Sometimes sitting down to compose a piece of music is an act of extreme frustration. Other times it just flows like water. Typically, you enter into the process with pre-conceived ideas of how you want the project to turn out. Other times you let it happen.
This was one of those times. I pulled up a project that I had started earlier, which was a looped piano riff with a very cool, chill vibe to it. I looked for a beat that would go along with it but nothing clicked. Instead, I decided to go with a very basic stand up bass part that fit perfectly. I then added a guitar melody over top of it and boom it worked. Surprisingly, I used my white PGM 30 electric guitar tuned down 1/2 step and it sounded great. As for the sound, I used the Royal Rock (Queen) setting on Logic Pro X, which has a touch of delay on it along with that Brian May bite.
By the way, this was composed for my mom as a gift for mother’s day. Luckily, this was one of those moments where everything fit. It would be great if it were always this easy:)
For the writing of this work I used a Fender American Stratocaster, running into Logic Pro X. The effect on the guitar is Vahalla’s Smimmer, which is my all time favorite guitar effects. Not to mention that it is an incredible tonal experience.
One thing is sure, people still love live music. If there was any worry that is was slowing down that’s surely gone. Fans want the real deal. Audio improvements, ease of downloading music, and the saturation of music in the media have not dimmed that internal desire for live performance. Our GM put it best when he said that “the business is healthy, and business is good”. The pubic’s desire to become, as it where, part of the experience continues to bring them to venues in droves.
All of us deal with concert goers that come up to us pleading that they know someone in the band. I knew rock stars were “prolific” but I didn’t know it spread so far. My reaction is always “You don’t say?!” “How do you know him?” Crickets…:)
Rob Zombie’s set smoked. He sounded great and to be honest, for a few moments I forgot who the headliner really was. I kept thinking, “How can the show get any bigger than this?”John 5 played a blistering four minute long guitar solo during Rob Zombie’s covert walkathon through the crowd. Ya, maybe a little cliche at times but still great. It’s about time he was allowed to cut loose. It wasn’t going to happen with Marilyn Manson as the music wasn’t about long guitar solos. But with Rob’s vibe, it fits perfectly.
Zac Brown’s horn section ripped out some of the most thrilling lines I’ve ever heard during their spotlight. For sure horns in a country band are unusual. Credit has to be given to Zac’s vision of the band as the variety of instruments in Zac’s music is what creates the magic.
Korn has to have the largest female following in Metal. Easily. I’m not saying I have the reason for it, it’s just a fact. What does it mean? I dunno, maybe there’s something to be learned here for other bands who carry a heavy “guy” fan base.
Breaking up fights during shows is dangersome and delicate. But, there is an art to it. One things for sure, a girl fight is the dread of us all.
Zac Brown’s cover of The Who’s, “Baba O’ Reilly” was explosive. The keyboard part at the beginning could have been tweaked a bit better but nevertheless, it was refreshing to see fans of all ages singing along. It was a genius move to cover that gem.
I still don’t understand mosh pits. How more young people are not injured is beyond me. Flailing arms, karate kicks, muscular hulks with fire in their eyes, females fearlessly running around impervious to the danger. It’s interesting to watch but that doesn’t make it any more understandable to me. But…hey, it’s there and it’s part of what makes this music burn.
Korn’s music has a unique element in it that produces an aggressive and hyper-ecstatic reaction in its fans. What that element is centers around their unique harm and very tight and compressed sound. There were moments when it felt as though the venue was about to go nuclear.
Zac Brown’s music is at times fun, sad, reflective, lively, and safe. But, when he hit the stage it all changed. The high-octane crowd took it to another level. Zac rocked hard. I must say I was pleasantly surprised! Be assured that Zac Brown is the real deal. He runs a very well oiled music machine and they are tight.
The key to being good at working on the floor during high energy shows is a very keen sense of people. If you can’t read a situation instantly you won’t make it. You have to look, evaluate, judge, and keep your eyes moving. Other than that it’s a piece of cake.
Experience. There is no substitution for it. Every show, every situation, and every moment is an opportunity for growth and movement forward. This is the greatest job I ever loved.
Mark Jeffery Campayno runs a music performance studio, Musicians-inc/StudioRock of Northern Virginia. Mark also directs the guitar department at Broad Run High School in Ashburn,Virginia. He also works on the pit crew at Live Nation’s Jiffy Lube Live Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia, and hosts his own internet radio show, The Studio Rocks at http://www.jazzbites.com.
