In this episode, Aaron sits down with composer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Barsom of The Weed Garden to discuss his project’s latest release, Boy Interrupted.

Paul’s career as a composer and teacher of musical composition spans over 30 years and has influenced numbers of composition students and musical educators, including Fret Buzz The Podcast alumnus Tony Scaltz.

As a result, Tony makes a guest return to the show to join Aaron and Paul on the mic and discuss the genesis and recording of Boy Interrupted and the various styles and musical idioms the album invokes. In addition, the guys explore how composers approach creativity, musical invention, various career paths, adaptation to digital audio environments, and so much more.

Be on the lookout for Tony’s new line of skin care products, Prodigal Sun, which hits beaches across the country next summer.

Find more about Paul here:



Welcome back to another episode of Fret Buzz The Podcast. A podcast for musicians
focusing on how we musicians and professionals approach our craft, giving
insight to help us all become more informed and better musicians. Hi, I’m
your host Aaron Sefchick and this week we’re getting into part two with Paul
Barsom all about, well, finding your voice within music really. All of this is
because of course Paul has released a new album Boy Interrupted by The Weed
Garden. So definitely go on over to, listen to it, it’s really
good. You’ll have a better idea of what we’ve been talking about in these
episodes but definitely check it out. If you haven’t already, hit the subscribe
button. Next week we’ve got a really good guest that you’re gonna want to check
out and other than that, well, let’s jump right into part two with Paul Barsom
on Fret Buzz The Podcast.
That’s one of the things like Tony mentioned earlier, like my path through
creative work to this thing is kind of odd and a little unique and one of the
byproducts of that is that there’s elements of just about every kind of
music I’ve ever heard on this album but it means that it doesn’t fit into a
genre you know? It’s some kind of rock but I mean I’ve been thinking about it
for a while. I mean, wait, let me just ask you guys, look, what is this?
I’ve said I said would you ask me this question we you know I’ve talked about
it I I look at this I have two things about this I think one it fits if if you
could put us into a genre which i think is really something you shouldn’t do I
think I I think it feels more like progressive pop is what it feels like
but that being said I think it’s something unique because it’s written by
a composer truthfully I mean think about it like 90% of the people who are out
there doing songwriting are not are not classical composers Paul they’re just
not there still I don’t yeah okay all right so I’m saying so I think the
path the pathways is different and and I think it’s hard to classify it but but
the second point I want to make is like it go what we’re saying today do you
think like with all the stuff we have out there all the technology do we do we
need do you need to have labels do we need to have
genres is it in just enough to kind of have like stuff you’re producing which
is like these classical or classic rock structures that are kind of have these
compositional elements you know sort of surrounding these really ambient pieces
and there’s so many elements of this album so many styles that are there
isn’t it enough just to say here’s what I can write here is the stuff I produce
and not have to put a label to it and say if there’s this is like rock or
experimental or ambient no I’m saying like you’re even going there anymore
well only from the outside you know cause like I don’t want to put a label
on anything I remember this famous you know it was some TV talk show interview
with The Beatles in 1964 and they’re asking Paul McCartney so like what kind
of music is this and he’s just like well we don’t even like to think about that
you know yeah director music here and so for me as I
said before I mean this is totally intuitive process and if I start
thinking about what kind of genre I’m writing that just submarines the whole
thing so I don’t think about it at all it just kind of comes out and but at
some point when it’s done I look at it and just go what did I do here yeah
because in terms of you know getting it well let me put it this way I would like
people to hear this you know so somehow I have to get it before people who are
the right people to listen to it who are gonna get it and appreciate it and you
know all that kind of stuff here I think it’s like hard to approach music it’s
kind of easy but its songs are a little bit long if you you know have all the
solos and stuff you know for radio anyway although I have I’m making radio
edits of them are you really take out all the good parts except the vocals and
yeah but but yeah they just don’t seem to sort of fit anywhere that is already
defined and you know with Napster I don’t know if you remember like the
structure of that like you could browse for genres and the first thing I noticed
was that you know there’s like 25 different genres of metal yeah did it
come on and then there are things like a student of my term you know to this
