James R. Tramontana

How to Start a Song: Doug Comes With Riffs

Posted 18 Apr 2018

In the last episode, we gave Doug some homework and boy did he deliver. Doug brings 38 starts to songs -- different riffs and chord progressions he has recorded while writing at home.

We do a little Get to Know Ya where Andris and Jim talk about instruments they wished they knew how to play as Doug browses through his riff library. Then we pick one to jam on and form the basis of a new song.

Doug offers a tip for playing loud without going deaf in the process.

This episode is an excellent example of exploring the possibilities of a new song and letting the music lead you in the appropriate direction. We go in a lot of different places, trying out various styles, tempos, etc. before getting something we all like. Feast your ears on the majesty.

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Ridiculous Songwriting Tips: Andris Rebellion Hates Mozart

Posted 11 Apr 2018

This week we start by talking at length about writing music. Then, lo and behold! We actually write some new music! But it happens waaay at the end of the episode.

Jim brings an article about “ridiculous songwriting tips” that he found on the Internet. After initially critiquing the article, we find some helpful gems to help spark creativity. Also found in the article? Silly bullshit. But it might help you too, so keep an open mind.

A major revelation comes out: Andris Rebellion hates Mozart. He’s team Beethoven all the way.

At the end of the episode, we actually play a new song tentatively entitled, “When Someone Asks You If You’re A God, You Say Yes.”

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How to Cope with the Stress of the Studio. Learn From Our Mistakes.

Posted 04 Apr 2018

Doug goes into an in-depth conversation about his new amplifier the Metropoulos Amplification Metroplex 100 watt guitar head. He also swears this is the last amp he will ever buy, which we know is bullshit, but we humor him and let him gush about this amazing gush-worthy amplifier. Then it gets a little weird, as Doug and Andris start objectifying music gear.

After that we shift gears and talk at length about pre-production, getting ready for the studio, and the importance of being prepared before your step a foot in a recording studio.

We share some personal knowledge we’ve gained over the years and offer ways to cope with the stress in the studio.

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Dealing with Impostor Syndrome. Play in Time. Play in Tune.

Posted 01 Apr 2018

We play an older song, a new song and then the conversation devolves into a therapy session for struggling with perfection and imposter syndrome. Jim has a minor meltdown about how his voice is out of shape and how writing vocal melodies is difficult due to his singing style. Also discussed are the differences between playing live and when recording. Some tips for recording vocals, guitar and drums are shared. Surprisingly, there is actual music theory in here too. Also, the F word is in this one…a lot.

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