Saturday, July 14, 2012

10 albums that inspire me

I've decided to list 10 albums that have inspired me a lot for years. When I started thinking about which albums have inspired me the most, I started thinking about the songs I've written to figure out which musical references I could see traces from. That way, it was pretty easy to see patterns concerning where I've found ideas and inspiration for my songs. All the albums that are featured in this list still inspire me a lot, in different ways. I never grow tired of them. I always find new, interesting things, every time I put them in my CD player.

Please note: there is a difference between a list of the most inspiring albums and the best albums. This is not a list of my favorite albums ever. That list would look a lot different. Just a note!

Let's go!

10. Laleh - Laleh

Laleh is one of my favorite artists. Ever since I discovered her music back in 2005, I've been astonished by what she's doing. Her first album, Laleh, has inspired me a lot. The way she mixes and blends different genres is amazing. When I listen to this album, I feel like she manages to express so many different things, by using all these different genres instead of just sticking to one or two. That makes this album very unique. A brave debut.

9. Meleeh - Heartland

Heartland is my favorite album by Meleeh. The lyrics are very... honest. This album actually has some of my favorite lyrics ever. They go straight through your heart and leave a big hole. The way the lyrics on Heartland are written has definitely had influence on me.

8. Pianos Become The Teeth - Old Pride

Of all albums in this list, this is the one that has been a part of my life the shortest. It has been intense, though. I loved it the very first time I heard it. I've listened to it constantly since that day. Sometimes you like a record but have a break from it for a month or two or longer, but that has never happened with Old Pride. Always on my mp3 player. Then I got an iPhone and put the album on there. You have never heard straight forward lyrics until you've heard Pianos Become The Teeth. This album is their pre-death album, as I like to call it. That means Kyle (vocals) is screaming about his father, who is dying. Kyle's screaming on this album is the saddest thing I've heard since Hope There's Someone by Antony & The Johnsons. It sounds like he's about to cry. Last year, Pianos released what I refer to as their post-death album: The Lack Long After. On that album, Kyle is screaming about his father who has died. Liquid Courage, from that album, makes me cry right away every time ("On the day you died / I cut my hair for the funeral..."), because I always think of Cripples Can't Shiver (from Old Pride) when I hear it. You have to listen to the albums to understand.

7. From First To Last - Dear Diary, My Teen Angst has a Bodycount

As you've probably understood by now, lyrics are very important to me. Of course the music itself is also important, but it's always the lyrics that get stuck in my head and repeated hundreds of times. They are what can suddenly remind me that I instantly have to go and listen to a certain song or album. They mark me. This album is, in my opinion, From First To Last's best piece of work. I'm not very fond of anything they've done after this. Nothing could ever compare. I like the combination of vocals. The lyrics. It's just a really good album that I always come back to at some point.

6. Underoath - They're Only Chasing Safety

I think that this album is one of those that really made me appreciate bands that use both screaming and singing. When I look at my songs and compare them to They're Only Chasing Safety, what I can definitely see that I've picked up on is the way the songs are structured, though. That's what really inspires me about this album. It's not all verse/chorus/verse/chorus, and neither are my songs.

5. Box Car Racer - Box Car Racer

A lot of people complain about Tom DeLonge. Those people claim that he's not a very good guitarist and not a good singer. Those people should just shut the fuck up and pay attention to the artist Tom. Because he is an artist. An inspiration to a lot of people. A person who writes music because he wants to and because he has something to say. The fact that he is not the best guitar player in the world inspires me; it makes me believe in the fact that you don't have to be perfect to get somewhere. Even if you're not the best singer, sing your fucking heart out because you want to and because you really mean what you're singing. Your feelings that you have written down on a paper can never sound more true than when they're coming from your mouth. That's the inspiration I get from Tom DeLonge. Playing "easy" chords and stuff on your guitar actually inspires me a lot more than people who play "advanced" stuff. Simplicity will always inspire me more than anything else.

4. The Used - The Used

Here's another album where I get really inspired by how they combine screaming with singing. It also has great lyrics, that I can find myself sitting and thinking about from time to time. Another thing that is really good with this album is how The Used manages to blend "soft" music with "harder" music. Quotation marks needed, of course, because everything is relative. But you know, electric guitars are very well combined with acoustic guitars and stuff. I really like it.

3. Blink-182 - Blink-182

Not sure what to say about this album. I just love it. The lyrics, the combination of genres. The way Blink-182 proved that they had "grown up", and that they could still contribute with something new to the scene that is their home. I find this album very progressive, in relation to the bands that share the same scene as Blink. I can't think of any band or album that has managed to pick up on everything Blink opened up for on this album. Not even Blink themselved, on their latest album Neighborhoods. Not saying that this is a bad thing, just saying that it's very inspiring to me. Blink-182 sounds fresh and progressive even 10 years (almost) after its release. That's pretty cool to me.

2. Brand New - Deja Entendu

So, I look and listen to my songs, and I feel like I'm the biggest Brand New fan on earth. I'm not. But I like them very, very, very much. They have obviously made a huge impression on me in my songwriting. Especially this album. I love Jesse's vocals, and the way he uses his voice in different ways. The layers in the songs. The words. Everything is just perfect. I've been very inspired by Jesse's way of writing songs. That's for sure.

1. Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends

Yep, this is it. Number one. Choosing number one and two for this list was easy. My music is very Tell All Your Friends and very Deja Entendu. What I love most about Tell All Your Friends is the structure of the songs. Some of them have a "traditional" structure. Others have a striking lack of structure. The combination of these two impress me, and it has made clear marks in my songwriting. Also, the vocals. I can see how I've been inspired by this album in the way I write/think about my vocals. Then, the lyrics. The way single lines hang by themselves at times. They live their own life in between verses or at the end of songs. Yeah. Everything about this album is just very... perfect.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guitars and amps

Here's my electric guitar. My dad bought it (together with the amp below) for me when I was...  well, maybe 14 years old. Or 13. Can't remember. He bought it, anyway. It's a Behringer guitar.

... and here's the amplifier that came with the guitar. It was a beginner's package sort of thing. Works really well for me, still, as I'm definitely not an advanced guitar player. I mostly play acoustic guitar, anyway.

But, as I wrote in a post yesterday, Simon has lent me his electric guitar and amp. The guitar is a Washburn BT2 and I already like it a lot. I'm also very fond of the cute little amp. Roland. I'm definitely gonna call him Roland. If you want to say Roland in Swedish, make sure to start with a Scottish "R". Then, the "o" should sound like the "o" in "afford". Then, make sure to pronounce "land" almost as the "mand" in "command" (British "command", of course). Just switch than "m" in "mand" for an "l". Roland. Almost like "raw-land". 

However. Roland has some cool effects that my Behringer amp doesn't have. I will definitely have a lot of fun with this amp. Thanks, Simon!

New mic stand

The other day, I went downtown to buy a mic stand. I thought I'd be able to record without one, but then I figured buying one would probably make things easier for me while recording. The one I got cost about $42. I told the guy at the store that I'm a student (which is true, of course), so I even got a small discount. Really good! 

The ultimate way would be to have two mic stands: one for recording vocals and one for recording guitar. When you record guitar you usually use a lower stand. Buying two stands seems a bit pricey for me, though. I asked around among my friends and it turned out that one of them has a bar stool that I can borrow. That will definitely do! That way, I can sit comfortably while recording into the mic that's applied to the mic stand. Perfect!

I still have to figure out a way to apply my home made pop filter to the mic stand...

Getting some love!

I'm loved! For the first time ever (as far as I know) someone loved one of my tracks on I'm very flattered. The person who loves this track is my friend Simon. Yesterday, he also lent me his electric guitar. It's a Washburn guitar, and much better than my own one. I will post pics later!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Inspiring albums

I've been thinking about listing 10 albums that have inspired me a lot, and always keep inspiring no matter how many years I've loved them. I think making such a list would tell you guys a lot about me and my mind.

Yeah. Let's do it. I'll start thinking about which albums to pick right away!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Early bird

I was up really early today, at 6 am. Watched some YouTube videos on Logic Pro and other necessary stuff. For example, I learned about the very useful tool Tap Tempo. Since I know nothing about bpm and shit, I think Tap Tempo will help me out a lot. Recording has gone slow the past few days, because I could never stay in one tempo. I think things will run smoother from now on!

I also watched a few videos on how to place the mic when recording an acoustic guitar, because I felt like what I had recorded so far sounded pretty bad. Got some useful tips. Will try stuff later!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My DIY pop filter

Fuck yeah! Just made my own pop filter. Very easy and very cheap. The embroidery hoop was like $8, and I took a pair of pantyhose from my girlfriend. My next issue is how I will attach the filter in front of the microphone. But I'm sure I'll find a solution when I'm about to record vocals.

Here are the two YouTube videos I watched in order to do the pop filter:

Gotta love YouTube!


Spent yesterday recording I'm a Sucker for You. As you can see in the picture, my "studio" is very simple and very portable. Sorry about the lousy quality of the photo, but I have to blame this on the iPhone camera. It's not a very good camera, that's for sure.

And I think I've made up my mind about something: I will try as much as possible to avoid all the effects and plug-ins offered by Logic Pro. You know, you can add reverb or space noises or make yourself sound like you're shouting through a megaphone or anything. Hundreds, maybe thousands of effects, just a click away. And I think that kind of stuff is really cool and fun, but for the songs I'm recording right now I have another idea. I only want to use effects that I actually made myself. Maybe I can get a weird guitar sound by holding a casserole in behind the mic while recording. Maybe I can sing into a casserole and get some weird sound from that. I have no idea what to try yet. I will find out along the way. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Today I went downtown. I bought an extra USB cable, and an embroidery hoop. I will use the USB cable to extend my mic's cable, so that it's easier to record sounds from my electroc guitar while the mic is plugged into the computer. The cable in the pic is 5 metres long. Then, when I came home, I found a similar cable that is like 3 metres or so. So when I put those together, I'll have at least 8 metres of extra cable! Perfect for when I want to record other sounds, auch as in the kitchen or bathroom. (If I ever wish to do that.)

On the right in the pic is the embroidery hoop. I will use it to make my own pop filter (necessary when recording voice). All I'll need is the hoop and some pantyhose. Found this tip on YouTube. I'll make sure to post that video later! Much cheaper than buying a pop filter.