46. You Got Talent

I was watching this program Belgium’s Got talent on TV last week and realized so many people have great talents in… you know, whatever. Dancing, singing, swinging stuff in the air, magic tricks, spoken poetry, comedy, …you name it…

It’s always such an uplifting feeling so see this happening in front of our eyes, when it works and really resonates, when the audience cheers and the jury is stoked.

It’s like we’re almost surprised and amazed by the presense of all these talents of the human kind, while it’s all in there waiting to reveal and if our mind is truly open and ready, we finally can treasure it. What are we waiting for?

The candidates are so diverse.

No questions are asked.

No white, black, race, religion, age, sex, political preference, gay, straight, …whatever…

Just… ordinary people. A magnificent and colorful collection of weird people showing their talents on a stage in front of 2000 men and women.

Life can be so simple.

And beautiful if we forget all the nonsense and things that really do not matter.

Till next,

Stevil

45. Update N°5

Painting the rooms…

On the program for the next coming weeks:

  • installation of two doors entrance
  • installation of the floor
  • some more painting – adding color

Till next,

Stevil

 

44. The Wizard Of Words

I believe the very first song I ever heard from Leonard Cohen was Avalanche from the album Songs Of Love And Hate. This song begins with the following words:

Well I stepped into an avalanche

It covered up my soul

With just two sentences he grabs you by the balls and takes you on a journey filled with compelling lyrics and imagery landscapes.

The strings fade in and out gently while his voice acts like the conductor of the song.

Leonard Cohen is a true wizard who could put a spell on you with his words: You’ll have to shut up, sit down and listen.

I had no choice… I surrendered.

No more stories of Suzanne.

No more paying rent in the Tower Of Song.

No more Hallelujah.

So long, Mr. Cohen!

Till next,

Stevil

______________________________________________________

You want it darker…Hineni…I’m ready my Lord.

43. Parallel Worlds

Can you imagine a boxing match without a referee?

That’s gonna be quite a show.

But rules bring structure in the real world.

In art we only need one rule: There are no rules.

And the internet can use some rules too. Or do we rather let the corporations set out the rules? They sure love negotiating with governments because they know governments have their hands full with the real world.

The White House understands this very well. Pretty handy when you need data from people they wanna keep an eye on, isn’t?

You give me the information I need and you can have some deregulation in return? I guess all these satellites in space aren’t enough to give the information governments need. You realize that Google Earth can’t work without the help of governance.

But what’s the deal here? What’s the cost and is it in balance? Is this funded by Tax money?

Or why not fire the persons who are trying to protect the copyrights for all musicians so it’s easier (or cheaper) to license music or videos on the internet?

Fortunately some people in The Congress have some genius solutions for us like, go on the road and sell some T-Shirts.

But when you talk about YouTube (yes, Google) and terrorists posting their propaganda videos to recruit lost souls to blow themselves up… We’re so lucky terrorists do not show us their tits. This would be blocked in a flash. That’s maybe two tits too far of course.

Google. It’s a genius application and they know it. But this giant genius needs some kind of control too before it gets out of touch with this world.

It’s so easy to lock out Google and Fakebook from the real world: You just log out. It only takes us a few clicks to exit. They’ll do everything to infiltrate their ideas to get more grip in this world, the real world.

It doesn’t matter in what world we’re in. We’re surrounded by obsessed people who are trying to push their own agenda.

David Bowie knew this all along:

Make the best of every moment. We’re not evolving. We’re not going anywhere.

(interview Esquire, 2004)

Till next,

Stevil

42. The Dream Factory

I worked a few times in a factory and I really hated it. You feel yourself dying inside while you’re producing products in rhythm of the machines.

When I hear a politician say: Jobs, jobs , jobs…! I think about those times in the factory and I wonder: Really???

I rather have robots, robots, robots…! Let the robots do this shitty work and let’s build a system to get rid of this industrial nightmare once and for all.

And let people do good work instead, whatever they want, what they love doing, creating, making, producing, writing, helping, discussing, telling, teaching, repairing, nursing, …

I’m sure we can make factories more dynamic and more profitable due to the robots. But the profits need to be accessible for every citizen who wants to invest in these factories. He/she can be a shareholder who can claim a fair share of the profits. He/she can contribute and improve the process.

The funny thing is, this system already exists (sort of) in the NBA. How cool is this: when a famous basketball player, like for instance Michael Jordan, sold millions of merchandising, all profits were divided equally among all NBA players. This proves it is possible to install a fair share system within a capitalistic environment. Did we forget it’s not about the game…because it is just… a game?

Why do we even comply with crappy factory jobs in the first place? We have no issues for inventing complex tax constructions to save these industrial nightmares from extermination and keep blocking our dreams because we’re afraid these factories will move to a destination abroad.

 

If we make these factories far more profitable, there’s no reason for them to leave. That’s what we think and believe. But the opposite is happening. So we please them even more with huge tax cuts and make this slavery work as cheap as possible. It’s an endless race to the bottom. When and where are we gonna stop participating in the problem? Let me guess: when the state get less in return from all the tax cuts? My next question would be: Where are we now?

We don’t need more jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s a no-go anyway when automation will jump in warp speed in the coming years.

Who’s dreaming now…?

There used to be a TV show called De Droomfabriek (The Dream Factory) in ’90’sAny kid could reveal his of her dream. This was a factory where dreams came true. We have similar charity constructions for people who are in the stage of terminal illness. I guess we need to put a gun against our head to get us go out chasing our dreams.

When did we adults stop dreaming?

We need more Dream Factories!

I’m pretty sure most people who read this will believe I’m dreaming. I can’t blame you. We’ve been told this from day one: you’ll need to get a job. Stop dreaming, this is real life.

Is it?

When you stop dreaming, you’re giving up. You’re OK with the status quo. I say: Fuck that.

I was drenched by doubts in the last couple weeks. What the hell am I doing and when is this finally going to end? I now realize why I’m writing this article: To remind myself I’m building my own Dream Factory.

To me, this recording studio can be a Dream Factory. People actually have the possibility to enjoy being in there. To work and create music so other people can be able to enjoy art too. We don’t mind working in the studio for 12 hours/day if needed. I know… we are sooo lazy.

Till next,

Stevil

41. Struggle Guitar

Even after more then 20 years I’m still struggling to play decently the guitar. But I don’t practice enough. Let’s hope at least this will change in the future when I’m done building the studio.

And I also wanted to play drums. But we had no place to stack a drum set in my bedroom. So I bought me an acoustic guitar that quickly was swapped for an electric guitar plus amp. But first I learned the basic chords in the first three months on my acoustic guitar because someone, I can’t remember who, bought me a Nirvana songbook. You all know Nirvana Unplugged in NY, right? That book is perfect to learn guitar. It was summer in 1995 and I was 17 years old.

John Morand from The Sound Of Music Studio (Richmond, VA) always joked about the joy of recording guitars with me. Somehow our conversations went from Bruce Spingsteen to Struggle Rock when we were tracking guitars in the studio. Humor helps to ease the pain from struggling guitars into a tiny less bit of pain from struggling guitars.

