Topic: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

This is a blog. T'will be updated as updates ensue, feel free to reply and all that.

A couple months ago - on the same day, really - I lost both "Down in Front" and a five-plus year relationship. Two major projects that I had been enjoying in the blissful ignorance of jeopardy for a long time, gone or changed forever. If you've ever thought you had some amount of control in your life... a day like that will straighten you right out, let me tell you. I felt like a cartoon character sitting on the second-floor toilet when the house collapsed around me, leaving me suddenly vulnerable and confused, and stuck, with my pants down, in mid-air. On a pole. Life as rubble, and with no evident way of getting down and picking up the pieces. And I'm wearing heart-pattern boxers or something.

Life has a way of righting itself, naturally, and the whole [redacted] community helped me and Holden and the boys with our transition into WAYDM-hood, and a tremendous number of friends came through for me with showings of support about the break-up. One of the things that happens in those situations is you get offers from friends abroad to come and crash with them for a little while, get out of the city, clear your mind. I didn't really want to do that, I had no need to get out of the city or anything, and while I did appreciate the offers I had my current employment to consider.

But one such offer was very interesting to me. I don't know if the timing was intentional or not, but at the exact same time, my buddy Andy in Boston - student of the Berklee College of Music, fantastic musician, engineer, and old friend - said "hey, come to Boston for a few weeks so we can make you an album."

An... album. Like, as a project. As a vacation. Like, come hang out and we'll make an album. Andy is a very talented engineer and producer, who's about to have a degree in engineering from the best music school in the country, who has connections to proper studios and all the best young musicians in the country - including another of my buds, Alex, from that film scores episode. As informal and pleasant the exchange was, it was a serious goddamned exchange.

I've been fiddling with music "on the side" for a long time. I've put together crappy demo albums and written songs in many genres, made a weird little musical and written a couple more. I've done a bit of music on commission, and a few remixes, taught myself a bit of piano and guitar, and just generally dicked about. I enjoy the everliving crap out of it. Also worth mentioning is that I've never taken it very seriously, or even tried to. The thought of, you know, "trying" has occurred to me a few times over the years, but every time it did I didn't think I had the skills to pull it off. Songwriting is tricky, and singing isn't my strong suit, and a million other excuses.

But you know something... I'm not saying it's gonna be inspired, or even good, but I can confidently say that I have the skills to pull it off now. I can competently make it to the end of a project like this. My competence is brand new and will embarrass me later, but as of now I can do it... and as of now I'm going to try. If it turns out I don't have the skills, I'm gonna fake it. Let's regain some control.

I'm making an album. Andy's gonna engineer it. Alex is gonna do instrumentation. They're both going to produce. On the one hand, these dudes are way out of my weight class when it comes to music. On the other, they're both my friends and I trust the shit out of them. So let's not panic.

Had a Skype meeting with Andy yesterday where we hammered out our options and what we want to do, and the sky was the limit, really. I asked dumb questions and he asked me what I was thinkin,' and we played music for each other and settled in on something we think will work. We decided instead of doing 12 or 14 songs in a hurry, we would do 5 or 6 and really flesh them out. We have an idea of the sound we're looking for, and it's a bit deeper and more textural than you can get away with farting out in a hurry. So an EP it is. We're gonna record in a month or two.

Which gives me, say, four weeks to write the six best songs I possibly can. And then two weeks to rehearse and work with Alex on instrumentation and track out the songs and sing them into microphones and not shit myself. Also, I don't know what to write and I've never done any of those other things before. And not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm not exaggerating about the talent that will be in the room watching me be an amateur. But, trust. And competence. And faking.

We don't have a real name for the album yet, so just for the sake of conversation we decided to call it Leroy.

Right now, I need to figure out what I want to say with this thing. And then figure out how to say it. And then it's just a matter of not letting myself down. A lot of this blog will be me thinking out loud and extemporizing, but getting my thoughts in order has always been easiest for me in written form. And I need all the thoughts-in-order I can get.

So, hey. A journey. We're gonna make a thing.

Come along pls.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

I endorse this heartily.

Eddie Doty

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

Your great work on Eddie's documentary proves you have what it takes to make an awesome album, we're all behind you on this.

Last edited by bullet3 (2013-05-22 23:56:59)

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

Can't wait to hear it smile

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

*hops on the endorsement bandwagon*

"Life is about movies; anything else is a bonus!"- Me   cool

Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

Alex who transposes in the moment, in his head?

You will make beautiful music. [/demanding german accent]

(UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

There is no stopping this... it is your destiny.

God loves you!

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

drewjmore wrote:

Alex who transposes in the moment, in his head?

You will make beautiful music. [/demanding german accent]

This guy gets it.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

I've said before that if you make an album, I'll buy it, and I intend to stand by my word. The only downside to this is that you can't rearrange time to make it come out now. So, in the mean time, I'll continue to wait. Impatiently.

Last edited by ShadowDuelist (2013-05-23 08:31:52)

"ShadowDuelist is a god."
        -Teague Chrystie

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

Listening to you singing/playing the piano has always made me happy. If you put at least as much passion in this album as you've always had before, I can safely assume it's going to be amazing.

Also, yeah - I'd totally buy that.

Sébastien Fraud
Facebook | Twitter | 500px
"We're gonna build a great green screen, and make the traditional matte painters pay for it"
Saniss for President 2016 - "Make VFX great again"

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

Shut up and take my money!

Seriously though, I cannot wait to hear the final result. You're a really, really talented guy. This project will be hard, it might be stressful, but it'll be awesome and with such awesome talent helping you along the way, it's sure to be something special.