genre called doom whap doom what do doom walk so it’s like like do want yeah like
this to me walk dark turgid kind of do i yeah yeah do what I notice is when I go
to sort of sample stuff out there in the world what I find is that the stuff
that’s being I don’t know if it’s so much the stuff that’s being made that’s
really visible but the stuff that’s being curated that’s showing up for
instance on all these playlists tends to be pretty narrow in its stylistic
intention which is just fine you know and a dance tune needs to be a dance
tune can’t have an extended ambient the middle section or something right so
you know so it makes sense but you know on the other hand if you come and try
and you know move the music into the world you kind of need to know where to
move it so yeah so that for me you know I didn’t even really think about that
that much but now I’m just going oh yeah needs to hear if you don’t want to be
labeled and I understand we are coming from Tony and I’d get that up very much
so we need well not we but society likes labels to iTunes or when I go to
whatever podcast I want to listen to I know exactly what to type in because SEO
is yeah engine optimization what I type into Google or what I type into YouTube
all the algorithms know exactly where to point me so that stuff as much as we
don’t want to be and I you know it’s that exact phrase of you know well what
what kind of music do you are you writing or how would you how would you
label Evonik for decades as long as I’ve lived and no matter who I ask as an
artist they’re like oh you know it’s it’s something different or I don’t know
how to classify it because it’s and we all don’t want on a personal level we
don’t want to be labeled because we want to think of ourselves as unit is unique
right but the reality is we all exist within some kind of label or some kind
of category genre so people can identify with that
right yes as we don’t even know right you know sometimes you’re just too close
to the stuff and you just go you know yeah it’s a challenge you know it’s a
challenge to sort of hasn’t as a new artist I mean if you’ve been around for
a while you know say 10 years or more you know you’ve probably evolved with
the system anyway so it just picked you up as it went along but you know like if
Radiohead was a new band what would that like what Spotify playlist with would
that go on yeah true yeah so that but that’s business model
that we’re kind of living with now I was going to ask
I was gonna say cuz this is like you know you’ve particularly been taking the
podcast running with it but this is more your wheelhouse is sort of like SEO
optimization on it so yeah is it something today where people let’s
say create music have to start thinking about fitting into a certain
classification when they’re writing music is is you think that’s something
we have to do nowadays to say well I’m writing whatever I want to write but I
have to label this as rock because I know that on the internet which is my
main mode of transmission then this is what this is what I get I can’t I can’t
be so eclectic that I can’t be like the guy down the street that just makes you
know there’s stuff that nobody can talk about because it’s so out there you know
I’m saying that with me is a academic really you know that world has got a lot
of really abstract music in it you know that’s partly why it’s in the Academy
because it’s not you know it’s got to live in that greenhouse you know to
survive I mean there’s not a commercial you know viability for somebody writing
you know atonal chamber music yeah but you know it’s really she like then I
sort think about like Aaron I are big gamers so this is something to know
about me Paul it’s like I come on well okay than I am
I dropped like 600 hours unread dead anyway see half like bands like 65 days
of static that are these experimental bands right I mean they have success
they are doing what they need to do and they have different outlets though they
have you know yeah well a lot of its based on live performance I mean I don’t
know if you guys know Godspeed you black Emperor this band from Montreal they you
know it’s like it’s a large it’s built on a rock pit so there’s like a rock
band core but there’s like three guitar players and two drummers you know it’s
kind of pick and then but there’s a chamber orchestra around it and a visual
of vision what am I talking like a video person and a live sound person there’s a
lot of captured audio that goes into it but they’re there their songs are like
20 minutes long so it’s back to the old prog rock days of the early 70s yeah but
you like it’s informed by say American
minimalism you know so it’s like a lot of patterns slow builds long big arch
form kind of things they’re really successful popular group but like you
guys are really literate musicians and don’t know about there’s all kinds of
stuff out there that’s going on like that and it can be successful but you
got to have somebody that knows what they’re doing in terms of you know
marketing I guess yep yeah yeah absolutely
yeah and how to deal with the I mean money is what makes a lot of the stuff
sustainable or not so if you really know how to do that then you can do it that’s
