I wasn’t allowed to sing for two weeks. It’s a story I’ll get around to telling once it stops freaking me out quite so much.
That meant no Arcati Crisis rehearsals. My singing is much less central to Filmstar, so we kept rehearsing sans my mic stand.
Right now we’re in pre- pre-production for our next recording. For our last one we started with recording drums to click tracks, and even if is taking me forever and ever to mix them into something listenable it was certainly worth the effort. Being able to steal sounds from any take and blend them together seamlessly was totally worth the tempo wrangling. Plus, everything is nice and consistent!
Unless you are playing the most obvious 1-2-3-4 rhythm on the planet, when you play to a click it is like the musical world you are creating from within has had its gravitational value altered. Songs feel too slow when you play them quietly and deliberately, but too fast at full blast. Syncopation puts your emphasis off-click, which feels like swimming against tide. You discover parts where you subtly speed up or slow down, and the seconds of discontinuity give you musical vertigo.
To that imbalance, this week we have returned my singing to the equation, but it’s different, too. Yes, I am more cautious of my high notes, but it’s more than that. My voice doesn’t have that worn-in groove that it usually has, where I can settle in and belt. I have to actually think about where I am placing my notes, and how I will support them.
Add to that a new set of strings on my bass and a handful of new effects pedals, and it really feels like I am playing these songs again for the first time, relearning my parts piece by piece.
What makes that so interesting is that these are the songs we learned after I joined the band. The pieces are mine. The parts came from my brain. Instead of fiddling with someone else’s bass line that doesn’t quite fit me to begin with, I am rebuilding each song from components of my own design.
It is totally different. I get to ask questions about my own musical logic. I am tearing down old rhythms and fingering for things that are more efficient or intricate, or both.
I know it is the same band of the same four people and these are songs I have been playing for a long time – two years, for some of them – but I can’t help it: it feels new to me.
The next Filmstar show is on Sunday, August 5th at NorthStar Bar, where we will have the pleasure of sharing the bill with the darling boys of Venice Sunlight.
You should come.