Feeling a bit stressed I knew I needed to become more awake and present, part of what keeps my creativity flowing. Work and socializing sure does too, but I put it all into imagery that I get from the world around me. Lyrically, “hectic work schedule” does not work as well as “busy humming bird” or something rather… so… I decided to do one nice autumn pic a day for the remainder of october, somewhere around the 22nd, and here’s the result… oh, and a happy halloween drawing for you. Not as many bone pipes as I would like, but the fiber pens are a bit too thick to make them appear satisfactory…
Had a musical weekend up in Sthlm watching Livet är en schlager on Cirkus. Johan Glans was funny as hell but the biggest surprise was his brilliant singing voice, he’s more known for being a comedian.
Peter Jöback was a gorgeous woman, and although they used the word “tr*nny” a lot (being in a power position of being cis -identifying with the gender I was born with- I need to censor the word and not use it out of respect) they smoothly worked into the show how he identifies as a woman and that we should respect it. Much love! And to my surprise; “you can lable me anyway you want, but lets just call me FABOLOUS” rendered giant standing ovations from the older people in the audience, along with “labels are for things, not people”. Wow, that gave me hope and made me just a little less prejudice… Anyway, you could tell it was personal to him, from one dimension or another, and his performance was strong, even though he used the amateur acting trick of beginning sentences with a giggling “ja” and “jamen…”
Just an overall laugh. I prefer musicals like this one and Spamalot, better to laugh for three hours. Miss Saigon last winter was good, but totally depressing. We had a few hours to check out Sthlm as well, which I always enjoy even though I’ve seen most of it 🙂 as long as I don’t have to drive, I’ve almost been stuck there because of their damn one way streets 😉
I figure a music blog is also about making these recommendations, purely from my own point of view of course, but hun buns, here’s my ideal roadtrip album. Tori Amos, Scarlet’s Walk.
Now, thanks to this album, I’ve had my definite doubts about naming my future album Scarletters. Even though the archetype appearing to me was most def named “Scarlett”, I didn’t want there to be any issues about me copying one of my house gods. And lets face it, it’s not impropable. But first of all I have seen people rip off names and even layouts from their heroes without there even being a question. But that’s because most people don’t know that much about music. So I think of the people who know music. And I think I can still make it my own from the bottom up. First of all we’re talking two different Scarlet’s in mythology here. Tori refers to the Magdalene, also my go-to girl, but she is not who I’ve gotten help from. I’ve gotten help from the Scarlet Letter of Hester Prynne, the big “A”, the telltale sign. My Scarlett has two “t”‘s, BIG difference, right? 😉 I also sat down with the sleeve recently, and unfortunately discovered some similarities. But hey, I haven’t picked up the sleeve in years, so the idea did come from my head, and there are still enough differences in photo shoot ideas and general layout to reassure at least myself (and with that, people who know music) that I’m not copying. Beatrice Eli is releasing a record named “Die Another day” I mean, come on, she’s clearly worse… 😉 Well, here are my reasons to why you should be driving to Scarlet’s Walk…;
1. The Images
Doesn’t each and every one of them just wanna make you go out on the road? While I don’t condone looking at sleeve images while you drive they still stick in your memory… 😉 Especially the one with the gentleman in the cowboy hat, he looks like our former prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt! 😀
2. The BPM
Recorded with a first from Matt Chamberlain with all acoustic drums, each song shows it’s own level of perfection and closeness to the wonderful sounding rythm section. You can tell; it’s all really real, Dave. And while they certainly make you sway and groove up to about 5 km past approved speed, it’s not like listening to a double bass drum album like System of a Down and finding yourself in double digits over speed limit. I love SOAD but they make me drive like an asshole. If you’re like me, a rock album is baaaad for your roadtrip…
3. The length
Tori is not known to skimp on song material for each album. You get 12-20 songs each time, no question. For this one it’s 18. Sometimes she does a short one, most of the time the standard pop length, but one or two are pure joy for more than 5 minutes. So it’s well over an hour of music which is ideal if you don’t wanna make unnecessary stops to change the tune.
4. The theme
No surprise she’s a strong theme girl, and most of the songs are about journeys. Physical or mental. Absolutely perfect for a driver, no doubt!
5. It’s all real
I do appreciate her using actual instruments here, it’s an easier listen than synthezisers when you just want your head to relax and take in the surroundings. Her faithful Böse, her Wurlitzer, her Rhodes and her company. Enough to keep you company and stay awake, alert and appreciative.
