About Me

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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chilling in Philly before a show...

Hanging out at OCF in Fairmount right now.  Just spent the better part of the afternoon so far editing the song for the end credits and the full length trailer of "The Life." Amanda and I worked part of the afternoon yesterday at my place recording the guitar and vocals on isolated tracks so I could mix this weekend.  All that remains is to redo some of the backing vocals and vocal effects, and for me to record a few more guitar parts for the ending guitar solo.  I feel good for having made some strides with it this weekend.  Especially since I've been able to effectively utilize several chunks of time during which I might not have gotten much done.  Yesterday night I had the vocal tracks edited before the bus to Philly had even left New York City.  Today, I'm killing time while Darcy has her tech rehearsals for the dance tonight.  I'm going to the 8pm performance at New Spaces, New Formats tonight.  Sort of my whole reason for being in Philly right now.  One of Darcy's companies is dancing this, which looks way cool...so meanwhile, I sit in a cafe contemplating my next move.  Yoga might be involved, also the Eastern State Penitentiary looms across the street.  And so do some weird temporary gargoyles.

This has been a nice welcome break from the pace of the city even though, last night we had a bit of a wild night.  We went to an apartment party in Center City, someone's 30th, and then went to the Trestle Inn to dance.  We didn't get in until around 3am.  Now, I bounce back with caffeine and sunlight and figure I'd better enjoy my day while I can.  I don't need to head over to the area until around 7pm.  At some point, I will try to meet up with Virginia for sure.

Meanwhile, I'm also trying not to think too hard about my premiere tomorrow.  Most of the stress involved is going to be in getting there from here.  My bus leaves at 930am and arrives in NYC, in theory, at 1130am.  The salon is not until 3pm so that, in theory, gives me a few hours to run it again if I should so choose.  The Lacy is driving me because we intend to perform a few of her songs as well.

The piece has come together quite nicely and the few people I've shown it to over the past week have responded by either spacing out or being wildly impressed that I can coordinate all the pedal tapping with my feet and knob twiddling, etc.  Luckily, when I performed it for Amanda, I found that her energy and interest in the piece kept me focused for the most part.  So I can reasonably presume that a similar energy from the salon's attendees will keep me focused on performing the piece and hitting all the right buttons at the right time.  That's really going to be the hardest part.  Focusing.  Because I've found myself wanting to get lost in the piece like I do when I play and am really enjoying the act of creating the music as well as hearing it come together.  But if I do that I miss tapping a pedal to loop or switch tracks and I get flustered and the piece could fall apart.  

Once the piece gets going though it becomes easier to do what I need to do.  I will say that a lot of it is going to be improvised.  The structure will not be but what I do during each section will be largely improvisatory.  I'm really really excited to be doing this finally.  And really really hope that a lot of people will come out for this.  The other artists should be fun as well.  There's Lacy and I, a dancer and a tenor who will sing French Renaissance music.

Here's a link to the event on Facebook.

Monday, September 23, 2013

You Are a Tourist...

I just spent the most amazing couple of days doing two things I love.  Composing music and wandering my city.  Had a friend in town for a few days and we even squeezed in a few live shows in the mix.

Whenever I have a guest in town I always make sure to show them my city.  The way I see it.  All the fun and amazing things I've seen since I've moved here.  Random things I've stumbled on myself, things people have shown me, things that make me happy, all the places I like to go.  The views from my apartment window to the random stained glass water tower atop a building in DUMBO you can see from the Manhattan Bridge to the animated Subway art you see from the Q train just after leaving the DeKalb Avenue stop on the Manhattan bound track. Being a tourist, or rather a tour guide, in my own city, is one of the best ways to remember why I moved here.  And to get back in touch with why I still love it here.

We went all over on Friday, from Prospect Park where we stumbled on a Japanese flute player hiding in the woods and unwittingly serenading us, to the views from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and the Brooklyn Bridge all the way to happy hour at a pub in downtown with wine on tap, topped off by a stroll down to the Battery to catch the views of the harbor.  Plenty of amazing things to show my friend, both planned and unplanned. And that was just one day that we spent together.  We hopped around the bars in my neighborhood on Wednesday, from Korzo to Freddy's to Barbes to Skylark.  She even got to see one of my favorite bands at Barbes that night.  Thursday we saw Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands at the Dr. Who themed Way Station (the bathroom there is a TARDIS...it's bigger on the inside).