When I see a Metal guitar player shredding another riff with the speed of light, I’m always like…damn! I can’t move my fingers that fast and I probably never will.

Seriously, we have some kind of muscle disease in our hands and fingers going on in our family. My father and my grandfather have it. So, I know some day, I probably won’t be able to struggle the guitar no more. Maybe that will be my salvation from the struggle guitar…or who knows, my bush will shake…some day.

Till next,

Stevil

40. Eliterature

Bob Dylan wins the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature.

I was positively surprised and I wasn’t the only one so to speak. The biggest surprise in this week’s hot topic were all the responses from authors around the world.

In a dream I was writing his acceptance speech:

To all authors and writers living on this big blue ball, you know, I feel your pain. I really do. You’ve lost from a songwriter… and then Bob looks up and smiles.

 

I’ve never witnessed this kind of elitish hogwash en masse in a long time. How ironic. Dylan and the elites, always a match made in heaven.

Maybe these authors should write a novel about it: The reason why I did not win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Might be a bestseller.

Are there more appropriate prizes to hand out to artists like Bob Dylan? Ofcourse there are and his list is still growing. Maybe they’ll choose Leonard Cohen next time. Deal?

But the belittling of this phenomenon was the final drop for me.

If I ever reach the level of one of his toenails, I’ll die a happy man.

Let’s face it, 95% of the authors/writers on this planet can’t even come close achieving the impact on society like Dylan’s songs did and still do.

I now understand the greatest achievement possible for an artist: Impact.

Dylan wrote this in 1963:

Come writers and criticsWho prophesize with your penAnd keep your eyes wideThe chance won’t come againAnd don’t speak too soonFor the wheel’s still in spinAnd there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’For the loser now will be later to winFor the times they are a-changin’

Can’t we just celebrate this great artist while he’s still with us, for fuck’s sake!

Till next,

Stevil

39. Music Is My religion

Although I’m an Atheist, I believe in the power of Music.

But isn’t Atheism a religion too?

In some ways, Music or Sports are religions too.

In Music, there’s no book or script that’s telling musicians how to create Music. Unless you’re a musician playing classical scores. It was Bach and Beethoven among others who challenged the rules and wrote the music on paper so musicians could replay their musical experiments.

Basically there’s only one rule in Music: there are NO rules.

Like many religions, Music may appear in many different interpretations. We call it a Remix or a Mash-up.

I don’t see any intension to turn people into violence when I go out to a concert.

Maybe it’s because Music does exactly the opposite of what traditional religions are capable of: it opens your mind to form your personal opinion.

Music and religion can give people that comfort they’ll need in difficult times.

In Music, no gods for you to depend on. Unless you’re a Justin Bieber fan.

No book to tell you what to do or to think. By the way, ain’t it time that the institutions rewrite their holy books?

Music evolves in such a fast tempo in the last decades while traditional religions tend to embrace the past and or even forbid any modern progression.

From Daesh in The East to the lunatic Christians in  the USA and from the lost souls in Europe to the recruiters of child soldiers in Africa, all these people forgot one very simple basic idea:

Thou shall not kill.

Music let people come together and in a way, a venue, club or theatre is the Mosque or Church for all Music lovers.

In the end, considering all the differences and similarities, I have chosen for Music a long time ago. It gave me all the freedom, comfort and spiritual experience I find valuable in life.

I hope you’ll find your religion or passion too.

Till next,

Stevil

38. Day 610

Exact today: 610 days.

Goddamn, no summer party this year, I guess.

What are goals for? To get the most out of it, go to the max and hope for the best.

I’ve learned this: you can make a plan and schedule and if you’re lucky, you’ll make it. But most of the times, I didn’t. You can’t control it. You get sick, you’ll loose a day or evening. You had a rough week at work, just plant yourself in the couch and you’re fucked. Some bad luck with the taxman, you can make that appointment at the bank, etc…

Excuses? I don’t know. Maybe. I’m not a machine or a robot, that’s for sure.

I’ve hit that famous wall a few months ago. Big time. You don’t know what it is, until it it hits you right in your face. I stood up in the morning, completely overworked, slightly sick and had almost no sleep that night. I was a sinking ship, a wreck on the bottom of the ocean.

I’ve also learned to listen better to my body. Enough is enough, fuck the schedule. Rest. Well, three days later, the ship set sail to the next destination…

Till next,

Stevil

37. Analog Or Digital?

You know what?

Who cares?!?

Really, I’ve had it with these dumb ass discussions about it’s not analog so it’s shit . Really… get a life.

It’s all unique in it’s own way, flavor, color, smell, taste, sound…

What’s the beauty of digital instruments? For instance, a Roland TR-09 makes a nice Roland TR-909 drum machine available and affordable for everyone, not only the rich kids, superstars, pro’s and collectors who can purchase 3500 dollars instruments sitting there in their closet for 300 days a year and doing absolutely nothing. It’s a good investment. Well, good for you.

And do we really want to make the digital version the same as the analog one? Why? What’s the point, anyway? I’d rather have two different options. And more important, I prefer the one I can afford.

The analog lovers hear and glorify these great drum machines on their favorite records. They forget that these instruments passed about 50,000 dollars worth of gear before this sound got immortalized.

Any musical instrument, analog or digital, is a tool to create music. Stop bitching and buy the tools you can afford and make us pride listeners.

Till next,

Stevil

36. Spotify vs Tidal

There was a royalty chart I came across on Facebook a few months ago that made me to do the switch from Spotify to Tidal. I mean, there are many calculations on the net and most of them are estimations from receiving royalty notes. But Tidal is always on top, meaning paying the artist the highest royalty per stream. Since this is still the most problematic issue for audio streaming, and from where I’m standing, this is vital information to decide which audio streaming service suits best for me.

Anyway, I signed in for Tidal. You’ll start with one month for free on Tidal while you can run Spotify for free having sort of a limited access and lots of annoying ads interrupting in between songs. On the contrary to Tidal, no ads are running at all, not even in the free trial month. It makes the listening experience so much more pleasant.

Why won’t Spotify ditch the free unlimited trial period? Are they making a lot of money from ads?

Don’t get me wrong here. I believe in the free tier… for a limited period of time. Maybe one month is even too short. What’s the goal of the free tier in the first place? To convince and persuade people to pay for this service. But you need more then one month to try out this great service. You’ll need a certain amount of time learning and discovering all the great stuff you can do with this service, realizing you will miss the whole experience after the free tier is ended.

Why not let the Artist/Band decide how long this free trial period may last? Or at least have a debate here… In the end, they’re paying to make use of the audio streaming platform. They’re the customer and it’s their content. Like I said before: no music, no streaming, no business…

You know, the advertisement on Spotify is like Digital TV nowadays. You’re watching a movie or sitcom on TV and you’ll get every 15 minutes these stupid ads printed on your retinas all evening.

Let’s not even mention all the TV channels we don’t even watch (but pay for), adding to our national TV stations we already pay for… by paying our taxes every month. And you’ll have to excuse me, but I don’t speak Polish, Turkish, Spanish, Italian or… (although hearing Schwarzenegger’s haste la vista in German is great comedy).

