Speak, how we made the video.

Speak, the video

Picking the song.

Weird Decibels 1 has many good songs (in our humble opinion of course) but Wonder, Joker and Speak have always felt like singles. We had an idea for Wonder fairly early on so that video came first. Joker has had several ideas that we either too ambitious for a zero budget or the logistics of getting the right people together didn’t happen. It will though. Speak kinda hung around waiting for an idea. Derek rightly pointed out that we needed to get a new video out and he suggested our faithful practise room owned by the most understanding of landlords Fraser Law aka Beany. We get a free reign of the room so its been our home for nearly 20 years. Derek suggested we shoot a simple video there, and get it uploaded quick, however the idea started to develop.

 

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The room is brilliantly ramshackle, it’s a homely basement with an underground feel. A perfect setting for an underground band shooting a budget film!

Influences and the ideas

The White Stripes, The Hardest Button to Button
A wonderful video.

After the drums intro Speak breaks into a guitar riff with individual notes. I remembered the White Stripes video The Hardest Button to Button, I thought some pictures on the video would be cool, a picture for each note. Below is a still from that wonderful video.

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It worked really well, firstly with the guitar picks, then leads and pedals. Look for the picture of Pabs turning up his amp after Stu. That NEVER happens.

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Pic above. One of the many stills used for each note of Pabs guitar riff.

For the verses we decided to mix things up, Stu singing, Derek on lead guitar, Greg on drums and myself (Pabs) on bass. For those who know the band there would’ve been a few head scratching moments for those that didn’t, well everything would be normal until the chorus. Myself back on vocals, Stu on lead, Greg on bass and Derek on drums. A simple goofy idea.

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Our next influence?

Nirvana. Smells Like Teen Spirit.

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Nirvana is in everything we do

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Yep straight from the Smells Like Teen Spirit vault. The middle 8 sees me screaming into the camera Kurt Cobain style, another mod to our musical youth.

The second verse was a complete surprise for the band. Greg took the outtakes and inserted them into film. Inspired. It gives the video a human edge and is rather funny when Greg fails in his drum stick whirl.

The solo is a classic Stu gig pose that we finally have on film. Stu and I stopped short of doing the back to back pose normally pulled at gigs. I had my moment now it was the turn of the guitar hero.

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For the ending we returned to the still pics for every note. This time we had the band sitting on the old practise room couch. It was a nod to the back cover of Whapper Stormer, our first album. We had no one to take a band pic so we took a photo of the couch then using Photoshop we placed the band into the picture. This idea worked well for the end of the video.

How We Shot The Video

We simply used HD camcorders and Derek’s posh camera. The moving scenes were simple to shoot. The photographs were more challenging as we did not want the light to change too much, so we grabbed some sheets and covered the lights until Derek was happy, and continued to hold the until our arms ached with lactic acid.

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The pic above sees Stu goofing around, the shadow on the right is one of the covers slipping down. No expense spared!

We shot the video in black and white to go with the same colour theme of the album, however Joker, the next video may get the full colour treatment. Who knows!

Editing

We thought this would be so easy to edit and upload but it turned out to be a nightmare in comparison to Wonder. The high def photographs sapped the RAM out of Greg’s poor old PC. Some more RAM a new video editing package and a new OS later and Greg’s hard work paid off.

The Reaction

So far so good! For a small band with around 30 hardcore followers its great knowing that hundreds of people are watching our videos. It is a new audience for us and we are reaching new corners of the globe. So thanks for watching!

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The Speak video in all its glory.

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Music in 2014 will be…

…the year of writing Weird Decibels 2.

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Weird Decibels 1 is actually a 2012 album, 2013 was the year we promoted it. Some of the songs were written back in 2009. So our thoughts turn to the next set of songs. We started writing last year but the writing was in fits and starts. Ms Asphyxia has been played live, a few others are holding on, Kill it! Kill it! Standing on a Viewpoint but its fair to say life got in the way and writing halted.
We’ve booked a weekend break in a lodge in Oakley. We’ll take the acoustics and a load of beer and wine, the studio and a dose of hope that inspiration will take hold and some songs will be born. I can see this being the way we write our songs in the future.