Well, that’s my take on an ideal roadtrip album, tell me yours! 🙂
Here’s one I caught as I was first writing it, on my old Iphone, and published, and here’s where it goes one step further into real demo mode (next step, actual musicians apart from me 😉 )
Lyrics: It’s a cold thing, it’s cruel but I can make it mine, It’s the pod fear, it puts the fear of God inside, when you burn the witch, the smoke gets in your eyes, but you’re still here, you’re still my only lullaby, let me sing it to you. You’re a mermaid, you’re swimming in the deep blue sea, it’s Poseidon, he puts the fear of Blue in me, when you burn the witch… when you burn the witch the smoke gets in your eyes, but you’re still here, smiling even though she cries, let her sing it to you.
First version, recording me writing and mumbling on the Iphone: https://soundcloud.com/maria-bohm/smoke-writing-process-iphone
Next step, demo recording; https://soundcloud.com/maria-bohm/smoke
Personally, I love this kinda sh*t, hearing Michael Jackson sorta humming Billie Jean on an early demo, hearing Tori Amos developing “A sorta fairytale” on Piano- A collection, so I thought I’d treat you to mine! 🙂 And yes, ladidai is acceptable in a chorus, Crash Test Dummies have made it so… 😉
It is said to be the most rewarding work. Yet for this album, it has been the most frustrating and infuriating process you can imagine.
Let me take you back a decade or two. In primary school, there was art, and then there was wood craft. And sports. And then there was home ed, and then there was sowing. And though no one ever said it out loud, you where supposed to be good at some of these things, not others. As a girl. I was this over achieving little thing, so I wanted to be good at it all. But of course, you can’t be. I just happened to be good at the fields “belonging” to the boys. Put me in an art class and I could hardly give you a recognizable piece (it might be an elefant, it might be the eiffel tower, or an apple pie). Put me in sowing class and I did some awesome stuff for sure, but it took me so much longer than the others. Not that I wasn’t interested. The pieces wouldn’t have turned out good if I wasn’t. I just wasn’t quite where the others were. I even remember a teacher being frustrated because I couldn’t quite grasp her terms. “You know what I mean by cross stitches, you’re not stupid!” Or something like that… I went home crying but I finished that pillow case (I think it was). Just weeks after the others. Put me in home ed and I “didn’t take enough initiative”. Wow, that chicken was really important to take charge of for a future vegetarian.
Then put me in wood crafts. And all of a sudden I was like: “Ya’ll not finished with that stupid towel hanger yet? Well, fine, I’ll just make a giraffe sculpture and a luxury house for my hamster, latches and all, waiting for y’all to finish…” And put me in sports? Not brilliant, but came in 3d at speed in my class. (1st was a girl and as it happens she is now playing in the Swedish soccer team, second boy, 3d me, so suck it, gender stereotypes!)
Even describing the girly girls in my lyrical palette stems from this time. “Horses” and “Ponies”. Because they were so perfect and loved riding horses and could of course draw a fricking horse well, not looking like a piece of pie… 😛 Think of that next time you listen to my songs!
Fast forward a decade or two. And a girl trying to put together an album. The music part she’s got down. Then comes layout, ideas, taking physical form (even applying to digital form). And it’s called Scarletters. Of course there has to be things done by hand. How I’ve cried about it. “I can’t do this, I’ve never been this girl! I never do this sh*t!” referring to aspects of my layout. Luckily, I’ve had help from girls who DO have this sh*t down… 😉 My boss put her old stuff (in line with the layout idea) in front of me and even on the cover I’ve had brilliant help. From another girl who’s always had drawing and cooking down. Oh, I’m not demeaning myself, I have cooking down now, but it took ’til I was about 24. At which point no one was hovering over me telling me what was wrong and right with cooking. I was able to form my own opinion. But natural talent? Naaah 😉 I’m a mean vegetarian cook and an even better vegan one for some reason so look me up if you’re in Skara and hungry!
BUT, going through the initial insecurities, after that, something happened… A wee bit of magic. After sitting down with pencils, pens, fiber pens, water colours, tea dying and just general creating I find myself really inspired. Not having an art/writers bun on my finger this big since I composed 4 hrs a day in Hultsfred, I find myself drawing and writing just for the hell of it. Because I think it’s fun. And that’s really what we’re all after, creative people, ain’t it, finding the process just as fun as the finished results? And heck, the character Scarlett doesn’t give a flying fuck. She just draws and writes for the hell of it too. I’ve learned from her. I think that’s what every process is about, so no matter what, this has been a successful one, even if layout an’ all that jazz might be a target of critisism. No matter. She has pushed me, and I love the push.
I mean, biologically, I do have some difficulties this season, mostly around October/November when the heat disappears and the light gets shortened so quickly. Those daily walks and explorations become key. It’s ridicolous how fast the light disappears. As I told one of my music students: last week I drove home to the sunset, now you’re here (not my last student) and it’s dark already!
But working on this album, there is so much focus, I hardly even have the time to go all bluesy on ya’ll. I was at one point, but then I sat down to double check the lyrics I had done for the sleeve (of course, there has to be a bonus to the physical copy) and I finally listened to all the complete recordings. First time. And my girl Scarlett came to me again just to say “I told you so”… because it sounds pretty awesome.