I just watched Fighting in Plain Sight and listened to your tracks on YouTube. You've also got serious scoring chops, dude. I know you said it was something you hadn't done much and weren't sure you were good at; but you are. Trent Reznor said the same thing.

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

Good man! I knew you had it in you!

And if you release it on iTunes, I'll buy the shit out of that album.

Tomahawk Ellingsen

www.extendededition.net

Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

I'm stoked, man. This'll be great.

Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

There exists no gif to portray my level of FRACKING EXCITEMENT!!!!!

ZangrethorDigital.ca

15

Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

Joining in the chorus of really looking forward to this, count me in for a copy when you get to that point. 

It's great to have such a wonderful, supportive crowd of friends.

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

Forgive me if I don't speak for everyone when I say:
"We will pimp the muthaluvin shit out of any crowdfunding for this."

(UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

drewjmore wrote:

Forgive me if I don't speak for everyone when I say:
"We will pimp the muthaluvin shit out of any crowdfunding for this."

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3b7a2ekgb1qdk2u2o1_500.gif

Last edited by BigDamnArtist (2013-05-24 22:27:50)

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

This sounds awesome, Teague.
Just don't forget about us when you're all big and famous.

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

This sounds like a great project. You're going to do some Bieber covers, right?

*whispers in Teague's ear* Bieber covers.

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

*also whispers* My Chemical Romance covers */whispers*

Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

Throughout my current weirdness - Samuel L. Jackson screwed up my life for a week, long story - I've been writing and fiddling with music. Today I had a chat with Andy and Alex, and sent them what I've come up with so far.

It is so astoundingly god-awful that I don't even know what to do with myself. I decided to try wine.

We start recording on July 15th. I have one month to fix this. Right now, I'm standing in front of a great big abyss of "no idea if I'm gonna pull this off," and not exactly sure if there's a eureka-moment coming.

The biggest problem I've been having is simply that I never write songs for myself. Mechanically speaking, I know how to write a song. I know how to convert a directive into a song. This makes writing songs for musicals pleasantly easy, and it makes writing a song around some organic joke in the spur of the moment even easier. In the case of a musical, you're writing someone else's words, and you know what they're supposed to say. In the case of a joke - even "Doritos Aren't As Bad For You As the Apocalypse" was written in this style - you have a punchline for a premise, and you fill out the set-up in verses. The point of the song is to be a musical version of the joke, not a statement. Plus, for either, you can do it in any style or genre you want.

In the absence of a musical number or a "quick funny song" prompt, you're just a guy with the ability to say something to the world. What do you say? How do you say it? What are you going to sing about, and by the way, pick a style.

I never write songs for myself. It doesn't come naturally to me; as weird as it might sound, I don't express myself in song. I express myself musically plenty, but my heart doesn't react to the world in musical terms. I really have to fake it. Faking it doesn't ring true - and ringing true is my goal.

The easy way out would be to write witty, self-aware, too-cute-by-half jokey songs. I could do that in a second. But I don't want to, I want to write stuff that's... good. Song-y. Not joke-y. Somehow, despite having all the respect in the world for Tom Lehrer and Tim Minchin, I feel like going that route is too easy. I want to communicate something. But every time I try, it feels obvious. There's something inherent to Writing A Song that makes it seem like the subject of the song is very important to the songwriter, and every thought I have strikes me as pedestrian. I don't want to hang "Important" on any of those thoughts, because I feel like it's giving myself a bad rep. "He thought that was a huge observation, what a tool."

You know?

I wonder if the problem is that great songwriting is a desperate act of trying to explain something in a way that's impossible to articulate, and I've never had a problem explaining myself. I don't have this insurmountable need to try to tell you something, because I've never had trouble doing that in any other medium. It's not burning.

It's also possible that "fun, catchy song" is a form best suited to jamming with other musicians, and not stressing out over chord progressions by yourself.

Ugh. I don't know what to do. If I don't have a good answer in a week, I'm gonna say fuck it and write a concept album. Anything to give me a direction to go in. Until then, I hope I figure out how to be a songwriter and not just a musician.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

Dunno if this will help shake anything loose, but -

When I was doing the Beatles project, Neal Aspinall once remarked that the lads made an important breakthrough when they realized a song didn't have to be songwriter-centric (as in "I'm in love, I'm so sad right now, I like to drive my cool car really fast" etc.)   

They started writing songs that were directed toward other people - She Loves You, You're Gonna Lose That Girl....  At the time, this was pretty unusual in pop songs. 

They kept heading that way, next thing ya know they're just outright telling stories about people.  Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Eleanor Rigby, Rocky Racoon...

So... if you can't think of anything to say about yourself, is there something you'd say TO someone?   Or maybe there's someone else's story that needs telling?

Just a tip from the Beatles.

EDIT:  For example, I'd like to hear a song that starts with: Hey, kid - get outa the street

EDIT2: Also:

In the case of a musical, you're writing someone else's words, and you know what they're supposed to say.

Randy Newman made quite a career writing songs from the POV of characters he made up just for each song.  In real life he doesn't actually hate short people and he doesn't particularly love L.A.

Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

*blink*

Hm.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

I can't remember their name right now, but there's a screamo band that writes all thier songs from the perspective of fictional old world gods. Which I think is genius and would love to listen to if I could stand screamo for more than 3 seconds at a time.

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: An Album Called Leroy: Adventures in Faking This [RELEASED]

One final thought, a song called

Sam Jackson Almost Got Me Killed But Then He Saved My Life (Motherfucker)

could be your American Pie.  Srsly.