….when One More Solo turns ten.

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Its hard to believe our ‘come back’ album is ten years old. This is the first album we recorded when Stu rejoined the band. The album was easy to write, we were invigorated, the 2 year break (myself, Derek and Greg joined Jon Shaw and formed the Seventeenth) helped refreshen our outlook. We recorded this album at Derek’s old flat on a Tascam 788. We had one or two mics the best of which was a Stagg condenser. We made a vocal booth from egg cups and it was mixed on my hi fi with two huge Celef speakers as monitors. I’ve learned a wee bit more about sound production. The album has been remastered, it sounds a bit better, more clarity and more dynamics and less guitar ringing! (Derek is gutted) Its a simple remaster, it will sound a lot better on its 20th anniversary when I finally work out how to use multi band compressors. The One More Solo remaster is out soon and will be free to download.

…. Weird Decibels playing live.

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Derek is injured so we won’t be playing live until at least the spring. We hope to play new venues and new cities, maybe even new countries. Playing live made 2013 special for us and we met a lot of great new friends. I’d definitely like to re visit the 13th note I love that venue. Another gig in England would be nice…

….when music videos are once again all the range.

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Wonder was great in 2013 but we left it too long to record its follow up so this year we’re going to have more content on YouTube. The Speak video will be first, then a video for Joker. We hope to have the film Making of Weird Decibels 1 finished and uploaded into episodes on YouTube. We’ll give video podcasts a shot as well.

…. a new Podcast series.

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The podcasts have been popular. Thanks for listening. This year we will reminisce. We hope to have some friends from old Falkirk bands guesting in our pods, some live performances. A look at one more solo and general silliness. Look out for the podcast from the writing weekend where we’ll hopefully have a brand new song or two for you to hear in acoustic format.

…. social networking???

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I’ve no idea where social networks are going. We’re signed up to all the major players. Updating them all is a pain in the arse. Engagement is the key… Is Facebook declining? Is MySpace back? Is reverbnation the hub? Is Bandcamp ever going to improve their search algorithm? There is a part of me that says word of mouth is best. I’m at a loss. Where is the best platform for our band? YouTube? See above.

….the solo album

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I am writing a lot of songs at the moment. I trying to write my writers block to death! ( writing as much as you can kills block ) Some are for the band others are for me, mainly the tunes that wouldn’t work with the band but I don’t want to throw away. Seriously around early December I was staring at a blank page holding the guitar and nothing was coming. That thought. Is this it? Is this me finished? I played and played the guitar, staring out into the garden. Then stuff clicked and I recorded everything onto the tablet. I took the best ideas and have laid them down but its getting harder, so I have to work harder. Hopefully my 7th solo record will be out this year. However my priority remains Weird Decibels 8th!

…. I will expand ‘Pablo’s unsigned adventure’

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Bandcamp, it was a random search and I stumbled upon the Spanish band 9M Lied. Loved their recordings and I decided to write about my favourite unsigned bands. Its not easy, there is so much content on the internet and its frustrating trying to find the hidden gems. The criteria? Unsigned. Not recommend by staff ( I don’t trust this). Not the most popular. I want the bands that are ignored or just starting out. Recommendations welcome. Hopefully I’ll get one new band a month.

…. Fail to hold back the stream

I love CD’s. Want to explore vinyl. You cannot match the sound quality of these physical formats…yet. But i cannot afford it. Bought 5 CDs last month, (still waiting for their arrival…) Cost me a small fortune. I have Spotify premium. ( another can of worms) For now its great but I feel weird using Spotify knowing how much we as artists get paid per stream. Anyway its feeding my music appetite this year as it did the last.

So enjoy your music in 2014 my big hope? Well we get signed, but seriously? A new scene, a fresh batch of new bands. Fingers crossed.

Pabs.