why when I was 19 I’m like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing um I know how to
do the Academy I can see that that’s a clear path for me you know but or these
aren’t realistic kind of sort of representations where they can take a
look a band like you’re just talking about then I could be in play at the
church bazaar down here they’re just not gonna do that I mean it just it’s not
the right kind of audience I mean right yeah yeah yeah but but you got to
cultivate that audience somehow so you know a mix of live and recorded things
you know it’s always sort of been part of that formula it’s just a little
different now you know it can take different forms I mean one of the one of
the advantages of say rap music for instance is like you know you played in
rock bands you know it is you got a schlep all this heavy gear you know it’s
just a big thing it’s like if you’re a rapper um you need a mixer and a couple
of things that look like turntables and you know you show up to anything you
know so the the just the traffic now down to as well though what’s that
that’s also changing as well oh sure it’s all over yeah a couple weeks ago we
had Ryan Brown on and he was just talking about his helix and how the days
of amps and all blog and all that stuff is completely gone all he does is bring
his board mmm that’s it good night he has everything but yeah yep yeah I mean
how many guys should show up with a laptop and plug in and that they ever
think on Ableton or something even even old-school people
let me know you remember Geddy Lee is to play he just ran directly into the thing
and since Alex Lifeson had all those amps over there he just had a bunch of
dryers yeah yeah yeah great fix tumble dryers yeah I went to a rerun he had
that no yeah I mean everything’s getting more portable but you see what he just
did by the way just see how he played in the mall you see how are getting ya know
Getti know he just showed up one day randomly in a mall in Toronto and just
set up this gear as a one-man band he called a doctor lees one-man band he
dressed up and put on a hat and glasses nobody knew who he was
yeah you just sit there playing and and and and it just played two hours and the
funny part was he should look this up on YouTube the funny part was to me said
hey play YYC who’s playing ukulele start playing what see and the guy goes yeah
the ukulele it looks like that’s really good so I’m just like it but nobody knew
it was getting that’s great it’s great no I
yeah it’s it’s crazy I mean I if you guys like film there there is a movie I
just watched a documentary I love documentaries especially about music in
this document are just watched about rap and hip hop lyricism and it’s called
word is power if you get a chance to check this documentary Alice about the
early days of hip-hop and how Sarah progressed into sort of like what’s
going on now and what I was really sort of fascinated with was how complex and
intricate hip-hop lyrics are I mean these guys can invent a notation yeah
they’ll show you like on the their lyrical sheets they have like little
dots and dashes also in Morse code for where the rhythms in the beats light I
mean they’re really into it you know I mean when I was a kid growing up like oh
that’s just stuff that is you know something I culturally don’t understand
but it’s really interesting there’s really a lot of complexity behind it you
know everything people do gets that like everything that people do will develop
that and I like country music okay you think your country music is this
incredibly formula kind of thing right yeah oh you know the the paradox hook
you know she got the gold mine I got the shaft you know that kind of yeah yeah
one of the reasons that I check in on country music not often but but
now and then is just to listen to see what new incredibly inventive ways
people have come up with doing that exact same thing on one hand I could
stay and be your lovin man but the reason I must go is on the other hand
right you know that formula I mean there’s a lot of them but just that one
the creative ways that people come up with to solve that one is just
fascinating to me I mean human brains are just extraordinary and it doesn’t
matter how formulaic or fixed something might be I mean they’re gonna come up
with you know cool ways with lots of layers and you know it’s just people are
interesting yeah yeah over and over and over and over again yeah yeah
so Paul yep you have an interesting look I mean I as someone who has been
involved in basic composition for as long as you have and sort of seen it
through the through the lens of history right through Western art music and I’m
saying old right yeah no I mean like seeing things like you and I I mean
Aaron and I can never speak right to the volumes that you can unlike Beethoven
and Brahms and all the classical best you can what I want to know is has much
really change do you think in the last few hundred years in terms of musical
writing I know stylistically yes but I mean in terms of the mechanics of things
and are we just kind of doing the same just with different spins on things you
know I’m saying yeah yeah yeah I mean what changes is the social context and
the tools okay so you know like Beethoven had the piano right but he
