Friday, August 29, 2008

Recording Shall Commence!

  • Next Wednesday, 3/9/2008 will be our first rehearsal and recording session at the Audio Room, Multimedia Production Lab, Lower Ground, Sunway Uni College. Drop me a comment here if you can't make it. Try your best to make it. From 4pm to 5.20pm, DO NOT be late. We'll be doing one of my songs. I just recorded it. Refer below.
  • Working on officially making this a club. Any help in this department will be greatly appreciated.
  • We need suggestions for the Stereostatics T-Shirt, as well as our first EP (due end of September). Drop them as a comment here now.
  • We will be buying gear next weekend. Everyone, please pay up RM30 (or more) to either Aliza or me by our recording session next week. Provided the T-shirt and EP sales, as well as the other fundraisers, do as expected, we'll be able to pay you guys back in no time. :)
  • This is the song we will be recording. I'm looking to revamp the sections after the second chorus; we'll look into that during recording. Please download it and listen to it (many, many times) as well as examine the notes below.


Verse 1:
TV's in my head,
I can't turn it off.
Shampoo ads and family dramas
Don't let me think straight
If I screw up my life
I'll lay the blame on them
But I screwed up my life and
I'm the one to blame

I'll make you a planet
If that's what you want
I'll make you a planet
If that will make you happy

Verse 2:
TV's in my head
It just won't go off
My head's a commercial
For deranged sadists and
I'm a prison
For all the psychos on Earth
And I thought I could just
Shut it down but

  • Intro (Starts with bass slide. Based around A5-G5-F5-E5. Played on a clean guitar. Distorted lick comes in halfway.)
  • Chord Intro (Bass comes in. Am/G/F/E, two times. Lick comes in halfway through the second time, slightly after the beat to create an unstable entry into the verse.)
  • Verse 1 (Am/G/F/E, repeated. Strumming is lax and irregular.)
  • Chorus (A5-G5-F5-E5, repeated once. The chords are played on a distorted guitar.)
  • Chord Breakdown (Am/G/F/Em. Distorted guitar plays a lick. The bass guitar pops the root notes lazily, ends by sliding down to the 12th fret for entry into the verse.)
  • Verse 2 (Same chords as Verse 1. Aim was to make chords more sparse in the second verse. Volume dips towards the middle then rises, creating contrast.)
  • Cut-off Chorus (A5-G5-F5-E5, once only. First line of chorus is dragged on to the instrumental breakdown over the Dm chord, creating a dissonance.)
  • Instrumental Breakdown (Based around Dm/Em/Am. Also a bass solo over this part. And volume swells on the E and G note. The rhythm guitar is on the bridge pickup for this section.)
  • Chorus (Final two times. Voice is panned from zero reverb to full reverb.)
  • Solo (Final line of chorus dragged on to two repeats of the chorus chords, played by the clean guitar. Based around chorus chords, verse chords come in later on. Guitar solo. Extremely short delay to obtain a wet, thick sound. Tone knob turned all the way up for higher-pitched sound. Aim was to get a squealing noise without resorting to harmonics. Lead guitar panned very slightly from right to left repeatedly at the middle of the solo. Solo is based around a combination of the Dorian mode and the A minor pentatonic scale. The rhythm guitar ends on the final E chord being pounded violently. The solo extends up to the Dorian mode, pans from the left to right, and ends with a slide on the right channel.)

Notes: Recorded using an Ibanez Gio guitar and a Micro BR recorder in 30 minutes. One-take for each track.

