The Adam Post Area

Please post the rest of your entries in your WordPress account first then post your daily entry links under this section everyday for the rest of the course. Remember this is to be done everyday for 100 days in a row. If you miss a day for any reason you will be out of the challenge. No posting ahead of time and no posting extra to catch up for missed days. Each week will be a new theme given out in class for the students to experiment by. Please label all entries with time, date, week, and topic that the students are using in the workbook.


54 thoughts on “The Adam Post Area

  1. Daily Meds #41

    Creative Word: Congregation

    For today’s recording, rather than playing one of the genuine religious songs that I’ve randomly picked up over the years at frigging Catholic school, I decided to take this opportunity to criticize organized religion and the idea that praying “for” someone or something is equal to actually taking the initiative of doing something. Also, seeing as how I have thus far exclusively been borrowing bits of songs that I’ve already learned, I decided to learn a new song today, which is something I haven’t done for a few months at least. This type of song inspires me to write more genuinely as well because if I didn’t spend so much time trying to write things that sound “deep” or that would force people to take me seriously, I feel I could maybe write songs in a similar vein as this (though obviously not of the same caliber for the foreseeable future). This song is wordy, witty and above all honest which is a trait that I very much admire and feel would greatly enhance my own work. Though the song is not “serious” in its presentation, its message is a powerful and articulately phrased one that is all the more reinforced by the casually intellectual way through which it is conveyed. Here is the original (with a full orchestra of course):

    And here is my excerpt:

    Creative Experiment: Creative Gardening

    My seed is the writing of an acoustic song: an aspiration that I have never been able to fulfill. I would start with a painfully honest and literal phrase about my subject of choice. I would then spin these words as many ways as possible until I had reached a comfortable and more relatable level of ambiguity. This would be the seed of the song itself. From here, I would allow it to take root and expand my base of very literal ideas and “turn” them in a tonally similar way to what I did with my initial concept. Once I had established a few chunks of lyrics, I would begin my inefficient and likely-overly-convoluted process of finding a key to explore, and thereby some chords to play with (this is usually the stage where I would also potentially give up and just take my woeful words to someone with a more theoretical basis to their knowledge and hope that they have a few “sadish” chords kicking around). Once the instrumental and vocal foundations had been established, I would then apply them to one another and attempt playing them to see where my emotions took things in order to find some natural points of emphasis. I would then build up the song around these points in a manner that I found appropriate, which would likely be a repeated process until I felt the song adequately represented things but without it losing its approachability. I would then play it for the nearest and most intoxicated person I could find and gauge how much work still needed to be done based on how much they did or did not cry.

    Daily Dose: Little by Little

    This is quite a refreshing way to look at things. I have never been one to operate under much of a significant sense of self-confidence for fear of it being difficult to control. Because of this slight irrationality, I am if anything unfairly belittling to myself as a result. Any spells of tall-walking or large-living that I can recall have all been fairly short lived before being knocked back to normalcy. Through it all though, I have consistently told myself that I am consistent. My grade 8 teacher imparted upon me the lesson that one’s word and level of personal consistency are the most important aspect of one’s character and this has stuck with me ever since. Through this I have found a continually useful conduit to self-forgiveness in reminding myself that, despite whatever loss or indignity I may have suffered, I was at least true to myself. This kind of perceived personal consistency, no matter how literal or realistic, has allowed me to feel safe in my identity, despite my identity remaining a total mystery to me. In much the same way, one can walk confidently into the future. We don’t need to know what lies around each corner so long as we are secure in the belief that we will do all that we can with whatever we are faced with. As William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet: “If it be / now, ‘tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be / now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The / readiness is all.”

    Daily Action: Trust

    I would love nothing more than to carry this out today. This is essentially the state that I would try to work from creatively for many years before I broke into my twenties and started receiving more and more scrutiny for lack of output. The process of becoming what one has the potential to be is most often a pointless thing to attempt to explain to someone else (unless they are particularly attentive and nurturing, but even then they still have the potential to scoff and tell you to “come off it”) because without the context of having witnessed the absolute first painstaking steps on one’s journey, it can be pretty hard to imagine the work that has already gone into one’s present state. However, attempting to “prove” oneself to others diminishes the inherent loving nature of nourishing one’s passion and honing the abilities that one finds valuable. As long as we can be sure that we are further along our path than when we started, or better yet that we have even slightly improved since yesterday, we have no reason feel anxious about the life ahead of us.


  2. Daily Meds #42

    Creative Word: Enveloping

    This word actually took a fair amount of thought to embody sonically today. I started by choosing a song that I felt “enveloped” as many aspects of my character as possible, settling on “Woe” by Say anything. The song is jaunty, sarcastic and self-deprecating before suddenly transitioning into a surprisingly heartfelt and genuine second half, which pretty adequately sums up my personality a lot of the time. I still felt this to be a pretty tenuous connection to the word however so I took a shower and tried to think a little more deeply about it. I then realized that the word-based difference between my two recordings could be conveyed through a change in recording conditions and soon I had worked out a plan of attack. To pull off an “enveloped”sound for the second half of my recording, I awkwardly picked up my phone from the dresser it had been resting on and relocated it to a shelf inside the closet that was a few feet to my right. I think this change of setting really suited the second part of the song as it becomes more intimate and “real,” which goes nicely with the more confined and close-up sound of a closet as opposed to an open room.

    Creative Experiment: Charting a Course

    This is something I’m excited to try and tonight is actually a very good opportunity to get some use out of this method. For the past couple days, Jared has been talking a bit about starting his own journey through these here Daily Meds because, after reading the introductory segments, he knows how much he can benefit from broadening his mind and overall experience in this way. I believe from our conversation last night that he was planning on either starting today or tomorrow. If his starting today turns out to be the case, we will have an exciting amount of fresh ideas to talk about and it should be really cool to carry out two creative experiments. I am also pretty stoked to bust out the whiteboard we used to employ in our writing for this experiment. For all I know, this could become its new purpose.

    Daily Dose: Hate

    This idea of “justified” anger consuming one’s loving and creative nature really strikes a chord with me (pun originally unintended, but left in after noticing). Due to an ongoing and nearly two-year-long convolution of an important relationship, I am pretty much constantly a single thought away from strong, painful and unresolved feelings. Even in completely irrelevant scenarios, the oddest thing will remind me of my situation and the strange powerlessness that I feel and suddenly my smile fades and I retreat inside my head for a few seconds to slug it out with some self-loathing demons before once again trying to concentrate on whatever I was doing. The current status of this situation is particularly distracting for the time being as it is in such a state that the only relief or closure I could possibly attain will come through confrontation and renegotiation, which happen to be pretty low priorities for the other involved parties. As someone who lacks any major, life-consuming distractions, I am essentially alone in my own anxiety-addled head with my best source of comfort being that things will work out eventually, probably, maybe (if I don’t completely lose it by then). All I can do is avoid thinking about it and despise whatever it is inside me that makes me torture myself so often with these thoughts. It is this knee-jerk self-hatred and the belief that I can only find peace through timely outward action that kills my creativity. Firstly and most obviously, if I can’t love and accept myself, anything I create is inherently hollow. Secondly, even if I have a good creative flow going, the first bump along the way triggers this instantaneous self-doubt and spurs my desire to go out and solve my problem rather than “sitting around.” I’ve known all along that the source of true peace is within, but I suppose the timing and suddenly-changing nature of my current situation have done an excellent job at keeping me from this. With concentration and significant effort, perhaps I can cut myself free of these more worldly attachments and find the strength to walk on unburdened.

    Daily Action: Forgiveness

    This is a very noble and mature act to carry out. On the surface, forgiveness seems like a selfless thing to do for another. However, it is not just the person who has been forgiven who has been freed, but the person who forgave them as well. Consistently disliking someone or remaining angry about one of their actions takes a lot of energy, and while it may seem cathartic and worthy at the time, this is undoubtedly a wasteful misdirection of our effort. Only when we release this unflinching tension do we realize that we had also imprisoned ourselves within its negativity as well. An often unnoticed aspect of forgiveness is that one must also quietly forgive themselves for living so heatedly and for revelling in such nastiness for one’s personal pseudo-satisfaction. As a probably-fake-but-still-really-nicely-worded Buddhist prayer of forgiveness says:

    If I have harmed any one in any way,
    either knowingly or unknowingly
    through my own confusions,
    I ask their forgiveness.
    If any one has harmed me in any way,
    either knowingly or unknowingly
    through their own confusions,
    I forgive them.
    And if there is a situation
    I am not yet ready to forgive,
    I forgive myself for that.
    For all the ways that I harm myself,
    negate, doubt, belittle myself,
    judge or be unkind to myself,
    through my own confusions,
    I forgive myself.


  3. Daily Meds #43

    Creative Word: Opposition

    For today’s recording, I have once again decided to employ different recording techniques in order to fulfill a word-based difference in my second take rather than simply by choosing a questionably relevant song to sing. To convey the word “opposition,” I thought it best to show the difference between my two most currently available microphone options. For almost all of the recordings that I’ve done for this class, aside from a few crazy multi-mic ones recorded at the jam hall, I’ve been using either my phone or the USB mic that came with the video game Rock Band that I got some time in high school (but mostly the phone). To demonstrate the differences between the two, I recorded the first verse of “Happiness By The Kilowatt” by Alexisonfire (a song that I chose because of the band’s recent announcement of a reunion tour AND because just this morning I read Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “The Euphio Question,” upon which this song is based) with both devices recording on the desk in front of me and then separating the two recordings afterward in my DAW, the first being my USB mic and the second being my phone. The most striking difference is the much more raw and gainy sound to my phone’s recording, almost implying a built-in compressor in my USB mic that I was not previously aware of (but should have expected).

    Creative Experiment: Stereotypes

    One of the most frequent challenges that my band would encounter when trying to write “serious” metal on a regular basis was defying the stereotype of “djent” (like Django, the “d” is silent). In the last five years or so, this troubling subgenre has emerged alongside the glorious dawn of the seven and eight string guitar. Bands of this kind tend to write exclusively in polyrhythmic chugs, only ever breaking up the din with squeaky-clean pop-flavoured choruses and generic, generally “Egyptian-sounding” lead guitar licks. The problem with this trend is that it is most often defined not by a writing style but usually through the sound of the extended range guitars themselves. The term “djent” was coined by members of the band Meshuggah (the very band that first created this guitar sound in the late 90’s) to describe their signature style, the word being an onomatopoeia of the distinctive chugging sound of a seventh or eighth string. Now, in spite of this being really goddamned cool sounding and essentially being everything I had been subconsciously waiting for as a musician, far too many bands have beaten this dead horse into utter oblivion over the past few years and have dragged down the legitimacy of many truly brilliant progressive metal bands in the process. Simply because of their use of seven and eight string guitars, groundbreaking and genre-bending bands like Animals as Leaders, Tesseract, Periphery and Monuments have all been diminished by the djent stereotype. For my band in particular, being one that writes primarily with eight strings, it is exceedingly difficult to come up with riffs that are completely free of the potential dismissive descriptor of “djenty.” However, it is certainly sometimes quite a bit of fun to indulge the guilty pleasure of just going for it and writing something ridiculously generic and technical. I suppose that, as this experiment suggests, if we were to turn this trend on its head in such a piece, we could likely come up with some pretty crazy-sounding music and the easiest way to escape being tarred with the djent brush is probably to go so far off the deep end that the first interpretation people have is one of absolute insanity.

    Daily Dose: Love Those We Do Not Like

    Loving the idiosyncrasies of oneself is a great first step to loving what it is that makes other musicians unique. If we can come to terms with and even embrace the things that we perceive to be “weird” about ourselves, we can come to appreciate the little weirdnesses of other creative individuals. When looking at it a little deeper, we realize that these things that we consider to make us different from and maybe even incompatible with other musicians are the very things that make us who we are in a grander sense. The unique aspects of others that we admire are the things that they had the guts to celebrate and not suppress, which, if meditated upon, can inspire us to more proudly own our individual identities. In embracing the things that set us apart and cherishing the unique qualities of others, we in turn inspire the more reserved among us to blossom into the full and beautiful people that they truly are.

    Daily Action: Acceptance

    I am excited to practice being active in my acceptance today. With such an innately passive act like tolerance it’s easy to forget that for a while it actually does take some genuine effort for this to become second nature. If we consciously approach life with openness and refuse to let our minds shut out what it finds most challenging, we can begin to rebuild the more selective and entitled aspects of our nature into a more collaborative and extroverted state. Letting things be as they are and releasing the need to control may seem like an act of effortlessness on the surface, but it’s really something that takes great and loving concentration to develop into a consistent way of being.


  4. Daily Meds #44

    Creative Words: An Old Technique

    Today’s words were a little easier to interpret musically than most but in their clarity came quite a few potential choices. It was obvious that I should record something involving a technique that I’ve been using for a long time but that’s still a considerably wide range of options. I eventually settled on using a technique that is “old” relative to this class. For one of my very first recordings I randomly suspended my phone inside a milk glass to see how it would sound, only to find out later on that this is totally already a well accepted technique and that I must have subconsciously stolen it from somewhere. Also in reference to my earlier recordings, the song I chose was the gloriously overplayed “In The Air Tonight” by Sir Phillip Collins, a song that I squawked for an entire week’s worth of recordings. The first half of this recording is from within the glass, after which I audibly remove my phone and set it on a shelf in front of me.

    Creative Experiment: Watching

    People-watching really is always a highly entertaining pass-time. As a frequent user of public transportation, I do this nearly every day and am honestly pretty awful about it a lot of the time. More often than not, I’ll end up in some sort of super stressful state of mind due to a poorly executed travel plan and will find my aggravated mind immediately spitting ridiculously harsh judgements about people, which then triggers a second voice that says, “whoa, chill out there, psycho!”, which is then followed by a third voice that says “yeah dude, how can you even think stuff like that?” and this process repeats until I see another dopey looking person with a slack-jawed expression or a fedora and am driven completely insane. Ordinarily, from a more rational state of mind however, it is extremely fascinating to observe the small mannerisms and outward characteristics of a person and wonder about who they are on a deeper level. The idea of applying this to music for inspiration is totally new to me though and quite interesting. When I leave the house (hopefully soon), though I may not have to bus for tonight’s plans, it is certainly likely that I will have to endure a store-long lineup at the LCBO and this is a perfect spot for taking in and enjoying the intricacies of our fellow humans.

    Daily Dose: Disposable Music & Musicians

    As I have mentioned in past postings, the closest thing I have to a motto or a mission statement is to always be consistent. No matter what happens, if one can be sure of oneself and the permanence of their character, hardly anything else is worthy of concern. The most rewarding part of cultivating positivity in oneself and becoming the best you can be is that this ever-strengthening goodness becomes a base from which all things are carried out. As habitual beings, we are constantly and unknowingly programming ourselves through our own patterns. When it comes to loving oneself, the more we saturate our minds with sincere forgiveness and respect for ourselves, the more primed our minds become for moving in these ways automatically. Furthermore, if one can be sure of their deeply-held urge to do the right thing and to be compassionate for all other life, they already possess what it takes to establish true confidence in one’s own value. As long as that positive compulsion remains in at least some form, no matter how we may choose to act, there is always something pure to be found within if we should decide to seek it out.

    Daily Action: No Expiry Dates

    This was a really nice little experience and a very good reminder of the more magical and timeless qualities of music. The piece I chose was the song “King’s Crossing” by Elliott Smith, from his posthumous 2004 album “From A Basement On A Hill.” []

    I chose this song because, compared to most that I thought about listening to, this one really pushes the limits when it comes to being truly transcendental. Though this song is very emotionally heavy and brutally honest to an almost uncomfortable degree, this song is extremely important as it is widely regarded to be Elliott Smith’s suicide note. It’s one thing to listen to a song by a dead artist and dreamily reflect on the transience of life, and it’s always interesting to hear unreleased material by those who are unfortunately no longer with us, but it’s another thing entirely to momentarily see through the eyes of a legendary human being when they are at their weakest and most desperate. It’s a truly haunting experience to live those moments of powerlessness so vividly from the vantage point of the future, already knowing the implications of what happened in them. Elliott Smith was never one to care about money, praise or even recognition and the nearly unsettling purity of his creative spirit is at its most perceptible on this recording. This song in particular is the perfect manifestation of everything that made him so important and is a reminder for the rest of the staggering power of music.


  5. Daily Meds #46

    Creative Word: Bound

    After yesterday’s fairly revelatory experience of tracking guitar to a click, which is something I have probably done at least once in the past but is something I shamefully have no memory of, I realized how difficult it is for me to to concentrate on my timing while simultaneously singing and playing guitar. I felt trapped by the confines of perfect timing and noticed how difficult it is to express songs from a genuine emotional place if I’m worrying about my variances in tempo. It is with this in mind that I decided to compare my regular playing style and speed to one that is “bound” by a metronome. Despite far too many attempts at this, my second take still picks up and slows down quite noticeably in certain spots, essentially making the metronome more of an inconvenience than an asset for this recording, which in itself is a pretty scary indictment of me as a musician in general and is definitely something to work on.