also had you know like a composing environment socially and economically
because he had patrons he had to please to you know that helped shape what he
came up with but I think the you know the fundamental question of I haven’t a
need to create a thing of a certain kind and how do I do that still has all the
same components you know it’s it from from an intuitive impulse to some
sort of concepts to now thinking of it as you know having intellectual
structure components and whatever until you make the whole thing
finished the pathways are different but everybody’s still walking you know what
I mean yeah so no I don’t think it’s really changed I think that’s one of the
things that excites me is that when I remember to do it and always remember to
do this but when I sit down and try and work to just not take for granted this
process that you know a lot of something really cool might happen if I just shut
up and pay attention and go about my business you know the way I want and I
don’t think that’s any different for me than it was for you know somebody
writing music 400 years ago or for that matter somebody writing music today in
Senegal you know well you know it’s just like it’s just it’s just people creating
things and allowing themselves I think one of the liberating things about
creating things is it just allows you sell yourself to let suspend the rules a
little bit and just go what if what if what if I Drive you know what if I try
this weird thing and the beauty of digital audio workstations of course is
there’s always command Z you know yeah
no one will ever know that I did that you know gone
Aaron how how’s the songwriting classes going with your it’s your students I
know you were mentioning a while back you were getting for delving into this
is that yeah working pretty well I mean I’d love to
say what’s going great for the ones that participate it’s going great it’s just
really hard to get people to engage songwriting is hard it takes a lot of
decision-making and it takes a lot of you know just going with it it’s serious
yeah it’s it is it’s it’s scary and there is some for some odd reason I
don’t possess that and I your court yeah it’s it’s very interesting to me that
and there’s so many people so many of my students and I would venture to say a
good 90% if not more they just don’t know how
to take the plunge they don’t know how to just say okay I’m going to go ahead
with this idea or and if that doesn’t work I can always have more ideas it’s
that fear of just being able to do it that holds them back from the entire
process you know no matter how much I teach the process no matter how much I
walk them through the process or give them examples of the process when I lay
it back on their hands their lap it’s always yeah I just don’t know and it’s
like singing like you know when you sing it I always looked at it like if you
sing it’s like that’s your voice out there it’s like a representation of for
you if you’re singing sucks if you’re a bad singer you’re like all I just feel
awful I’ve always looked at songwriting the same way and if you write something
you put it out there people like that’s not good you’re like oh something kind
of there’s something icky about me I’m saying it’s written because you wrote
bad music yeah right I’ve always been thought of well what is bad music no
matter what you write at any one point now obviously there is such thing as bad
music but yes there but you’re always going to have an audience somewhere
someone out there is always going to be I’d be able to identify with you and
your style or the words that you’re putting down or the emotion that you’re
putting out they you do have an audience there are people who will identify with
you and that that that fear is what holds so many people back that if you
just kind of say look I am me and that’s okay I’m just gonna put it out there
whether I can sing whether I can play or not I’m just gonna put it out there and
there will be people who appreciate what you do no matter that’s a fearlessness
yeah do you guys know who wesley willis is but real quick wesley willis was a
street musician that lived in chicago hugely popular guy and he wrote hundreds
of songs that are all basically the same song and he did it with
a little Casio thing with a bunch of rhythm patterns on it and stuff homeless
guy for a long time incredibly social when he would meet his fans he would do
this head bump thing with him there was this a ritual it’s like that was his
greeting it’s kind of bump their head really you know any had a callus on his
head from doing it so many people that’s how it was as their tribute albums where
bands like rock bands have covered his songs and stuff but if you listen to
stuff you just go this is the weirdest music I’ve ever heard it’s just you know
stuff on a Casio and this big guy bellowing you know words about you know
Nirvana playing at the Agora Ballroom or whatever you know yeah so you just never
know what’s gonna connect with with people you know but but the the thing
about the fear of creating things almost always comes from that thing we were
talking about earlier where you have to just block off any sort of evaluative
judgment of what you’re doing while you’re doing it right yeah then you can
