As I've seen many people doing, I've been using the extra free time to get back in touch with my passions including music! I am about to walk you through how I went about producing my first song in what feels like years. I took some time off from writing lyrics, and rapping, to learn an original instrument that I modified. The ChulaMent is a percussion bass with one string, bamboo and a gourd - that I hit with a stick! /~ ♪♪
One day I told myself I was ready to learn a stringed instrument, and a couple days later my prayers were answered when I discovered a bamboo gourd combo laying on the side of the street in one of Arcata's famed "Free Piles." As soon as I saw it, I knew what to do. I picked it up, brought it to a friends down the street and we made a bridge out of a piece of wood. I already had most of the elements I needed to string this thing up into an instrument.
Once I had the instrument put together, I needed a nice stick to whip against the string making a very percussive deep base noise that I find to be fairly meditative. This instrument is fairly challenging to record, you can hear it being played acoustically at the top of this page. When playing the ChulaMent, you can feel the bass vibrating through your body and it can be nice once you get into it which takes a little bit of letting go.
I wrote some lyrics a few years ago because I have a major issue with staying focused. The lyrics say "Think about it think about it all you ever do, huh? (x3) Action heals, action feels, action is real." During the playing of the song I am embedding at the bottom of this post I free style "No more thinking just get to it, just to do it with this music." I truly believe action is a healing effort when it allows us to work through the feels into our creations.
At the beginning of the covid-19 shelter in place, Korg and Moog started giving away free downloads to their recording synths and apps. (Has since been discontinued.) I got the Korg Kaossilator app which is like a music gameboy that you can make beats with. This tool is really helpful for me because it allows for making improvisational drum loops, and it has some cool synths. I don't have a keyboard which makes working my own synths pretty difficult, and I feel it's hard to get authentic drum beats digitally so this really helps me.
I also use Cakewalk by Bandlab to produce music, which allows anyone who signs up for their social music sharing network a free download to what used to be called Sonar. I always liked Sonar because it is like working with a blank piece of paper. Many recording programs add color to your music, but Cakewalk allows you to create your own color by capturing clean audio and allowing you to use their plug ins to add reverb and effects ect.
I played a drum beat through my mixer, and recorded it, then I did the same with a synth. It was pretty groovy so I whipped out my ChulaMent and gave it a bass line.
After recording these parts, I had to add one more musical element and my lyrics! I chose the lyrics I wrote above because I have so many aspirations that I think about, music being one of the closest to my heart. So I felt it is appropriate that I would use those lyrics about healing through action to signify my new journey into recording the ChulaMent! Also, I figured I oughtta make an entire bass music album to get the hang of recording music.
I used another original instrument given to me by a friend, he calls it the Djin. The Djin has four strings, my friend Justin made it at Humboldt State University during wood shop I believe. It sounds a bit like a Middle Eastern instrument, but I'll share with another IG post below so you can hear it. I look forward to using this, along with a collection of other instruments I have in this album. I also have a djembe, latin shaker, guitar, singing bowl, and a bass amp that I haven't even used yet!
You'll hear the Djin in this song, but first let me explain the album idea and I will post the song below. I want to use the ChulaMent to make a heavy bass album under the genre concept "Psyche Metal" which will be a little psychedelic and a lot of bass. All of the songs will be slightly meditative, or at least be an attempt to inspire mindfulness. Playing music is so much fun, you're going to be able to feel me in ways that only you will know.
I will list the track info right here, but you can also download the song!
"We empty the mind not to stop thought, but to enable action. Axion is a preview into the 'ChulaMental' album; banging the mind into a meditative state with bass music. Listen with a subwoofer if you have one, this song was making my chest vibrate in the studio.
Admittedly this is not my best work vocally, but you've gotta understand the point of this song is just to do it without thinking about how perfect it may or may not be, in that sense this song is done but I may perfect the mix by the time the album comes out."
I hope you enjoyed taking a peak into my creative process, and that you like the song. Admittedly I posted new versions of this song probably 5 times, but the last time I posted, it got 10 likes overnight so that's cool. They may all be soundcloud spammers though :p
Stay tuned to see how this album goes, I will preview little clips of me recording and try to stay focused on finishing the album sooner than some of my past work. If you know me, you know how important music is to me! I hope y'all are staying well and happy enough, a lot of crazy things happening in the news right now. Don't let it stop you from doing what you love, and sharing productive interest with your friends and family!