    Creative Experiment: Helping Others

    This kind of selfless thinking is exactly what a creative person needs to make sure that a problem is solved as justly as possible (and I could also see it helping to shake that tiny, nagging suspicion that we may be entirely self-absorbed after all). When a problem hinges on the output of one’s own creativity, it can be very difficult to consider the needs of others, especially in a band setting and especially when you are the primary dreamer of that particular idea. The advice of others can be easily misconstrued as criticism or as a threat to one’s vision, but if we consider the perspective and motivation of the person offering input for any time at all, it is clear that they merely want to help. Their needs in this situation are to offer whatever they can that will push the project along for everyone, not to somehow usurp the idea and take it for their own. In a larger sense, if we think about the needs of those who will listen to our music, all of our self-inflicted speed bumps become irrelevant. All that the listener really needs is something to fill the silence, but what they secretly desire is beautiful, intangible honesty and to experience a connection. Thinking of one’s creative job in these simplified terms is an efficient way of stripping away the potential frivolity from one’s compulsion to create and reminds the creator of their higher purpose.

    Daily Dose: Serendipity

    I usually find that being on such a positive roll is no accident or coincidence at all, but often a manifestation of an investment that I had previously made. As the old adage purports, one reaps what one sows and despite the hokeyness and overuse of this expression, this is surprisingly true. Sure, in the more literal sense, someone could be the nicest and most loving person in the world and still have a bunch of abhorrently awful things befall them, but this concept is a bit more nuanced than some type of cosmic reward system. The exponential growth of positivity that one witnesses when they put their unrestricted personal warmth into the world is essentially an internal phenomenon in many ways. While a pony with a bow on its head won’t appear in your back yard for shovelling your neighbour’s sidewalk, simply by doing good things and feeling the exhilarating rush associated with these deeds, we begin to rewire ourselves not only to seek out this natural high in the future, but to see the world as a better place, making us happier overall as a result.

    Daily Action: Look for the Miracles

    When most people happen into this frame of mind, often for quite brief periods of time, they look more at the “trippy coincidences” than they do the true miracles. People spend a lot of time thinking about how if their grandmother’s third cousin’s mailman’s didn’t go to the same dentist as their grandfather’s mechanic’s florist, they might not exist whatsoever. Of course the problem here is that this centres in on one’s own potential importance and skims over the real miracle, which is the very plane of existence that all of those things took place on in the first place. The true miracle is that the grand, unified force that began our universe as we know it happened to produce us as part of the process and that we are all united in this state of expansion and progression. The miracle we should focus on is not of our own unique, individual existence but of the life and the world that we all share.


  6. Daily Meds #47

    Creative Words: Cluster Together

    To bring today’s words to life, all of my ideas revolved around harmony. With many songs that I’ve learned over the years, having never really had any other people who were interested in just playing fun cover songs with until recently, I’ve always had to provide all potential vocal lines myself. For example, one of my favourite songs to bust out is “The Weight” by The Band and for the chorus, I sing the start of each vocal harmony on its own as if it were some sort of ascending melody and this does gets the job done reasonably well. Lately, Ian, Jared and I have been practicing our list of cover songs to play at the new Maxwell’s and one of them is “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie: a song that opens with a four-part harmony, which I found perfect for this application. My first take is what it sounds like when I attempt to just sort of get through the part on my own, and the second is recorded to a click with each harmony track separately recorded, but “clustered together” in post.

    Creative Experiment: Different Environments

    Though the only place I can see myself going tonight is my bed (for likely more than twelve hours seeing as tomorrow is my first morning of non-ridiculous earliness in about three days) I really dig the sound of this idea and am likely to actually try this in the locations that I have in mind. I have always been the type to really plunge my mind into the depths of a location’s vibe and to try and pick up on any potential vibrations that I feel the place may be giving off. I also tend to give places a weird overblown reverence in my head a lot of the time, attempting to have the people who inhabited a space and the things that they did resonate with me as strongly as possible whenever I am within the vicinity. Although I have never tried writing while tapping into these odd and unseen locational vibes, I can already tell that this will be something I could really use. My first ten locations would be: 1.) A particular spot on a path where I broke up with my first girlfriend 2.) The playground of my old grade school 3.) The parking lot where I learned to ride a bike 4.) The bus stop that I used every day in high school 5.) Under my favourite, twisted-up and crazy-looking tree in Waterloo park. Numbers five through ten would all be the now-hallowed high school “smoke spots” that remind me of my best friend who passed away nearly five years ago now. 6.) The spot known simply as “The Spot:” a random clearing along a small river in a park that shall remain nameless 7.) “Thorndale:” a set of trees in a suburban mini-park near where my friend used to live 8.) “Vietnam:” another riverside spot behind some apartment buildings that allegedly “looked like ‘Nam” to somebody one day (we all shared quite a fondness for war movies at the time) 9.) “The Tunnel:” a perfectly concealed, small subterranean storm water pipe in a super swanky neighbourhood, and 10.) His very backyard, which also happens to be the place where I had my first kiss, making it the holy grail for geographically-based nostalgic creation

    Daily Dose: All Alike

    All of this is very true and it affirms everything I love about talking to fellow creators in general. I see the most exaggerated form of this when talking to Ian’s brother Alan who is an incredible visual artist and who is currently studying his craft at UW. Our conversations about our current individual projects often start with somewhat of an explanation of one of our works, which is always followed by some genuinely-impressed “whoa”s from the listener or a stream of “dude-that’s-crazy”s. The chasm between our personal talents and abilities always makes for a pretty inspiring and even intimidating conversation, especially because we each spend so much time surrounded by people who have such similar pursuits, making exposure to new creative spheres all the more exhilarating. The best parts of these conversations though are the times of total mutual understanding and equality. While we may see each other and think “I could never do that,” we always have that underlying work ethic and drive to create in common. Of course I could never draw or paint like he does; I spent all my life learning to play music like I do now, just as he did with his art. This shared passion and its relatability are as inspiring as they are mind-broadening.

    Daily Action: Share a Feeling

    While I may not have this opportunity tonight, it is very much something that I forget about in the name of supposed productivity. With my band in particular, we have a tendency to hold onto our personal feelings under the unspoken preconception that there could always be something more efficient to be doing than trying to explain how we feel, but this point of view is at total odds with what it means to be a creative person. The entire purpose of creation is to express the intangible in our own uniquely ambiguous way and doing so requires a deep connection with one’s truest feelings. As a group of collaborating musicians, we potentially miss out on some of our strongest material by suppressing our emotions. By viewing our feelings as a burden, we not only limit our connectivity with the music we are creating but also with one another, which is something that is utterly invaluable to any band.


  7. Daily Meds #48

    Creative Words: Make Comfort

    Today, in order to make some comfort in my recording, I decided I’d play a song that only uses three chords played in constant repetition and one that I’ve been playing for several years, “This Must Be The Place” by the Talking Heads. To start off, I played up to the end of the first chorus in an unusual key while listening to a click. Then, to add some comfort to the next recording, I played in a more familiar key and tracked the guitar and vocals separately for maximum convenience and minimum strain. This song is additionally relevant for the concept of making comfort as the song revolves around the concept of “home,” but in a more figurative sense, almost suggesting a general state of comfort rather than a physical location.

    Creative Experiment: Working in Light

    I’m actually sitting in quite a sunny area right now as my computer happens to be immediately beside my bedroom window. Though my curtains are almost always drawn, they are made of a white canvas material and tend to really glow with warm, natural light when the sun shines on them. This actually makes for quite a nice working environment because the light is strong but diffused and indirect, giving it a strong presence but without being intrusive. Except in the coming summer months, I can look forward to a slight increase in aggression from my solar sidekick. Around June, due to my room’s place of situation at the upper corner of my house, the constant, day-long saturation of sunlight that my window endures begins to create a thick and oppressive mugginess in my room, forcing me to fruitlessly run my ceiling fan all day. There is a certain feverish intensity to working in this climate that can be quite exciting however, with my excessive sweating making my work seem more unrealistically gruelling and thereby lending a boosted sense of satisfaction while the work’s difficulty actually stays the same. Light and its natural changes are a great stimulant for the musician’s mind as well. Much like music, light doesn’t even need to be fully noticed for it to affect our feelings in the subtlest of ways. Though I never really considered its impact on my work, the brilliant swelling and fading of the light that soaks my curtains is undoubtedly a silent source for my creativity.

    Daily Dose: Gratitude

    The cycle of overconfidence to disappointment to renewed overconfidence is a self-sustaining and sadly common one. The underlying entitledness of our modern cultural state distorts the good things that come our way with a sense that this is how things should always be and that things are finally going “right.” While ideally, yes, it would be wonderful if everyone could only have the best at all times, it is highly audacious for someone to feel this to be a natural characteristic of their life without having to put any work in. When someone starts riding a bit high, they expect it to last forever because from their perspective, this is the way that the world “should” be. However, if we understand that we are an integral and equal part of the world rather than believing that we are the one person destined to dominate it most thoroughly, we have everything to be thankful for. Even for the most self-absorbed among us, this viewpoint includes the fact that we are intrinsically intwined with the universe, so we are also essentially thanking ourselves and all that we share our existence with when we express our gratitude. Idealistically speaking, if everyone chose humility over competition, there would be no reason to try and feel “better” than anyone else because, for one thing, no one would really give a damn, but more than anything, people would settle into the simple contentedness that comes through being thankful instead of gluttonous.

    Daily Action: Give Thanks

    I actually did this somewhat indirectly while absentmindedly listening back to some of my previous recordings on SoundCloud thanks to their autoplay feature and I was struck pretty hard by how far I’ve come and how much time has passed. It really is an amazing thing to look back on over seventy days of waking and making myself do something outside of my ordinary comfort zone but in the direction that I most desire. I am very much thankful for this opportunity and now, in a grander sense, for myself as a musician. Though I’ve never entirely thought myself to be overtly wonderful or horrible, I’ve never had much confidence in my competence. My overly analytical nature would have me size up and pick apart every little excuse for why something I am about to do will undoubtedly not end up the way I want, submitting to mediocrity before even starting. Through my cultivation, however, I am beginning to be able to still my mind in such times and have felt infinitely more capable in an understated way. It’s more an overall serenity than a sense of confidence. Now, when I have those few seconds of sweltering silence in between the pressing of record and the end of the count-in, I find myself zoning into almost a trance and am able to just sort of do whatever it is I need to do. I am extremely thankful to not only be currently better than I have ever been, but to be this far along a path that I would’ve previously doubted my capacity to endure.


  8. Daily Meds #49

    Creative Word: Conjoining

    After my attempt at some harmonized Bowie the other day, I realized that harmonization is pretty much my final vocal frontier. It appears that I have a level of knowledge at least slightly higher than flat-out ineptitude in every vocal technique that I can think of except for one of the most beloved and cool-sounding ones. When I saw that today’s word was “conjoining” I saw another opportunity to practice this mysterious new concept and decided that this would be a good time to finally learn (and subsequently butcher) the classic “Sound Of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel. Thanks to an awesome Italian man on YouTube, I learned both vocal parts and got cracking, with each step along the way (including the ultra-simple guitar line) proving shamefully difficult when considering the end result. This was a lot of fun though and was one of the bigger musical challenges that I’ve undertaken in recent memory. I spent around three hours trying to get this done decently so it’s a good feeling to for once spend more time on recording my Daily Meds than writing (the only reason this won’t take more than three hours though is because it’s about an hour and a half from midnight so it really can’t take much longer).

    Creative Experiment: Yoga

    Reading this over while learning the song for my recording today, I was really rather psyched to work this into my day. I’ve had a “yoga for beginners” website bookmarked for about six months that I still haven’t taken as seriously as I’d like to so it was cool to have this opportunity. What I really should have done was tried another little session at the peak of my frustration with recording as that would’ve shown me the effects a little more dramatically and would’ve likely eased my progress but it still felt great and is something that is certainly a little more on my radar than before.

    Daily Dose: Reach Only to Let Go

    This perfectly epitomizes everything that I seek in life right now. I have come to the realization that none of the things that I worry about actually matter to me whatsoever, yet that they are still the only causes of my stress. I have consequently discovered that the things that do matter aren’t necessary things to worry about and are so beautiful on their own that any such distortion interferes with their natural purity. So, knowing this, I in turn know that there is absolutely nothing that is truly worthy of worry. Many things deserve action, attention and assertion, but using these challenges to reaffirm one’s instinctive fears and stresses is simply self-destructive. The only thing holding me back from having these revelations completely take over my regular way of thinking is likely just how long I’ve been seeing things from a hectic and sadly “normal” perspective. Through continued practice and further active reconditioning, I am confident that this shall become my new natural state.

    Daily Action: Renewal

    This is an absolutely perfect time to just sit quietly and reflect a little seeing as how much of a full day I’ve had, and also considering the unusually high degree of musical challenge that I put myself up to today. These are the greatest times for a break though because anything I do feels good. As somewhat of a chronic procrastinator I spend a lot of time doing what other people would be doing during a break, only I do it during supposed work time and while under a pile of self-imposed stress, thus stripping it of any potential positivity. Times like these, however, are perfect. As some random anonymous person from some workout forum on the internet once said: “No rest is worth anything except the rest that is earned.”

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  9. Daily Meds #50

    Creative Word: Excess

    For today’s word, I decided I’d somewhat revisit an older concept that I touched on a few weeks back. I believe the words were “stripping down” and to embody them, I recorded two versions of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen (one with the fully picked chords and one with the root notes just rung out). In a similar spirit, I decided this morning to see what was “excessive” in my cover of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” and cut things back to the barest of essentials. While I often attempt to emulate the piano’s movement on the guitar, for the second half of this recording I simply struck the chords at the start of each bar and concentrated on the vocals (I have lately been very conscious of how dramatically things are affected by mic distance with this crappy USB mic, leading me to start mapping out specific movements with it to get the intensity I want for certain words or lines). Though the things I removed weren’t necessarily “excessive” in a negative way, the song still certainly works despite their absence, effectively revealing what it is at the song’s core that holds it together. Though I think I maybe could’ve cut down even deeper and taken even more away and had something at least slightly resembling the original but this is still a decent dissection nonetheless.

    Creative Experiment: Superhero

    If I were a superhero and had to plan things out in order to realistically exist and function in the world, I think I would probably choose a power that gave me enough influence on things that I would be constantly entertained but that no one would ever really suspect me of causing the things that I would be doing. A standup comedian I once saw described how the power to transmit any taste into someone’s mouth would essentially give someone enough power to enslave the human race, so something subtle like that would be preferable. Now, having said that, if I were some kind of omnipotent musical superhero who could do just about anything, I would make the craziest goddamned music imaginable. It would be massive-sounding, awe-inspiring and utterly nonsensical in every way. Actually, the more I think in these terms, the more my brain is only really able to picture the music of Devin Townsend. His monumentally-crushing-yet-whimsical-and-sarcastic way of doing things already sounds like a musical superhero doing whatever the hell they want, and he’s just a humble Canadian dude who happens to write huge-sounding orchestral music (in fact, he just won the Juno for best metal album). His 2011 album “Deconstruction” is written as a parody of the hyper-technical metal of the modern age, and this is essentially how I imagine my potential “super” music to be structured. The songs would average at about ten minutes and would be completely, incomprehensibly complex, immediately melting the brains of all those who sought to make sense of it. Also, when considering superhuman sensibilities musically, I picture an unfathomably massive choir belting every line together and creating the feeling of not just a gigantic room, but of an entire planet full of backup singers filling the unending sky with their united voices. This is another motif that the delightful Mr. Townsend seems to enjoy as well, seeing as for his latest record, rather than having to deal with snooty professional choirs as he has done in the past, he instead created something that he called “the universal choir.” To pull this off, he posted some of the choir parts that he had written for his latest record online and had fans send in their own recordings of the parts, making for a staggeringly large sounding wall of thousands of voices. The fundamental factor at the heart of all this that pulls it together and makes it palatable however, is a very dry and cutting sense of humour. Despite the above madness, Townsend’s music is full of dry, self-deprecating wit and it is this element that takes him from “impressive” to “brilliant.” It is this fun sense of humility that justifies all of the staggering insanity and makes it likeable on a personal level. After all, if a super musician took themselves too seriously, it’s all too likely that they would inadvertently give rise to musical super villains and the world would spit out a few more Biebers to compensate.

    Daily Dose: Power and Control

    This is an important lesson to learn for any creative person and is something that I am still developing a sense of. When stepping into the realm of creation, it is a near automatic impulse to perceive this limitless opportunity as infinite power and to try to logically conceive the best possible application for this potential. While an idea is not necessarily a bad thing, wielding this supposed power makes a person want to create something that clearly indicates how much power that they have to other people and this is where things tend to devolve and fade. It is nearly impossible to consciously contrive something that fully embodies everything that an artist has to offer and it is the inability to do so that defeats the confidence of an unfortunate many. This kind of pressure is the symptom of a misconception of our role as creators, however, and is contrary to the nature of honest creation. Our job is not to conjure towering testaments to our own monolithic genius, but to merely try and express the inexpressible. Our intentions should be simply to create, not to manipulate or exploit others for the sake of gratification. As with life’s greatest things, the satisfaction lies not in the destination but in the journey. When thinking of love over power in a creative context, I am reminded of a quotation from Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

    Daily Action: True Collaboration

    This is yet another eerily perfect day to carry out my action. At the current moment, I am babysitting at my dad’s place and am about an hour away from being sprung loose. While these circumstances on a Friday night would usually indicate an upcoming evening of solitary drumming at the jam hall, I just received a text from the one and only Mr. Ian Zeberek stating that him and the jumpin’ Jared Noll have been hammering out some new riffs and, given the conversation that Ian and I had after class, this is some exciting news. Lately we have been seeking to completely obliterate the walls that so often keep us from being totally open with each other and have been taking steps to abandon our comfort zones so as to “get over ourselves” as much as possible in order to truly collaborate. What Ian and I discussed on our walk together represented one the deepest and most direct of our talks yet about music and it was highly gratifying to be so fundamentally in the same boat creatively. It seems that everything is starting to really open up and become somewhat obvious in a strangely ambiguous way. It’s like I can feel our years of talking and thinking in the right ways starting to finally take over our actions and instincts and it’s wonderful to have my long-lost confidence rewarded, even if the time for such blind idealism has passed.