sort of say okay now I’m gonna close that door and and that will look at the
stuff and say well what’s you know what’s accept acceptable you know based
on whatever that for my faith a couple of years ago I I met John Searle so if
ever tell you guys the story John Jones the editor for cosmopolitan and he was
giving a lecture up here in one of the local libraries so Trey said to me you
gotta go talk to this guy if you wanted to get into some writing and I said
through his lecture for like half an hour whatever it was and I went to a
book signing him sit down now she was a really nice guy so everything for like
an hour and I said to him I said John I said Melissa I’m with this writing thing
what can you tell me he’s like well what’s what’s the big problem for you I
said I’m always judging if what I’m running is good or bad he goes that’s
you got it backwards you don’t think about good or bad he
think about what kind of audience can I build that’s a guy who edits for Cosmo
for like 20-some years yeah you’re building an audience it’s not about good
writing or bad writing and said you’re you’re getting your voice out there
connecting to people that’s the main there’s closes is it is like but as
close as you can get to worrying about what anybody else thinks
that’s not destructive I think actually is one of these oblique
strategies carpets of one of my favorite ones when it comes up it’s what anybody
wanted hmm doesn’t you want it lighter value for the thing yeah and you can
either accept or reject that as a valid thing but but it sometimes it’s just
good because you get so head down in the task you know you’re just buried in the
engine you know and you’re not really noticing like would anyone want to drive
this vehicle oh man and anybody could be anybody including yourself and actually
most importantly yourself what I want it because sometimes I forget that I forget
like you get so caught up in the task you just go am i what I enjoyed what I’m
doing here if I’ve just encountered it you know that’s crazy oh good question
you know is a great question it’s gonna save me a lot of time in my youth oh
yeah ever is the time I I would like in the house for like my write and
driftwood drive for like three weeks you know just kind of never coming out of
the house and just writing stuff er this or an aspect of like okay that’s just
borderline either creative or just being nuts I think we get I do think we get
inside our heads a little bit too much too much at points especially as
creatives but there is a time when you have to be confident in who you are and
just not care you just you can’t change you can’t change what’s who you are
specifically and you can’t change what’s gonna come out of you that’s for sure I
mean there’s nothing you can do that’s gonna change that as a person you are
who you are and you’re going to write and you’re gonna sound like who you are
no matter what and as long as you can accept that and be comfortable with that
then all of that fear and all of that other stuff what people were gonna think
and blah blah blah all of that goes away and you are free to just be who you are
and write it record it and whatever happens from there is okay do you guys
know Daniel Johnston that name suffer yeah Daniel Johnston okay he was the guy
Paul who Kurt Cobain looked up to in fact one of the old Nirvana shirts so
you see like the smiley face with the two x’s oh he was or it wasn’t at the
logo it was it was the logo for Daniel
Johnston record and Johnston was a pioneer in lo-fi and Daniel Johnston was
this guy in fact I think he’s got schizophrenia or something right and
they didn’t do this thing where he was he was flying an airplane with his or
his dad as flying an airplane and in the flight he took the keys out of the
ignition and crashed a plane he had a lot of mental illness but Daniel Johnson
is this singer/songwriter back in the I think in the late 99 TS there’s
producing his loaf I records you’re just getting up kind of like this like I know
a Casio keyboard just getting up with just a guitar and pounding out and wrote
these lyrics that Kurt Cobain loved he idolized this guy and and dedicated a
lot it you see it in the old in the early Nirvana stuff he was actually
paying tribute to this man and it just gives me like it makes me think about
this guy who obviously didn’t give a about you know what the industry was
saying he just went up there he did his own voice and was who he was and and
people he’d get he had a little following and and he can go on the
internet today and and look up his stuff and there’s there’s a fan base you can
make you want as long as you can find the right people who will get it yeah
right when I look at somebody like Mike Patton you know oh yeah from mr. bungle
yeah I mean I look at bungle and I’m just like okay there’s like millions of
people like this stuff oh yeah when you first play for somebody that’s never
heard it they’re just like this is weird it just actually is insane yeah yeah
he’s an interesting guy yeah yeah you know so but he’s also this force of
nature as a human being so you know he’s obviously gonna you know part of that
engine is gonna go toward making sure that you know this is you know well
distributed and available and he’s got a whole stick with it was a he was