And the program for the evening is pretty much fixed, unless you book (yes, you pay again) your favorite movie that night. If this movie is even available in the playlist (nope…). Or maybe pay the extra cash for Netflix?

But nobody minds to pay at least 25 EUR/month (Telenet) for this superb service. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

Back to the subject. A defining feature on Tidal is ofcourse the Hi-Fi option (not available on Spotify). No more excuses about poor audio quality streaming. And this for the price for one (1) CD! That’s amazing: CD quality wherever and when you want without dragging huge stacks of CD’s or the need for importing your CD collection into iTunes for your beloved iPod.

And if we talk about functionality, I (personally) like Tidal better. Spotify might have a better design, but that won’t make my listening experience sounding better, isn’t?

You like social media? No problem. Recently Tidal added the feature (Social) to connect with Twitter and Facebook on the Artist page, connecting you directly to the Artist on social media.

Yes indeed, Tidal is definitely my favorite audio streaming station for now.

Till next,

Stevil

(Side note: There’s a lot of discussion if audio streaming is killing piracy or not. If you have a look at the data, …apparently, it’s not.)

35. Update N°4

Holidays are over. Back to work!

The first layer of Gyproc/Knauf Joint Filler is almost finished.

So the next step will be a layer of Finisher on all walls and ceilings. Then we can start to scrub this layer to get the walls and ceilings ready for at least two layers of paint.

Another important task to do is to close all gaps and holes between walls and floor with Soudal Flexi Foam isolation:

Closing all the holes in walls and ceilings:

And also filling all the gaps in the OSB floor:

Till next,

Stevil

34. Clean Up Your Shit

The lady of the house sended me this video about Bea Johnson’s TED talk.

Now that’s a pretty clear hint to let you know: clean up yer shit boy! How subtle.

Ok, lets’ give it a try. I attacked my clothing closet and ended up with 2 bags full of clothes.

I was surprised about the result. So much stuff to wear. Ridiculous.

Than I cleaned up the barn which was stacked with Gyproc and OSB plates, isolation, plastic bags,… Almost two years of construction debris. There goes Saturday…

That reminds me, when I’ll be recording again, I need to stop recording too many takes for a single track. Let’s go for the best take, one great take and that’s it. Maybe for the vocals one extra take but that should be fine. Like we’re recording with a tape machine, but now with the benefit of digital technology like Pro Tools. No more making choices when we’re starting to mix the song. Faders up and off we go!

Till next,

Stevil

33. The Fashion Police

When we walk around in a zoo, people can be so intrigued and amazed by all the different animals living on this planet, so different in race, shape and colors.

But when people see different people, strange people from a different race and color, we are scared to communicate and hide ourselves behind pointless remarks and shortsighted opinions.

I was into Grunge in the ’90’s so I wore pants which we’re ripped of at the knees and had my hair like I just woke up. I still do. This might be a statement.

When a Punk rocker wears a leather jacket and have his or her hair all up…they might make a statement.

When the Metal rockers have tattoo’s and piercing on their body…they might make a statement.

When a Rapper wears his hat and or bandana, loose T-shirt plus a overload of jewelry…he or she might make a statement.

When the fashion designer chooses skinny models to represent his/her clothes…he/she might make a statement.

When muslims wear a hijab and nuns wear a veil…they might make a statement.

The fashion police has no interest in solving problems. They only judge.

Let’s try to stop judging people because of their clothes, haircut, tattoos, piercings, race, …

We could criticize people because of what they say, the way they think and act and get the real dialogue starting.

Till next,

Stevil

______________________________________________________

“We’re all just walking each other home.”
(Ram Dass)

32. Iggy Pop And You

So even Iggy Pop can’t live from making and performing music these days. Check out his keynote on the BBC here.

Sure, he’s got his legacy which keeps him going. But  without this kind of album discography, like any new developing artist or band…oops!

A little experiment you can do: Turn off the music for one day.

When you’re in your car, turn off the radio.

When you’re at work, turn off the radio and enjoy the angry faces all around you.

When you’re in a store and there’s music playing, leave the store. Good luck finding one where no music is playing.

When you’re at home, turn off the radio, tablet, smartphone,TV, …

Do not go out and stay home.

No concerts or summer festivals for you.

Enjoy the silence.

In economics there’s a rule to follow: supply and demand.

There’s no problem in supply or demand for music these days.

Some might say there’s maybe even too much music available nowadays. Too much music…is that even possible?

That’s maybe why radio is still popular and relevant: they’re key function is to filter out the good stuff from the bad stuff (or also: doesn’t match they’re format). People might need this filter to get that first good selection from all the music that is released every single day. Many people don’t have time to search and dig in deep for new great music (remember Pokemon…busy times!) or this might be just another glorious glimpse of modern laziness.

Altogether, I guess it’s true what they say: We only notice the beautiful when it’s gone.

Till next,

Stevil

31. A Voice That Speaks

My daughter (9) asked me if I wanted to register her for The Voice Kids contest. I was …euh… surprised.

Okay…well, hmmm, yeah…! What I really was thinking was this: I don’t know!! Really??? Okay then!

You all know that TV-show, don’t you? It’s a pretty fake event but the first round I find interesting. Well, sort of. The first moment you hear that yet untouched voice, can sometimes be, on rare occasions, surprising or even compelling. Let’s be honest here, the rest of the show is completely bollocks. I know what you mean, it’s show business, right? But still, we’re working here with kids…

What voice makes my brains boil and go in overdrive?

Undoubtedly Frank Black from The Pixies. He’s a master in transforming emotion into erupting vocal volcanoes. From the exploding Tame to an almost relaxing Wave Of Modulation to the fucked up I’ve got a broken face…aha…aha…oooh! Not a perfect voice at all, but in pitch and sounding absolutely cool. Well, let’s admit it, if you already saw The Pixies live, he’s Mister Cool.

Or Beck Hansen maybe? From a freaky Devils Haircut to the easy listening of Lost Cause to the funky Debra. Again, not a voice that is perfect but it can resonate my achy break heart (daft!) in an inexplicable way.

It’s like these singers are painting kaleidoscope soundscapes with this single voice, an instrument that happens to be very, very flexible.

And some singers have just one killer voice that is unique.

Either way, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Kurt Cobain, PJ Harvey, John Lennon, Marvin Gay, Freddie Mercury, Nina Simone, Patti Smith, Neil Young, David Bowie, Björk, Michael Jackson, Shirley Bassey, Bono, Jim Morrison, Elvis, Adele, Prince, James Brown, … you name it. They all got one quality in common: a voice that speaks.

Till next,

Stevil

30. Rock Hard Times Part 2

The sequel is always crap!

No really, the other fact this report releases is that the era of CD is over and OUT. A decline of 9% in just 6 months time. You know, if your business has a fall of that amount, you know you’re in deep shit if you ain’t got a plan B. And thanks to Adele’s album ’25’, this number makes it even more doubtful and tragical.

Digital downloads are even worse and that’s probably got to do with the ‘success’ of streaming.