  10. Daily Meds #51

    Creative Word: Ascending

    So I won’t sugarcoat it: today’s recording is probably my most cringe-worthy yet but this is done for a purpose. When I read the word “ascending,” the only thing I could think of was the chorus for “Everything Means Nothing To Me” by Elliott Smith, which happens to be a song that I haven’t played since I came to the realization that singing would be a lot easier if I actually bothered to learn how to do it properly. I took this opportunity to relearn what I could and reinsert this old favourite into my repertoire once more, and to be honest, it didn’t go as swimmingly as I had envisioned. This is another phone-recorded one-take due to my current technological restrictions and this doesn’t have the most merit as far as listenable musical content goes, but I wanted to capture myself practicing my “ascending” and I certainly did that at the very least. This will be a fun and challenging song to finally learn properly though and I’m quite excited to have rediscovered it.

    Creative Experiment: Maybe If I…

    This is yet another freaky tie in with what I’m actually planning on doing once I wrap this up so I suppose that I appreciate the universe’s considerate way of lining things up so nicely (either that or I’m just good at seeing connections that aren’t really there, which is quite likely as well). The song we started in the last few days is an amalgamation of a number of our previously unfinished tracks and is something of a unified reimagining of the music we’ve made together so far. As such, it is very tempting to just slap cool-sounding riffs together and see what happens, but this would be too easy and likely not very rewarding. We’ve so far been quite conceptual with our thinking so it should be interesting to try more tangible and outside-the-box ideas through “what if”s.

    Daily Dose: One Note at a Time

    I believe this to be an excellent way to go through life. True unhappiness, I have noticed over the years, seems to only really come from a fixation on previous times or on those yet to come. Choosing to obsess over the places through which one’s path has already lead or the places that it will one day go essentially doubles the strain of day-to-day life on the mind. Focusing on the past or the future to a point of distraction is as unnatural as it is unnecessary; of course we should learn from the past and we should plan for the future but neither of these processes should consume our attention of the present. Imprisoning one’s mind within times and situations that we do not have any control over not only diminishes our presence in the current moment, but also quietly reduces our belief in ourselves and our ability to do what we feel to be right when the time comes. In agonizing over the past or projecting our anxieties onto the future, we are subconsciously reinforcing the deepest and most frightening of our fears: our inability to act when needed. The only thing we find more terrifying than the freakishly random and unforgiving nature of the world is the idea that we will falter in the face of such challenges. Those who are highly experienced with this self-defeating state of mind can even be known to take the horror one step further and fantasize about being destroyed by their supposed inadequacy in mundane and ordinary situations, deeply ingraining the sense of futility that they so often flirt with. In fact, the individual that I personally know to be most stricken by this way of thinking has managed to assume the belief over the years that the present isn’t even worth considering due to their own perceived ineptitude, all the while not realizing that thinking in this way is the only thing that reduces their power to change things. This person believes that they are incapable of taking even the most basic steps back toward rationality and self-forgiveness, refusing to admit that they deserve anything better than the frantic torture that they fill every waking moment with. All it takes is the sincere desire to be happy, and really, who doesn’t have at least a little bit of that deep down inside? In trying to truly live moment-by-moment, we are capable of relinquishing our desires for unrealistic control over life and can come to be content in the more-than-plentiful power that we have to affect things simply through our positivity and willingness to respond.

    Daily Action: The Bright Side

    When writing a new song, as my associates and I are currently doing, it is very tempting to just pour every ounce of sorrow, rage and raw emotion into the piece as a form of supposed catharsis, and especially after some time away from being able to do so. The obvious problem here though is that suitably sustaining such literal and straight-forward feeling takes an unrealistic level of concentration on rather useless and uninteresting themes such as spite, bitterness and self-pity. As a fairly emotional being, I all too often take songwriting as an opportunity to condense a month’s worth of tumultuous roller coaster emotions into five minutes of vocalization (and about six pages of lyrics). Doing this, as I have come to discover, fundamentally misses the point of creation and ruins any chance at the therapeutic qualities of expressing oneself. I should not seek to make perfect emotional documents of my pain and struggles in the hopes that others will experience them and sympathize with me. This is a narcissistic pursuit wrapped in the guise of compassion. Unless someone has encountered the exact same situations as me and has interpreted them in the same way, which is extremely unlikely, they probably won’t be overly interested in how accurately I’ve conveyed my specific heartache. My aim instead should instead be to extend a hand of understanding and solidarity to anyone who may be able to relate. To attempt to write for others essentially illegitimizes the expression itself anyway. We should write for ourselves and for the pleasure of creation, seeing all other connected things just as pleasant potential symptoms of doing something positive. As a zen master once told Alan Watts: “Don’t write any story to people, write it to the great sky…The sound of the rain needs no translation.”


  11. Daily Meds #52

    Creative Word: Small

    In keeping with yesterday’s theme of cringe-inducing one-take’d recordings, I present yet another glorious example of how not to sing. In today’s installment we observe what happens when a singer doesn’t have enough breath and is sitting in a slouched posture while also trying not to disturb anyone. To convey today’s word of “small,” I chose “High and Dry” by Radiohead because the version I usually play crescendos on the second chorus, dies way down for the bridge and keeps the final choruses quiet so as to make for a gentler, more somber ending. While in this recording I didn’t belt the hell out of that second chorus as I usually do (due to environmental conditions), I took the “smallness” of the bridge and last chorus very seriously. I had a small amount of breath and thus hit those higher notes with a very small amount of accuracy. Despite how this ended up turning out, it was still fun to once again revisit an old cover from a more learned vantage point and it was certainly interesting to reanalyze things more knowledgeably (even if it didn’t end up doing me much good in terms of results).

    Creative Experiment: Blindfold

    This is one of my favourite ways to try and force my more talented instrumentalist friends to conjure up what I’m vaguely imagining or to tune them into a strange visual vibe that I’m on, but this is something that I had oddly enough yet to try for myself. I sat in my darkened bedroom with my dad’s old acoustic guitar and closed my eyes, letting the mingling colours and lights in my head assume a natural fractal pattern of their choosing. I then “got moving” and began to sort of let myself be pulled forward through the pattern at a slowly increasing speed, all the while loosely strumming and picking through strange chords with my fingers. Once I had reached a high enough momentum, the ever-flowing pattern seemed to hit the vibration of two blurred and colourful landscapes that I found myself soaring both above and below. After hitting this state of relative visual stability, I tried to coax out more detailed musical interpretations of my vision’s overall vibe through the guitar. My instrumentation clicked into what can best be described as a dissonant and quickly-ascending non-scale played in groupings of odd numbers like seven and nine, but presented without rests in a near polyrhythmic manner. After shifting through a few variations, the momentum began to slow very naturally and the spaces of the visual patterns became more and more discernible. Soon I found myself floating once more at a much slower pace and my hands had returned to something similar to loosely-placed and bizarre-sounding chords that I had started with. Eventually all movement ceased and I quietly stepped back into earthly consciousness, feeling a sensation of reaffirmed wholeness similar to the one that can follow a good meditative session. This experience actually opened me up to my own instrumental creativity quite a bit more than I would’ve anticipated. After about a decade of playing music and trying to come up with cool riffs and chord progressions (admittedly through extremely contrived methodology) and convincing myself that I am simply unable of doing so on my own, this simple shift in technique showed me that I am capable of quite a bit if I’m able to keep myself from subconsciously forcing restrictions on myself before even starting. Setting up conditions for maximum openness and leaving room for exploration should be my goal when trying to coax a creation from the void and this experiment has given me a powerful glimpse into the limitless possibilities of this perspective.

    Daily Dose: Role Models

    My idolization of other musicians has been one of the strongest forces in keeping me committed and motivated enough to carry on in the face of hopelessness and adversity. The ironic thing is that it was initially a much shallower aspect of these peoples’ identities that originally inspired me to model myself after them. When I first became aware of the distinctive characters behind the “rock stars” that made my favourite music, my first thought as a bit of a self-described “weird” and alienated kid was something along the lines of, “Wow, these guys do whatever they want and people love them! It would be crazy if I could be myself and people loved me too.” And this thought was later boiled down to its purest form when I became honest enough with my biology to admit that it was the adoration of the female population that was so mind-blowingly appealing to me. The core of this concept, however, in fairness to myself, was a want of personal freedom and to find a way of celebrating who I was deep down as opposed to suppressing it. I wanted to feel so comfortable in my own skin that I could be totally secure in expressing all of my most outlandish thoughts and feelings. Along the way and into my teenage years, this ideal vision of what I thought a musician should be was once again distorted by testosterone, self destructive tendencies and a juvenile desire to show people how much I “just don’t care, man.” This is actually where I grew the slightly smarmy self that I currently inhabit. While onstage in the “metalcore” days of the late 00’s (this is always going to be a clumsy sounding decade to write about), I was constantly conflicted as to whether or not I was a stoic, masculine badass or a sarcastic, easy-going self-parodist, often times just kind of going with both. There was an irreconcilable incongruity between the brutal, guttural growling during the songs and the snippy, self-deprecating witticisms in between them that I simply couldn’t figure out and just sort of chose to run with. Over the years this purified into a more refined and approachable lack of taking myself seriously and what started out as almost a defense mechanism has become my entire personality. It would feel wrong trying to hide my more down-to-earth and sensitive side, just as it would to let those very human traits keep me from expressing my honest aggression confidently. Through this more nuanced perspective on what it means to be creative, to be an individual and most of all what it means to be a creative individual, I once again looked to my idols for guidance. It was at this time that I began to admire not only their ability to excite a crowd, but also their insane, die-hard work ethic and consistency. Sure, the dudes who got the babes were still sort of cool, but many of them have since revealed themselves as thinly-veiled and obvious narcissists who don’t put the work in. There’s something very inspiring about the people who can still be likeable while working themselves into the ground and it is this type of musician that I one day hope to be in order to maybe inspire another wave of weird kids to do something that they think matters.

    Daily Action: Setting An Example

    This is something that I have been thinking about rather deeply over the past couple years. In my random reading, research and Redditing, I have come across a fair amount of highly intriguing information concerning how lifeforms communicate emotionally. Every single minute, peoples’ bodies and brains are sending and receiving an unbelievable amount of unnoticed information and being aware of this has made me quite conscious of what I may accidentally be implying to others or what kinds of feelings I may inadvertently be expressing. I tend to notice these subtle signals most when in a collaborative musical setting and things are starting to go a bit south and the mood is perceptibly dying. At these times, I find myself spinning the situation as positively as possible in my head and believing almost out loud that things are good and that we’ll work through it. After flooding the air with as much overblown positivity as possible, I then start shooting out looks to my bandmates as little indicators as to whether or not they felt the shift as well. If I detect that they are aware of what I’ve been noticing, the look quickly turns into a mutual slight eye-smirk which essentially establishes that we are both on the same wavelength and that, while we’re not necessarily happy that our inspiration seems to have faded, we are acceptant of this fact and are willing to act in order to change this. Otherwise, my look will be one that conveys my slight concern but also encourages the other person to not be discouraged as we are aware of the problem and are thereby able to appropriately deal with it. Overall, I just try to stay positive in a general sense and refuse to let people beat themselves up over things or get so negative that they shut down entirely. If we allow ourselves to become separate emotional beings, with one person being happier than the other or whatever the case may be, we lose our creative connection and become emotionally alienated from one another, essentially killing any kind of open collaboration that we may have been having. However, if these things are dealt with from a perspective of honesty and understanding, we remain a team and are unified in our motivation and success.

    For more information on how trippy and interconnected all life really is according to science, check out the documentary “I Am”:


  12. Daily Meds #53

    Creative Word: Follow

    When first seeing this word, my immediate impulse was to “follow up” my fairly terrible recording from yesterday but I wasn’t sure exactly how I would do it. Initially I spent about an hour recording myself absolutely shrieking the chorus of yesterday’s song as I attempted to replicate how I would ordinarily perform it (which is to say drunkenly, I suppose) but only wound up with obviously grating and downright torturous recordings, at which point I decided to reapproach things a bit. In realizing that there is simply no good way to record something that sounds bad, I decided to “follow” yesterday’s recording with an altered and improved version of what I had done as opposed to trying the same thing over and over while hoping that I would get something usable. I decided to use a capo to lower the key of my voice while simultaneously raising the pitch of the guitar quite considerably, both allowing for a smaller and more intimate-sounding recording overall. I then just sort of went for it despite the strange new key and the result has a bit of the organic flavour that I was going for but with much more audible comfort all around.

    Creative Experiment: Borrowing

    I firmly believe that those who don’t openly borrow the things that they love from certain artists and those who repress their desires to do so are doomed to do it unknowingly and be labeled as heartless plagiarists. It is absolutely understandable to set out with the intention of bringing something completely unique and unheard of into the world, but this has realistically never entirely been done, and if it has, no one heard about it because it was simply too contrary for anyone to even acknowledge its existence. Even if one’s ridiculously new creation is well-loved for filling a cultural void, it was the existence of this void that established the parameters for the creation to exist and flourish. Everything comes from somewhere and the sooner we come to terms with this as artists, the sooner we can create, without inhibition, that which allows the soul to truly sing. As sentient beings, our current selves are shaped by the lessons we learn through our observations and our past experiences, and without this, we would have no context as to how we should behave in times of trial, let alone how we should act in our day-to-day lives. The very first things we learn as humans are picked up through mimicry and are then expanded upon and made personally unique over time. It is in much the same way that we should see our development as musicians. As a singer, while it is always my goal to truly discover my voice and to understand how best to use it, I wouldn’t have learned how to sing whatsoever if it wasn’t for the emulation of those that I admired. While many of my original inspirations are now guilty pleasures of mine at best, if I didn’t start by trying to sound like them, I wouldn’t have learned even the basics without admitting to some kind of professional that I didn’t know anything about singing and that I wanted them to teach me (which admittedly came fairly soon after). The bottom line is that there is no shame in looking to what is already established for guidance so long as our strongest intention is to honestly create. As director Jim Jarmusch once said (in what has become one of my favourite quotations of all time): “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.'”

    Daily Dose: Integration

    As weird, hairless apes that somehow got wrapped up in all this metacognition stuff, we are each inhabited by at least a tiny spark of curiosity as to the “meaning” of life and other such unknowable existential problems. From a young age, however, many of us have this drive to discover worn down a bit by the often harsh ways of the world so that by the time the brain is exploding with hormones in our teen years, we have completely forsaken anything so supposedly naive or childish. Despite this sad phenomenon, there are still many who still value the idea discovery and who proudly carry that torch into adulthood. These people then go on to become scientists, philosophers, researchers, journalists, astronomers and, most relevantly, artists. As creators, we are not only intrinsically united with all those who also create, but those who seek to understand the nature of all there is to understand about our existence as well. Though our work may not cure diseases or give names to subterranean breeds of fungus, we operate under the same exploratory drive. While others give definition to the intangible, we create fascination and cause reimagination of what we think to be painfully tangible.

    Daily Action: Actions

    Though this may seem like common sense to many, it is still undoubtedly a valuable conscious thought to have. Our over-conditioned autopilot carries out a lot of these “pleasantries” for us, essentially having us be good people but without us feeling like it. And nor should we if our niceness is nothing but a knee-jerk response. True compassion takes true presence of mind because, as has been said a gajillion times with varying levels of sincerity, it really is the thought that counts. Putting real love into a simple gesture may seem like something one does merely to make themselves feel better but this deep genuineness, I find, is jarringly perceptible to people who are used to a more automated interaction. For example, I don’t have to say “thank you” when exiting a bus, but I always make a point to snap myself to consciousness and rip out my ear bud long enough to do so for nothing more than the often surprised, wild smile and enthusiastic wave that I tend to get. These actions are possible at every turn throughout one’s day and with every person we may happen to encounter, it just takes a willingness to step outside oneself and look.


  13. Daily Meds #54

    Creative Words: Forward Progress

    Once again today, upon first looking at the words, I had the unshakeable compulsion to play an Elliott Smith song that I felt was instrumentally relevant. The song I chose today was “Angeles” due to its long and fluid chord progression which, at the time that I originally sought to learn it, was extremely daunting. To show my progression on this song, I first recorded it without a capo because when I first started learning this I didn’t even have one yet, forcing me to sing in a significantly lower key. I then recorded a take in a key that is slightly higher than the song normally is to represent my new “target key” for this song now that I’m a little more experienced with it.

