Category Archives: Weird Decibels 2 Diary

Making of ‘Its Who You Know’ video

Its Who You Know the Video

Its Who You Know
Its Who You Know

Our latest video for our brand new single ‘Its Who You Know’ is now on YouTube. This is how it happened.

view the video here

As we finished the writing of Weird Decibels 2 we had a look at our set and decided that we did not have enough songs for the new album (out at the end of this year). So we wrote Its Who You Know, it quickly established itself as the first single.

Its Who You Know has been used many times in songs by other artists but it was apt for where my head was at the time. The 2015 general election was approaching; when I see many politicians I see people who have got their positions simply through their class and connections. I felt angered that people making the decision that effect my life and that of my family were made by those who were not there on merit (I must add that there are many who have worked hard to get where they are).

Indeed many walks of life are influenced by the people at the top favouring friends, family and people they know. Its human nature to surround yourself with people you feel comfortable with and are unlikely to challenge you. The music industry is a another example of ‘Its Who You Know’.

As my father often said when I was young. ‘its not what you know, its who you know’; he stills believes that to this day. However I believe you can make a difference to your life by working hard and never giving up but it is nice to know people with a little ‘pull’. Anyway this is what the song is about.

The Idea.

At 3 minutes the song is not long but it is an age in a music video. The idea was to have an interview with a pre-determined candidate guaranteed the job and the band being the hopeful applicants who did not stand a chance despite their qualities.

The successful applicant would walk through a door to find the band playing, a symbol of going it alone and doing things for ourselves without the help of other influences. The idea was a simple, realistic and a budget friendly plot.

The Shooting.

Kevin Byrne kindly stepped up to the lens and shot the video, he controlled the lighting and directed many of the scenes. His influence was crucial to the final outcome of the video. James Cattanach kindly let us have free roam of the Three Kings and we set up in various rooms to create the interview room, the waiting area and the stage.

Kevin grew slightly concerned about the time we had to shoot the film however once we were set up things quickly took shape.

The Cast

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Chris Wilson: Chris played a cocky applicant who was guaranteed the job. He played his character with a swagger and style; look at the scene where he passes the band knowing he has the job. When he opens the door to see the band play is reaction is priceless.

Chris Burt: Brother of Jemma who appears on Weird Decibels 1 plays the interviewer who grills his victims and draws out nervous ticks and weaknesses of the applicant. A dismissive employer who enjoys wearing a ‘sacking tie’.

Dale Ashworth: Plays another cocky and smug interviewer who plays off his colleague to mock the hapless interviewees. Both members of the board are dismissive of all the applicants until Chris Wilson’s character appears and they shake hands. (which had the director and cast scratching their heads trying to work out the handshake in reverse order)

The Scenes

there were to be three scenes, the waiting room, the interview and the band playing at the end. The first scene had to show that Chris knew the members of the board. The interview displayed the hopeless interviews and the final scene is the band playing the song. We had great difficulty shooting the interview due to uncontrollable laughter! During the waiting rooms scenes I headed out the wrong door and the band followed!

Its Who You Know!
Its Who You Know!

Editing

Greg, Derek and Stu did most of the editing with input from Kevin. The first edit of the film was not far from what you see in the final version. I had the idea to put ‘Tarantino’ titles before every scene to help define the story. We had real difficulty getting the timing right, we play our songs far faster live than the recordings. Greg had to use the force to get some of the playing in sync with the music.

The Release

Its How You Know is the first of three single from our forthcoming album Weird Decibels 2.0. the single has been well received and its nice to know that after two week its hit over 300 views. Thanks for the support!

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Writing Weird Decibels 2. October 2014

Weird Decibels 2014
Weird Decibels 2014

Its been many months since I scribbled in the Weird Decibels 2 diary; I looked back and it was last year so apologies for that. We’ve been really busy since you and I last talked. So grab a bottle of red and I’ll bring you up to speed.