On Saturday, my friend did her own thing and met with her friends while I spent the morning and afternoon, alone in my amazing apartment with the fall breeze flowing in my open windows, pushing ahead on all my music projects; the song with Amanda Brecker, the piece for Ben's film and a new project.  Yes, another new one.  This one, my own.  For once.  I'm working on a guitar looping piece that I've been dabbling with for months.  I got invited to play it in one week at Marie Christine Giordano's artists' salon.  The good thing is, having to perform it has forced me to push forward on completing it, so the piece has gone from a mere idea to something semi structured and almost complete in under a week.

Good thing too, because it's not like I have all that much free time to work on it.  I also spent a good amount of time getting all of my equipment to function properly together and learning what all I can do with it.  It's going to be a lot of fun performing this piece.  I have my M Audio Axiom keyboard set up to mix four tracks on which I can now set up layered loops of guitar parts using my Behringer FCB1010 pedal which is programmed to record, overdub, multiply, trigger effects and even reverse.  So, just having all these functions available to me is multiplying my creativity and I'm coming up with all kinds of cool stuff.  It'll be epic.  I promise.

It's happening at 3pm on Sunday, September 29th at Marie Christine Giordano's dance studio at 220 25th Street, Suite 202 in Brooklyn.  I hope some of you New Yorkers can come.

Meanwhile, I've got the Amanda Brecker song to work on this week as well because we're hopefully taking another crack at tracking this thing in my apartment this week sometime.  I'll keep updating that as always.  Meanwhile, seriously, come out if you can to the Salon on Sunday, the 29th at 3pm!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

My head's going to explode...

...okay, maybe not.  I think I'm all right.  I just started to look at the next few weeks and my time frame for some of the current projects I have going on.  For a second it looked like I wasn't going to have nearly enough time to work on them in between day jobs and other things I want to do.  I'm getting to that point where I'm so busy that I'm having to put off things like doing voice over auditions, chasing down VO agents and practicing VO.  Unfortunate, because I've been thinking a lot about that fact lately.  And not just VO.  Everything else I'm missing out on doing because I've taken on so much.

One of my good friends, who is also a musician, a creator and a fantastic singer-songwriter, just posted a status update on Facebook that said "I should be making something right now..."  Exactly.  I feel like that on a regular basis these days.  Granted I'm only partially sure she's talking about making music or art or anything creative.  She could be talking about baking.  But either way, it does echo my sentiments.

I got in a panic yesterday when I started to type this blog because I've been invited to play some of my original guitar looping music at a Salon in a few weeks.  I initially thought I wouldn't be able to do it but I managed to get the day off and agreed to come play.  I have not finished writing the piece of music I'm going to perform.  I've been dabbling with it for months though and I could finish it in no time if I apply myself.  

But therein lies the rub.  I guess I shouldn't have used the phrase "in no time" in that last sentence.  It would take a not insignificant chunk of time to finish writing the song, decide the logistics of performing and decide things like what FX I'm going to use in Guitar Rig (my software for amp modeling).  Therefore, time is of the essence. And I don't have a whole lot of it between now and then. So I have to start prioritizing.   And I have already been back burner-ing one of my projects far too long while the other is starting to ramp up.  Tomorrow night, with any luck, I'll get a window into what my timeline is for the one that's ramping up, that being Amanda Brecker song.

Amanda and I met and recorded some scratch tracks on Friday, which went quite well.  Now, I'm listening back to them and trying to figure out what other layers we're going to add.  It's such a fun process.  On top of that, the piano piece for Ben is finished but I need to find time to practice it and sit down and record it.  It's so simple and short that I keep putting it off.  And I'm worried that this could be a trend.  I should go back and read my own blog about procrastination from the other day.  Maybe that'll help.

Back on the guitar looping song, what's exciting about this opportunity is that it'll be the first time I've performed my music (meaning my own) solo (meaning just myself) in front of an audience, I think, ever.  I know you're thinking, "But Tim, you've played in bands before, right?" Yes, and some of that music that I played, I wrote.  But I always had other people performing with me.  I've even had my own music performed where I did a solo or two, whether it be a guitar solo in a rock tune or that time that I sampled Tania Stavreva playing my piano sketch and played with the samples during an interlude in the piece.  But never before have I, myself, gotten up, unaccompanied and performed a piece of my own creation.

