Viewing: song - View all posts


Tomorrow, Saturday, October 12, at 3 pm EST, I’ll launch a new series of videos on my YouTube channel called “Deconstructed”. From then on, every Saturday there will be a new video.

The idea is to take very well known songs from very well known bands and artists of many genres and many era and listen to the multi-tracks to discover how this was recorded, what makes them sound good and also talk about a few production/songwriting tips and tricks that anyone recording could use to make their song better. So we’re really going to be deconstructing songs, track by track and listen to what’s been recorded in detail.

This should interest indie artists, producers, engineers, but also any curious music lover, as I intend to let people hear things they might not have noticed in these recordings and point out why this makes a difference, and how it worked within the context of the song.

Now, some might say that it doesn’t go well with my fight against streaming platforms… after all, YouTube is the biggest one of them, and the one who’s paying the less in royalties. But I consider YouTube as a video channel more than anything, and a great platform for learning, and this is what this series is going to be about… whether it’s a fun fact, or a detail in a song you’ve never noticed although you know the song by heart, or about some tips for recording and mixing, it’s a way to share my love of this music that has been part of my life and most likely yours too. 

Anyway, the bands and artists will get any little royalties coming from their “deconstructed” songs, because these videos will most likely be monetized on their behalf (or their label’s). Some videos might be taken down from label’s DMCA, and if so, I’ll possibly put them on a private site, with a password protection, so that people really interested will still be able to access later. We’ll see how it goes.

In any case, I hope you will like this new series, whether you’re just curious about music, or serious about learning of songwriting/production.

So don’t forget to subscribe and hit that “bell” button to be notified each week when a new video comes up!

Cut or keep? Always a difficult question 

Today I’ve been asked how I work when I arrange a song…

One thing is for sure: for me, it’s a rather long process of refined iterations. I can have many ideas that won’t make the final cut, for a number of reasons. I will often throw a lot of things into a mix then live with it (meaning listen to it intently) for a while and see what sticks… In this extract for example, I had this idea of a building intro with some cool arpeggio and vocal harmonies that I decided to remove in the end, in favor of a simple fade in and shorter intro. 

I liked the idea for a moment, and the harmonies could have sounded good (although here in this version they are a bit flaky), but the intro was starting to get too long and I thought that it was best to get to the meat of the vocal sooner.
At one point I toyed with the idea of making this a bridge, but somehow this was too much of a down point and again I decided against.

It’s always a balancing act… I come from a time where songs of 20+ minutes were not exceptional, and I don’t mind that at all, but you still have to keep the listener’s interest and sometimes cutting things is the way towards that.

Nowadays I tend to favor shorter music and more to the point, and try to make simpler music, by removing things more often than not. Which actually is pretty hard to do, because you get attached to some parts and you have to take a step back and realize what really works and what is just fluff that is not really needed. If something doesn’t make a song better, it better go.

In the end, the final version clocks at around 5 minutes, but I think it works and manages to keep the listener’s attention throughout.
You’ll be the judge:

No Return 

This song on my new “Infinite” EP came from a striking image... Listen here

I was following a physics course on a MOOC (Mass Open Online Course), and one of the session was about some extraordinary insights of Einstein’s theory of Relativity, and the subject of the speed of light as a constant. What I vividly remember was a computer simulation attempting to show the kind of visual distortion that would happen if you were to travel at a speed close to the speed of light (because nothing can go any quicker, even though Star Trek told you so!), and how things would appear to you as you were increasing speed. (The video here is of low quality, unfortunately I couldn’t find a better one, sorry! But hopefully you'll get the idea)

What I liked was how, as you passed a building in that simulation, it was still appearing ahead of you, because of the distortion and the time the light would take to reach you, and also the fact that as you were speeding up, everything in front started to appear brighter and focused on a center point ahead like the end of a tunnel…

And then I remembered how people who had a near death experience often talk about that tunnel and the light in front of them, and how it sounded similar.
Now I’m not a spiritual person, but this made me think that it was somehow strangely related.