Back in July 2013 we had a list of around six songs;

1. Standing On a Viewpoint
2. Rain Parade
3. Feet First
4. Miss Asphyxia
5. Small Hands
6. Kill it! Kill it!

The writing session were running like my old Ford Focus (now scraped) there were various reasons why we stopped and started writing. Gigs were a huge drain on our limited time together, Derek hurt his ankle (as you have read in elsewhere in this blog) and we had several work commitments.

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Time passed and the songs were slowing so we headed of to Oakley. We hired a small lodge nestled away in a large country estate. We had a wonderful time catching up and drinking beer; our trusted friend Kevin Byrne also turned up. Cracking time. We wrote 6 songs in two days it was a rampage of ideas. I guess the change of scenery really helped the juices flow.

1. I Hear The City
2. Digital Takeover
3. Little Thoughts Lost
4. Curtain Hits The Cast
5. Quoted not Voted
6. Hit Me.

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We returned to our old practice room, played a few more gigs and looked up to the 2009 calender as the months flew past we agreed that it would be nice to have a new album for our 20th anniversary. We hoped that a return to Oakley could be booked but this is looking unlikely (although I want do to it. Badly)

We’ve been writing back in the room over the last months; we have another few tracks and ideas to add to the new album.

1. Smash The Glass
2. Almost Beautiful
3. Station Man
4. Untitled jam

1044976_886862604672162_289650386905668896_nPut the three sessions and we still don’t have a full album. Of all the songs the following are likely to make it (singers opinion)

1. Miss Asphyxia
2. Kill it! Kill it!
3. Curtain Hits The Cast
4. Little Thoughts Lost
5. Almost Beautiful
6. I Hear The City
7. Smash the Glass

8. Quoted not Voted
Many of the early songs have been dropped; they scurried from under the shadow of WdB1 and drifted away towards the bootleg vaults.

10686736_886862641338825_7767581804681481952_nSo we have many songs still to write and we are trying hard. We hope to have them well rehearsed before potentially recording them in the early spring of our 20th year.

All these records will be available to you in some sort of form; a deluxe version of Weird Decibels 2 or a bootleg. All the ideas are worth a listen.

Writing September, October 2013

Creatively it has been a difficult couple of months. September Stu, Greg and Derek all had holidays in far away lands. So not much got done. I used September to nail the mixes of The Lost Tracks, three songs we did not use on Weird Decibels 1. More on those in another post.

As we enter October we have had a look back on the writing of Decibels 2, we have a few that will go all the way. Some are going to fall by the way side. It happens, however this time we are recording everything so there will be plenty for future bootlegs!

Stu came out with a cracking riff at the end of rehearsal two weeks ago. I had nothing to offer the song, it was late and I had lost the creative spark. However a week later I had taken the riff and found fresh impetus. There is no title as yet for the new creation but fingers crossed it will survive our ever increasing scrutiny.  We have decided not to set any dates for the recording of the album however we will have to draw a line eventually as lyrically its important to get songs from the same era. (songwriters will know what I mean!)

1. Miss Asphyxia

2. I Hope it Rains On Your Parade

3. Standing on a Viewpoint.

4.  Kill it! Kill it!

5. Small Hands

6. (Untitled)

7. Feet First

more news soon! Pabs

pabs77

June July 10th 2013 Writing.

June was a write off, a cancelled gig we were really looking forward to and the song writing sessions were grinding to a halt. I promised the guys I’d take all the recording gear down every week and annotate every little idea.

June the 19th.Stu was playing around with a cool lick but the music around it seemed to generic. I recorded the writing session and took it back to the studio as I also had a podcast to mix. I was amazed by what I heard. Fragments of a great song spread over a whole practice. I emailed the guys a mix to see if we could save a song. Three weeks later we nailed ‘Small Hands’

June 28th perhaps one of the worst practices I have had in years, the room looked run down, I was fed up bringing the gear down and I had a 5am rise the next day. I had a riff that we tried to do something with all night. I recorded it but I have yet to listen to it. Nothing happened but who knows perhaps something will arise from the ashes. I told the guys I wouldn’t be bringing the gear down next week and we’d be nailing all the previous ideas we had.

