Twist of Zen / Blog

What a Way to Start a Friday!

I'm kinda reeling today.

I'm overwhelmed by fans and musical colleagues showing so much support for the projects I've started, and helping me to reach some goals as well.

Three of the bands I'm in or have started are currently in the Top 150 on Reverbnation's National Alternative Charts.

More than this, all three of those bands are in the Top 10 for Edmonton's Alternative Charts.

And internationally, one of those bands is currently number 630 in the Alternative charts.

What a way to start a Friday. I'm in shock, yet excited.

I'm also happy to be a part of a community that supports the dreams and goals of others, because, after all, we're all in this together.

Have a great weekend everyone!



Songwriting Tips and Strategies: Finding Rhymes

Rhymes are often hard for songwriters to find. It's especially true when you want your songs to sound 'fresh' and new. Here are a couple of resources to help you work through finding some rhymes that will work as substitutes for what you may find banal in a song that may not be working out for you.

If you don't own a copy of Clement Wood's The Complete Rhyming Dictionary, I highly recommend you get a copy. The book is divided into vowel sounds and also contains multiple-syllable words giving you a plethora of rhyming options (sorry, though, not many options for 'orange' or 'purple'). The book is divided into masculine and feminine rhymes for those interested. If you're interested in Wood's book, look for a copy with The Poet's Craft Book -- it's a great read and will give you further insight into songwriting.

When you're done with Clement Wood's book pick up Pat Pattison's book, Songwriting: Essential Guide to Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide to Better Rhyming and Lyrics.

I also encourage you read this Chapter 4 of this link: http://books.google.ca/books?id=6PyNL6o07O8C&pg=PT38&lpg=PT38&dq=rhyming+partners+companions&source=bl&ots=uKbJrntVqB&sig=zinAATjVP6_54pxpQ3_EsQGgr4I&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yQc-Us2wCOS9iwKAmYGgBw&ved=0CFkQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=rhyming%20partners%20companions&f=false

Pay close attention the 'partners' and 'companions' chart, while you read the chapter. It's a great song writing tool to get you 'unblocked' when you need a rhyme....

I also own a copy of Bartlett's Roget's Thesaurus. This is a different version of Roget's Thesaurus than most people are used to. The Bartlett's version I own divides words and word relations categorically, THEN leads you to the word associations (synonyms and antonyms, etc.). I use my Thesaurus to 'expand' my song during 'brainstorming' sessions where I look for words related to the theme or idea of my song. I'll write down some words on a 'worksheet' then follow up by looking up those word 'ideas' in my thesaurus finding synonyms and antonyms to possibly spark some new ideas or a new direction for a song (I HAVE completely reversed a song idea before by making a positive out of a negative just from looking up word associations).

If you'd like to learn more songwriting tips and techniques, I recommend the Pat Pattison book above. If you're really keen on delving into a songwriting education, I'd suggest looking at his website full of tips, videos, and further learning resources -- it may be a humbling visit, but one that's worthwhile in your growth as a lyric and songwriter. I first learned of Pat Pattison in 1992, and he's been a source of reference ever since.

I trust these tools will help you as well, if only to get you 'unstuck' during a writing session with a band, in the studio, or in your bedroom.

As always, best wishes to your future successes!

Indiana Jones and the Mood Ring/Key Decoder: A Lesson in AFFECTING Your Audience

Have you ever sat at a songwriting lesson playing with keys to find the perfect one to reflect the mood of some song lyrics you're working with? Or maybe you're trying to play with contrast, to give your music a sense of 'irony' (a method I love to work with) that conflicts with the lyrics you've written -- but it's frustrating because you don't know what 'mood key' you should be writing in -- as no one has yet invented the mood ring/key decoder... ... or maybe someone did, but it was lost... until now.... You have to promise not to tell anyone where you got this information... ** Glaces over his trench coat and under the brim of his fedora to the left; then, to the right ** ... many have died so we could have it in our hot musical hands... ... research this carefully, as many opinions vary as to what colours or moods match which key.... Promise me you'll use it wisely and compensate us, as a band, for bringing this to you and it's yours.... = ] Now, here's the link (copy and paste it into your browser, please -- no viruses necessary on your 'puter)... **Opens his trench coat** http://www.biteyourownelbow.com/keychar.htm