Also, here's a list of good artistes you really should check out. I've tried to make a list that encompasses many genres. Enjoy.
  • AC/DC
  • Aerosmith
  • Aesop Rock
  • Against Me
  • Aimee Mann
  • Alanis Morisette
  • Alice Cooper
  • Alice In Chains
  • Alphaville
  • Aqualung
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Ash Nair
  • Audioslave
  • Augustana
  • Band of Horses
  • Bat for Lashes
  • The Beatles
  • Ben's Bitches
  • Blotted Science
  • Brand New
  • Breaking Benjamin
  • British Sea Power
  • The Bravery
  • Buckethead
  • Bullet for My Valentine
  • The Cardigans
  • Chester Bennington
  • Chris Cornell
  • Chris Impellitteri
  • Coldplay
  • Counting Crows
  • The Cranberries
  • The Cure
  • Dashboard Confessional
  • Death Cab For Cutie
  • The Derek Trucks Band
  • Downstage
  • Dream Theatre
  • Duncan Sheik
  • Duran Duran
  • The Eagles
  • Elbow
  • Elliott Smith
  • Ferras
  • Finger Eleven
  • The Flaming Lips
  • Flipsyde
  • Foo Fighters
  • Funeral for a Friend
  • Funkadelics
  • Gary Jules
  • Ghosts
  • Gnarls Barkley
  • The Great Spy Experiment
  • Grinderman
  • Guns N' Roses
  • Heart
  • The Hives
  • Incubus
  • Iron & Wine
  • Jakob Dylan
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Jamiroquai
  • Jane's Addiction
  • Jason Becker
  • Jason Mraz
  • Jeff Beck
  • Jet
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Jimmy Eat World
  • Joe Satriani
  • John Frusciante
  • John Mayer
  • Josh Woodward
  • Kanye West
  • Keane
  • Kings of Leon
  • Kunek
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • Lily Allen
  • Linkin Park
  • Live
  • Lost Prophets
  • Lupe Fiasco
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Madina Lake
  • Mahavishnu Orchestra
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Mars Volta
  • Mattias Ia Elkundh
  • Megadeth
  • Metallica
  • Mew
  • Mika
  • Muse
  • My Morning Jacket
  • Nirvana
  • No Doubt
  • Oasis
  • Opeth
  • Outvile
  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • P.O.D.
  • Pantera
  • Paramore
  • Pearl Jam
  • Pennywise
  • A Perfect Circle
  • Permanent Me
  • Pink Floyd
  • Placebo
  • Point of Grace
  • Portishead
  • Prince
  • Queen
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • The Raconteurs
  • Radiohead
  • Rage Against The Machine
  • Rammstein
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Reel Big Fish
  • Rilo Kiley
  • Robyn
  • Rolling Stone
  • Ryan Cabrera
  • Santana
  • Savage Garden
  • Say Anything
  • Scorpions
  • The Script
  • Seether
  • Serj Tankian
  • Sheena Easton
  • Sia
  • Sigur Ros
  • Silverchair
  • Skunk Anansie
  • Slash's Snakepit
  • Smashing Pumpkins
  • Snow Patrol
  • Social Distortion
  • Something Corporate
  • Spandau Ballet
  • Spastic Ink
  • Spoon
  • Staind
  • Steely Dan
  • Steve Vai
  • The Stone Roses
  • Stone Temple Pilots
  • The Strokes
  • Sublime
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • Super Furry Animals
  • Switches
  • Symphony X
  • System of a Down
  • Tears For Fears
  • Tegan and Sara
  • Tegine
  • Tempered Mental
  • Ten Years After
  • Tenacious D
  • Tenpenny Joke
  • Tesla
  • Third Eye Blind
  • Thom Yorke
  • Thrice
  • Tom Baxter
  • Tom Morello
  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  • Tool
  • Tracy Chapman
  • Train
  • U2
  • Van Halen
  • Vanderveen
  • Velvet Revolver
  • The Veronicas
  • The Vines
  • The Wallflowers
  • Weather Report
  • Ween
  • Weezer
  • The White Stripes
  • The Whitest Boy Alive
  • The Who
  • Wolfmother
  • Yellowcard
  • Yngwie Malmsteen
  • Zeptepi
  • The Zombies
  • 10 Years
  • 3 Doors Down

Thursday, August 28, 2008


We have a teacher advisor. Mr. Steve Anderson.

Also, we can get Mr. Kingsley Row to help us out on a couple of more technical areas.