arrested to hear about this he had a suitcase full of sex toys do the rest in
a hotel yeah yes exactly so what if I mean if
that’s the thing yeah I mean you know yeah I mean that’s right yeah no no
about Mike madness when you when you look at a like
look him up like on any kind of not that Wikipedia is the litmus test for
identity today but maybe it is in the 21st century but it says he classifies
himself as a voice artist more than yea any and you get that well yeah but he’s
also one of the most literate I mean just listen to this stuff and as
somebody like I said before is you know like my listening habits are really
broad not that deep but it means I’ve heard a lot of the stuff so it’s like I
listen to these mr. bungle recordings and like that’s Polynesian ket Jack
singing this is from some West African tradition this is some weird Italian
futurist music stuff that’s in here and eats seems to know this huge body of
literature and obviously like one of his big influence is John Zorn I don’t know
if what’s it really I know John sorta yeah I don’t know Pat listen to him yeah
that’s interesting any of the Cobra stuff or you know the I mean even Naked
City you know yeah I mean you taught you turn me on to that l but bill here spell
yeah yeah so it’s this very sort of avant-garde one-way trip kind of music
that you don’t know what’s gonna happen next right you know and actually here’s
the thing I love about that the place you’d never guess where everybody got
that so composers like Zappa and all these
people who write this music that’s like really progressive and and sounds like
that it’s Carl stalling the guy who is the music director for Looney Tunes the
Looney Tunes cartoons you think about that stuff and it’s all situational yeah
you know down the stairs kind of thing yeah and so when you think about think
about Zappa you know you just go oh really episodic this little thing this
little doodle this incredibly virtuosic thing and if you go back and listen to
those recordings from the sessions for those cartoons these orchestras were
amazing these people are sight-reading this stuff are them really oh yeah oh
yeah there was no multitrack back then oh
yeah yeah there are recordings of these sessions with you know with him talking
to the group you know and yeah it’s incredible but it was a huge influence
on generations of American composers john adams even you know
it all starts with a guy named ray Scott and that you could do a whole podcast on
ray Scott ray Scott was a jazz musician in the 20s and 30s he started out he had
the race Scott quintet which was actually six people which kind of gives
you a hint of this guy’s personality so but what the way he would do it this is
kind of an interesting creative tool he would have them improvise and they would
just screw around until something cool happen and you go do that again and then
he would write it down and build stuff out of that so what he was doing he was
using jazz musicians to create compositions that were fixed pieces so
he would have them play these things and they’re crazy you can go look him up
they’re just he’s not long you know two and a half minute crazy little things
really virtuosic so you need a really good players but I think the jazz
musicians got bored with not being able to improvise because ultimately they’re
just playing the same notes every time yeah so he had a hard time making this
work for in a sustainable way so he invented the sequencer combinations of
notes and durations and stuff to be able to figure out you know like oh that’s a
good idea so he’s basically creating intuitively generated found objects well
when Robert Moog and his dad came along to buy circuits for their theremin
business mode walks into this place and sees this guy that’s got these modules
applicators and sequencers and all this stuff and just goes oh this could all be
in one thing you know Henson was great right so not only did he kind of is the
father of the modular synthesizer he invented this way of making music that
has had this huge influence on American composers and nobody’s forever the guy
you know he also did kind of funny commercials and stuff like he made a lot
of his music he lived in New York in a two room apartment one of which looks
like the inside of a nuclear reactor because there’s just like yeah yeah yeah
and he would do these electronic compositions and stuff and work with
people like Jim Henson there’s a bunch of stuff that they did this weird sort
of 60s psychedelic spoken word art stuff you know
Jim Henson is pretending to be wandering around in his own brain and there’s all
these strange sound effects and stuff but yeah there’s all kinds of weird
innovative music that finds an audience and you know it doesn’t have to be you
know you don’t have to be on Spotify with three million listeners a month
yeah well that’s just yeah everybody’s in that mindset though you know it’s
hard right I don’t think it needs to be that anymore I think we need to I think
Tech has made us to the point where we can literally brought it now even even
the absence of technology just yeah there there are ways to be a musician it
goes back to something I’ve talked about on the show many times you know having a
