pigfactory

LA Take 2 – Day 15 – Red Carpet

This was my last day in LA and although I am little sad to leave I am so excited about getting home to my family.

I spent the morning having brunch with my publisher’s wife and cute little boy, which was lovely. And then back to the hotel to pack. I am not a tidy person so it took some time to gather everything up and cram it into a suitcase that seemed more than big enough when I left 2 weeks ago.

Packing was courtesy of the following chocolate…

So it seem that choosing a dress for an awards show with a red carpet is not as easy and carefree as it sounds… no really. I hd a choice of three and went with the white dress but, as were going out for mexican beforehand… I was smart enough to take one of the black ones with me… just in case there was a salsa disaster.

The evening was a great success… mexican food and many margaritas followed by a quick red carpet followed by en early win of Best Alternative Female. So Cool!

Then we headed back to a mexican favourite, El Carmen, for more tequilas and food. I had the best time and will really miss these guys.

LA Take 2 – Day 11 – last song and Room 5 gig

Woke up feeling a little homesick this morning. This is the longest I’ve been away from my family in a long time and I really miss them.

Anyway… enough sharing… back in the studio we started the final song for this album, Don’t Come Around Here… my angry song. This is going to be totally different version to the one I did on an album in 2009. It has the ‘Bleu’ stamp on it. Bleu put down some piano while Joe got to engineer again. I think he was happy…

When Bleu suggest that Joe whip out his accordion I was worried and a little excited. Excitement prevailed and he recorded some really cool sounds.

I almost forgot… today’s chocolate was pear almond… which was very nice and kept me going for my gig.

We got to Room 5 way too early so it was Manhattan time for Bleu and water for me. The gig was so much fun… what a great room Room 5 is. And the sound by Kevin was a joy. All the pigFactory guys came along as did Stacey Peck, Bleu’s manager and all round lovely person. As soon as Bleu got up to play with me my energy level really went up and I think it sounded awesome.

Jess Furman played after me and had am amazing voice and songs, as did Casey Hurt. Evening was rounded off nicely with a glass of pino grigio and bangers and mash. 🙂

LA Take 2 – Day 10 – String Quartet heaven

Tiredness kicked in today, partly due to some flower blooming and setting of my allergies… so I had to buy extra chocolate today.

We had the string quartet coming in today so Bleu and Joe spent the time preparing all the parts for them. This gave me a little time to rehearse the songs I will be playing tomorrow at Room 5. Not sure whether to go with the ‘pick and card’ type of gig or actually put my songs into some cohesive order. Probably should do the latter although I do like the element of slight disorder.

Keatly from pigFactory popped in again today to see how we were doing. His toes were tapping so I think he likes it. He hung around for a while which was nice.

The string quartet, called The Section Quartet, along with their sound engineer arrived and set up and were the most lovely people… and so incredibly talented. When they started playing my tune I welled up… and those of you who know me, know I am not a weller… I lack the sentiment gene, but somehow I found it today. Beautiful!

On violins were Eric Gorfain, Daphne Chen (with the lovely boots… I had boot envy), on viola Leah Katz (with great hair… short and blond), on cello Richard Dodd, and wonderfully engineered by Steven Rhodes. This was certainly one of the highlights of this recording.

Then it was more mexican food time and Bleu and I headed back to his to go over some tunes for tomorrow… sounding awesome… can’t wait.

LA Take 2 – Day 6 – Joe is back

Today we really got into Anytime Soon and and the was some really crazy stuff going on. I love watching Bleu work his magic and having Joe back really adds to that magic. I learned about Mellotron today… apparently they were the first sampler, using actual taped sounds of different instruments and when you held a note down the tape would run out, rewind and then continue. It makes everything sound cool. I love it!

I keep trying to get candid photos on Bleu but this is pretty much what Joe and I see everyday. He’s in the zone.

Keatly, my pigFactory publisher, stopped by today and we all headed down the road to have what Bleu says are ‘ literally the BEST fish tacos EVER’. As usual, he was right and here is me and Keatly about to enjoy them.

Back at the studio we had a stand-up bass player coming in and there is nothing quite like the sound of real stand-up bass… gorgeous! Thanks Nate Light!

Our final thing of the day was starting Floating Away and Bleu added some guitar… really nice to have someone else’s guitar on the album. This meant that Joe was in charge of the recording… you can almost see the terror on his face 🙂

Joe’s in-laws were in town (whom I loved partly because they thought I was 18… I’ll live on that for weeks!) so we went out for chinese and I ordered the tangerine chicken because it’s what Sheldon always orders on The Big Bang Theory and I was curious as to what it tasted like. The guys bought the weirdest sharing drink… it had a weird name but can’t remember it now… but it came with very long straws and has a ridiculous amount of alcohol… hic.

7 Steps to Prepare for a Music Publisher

I’ve had songs with several publishers, from large instrumental libraries to publishers promising me Coke ads. I now write exclusively for pigFactory and get songs regularly placed in ads and on TV and movies (click here for a list of my placements).