And this is a new medium for me to compose in as of a few years ago.  I started this looping project years ago when I started to amass the equipment to execute it.  And over the course of the past few years in learning to use it all, I have written a few song ideas but nothing has gotten as fleshed out as the current piece.  Current unnamed piece that I must now think of a name for.  I'll probably come up with something lame like Song 1 or something.

I'm immensely excited about the opportunity as it's a big step for me into finally doing this thing.  It'll be a good testing ground too.  Small audience (hopefully not too small, you're all invited after all!), intimate space and just me and my guitar...and an amp, a laptop and interface and a MIDI pedal.  But you get the idea.

The salon is Sunday September 29th and starts at 3pm at Marie Christine Giordano's dance rehearsal space on 25th street in Brooklyn between 4th and 5th Avenues.   Here's a link to the Facebook event in case you're on Facebook and would like to come.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Procrastination...

http://jamesclear.com/how-to-stop-procrastinating

I read the above article on how to stop procrastinating today and the irony is that it's been open in a tab in my browser for over a week.  I can't even remember how I found it.  It was linked in some other article that I read a while back, I think.  Anyway, the writer talks about the 2-minute rule, which means basically that if you can do something in 2 minutes, do it now.

It's something that I've kind of said before, in so many words.  I blogged ages ago about how I used to lament never getting anything done because part of me didn't want to start any tasks (be they related to music, voice over, or just general networking stuff) unless I had a good two hours to devote to them.  Two's just an arbitrary number really.  Any amount of time that I deemed not long enough to work on those important tasks would be shrugged off or delineated to chores that I actually could finish.  I used to nap. Ha!

But, I actually realized that if I could at least start the tasks in my hand, the next time I returned to them they would be partially started or maybe even partially finished.  In this way I could chip away at them instead of being married to the idea of always making huge strides each time I sat down to work.  More importantly, and this is something the article above doesn't specifically mention, I could potentially find (and this happened more often than you'd think) that the task that was looming was a lot simpler than I had originally imagined and that completion of said task would not turn out to be such a colossal undertaking.

The article actually mentions that this applies to starting new habits as well.  Without even realizing it, probably because if you think about it, this is pretty intuitive, I was applying this in many areas of my life over the past few years.

When I was saving up to move to NYC, 5 years ago, and trying to stay fit and keep my mind centered on my goal, I decided that my fitness was key in this endeavor.  One morning in the early summer of 2008, when I had just started taking care of my sister's dog Nigel, I decided I would take him for his morning walk as soon as I woke up and that it would become my jogging routine.  Part of what made it work so well, is that the dog made me run with the leash so it just made sense to put on jogging clothes every time I took him out and, also, that I did it in the morning before I had time to think about anything else or to get started on something that would eat up my time.  The last thing that probably contributed most to starting this habit was already having a routine that was the same almost every day of the week (working overnights 8pm - 4am during the week, sleeping until midnight and waking up refreshed and working on music all afternoon).  At any rate, just diving into it every morning and going outside to jog with the dog suddenly became a routine.  I don't think I skipped it once that summer.  Even after the dog was shipped off to be with them in Okinawa I kept up the jogging.

"Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it."

I have found this time and again with everything I attempt that's difficult (or perceived as difficult), if I just do it, I realize that it's a lot easier than you thought it was.  Not that I ever wanted to procrastinate when planning my move to NYC, but this mentality certainly helped along that endeavor.  Also, every piece of music I've ever written started this way.

Anyway, I've been faced with the opportunity to procrastinate and even nap in the past few days and I avoided the temptation by simply starting something else.  Today, I plugged away at the piano piece instead of napping...luckily, I was working on my laptop so I didn't even have to remove myself from the bed...and also, luckily, the piano is not that far of a walk from my bed...it's practically right next to it...did I mention that I love my apartment?  I also managed to go shopping and cook some food for the next work week when I could have just lazed around watching TV.

Don't worry, I did actually relax a little bit today so I'm not overworking myself either.  Now I have a phone call to make, yoga and a date tonight!  The moral of this story is to get off your asses and do something even if you think it's too big of an undertaking.