And Vinyl is still ‘growing’. But just have a look at the number one David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’. It almost sounds like a mix of comedy and Spinal Tap when you’re cracking a bottle of Whiskey: 33.720 copies sold!

What a blooming business, this Music Industry.

It pretty much looks like an abandoned city like Detroit where cars have no wheels anymore, just a forgotten dent in history. A museum stuffed with good old memories. And memories will not pay our bills.

So a lot of people are listening or ‘consuming’ music, but a small group of people is actually paying. Why? Because…they can. Sounds like a solid business plan!

Or is all the money shifted to live performance?

You’re a songwriter? You’re fucked. So who’s gonna write the good songs now?

There’s more music then ever before. The barrier to produce music is lower and cheaper then ever before.

Truly weird times to be part of this musical journey…

Till next,

Stevil

29. Rock Hard Times

If you would read this report about the consumption of music in the first half year of 2016 in the USA, you can conclude Rock is pretty much dead.

Or another conclusion could be that Rock ain’t mainstream anymore. We had the 90’s where Grunge and all Nirvana’s opened the doors to the bank and even fashion. Still today, you can buy pants with ripped off parts, sold as is. I didn’t need to do the cutting, it just rips off there at my knees. It just does and I still don’t know why or how.

Is it because of the standard of life just got better we have less worries, less anger to embrace Rock’n’Roll to guide us out of this society we sometimes like to escape from so much?

No, we’re OK: we got Pokemon. We’re so lucky.

If I gave you subjects like Trump, Erdogan, or all really fucked-and-blow-up kids out there, all politicians who love to smack some more oil into the fire but fail to represent any solution, mainstream media in love with the rush of sensation to tell you the number of all lost souls…

…would you be able to wake up your Rock or Punk demons again and write a killer rock song for me?

There’s still enough bad shit on this planet to write about.

And beautiful things. That’s what’s Pop music is all about.

Just write me a killer Rock song, boys and girls, because I need it so badly!

Rock on,

Stevil

28. Holidays Are Here

I had to take a break for a week. A lot of work is done in the last weeks at home but now it’s time for holidays, sunshine, music and a good glass of wine and…

Recharge the batteries, they say. It was time to stop the working. I was going in overdrive and had enough of it. I was done. Stop the train.

I also have to change plans because the money is running out. I’ll be happy if I get the walls ready and painted before I go on holidays in a few weeks. The installation of the three doors is planned for October. The doors need extra coatings on all sides first for better sound isolation.

The overall plan is to get the Recording Room ready so I can stack my guitar stuff, drums and piano’s in there. At least I can turn that amp too loud and shred some epic riffs again!

From there on I can proceed to finish the Control Room which needs a custom made desk, a window, electricity, connection of all patch cables, interior stuff like a couch and book shelfs hanging on the wall and many more…

We’ll see how far we get. At this moment I can’t worry about it because holidays are here!

Till next,

Stevil

27. A Team That Works

And now: EC Football!

Wales – Belgium: 3 – 1

Now that was a demonstration of a strong, connected team versus a team of talented players.

Wales, a team that exactly knew what to do, a team with a clear plan. Like a sly fox, the Welsh killed their pray ruthlessly in a full house stadium.

After the game, the lack of team spirit in the Belgian camp was completely to grab when arguments between coach and players began to encounter.

I don’t know that much of Football, but I do know something about winning two Belgian Handball Championships and losing one in the finale (it’s been a while).

When you win, you win together.

When you lose, you lose together.

A football team is…a team.

A department at work is… a team.

A band is… a team.

It’s all about the team…always!

Till next,

Stevil

26. The Next Generation

We went out to see Neil Young playing with his new backing band ‘Promise Of The Real’.

I joked that I listened that afternoon to ‘Harvest‘ because Neil wouldn’t play any song from this iconic album. At least he didn’t for years (you stubborn moth!?!er!).

And then he kicked off the concert playing ‘After The Gold Rush‘… on the piano…what?!?

Heart Of Gold‘, ‘The Needle And The Damage Done‘, ‘Comes A Time, ‘Helpless‘, ‘Out On The Weekend‘, ‘From Hank To Hendrix‘, ‘Only Love can Break Your heart‘, ‘Unknown Legend‘, ‘Harvest Moon‘, ‘Alabama‘, … what is happening here ?!?

The weird thing is, that night, I realized that this concert could be the last one I will ever see from him. He’s 70. He’s still rocking, but clearly is getting old.

But he’s my guitar hero.

Mixed feelings. It was one of the best concerts I saw from him but it felt like a goodbye. Thank you. Goodnight. Tonight is the night!

We already lost Bowie, Prince and Frey this year.

If you take a look at the headliners of our festivals you’ll see a lot of old people: from AC/DC to The Rolling Stones, from Bruce Springsteen to Paul McCartney and from Iron Maiden to Black Sabbath and Iggy pop.

Who’s going to fill the gap left by these classics when they’ll leave the stage in the coming years?

Till next,

Stevil

25. The Single Question

Probably one of the many discussions in a band: Do we have a Single, strong enough for radio? Which one? Do we have more then one song and which one should come first?

If you have discussions like that, you’re in a comfortable situation because this hit single, that’s what you think it is, is the shortest way for good PR. Airplay is like that first dice in a row that can make that domino effect starting.

Airplay makes sure a certain audience will know you’ll have a new release coming and second, it will give you gigs. If you’re popular, festivals and clubs will book you because the risk of loss is a lot smaller then booking unknown bands.

And it will generate income. Not an unimportant issue in times like these where sales are collapsing, streaming is still not making any money and labels won’t invest in the bands: all recording fees, and in many cases also the Mixing and Mastering fees, are payed by the band.

But what if you don’t have that hit single, like most bands do not have?

Don’t forget: radio makers receive about 20 new singles a day. There’s a lot of competition and if you’re song is denied, don’t take it personally. There’s no room for everybody.

You better ask yourself another question: do we have a plan B? Maybe even a plan C?

Plan B can be: gigs.

It’s a longer road to go and it takes much more effort but if you can convince people from that stage, you can speak to a stronger community, a fan base.

This also means you’ll have to approach all concert promotors in a different way. Even your booking agent will need to adapt to the fact there’s no airplay.

If you know that the chance to airplay is ridiculous small, why wouldn’t you prepare for this?

Yes, this takes a lot of rehearsals, making the songs work live better, setup different song lists with different songs, maybe a great cover song, have a dedicated mixing engineer FOH, maybe someone doing the lights and/or whole stage setup if budget can permit (but mostly isn’t), operating that night to zero income.

A song that works great on an album doesn’t mean it will work out great on a stage.

So you don’t always need that radio song. Just see bands like The Flaming Lips or Wilco. Their songs work out great live, their shows present an identity, these bands are at their best on stage,… but rarely they get airplay.

You can even bring in Plan C: Marketing. Not just online marketing via social media only, but make the bridge with the battlefield on the ground: the merchandising at the concerts. So underrated and so many times forgotten because it takes a lot of work.

Find someone who wants to do this for you. Give him/her a 10 à 15% cut of the total sales. Setup a decent looking merchandise stand.

Make a list where fans can subscribe for the newsletter, for new releases, gifs, discounts on merchandise, … anything to build up that fan base.

