Happy studio days

I’m always nervous going into the studio. I can’t help it. Even if the gang (the Bohm bunch, as I affectionally call our drummer/bass/keys combo) should have muscle memory and can do the songs backwards and in our sleep there’s still this doubt. Will it work? Will I work? I sat with all the keyboards and lovely keys and I was just like: “as soon as they hear my parts seperately they’re gonna find out I can’t play”. No worries. I don’t think we did more than three takes on anything, some we even nailed first take. And there were these songs where bass and drums were left out, just me and the acoustic piano (well, you knew that was gonna happen, not giving too much away). And I just remembered as they were checking sounds, and I just played for soundcheck, and all of a sudden, my headphones start buzzing as I’m done. “Oh, sorry, we sound checked a long time ago, we were just mezmerised out here by what you were playing. We’ve decided we’re not gonna do click (a metronome) with it. You are one. You played on key even when we didn’t have one, it sounds great. A click is a potential leak (from my headphones to the mic), and honestly, you’re better without one.”

And they kept commending us for how well rehearsed we were and how the different takes were just brilliant in themselves. Nerves gone. Fun left. As we said our goodbyes and thankyous they just insisted: “No, thank YOU!” I of course thought I did crap. But I don’t see that as putting myself down. It’s pivital for getting better, being this critical of yourself. Mainly I think, as long as you don’t get scared of showing your current skills, that it’s healthy. I wasn’t this good two years ago. I can get better. And in the end, this will be an awesome album! 🙂

Closing in…

Scarletters is coming so close I can feel it. The nerves. The agony of a mother giving birth to her third child (oh yes)

Here’s a little hint of the theme, The scarlet letter;

Scarlet letter: something that tells of your flaws, weaknesses or wrongdoings…a tell tale sign. Painted on women in the old days to expose their crimes to the masses, including fellatio, adultery and other things.

So here goes. After this, you might get some pics, but the process itself I will keep to myself, being a protective mother and all… But there will also be a surprise for the patient fans in a few months! 🙂

Hat’s off!

I can’t write too much about what’s happening now, because;
I work too damn much right now.
It’s getting to the “top secret” part.
It’s also the super boring part. You don’t even WANNA know. In the meantime, have some capybaras and guinea pigs, just ’cause (do you NEED a reason?)

My question is: when guinea pig sees capybara, does it go: “god? Is that you?” And do they mind wearing the silly hats? They look pretty chill, but it might be a quiet: “i’m taking over the world anyway” boil…

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Tips for the shy and anti-social (artists)

It’s no secret that artistic people are often shy, down to earth, quiet, admitting themselves they are “super boring”. With a personality like this, you get an outlet in your art, you are sensitive, not prone to super-social qualities. Kate Bush had to smoke pot the first couple of years, Justin Timberlake has anxiety attacks, Björn Skifs (famous in Sweden and you might know “hooked on a feeling”) has to throw up in a bucket before going onstage and Lady Gaga had to do drugs to cope the first few yrs (publicly talking about it in “Dope”). And personally, if I never had to interact with people, I might be just fine.

We talked about this in Music and Business school, and I admitted to one of my songwriting partners: “I am friggin super-shy!” getting the answer: “You hide it well”. And we do. Because we know we have this handicap, we are consious of it and work on it, maybe more than the “normal” shy people do. So here are my top tips, which I have figured out through 2 yrs of extensive therapy and my own experience, applicable to artists and even just ordinary shy people with normal fears;

We all have them:
Believe it or not, because people won’t normally tell you, we’re all pretty neurotic, more or less. As herd animals, we all want to fit in, one way or another. And we worry about not fitting in.

Push yourself just right:
Should you go to that meeting/show/party? Yes. But you don’t have to push yourself further than you want to. Promise yourself to stay an hour, realize that it’s not your duty to entertain (a conversation is between two or more people, so everyone has to make an effort!) and know that just being yourself is enough. The more you let the real you through (not the one nervous to entertain and say something smart) the more you’ll actually see you have to contribute to the conversation. I tell this to my singing students afraid to raise their voice too; “Just give me the notes you are sure of strongly, the rest will come”.