When I set out to put together my weekly radio show with three female musicians I had no idea how it would fly. Well, it flew just fine thank you. The final segment was planned to be an interview/review of a double-release by the band, Silver and Moonlight. However, and as a great surprise to me, the interview segment blossomed into an exhaustive analysis of music making, improvisation, the inner workings of band live and composition, and a look into the mind of a gifted and artistic young lady…I would dare say a modern, artistic renaissance woman.
A little background:
Kiaya Abernathy is a vocalist, lyricist, multi-instrumentalist, spectacular visual artist, and a very creative photographer. If that isn’t enough, she’s strong-willed, perceptive, and enlightened. That would all be understandable if she were in her forties, but if you take off a decade and a have you are closer to the truth.
Kiaya is dedicated to bringing to the masses art in all of its expression. In this interview, she speaks for all of us who struggle to bring forth creative and meaningful music into a world where sameness and commercial gain eclipse meaning and foresight.
As you listen to Kiaya speak about her band, her father, her ideas, and her hopes for the future, think of the way things could be. The way music would change if her worldview were a reality. If music were set free from the chains of what has to be.
This “classical guitar” work in the new acoustic style is by far my favorite of the ones I’ve written so far. Both its sound and construction are exactly what I look for in instrumental guitar works. Like anything else that comes as a pleasant surprise, this was one of those sessions where everything came together. I must say however, that I never go into a session with a preconceived idea, well at least not one that is carved in stone. My brain doesn’t work that way even though I can be very conservative and by the book in other areas of performance and study.
I go in to such sessions randomly trying not to get caught up in the guitarists mindset that can plague your endlessly. The thoughts and schemes such as what key? What scales or chords? Should I go into an altered tuning or not? Should I play fast or slow? That does nothing more than push your spirit into a one-dimensional force bent on being traditional. Traditional for the sake of tradition. Not to pay homage to it, but to be bound by it.
I don’t remember consciously doing this but it has a logical rhythmic flow to it. The piece starts out by stating the melody in between a very dense foundation
of dark arpeggiated chords. I overdubbed some, but not all of the harmonics onto the work as a decorative effect. I, like many non-guitarists, tend to find them aurally attractive and very desirable especially on acoustic guitar.
The slurred sections were not easy but flowed surprisingly well considering that I had no plan for incorporating them. I’m very happy with how they turned out. It’s my climbing Mount Everest moment as that are fairly athletic. It will take quite a few minutes to pull them back under my fingers in that exact configuration. However, I must take the time to score out the work so as to codify it. In that way, it becomes “official”, solid, unbending. Unless, of course, I go back and change the score.
As musicians, we all have areas that are endemic to our playing. I love the angular in music, but to produce it well is not easy. This was one time that it happened without the usual struggle and gnashing of teeth. The fleeting moments of non-compliance with the voices in our heads that would doubt us.The total control one has sought from the beginning of the journey. However, I’m sure I’ll go back to the struggle until I can take control of angular and the unexpected in my playing.
A Short Primer On Your Band’s First Recording Session
So you and your band have worked hard. You’ve saved enough money to book time at a recording studio. All the merch sales, donations, and gigs have paid off. Well, almost. You are now entering a whole new level of band life and there is much riding on your time in front of live mics in an environment that may be brand new to you.
The capturing of the music in real time will be the ultimate barometer of your sound and furthermore, will define who you are as a unit. I’m not taking
away from the fun and learning that goes on during live recording sessions, however there is much to consider as you prepare for this experience.
In order to have the session go smoothly with few snags, here are some things to consider before your studio date arrives. Go into the session with an open mind. Be flexible and open to the advice of the sound engineer and to each other. The mere act of recording can expose parts of your music that could use tweaking. Riffs that worked during your “garage sessions” sometimes do not translate well on recordings leaving you with quick decisions to make.
To minimize such issues, ask yourself this question: Does the band have all parts worked out with no trouble spots? Does each member have a working knowledge of each other’s parts? In other words, do they know how all the pieces fit together? Is everyone capable of playing or singing what they are required to play or sing? Sometimes technical issues are masked during band rehearsals due to volume, less that idea sound in your space, and underdeveloped “hearing”.
Prior to the session it may be wise to rehearse the song parts one, two, or three at a time. Have the drummer and bass play. Then add keys or rhythm guitar. After that, add vocals and harmonies. Be prepared to start your songs from different sections. If anyone in the band cannot play from any section instantly then the music is NOT memorized and precious time will be wasted and the costs will increase.
Finally, the issue of equipment comes up. Does everyone have decent equipment to record with. More often than not, you will use what the engineer suggests. Don’t be offended if your 6 Line (lol) amps sound doesn’t cut it in the studio. Are your guitar players using too much gain and distortion during rehearsal? Have you thought about cutting it down to about 3/4 of what they are used to (at least for the rhythm parts)? It’s shocking how much that will clean up your sound.
