In my head there’s nothing but music

Today’s post title is from erratic musical genius Babybird.

I was late to music – playing it, at least. I was told at eleven that I’d never be musical* (which is a pretty shitty thing to be told by a music teacher, isn’t it?) and I didn’t play my first note on a guitar until I was fourteen. That note was the bass line from Eddy Cochran’s C’Mon Everybody, a song I still love.

I was in bands from about 16 to my mid-thirties, with varying degrees of success: we did some decent gigs but, as I’ve written before, stage fright meant that the live side of things didn’t really do it for me. Unfortunately the bit I really did like, writing and recording, never quite lived up to what I hoped it would be. I’ve never been in a band that had the budget, the time or the expertise to really get things right in recording studios. That’s a real shame, because some of the songs I’ve been involved in over the years have been pretty damn good – which is why I don’t have a problem digging out some of my favourite ones and trying to get them right many years later.

It’s the best part of a decade since I played a gig, and I don’t really miss it – but I did spend a year or two where I wasn’t making music or writing songs, and with hindsight that was a pretty low period. Music’s a crucial part of who I am.

I started doing music seriously again about two years ago, when my brother and musical sparring partner David and I put together DMGM and ended up releasing Good Times, High Times and Hard Times. Thanks to the internet I know exactly how few people give a shit, but that’s not why we do it: we do it because we enjoy making noise. Music is its own reward.

And now there’s a whole bunch more coming.

As with the last album, the stuff we’re doing is all over the place stylistically. There’s NIN stomping and the odd outbreak of disco, some really squelchy electro-pop and some nods to various musical inspirations such as Faith No More, Talk Talk and The Human League. And I genuinely think it’s the best stuff I’ve been involved in: I’ve finally lost my fear of looking like an arse, so the music’s more honest and ambitious than ever before. It’s a pity that I’m doing it at the point in my life when the fewest number of people are likely to care: as much as Bono talks bollocks most of the time, he’s bang on when he talks about the fear that songs you’ve poured years of your life into won’t be heard.

Anyway. Here’s a new song. It’s called All Messed Up and you can have it for free.

This is the first thing we’ve put out since Hope And Faith jinxed the Scottish independence referendum, and it’s going to be joined by others really soon. If you like it you can download it for nothing from our bandcamp page, and if you do please ignore the pay what you want option: the plan is to keep adding tracks as and when we finish them, so it’s unlikely we’ll hit the limit on free downloads. All we ask is that if you like it, please tell someone else about it.

As ever, if you’d like to use our music for anything just drop me a line.

* Some say I’ve spent the 30-odd years since proving that particular point.

6 thoughts on “In my head there’s nothing but music

  1. Craig Grannell says:

    “Thanks to the internet I know exactly how few people give a shit”

    Ha! Sounds familiar. And thanks to some weird Korg Gadget bugs, even my modest Soundcloud plays have tanked of late. Ah well—that’s not why I do it either. It just feels wrong to not be making music.

    Still, I most like your thoughts about honesty. I got stuck in trying to be something other than what I was for a very long time, along with simultaneously getting hung up on things I can’t do well or don’t like doing. Since my last album, two years ago, I’ve had another entire album just sitting there, waiting for vocals, but I can’t bring myself to finish it. Instead, I’m properly into much purer electronic music again, which is kind of where I started. So: probably a new EP soon, at the expense of abandoning an entire album, which is weird.

    Looking forward to your new stuff, too, by the way. I liked the last album.

  2. Gary says:

    It’s nice to see unpopularity in graph form, isn’t it? :)

    > I got stuck in trying to be something other than what I was for a very long time

    God, I can relate to that. Some of the really old stuff is unlistenable (to me) because I was trying to do a rock voice. You can’t see me, but I’m looking very embarrassed about that even though it was a long time ago.

    > Instead, I’m properly into much purer electronic music again, which is kind of where I started. So: probably a new EP soon, at the expense of abandoning an entire album, which is weird.

    You’ll probably come back to it. That’s what I’ve found – there’s stuff that i’ve been blocked on for years that suddenly springs to life again, or when I hit a wall with one thing David or I come up with something new and interesting. New song’s an example of the latter: it appeared out of nowhere a couple of days ago and is probably the quickest idea-to-MP3 thing we’ve ever done. It’s good to have that spontaneity when you’re also wrestling with a track you’ve been trying to perfect for two years.

    > It just feels wrong to not be making music.

    Yeah, definitely. Wait until the wee one’s big enough to start grooving to your beats – there’s something deeply funny about tots dancing at the best of times, but when they’re dancing to your stuff it’s just the best thing ever :)

  3. Craig Grannell says:

    > You’ll probably come back to it.

    The problem with that is that it’s not the material but the form. I just… hate doing vocals. Maybe if I had a tame singer around, I’d finish the thing off, but it’s not terribly compelling for someone to be able to offer them a slice of bugger-all to spend many hours laying down tracks!

    > it appeared out of nowhere a couple of days ago

    That seems to be pretty much everything I do now, especially since I shifted the majority of my composition to Gadget on the iPad. The sheer speed with which I can write something is breathtaking, and getting myself into a different environment really helps, rather than being sat in front of the iMac, noodling in some Apple music app or other.

    I’ll keep an eye on mini-G regarding music. On the plus side, she at least seems to like noise, and she falls asleep to Nils Frahm every night!

  4. Gary says:

    Is it that you hate the mechanics/effort of doing vocals, or that you just don’t like the sound of your own voice?

    I know what you mean about the different environment. Obviously I’m coming at everything from the perspective of a rudimentary guitar player, so trying to compose with something I don’t have a track record with – synths, strings, drums, whatever – or working in a style of music I don’t know intimately tends to be a lot more fun and a lot less frustrating. On guitar it’s a bit dah-dah-dah-bollocks, falling into familiar chord patterns and rhythms. The Arpgeggiator in Logic is particularly good, because I haven’t the faintest idea what I’m doing so there are lots of happy accidents (and even more unlistenable mistakes, heh).

    Mini-G will delight you musically, until some bastard buys a baby drum kit :)

  5. Craig Grannell says:

    > Is it that you hate the mechanics/effort of doing vocals, or that you just don’t like the sound of your own voice?

    I’m not overly keen on my vocals, and they take an insane amount of work to get to the point where they’re not what I’d consider awful. I’m just not a singer.

    > On guitar it’s a bit dah-dah-dah-bollocks, falling into familiar chord patterns and rhythms.

    That’s what I find with the guitar. Again, I’m not really a guitarist, although guitar is much easier to ‘fake’ in an app. (Most of my post-2005 stuff is carefully cut loops, just like the ‘pros’ do it!)

    > The Arpgeggiator in Logic is particularly good, because I haven’t the faintest idea what I’m doing so there are lots of happy accidents (and even more unlistenable mistakes, heh).

    That’s in part why I’m enjoying Gadget so much. It’s seemingly infinitely tweakable, and half the time I’ve no idea how I’m getting the sounds I am for things like this: https://soundcloud.com/project-noise/evolve-patterns-in-the-dark?in=project-noise/sets/korg-gadget-full-tracks

    It’s also fun (for me, anyway) to see how much you can get out of a single synth module within that app.

    > Mini-G will delight you musically, until some bastard buys a baby drum kit :)

    Said bastard will be doing plenty of babysitting — with the drum kit left with the baby.

  6. Mupwangle says:

    I’m not sure if a parent can ever understand how hard it is for a non-parent to resist buying someone else’s child a proper (if smaller) drumkit.

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