You are more than you know;
Most people would just love to hear you sing/see you paint/act and has no knowledge of all the things you critisize yourself for, you’re probably pretty awesome and way too self critical. Self critisism does make you move forward, but remember to play once in a while and realize your worst is probs pretty brilliant.

You can’t make everyone love you:
Super important, also something I tell my students. In an audience of 100, there are gonna be 5 people who will want to see you fail. And that doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. If all 100 like you, you have no personality. But who do you get the most energy from? The 95 who are just curious and would love to see what you do, or the 5 who dislike you? Way too many sensitive people get their energy from those 5 and it’s devastating. Why are you so quick to believe those few negative people? It’s not about being unsensitive and not empathic if you don’t, quite the opposite. What kind of empath ignores 95 positive outlooks and sucks up the few negative ones? Who are you even doing any kind of favour? Even if you are more familiar with the negative ones, or ESPECIALLY if you are more familiar with them. You don’t have the distance from them, the ability to look at it from the outside, to know they are doing something bad, for themselves and for you.

You are enough;So we keep wanting to make people happy, forgetting that we, too, are people. You have the right to your own opinion, your own actions, and if someone doesn’t accept it, tough cookie. If you can’t find anything you agree with in their critisism, how the hell are you gonna change? How will you even know how? Again, it’s not a lack of empathy. It’s tuning it in profoundly and trusting your own ability to show it. If you can’t find the flaw, you have just as much right to claim “being right” as the other party, no matter. “This makes no sense, I can’t agree to this”. It’s not ego. It’s not being selfish. It’s showing all human beings, including yourself, equal respect.

Two steps forward, one step back, it’s a pretty normal process;
I’m not feeling to good about myself this month and it’s OK! I’ve had better months, been better at what I feel functioning and contributing as a human being. The difference from my supershy self, just three yrs ago (I wanted to go underground when I failed to speak to the 9-year-olds at work) is that I am aware. It’s probs not permanent, and I can probs do something about it. When invited to the end-of-season dinner at Ekehagen, I felt stressed, bad about myself and didn’t want to go. Hang on, that’s precisely when I need to go. To get the break from the stress and see that it’s not so bad. And it wasn’t. I was half quiet, but it wasn’t the end of the world. And the food was good, and that means a lot to me 😉

You can’t feel like you’ve failed, not until you’ve failed to push, just a little. The awkwardness may return, but your ability to deal with it changes. The most important thing to remember really is: “I’ll push as far as I can go and respect myself when I can’t go further (or applaude myself when I do!)” And honestly, a lot of the time you notice your “anti-social” skills more than others. Most people I’ve ever revealed it to, feeling better or no, all say the same thing: “Well, I didn’t notice, you hide it well, we should probably all go to therapy and help ourselves then!” 😉

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But I like… birds

Tropical heat in Skaraborg, and with heat the birds seem to get slow, even a bit thick. I can’t tell you how many I’ve nearly hit and yesterday I wasn’t even sure if one flew under the car while I was driving on the motor way… I panicked and yelled “Biiiirdieeee” but I haven’t seen any blood or tiny guts so…

On the way to record jamming today (we’ve done it for so long now it’s not even rehearsals any more) I had to honk when a little sparrow wouldn’t budge. The jam went ultra nice though, I think doing all this framework, although tedious and feeling a little bad about not being out in the sun, makes the fingers quicker. There’s a bit of a bohemian fight going on inside when the weather is fine. “It can’t be all about work.” “But I love music” “But I need to be out in this fine weather while it lasts!” Music usually wins, I AM a sun worshipper when it comes to light and psyche but I have no need to tan and look like a leather bag in five, thank you very much. I like this years summer so far especially, as there’s been a good balance of rain and it’s nice and green. I even saw a cow enjoying the sun with her eyes closed so I know the animals like it too. Well… apart from the birds then. I hope they cool of soon, it’s only a matter of time before I run one over! :S

Music is tha business!

Have nagged my way into the meetings of Music and Business school at Music Factory, as the sendouts were pretty late, probs due to the fact that the education is new. It’s nice to “get in the game” again so to speak, educating yourself in general, always useful! Not that I’m missing the student days quite yet but I do like to learn and always have.