So here’s the tiniest sneak-e-ty peek for y’all. The M and the W on my forehead will be explained. For now, just enjoy… Oh… getting the Emilie Autumn comparisons now…
Got some tracks, some excuse about it being “fixed”, and it it didn’t bother me. And let me tell you, if it doesn’t bother me?…
I am the most allergic to autotune and melodyne ever! I almost wanna throw up when I hear it. I’m like: “dude, just get a real singer instead”. I hear it. I really hear it, and if I hear it and am not bothered, then you’ve done a good job. Because it is my pet peeve. It really is. I can’t think of anything that bothers me more in recordings. I can’t even listen to my fav System of A Down song anymore because Daron Malakian chose autotune (Video/Radio).
Sorry I can’t give you pics again, instead you get my side project. As I was working on album and layout, my hands were already on the go and I needed a non-album outlet. So I made my “In your garden” series. Amateur drawings for sure, but they ended up in my head and I did them all simultaniously and I love the colours. There’s a bit of extra effort in it for sure. But I’ll never claim an overprized rate for it 😉 I just sorta like what I did. One of them is of a snail, and let me tell you, how symbolic! I realized I wanted to be a vegetarian at 4 yrs old when I tried to protect a slug on a school picnic for my brothers, and failed. An adult stamped on it, and I cried buckets. They didn’t understand, they just wanted the outing to be done with so they could have their grown up coffee n’ stuff. “What’s she crying about`” The smushed slug. I still remember it. And snails fascinate me, their awereness of their reflection and using flowers as umbrellas… well, I think there’s more to them slime balls than others may. Still. I love snails. And spiders. Next series may be about our misunderstood eight legged friends! 🙂
All the work I’ve put in is really nearing the end by now and it’s pretty fun and interesting. Yesterday I got three important recordings done and had loads of fun the whole time (by the end of it the windy day had made me pretty docile though, so you couldn’t tell, but I was still pretty happy). It was new energy for the last leg of the race, for sure! 🙂 One of the musicians even knicked the EP from the back of the car “to leave as marketing somewhere”. I do love the commitment they’re all putting into this!
And, as one participant told me he was a bit too busy, I asked for help on facebook. “I need this, dude”, and not one but THREE friends jumped to the rescue. I didn’t choose, I simply told the 3 that the deadline for handing in the tracks was sunday as we start mixing on monday. I figured; out of three, usually one can meet the deadline, and that’ll be the one then, the others can say, “oh, I’m sorry…” Unfortunately, or fortunately, they all IM:d me back “No worries, it’ll get done tomorrow!” Ah, crap, now I have to choose. A very comfortable problem 😉
So now it’s basically waiting for some tracks and more work done actively next week. Lucky, as I am helping a friend move this weekend for the totally satisfying reward of pizza and beer! 😀
Leaving you with an entertaining photo, thought that’d fit my mood 😉
This demo entails a feministic history lessons!
Bessie Coleman was the first woman of colour to get a pilot license in 1921-22 and refused to perform in her hometown 1925 if black and white weren’t allowed to walk through the same entrance.
1958; women were allowed to be ordained as priests in Sweden.
2010: FI burnt the amount of money cast aside as women weren’t payed equally.
As for the sunday school part? Women as the original sin. Always considered the temptresses, the sinners. Delilah cut off Samsons locks because she hoped he would stay with her but the idiot went out and got himself killed anyway because fighting was more important. I’ve always sided with Delilah here… A woman asked for the head of John the Baptist as ordered by her masters and the fool she danced for was so horny he agreed. Her fault? Adam could have refused the apple, but didn’t… Yet the women are the original sinners. A thing of evil as we go through sunday school.
Bessie, this song is for you…
1925, I can hear your voice it rings so loud as you loop the loop in the sky// fly bessie fly in your flying machine don’t you worry bout the crows in your garden they’re just there to eat// 1958, can you hear my prayers I’m in my robes and I love you still though it took you your sweet time to let me in// Fly Bessie Fly…// 2010, it’s an awfully warm july right on the money there it goes but time is just time, right? // Fly Bessie Fly…// I become a thing of evil when I go through sunday school, I cut your hair, I want your head I eat your apple, I’m so cruel, but original, so original…// Fly Bessie, fly…// they’ll never get as good as you…
Since I can’t really give you a clue of what’s occupying my time I can treat you to my few moments of unoccupied time, more autumn pics!
The 1st pic was after I gave blood at KSS yesterday (and with all the rump about Pippi and andre vice talman I prayed a little extra the blood ends up in a Somalian, lesbian woman ;D ) and thought the blood red autumn leaves where extra apt.