In some way, you’re that pop-up restaurant that leaves this town after just one night.

Anyhow, without that fan base, you’re that restaurant without customers and your band has no reason to exist…

(unless you’re doing this for fun only).

Till next,

Stevil

23. The Free Internet

How far can ‘Freedom’ reach until it becomes problematic?

Maybe we find the answer on the internet, this ‘free‘ world with unlimited possibilities.

The internet is a great platform to connect with your fans. Social Media can be a great addition, if you understand Marketing pretty well. If you don’t, social media is just a waste of time. You’d better spend this time writing great songs. Correction, do spend your time writing great songs and let someone else concur the social platforms with your music.

It seems like the ‘free‘ world is runned by an elite who are ruling this world and no police or government have the power to change this.

If you’re a lucky man or women working in the Music Industry, you are probably wondering every day to find this backdoor to get the hell out of it.

Apparently it’s good bu$ine$$ for some others.

Spotify, a great application I like, has a huge growth in workforce in the last year and the average wage should go up to about 151.000€ per employee per year. Of course this is not a correct number because the boards of directors are making even far more money.

So if you would take a 0.00052€ per spin on Spotify, and take a more realistic average wage, like 30.000€ per year, the musician/band would need to have about 58 million spins to get the average wage as the Spotify employee.

For about 99% of all musicians/bands on Spotify, reaching this number of spins is almost impossible. Also, don’t forget you’ll have to divide this number for every band member. That means for most bands, you’ll have to get more then 200 million spins. And, you’ll have to set up a company in The Netherlands to get your Tax cut on Royalties.

Only the superstars will hit this number and have the resources to escape the Tax on Royalties.

Just a question in between lines: Don’t we see this number, 99%,  appearing more often?

Spotify is still not making any money, even no 0,00052€. No profit at all. 0.

Just another question: Is this bu$ine$$ model even sustainable? Apparently, a lot of Record Labels think it does.

We can conclude that only the the Spotify user and the Spotify employee, especially the board members, are the true winners in this story in the end.

The people who deliver the content, the music, are stuck in a double situation: the customer clearly made the choice for streaming, but the pay per stream isn’t sustainable for most musician/bands.

Another problem in this area is YouTube. In regard to bu$ine$$, Youtube makes hardly a break-even. So in essence, this company makes no profit with 1 Billion views per month.

YouTube, also fully embraced by the online customer, earns the money by his biggest content provider: music videos.

It’s weird really: YouTube is a ‘sharing’ technology in a neo-capitalistic world.

That’s like Stalin is trying to get Thatcher pregnant…

I have doubts this creature will have a bright future, don’t you…?!?

And what to do with this: How is it possible that terrorists can have access to an YouTube channel? Freedom of speech…?

Don’t get me wrong here, these services are great, especially for the end-user. Only the bu$ine$$ side is a gigantic bubble waiting to explode.

The main question I keep asking: are these services sustainable? As if they refuse to pay the musicians and bands a fair pay because they know, if they do, they can lay down the books…

Basically, running a bu$ine$$ on adds and for free, will produce you a ticket to the casino.

Facebook however, manages to make good profit. But their list of clients do not only contain clients from the Music Industry. They can spread the risk and speak to a bigger audience.

Maybe that’s the problem with Spotify: a great part of their business is generated by the Music Industry. It costs 30€ to release one album per year on Spotify. Many bands won’t make 30€ per year from streaming on Spotify.

Now draw a circle for yourself: a Music Industry pays to be part of this Music platform, but doesn’t get payed in return…

Till next,

Stevil

22. A Wall Between A Decision

So I eventually decided to build that wall between the Control room and the Recording room.

It makes sense, of course. 99% of all recording studios use this wall to separate these two rooms for  many good reasons: the wall protects your ears from hearing loss,  less problems with ear fatigue, much better sound-checking is possible, a moment to relax during overdubbing for the other band members, etc…

But I was stuck to make this decision because I wanted to be in the same room where the action was going on. At least that was probably the only reason I can think of why I wanted to be present in that room, together with the band and musicians.

Then I made a list naming all advantages and disadvantages coming along with building this wall. And then the decision was easily and fast made. It was that simple. I was stuck and all I did was making a list to get me out of this dead end street. Reset, reprogram and… Enter.

Maybe it’s better I make my own music one day and embrace the wall as the good divide of ‘the making of’ versus ‘the recording of’ music…

Till next,

Stevil

PS: Follow me on Facebook:

www.facebook.com/StevilRecords

21. When I Was 17

When I was 17, life took a different turn and I just went with the flow.

I started to play guitar.

I went to my first music festival (Werchter).

Girls… fascinating but complicated species to study. I had to double the 5th grade…

And I left my bedroom with my stereo amp and discovered the pubs where you’d hear ’90’s music all night!

So I was making a new playlist on Spotify last night: the ’90’s.

Just really fun to hear that music again! This must be something like entering a time machine! The fact that music can catapult you back 20 years in time is incredible. How bizarre, this pure moment of sentiment hits you like a flashback.

Nothing beats sentiment, that little peace of memory where music connects the dots with your own story in history…

Where’s my guitar…?!?

Till next,

Stevil

20. Update N°2

The walls are finally ready to be filled with gyproc plates. So many corners…that was ‘struggle rock’…

But first the ceiling: Plagyp Double construction system with antivibration hangers from Vibro, 5cm of Rockwool and finished with OSB plates.

Till next,

Stevil

19. Here Come The Suits

Money for Culture, Youth, Sports and Media is always a topic to discuss.

But what’s to discuss: 2,44%.

That’s almost 1% LESS then 2015’s total budget. And we came from 3,31%…

That’s a 25% cut in the department’s budget. That’s huge…

Last week we had the news a couple cultural places in my hometown (Hasselt) won’t receive no more money from the Flemish government.

I hear a lot of people asking: ‘Do they really need that money? ‘

If you see what ‘Culture’ does FOR our country…I’d say…hell yeah! And I’m definitely not the only one claiming this!

Belgium scores number one (1) for Culture. On this PLANET. Ok, read the previous sentence again. And again. Maybe it didn’t sink in well…read it again.

Why am I not surprised…? Just listen to the music made in Belgium. Fashion? Moviemakers? Football (ok, they’re number 2)? …

You know, I’ve worked freelance a couple times for these particular places. I’ve seen things you can’t imagine even if you sniff some glue up your ass and hope for the best. I can assure you this: they’re not eating lobster served on gold dishes and drinking a bottle wine each day at noon.

I’ve seen one (1) guy -one person- handling all the technical shit of organization it takes for every event. Sound and Light. Clean the toilets (I am not shitting you!)…

So I’m doing repairs and then I would suggest something really silly like: ‘maybe you should consider to purchase this or that to solve this issue permanently.’

‘Sure, but… there’s no budget.’

I’m not even mentioning all the volunteers who work for all these events…for free.

Should a club like Muziek-O-Droom or Zaal België be self-sufficient after 15 years of subsidizing when you know these clubs are trying to support the alternative/underground scene and beginning/young bands which are not…mainstream?