Today we’ve been reading leads and my head is buzzing with J-pop without giving away too much 😉 I drank waaaay too much coffee as I had no sweets, heroin, alcohol or other substances us musicians like to abuse when working 😉

I needed to get out some yesterday as well, to remind myself of what I’m shutting myself in for (studio work) and I’ve gotta say, oooh, I remember! Watched Malin Andersson and band Monsun live at Uppåner Festival in Tibro and it was quite awesome and inspiring. Got even more excited about the port-a-potties. Running water, a proper toilet and wooden shelves. Why can’t all festivals have ’em?! OK, I’m admitting to over-excitement about the restroom facilities…

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Back from beautiful Halzbergen

On my way to Germany I thought I’d forgotten my mobile phone and I was almost relieved. Turned out I hadn’t, and I was almost disappointed. Good thing though, as I could relax, because I could change work shifts and not leave at 5 o clock in the morning for work on monday. I couldn’t get the internet working though, sorta a relief in itself, and it wasn’t even working properly in Skåne, proving everyone’s point that Skåne is not Sweden 😉

Joke aside though, it’s been crazy with the elections. Lots of opinions floating around. How the “Turn your back” did more harm than good. Personally, I don’t think it did because 1: The ones voting were deffo gonna do it anyway, protests aside. As a participant of the protests, I can tell you the stories of the meetings have been blown up and skewed by news hungry papers. SD voters wouldn’t contradict, because it tipped in their favour and defence. That is all. I spoke to neutral parties on the road with SD about this and they agreed. And 2: Really, the protests were not to stop anyone. They were only meant as an expression of opinion. Taking a stand. It was meant for the protestors and their sence of solidarity, nothing else. I’m not telling my grandkids: “Naaah, I didn’t take a stand, I acted in a way that wouldn’t upset SD or voters”. I mean… talk about letting the fascists dictate what you do! It can never be counter productive to express an opinion if your only intention was just that; expressing an opinion. I haven’t removed SD-voters from my friends and I’ll never stop talking to them head-on. This was just for us “left extremists” needing the sence of solidarity and relief. Not always wearing the silky gloves at all times, you know.

Anyway, Germany is great in many ways. I can’t even begin to tell you how beautiful the Halzbergen area is. We rode a steam train, we tried beer, we tried strong liquors at the breweries. Mostly I just stared at the beautiful woods and mountains. Germany is great because: They love culture. They nurture it. There’s still the love of art because of the art itself, not connections and popularity. We’ve been spoiled here in Sweden, so to us it’s all about self-serve. I think because of the division and prohibitions Germany has seen and lived until relatively recently (within my lifetime. 5 yrs old “Maria, the wall has fallen” “Well, why don’t they fix whatever wall that is, then?”) they appreciate the culture in another way.

Germany is not so great because: They still don’t encourage different. My colourful choices in clothing doesn’t raise an eyebrow in Sweden but it sure does over there. “Gently, Maria!” said to me by German friends as I was really hungry, biting big into my sandwich, just one example. Errr… screw that, know what I mean? …

There’s still a love of culture over here, but mostly in the older generations. I think they know depravity better. It doesn’t matter where you are. Big cities or small. Gothenburg, Stockholm, Skara or Skövde. The younger generation chooses popularity and things fruitful to themselves over their own inner voice going: “good stuff!”. Exceptions can be found of course. I’ve broken through some barriers. I have of course also learned that there is a “status” to reach when it comes to my work too. People know of me. And when I contact some, not mentioning names, they recognize the name and go: “Yeah, well, I might stop by and see you while you record” And I KNOW these people are all about connections. They wouldn’t contact me, but that’s more a sign of every single contact hungry person’s insecurities. “If I meet them, I’ll talk to them, but I can’t just go trying to talk to them spontaniously like a crazy person”. The few that seemed to have genuinely listened and liked, those gig places, my musicians, friends and fans, those are the one’s I feel really make a difference and mean just a little bit more.

And there’s more of that in Germany. Providing the growing ground for Beatles, Bob Marley, and many more. Actually have quite a few fans over there 🙂

Anyways, the vacay was more about just letting go and not caring about things like that at all. Just watching, getting inspired. Those few days of vacation flew by waaaay too fast!

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