    Creative Experiment: Releasing the Pressure Valve

    For me, at this specific time in my life, I know exactly what my biggest and most unnecessary source of pressure is and it is fortunately one that I am somewhat responsible for and that really doesn’t need as much attention as I give it. To be hopefully put it briefly (and vaguely, to protect the identities of those involved of course), as I have likely referred to in at least one of my other Meds, I have been trapped in a perpetual state of suspended desperation by a former romantic partner. While every other generic breakup I’ve ever had has been fairly reasonably timed and was relatively smooth to move past, this one has been arbitrarily random in its suddenness, inconsistency and worst of all, in its permanence. I have essentially been a bit of a safety net for the better part of almost two years and have been imprisoned by things that I once cherished very dearly such as hope, optimism, trust and keeping my word. However, I have recently crossed a threshold into more of a liberated apathy due to a few generously faith-shaking experiences but I am still seemingly always pulled to forgive and to remember the promises that were made (despite how many times they have been shattered and walked upon). I’ve known deep down that my solution is to simply let others do what they will and face the consequences of their choices if they should choose refuse compassion or reason for quite a while now, I just have to commit to throwing out my commitment.

    Daily Dose: Human After All

    This is a very comforting reminder and is actually a lovely thought to have put so simply. This tendency to slowly worm my way back into old and negative habits is something that I’ve always been subliminally aware of but afraid to confront, as if this were my secret downfall waiting to destroy my life. I always saw this trait as my “true” self looming under the surface, twisting things into negativity so slowly that I don’t even notice. Lately though, when feeling a bit more optimistic, I have thought that it is not our innate nature that defines us as human beings. Due to our ability to consciously think about these things, it is our ideal intention and the person who we strive to be that really shows who we are. We are endowed with the intelligence to choose to be better and so long as we refuse to submit completely to our baser urges, we have nothing to be ashamed of.

    Daily Action: Imperfection

    I’m already off to a pretty good start here today I reckon. I slept through my alarm for nearly 45 minutes, I will likely be a few minutes late for work and I dashed off my recording despite wanting to redo the entire thing because of one tiny little flubbed note. All things considered, though, I’m pretty happy. I’m almost done writing this, which means I won’t have to rush home after work to furiously type for half an hour before having to rush off again to school, so instead I can go play some tunes with some of my friends and continue to have a decent day. All in all, not being perfect has been pretty good so far and I can’t help but feel that I should really appreciate this a little more actively in my life.


  14. Daily Meds #55

    Creative Word: Fullness

    I had some pretty grand plans for this one that I am slightly sad didn’t work out. Initially my idea was to sing the chorus of a song (“I Want To Know Your Plans” by Say Anything) normally, likely just on my phone in an average-sounding room, and then to record a multi-layered super-chorus with two or more guitar lines and a bunch of harmonies and the whole shebang. While the first recording was simple enough, the second part took hours and in that time didn’t even return any decent results. The problem seems to be a psychological one and has been bothering me for about five or six days now, despite a pretty significant spike in my overall mood upon waking today. It’s as if I’m thinking too hard about trying not to think, psyching myself out before even drawing a breath. Because performing music with any reasonable degree of ease was apparently not on the menu today, I opted instead to embody “fullness” through production techniques, taking the opportunity to brush up a bit on some basic mixermanship. I recorded the guitar and vocals separately (and with great difficulty for the vocals for some reason) and then did something that I haven’t done on any of these recordings so far for sake of authenticity: I compressed the tracks and added some fake-ass reverb. Having refrained from doing this whatsoever in the past, I was actually quite excited and impressed with how this turned out and the definition of “fullness” that I ended up with was probably better than my original idea.

    Creative Experiment: Positive Attributes

    Once again, this is finding me at a strangely perfect time in life. The last few mornings have been strangely negative right out of the gate for no immediately perceptible reason and this has in turn skewed my mood for the entire subsequent day. This has affected my overall motivation quite considerably but has been most damaging to my creativity, and especially in writing the new song that we have been working on. As it stood last night, the song had taken somewhat of a mean-spirited turn lyrically and is simply far too self-involved and bitter-sounding to be appealing to anyone, even myself. I’ve even found myself unable to perform to a level that I find satisfactory over the past few days, taking far too long to get an acceptable take with all of my recordings (as I whined about briefly above). This morning, however, in spite of the rain and a few other things that would ordinarily be sapping my mood, I felt inexplicably alive with energy and started my day with a little controlled indulgence by playing the first level of a video game I downloaded yesterday. By saying “yes” to reasonable things like this while maintaining trust in myself that I will still follow through with my responsibilities not only removes the temptation of distractions, but eliminates any potential self-loathing that may come through having to actively fight my desire to procrastinate. This way, I can both do what I want to do and what I need to do with the same level of calm control. In this lifted spirit this morning, I have begun to completely revise the lyrical theme of our new song and things are flowing much more naturally and without so much effort and frustration. The angle with which I am now approaching the theme is also one that could potentially lead someone onto finding a more enlightened solution to a similar situation in their lives, rather than helping someone justify their anger (which of course also has its place in certain contexts). I will continue this song with positivity and will try to harness my negativity into something more restorative. In fact, I just re-stumbled-upon a quote from a vocalist by the name of Tyler Carter that happens to revolve around modern metal lyrics: “I feel like this genre is really receptive of kids that need “more”– of kids that need salvation within lyrics. They need something to take their mind from the world. The world is out to get everybody. But what I feel they do have, in this label and other labels, this sub-genre, rock ‘n’ roll music, or metal; it’s not all about partying, smacking-bitches-with-dollars or stuff like that. It’s about what is real in life. I respect the fact that when they thought nobody was there, they turned up the volume. And there are so many bands in this industry that live for that reason.”

    Daily Dose: On Obsession

    I am constantly micromanaging myself as this describes and I find it to be a product both of fear of criticism and desire for praise. I stress over the tiniest little flaws that I perceive in myself, fantasizing about how I will one day make it to a place of worldwide renown and legitimacy and have it all be completely undone over my inability to hit a certain note a certain way or something similarly small and stupid. On the flip side, I also fear that if I don’t concentrate on every tiny problem hard enough now, I will keep pressing on in ignorance of my weaknesses due to the politeness and encouragement of those around me. These are both pretty wacky and abstract when put out into words like this, but that’s a pretty accurate representation of the type of mental gymnastics many of us are prone to. While music as a whole may be something close to an obsession in the life of a creative person, we should be careful not to treat it obsessively. Obsession almost always carries a negative connotation and is associated with an interest so overpowering that it is disruptive to a person’s life. Creativity should involve a much more organic and gentle approach, being treated as something sacred and inherently pure. To seek such control over something so naturally beautiful only makes for a contrived and forced product that brings joy to no one, especially the creator.

    Daily Action: Look

    This is another simple yet profound act that will be very nice to apply to my daily life. I spend far too much time completely enveloped in my own mind, stewing and ruminating and grinding myself into madness. In doing this, while I am not entirely ignorant to the majesty of the world, I am certainly saddened by it. When something is strikingly beautiful enough to snap me out of my self-absorbed state, I feel strangely guilty and unworthy seeing as I spend so much time in such an opaque bubble on my own volition. If I honestly try, I can keep my eyes open however. Lately I’ve been practicing staying present-minded and not letting my mind slip into its usual pattern of slow, methodical self-annihilation. I find the best times to get some experience doing this are when I’m doing nothing at all and am in a perfectly reasonable moment to zone out and let my problems seep back in, such as when I’m sitting on the bus. While this is by no means easy, it is already becoming easier and that’s really all I can ask for. My aim is to one day be able to turn on my serenity like a switch, or better yet, to not have to.


  15. Daily Meds #56

    Creative Words: Take Apart

    I took today’s creative words quite literally but I did this for the sake of not repeating myself. My first musical interpretation of these words was to strip another song down to root notes and melodies, but I’ve done something in that vein a few times now so I decided to take it a little further. Instead, I recorded a quick rundown of all the chords for each part in “Karma Police” by Radiohead, “taking apart” each passage throughout the whole song and explaining how each segment is played. Though in the recording I mistakenly say that the very last chord is an A instead of an E, this turned out to be a lot less confusing and rambly than I thought it would while recording it.

    Creative Experiment: Removing the Next Step

    This is yet again another extremely fitting idea to apply to the current iteration of our project. We are just about at the point now where we’re starting to kick around the idea of an upcoming chorus. The first minute or so is pretty solid and transitions nicely into a heavier groove-oriented section that feels like it could be a verse if presented properly. It is at this point where, out of habit, we are collectively considering what the inevitable chorus will sound like and it was until reading this experiment that I hadn’t even noticed my quiet-yet-very-much-present apprehension about this. Thinking about it now, though, I don’t really want a chorus within the foreseeable future of this song; it would just break the flow. The next time we’re together and working on this new song (which will hopefully be tonight), I’m going to bring this up and see how my associates react. Judging by how much of a relieving revelation this was for me, though, I can see them being very much on board.

    Daily Dose: Yours for the Taking

    This is probably the thing that wrecked me most about my ever-moaned-about breakup (which was a frigging year and a half ago I’m realizing). At the start of our relationship, I had just become comfortable and confident in my skin once again and was finally able to live in serenity the way that I always thought I should. Of course, amidst this spiritual high-point, an unbelievably charming and attractive girl took a very strong interest in me, and despite my being totally satisfied with singleness for the first time in recollection, I was very excited to jump in. Of course this was all wonderful and great and was better than I had ever imagined relationships could be. It was then that it was impulsively destroyed based on very vague and pessimistic fears for the distant future, before becoming the most difficult psychological struggle I’ve ever undergone (as sad as that is) due to consistent inconsistencies and a series of false-hope-inspiring occurrences leading right up to a couple of weeks ago. This experience as a whole (though I unfortunately doubt I’ve yet seen its end) was the first time that I’d seen my most pure, idealistic and positive ideals shaken to the very foundation, causing me to question who I am at my very core, which is something that hadn’t really ever happened. This was also the first time that my faith in my personal spirituality was tested, and I am quite sorry to admit that I couldn’t measure up. I regressed immediately into my former self-destructive, high-school-ish ways and stayed that way for quite a while, all while still carrying around the tattered bits of wisdom I thought I had adopted into my life. I am coming to realize now that it isn’t a permanent switch into a more enlightened perspective, but more a decision to follow the path that one knows to be personally right. One of life’s greatest and most creatively useful qualities is its inherent unpredictability, but with it comes unforeseeable challenges. The more we embrace and trust what we know to be fundamentally true at the heart of it all, the better we fare in times of struggle.

    Daily Action: A Deeper Connection

    Tying nicely in with what I discussed above, today I will actually have quite a good chance to overcome my suffering through a deeper connection. The formerly-bitter song that we’ve been working on is obviously thematically centred around my big dumb break up, but this has since been twisted in a more positive way. The song is no longer just about having my heart repeatedly ripped out and reinserted, but is about knowing deep down that I hold the key to my happiness if I really want it. The song’s whiny message has been altered to become something I find a little more honest and relatable: I know that my solution is within, but I really wanted it to be her, and thus is my struggle. In putting things in these simple and less exploitatively dramatic terms I have also been able to relax a fair bit more in my off time, finding myself falling asleep with greater ease. When trying to pump my head full of the pain and thinking about why it hurt and how much it hurt and how it STILL hurts, I was quite tense and unhappy despite being in the midst of a project that I was trying to convince myself was cathartic. Now that I have freed myself of these negative emotions that are no longer of use to me, I feel that I am finally doing what I’m “meant” to do in this situation.


  16. Daily Meds #57

    Creative Word: Wonder

    So of course just as I start to type this, I have the greatest frigging idea for this word but it’s too late to record something else. What I should’ve done was learn and record a Stevie Wonder song. That would’ve been SWEET. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. When I woke up today with “Carbon Based Anatomy” by Cynic playing in my head and looked at today’s word, my first thought was “I wonder how hard that song is to play,” and so I found out. It turns out that it’s relatively easy to pick up after a few tries so I decided to record it, ever oblivious of how rad it would’ve been to do a little Stevie. I spent a fair amount of time trying to nail the vocals in the same breathy, high-octave-harmony sort of way that Cynic’s vocalist does and wasted a ton of time and am now going to spend my entire bus ride slightly annoyed that I didn’t rock any Stevie this morning. Oh well, maybe I’ll find a way to work him in to a word in the next few days.

    Creative Experiment: Different Clothes

    Though I won’t have time to do this before class today unfortunately, I am still taking part of this in spirit. Last week, while browsing some pantly products at the Levi’s outlet, I came across some sweet, fuzzy orange pants on the “final sale” rack that screamed my name. Despite my only being there to replace the only pair of pants that I’ve been wearing for like a year, these were inexplicably attractive to me. Eventually I had picked out a staggering TWO entire pairs of pants which was a pretty big deal for me and it was at this point that I was informed that one of my pairs was part of a buy-two-get-one-cheaper-or-something sale. Usually I wouldn’t really care and would leave with the things that I had actually wanted and planned on buying before I even entered the store, but I couldn’t help but notice that the orange pants were part of the sale, so I just kinda went for it because it was slightly exciting. Now is the perfect day to bust out these bad boys and feel the benefits of dressing like a different person. It is far too easy to define oneself as someone who would or wouldn’t do certain things, but it is much more creatively stimulating to keep one’s identity unrestricted.

    Daily Dose: A New Attitude

    This is actually quite a beautiful way to look at this and is one that I think will stick in my memory. It really is the perfect way to describe the process of becoming more present-minded. Every frantic, self-defeating person that I’ve ever had the pleasure to annoy with my “unrealistic hippie BS” (myself very much included) has always blamed the things in their life for why they can’t drop their constantly-panicked way of looking at things. What they fail to realize, however, is that everyone’s life has a certain level of stress based on their responsibilities and other unpredictable forces and that those among us who are totally serene on a regular basis simply didn’t give up on changing their perspective. No one wants to live a hectic, confusing or painful life yet very few have the guts to choose a life free of these negativities. For one, stress makes a very nice little excuse and thinking of it as such makes everything even worse, making it an even more exponentially “legitimate” reason for one’s victimization. Additionally, I feel that many people know deep down that it’s simply a conscious shift in a perspective that brings about this potential serenity but they are either afraid to work at it or afraid to fail. The sad thing about this is that if these people were only to try, they would be amazed at what they are capable of and would be off running in a direction of much less resistance.

    Daily Action: Spiritual Attitude

    This should prove very nice today and will be quite helpful in working on our new piece. Ever since trying to more consciously fill my life with these values, things have been flowing at a very satisfying rate. From this perspective, the typically meaningless phrase “it’s all good” is the perfect summation for the nature of the universe. I am coming to see more and more easily that there is a positive side to everything and that it is merely a personal choice that dictates how we interpret the things we encounter in life. Each day I am more and more excited to continually pursue this and it feels paradoxically wonderful to have such a massive and intangible goal. It’s really a relief to have something so profoundly important to give myself to.


  17. Daily Meds #58

    Creative Word: Grounded

    So today I spent a fair amount of time trying to come up with a song that embodies a message that keeps me grounded, or to think of a piece that reminds me of a person who does the same, but eventually I had to use a different interpretation of this word. Instead, I decided to use the less-good version of the word and opted to play a song that reminds me of getting grounded for an array of pre-adolescent misbehaviours. When I was in between the phases of childhood and my current state of bigger-bodied childhood, I had quite an angsty patch during which my favourite things were angry music and “just not caring, man.” While the Blink-182 song that I played to remind me of this time period isn’t the most rage-fueled music thing in the world, my audible inability to down-stroke like I used to is a pretty telling sign that I’ve relaxed a little bit since then.

    Creative Experiment: Back to Analog

    This is actually an extremely helpful method of stepping outside one’s box (literally, if that happens to be a slang term for a computer) and is sadly something that I feel my children might not be able to understand. I do my best writing on physical paper and I feel most satisfied after putting something together on this medium. There’s something strangely satisfying about seeing not only one’s writing laid out on physical paper, but to see it in one’s own handwriting. To see the letters take their own unique shapes almost gives each word a deeper, more nuanced meaning than if they were merely lined up in a perfectly uniform fashion on some type of digital interface. I also really like the look of scribbled-out sections amidst words that I consider to be perfect for some reason; it’s like they convey a more realistic and human approach which I see as more impressive in a lot of ways. In my mind, a beautifully-assembled sentence typed out flawlessly on a computer screen could be absolutely breathtaking in its content but it would lack the character of the same line hand-written and framed by a few good, honest pen scratches.