Fans New and Old

It's just over a year ago when we first appeared here on Reverbnation with the hopes of gaining more fans and connecting with fellow musicians. When we first came to Reverbnation we only had a Facebook band page with about 73 fans. After working hard all year creating music for our nearly complete new album, we've also collected many new fans along the way. Today, we'd like to thank all 1,711 of you for listening to our music, becoming a fan, and sharing your thoughts and support with us! It's great to see such a cool community of musicians and fans that support each other. Cheers to all of you! Twist of Zen

To Album Art or Not . . . . That is the question . . . .

Most of us these days are downloading our music. Some folks even do it for free (read: illegally). In light of this fact, does it make sense for an artist these days to make and include album art for their work? Has making album art become a thing of the past? Should it become a thing of the past since the sale of CD's has rapidly fallen during the last two years.

Or could there be another solution? Could 'album art' be sold at live gigs in limited quantities for those seeking to have it? Not that selling the art at live gigs would draw people to the gig, but it would be more of a special 'thank you' to those who came to the gig, paid their way in and showed support for the band?

What are your thoughts on album art in the digital download age that we're living in?

Apple Updates for Logic Pro 9? Release dates?

Hey music world and musicians, engineers, producers, and talent extraordinaire -- does anyone know when Apple plans on doing a fix bugs update?

We're trying to record our new album but we can't use any external audio devices (namely interfaces) as Logic Pro and even Garageband aren't allowing those inputs to be used.

We'd appreciate any knowledge you have about any scheduled updates, as we, and many of you, too, would probably like to get some recordings done.

Facebook Mobile Musician Ads?

We're just wondering how many bands, musicians, songwriters, would advertise their albums, abilities, or songs on a Facebook Mobile Musician Ad?

What would you want to see and how much would you be willing to pay?

As Facebook when public their shares haven't been holding up too well with the lack of a mobile ad strategy. Maybe now's the time for musicians to help out Facebook in return for some low-cost ads aimed at fans old and new.

We figure it would be a win-win situation for all involved -- especially considering that a major musician is one of the principle shareholders . . . .

Vancouver tomorrow ! ! ! !

Heading to Vancouver tomorrow to start the recording sessions for our late summer (fingers-crossed) release. Mainly, we'll be tracking drums and freshening up some music with new and exciting sounds and songs.

Basically, we're looking to turn the 'demo' songs you're hearing here on Reverbnation into a more complete project.

So far, so good. We're looking forward to the sessions and the music that will come out of them.

We'll keep you posted as we make progress.

In the meantime, feel free to dig deeper into our song files, We have about 20 of them posted for your listening enjoyment.

Ciao! for now.

Vancouver Recording Sessions

In just little over a week, we'll be recording tracks for our upcoming album. We're looking at a late summer release featuring completed versions of the demo songs you and find on Reverbnation. It'll be an exciting, work-filled, fun-filled time. We hope you'll enjoy the results and support our efforts by picking up the album when it's completed.

Fan and Friend Loyalty and The Sound of New Music This Summer . . . .

It's tough to express the appreciation we have for each and every one of our fans and friends individually -- even though we try to send as many personal messages as possible. You guys and gals are pretty cool.

We especially appreciate our most loyal fans and friends -- those who've shared with us the trials and tribulations and the bad times and the good as well. Many and most of you have been very patient with us and have helped in your own special way. We also appreciate the way you show your support, be it through positive reinforcement, warm hugs, or by writing our band name on body parts and modelling it in aesthetically pleasing ways (winks). Your loyalty is near and dear to us and we hope to do our best to return that loyalty and fanship and friendship in as many ways as is possible for us.

We are diligently working on completing more songs for your listening pleasure. We are also working on getting some recording sessions completed to give you the full impact of 'our sound' and allow you to hear what we hear buzzing and banging around in our heads before we're adequately able to present it to you, our loyal fans and friends, both old and new.

Thank you kindly!

Warmly, Leon and Mike Twist of Zen