July 10th wow if i could bag the magic of that practice and use it as a backup every time I feel down it would be great. I was in a really bad mood, One of my inexplicable deep and dark moods where i’m generally not a nice person to be around however we wrote a cracker of a song. The night started well. We had all studied the MP3’s of previous songs and nailed them, then we tried ‘Small Hands’ again a complete song was born, it sounds brilliant. Thank goodness we recorded the ideas. Once we had rehearsed the tunes I asked the guys if they got my email with a new riff I had, only Stu said he had briefly heard it. Derek asked me to play it anyway. With a 3/4 timing I hammered nervously through the idea i had (played with these guys for 18 years and still I get nervous when I show them a new idea). Stu picked it up nodding his head in approval, Greg liked it as well, Derek had the beat quick, i asked him to change from cymbals to another pattern, he said, like this? Hammered a snare kick combo for the verses and I was stunned. Stu had already nailed the riff, and the ending. The song was building into a raging 2 and a half minute get it off your chest primal scream. I was loving it, Only this week we had no recording gear… I set up my tablet and got a hyper distorted version of Kill it! Kill it! my new hope for Weird Decibels 2. When we finished playing this song we looked at each other and started laughing . Amazing, we remembered how song writing can be easy if you just let it flow. My mood was so black I even wrote the lyrics in one sitting.  By the end of practice my voice was gone but my mood lifted.

Next week i’ll bring the gear and record the six songs we have written so far. Oh i sent the guys another email riff…

Weird Decibels 2 sessions

  1. Standing On A Viewpoint
  2. Your Parade
  3. Feet First
  4. Miss Asphyxia
  5. Small Hands
  6. Kill it! Kill it!

Derek adds to the WdB2 diary

Derek setting up the kit for Tonight Live Not Completely Sold Out
Writing new drum parts can be a challenge.

 

I like starting a new album. The beginning of another adventure that will end up somewhere you haven’t been before. At least that’s the idea.

The main pitfall is trying not to do what you did on the last record, and being the drummer, that can be quite tricky. Lets be honest, there are only so many ways you can drum to 4-4 rhythm and now that we are embarking on album 8, trying to find new ideas can be difficult.

The great thing for me though is that each album we have written has been a bit different from the last one. That certainly helps. Each album has a different feel about it, which in itself brings new ideas, or at least old ideas that haven’t been used in a while.

This brings us to WdB2. Its still early days and with only 4 working songs that ‘feel’ hasn’t quite been ‘felt’ just yet. Although the basic rhythm of the song is one of the first parts to be put down, the finished article will take a few months to get right as I tinker with different fills and beats to see which fits the best.

I agree with Paul, Rain Parade’s middle section was too long on the rough demo we cut and the song does flow better with that shortened down. I also agreed with the Stu stare, it didn’t need another section at the end. 3 sections to this song is enough, Maiden we are not. But it’s a good song and as always with us, it will get better the more we play it and the more familiar we get with it. I do like the time signature of the verses.

With Left/Right I will admit to being a bit short of ideas for the first half of the song. This will take me a while to get right and to be honest I probably wont get it until Pabs has got his vocal melodies finalized  No pressure mate! We also shortened the solo a bit at the end at practice which sounds better as well, sorry Stu.+

Feet First is still basically a jam in its current state, but when we get some structure to it, it will be a good song, simple but effective.

A good start then to WdB2. Its always interesting to see where the writing process takes us. We just need to be careful to not do the same things as last time………….

 

 

April 10th 2013

I had a couple of weeks to listen to the demos we had recorded at last practice and I could start to hear the songs form in my head. The guys had received the MP3’s on the same day as practice so didn’t have as much time to listen to the new songs.