Next Wednesday, 3/9/2008 will be our first rehearsal (and hopefully recording) at the Audio Room, Multimedia Production Lab, Lower Ground, Sunway Uni College. We'll probably try to do one of my songs. I'll get it recorded tomorrow. Planning to completely revamp it, extend in, and diversify into various different genres and styles within that single song. It might work. It might also fail splendidly. Won't know if you don't try. :)

Still working on making our project a club. Please pull some strings if you can.

Also. Suggestions for T-shirt and EP cover. Leave them in the comments here so we can get started on them!!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Short Meeting Tomorrow.

Thursday, 28/8/2008.

We'll be having a short briefing/meeting at the foyer.

Be there. Please. At about 4.05pm. Try not to be late.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Briefing. Lyrics. Guide to Songwriting.

First things first, bookmark this page. Updates will pop up here, as well as lessons for those of you who need some tips on writing songs etc etc.

Non-music related stuff out of the way first.

Aliza: Our treasurer. She will be handling my, er, our money. I recommend getting her address so we know which house to burn down if our money disappears.

Zaleha: Our Marketing Manager. I, uh, don't have anything else to say. Strange.

Yes, I am still at college. At 8pm. I have no life.

Moving on,

Money matters now. Aliza, please draft up a couple of sheets containing money paid into the funds (including who paid how much) and that type of stuff so we can track our expenditure. Please also find a way to transfer it into a Word/Excel document, save it and send me a copy every month. If possible, I'll post it up for all you people who think I'm trying to steal your money.

Also, we need to start spending. First off, we need AT LEAST ONE microphone. For now, I'm thinking of getting the Shure PG48 microphone. It's a relatively inexpensive dynamic microphone. Split evenly among all the members, it'll probably only cost each of us RM10. We need to check how much we can get the microphone for, then we'll start collecting money. :)

Also, we want a Toneport GX USB Audio Interface. Roughly RM200-RM300 this. I'll see if I can get it for a birthday present, but I highly doubt it. Anyway, my birthday's the end of next month. Way too long to wait.

Then we need a laptop. Preferably more than one. This is for recording. Please contact me ASAP if we can make use of your laptop. I promise to be gentle with it. I'll brief you on what software to download afterwards.

We're working on getting a place to record. It's looking very promising. We're looking into a recording studio (so to speak) and Andrew, Jeremy and I can record our parts separately too. Especially Jeremy. He has a freaking pedalboard that's too stuffed to slot in another pedal. :)
Also, we probably can ask for permission to use the Physics lab. Will have to ask Mr Tan, Mr Row and Mr Anderson about this. Large place, might be good for doing excessive ambient stuff. Or if we want to add more reverb to the vocals/instruments. In all honesty, it isn't really necessary; we can layer on reverb using software.

Ultimately, we want to get all this money we're spending back... as well as earn enough proceeds to donate to charity (voted for by the members, whee!). Couple of suggestions are:
  • Selling a 'Stereostatics' T-shirt.
  • Selling 'EP' albums.
  • Car wash.
  • Selling 2nd hand stuff (clothes, books, guitar, amp, etc)
  • Doing live shows.
Any others?

Also. We need a concept for our first EP cover. Ideally, we'll want to get this EP out at about the end of September/beginning of October, so please come up with ideas for the concept and tell me or leave it here as a comment. If we can get a nice concept by this week, we can get our graphics experts to start work on the EP cover. =)

Songs for the EP? Andrew and I have worked on one. I have 3 or 4 songs that I recorded recently. And hopefully we do enough songs by that time to have 1 or 2 that don't match up to the others- therefore going into the EP. Cut down all of that to 3 or 4 songs, and we have a fundraiser right there.

Rough briefing on the stuff that came out in today's 'meeting':
  • Genres: We'll use dark indie rock as a base, and branch out into everything from jazz to blues to rap to funk to fusion to reggae to progressive to classical to indie pop to metal to polyrhythmic trash.
  • How are we recording? Externally and with a DAW. Don't get what this is? Ask me personally. Leave a comment at the end of this post. I'll clarify stuff.
  • We are NOT part of the music club. We're cooler than that shit.
  • Cool artistes you really SHOULD check out, to expose yourself to good songwriting: Radiohead, Counting Crows, Dream Theatre, Guns N Roses, Incubus, Jamiroquai, Metallica, Josh Woodward (, Led Zeppelin, Opeth, Nirvana, Radiohead, Silverchair, Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, White Stripes, System of a Down.
That's about it for this briefing. Below is a sample of my OTS (on the spot) lyrics. Further below is a guide to writing songs. Highly recommended.