Honestly, I’m so sick and tired of all this Neo-Liberal crap. You see the suits hanging around at the festivals, concerts or any cultural happenings, VIP of course, looking for attention ‘hey, do you all see me, I’m a cultural person too…’ 

Never noticed the suits always cut budget for departments which are successful? ‘They’re doing really great, they’ll have some ‘reserve’, let’s cut here…’ 

Congrats to you, Belgian people of Culture, Youth, Sports and Media. You’re grades and performances are awesome and the best on this planet!

You are NUMBER 1!

This is your reward: now we’re gonna cut your budget.

Till next,

Stevil

18. Space And Time

Nobody knows where creativity comes from. How and when creativity find its way to our brains and take it into an action. From where comes that spark to tickle those brain cells? Why are some people more creative then other people, displaying it so easily like riding a bike?

There’s no ‘Science of Creativity’. You may be the best guitar player on the planet in a technical way. You can play 50 notes per second but that doesn’t make you a ‘creative person’. What about timing, feel, knowing when not playing a note, interaction between other instruments and players, the loudness, attack and release of notes, rhythm, off key playing, colour, sound, …

The truth is we don’t know and I’m still not sure if I wanna know.

But we know how we can create a situation in favor to let the creative process slip into our mind.

Space and Time.

Check out John Cleese explaining his findings during his career as a writer for Fawlty Towers and Monty Python.

Space. You’ll need a place where you can lock yourself out. Nobody comes in. It’s just you and this place. No interruptions, no distraction. And switch off the damn smartphone please!

Time. You’ll need to reserve time, or schedule time to let the process happening. Maybe this ‘place’ isn’t working right now. Go have a walk, ride a bike or take a ride with your car on the highway…all alone. Anyhow, this ‘time’ is taken. No room for paying your bills, thinking about the everyday worries, your daily job, etc…

In a certain way, you need to be selfish because it’s just about you. Some call this ‘me-time’. There’s plenty of family time left for later. Discipline and commitment…are a habit.

When Prince builded his own palace, Paisley Park, everybody was assuming he went mental. Paisley Park was his playground, far away from the public eye where Prince could be creative 24/7.

And now I’m building my own (very) little version of Paisley Park…

Till next,

Stevil

17. After The Construction

After The Construction comes all the rest.

We’ll have the building, the rooms, the lightning, the electricity, the heating. And than comes the Chill Out corner with a wall of books, my records and a record player, all gear cooking in the Control Room and various cables connecting the Recording Room to this Control Room.

I still want a Tape Machine close next to the Control Room. Just as a compressor-EQ-saturation machine for recording drums and maybe bass. I would be happy to start with a 8-channel Tape Machine and hopefully move on to a 16-channel/1″ Tape deck some day. It’s bandwidth and Signal/Noise ratio will be limited but I’m wondering if this will be an issue with loud instruments like drums and bass guitars? Even in the digital age a Tape Machine makes sense. You just can’t replicate this imperfect tape effect with perfect 0’s and 1’s.

I would like to create a real cool booth as the heart of this Control Room. Like a DJ booth, standing on a little stage and equipped with a lot of knobs and faders and when you turn these, something actually happens like more volume… or more Bass. What about having more then one stereo track playing. Wow!

So far so good, but last Wednesday I fell from the scaffold. Yes, that did hurt quite a bit. My left arm and my back ‘broke’ the fall on the middle support while my right leg was still hanging on the scaffold like a real acrobat. So lucky no smartphone was present to record this silly situation. I’m gonna take it a bit more easy for a few days now. Apart from this little accident and my metal cutter (to cut metal studs) hitting my face just a few centimeters from my right eye (don’t ask) I’m doing really good!

Till next,

Stevil

16. Updating…

It’s time for a small update.

Sorry for the crappy pics. Sometimes pictures explain better then words. Even the crappy ones.

The first layer of isolation (15cm) is placed. All metal stud walls are almost up. I started placing the isolation into the ceiling. The second batch of isolation will arrive next Wednesday. That will be Rockwool isolation for into the metal stud walls.

Till next,

Stevil

15. Magnetism

I woke up this morning and I realized: 10 years it’s been.

It’s been 10 years this album got released. Recorded in the wonderful Sound Of Music Studios in Richmond, VA with producer/recordist John Morand.

I only have good memories about making that album. We rehearsed a whole year to be prepared and step on the airplane and take that jump over the ocean. The studio had a big fire a few years back and it’s now located at a different place.

Hearing the songs on the radio is a wonderful feeling and you probably never get used to it. The radio was and maybe still is the most powerful medium to promote your music. Festival and concert promoters take a good listen to the radio and pick their acts  when they get popular.

We played at many great festivals and had a great two years run in 2006 and 2007. Playing at Pukkelpop 2006 was a cool high. We actually made some money to pay for the next coming album Hinterland.

The danger is you make music to fit in the radio’s format. You’ll get music that’s too one-dimensional. You’re losing your edge and forgot what’s it’s all about. We’ve been there, made the mistake. Never forget to make the music you think you should make and never ever settle down with a format.

Till next,

Stevil

14. The Art Of Competition

Man vs Women

Black vs White

Muslims vs Christians

Homo vs Hetero

Euro vs Dollar

Left vs Right

Barcelona vs Manchester United

Competition can deliver better performance, but a swing to the wrong side and you’ll get trouble. A good balance between the two will make you a better person, a better team, a better economy, a better musician, a better performer, a better parent, …

Our kids grow up in competition. It’s part of the human kind and it’s there to grab, to use it and sometimes most in political context, to abuse it.

When you want to solve problems between parties with violence, both parties will lose.

Like in sports, there are always at least two winners. Even if you’re part of the losing team, you will learn from the opposite party/team and you’ll improve your performance and maybe win the next battle.

You might find inspiration when you look for the edges, trying not to walk the line, but you’ll hopefully end up with a fantastic mix or a great balance.

Till next,

Stevil

13. Complaining Is Not An Answer

Complaining is the easy way out and delivers no solution

Complaining maybe alters a discussion, giving you a little attention

Complaining will give you another excuse (to do nothing about it)

Complaining will block your view of point

Complaining will make you look like a boring idiot

Complaining is your choice to make (or not)

Complaining might give you that short release

Complaining probably is a waste of time and energy

Complaining means you’re doing just fine

I can’t wait to push that Record button and play some music!

Am I complaining now?

Till next,

Stevil

PS: What I have learned in this horrible week in Belgium:

‘With guns you can kill terrorists,
with education you can kill terrorism.’

(Malala Yousafzai)

An excellent article (Dutch) about the immigration problems in Belgium. The leader of Belgium’s biggest political party (NVA) doesn’t understand why some group of people revolt while having all the opportunities given in this country. I guess his focus is so off-target he is replying his own question.

12. Viva Ma Belgica!

Every Wednesday evening, I would like to introduce you to great music, made in Belgium.

Belgian music is so diverse and can be very stubborn. This land is a really wacky land. A collection of pretty weird people. The funny thing is, they don’t know it and when they know, they will deny it.