Generally the band is ticking over well just now. Practice is a lagh
Generally the band is ticking over well just now. Practice is a 

laughI felt we could drop a part in Rain Parade, it just drags the song out. The middle 8 is now half as long. I mucked about with the ideas trying to make the song longer at the end, Stu looked at me. The look said, leave it. I did. I have a good feeling about his track, it has a cool time signature we don’t normally use.

Left/Right is growing every week. Lyrics are not there yet, the music is nearly settled. Stu has a solo or two to write. Derek is also hammering the drums towards the end. It builds and builds.

I think everyone was surprised at Feet First and how quickly it was written. I voice my concerns to the band its a bit commercial, we’ve heard it many times before. However I’m shot down in flames mainly because we love playing it and I can’t stop humming the main riff. I guess I need lyrics for all the songs to make them come to life. This brings me to ‘The Stalker Song’

Derek admitted he needs to challenge himself every album. i agree we all need to do that, and not be afraid to say hey... You've done this before.
Derek admitted he needs to challenge himself every album. i agree we all need to do that, and not be afraid to say hey… You’ve done this before.

‘The Stalker Song’ was started just at the end of our night. I had a wee riff floating around, Stu added a minor which fitted then we started jamming. Stu was throwing in full bar chords. This is where I get nervous… I asked Stu to pick the notes instead. To my amazement and awe he picked out a lovely guitar part and I just sang, the way it used to be. I hurriedly wrote down the chords in the notebook. The idea for the lyrics are cemented in my brain though. I loved the characters of WdB 1 and I aim to create more for WdB2. So here we have a guy who gets the same bus every day and at the next stop is a girl who gets her bus everyday. He falls in love with her, he feels like he has known her all his life. He’s a loner doing the same thing day in day out. She simply fills her commute with the usual check on her smart phone. One day he follows her home. I’m not sure where to go from here, my character isn’t a violent guy just lonely but he has really strong feelings for this girl he doesn’t know.

Anyway I digress. I’ve asked Jemma to get more involved in this album. She’s keen to come down and help finish the songs. On WdB 1 she was thrown at the deep end. I’m also thinking of another couple of guests… Fingers crossed the creative juices continue to flow.

At the end of Podcast 4 on Soundcloud we have a clip of the writing process (well if you’ve read this far I guess your interested?)

https://soundcloud.com/weirdmusiconline/wdb-podcast-4-april-13

I’ll take the gear down to next practise. See what happens

Anyway. Goodnight.

Pabs.

 

Weird Decibels 2 Diary

Stu getting ready to create WdB2 solos
Stu getting ready to create WdB2 solos

It’s strange starting to write a new album. Its not something you do everyday, its like a stamp on a moment of your fleeting time on this planet. As I get a little older these songs are getting more important and as the guy who writes the lyrics for the band I don’t want to screw it up again. Our latest album Weird Decibels 1 is the first record in a while I’ve been happy with, especially the words.

During the March 2013 snow I couldn’t run to work like I normally do so I started walking and I had the old Weird tunes on, reflecting on what I had written. Until Weird Decibels 1 I had not really paid attention to the depth of my lyrics. Our first album, 1995’s Whapper Stormer is strong lyrically for as a young song writer I was bursting with ideas. The five albums after have moments I am proud of but there are a few lyrics I literally wrote in a drunken stupor!

We arrive at Weird Decibels 2 and I have a strong sense of purpose to write songs that will not only mean something to me but to others as well. i would like them to transcend further than the four walls of our rehearsal room.

a la super frown
a la super frown

So far we have three songs in development. They are at an early stage and there are hints of lyrics. Often I sing along to the new guitar riffs and something pops into my head. Working titles are Left/Right, Rain Parade and Feet First. (we’ve had an idea of two word titles for WdB 2 as a follow up to the one word titles for WdB 1). They are quite dynamic, influences so far point to The Pixes, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. We’re not going quietly!

The feedback for WdB1 has been immense so thank you. Does it put us under pressure to better it with WdB 2? No. The advantage of being in a band 18 years old and 7 albums in is that we’ll always try to write our best record. We write with freedom, without a care in the world.

More updates soon