Remember to provide your engineer with a detailed list of your songs and the structure. If not, the clock will tick as you try in vain to describe how each song goes. That is a gigantic time waster. Provide also each member’s role on the songs. Who sings harmonies, who plays tambourine, when does that elusive cowbell part come in?
A few hours spent on firming up all these details can save you hundreds of dollars and can clean up your session in a big way!
This is an instrumental song about soaring to heights you’ve only dreamt of. But after listening, you must prepare yourself to live like there are no limits to your potential. Maybe then you will find that there really aren’t any if you are of a mind to overcome your circumstances. -Mark
The track was written and produced by, Martin Carlberg.
The electric guitar melodic content was performed and produced by Mark Jeffery Campayno. Mark played his Paul Gilbert Model Guitar (PGM150) for this session.
Published on Mar 20, 2016
“The Sky Is No Limit” – Original Song/Collaboration
Track Composer: Martin Carlberg
A blistering funk/soul track by Maryland’s own Vonn Love, sets the tone for a ride that will have you moving for the next 5 plus minutes! Vonn Love’s clever approach to the subject of “woman” is at once engaging, tongue in cheek, and just plain fun. His ability to combine the best of soul, funk, and blues is tops in the genre.
Love’s sharpshooter guitarist Mark Jeffery Campayno adds some real fire to this biblical bash taking his PGM 150 Paul Gilbert Ibanez and ripping into the strings with a pentatonic, blues, funk, fusion, fury that fits both the mood and the groove of this bouncy and bravado-rich track.
Vonn Love’s mystery vocalist adds the right amount of soul and sass to this collaborative masterwork by mockingly wailing throughout the middle section of the tune.
Love is always full of surprises and he doesn’t disappoint here. His very clever refrain, “Look at this mess y0u got us in” is the “Adam Complex” at it’s finest. Ya Adam, sure, blame it all on the woman.
If Love keeps this up, there’s going to be some real juice comin’ his way soon.
Ladies, it’s good to have you. The guitar breathes a collective sigh of relief!
The accompanying song is a dedication of sorts to the increasing amount of female guitar players new to the scene. It’s one of the great movements in the world of music performance, education, and recording. Maybe it’s because I’ve taught guitar in public school for 12 years that I am able to see this first hard. With this increased interest, involvement, and desire to play guitar from females the music scene has and will continue to change. It has to right? How can the status quo be maintained when the literal face of guitar playing is becoming more gender friendly?
I’ve always been interested in this movement as myself, and the rest of the guitar staff in the Loudoun County Public School System http://lcps.org touch many lives. The program is understandably vibrant and appealing to many students. We are able to take in many young people who don’t quite fit into the traditional music classes of marching/concert band and choir classes. I fell very fortunate to be in an area of the United States where s a major guitar program for students from seventh to twelfth grade exists. That has had a direct impact on the Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C. area where I work. There are countless examples of students (at least 40% of them female) contributing to the music culture of the this multi-racial and wealthy areas. To give you an idea of the impact this has consider that over the last twelve years I’ve taught and directed around 2,000 guitar/music students. When you realize that they are now out in the world in locations from here to anywhere, you begin to see the impact of that this could be having as the years progress. It’s a female equality victory of sorts without a cause, or, for that matter, a fight. It just happened.
Add to all this the “Taylor Swift” syndrome http://taylorswift.com/ (not negative at all) and you wake up to the reality that music will never be the same once the full impact begins to manifest itself. Miss Swift has influenced countless young girls to pick up the guitar and play (no pun intended Who fans). But, not just to play, but to sing also. She is a powerhouse in so many ways. Say what you will you naysayers, Taylor Swift will go down in music history as one of the most powerful women in the business, and rightly so.
But, I digress. Of course, the question inevitably comes up, that is, what do females do on guitar that differs from a the male approach? Do they play softer? With more feeling? With more emotion? Oh God, did I say that? Luckily, these tendencies are not limited to female players as these qualities can also be true with males. Not all males approach the instrument like a possession to be lorded over. Moreover, not all women play the guitar softly and tenderly. So the discussion of differences becomes, in a sense, muted.
Whatever the differences are, there is no doubt that the gender difference does produce two differing approaches to the “vision” of and approach to the instrument. If men and women see the world in a way that differs from each other than that will translate to other areas of life and art.
Finally, let me state that if there is one area that is a definite hurdle for some women, it is hand size. That is a topic that I am currently researching. I will have some preliminary results for you very soon.
As for the issue at large, keep the girls coming. The guitar was sorely in need of a female overhaul and damn if we don’t have one right at our front door!