Belgium is a mixture of true Surrealism, tasty food, golden drinks, outstanding fashion, talented actors and moviema-kers, fucked up politicians (well, that’s universal) and…

…awesome music!

Till next,

Stevil

Small update. The wooden ceiling construction is almost ready. Only needs an extra layer of plastic to stop humidity and electricity cables for all lighting. Should be finished this week.

Next: assembly the metal stud construction for all the walls.

11. How Many Tracks Do We (Really) Need?

Can you imagine how the Beatles would have sounded without Sir George Martin?

If there’s a recording place available in the afterlife, let George Martin, John Lennon and George Harrison have a blast making new music out there. I’m sure George Martin will build one!

Recording music has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. From 4-track recording to 32 tracks and many more now and we can stream music all day long from the whole planet, no matter where you are and this for 9.99 EUR per month.

YouTube and Spotify are great concepts and many people love the service. There are a lot of users, there’s a huge audience to reach for.

How come so many tracks on Spotify are unknown (the owner of mechanical rights) to Spotify? Luckely there are people like David Lowery from Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven to call them to account.

What’s Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music and Tidal without the music? An empty database running on some designer’s software.

Till next,

Stevil

 

10. Four Hundred Days Later

Today is exactly 400 days ago I started this project. I don’t know if this is a coincidence, a weird clash of time, but it’s definitely time to step up my game.

If faith treats me kind, I’ll have another 175 days to go to reach my goal. So that’s by next summer, somewhere in August. A hot and sweaty party inside the studio with summertime drinks and barbecue, to celebrate the finishing line would be the cherry on the cake (and then I wake up…).

Time flies. Ofcourse I didn’t only work in the studio in these 400 days. A lot of other work is done also. Too much to name for. But nonetheless, I need to speed up. I have to pass a few other obstacles first to start the next level.

You can say that life is like a video game and you’ll have a bunch of levels. Sometime you win, sometimes you loose. All you can do is get out of bed and keep on moving. A wall is blocking your way? Tear it down! People say nasty things to you? Ignore…they don’t know you at all! Just do what you think you need to do. If failure comes, no problem, you’ve learned something. Now move on and make the next mistake.

Besides time, the financial aspect is another challenge to overcome. To stay in budget and get all things done within time. You’re the Project Manager and Executive Staff (fancy names nowadays to make jobs more attractive) at the same time and that can be a promising recipe of disaster.

Till next,

Stevil

9. The Magic Shop

When you’re in the recording business, you probably know what The Magic Shop is.  This week , the recording studio was pretty big news. I’m still wondering why. Maybe because some really great records where recorded here.

Like my favorite Sonic Youth album: Dirty!

Or that awesome record from Arcade Fire: The Suburbs!

While I was assembling the wooden construction for the ceiling/roof part in the studio, I heard the news on the radio. The Magic Shop is closing next month, march 16. I hope Steve finds a new location. Renting a building in Manhattan, NY is just too expensive. Just even consider all the maintenance of that expensive gear.

The question you can ask yourself is this: do we really need all that glossy gear? Even if that gear is a work of art. It’s nice to have, I guess. It’s only available for the happy few. Bands and musicians might feel more secure when fabulous gear is used. Who wouldn’t want to ride the Cadillac, right? Will it sound better? I don’t know. What exactly is better?  Do you hear the difference?

After all, all what The Beatles needed was a 4-Track Tape recorder (ok, there we’re some trics). Even the recording engineer needed to be creative…!

Are you hiring a recording engineer and a recording studio because of the gearlist or do you need a place where you can block all distraction, focus on creating music in the best circumstances, and this without breaking the bank?

I believe the performance and the people who are playing and serving the song are far more important than all that fancy gear. Because in the end, that’s what it’s all about: the song and the performer.

Till next,

Stevil

8. Recording The Beatles

What are the odds: Four super talented lads meet super talented producer George Martin. He signs the band while everybody said ‘NO’ to The Beatles. Before this all happens, they got to be well trained performers. Thank you hookers and pimps at the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany!

We played there at the Reeperbahn festival with Mint in 2008. It was a really nice club, playing together with Blood Red Shoes and Nada Surf that night. After the gig we went into the streets of Hamburg, absorbing the eclectic atmosphere outside. Someone got a lap dance and we had a good laugh. Next day off to Berlin doing support for The Charlatans. That week was: Am I in heaven?

Anyway, forward to 2013…entering Studio 2 of Abbey Road in London was another place I wanted to experience. The authors of the book ‘Recording The Beatles’ we’re having a seminar in Studio 2. I heard from DJ Ronald Verhaegen (Radio 1) about this event and bought me a ticket. We actually met and did a little interview with him. I can’t remember what I  said because I was still walking in the clouds.

I get this experience every time I enter a studio. Doesn’t matter what studio it is. This is a place where anybody can create and lock off all distraction which is, in my opinion,  a great hidden mistake of modern life. It’s the place where history and songs can get written. The place where you can discover things from yourself and your fellow musicmakers you didn’t notice outside. It’s like experiencing a great concert: the music takes over and everybody’s in to enjoy and celebrate life.

In the best case, your tune will ride the eternal wave.

I admit, I can’t wait pushing that button and shout: “Everybody ready? …and… the tape is rollin’!!!”

Till next,

Stevil

7. My Electronic Era

I started studying Electronics more then 20 years ago. I didn’t like what and how it was teached at school.  Terrible boring stuff, all that theory. But I understood one thing: this could be the future!

Luckely, the practise wasn’t that boring.

No really, just have a look at all your devices around you. You’re reading this article on your iPad. It’s Electronics. Or on your smartphone. Electronics. Maybe on your PC or Mac. Electronics. Your TV, Hi-Fi radio, vacuum cleaner, car, kitchen robot, and… about any musical instrument.

There you go. My main reason to go studying Electronics. I thought it was cool to break open that guitar amp or effect pedal and dig in deep. It was mainly trial and error, an Electronic experiment. Changing all kinds of components and chase that great sound.

Hours, days, even years I spend with these little, spacy things, connected with hundreds of highways and canals. Cities build around chemical products,  fueled by low and high voltages. Currents flowing in bi-directional ways, anywhere the wind is blowing. In this world, explosions and smoke can be fun!

These days you’re wondering if we actually moved into these cities of Electronics. The consequence caused by this hectic gathering of chemical reactions overwhelming the human sanity. Or did Electronics secretly moved into the peoples minds?

Do you know how it feels to have 350 Volts streaming through your veins for one second , smacked back to the ground all dazed and confused? P a i n f u l l ! But…

I am alive…!

Happy lovers day,

Stevil

6. Bust A Gut

…and then you die.

A week loaded with chaos, sickness and death. A too much of everything at once. You think you’re steering the wheel, under control, seconds later the wheel is hanging in the air.

In between chaos I decided. Fuck it. I can’t even remember what last week was about. Still many doubts, but fuck it, let’s decide and move on.

The good moments will overcome:

PJ Harvey is back!

We saw the fantastic Tame Impala in Brussels. Awsome! Check out they’re great album ‘Currents’!

And Trump got his ass kicked…American trash man.