I get quite a few emails asking me either how to find a publisher or how to know if someone who has contacted them is legitimate, so I assembled this list of ideas to explore:

1. Is your music ready?

This is so important. You need to critically listen to your music and ask yourself if it can realisitically be placed. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to include your music in a playlist with other successful music in your genre to see how it flows, both in sound quality and writing. If it sticks out like a sore thumb, focus on getting your music to a place where is stands the best chance of getting placements. You only get one chance to make a first impression!

2. Educate yourself!

It’s natural to get excited by the first publisher you encounter, but you could end up learning the hard way if you sign an agreement before learning the rules. It’s far better, if a little painful, to educate yourself in the field of publishing first. I recommend reading The New Songwriter’s Guide to Music Publishing by Randy Poe. It’s a lot to take in, but well worth your time. There are many other great books out there including Robin Fredrick’s Shortcut books – a great education in writing.

3. Google is your friend.

I’m always surprised when I get emails asking me things that are so easily found by using Google. Whether you’re looking for a publisher or want to know more about a specific one, Google them. But you have to look at all the info critically. If I believed everything I read on the internet I would never have ended up using Taxi which, by the way, is a great way to find a publisher. Other places that publishers put out a call for music on are Sonicbids, Broadjam and ReverbNation. There are others and these are all easily googleable.

4. Pick up the phone.

If you find yourself in the position of considering a certain publisher, talk to them. You can glean so much more from an actual conversation than from an email. This is the person who may be controlling your music, so it’s extremely important to have more than just a text relationship with them. Fifteen minutes on the phone can give you a feel for the person and company.

5. Use your gut.

Instincts are there for a reason. If you really want to sign an agreement but just don’t feel right about it, listen to that voice. These agreements can last a long time so it is worth holding out for the right person/company.

6. One song, one publisher.

Don’t sign the same song with more than one publisher, even if it’s a non-exclusive agreement. Music supervisors don’t like that. I have been told by both publishers and supervisors that if they get the same song from more than one publisher, they will not only pass on the song, but blacklist the songwriter (see #2). You can avoid this by writing a lot and having a bunch of songs to sign with different publishers to test the waters. I did this for a while before signing an exclusive agreement.

7. Find a lawyer.

If you find yourself with a contract to sign, find a good music lawyer. A recommendation is the best way to go. It may be expensive initially, but will most likely save you money and heartache down the line. It also gives you peace of mind because, if you’re anything like me, you’ll fall asleep reading the contract and may miss something.

Connecting with a publisher is a lot of hard work, but for those of us who are driven to make music, it’s worth it. Good luck!

LA – Day 4 – time for strings.

We started a little later today and stopped for essential cake pops from Starbucks. If you haven’t tried them, then you must. A little piece of heaven on a stick.

And then it was back to work with the boys. What I didn’t realize was that we are the first people to record in this new studio. It’s so new it doesn’t have a name yet. Owned my Taylor Locke (the guy who provided the whiskey yesterday) from The Roughs and Rooney, it’s a perfect studio for me in it’s dark red antique-y look. I feel right at home. Thanks Taylor! 🙂

Now that I have heard the new songs over and over they sound amazing to me. I keep saying that they are so different to my own production… well… because they are. And I guess it makes me a little nervous when we put them out there that some people won’t like the change. I personally love change so am embracing the new sound and hope others will too.

Keatly (pigFactory) came in today to have a listen and he is stoked which makes me very happy. We discussed what other songs that should go on the album and that decision seems to change on a daily basis. We’ll figure it out eventually.

We ended the day adding cello which was amazing. Cello makes everything sound right! Although Bleu wrote a pretty demanding part which made me marvel at the cellists’s skills.

After that… dinner at at Upper West, my last chance to hang out with Bleu and Joe outside the studio before I go home on Friday. I am having so much fun spending time with them… can I take them home with me?

LA – Day 3 – Hitting things.

After a debriefing and delicious breakfast with Keatly from my publishers, pigFactory, Bleu picked me up and we went over to the studio and we “f***ing did some f***ing s***”. This is a technical term for laying down some percussion tracks. And Joe Seiders did a sterling job!

There were weird tambourines, a strange cone with a spring on the end and some home-made shakers which, by the way, I am SO going to be making when I get home. My favourite was the Ramen shaker. I guess I will have to drink some beer to have the cans available to be used 🙂

So far I am really loving how the songs are sounding. So different to any production I could ever do. The first songs we did Bleu had already done work on so it took a while to get used to the new sound.

The main song we worked on today is the first that we built from the bottom. It is so interesting to see how he adds elements from seemingly simple parts and turn them into something very cool.

Now, not only do we have the pleasure of recording at Taylor Locke’s beautiful studio, but Taylor walked in at 7pm with a bottle of whiskey and 4 glasses… and you can’t say no can you?