Giants are diving.

The Diving Board

Most of this blog’s followers are people with whom I share an interest in reading or writing poems, and poetry is incredibly important to me, but I am also a songwriter with an online music project called Giants of Diving. I write, record, and produce all of the music alone in a modest (but powerful) home studio.

The benefits of working alone will be familiar to poets: the joy of solitude, total creative control, and with lyric writing as with poetry, the sense of a communion with language; on the best days, it’s just you and the words, and the feeling that this is exactly where you want — or need — to be.

Making music is different, at least the way I do it. I try to create a full band sound on my own, which means recording each instrument one track at a time. Writing the songs is the easy part, relatively. It’s something I’ve been doing, and getting steadily better at I think, since I was seventeen. The other relatively easy part is the playing. Recording the tracks doesn’t actually take much time. The real challenge comes in the mixing and production phases. These are hard things to do alone. They require a lot of repeated listening, experimentation, and tremendous patience. You try one reverb setting on a vocal – you listen – you try another setting – you listen – you try another setting… you get the picture. It’s not a process for the faint of heart, especially when it is YOUR OWN VOICE you’re listening to — again and again. Remember the first time you heard a taped playback of yourself and you couldn’t believe how strange you sounded? Multiply that experience by 100.

Despite the differences in process, I suppose I make music and poetry for essentially the same reasons. I love following the spark of an idea to its conclusion and being surprised by where it ends up. I love funneling big ideas through my unique filter and then releasing them into the world. I love looking back at something I created and knowing that I worked hard to bring it to life.  Whether I’m re-recording a guitar solo just one more time after working on it all night or I’m revising a poem through its fifteenth draft, the motivations are the same.

So I’m glad to have both poetry and music, and I’m grateful that they are so different in the making. When my passion for one ebbs, the other creative outlet is there for me — offering inspiration.

To give my music a try, visit Giants of Diving on Soundcloud or go to giantsofdiving.com.

Advertisements

Mid-June Round-Up Features Giants of Diving

Thanks to http://www.spectralnights.com for featuring my song in their mid-June round-up.  View the full article to read their comments on my track American Weekend.

Spectral Nights - alternative music, indie music, music reviews, new music, music blog

With Glastonbury taking place next week (which we won’t be going to for the first time since we started attending in 2003 – damn ticket servers), our inbox has unsurprisingly been packed with new music of bands getting set for festival season. Here’s some of the best we’ve heard lately.

A Compilation in Aid of C.A.L.M Part II

Released by our friends at Till Deaf Do Us Party records, all proceeds from this compilation go to a very worthy and deserving cause. Released to promote the fact that mental illness is no longer a taboo and to help people realise there are people looking out for them, it features the likes of The Xcerts, itoldyouiwouldeatyou, Night Owls and Tellison. By downloading it, not only will you have a bumper 20 new songs to listen to but also be helping an important cause.

Bearpark – ‘Distant Fields

One of…

View original post 242 more words

What’s Your Favorite Colour?

I imagine our long-term memories as being like small art galleries with limited wall space reserved for life’s most mind-altering moments.  These memories stay with us because we’ve stored them in a prominent place. They continually reshape who we are because they are always available to be viewed, recontextualized and reconsidered.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard Living Colour’s Cult of Personality.
I was riding the bus home from a high school baseball game.  It was 1990 – my senior year.  I rode a lot of buses home from games that year, but this is the only one I can recall.  I have no idea what team we played that day or who won the game, but the music blaring out of the bus’s ceiling speaker made an indelible impression.
The song was equal parts catchy and confusing.  It made my brain work.  The riff was unmistakably heavy metal, but the vocals were full-throated soul.  The drums hit hard but laid back off the beat just enough to feel funky.  I had never heard anything approaching such a combination before.  To a child raised on Motown with a burgeoning interest in heavy rock, this felt like revolution.  What made it all the more special was my sense that no one around me was experiencing this new music in quite the same way that I was.  This revolution felt personal.
And the guitar solo.  It opened my mind.  I can’t make out all of the notes, and I don’t care.  Vernon Reid plays the guitar like he’s wrestling an alligator, and to this day when the solo crescendos (at the 3:45 mark), I experience a nearly overpowering urge to break stuff – in the best possible way.
It’s no exaggeration to say that hearing Cult of Personality for the first time was a transformational experience.  It permanently altered my appreciation of music.