Decisions regarding the roof and walls are finally made. The first batch of wood is arrived. Also made myself a scaffold so I can work on height (3.5 meters) to start working on the roof/ceiling. You Jane, Me Stevil, swinging in the air…!

Till next,

Stevil

 

PS: The Ride Home

Eventually

you will be forgotten

six feet down under

and rotten

but the memory will live

when it finds the new owner

like each unborn kiss.

5. Imagine The Arrangement

I’m still blown away by Beck‘s version of Bowie’s Sound & Vision. Watch it here.

Not just blown away by the sound only.

I mean, how do you start to arrange these people…? Give me a handclap here, and you back there…give me some bells, can the choir do the backings and the first violins drop in when the drums come in, do a breakdown here, let’s do the buildup there, give me a guitar solo and… is there anybody in this building who can do some yodel thing here?!?…

The arrangement of the string section alone will turn most of us in total frenzy! (Is that a white man raping a woman? So glad it’s a movie!!!)

If you’re in a band, you know how laborious this process can be. Days and/or evenings go by and you’re happy when you get there…to 90% or so. And then you have high hopes the last 10% will fall into place in the studio. The truth is: it’s never gonna be 10%! And we’re talking here about arrangements like maybe two guitars, bass, drums, keys, percussion and vocals. That’s it…

Sometimes all parts just ‘glue’ after two rehearsals. I remember ‘Your Shopping Lists Are Poetry’ was done very fast. I didn’t like the song in the beginning, I admit. I think I said (try to imagine a cocky tone here): Is this one not too catchy? Well, yeah, you dumb ass…

Studio. still fine-tuning ideas for the ‘room in a room’ principle. But I’m getting close so I can start in February to build the walls and ceiling. We don’t want the walls hit Dave Grohl while I’m recording his killer drum fill in the studio, don’t we? (Give me break, will ya)

Till next,

Stevil

4. Thirty Something Eight

My number of the beast: 38.

When you get older, well I’m not that old, you begin to see things differently. You feel kind of an urge. You want to skip the chitchat and move on to the things that matter. Connecting the dots, Steve Jobs once said. In a world of too much, this get’s harder and harder to accomplish. But altogether, it doesn’t matter that much.

We’re just a tiny pixel taken from the universe.

My son, Lou, is 5 now. One day before my birthday. Great timing, you little brat! If this studio is ready to go, I’ll throw him behind a drum set. And now play! I don’t want to force it, but playing a musical instrument is just too important for the development of any kid’s brain. There are several studies out there for evidence. I don’t say this  because I work for a musical instrument company. I say this because music saved my ass multiple times.

When rock hard times hits me in the face, it’s music that pulls me out of that dark cave. It becomes my bolt hole. Maybe many of us are searching for his/her escape route. I guess we’re all refugees with luxury problems.

My little bedroom was my man-cave. I had great bedroom concerts. My fancy setup of tools: a tennis racquet, my loud stereo amp radio and my Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and Pixies albums. All apologies to my neighbors!

Surprised about the people’s response on Bowie’s death. I didn’t expect this. Let’s be real, he was sequestered from the public in the last years. But it proves the man was an inspiration for many of you. Check out Bowie’s producer Tony Visconti breaking down “Heroes” here!

Still a few technical issues to solve regarding the new walls in the studio. Building a box in a box principle is easy said. I need to figure this out first and hopefully in february, it will be a bit less cold outside. Can’t stand cold. Isolation, that’s another story…

Till next,

Stevil

3. A Star Called David

David Jones Bowie…What an artist!

Probably the most complete artist ever known. He was art in music, in fashion, in visuals and had tons of attitude. The right attitude.

Bowie is… art.

I say ‘is’ because his legacy will last for decades. Who knows…

He was exciting and made a promise not to be boring. And he never looked back. Always seeking for the new, whatever that may be.

I was 18 when I saw him live at Werchter in 1996. By the way, just have a look at this bill! His album ‘Outside‘ was released about a year before and I believe ‘Hallo Spaceboy‘ was the first single. I adore his dramatic British ‘hallo spaaaceboyyy‘ pronunciation. Can’t remember much of the concert. 20 years of brain failure…sorry (again)!

 

It was fascinating to see how Bowie could be mainstream and yet, he had edge.

He defenitely was an outsider but understood the commercial game of the music industry very well.

My favourite Bowie song… there are so many!

I always liked Mick Ronson’s guitar sound. Just have a listen to ‘Cracked Actors‘ from the ‘Alladin Sane‘ album (great sleeve design!). A simple flow of E, F and G chords. That balsy, raw and flamboyant guitar sound really does it, isn’t? It makes you grab the Les Paul and buy a Marshall tower of amps!

Let’s Dance…Heroes…Starman…Changes…China Girl…Rebel Rebel…Fame…Sound and Vision…Under Pressure…Life On Mars…I’m Afraid Of Americans…Ziggy Stardust…Little Wonder…Watch That Man…All The Young Dudes…Let’s Spend The Night Together…The Man Who Sold The World…Suffragette City…The Jean Genie…Ashes To Ashes…Scary Monsters…Boys Keep Swinging…Golden Years…Young Americans…Right…Diamond Dogs…Alladin Sane…Panic In Detroit…Kooks…Andy Warhol…Modern Love…Tonight…Dead Man Walking…I’m Afraid Of Americans…Lazarus…

That’s a fine list full of art…

Let’s try to imagine this: it’s 1969. Five days before Apollo 11 landed on the moon. You turn on the radio and you hear this song for the very first time: ‘Ground control to Major Tom‘…

Indeed… the stars look very different today. Damn!

Till next,

Stevil

2. Hard Work Matters!

Damn right! Hard work matters!

So much work to do. Building the studio is way more then some bricks, cement, cables, gear, website, social media . Who and where is your audience and far-most:

Who am I and where is my place in this story?

It’s like making puzzles. If you find one, where does it fit in? What to do with a new one? And when is it complete? Never? Ever?

But hard work really matters. Step by step. Before you even know it, you wrote this blog, modified the website, did some social media stuff, worked on your mixing desk, looked for 67th time for wood, wondering if I need more frequency control. Damn low-end, but I’ll be begging for more in the end! Recorded again a few snippets of chords, lyrics and ideas on my Roland F-20 piano (yeah, name dropping, I know).

Ideas. I made myself the commitment to record at least one (1) idea, riff, lyric, chord progression, melody, whatever… per week. After 3 months I can tell you this…best decision ever! Now think about Nick Cave doing this way of working, going to his office in Brighton, England… EVERY day…!

Don’t wait for the ‘right’ moment. It might never come. You’ll learn on the go. Do what you think you need to do…Hey, oh let’s GO!

Till next,

Stevil

1. Welcome to Stevil Records!

My first post!

As you can see in the pic down under…still a lot of work to do.  The walls are up and the floating floor is installed. Some electricity and signal cables are already present. And now I’m trying to get the website running.

So this blog is a recap of each week. What has happened and how the building of this recording studio proceeds. Just follow this page for updates!

Feel free to add a comment, remark, suggestion, question, etc… Don’t be shy!

For more info, send me a mail here.

Have a great 2016,

Stevil