    Daily Dose: On Materialism

    Simple pleasures have always been the things that I value the most because, while they may not cost anything and are thereby deemed worthless by many, these truly are the things that money cannot buy. In fact, the most dangerously appealing kinds of material satisfaction are designed to simulate these beautifully pure experiences, but are always implemented in such a way that they are addictive and hollow. Material accumulations are presented to contain an intangible quality that is implied to be capable of filling in the void that we feel, all the while expanding out eternal emptiness. My main man Slavoj Zizek has some pretty interesting insights on the nature of this type of ideology and its prevalence in modern society (this clip is from a movie called “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology” that mostly talks about the hidden ideological messages in classic movies and is super interesting):

    Daily Action: Spiritual Interests

    I am already off to a pretty decent start with this I believe and shall keep this up for the remainder of my evening. Upon waking this morning, I had a few hours before work to either plug away a little bit at these here Daily Meds and get my recording done or to slack off and play video games. I chose the former and had quite a nice feeling of satisfaction when arriving at work, even though I hadn’t succumb to my desire. Now, after my shift, despite being obligated to attend a work related bar-going, I have chosen instead to put a bit more time and focus into this and am instead going to the jam hall to do some writing with Ian and Jared. Ordinarily, ditching mindless alcohol consumption in favour of musical fusion would be an automatic impulse but I’ve had a stirring of self-destructive urges in the past few weeks that have caused me to indulge at the last few opportunities. It’s always a good feeling to be at least a little bit back on the right track.


    • Adam from here on out you need to do two recordings for the word of the day. One recording: an idea. Second recording: the idea changed by the word of the day. So use the word of the day to guide your change to the first recording. Understand?


      • Yeah absolutely, lately there have been a few tough words that have happened to fall on busy days so I’ve taken a few liberties in that department but I’ll certainly try harder to get these done properly from here on out.


  18. Daily Meds #59

    Creative Word: Dispersal

    When I first saw today’s word I had a strange feeling that I had previously made a recording for something similar and took a look back at the work of previous days and found myself to be sort of almost maybe half right. While the word “dispersion” was the word for day 29, this was before the recording component was added to the Daily Meds, allowing me to follow through with the vague idea that the word gave me. To capture this word musically, I first recorded the last verse of “What Makes A Man?” by City And Colour as it is normally articulated. I then re-recorded it with no regard for conventional timing, allowing as much space to flow between vocal notes and guitar chords as was felt individually necessary and did so with a greater distance between myself and my phone and while in a more reverberant room. I also happened to apparently choose something that would perfectly highlight the relative roughness of my voice on this particular day, so that makes for some delightfully strained raspiness at every turn.

    Creative Experiment: Ask More Questions

    This is a really good idea and is one I will bring to the jam hall to help with our new acoustic song that we’re working on for Tuesday’s class. It will be especially helpful with this piece in particular, and especially at the stage we are currently at, seeing as this is our first original acoustic song and that we are still in somewhat of a loose and malleable phase of writing. It will be highly beneficial to define things a little less broadly and to understand our goal a little more deeply. At the moment, though, I’ll answer the example questions as best I can for this project. 1.) We started by deciding that it would be best to not disappoint everyone with a cover and have since been working away at a chord progression and riff that Ian has had kicking around for as long as I’ve known him 2.) We are trying to finish the song to a degree that it is listenable and feels like a confident piece of acoustic music 3.) We write the best when we are all together and can develop a unified vision 4.) We are trying to convey uncertainty and the feeling of standing in the middle of two decisions, unsure of which one’s implications are more livable.

    Daily Dose: Surrender

    The negative side of life gives its positive counterpart its definition, yet we still always feel that we are somehow to blame for the negativity that we “allow” to exist in our lives. In fact, many people expend so much energy trying to shut out everything that could be perceived as negative that they then cannot appreciate the goodness that supposedly remains. The universe is endlessly vast and varied in every possible way, yet we feel the need to define everything as either “good” or “bad,” removing all nuance, ambiguity and, in the end, any sense of truth from each thing we so arbitrarily categorize. We should not focus on one “side” of life while seeking to keep the other as suppressed as possible as this is a mindset that is simply unnatural and destined for struggle. Rather than drawing a line down the middle of everything and desperately holding one’s gaze to a certain side, we should repurpose this energy inward, strengthening our core virtues so that we can walk boldly into the middle of whatever we face, taking both the good and the bad as equally important facets of a complex and perfect world.

    Daily Action: Acceptance

    This is something that I think of in theory quite often but very seldom have the courage to completely follow through with. Due to the nature of my stupidly constant, ever-whined-about problem that shall hereby be known as “The Great Up-Breaking,” I have a hard time letting go of the pain and frustration. The entire situation makes me feel like an idiot for not only wasting so much time and energy on this already, but because I still can’t seem to drop it. It’s a perverse little pride-based fear that keeps my mind immersed in this negativity. It’s almost as if I’m afraid that if I drop my anger, I won’t be as effective at remembering just all the horrible ways that I feel I’ve been wronged if an opportunity to express this should come up, and all of this implies quite a troubling pettiness and a staggering level of spite. As far as I can tell, these are residual feelings that I have somehow kept around from the sudden horror of the original up-breaking and are symptoms of how personally damaging all of this was to my pride and to the identity I had been developing. However, there is absolutely nothing positive to be gleaned through carrying all of this around inside my head purely on the off-chance that I’ll get to spit my anger into someone else’s face and give them a truer picture of my sorrow. The only thing that keeps the pain fresh is my obsession with it so if I simply accept the things that have happened to me and choose to put my heart and mind into the current moment, this will no longer be able to torture me so.


  19. Daily Meds #60

    Creative Word: Openness

    My first idea for today’s word was to learn and perform a song in an open tuning, but my guitar simply wasn’t having any of it and would only let me tune about three strings at a time out of its usual half-step tuning. Also, if I were to record a song once with standard tuning and once with an open tuning, the most interesting observable difference would be something like, “oh, I get it, the first one has the chords played wrong.” So instead, I decided to record the first two verses of Neil Young’s “Powderfinger” in a very compact and dead-sounding closet and then to record the second two with the most distance between myself and my phone that I had available which turned out to be the distance between my houses’s front hall table the doorway of my upstairs bedroom. The audible difference in “openness” is pretty huge and I enjoyed recording in such a large space and hearing my voice bounce through the house.

    Creative Experiment: Nature’s Voice

    This is a very cool idea that I will try if I have enough time to walk to the jam hall before class rather than bussing. While it isn’t exactly the season to be bringing my guitar out with me just yet, our acoustic song now has enough of a melodic structure for its verses and chorus that I am in the process of filling them out with lyrics. The humble tranquility of nature is the perfect place to do this as well because it allows the mind to disconnect from all of the world’s trivial and self-inflicted stresses. As a musician who primarily writes about personal experiences, immersing myself in nature puts all of my overblown “suffering” very neatly into perspective and is a strong reminder of the intricate and chaotic perfection of life.

    Daily Dose: Secrets

    The dark, awful little thoughts that so persistently plague me are probably the part of me that I am most truly ashamed of. It was in Catholic school that I was first introduced to the concept of one’s thoughts being a negative and even punishable aspect of their character and something about this utterly insane and unfair idea stuck with me to the point where I am now having constant internal arguments with myself even without fearing the opinion of some omnipotent arbiter. Despite having since come to the rational realization that people should only be judged on their actions, if at all, something about being exposed to such a cruel and venomous idea at such a young age sort of ruined my perception of my own thoughts and my control over them. To this day, my harsh thoughts still cause me to take pause and scold myself, silently affirming all of my most frightening and horrid beliefs about what may be my “true” nature. I have also come to understand that this is actually quite normal and I have received nothing but relieved responses of “OH MAN, you do that too?!” from anyone I’ve ever asked about this. Looking back more reasonably, it’s as if my mind is automatically jumping to the worst thing I can think of so as to mess with me or test me for whatever reason, simply because that’s not what I think it should do. In berating me with negative thoughts, it is simply acting like a contrarian child that isn’t getting its way. I am also fortunate enough to regularly surround myself with bandmates of a similar wavelength who either can relate to my “dark” secrets like these or at the very least are somewhat tolerant of my irritating idiosyncrasies.

    Daily Action: Share the Love

    Given what my night has in store, I already know for sure that this will be a big part of my life today. When we first began putting our acoustic piece together, while unsatisfied with my personal emotional interpretations of the instrumentals, I asked Ian what feelings his chord progressions brought to mind and what experiences he would relate them to for the purpose of figuring out how to frame the lyrical theme properly. After a few vague impressions, he settled on the divorce of his parents, to which I responded with a wide-eyed: “DUDE…that’s perfect.” This was something that we’ve always had in common but that we’ve never really explored. Though these themes have shifted a bit and the song is now written from the perspective of someone who has some sort of control over an uncertain decision, it has been a highly strengthening exercise for our friendship and our collaborative bond as bandmates.


  20. Daily Meds #62

    Creative Word: Dwell

    While my first idea for today’s word still panned out eventually, it took on a different meaning entirely during the recording process. First, my plan was to record something in another bedroom of the house and then rerecord in the room in which I “dwell,” but I found this to be somewhat generic and uninteresting when I went to carry it out. Instead, I leaned my phone up against the doorframe of my room and recorded the first verse of “2:45 AM” by Elliott Smith while pacing around in the hallway. Then, during the first chorus [near the 50-second mark], I crossed the threshold of my room and continued with the second verse, making for an audible change in depth of field and room noise within the recording. While this would usually be extremely simple to execute and would normally just take a few minutes, I found myself “dwelling” on every tiny little note I was hitting, causing me to stop and become frustrated after about thirty seconds each time. I found it extremely difficult to remove my consciousness from the immediacy of every sound I was making and to get back to my regular practice of simple audiation and remembrance of the song’s melody, despite the fact that I’ve known and been playing this song for about five years now. I kept becoming distracted and hung up on little fragments of advice that I’ve received over time, knowing full well that my best bet was always to try and make my brain shut up so that I could just do what I do. After an infuriating near-hour, I took a break, had some tea, watched a couple Youtube videos and got back to it, this time with the intention of letting go and simply getting it done. The result is passable but still contains an uncomfortable level of uncertainty for my liking.

    Creative Experiment: World Flipping

    It’s strange that this concept comes up when it does because just the other night I had a conversation with Jared and Ian about doing this very thing as children. I recall being not only excited by looking at my surroundings from a reversed perspective but disappointed by never truly being able to experience it. I encountered the same disappointment when I realized that I couldn’t crawl into an alternate world through the strange angled mirrors that they have on those benches in shoe stores. Looking at things in a way we know to be backward, or “wrong” to the more closed-minded types, is highly stimulating to a creative thinker. What could be more fresh and exciting than the exact opposite of what is conventional or has already been established?

    Daily Dose: Humour and Service

    This is something that myself and likely all musicians can learn from. After spending too long immersed in one’s own mind poring over our individual strengths and weaknesses, while we may be improving, the satisfaction we attain is often short-lived and somewhat hollow. This lack of expected gratification then pushes us to sink even deeper into our next area of self-improvement, pushing us further away from true satisfaction and further into our own heads. While it is not always easy when trying to better oneself, we must remember that music is inherently collaborative and uniting amongst people. Without an ear to receive our sounds, there is then no heart to be affected by our music and we are then playing strictly for ourselves, and while this is an admirable act in reference to a lack of audience pandering in one’s music, it can also magnify a musician’s potential narcissistic tendencies. In dropping the mindset of self-importance and extending a hand of solidarity to our fellow music makers, we subconsciously remind ourselves that music is about reaching out to others and sharing energy. We then find that true satisfaction lies in selfless action and that we have only to look outside ourselves once in a while to find it.

    Daily Action: Service Call

    While I am not yet sure how this will manifest itself exactly, I am sure there will be room for this at tonight’s practice session. As a newly reinvigorated unit of now-functioning musicians, we have spent the last week or so readapting to more comfortable and conventional methods of working with one another, being finally able to do away with our previous desperation-derived techniques. Part of getting used to physically playing music together with a live drummer for the first time in about a year and a half has been openly suggesting and offering advice to one another at a level of openness that we have previously not really had. While some of these realities are undoubtedly harsh at first, our responses are always those of gratitude because often times these are the things that we need to hear from someone else in order to properly digest and take into account. If we remember that all of our actions toward one another come from a place of mutual will to grow and succeed, everything that we have to contribute can be used to propel each other and ourselves as a whole forward.


  21. Daily Meds #63

    Creative Word: Polarizing

    For once I actually had a pretty solid idea right out of the gate on this one. I knew my best bet would be to find a song originally written by someone of sacred, legendary or otherwise iconic status that was then reimagined entirely by a band that in itself is already somewhat of a polarizing figure even without such audacious action. The first song that came to mind that fit this criteria (or perhaps the song that subconsciously defined my criteria because it’s totally perfect) is “Desolation Row,” originally written by Bob Dylan and remade in a grittier, more punk-centric fashion by My Chemical Romance (my emo-era favourite band) for the Watchmen soundtrack (which happens to be a somewhat polarizing adaptation of a beloved graphic novel, making for an almost unnecessary level of relevance). I recorded the first verse of the song in each style, both of which nicely highlight today’s I-got-up-too-early-and-should’ve-had-more-tea flavoured voice that I am currently enduring.

    Creative Experiment: Child’s Pose

    Just like imagining one’s perspective toward the end of life, putting oneself back into the mindset that we had before we could fully grasp the stark harshness of reality can be very stimulating creatively. The mind of a child is full of perfect, self-sustaining paradoxes that are essentially designed to promote the utmost of creativity and curiosity. While a child often longs for the supposed freedom of adulthood, many are also very much aware that they can essentially get away with whatever they want in many situations without lasting judgement. A big part of “who I am,” whatever that means, revolves around the attempted preservation of this openness, exuberance and faith in the positive. The way I see it, the only way I’ll be able to do anything remotely creative from here on out is if I keep as much of that childlike wonder in my soul as possible. Otherwise, the true nature of the world would destroy my spirit and I would go sit behind a desk until I died. As Ursula K. Le Guin once said, “The creative adult is the child who has survived.” Alternately, as Derek Smalls, bass player of Spinal Tap once said:

    Daily Dose: Esteem

    This is especially difficult when sitting on the fringe of a musical movement that has become quite generic as of late and is now populated by many boring and audience-pandering bands. In the world of downtuned progressive-jazz-groove-metal stuff-ness, if one is misfortunate enough to encounter a band that openly self-identifies as “djent,” there are very few things that can be said in their favour. The music is likely highly formulaic and very traditionally structured, often with repetitive alternations of chuggy verses and pure pop choruses. Personally, I tend to take great offence to the “cool sounding” but nonsensical lyrics. In the moment, it feels great to cut up these kids because they’re clearly riding a trend and are doing everything that they can to be as accessible as possible to as many people as they can, all of which irritates the supposed “musical integrity” that I’ve accumulated over the years. However, this is an unfair way of looking at things, and especially for me. Five or six years ago, when I was amidst my “glory days” (cause my band was totally called Sick Transit Gloria. Zing!), my band and I were doing the exact same thing in retrospect. While I look back to the seemingly constant shows and the kids screaming the words back and every other cherry-picked ego-boosting memory that I have, I often leave out the fact that we openly called ourselves a “metalcore” band and simply wanted to be exactly like Underoath or The Devil Wears Prada. Everyone has to start somewhere and believing oneself to be somehow “above” other musicians that are seen as less sophisticated is counterproductive to the entire purpose of creation. This is about individual freedom and expression, not about self-inflated senses of legitimacy or arbitrary judgements on the merit of others’ work. We cannot and should not try to be better than others in any way with the exception of in our levels of tolerance and acceptance.

    Daily Action: The Good In Everyone

    Tonight presents yet another great opportunity to carry out my daily action in a very natural way. Over the past week, my band has seen the most dramatic spike in both enthusiasm and creative collaboration since its inception about three years ago. This is due entirely to the recent addition of my brother and his unexpectedly massive drive to get things done. In adding this new personality to the mix, we have found our own individual strengths complimented in a way that we have never experienced and we couldn’t be more excited to finally have the kind of chemistry we were always missing.We have diversified our perspective as creators while also refining our vision more specifically. This has served as the perfect example of how it is often the differences between people that make them work so well together as well as illustrated the benefits of harnessing peoples’ uniqueness collectively.


  22. Daily Meds #64

    Creative Word: Gathering Support

    So seeing as today is my last day before heading off to my dad’s for the weekend where I will be without my equipment, I figured I’d ease things into a weekend of crappy one-take’d phone recordings with something of a somewhat higher production value that I usually put forth. In order to gather support in a song, I figured the best way would be to record a song acoustically and then to do it once more with a full band’s worth of instrumentation represented. For this song, I chose good old “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads because this was the first that came to mind for which I am capable of providing all of the instrumentals. After an extremely overcomplicated trial-and-error session with Garageband’s lovely drum programming setup, I recorded both guitar parts and the bass line on my acoustic guitar, laying vocals on last. While I originally intended to put some effects on the guitar lines to make them sound more electric (as I did with the “bass” line), they ended up sounding pretty cool as acoustic guitars and were thus left as they are.

    Creative Experiment: Geographic Solution

    This is a very interesting idea to really hone a song’s mood or overall flavour. Setting has a surprising amount to do with art’s less-tangible qualities and is something many don’t take into account. For example, I read that Black Sabbath was influenced by the energy of people that they would see flocking to the midnight horror movies at the theatre across the street from their rehearsal space. I like to think that, to some extent, my band’s music is subconsciously affected by slightly spooky vibe of the massive factory that greets us every time we open the jam space door. One of the hardest parts about conveying a specific theme or emotion musically is the seeping in of these tiny factors that we don’t notice. Sometimes, no matter how perfect our idea may seem for representing our intended idea, these subconscious elements have their way and this experiment provides an interesting way to combat this. Our jam hall is a great location to give this a shot as well because after being locked in the same room for a few hours it’s possible to picture just about anything outside.

