is a trooper for traveling on a bus with a basketball sized baby in her bee-yella. and if you don't believe me, here's proof:


and of course, when it rains, it pours. in that same time frame Tricia played about 15 worship nights for her solo project. i play guitar for her on those as well. let's just say i've been pretty busy playing over the last couple months. and by the way, let me insert a bit of shameless self-promotion. ever since tricia's worship record was released last june we've been playing worship events whenever our schedule allows and it's actually been going very well. if you are interested in having Tricia perform a worship night or just come to your church to lead worship, send an email to booking@triciabrockmusic.com

ok, now that that's out of the way, let's get to the studio side of things. obviously i haven't spent much time recording, but in the past month i've been focusing on new music for Stellar Kart. by the way, i have two new additions to my studio that have made a HUGE difference in the overall vibe - and neither of them have anything to do with gear. the first is a nice leather couch. first of all, it's wayyyyy more comfortable than what i had before, and secondly it's actually changed the acoustics of my control room for the better. my low end is a lot tighter and more manageable with it. the other new acquisition is an electronic dart board. i know this sounds stupid, but me and @adamagee and @jeremihough play all the time. and part of what makes a studio a good studio is the vibe it creates. the more comfortable, relaxed and creative a person feels, the better the recording will turn out to be. i'd rather have second rate gear with a good vibe than the best gear with a horrible vibe.

anyway, the new SK stuff is actually pretty exciting. everyone we've showed it to is pretty stoked on it. i'll let you know more as it happens.

so that's what's been going on. i'd like to write more, but Billy Madison is on TV and i'd kinda rather watch that than write. soooooooo, see you all later.

Monday, February 13, 2012

the rules of Disney pop - the skill in writing crappy music


lately i've been studying disney pop from a songwriting point of view. and by disney pop i mean bands, singers and artist that you hear if you or a kid you know watches the disney channel or nickelodeon. yes, i know i know. nickelodeon is not disney. but both networks have artists who have their own TV shows and are geared towards young kids....and will probably grow up to be pill popping alcoholics with nothing to live for once their fountain of youth has run dry and they get their first wrinkle. so really when i say disney pop, that doesn't necessarily mean they're with disney. i'm just using that as a blanket term for teenie boppers.


some people think writing a song that is your own style is the most credible thing you can do. i would actually disagree. i mean, yes, you get more indie cred that way, but in terms of pure skill, writing a song within certain parameters and limitations while still being successful is a wonderful skill. for instance, take worship music. a lot of writers think worship music is the easiest and most generic music to write which requires very little skill. and to a certain degree, they are right. if you're trying to write a passable worship song, just throw together a few chords (preferably in G - God's favorite key, of course) and use some throwaway christian lyrics.


HOWEVER, i'm not talking about a passable christian song, i'm talking about a good one. in a worship song there is a certain tone of lyrics that are acceptable. and the song can't be too wordy. it must be simple for the congregation to sing. melodically it must flow a certain way - the melody can't jump any crazy intervals. the rules are incredibly narrow. but if you have the skill to work within those rules (or to successfully break them) and make a song that is successful, well that requires serious skill. "How Great Is Our God" by Chris Tomlin is, in my opinion, one of the best worship songs ever written. It's simple, easy to learn, catchy, reverent, modern yet still has a hymn-like quality to it. genius is not confusing people with complex intellect or skill - genius is making what is hard to understand seem simple. and "how he loves" by jon mark mcmillan is a wonderful example of breaking the rules but still making it work. his lyrics don't have the typical vibe and are actually way too poetic for a worship song, but somehow it works. you may or may not agree with me based on your view about the "sloppy wet kiss line" haha

i had this revelation about worship music last year as we were working on @superchicktrish's worship record as i sat in co-write session after co-write session trying to write worship songs as good as Tomlin or Crowder and realized it's actually really hard.

so back to disney. i've been studying disney and teenie bopper bands and singers lately - Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Hot Chelle Rae, etc...

Here's a few observations about Disney pop songs:

1. a higher percentage of disney pop songs are about love than the rest of the pop charts. like, if the rest of music is 50% love songs, disney pop is 75% about love.

2. the next most popular subject are what i call party songs. this is basically any sort of fun song that doesn't say much except to have a good time. i probably just insulted your intelligence by trying to explain what a party song is. anyway, i'd have to say love songs and party songs account for about 95% of all disney pop. and it makes sense. in high school all anybody thinks about is relationships and parties. haha

3. if you're writing a song for a teenage artist, it's natural to want to bring the lyrical content down to their level. for instance - talking about going to a school dance or whatever. but lyrically it's just the opposite. teenagers always want to be older so frequently their lyrics talk about subjects that are probably way beyond their years. when a 13 year old justin bieber sings about heartbreak, none of us really believe that he's really been through a serious breakup.

4. it's more about how the lyric rolls off the tongue than if it is well-written or poetic. for instance, take the first two lines from Tonight Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae which is currently all over top 40 radio:

"We're going at it tonight tonight
There's a party on the rooftop top of the world"

that second line doesn't make sense. yes, we know what he's saying, but "rooftop top of the world" is kind of gobbledeegook. but who cares!?!? it's catchy. that's my point. start listening to these songs, google their lyrics and you'll find this type of stuff all over the place. i didn't really understand this concept until a couple of years ago when i was in germany. i heard a song on the radio that intrigued me. at the time i didn't know any german but the phonetic sound of the lyrics just appealed to me. it just sounded cool even though i had no idea what he was saying. the song was "Haus am See" by Peter Fox. you can see the video here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq4cyu35M6Q

anyway, with younger people and kids it's more about the melody and the beat. and when they go to college everybody gets serious and artsy and they start to care about lyrics.

those are my observations. hopefully some of the you songwriters out there find this helpful? i'm guessing the rest of you won't care. but hey, it's my blog and i'll do what i want. (how very childish and disney of me :))

About Me

"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos; that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?" --Hi Fidelity


Hey guys, my name is Nick Baumhardt. I help write and record music. I also play guitar for Thousand Foot Krutch and FM Static.

These are my thoughts on music, art, politics, food, recording and whatever else I feel like writing about.

For more info about my producing, go to www.NickBaumhardt.com or myspace.com/nickbaumhardt

For more info on TFK, go to ThousandFootKrutch.com
For more info on FM Static, go to www.FMStatic.com

Follow me on Twitter!!! My twitter name is TFKNick