Monthly Archives: May 2020

The Main Thing



Episode #10: The Main Thing – (Song at 7:35)

This song, number 515,  traces the trajectory of a (musician’s) life and marks the points where he prioritises his goals as he goes through a series of transitions – which pretty much sums up a lifetime. Along the way, his definition of the main thing keeps changing.

I’m loving archiving these songs and I hope you’re enjoying them too.

Alfred, the Labrador, makes another appearance this week – the Labrador we were looking after kept me company as I wrote the song, 19 years ago.

As a lyricist, I generally write from an ‘I’ perspective. In this case, I wrote the song as a ‘storyteller, this time in 3rd person. It started off with a true episode that happened when a girl was young and moves on through her life, then it becomes equally – or more so – about the man she eventually meets – and their relationship down through the years.

There’s a saying ‘being in the zone’ …not blowing my trumpet here, but there was something about the songs, the demos from this particular fortnight of house sitting.

Writing lyrics really flows for me. I don’t work on these lyrics for months. These generally come together in about 20mins – and the music generally happens in about the same amount of time. 

I’m looking forward to recording an album of these ‘demos’. Recording these podcast episodes is proving to be a useful sorting process for me. Also, it’s very much a time of discovery, as I discover things about the songwriting process as I talk about this.

I welcome your feedback about what I’m up to on this podcast. I’m very much finding my way.

I’m enjoying analysing the lyrics and exploring the song from more of a composing point of view towards the end.

I find these episodes entertaining and informative. I hope you do too.

There’s nothing like some new music, too. I hope after listening to this episode, you feel a bit like you’ve been to gig, heard the story of the song and maybe even picked up thing or two about songwriting and arranging – which is certainly an ongoing learning process.

If you’re tuning in and finding you’re enjoying these episodes, you might like to hear more at www.petepascoe.bandcamp.com. There are a selection of my albums here, including 2 piano/vocal singer/songwriter style, along the lines of the songs on this podcast.

Also you’ll discover my other albums and styles there – which I’ve touched on in previous episodes:  Piano solo, Rock, Folk rock, etc. 

Other links for you to explore:

www.petepascoe.com

www.petepascoe.wordpress.com  (blog  – art and music with links to more)

Youtube: Pete Pascoe Art and Music

 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrHYCpWbGGaBQr8ukxASVnw

Enjoy.


Second Story



Episode #9: Second Story – (Song at 7:32 & 24:47)

This podcast is evolving. It’s becoming a collection of songwriting tips, concepts. It’s also bringing anecdotes to the surface – stories I’d forgotten about, that had their origins at the time the song was written. Plus there are observations on the complexity of the human condition, the evolving self & the opportunity for growth – by working through the challenges that life presents as we push on. 

Art and Music are great mediums to document these events, as there’s a lot of emotion and not everything that happens to us during our time on earth is easily summed up with spoken/written language by itself. 

On that note, Second Story is a song that describes a process: how it feels to sort of disappear into another world which can happen during writing a song. Transcending time and space, it really gets you out of the skin. Maybe if you’re lucky, when you come back to your sense of self that you’re normally accustomed to, you’ll have some echoes of what you’ve experienced – like memories, somehow in the present. And these can become the building blocks for a song. 

I was house sitting at the time, there was a baby grand beneath an arched window, in a sun drenched room. Brilliant for song writing. I recorded an albums worth of songs in the 10 days or s  that I was in this house, Alfred the dog kept me company as I noodled away on the keys and waited to see where the piano would take me. 

Two versions here. The original demo. And the finished album cut

The demo is quite ethereal somehow, which suits the subject material. 

I describe in some depth this pretty much transcendent type of experience here. 

It blew me away and it seems like yesterday. I enjoyed taking myself back in time as a part of re-experiencing this. Another journey of discovery. Enjoy. 

 


Fall Asleep



Episode #8: Fall Asleep – (Song at 5:52)

Continuing on with another song this week. I explore the songwriting, using pretty much ‘layman’ inclusive language. So non-musicians, non-songwriters that know nothing about the theory of music can enjoy hearing how the song came together. 

A song is like an emotional book marker in time. When I listen to an old demo like this, it takes me right back to when the song was composed, which was in 1988 (!)

This ‘Fall Asleep’ demo was recorded in 2004. It’s what I came to Melbourne for, from New Zealand, so it was very exciting to get some basic recording software, courtesy of Anthony Reed – he plays guitar on this track – and we still record and perform together today in the (previously mentioned) band, Pascoe. 

The amazing Mr Earl Pollard (sadly no longer with us) is on the drums – we recorded these in his garage, this take is the first time he’d heard the song.  I’ve been lucky to have these marvellous musicians coming into my life… and my wife, Marie, is on backing vocals – and Tamborine, I see, too. 

I wrote the song years ago, I was on a 2 month job, it was a gig on an NZ mountain, playing music in a restaurant during a skiing season. I got to ski all day and sing all night. Perfect. Plus if it rained I’d go trout fishing of write songs or draw cartoons. Pretty much sublime. 

Except I broke my right thumb on the afternoon of the first gig. Youch! This made for an interesting performance on the keys that night, I can tell you (you can hear more about it on this episode).

In ‘Fall Asleep’, there’s a sense of loneliness and loving for what – and whom – I’m missing, but there is also a peacefulness, plus an ‘other worldly’ sort of outro that lifts the whole thing into something else. 

 


Culture To The Bone



Episode #7: Culture To The Bone – (Song at 4:35 & 18:30)

This song is about the concept of us all being swamped, almost overwhelmed by art, music and media from all around the world – at the expense of losing our own arts, and culture.

My song writing buddy, Paul Dredge and I wrote this one. It came about after a mornings fishing. We were feeling very beach-y, by the sound of the groove of the guitar riff and this is one of the most relaxed melodies and vocals I’ve recorded. 

So the whole thing is natural. That’s what I like about it. You want to hear my kiwi accent coming through, I’m not trying to be anyone else. 

The song talks about the desensitising effect of violent images and themes that are frequently on tv – the media setting up stereotypes and reinforcing the idea, time again, that there is an us and them … The fear. But 90 percent of folks around the world are on the same page: I think We all want to be happy healthy and want to live in peace. These are things I was thinking of, what inspired this song. 

The song was written in about 5 minutes. It was an absolute pleasure.

Also this week, the studio version! More polished in some respects, but here’s a pearler : Paul Dredge was using a vegemite jar as a slide for his guitar! How that for real local culture (for folks from o’seas, vegemite is a yeast based sort of protein type spread for toast that divides folks on whether it’s a good thing or just wrong –  it ain’t jam! ) It’s very New Zealand and Australian, perfect for the song. 

Enjoy.