    Daily Dose: Worthy of Love

    As I have touched upon in the past, the one dumb thing that holds me back from tapping into my inner love and serenity on rough days is my own pride. It is essentially my ego that sustains this negativity and it has quite an efficient little cycle worked out. I’ll wake up in a crappy mood and am often too lazy at first to look at this in a metacognitive way, often simply going with it and letting all the associated negativity flow unchecked. I’ll walk around like this for about an hour before my mind quietly reconciles its darkened state and finds a source of blame which is usually a person that I have something petty against. The thing that holds me locked into this useless mindset is, as I mentioned, pride. My optimistic side will start to dial things back into normalcy but whatever part of me that’s “in a mood” is always very quick to counter, assuring me that I have every right to be angry and that dropping it is submitting to it. This is of course completely backwards and just a generally toxic perspective, but this seems to be how it works for me a lot of the time. The best way I’ve found to shake these feelings entirely and to jump-start some love is to physically defy them as much as possible. While it may be difficult to simply change how one is currently perceiving the world, the mind simply can’t keep a person down if they’re consciously working against it. I always try to do stuff that a pissed off person wouldn’t do, such as performing kind acts for others, fulfilling responsibilities that I have been procrastinating on or even smiling. Apparently just smiling for an extended period is enough to trick the body into releasing the same chemicals that we course with when we are experiencing genuine happiness. It really does come down to a choice and all it takes is the courage and accountability to make it.

    Daily Action: Flip Over from the Bad Side of the Bed

    Luckily my day started off rather nicely, as they thankfully tend to on days when I am free of work and school (I don’t know what the hell I would do if I woke up in a bad mood on a day off, that would just be terrible). Being already in a pretty decent mood, I imagine that I’ve got nowhere to go but up for the rest of the day. Considering this, I will dedicate as much energy as possible to making sure that all those around me are sharing the same joy and love of life throughout the day. There have been countless days during which my bad mood was reversed entirely by one person’s seemingly unbeatable upbeatness and it’s high time that I tried to be that pillar of positivity for all those I may encounte


  23. Daily Meds #65

    Creative Word: Exceed Greatness

    So for today’s words, because I couldn’t find a song that directly used the word “great” as much as I liked (my rendition of “Great Balls Of Fire” seemed sort of weak), I have resorted once more to pulling out a pile of puns. I figured that the best way that I could most thoroughly convey these words would be to play an indisputably great song and then somehow exceed that greatness. For the first time ever, I finished the rest of my Daily Meds before even fully conceiving of my recording. However, about twenty minutes ago, it came to me. I decided to record “The Weight” by The Band as it is the most legitimately “classic” song that I know off the top of my head and I decided that the best way to exceed this greatness would be to exceed the walls of this house and to record the second half in the great outdoors. To achieve this, I recorded the first verse on the landing by my dad’s side door and then picked up my phone and moved it onto the lid of the green bin beside the house for the outdoor portion of the recording.

    Creative Experiment: What About You?

    Awesome! Many days I feel I have to choose between the things I want to do and the things I have to do, but it always seems to work the best when I can strike a solid balance between the two. Today I feel like having another coffee, finishing this off and heading down to the jam space (which is only a short walk away today due to my being at my Dad’s house this weekend) to pay the rent and play some tunes with whoever happens to be around before heading to a big (and foreseeably insane) birthday party for one of my Dad’s friends. All in all, it’s shaping up to be quite a lovely evening and it certainly is nice to have the opportunity to talk about this is as part of my homework.

    Daily Dose: Intelligence Only Goes So Far…

    This is all too true as I have come to learn time and time again. A project often starts out as a pure, roaring emotional expression but after a little while things start to become forced and contrived. I never know if this is caused by a loss of focus on the original idea or maybe even an overemphasis of that initial spark, but either way the inspiration usually seems to evaporate before anyone has even had a chance to notice it fading. It is at this point that the self-important brain steps in, declaring that it holds all the answers and that this problem can be solved with coldly calculated reason and conventionalism. While it would be easy enough to simply say “Yeah whatever, brain. Go be bad at math or something,” it is unfortunately not an overly perceptible switch from feeling to thinking. Over-conceptualized concepts pop up out of nowhere in exciting fashion amongst more genuine ideas and are attractive enough to steal not only hours of one’s life but potentially even one’s creative energy. While these ideas may seem like logical additions to one’s message or theme, they are more akin to steps in a formula or equation than they are to intangible qualities of an emotional experience. Part of the creative cultivation process is becoming fluent in the language of one’s own heart. In learning how to access these undercurrent emotions, we reduce the mind’s ability to interpret and interrupt our flow of pure feeling. While our minds may keep us alive and generally out of trouble, they are also quite capable of lessening our invaluable vulnerability to our truest feelings.

    Daily Action: Rich in Emotions

    Intelligence is the most diligently deceptive force at work in my creative life. As I detailed above, its allure can lead a once-beautiful and honest artistic work endlessly astray and into the realm of shallow mediocrity. As a vocalist who primarily operates in genres of emotionally complex or ambiguous musical material, it is sometimes very difficult to move past the first draft of a melody simply because of its catchiness or the way it slightly reminds me of something else. Even if something of this more conventional sort should survive several iterations of a song, I am always nagged by its lack of authenticity and am vaguely ashamed of its pandering nature or straightforwardness every time I sing the line, no matter how objectively good or correct it may sound. If people wanted to be repeatedly bashed over the head with the two emotions of “party” and “breakup,” they would turn on the radio. This overactive brainium in my cranium also has a nice little habit of telling my heart that its feelings are either whiny and uninteresting or that they’re so personal that they’ll make people uncomfortable. My heart, on the other hand, has never once even considered what other people will think or how they will judge my honesty, and nor should it. Why have something so magically mysterious and boundlessly rich as a heart if we aren’t going to revere its intangible intuition?


  24. Daily Meds #66

    Creative Word: Eliminate

    Before we get into this I would like to preface by stating that I am frantically finishing my Meds today within a tiny window of time in between a grandparental visit and a fast-approaching shift so this may turn out to be my most brief and direct entry. For today’s word, I played the song “Cute Without The ‘E'” by Taking Back Sunday which happens to be a song that prominently features two vocal lines. Whenever I’ve played this over the years I have always just sort of mashed them together and let the cut each other off, making for the occasional cool-sounding line or two but a general, overall clumsiness to the whole the song’s delivery. For today’s recording, I played the first verse once the way I usually do and followed it by a version with just the lead vocal line, something I’d never really tried before.

    Creative Experiment: Shrinking The Problem

    This is a great way of simplifying the often self-complicated problems that we encounter during the creative process. If we keep our focus on the core of the issue and ignore all the unnecessary hurdles that we set up along the way, our problems appear much more manageable. In many creative problems, seeing as literally every facet of them was conceived by us, we sometimes lose track of which parts of the challenge are truly necessary to the original vision and which ones are simply half-ideas that are stopping us from progressing. In every creative problem that I’ve ever faced, it is always the little additions that were just sort of thrown in on a whim that usually hang me up and stall my process but over time it becomes fairly clear which ideas are the ones holding things back.

    Daily Dose: Everyone Has Been There

    The word “yes” in a creative context is a perfect example of an unconditional attitude of love. When we say “yes” to ourselves and one another while creating, we are affirming that our love for creativity itself is absolute and constant. This is also a highly collaborative and compassionate mindset to cultivate, always allowing opportunities that we could’ve never discovered if we had been more conservative and calculating with our work. This openness and acceptance of all things mysteriously magical is what not only makes creation such a soul-igniting experience for the creator, but also what allows the beauty of the art into the hearts and minds of those who should come to experience it.

    Daily Action: Say ‘NO!’ to No.

    If I should be fortunate enough to have the time and energy to pursue something creative tonight after my shift (despite the fact that I work again at 9:00 tomorrow morning and am already pretty much ready to go back to bed right now as it is) I’m sure this will be an interesting experience. Actually, ever since my brother’s joining our band last week I don’t think any of us have shut anything down because for the first time in about a year and a half, we have some strong forward momentum and are all contributing in the most equal capacity that we’ve ever seen as a band. When it was just Ian, Jared and I, every idea seemed kind of uncomfortable in a strange way, as if we didn’t want to commit to something that our future drummer might not like. Now that we not only have a drummer but a highly driven and decisive one at that, we haven’t been saying “yes” so much as we’ve been saying “hell frigging yeah!”


  25. Daily Meds #67

    Creative Words: Begin Again

    Due to another absolutely manic schedule today, I have once again resorted to a double-pun interpretation of today’s words (although realistically this is probably pretty similar to what I would have done anyway even if I’d had all day to do this). My immediate interpretation involved replaying the song that I did my first Daily Meds recording with (“The Biggest Lie” by Elliott Smith) but I knew that I had to take it a little further to fully encapsulate the potential meanings of these words. Handily enough, my first recording was the last verse of the song, so after that final chord rings out for a few beats (around the 25 second mark) I start the intro up, beginning the song again.

    Creative Experiment: 90 Seconds

    Here is my list:

    -more integration of 8-bit sounds

    -keep tempo up as long as possible

    -more head-bob friendly yet still definitely “off” if scrutinized

    -enormous chorus that only occurs once (or possibly twice if it fits)

    Honestly, I had a lot fewer ideas than I thought I would but those that I did come up with were actually pretty decent and really represent what I see for the rest of this song, despite the fact that I hadn’t really thought these things consciously in words yet. It was likely the time limit, but I found myself really boiling down the vague little idea-particles into the most solid thoughts that I’ve had about this song that aren’t vocal related. This was actually a great method for getting these seemingly abstract and random half-concepts fleshed out and is one I will remember. Upon reaching the jam hall after class tonight, I just might have Ian and Jared make their own lists before presenting them with mine, thereby tripling our idea-bank and making more concrete concepts of our often quiet inner-whisperings of inspiration.

    Daily Dose: Inspiration, not Procrastination

    This is probably the best summary of this concept that I’ve ever read. In fact, at the jam space, we’ve been known to have chicken-or-egg debates as to whether one waits or works for inspiration (I am personally an outspoken proponent for the work side of that issue). It really is quite simple though when broken down into the terms that I just read. Working is always a productive act or at the very least a generally progressive one. Even if one’s work doesn’t seem to immediately benefit things or doesn’t catapult us instantly to where we dream of being, we are still always grinding away and building our skills along the way, whether we notice and appreciate this or not. Even if a person is the type who waits for inspiration, what better way to kill time than to work, practice or build? In the words of composer Phillip Glass: “You get up early in the morning and you work all day. That’s the only secret.”

    Daily Action: Act on Inspiration

    Tonight should prove an interesting time to give this action a try. Considering the insanity of my day, which began a little too suddenly just before my 9:00 shift this morning and which has now taken me to this feverish hour during which I am completing this entry, hopefully eating and heading back out to mixing class, I am quite doubtful that I will be of much use in tonight’s post-school musical fusion. However, I once read that the mind is most creative when tired due to a lack of inhibition so maybe it’ll swing the other way and my incoherent mumblings in between snores will be brilliant enough to finish this song. Either way, it should be interesting to see how tonight plays out and how functional I am creatively in this dazed state.


  26. Daily Meds #68

    Creative Word: Tame

    Seeing as today’s word is “tame,” I figured this would best be captured sonically if the first recording was comparatively wild. The obvious choice song-wise was “Wild World” by Cat Stevens, but I knew that I had to make it somehow wilder than it always inherently is due to its title. To achieve this, I decided play every chord with a rapid and violent down-stroke and “sang” the song in my ever-charming pre-warmup screamed voice. I then followed it up with a more standard version of the song, which sounded much more tame in comparison to what I had done before.

    Creative Experiment: Pre-production

    This is always something that my band and I are somewhat aware of but that we often don’t carry out as fully as we should. We spend most of our time in the writing process, tweaking every last little detail of a riff or musical passage until it sounds the best that we think we’ll get it. It is at this point when a few leaps are usually taken and many of the finer details in the recording process are unfortunately bypassed. After spending what is often quite a while honing a piece of instrumentation, the reason for recording it is usually just to hear it with the other tracks for reference. In operating for these purposes, things are often recorded as quickly and efficiently as they can be without them sounding obviously terrible, leading to some pretty mediocre recordings sometimes. Once the song is laid out completely in this fashion, we are often so excited that we have a whole song down to listen to that we forget all the tweaks and polishes that we intended on giving the piece, leaving us with somewhat of a crappy recording to remember the song by while we move on to the next one. If we were of clearer foresight with our recordings, we would know that it is always beneficial to track things to the best of our capability all the time. It is very seldom useful to have something recorded poorly as even if its only purpose is reference, it is very likely to subconsciously bring down the entire piece as a whole.

    Daily Dose: Control Kills

    I agree very much with these statements as a constant victim of my own overconceptualizations and sometimes obsessive control of benign things. In fact, it is my knowledge of this phenomenon that leads most often to its disruption of my life. My mind has a funny way of quietly pushing me in a direction that I know to be harmful by either dressing it up in an unrealistically nice way or by convincing me that I was just going to screw it up anyway so I may as well let myself absentmindedly destroy the beauty in what I’ve created. It’s as if I have to constantly trick myself into doing what I know to be right by pretending that it doesn’t exist, because if I consciously focus on what will be most helpful to me, I will immediately be aware of its opposite and be swayed by my subconscious pessimism and self-destructive nature to walk straight into the failure that I believe to be around every corner.

    Daily Action: Watch It Unfold

    While this would be of great benefit to me in a creative context, in a grander sense, giving up control seems to be the key to nearly all of my life’s problems as a whole. I am quite often a paradoxically tense person. It’s as if sometimes I’m stressed about being relaxed, as if I believe that if I don’t constantly second-guess myself and force myself to “be chill” or to “act natural” that I’ll suddenly explode into a fine red mist onto my surroundings. As I have mentioned in previous posts, simply because my thoughts seem to know that it’s just me and them up there in my head slugging it out, they can be very good at convincing me of some deep-seated malignance at the core of my being that I am merely prolonging. It is this ever-present fear of my (supposedly) unknown inner-self that makes me feel the need to constantly keep myself in check and control as much about my behaviour as possible. In spite of all this madness, I fairly-certainly know myself to be a generally good person as I have observed this through my knee-jerk reactions to certain situations and through what I have accessed internally in meditation. Just as one builds trust of another, I should be working on developing a deeper trust of myself, if not for just my benefit but because I’ve actually proven that I deserve it. In situations during which I cannot be focusing on “controlling myself,” I have found my instincts to be wonderful representatives of the values that I hold most dear and have seen that it is essentially a self-aggrandized paranoia that makes me feel the need to keep such close watch on myself. This is something I should and will begin to practice daily but I am still looking most forwardly to really letting it happen today, whatever “it” may turn out to be.


  27. Daily Meds #69

    Creative Word: Fullness

    Seeing as today’s word was the same as for Daily Meds #55, I was very tempted to try and properly execute my fairly ambitious idea for the last time I was faced with this word, which was to and emulate the full instrumentation of “I Want To Know Your Plans” by Say Anything but I figured I would end up bailing halfway due to this being much easier said than done. So instead, I foolishly set out to do the same thing with a song that I’ve never played but always wanted to learn: “Retrovertigo” by the brilliant Mr. Bungle (apparently the word “fullness” translates to “unrealistic” for me). As you may have already guessed, I was only able to do a fraction of what I had originally intended, with the biggest obstacle this time being the strange key and my inability to snap into it with ease (let alone find the notes whatsoever on occasion, likely because of my excellent idea of playing it in a different tuning than the song was recorded in). During my first struggle through the song’s chorus, I recorded the guitar and vocals together with one microphone and even EQ’d a bit of the low end out for added fullness on the second recording. For the second, I recorded the guitar and vocals separately, compressed them both and added a bit of chorus to the guitar track for added not-just-some-crappy-sounding-acoustic-guitar-ness.

    Creative Experiment: Bathroom Cathedral

    This actually fit very nicely into the fun time that I detailed above. In between takes, while filling up my massive water jug in the bathroom, I took a moment to switch off a little bit and collect myself. I sat quietly and stared at the soothing, blue wall, letting my mind float free of my influence while focusing in on the hum of the fan which replaced all other ambient sound. While this was not necessarily a very deep meditation, I found myself much more focused afterward, but in an easier, more indirect sort of way. The vocal takes I did after this are incidentally the ones I ended up keeping for the second half of the recording.

    Daily Dose: It’s OK to Be Afraid

    Fear was one of the most incongruous things that I came across about music when first starting out. For quite a while I had a lot of difficulty reconciling the fact that my goal was to perform for others, but that I was genuinely frightened of any reaction other than praise. After a while, however, in forcing myself on stage despite this, I began to understand that fear is just a part of the process to a certain extent. I would lose myself in the moment and go into somewhat of a trance when I was up there, feeling each moment but never holding onto them. When something small would threaten to break me from this state of mindfulness, without missing a beat, my higher self would always provide some way of moving on without allowing my level of focus to waver, either allowing me to acknowledge and let go or to simply ignore whatever happened entirely. I soon found that anything worth doing in music would make me at least a little nervous. The most rewarding things in life as whole are always at least a little bit scary, otherwise everyone would be living the fullest vision of their most bombastic dreams.