I See You. Lyrics.

inching across the rain-soaked roads
palming the ground
in beat with the lazy snaps and thuds
side stick - one - two - dum
eyes drawn close and unstaring.

i have a fever
that taps politely every so often
against my optical nerves.

i see you now.
like i didn't before.
fracturing like a precious china doll.
please gather the shards.

Screaming in a futile attempt to slow down time

Ha ha ha. Laugh at me. Open your mouth wide
bare your teeth
Squiggling, disgusting, bobbing tonsil
I will cut it off.

i see you now.
like i didn't before.
fracturing like a precious china doll.
please tape the pieces together.

Oh baby, you're such a drag.
Drum roll, please
In swelling volume
To echo our footsteps
As they drag across the marble floor
Polished hastily.

there are things that drift away
quietly, without notice
whether you want them to or not
where do you find the energy
for these empty afternoons?
for warm-less nights and tussled blankets?

somewhere across the horizon
i see you.

-Wayne 2008.

From my 2007 article, Song Structure: Plotting a Masterpiece

You’ve got a great concept. You have a truckload of inspiration. The melody is impeccable. You’re all geared up to write the mother of all songs.

What next?

At the base of every great song is an amazingly solid structure. Everything else is a sidenote. The one thing that must be crafted with exceptional care is the structure. This is true for basically every possible song, even if you decide to sing blather over random free verse chords. The song structure has to be planned out clearly and coherently, and this guide is aimed at helping you do just that.

To make visualization easier throughout this article, I shall liken a song to a story. Let’s take a look, then, at a couple of common components of a song:

Stanza, Refrain, Chorus, Bridge, Instrumental, Narration, Coda


The stanza is the meat of the story. It serves to further the story, offer descriptions and basically tell the tale. The number of verses used is entirely up to you. It is vital, however, to maintain the momentum of the story. It’s better to have two clever verses than five incoherent, sub-standard ones.

Refrain and Chorus

What is the difference between a Refrain and Chorus? Quite simply put, the Refrain tells what MIGHT happen. It predicts the story outcome and is unsolved. The Chorus, on the other hand, covers what has already happened. In a song featuring Refrains, the final Refrain is commonly replaced with a Chorus to ‘reveal’ the conclusion. In other cases, the songwriter might decide to reveal the conclusion after the last Refrain. This is, again, completely up to personal taste.


The Bridge is basically a part of the song played over a melody distinctly different from the other parts. It usually acts as a climax. In Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, a ‘female’ voice is used for the Bridge to humorous effect. In this particular example, the Bridge also acts as climax and conclusion.

An instrumental section is, of course, pretty much self-explanatory. Occasionally, an instrumental bridge is introduced. This involves playing a distinctly different melody...without vocals.


A Narration is a section where you ‘talk melodically’. Hardly used nowadays, but there are some tweaked variations. Josh Woodward’s ‘Gallows Hill’ can be said to be a variation of the Narration technique.


The Coda is the ending section and usually (but not always) refers to a fade-out ending.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at musical devices and the key factors in plotting a song. Here are three formulae that are simple and important.

Pitch + Volume = Tone
Tone + Rhythm =Melody
Melody + Lyrics = Song

Now to figure out everything we need to know about each of these aspects.
Pitch refers to a note range and is commonly divided into sharp and flat (or high and low). Volume, also known as dynamics, is the variation of softness or loudness. Take a look at another simple set of formulae below:

SHARP + Soft = False-voice
+ Loud = Sharp

FLAT + Soft = Breathy
+ Loud = Deep

False-voice and sharp are classified as TREBLE. Breathy and deep are classified as BASS. Note that flat + very loud gives us something unofficially termed as ‘Power’.