From that came the central idea of this song (to be taken literally):

And as you reach the speed of light
You face your past collapsed and bright

From there on, to think of a journey with no return, far from the sun, in a “rocket ship firing” naturally followed… It’s a journey we will all take one day, so I hope it will be full of wonders and exciting. I tried to make the sound and the song a possible (if only faint) reflection of this extraordinary adventure.

Early recording of a song I’m working on 

Here are the first 2 verses of a song I’m working on at the moment.

I thought I’d share it here for the curious. 
I rarely do that because I like finished/polished music but I thought this one was fun and already listenable even at this very early stage. You’ll be the judge.

There’s no intro yet, no ending, and I still need to flesh out the arrangement (which could be very simple or awfully complex… depending on what the song asks for). I like this one’s melody and chord progression, so there’s definitely a song here and I will probably work on it in the next few weeks.

Not all my ideas end up as a song. There’s a lot I discard, as I only work on something that I believe is worth the effort. Meaning it has to have a good melody at least, which to me is the main thing, and it needs to keep itself together even stripped bare like that with just an acoustic guitar and a vocal. If it sounds like something that can grow, then I will start working on the arrangement, and spend many many hours on it, adding layers, trying ideas, re-tracking, until it is ready for a mix and master…
Then I share it.

For the record, this one’s lyrical idea was prompted by my recent incursions in the wonderful world of social medias: where there is a lot of nothing being said and exchanged, but sometimes meaningful connections can occur.

I hope that I will be able to count you into the meaningful connections! :)

Official video in production 

Today I received the first draft edit of my new official video for “Close Your Eyes” which is going to be the feature song and video from my new “Infinite” EP.

It is directed by Gareth Kay, from London, UK - you can check him out at Gareth is a very talented indie artist who has worked on numerous music videos and has also worked on another video of mine (unreleased yet, it will be used for the promotion of my second album).

I’m pretty excited about this new video! We took the time to build a cool story line that goes well with the theme of the song which is about questioning your life and looking for hope and redemption, ultimately finding it where it counts.

The song is kind of an epic for me, with a rather large sound reminiscent of stadium progressive rock bands (I leave you to guess who :)), so it seemed like a natural candidate for a video narrative, and we hope that it will take the viewer and listener through a visual and musical journey that is rewarding.

So stay tuned for this one, it shouldn’t take too long now! :)

How does it feel? 

This song started from a deep sense of isolation and a realization that the world we live in, with all the technological means of ‘connection’ we have, is only making things worse.

It started during a lonely evening, when I took my old faithful acoustic guitar and started strumming and realized one of the string was half a tone flat. I don’t know why but instead of tuning that string properly, I started playing, placing my fingers differently until I realized that using regular fingering was giving some interesting harmonic possibilities.

Almost immediately I had the intro and a groove that I built upon. The verse melody came pretty soon after this, there was no lyrics attached but a sense of melancholic groove and some syllables were forming in my mouth that had to do with “feel” and “real” and it all grew from there.

You can hear an early recording of the guitar alone… the tempo was slower but the groove was already there.

Adding bass and drums was pretty straight-forward because most of the laid-back groove was pretty firmly set by the guitar and the rhythm section only had to go along and accentuate it. 



This song was written for my daughter, Sarah.

It’s one of the most lyric oriented song I’ve ever written, and it really started from a simple melody and lyrics.

I wanted the song to be fun but dreamy and melancholic, which is pretty much how I feel when I think about my little girl.
Remembering how she was, how much she has grown up and how she has transformed my life.

I’m wrapped around her little finger
Summer warming a cold winter
A ray of sunshine, my melted heart
I wonder how she’s doing that

This sums up pretty much how I feel about her nowadays and I felt this was worth a song.

The ¾ jazz feel came out pretty much from the lyrics rhythm and I tried to give it a jazz club feel with some bigger ambiance than I usually use.