    Daily Action: Finding Strength

    Tonight may actually provide a good opportunity to try this. After our shifts tonight, my brother and I plan on meeting Ian and Jared at the jam hall to work on the reconstruction of an older song. While we already have a few ideas already for how we plan on reapproaching the piece, I know that my brother will bring a lot of unconsidered options to the table, as he seems to do with every collaboration. His input is always very fresh and interesting and this means that it often ends up replacing the crazier, more unreasonable parts that were there before. While this is exactly what we need, I have still had a few bouts with personal attachment to the nutty little ideas that are being fixed. Tonight, if I should feel this way, I will try my best to remember the daily action and find the strength to embrace the unknown.


    • Ok Adam and Mike, for the last 40 days or so you two are to shoot a video everyday explaining what you did and why you made the creative choices you did. The video can be as long or as short as you see fit. Start a new account in Youtube or Vimeo and begin to post those links along with the rest of the links you have already been posting. Let me know if you have any questions, DAve


      • Okay cool, that sounds interesting. I’ve already made my recording for today’s meds so do you want the video to be just me talking about what I did as opposed to writing about it? And for tomorrow’s recording should I try and film the recording process itself and edit together parts of it into kind of a montage or would you like it to be more of a video blog or commentary type of thing?


  28. Daily Meds #70

    Creative Word: Influence

    For today’s recording, I figured I’d try and get at least three interpretations of the word into the recording and I believe I was fairly successful (with the connections to the word that is, the recording itself is admittedly slightly crappy). From the start I wanted to play something by an artist that greatly influences me and due to the currently massive size of that list I figured I should just pick one of the first: good old Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. I grew up on classic rock and developed a bit of an obsession with punk around the dawn of my puberty, which is also when I first started playing music. It was around this time that My Chem’s album “Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge” was released and I immediately wanted to be their singer SO BAD. He had a very clear Misfits influence to his style and his persona was essentially that of a nerdy badass which I very much identified with. He had taken all the things that made him different and through embracing them became cooler than anyone who would’ve ever called him weird in the first place and it made me realize that I could run with my strangeness and actually have it become a strength of mine. So it is for this reason that I chose their unreleased track “The Desert Song” as my influential piece for recording, but I felt I needed another connection to the word in order to get a before-and-after type recording out of it so I chose to drink an extra coffee and perform the song at a ridiculous speed that could be reflective of someone under the influence of caffeine. Additionally, the song also happens to specifically mention rain and it is entirely possible that my choice was influenced by these current weather conditions.

    I’ve uploaded my video to Vimeo but at the time of this posting, the video’s page says that my video will be converted in about 40 minutes because I don’t have an upgraded account so hopefully this actually works:

    Creative Experiment: Check Out and Zone In

    Oddly enough, I ended up using yesterday’s experimental technique to help me try today’s experiment. Once again while in the washroom to grab some water and knowing the nature of today’s experiment, I sat down and took a minute to focus. Before doing this I had been considering my closet but the thick hum of the fan and its ability to shut out all other sound made the bathroom ideal once more. Because I often run into problems of self-complication imagining the process of writing a piece, I instead opted to visualize a performance of the song that we are currently working on. I found this to actually be a very intuitive way of sort of feeling out the direction that a piece is headed in without getting too conceptual or specific. I went through the parts that we have established now, imagining the full spectrum of sound that the song lacks in its current preliminary phases and was guided somewhat vaguely into later passages that actually fit quite well with what we already have. I was quite impressed with this method and its simply way of bringing out a song’s natural direction. I’ve always known that one of the keys to good songwriting is tapping into a natural musical flow and letting it steer the song, but I had yet to come across a way of consistently and effectively doing this until today.

    Daily Dose: States of Mind

    I can very much relate to being stuck in a rut of self-imposed laziness and its inherent frustration and am most often trapped there by the trivialization of the universal truths that I know to be the answers to my problems. In having this be somewhat of a regular part of my life, I have also come to notice how easily it can be dispelled if one has the courage and humility to drop all the madness that they’ve accumulated. It really does come down to a small, momentary choice but it is one that must be made in absolute honesty with oneself. Everyone knows deep down that the potential they see within themselves is real, but many believe that their circumstances or the way that their character has developed prevents them from fulfilling this or changing their lives. However, in truth this is just another excuse that allows us to shirk the hard work and struggle that it takes to bring one’s potential to fruition. We therefore never have any good reason to complain about our state of mind in this regard if we dislike it because it entirely up to us, whether we choose to acknowledge this fact or not. Despite this quotation’s specificity, I think it applies quite well to a person’s state of mind in general: in the words of William Ellery Channing, “No power in society, no hardship in your condition can depress you, keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent.”

    Daily Action: Look for Creativity

    This is always a valuable pursuit and one that I have done subconsciously for as long as I am aware of. I can trace this back to somewhat of a petty origin but one that I am undoubtedly grateful for because of the degree to which it shaped my perception of the world. As a young child I was very much into drawing wacky monsters and making up goofy stories (just like every other kid before they’re beaten into boring submission by society) and was told that the things I did were creative. Naturally, this lead me to try and seek this acclaim as much as possible which thereby forced me to look at things in attemptedly unusual ways (I have since read that it is much more beneficial to encourage a child’s creativity by praising them instead for being hard-working because they will then understand the effort that it takes to create rather than expecting everything they make to be an automatic work of genius). It was this desire for the unconventional, and later a disdain for conformity and its hollow rewards, that drove me to be the happily strange person that I am today. Rather than being drawn to opportunities to prove my worth in the eyes of others, I tend to gravitate toward chances to break a norm and to take a chance on my personal perspective and it has been this kind of deliberately divergent thinking that has honestly made my life worth living to a certain extent.


  29. Daily Meds #71

    Creative Word: Piece Together

    For today’s recording, I knew that I should record something with a few separate tracks with the intent of piecing them together but I wasn’t sure what song would work best for this. It then suddenly occurred to me that “Pieces” by Sum 41 was clearly the best option due to its perfect title and so I set out to learn the song as soon as I woke up. After a couple runthroughs, I tracked the first take on my phone, recording the vocals and guitar simultaneously. I then recorded the vocals and guitar separately and pieced them together in Garageband, adding a little compression and reverb for a bit of extra niceness.

    Creative Experiment: Switching Hats

    This is something that I’m actually currently transitioning through but I am in the process of hanging one of my hats up. For the past nearly two years that our previous drummer has been missing in (in)action, the writing of any percussive passages has essentially fallen to me due to my comparative rhythmic knowledge and experience and because, as a vocalist and nuisance, I would’ve been really annoying to be around during the writing process if I had nothing to occupy myself with other than pumping out lyrics into my phone. I even spent a fair amount of time learning how to play more adequately with the goal of physically jamming out the parts we had been writing. The addition of my brother to our lineup has not only taken that stress off of me, but also entirely revamped our creative process. The only problem here is the lagging behind of my old singer-drummer perspective on things. When my brother moved his hella-sweet drum set to the jam hall I was very much excited but also just a touch apprehensive for reasons that I didn’t understand. I have since come to realize that my apprehension stemmed from a little voice inside that said “well if those beautiful drums are here, what am I supposed to beat the hell out of in my spare time?” and this was the last little remnant of my double-hatted mindset. I am now refocusing solely on my voice and to be honest I wish I had just continued to do this all along. The last time that this was my only job, this was my entire life. I was all about singing and nothing could distract me. After a couple years of divided attention, I am at the rustiest I’ve been since I started pursuing music with any sense of seriousness. Now, though, I have begun to rebuild my former “prowess” and am very much getting used to having something more tangibly sized to pour myself into.

    Daily Dose: Don’t Forget to Look Around

    Many people associate self-centredness with an absolute absorption into one’s own excellence, but there is a far more common manifestation of this type of negative self-focus that tends to go by completely unnoticed and is even generally accepted. The kind of self-centredness to which I’m referring is an over-focusing on one’s perceived flaws, problems and negative attributes. Some people walk around like this literally every single day of their lives and are excused for this because of the extremely widespread prevalence of this mindset. While this may not always make a person the type to act out negatively toward another, they are certainly not very receptive to extensions of beauty from the universe. It always comes down to a choice between obsessively mulling over one’s stresses and choosing to participate in the vibrant, free and exhilarating world that is always around to be played with.

    Daily Action: It’s Not About You

    I actually do this all the time out of paranoia. For some reason, in life I am always afraid that people will think I’m some kind of cocky jerk and that every act of kindness of mine is a charade to remain likeable. In typing that out, I realize that this is a narcissistic fear for a couple of reasons: for one, that fear involves the belief that people are so weirded out by me that they have to constantly be assessing and judging me for weakness (which is of course ridiculous) and also, this sounds like deep down I believe myself to somehow be some super-being that has to constantly try and show humility so as to not upset the mortals that I’m surrounded by. More likely though, my mind is probably just sticking to its zany contrarian ways and is filing me with further doubts that the most genuine things in my life and the nicest things I’m capable of are subconsciously calculated schemes to gain advantages over others. In reality, however, this is a great practice for anyone in any kind of interaction. Not only does taking an interest in the person with whom you are interacting make them like you more, but it also just feels better to engage someone in what they care most about. Peoples’ excitement is contagious, so why not infect another person with a little enthusiasm and share in the joy of being alive?


  30. Daily Meds #72

    Creative Word: Create Fellowship

    Seeing as today’s words would’ve likely been applied a little easier to my day as a whole as opposed to my recording, I had to really cook up some puns to pull this one off. The most difficult part was probably finding a way to incorporate the inescapable connection that my mind made between the word “fellowship” and Lord of the Rings but I ended up with something I am both slightly surprised by and oddly proud of. When digging around for Lord-of-the-Rings-related guitar tabs, I came across a very short one for the main melody of one of the movie’s most prominent and recurrent songs and I halfheartedly hatched a plan that I was initially unsure of because it involved something that I wouldn’t consider myself very experienced with at all. Firstly, I recorded a shoddy rendition of the aforementioned melody and then got to work on figuring out a rhythm line to go underneath it, which is something that I would’ve ordinarily had someone more qualified or talented than myself do. After a little while I had come up with something that I was satisfied with and thus recorded it. It was an interesting and really a pretty fun experience to try and suss out a guitar part that was not too different or similar from the lead line and it was quite satisfying to establish some fellowship between the two parts.

    Creative Experiment: Doing Nothing

    Meditation is one of the biggest things missing from my current schedule and is something that I will be very excited to get into regularly. I currently tend to only have enough time for these daily meds and some coffee-drinkery/mild procrastination while at home if I want to get out and do something with my day before dinnertime so I have been simply getting up and getting to work most days for the past few months. At the end of next week, however, when the challenge finally draws to a close, I have some oddly exciting plans to make a morning and evening meditation (as well as my formerly regular workout) a part of my daily existence once more. Life isn’t nearly as enjoyable while grappling with the nagging little wiggly panic in the back of one’s brain that there isn’t quite enough time to stop and think clearly so I’m looking very much forward to when this is not only an essential part of my day, but a regular one. Today’s experiment was a nice little preview of the disciplined calm that I hope to cultivate going forward and I am grateful to have made it a part of my day.

    Daily Dose: What You Are

    Comparison of oneself to other musicians is really only useful for a very temporary and hollow boost to one’s own self-image. Far too many of us get caught up in the fruitless game of acquiring adequacy through the comparison of oneself to those that we feel to not be as good as us. This can start off innocently enough: maybe someone gains a little confidence boost from secretly being happy to not be in the shoes of someone they know who is starting out with zero experience whatsoever. While this may just seem like an innocuous fact or observation, it doesn’t take long for this type of thinking to fester into an all-out internal competition with everyone in a person’s life, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. The simplest way to avoid this is to reverse the way of thinking that leads to such petty judgement and oneupsmanship. Rather than assessing a person as a threat or competitor to oneself, we should instead look for the potential within them to do something great. If we are not immediately ready to think of things so selflessly, it isn’t much of a stretch to at the very least consider the possible collaborations between oneself and the other person. At the very least, we should not gain any type of perceived advantage from another person’s supposed areas of weakness and should be instead inclined to help them to grow even further. As the humble genius Louis C.K. once said: “The only time you look in your neighbour’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough.”

    Daily Action: Connect – Don’t Separate

    This actually coincides very nicely with what we’ve been practicing as a band for the past few days. Ian and Jared came up with and have begun to employ the great practice of recording our jamming of covers with two microphones in the centre of the room. At first we didn’t think much of it and just thought it was kind of cool to hear what we just did, but after a few takes this began to spur us in ways that we didn’t expect. Each subsequent take saw us amping up the energy and trying to hit the same points of emphasis perfectly together. While simply running through the songs is a transient occurrence, after which people only really remember their biggest mistakes, recording them and listening back to them with all of their problems starkly laid out really pushes a band to step it up and to listen to each other in order to strengthen the entire performance as a whole


  31. Daily Meds #73

    Creative Word: Attending

    Today’s word was undoubtedly quite a challenge to conceptualize but I think I found a suitable way of conveying this word with all my BASES covered (I assure you that the preceding zinger will reveal its brilliance as this is read). As this was another word that would’ve applied a lot easier to my entire day, I had to get fairly creative in order to adequately portray the many meanings of this word. In absence of an opportunity to attend some type of unusual place at which I could attempt to create a recording with some interesting background sounds or something of that nature, I decided instead to find a song about attending an event. The best song, I decided, would be the 1908 classic “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.” My idea for how to utilize the word to change a recording involves another definition of the word. Rather than attending an event, I use the word in the sense of attending to something that needs to be done. To capture this sonically, the second recording was made while I was showering and brushing my teeth, both of which needed attending to before leaving the house today.

    Creative Experiment: Conscious Tempo

    This is a great idea and is actually one that we tried out about three or four days ago. Initially, our song was of a moderately quick tempo but still had a lot of half-time punch to it. Since reworking it with my brother, the song has shifted up about 10 bpm, adding quite a considerable amount of energy to the song and giving it an added air of intensity. It would be extremely interesting to see how the song fared at an even higher speed as I imagine it would be pretty close to bordering on unplayable if so (some guitar riffs involve some pretty precarious picking, but that’s not exactly my department). Taking the song even slower than its original speed would be pretty cool too I imagine. It would turn the song’s bouncy-ish punchiness into a full-on, brutal beatdown and would probably sound like Godzilla taking a massive step onto a bus. However, I feel that if the song were to be that slow, it would need some added dissonance in order to justify the slow-n-low vibe that it would have. The more major-sounding chords that are currently used may betray some of the booming doom that would be created by a lower tempo.

    Daily Dose: The Task is at Hand

    These are some profound truths that an unfortunate few seem to understand in the creative community. Too many believe that inspiration is transitory and always just around the corner. What they fail to realize about this though is that the opportunities that they expect are ones that will slip by in agonizing visibility unless they are prepared for beforehand. The problem here is that many lose their drive to practice and prepare due to the sheer breadth of the scope of possibilities that lay before anyone on their path. It would be impossible to perfectly prepare for every potential situation simultaneously and it is very easy to lose hope of one’s own capacity to face life when met with such frighteningly random adversity. Despite this, however, it is not a preparedness for every situation that helps in times of doubt or turmoil, but a willingness to embrace any situation. Because we cannot and should not have faith in the movements of fate, we must instead have faith in ourselves and our ability to respond to life as it comes, however that may manifest itself. In the words of the wonderful Neil deGrasse Tyson: “The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”

    Daily Action: Get Set…

    Perfect! I actually woke up with this intention very clearly in mind this morning. Yesterday, we assembled at the jam hall quite early and worked for close to eight consecutive hours. However, at the start of this session, the only thing we had in mind was simply to get together at a certain time, leaving a little too much open to interpretation. We ended up meticulously recording one of our favourite covers, driven by the fact that my brother had yet to record his sweet drum set, let alone record drums at all, so we really ran with the opportunity to practice some production proficiency with our new personnel. What we remembered at the end of the night though was that we had intended on getting together so early in hopes of writing and otherwise working on our new piece. Today, bearing all this fully in mind, we plan on hitting the space just as early but this time with the intention of continuing what has thus far been a very rewarding writing process.


  32. Daily Meds #74

    Creative Word: Argue

    Today was yet another instance of a word appearing impossible to interpret musically, only to afford me a unique opportunity to so something fun and different. After a lot of thinking and a lot of not wanting to sing that stupid “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” song, I finally hatched a plan. I decided to take some kind of sappy duet (I settled on “The Saltwater Room” by Owl City), record it normally and then rerecord it with the two vocal parts bickering back and forth instead of singing. I managed to take a sweet little song about unspoken romance and turn it into a sarcastic spat between some pretty passive-aggressive-sounding lovers and I couldn’t be happier. This was also a wonderful chance to try my hand at a little voice acting and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. This may very well actually be my favourite recording that I’ve ever turned in and I’m not sure whether I should be proud or ashamed that it is something inherently dumb and non-musical (just kidding, I’m super proud).