These formulae show you how you can modify volume and pitch to achieve a certain tone. Plan beforehand what type of voice you wish to use. Refer to the melody to make sure everything you sing fits. A simple tip is to modulate your volume according to the sections. Sing a bit louder at the chorus than at the verses. When the drum kicks in, you should also generally sing a tad bit louder.

Now that you have a strong foundation, here’s an insanely short guide to vocal techniques. At its loosest meaning, vocal technique is the usage of vocal production for every vocal mechanism. This refers to the unifying register (head, middle and chest). Get yourself a good vocal teacher to guide you through posture, breathing, phonation and vocalization. In case you didn’t know, you should practice dropping only your lower jaw when opening your mouth when singing.

There are tons of great columns on writing melodies and good lyrics (refer to for some), so I doubt I’ll touch on them in my short tutorial. Check them out, decide what works for you, and keep practicing. Songwriting is an art form in itself and should be treated thus. I can, however, give you a couple of words of advice for writing strong lyrics.

Never force your lyrics. Be natural. Rhyming dictionaries can be used online and can come in handy sometimes. Familiarize yourself with them to enhance your skill. Always remember that, above all, the way the words sound over the melody is the most important part of the lyrics.

Broaden your mind. I’ve written songs about my emotions, my friends, degeneration of society, the end of the world, love and an anarchy movement, among others. Everyday life serves as the ultimate tool for your creative juices to flow.

For example, an expired tomato in a supermarket sparked a song complaining about supermarkets. That turned into a song about closing times (can you catch the double meaning?). That in turn evolved into a song about nights. Which led to shadows, which led to the song ‘Umbrage of the Night’. See what I mean? Inspiration comes from everywhere.

I hope my short guide has given you the confidence to write stronger songs and build on song structure as never before. Always remember, the foundation is the almost important part of the song. Happy writing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Meeting will be 26th August (Tuesday) at 4.05pm at the G7 classroom. Refer to flyer below.

It's a screenie, of course. Just save it, blow it up and read. Wanna spread the word? Cool. The document is below. Download it, spread. But first, another logo from H.Watson, fabulous guy.

Download it and blow it up for the full effect. It's awesome.

Now for the flyer. It's compatible for all versions of Microsoft Word.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stereostatics Logo.

H. Watson made them.

There's a slightly cooler single one that I'm planning to put up on the flyers, but he forgot to remove the Copyright mark and he's offline. Great. And Mr. Tan isn't here so I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to do about the room.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Phase One: Recruitment.

NOTICE: First meeting will be on the 26th August (Tuesday).

of this music project:
  • To expose budding musicians to the process of composing and recording songs.
  • To put together an album, proceeds of which go to charity.

That's basically it. We collaborate on various different songs and, once we get enough, we choose the best to be put together as an album. Fun stuff. We've been looking at a whole range of musical genres to dive into.

Interested? Awesome. Just a couple of criteria for joining:
  1. You have to be committed. We can't afford people slinking away at the last minute when you're due for recording. Don't worry, we won't be taking up too much of your time. Just what's needed to get this project going.
  2. If you intend to play and record in the project, you're going to have to be able to play your instrument at least moderately well. It's a bit hard to get an album done if you're just starting to learn how to play your instrument. That said, we welcome all musicians, whether you sing, play the glockenspiel or are an ace at programming drums.
And, well, that's basically it. We don't just need musicians, of course. The project needs computer specialists (relatively speaking) that can design artwork. We need people that excel at marketing and promoting. As well as a treasurer. Yes, we need a lot of people.

Brief Plan:

August: Spread word, recruitment drive.
Early September: Member assessment, briefing on writing and recording
Mid to end of September: Start recording (Approx 1-2 songs). Live show?
October: Approx 2-3 songs.
November and December: Approx 2-3 songs. Slow down towards holidays. Afterwards, live show!
January: Recruitment of new members. Record approx 1-2 songs.
February and March: Approximately 6-7 songs. Live show.
April: Approx 1-2 songs. Compile songs. Choose best for album. Final mastering and editing. Put together as an album. Artwork, promotion etc.