    Creative Experiment: One Liner

    For our current piece, I would say that the core line for me as the lyricist lies in the title’s meaning. When we first started putting this together, the feelings that some of the song’s instrumentals brought out in me immediately filled my head with a theme and even a perspective from which I could write the song. I decided that it should be written from the mind of a person who essentially leeches off of other people and their intangible qualities of potential greatness and who uses inspiring or nurturing individuals almost as temporary gods or idols, putting all of their hope and insecurity unfairly on that person before jumping to the next mysterious person who should happen to come by (hopefully that makes at least a remote amount of sense). That week, I saw the 1995 Jim Jarmusch film “Dead Man” and was randomly struck by the perfect title which came to me in the name of a character: “Exaybachay” which means “he who talks loud, saying nothing.” That simple summary of the name’s definition just added such depth to the concept I was already working with and really balanced out the narrative. The song was initially very spiteful and one-sided, being snidely written from the perspective of some rather parasitic individuals that I’ve come across in life. However, the addition of this title and its meaning brought things back down to earth a little bit. I was no longer just describing a negative behaviour that I had observed, but was now discussing a theme as a whole, expressing the quiet discomfort of the person who is being so unrealistically revered while they know that the other person is essentially using them to eventually be disappointed. Though it has been a little while since I needed to generate any more lyrical content or thematic ideas for this piece, there can really never be enough angles covered on such a vague and unexplored topic. Whenever I have gone back to turn this idea around in my head a little bit to see if I can stir up any new lines, I always focus on the feeling of being someone who “talks loud, saying nothing,” and am reminded of the full scope of this concept.

    Daily Dose: Two Voices

    For the most part, the things that I am not proud of tend to stem from laziness or a “good enough” mentality. While the embarrassing remnants of these negative behaviours may only really exist on demo tracks and in rough drafts, there are still times when they are witnessed by someone outside of our band and I find myself floundering for excuses. While reading today’s Daily Dose however, I thought to myself, “at least I don’t blame other people though. Most of the time I just get cartoonishly self-deprecating and laugh it off.” This is fundamentally untrue. What I really do is paint an unfair caricature of how much of a shithead I “used to be,” while subtly slipping in references to ways that I have since changed my habits or techniques in hopes that my current identity becomes detached from whoever made that awful recording. This is just as bad, if not worse than blaming someone else. Being so unfair to who I was not only trivializes the journey that I’ve made to get to this point, but also subconsciously props up a false belief that I am now completely superior and immune to such mediocrity. In thinking this way, I am simultaneously undermining my previous efforts while suspending my progress in my own mind, keeping me trapped in a state of silent shame with no forward progression. In order to own my mistakes, I need to be confident in the things I am doing right now that make be better than the person who made them in the first place, and I honestly this hasn’t been the case for the last while. I am still dissatisfied with the effort that I currently put forth to grow and to better myself but I know that this will propel me to where I need to be. I’ve come to accept that I’m the kind of person who secretly needs something to push back against in order to thrive and what better opponent is there than my former self?

    Daily Action: Listen to the Right Voice

    This should come fairly effortlessly tonight as far as I can tell. The last few days have seen some nice, progressive improvements amongst our band members as individuals as well as for our unit as a collective. Our momentum just keeps on ramping itself up slightly day by day it seems, being both created and compelled forth by our saying “yes” to everything that comes our way. I can’t wait to see what tonight holds, let alone the coming weeks and months.


  33. Creative Word: Storage

    By the way, I’m feverishly writing this before work because there won’t be any time in between my shift and class to get this done so things may be a little more brief than usual. Today’s word was one that was fairly difficult to devise a lot of interpretations for so I went with the most readily available (I would’ve probably tried storing a bunch of stuff in my guitar but I didn’t want to risk any crappy sounds or string breakages in this tight timeframe). I ended up playing Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box,” which is a song about the storage of a person within a metaphorical box, once normally in my room and then once again in my mom’s closet, which is a room of pure storage. The dampened sound of the closet really deadens the sound and brings out all the weirdnesses of my phone’s microphone.

    Creative Experiment: A Quiet Place

    While I won’t have an opportunity to do this until after work, I will actually have a pretty decent chance to do exactly this in between work and school tonight. The jam hall is most often empty before class and will be a great place to make just about anything given the widely varied array of equipment that we have available. Today I even feel like creating in a way that has been very highly recommended but that I have never tried due to my lack of faith in myself as an instrumentalist. I’m going to sit there with a guitar or bass (most likely a bass), hit record and just jam and see what happens. I will then go through what I’ve recorded and find interesting segments, maybe even assembling little samples into their own song. This will be a great way to come up with something potentially unique without the pressure of “thinking” something into existence.

    Daily Dose: The Past is the Model

    There certainly is a strange tie that I’ve noticed between creativity and morality. Truly following one’s creative spirit only really allows for a few types of ethical thinking and they all seem to be fairly positive from what I can tell. Giving oneself to something greater and committing to a path of inherent vulnerability, openness and acceptance really brings out a person’s humility whether they notice it or not. In allowing ourselves to be vessels for messages of deep human connection, we are essentially taking the offered hand of the universe and are confirming our willingness to participate in the progression and betterment of our species, whether we realize it or not.

    Daily Action: My Influences

    Off the top of my head, the biggest influence in my life over the past few years has definitely been Frank Zappa. The man was an indisputable musical, comedic and political genius and lived that way right up until his untimely death. He wrote thousands of hours of mind-bendingly complex music by frigging hand, he wrote hilarious lyrics with deeply-disguised social commentary behind every strange word choice, he never gave a damn about what anyone thought of him and he did all of this for nearly four decades while totally sober. More than anything, I admire his total disregard for peoples’ perceptions of him and his work. He did exactly what he wanted with the utmost of confidence and was totally successful because he never thought twice. He just went for it and I greatly admire that kind of passion.

    Another of my biggest influences is undoubtedly Elliott Smith. Ever since I discovered his beautifully somber music at around the age of 13 (the PERFECT age for maximum impact, in retrospect) I’ve always strove to hone my craft to the point that he did. While many of his songs would sound simple enough on the surface, attempting to learn them on guitar would usually result in the memorization of long and varied fifteen-chord progressions and would require the learning of usually three or four totally unheard of chords. Due in part to his masterful piano skills, he was a highly skilled composer and would arrange big multi-instrumental versions of his songs, playing all of the instruments himself. The thing that struck me most about Elliott however was his ability to write through very deeply touching and rich metaphors peppered with perfect instances of brutal honesty. His work always conveyed a sense of intimacy in all its harsh and sometimes uncomfortable beauty but it never felt forced or contrived. If anything, he always leaves the listener thinking something along the lines of, “he didn’t have to share that, but I’m glad he did.”

    Lastly, another huge influence of mine is Mike Patton (as I’ve written about in the past). Patton is another extremely prolific, insane and strangely sober artist whose music has had a strong impact on the way I perceive creativity. The level of inventiveness that goes into even one of his pieces is brain-melting, and even more so when you consider how many bands and projects he’s been a part of over the years. Because of my exposure to this man’s labour of lunacy, I now aspire to be the kind of person who creates compulsively. A glance at his discography reveals an album or collaboration almost every year, sometimes even two or three. Along with his amazing voice work in video games and his work on various film soundtracks, Mike Patton leads the ideal artistic life, absolutely pouring himself into his music and other creative works.


  34. Daily Meds #76

    Creative Word: Incomplete

    So today’s recording is presented backward in a sense but this makes for a much more effective representation of this word. Rather than recording something and then having the word of the day affect its second iteration, I have the first recording sounding “incomplete” and then the second making it complete. I kicked this word around for quite a while today before finding a suitable musical piece that relies on all of its parts to sound complete and when I finally found one, it quickly turned into a pretty ambitious undertaking for someone of my current skill level. As one who is fairly inept when it comes to harmonies, I figured it would be fun to try out the Beach Boys classic “Barbara Ann,” and this was of course a very grueling and time-consuming process. After nearly three hours of good times, I wound up with the track you see before you. While it is certainly not the most in-tune piece of music ever recorded, it sure kicks the hell out of the first few drafts that I almost turned in out of desperation and I’m relatively proud of how it turned out considering how horrendously things were going for so long.

    Creative Experiment: Begin Again

    This is actually essentially what has been happening over the past two days and it has truly been the most invigorating thing to happen with our band in years. In a span of less than 24 hours, our old-ish song “Exaybachay” that I wrote about a few days ago has been entirely rewritten and overhauled and is now a complete song with a structure that differs entirely from its original incarnation. At first this was actually rather difficult to process emotionally as I personally liked about 65% of the old version, but the farther that things progressed, the more I was able to let go and allow the song to flow forward in its newly charted direction. I imagine that Ian and Jared had a similar internal struggle for at least a short period of time as the three of us had all sort of hashed this one out on our own and were decently proud of a lot of what we had done. The changes were very much driven by my brother and his refreshing outside perspective and so the excitingness of this new collaborative setup eventually overshadowed our apprehensions and helped push us to explore the song from a new angle. The result is something infinitely more “together” sounding than before and is already my favourite of our songs. By about 11:00 last night, we had worked out and recorded most of a rough demo of Exaybachay’s new form and I couldn’t be more satisfied and exhilarated to head back to the space tonight and to keep working.

    Daily Dose: Don’t Wait

    For far too long, I have been shamefully content with listless averageness and self-victimization. Actually, as of the last few weeks I am beginning to actively attempt to reverse this, which I have found to be an extremely empowering act. Ever since the beginning of our drummerless rut, I had essentially been in spiritual stasis, living in semi-intentional ignorance of my own lack of motivation. Our drummer’s disappearance also happened to coincide with the Great Up-Breaking of legend, tearing my attention between these two very troubling and seemingly hopeless situations to the point that I felt powerless to affect anything in my life, let alone these two former pillars of importance. For a shamefully long period of time, I haven’t been practicing or otherwise putting nearly enough effort into the things that I cherish in life and have been just dealing with my consequent crappiness, avoiding any recollection of how easy things used to be when I cared. It’s been nearly two years since I began my dazed descent into apathy but it would seem that I’ve finally had enough of my own bullshit and am finally whipping my life back into shape. Both of these rather soul-crushing occurrences were things that I couldn’t seem to influence and would thus constantly dwell on, hoping that they would reverse themselves or at the very least begin to resolve. What I have come to realize and accept over the past several months is that the solution to the various unchangeable situations in life that gnaw at my mind is to be found within. If I have no means of making something “right,” I have found that the best course of action is to work toward accepting things as they are and reestablishing my place amongst them. In surrendering to my feelings of powerlessness, I was really admitting that I was not willing to adapt to the way things were. In being complacent with my inability to cope, I was allowing myself to wallow in a state of mind that I knew to be harmful to all areas of my life. Tying in nicely with today’s recording, as Brian Wilson once said: “Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; lick it once and you’ll suck forever.”

    Daily Action: Don’t Wait for Trouble

    Excellent, I’ve been doing this all day! The past few weeks have been a steady ascent toward the way that life should be. Though it has come through some difficult admittances and some slow transitions, I believe that I am finally ready to take control and to stop letting things suck so bad. Not only do we now have our first complete song in years, but this Friday is my birthday and also happens to be my first day without any daily work to complete. While the end of a long period of steadily hard work would ordinarily result in a massive session of indulgence and intoxication, I see this upcoming relative freedom as an opportunity to keep on growing and doing even better. In fact, I’ve been completely sober for almost a whole week now and it’s honestly never been this fun or easy. Before, being drunk or high always had a “might as well” sort of connotation attached to it, but in recent honesty with myself, I have admitted that these were merely ways of staying complacent with my own mediocrity or lack of fulfillment. In my newly-bolstered confidence, I can’t even imagine how I ever valued anything less than the satisfaction that comes with giving everything I have to my passion, and who knows, maybe I didn’t. What I know for sure, though, is that I am now all-too conscious of what life can be like if I put in the amount of effort that I know it deserves. Everything is going exactly the way that I’d hoped it would if I truly invested myself and I couldn’t be more excited to once again be living with all of my heart.


      • Thank you very much! As much as I’d like to reshoot my video for today, I just got out of the shower and was just about to post my meds so I can head to the Boathouse to see my uncle perform (I’m actually running pretty late and my brother seems about ready to slug me). Though I don’t discuss the other sections of today’s meds, today’s video happens to be my longest ever so at least there’s a bit more content there than usual. I’m really sorry, I hate to not quite do what’s desired on my last day and all and I really wish I had time to pull it off 😦


      • Adam could you do a write up on your over all experience working the daily meds? And then do a video as well. Be as honest about your experience as possible. This will be for others to read and learn from as well as myself to improve the meds for the next students to go through. I am super proud of you for sticking through the 100 days! It’s a big deal to complete something like that plus now you can say you have done over a 100 recordings!


      • Yeah for sure, I’d be happy to help! I can get it in for tomorrow’s class if that works for you. Thank you very much though, I am highly honoured to have been a part of this and am grateful for the opportunity to have done something so simultaneously challenging and rewarding.


  35. Daily Meds #77

    Creative Word: Humble

    For today’s recording, I really wanted to do something that fit both with today’s word and the fact that this is the hundredth day, and despite this turning out to be a pretty tall order, I believe I’ve done something that suitably represents both of these themes. I knew I wanted to record a song in full to the best of my ability and then to record it again on my phone in the echoey room that neighbours mine, just as I did in my humble beginnings, but choosing the song itself proved tricky. Eventually, I settled on “The Man In Me” by Bob Dylan as this song not only conveys feelings of humility but is also used twice in my favourite movie, The Big Lebowski, which happens to be a movie about the humblest of men, The Dude. The first recording is done to a click and is recorded on two tracks (one vocal and one guitar), both of which have somewhat of a “professional” sounding (this is certainly arguable), not-too-intrusive reverb on them. The second recording was made on my phone in my step dad’s office which is where I made many of my early recordings due to its sweet natural reverb. For the second recording, I placed my phone so that its mic was facing the wall that seemed most reflective and let it record for nearly fifteen minutes worth of takes. Though there were ones that were definitely better executed than the one that I used, I chose the one that you hear below because it most accurately reflects today’s word. In it, you can hear my brother come home near the halfway point which audibly distracts me and throws me off for a little bit, but part of being humble is admitting and embracing the so-called imperfections inherent in the nature of life.

    Creative Experiment: Purposeful Writing

    This experiment actually comes at a very useful point in my life. Seeing as this is my final entry, I had begun to quietly worry about whether or not I would be able to maintain the highly positive trajectory that I am currently on without the discipline required to complete these every day. I have also begun to fear our first creative rut as a band and how we will deal with it. While I am currently the most inspired that I’ve been since the rough formation of this group three years ago, I think this trick could be very beneficial to us if we should find ourselves losing our way a little bit. We had a tendency for far too long of being apprehensive to even verbally confront the things that hold us back, let alone to lay them out visibly in front of us. I think that in looking at our problems in honest, direct words instead of thinking of them in intimidatingly cloudy concepts, we are much more likely to not only take action against them, but to not even allow them to affect us spiritually.

    Daily Dose: Vulnerable

    Much earlier in life, I can admit that I developed a sense of humility initially to reduce possible negative perceptions of my character. Once I was old enough to grasp such concepts, I actually became slightly paranoid about being seen as selfish or dismissive and would very consciously try and act as oppositely to these behaviours as possible. I believe that this nervous reaction arose because I simply wasn’t aware that I could unknowingly be upsetting people through my demeanour. Though this is a much more serious example, it’s almost like how kids don’t really acknowledge race until someone says, “hey, make sure you’re not treating people of different races differently,” which of course then makes a kid try really hard to not treat them differently, thereby inadvertently forcing them to do so (though a quick Googling reveals my naivety about this extremely complex issue so maybe that’s not the greatest example). Eventually, however, treating others with compassion just sort of becomes a natural part of a person’s character (hopefully). Those who are truly humble embrace the often uncomfortable idiosyncrasies that come with such an attitude and grow to enjoy relating to people on that deeper level. Being forthright with one’s vulnerability has a way of breaking down barriers between individuals, allowing two former strangers to connect through their mutual lack of certainty about life in general. This vulnerability is also a vital part of what allows an artist to create with sincerity. Through acceptance and humility, we show that we do not think ourselves to be superior to the ways of the universe and in admitting this, we allow ourselves to be open to whatever may engage us.

    Daily Action: Open Co-operation

    This should come rather easily I think, based on how wonderfully things have been going recently. Since we have just completed our first full song as a newly-established band, we are in the process of obsessively practicing it and really trying to nail the the little bits that give the song its flavour. In doing this, we have been really honing our individual performances as well as our overall cohesion as a band and this has been a very satisfying experience. After about ten playthroughs, we all seemed to stop listening to ourselves and began instead to listen to each other. In practicing our overall tightness as a band, we have really been surprising ourselves with how quickly things are beginning to sound not only adequate and presentable, but (dare I say it) downright “good.” Things just seem to be moving with such momentum and we seem to get closer and closer as both musicians and people every day. I think we have finally tapped into the mindset and work ethic that we’ve always needed to push things to the degree that we desire and the future has never looked so bright. Who would’ve thought that buckling down and giving a damn would pay off so beautifully.


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