musical lifestyle yeah beyond the recording industry yeah it’s just
different you know but I think there’s still got to be that interpersonal
connection the kind of thing that comes from live performance or you know that
sort of thing you know otherwise it’s just it’s just digital bits you know you
know I mean and the artists that you’re I mean potentially the artists that
you’re following might not even be a real thing right you know I mean I mean
you could fabricate an online band like so easy yeah that’s very true you know
let’s let’s all do that we should right we should let’s make a new with the 3os
yeah yeah I mean you could do online concerts to go the whole the whole route
yeah well you know people have been doing stuff like that um the composer
tad done did this interesting project a while ago where he put together he wrote
this piece of music and basically just said okay performers of the world get in
front of your computer and play you know your part and then he actually compiled
a performance of this thing from all of the ignitions you know kind of a cool
idea yeah I don’t know how you could you know I mean it’s hard to come up with a
you know a a version of that that just involves like a rock band but you know
oh yeah and so that’s the point it’s just kind of look at these new creative
angles interesting ways of thinking about it
and for me it’s no different than like what who is a Penderecki he was doing
was that the guy was doing at the microphone swinging pendulum music was
that him Oh pendulum music Steve right no Steve
Reich yeah so it’s the same kind of same kind of thing yeah yeah anyway there’s
lots of ideas out there and a lot of them are cool and not all them have you
know commercial viability so you know that’s that’s you know that’s just part
of it this is part of the world but some stuff surprises me like I still I’m
shocked when I think that you know back in 1973 you know fans like yes or
touring playing tales from topographic oceans to like full arenas yeah wait Wow
okay cool in fact that’s that’s my sweet spot for my musical influences because I
was like 12 years old or something when that came out so you know that was some
of the earliest stuff I encountered and I just thought oh this is perfectly
normal for you know a whole arena full of people to show up to watch a band
open their set by playing the finale from the Firebird by Igor Stravinsky but
what you know how is that even happening imagine that sort of thing going on
today so so yeah you just never know that’s crazy yeah but it’s kind of a
magical thing I mean just the not knowing I guess you know as part of it
yeah you never know when you’ve made something really cool and artists are
often surprised by what they make what by what of what they make actually seems
to get traction right you know we weren’t thinking about that as a that
was just like a b-side at best and but it’s the hit you know you as an artist
have no idea what the masses are gonna like harry has lots of regrets about
dream on hmm because he this is just a throwaway tune you know and so his
guitar work on it he’s not happy with you know because he just kind of went in
and laid down the tracks and went back to you know doing whatever he’s doing it
according to him anyway and yeah you know you know you know that’s great no
way of knowing yeah I don’t think Stevie Nicks new
landslide was gonna be what was he no 19 or something you know yeah and it goes
back to like it you know all the way back to the beginning in in your album
Paul you know when you’re writing it you don’t really know what’s gonna become of
it but it is it’s a part of you you’re putting it out there and I did have one
question in terms of your album who all was involved because I know listening to
the album there’s there’s a lot going on so what parts are you responsible for
and what parts are other parts responsible for well basically I do
everything on there except for drum set okay and the there’s anchors has a
cellist on it Elizabeth kara Mecca and so drum set players are Spencer inch and
Kevin Lo both you know people I know from Pennsylvania and then the last
track that all the female vocals are my daughter Elizabeth actually okay and it
just lots and lots of takes and in terms of like giving a are these pre-plant
because you would talked about earlier how you kind of sing your parts out one
like that is that’s a process that you went through in terms of giving them the
pieces or how did you communicate to them in terms of what you were looking
for within the within the scope of my scene well basically with the drummers
what I did was I wrote a drum I wrote all the drum parts okay
you know so I just wrote him out we went in laid down those things with a lot of
latitude so it’s like here’s a fill I wrote you can play it you know but are
you two years right and then after we I was pretty sure that we’d gotten you
know enough material based on what I composed then I just said okay now let’s
do some takes with just whatever right like try different fields try different
you know and sometimes that was hard for them because they’d already been playing
what I wrote you know so it kind of bust out of that but but some of the stuff
that’s on there are things that were I mean you know things that they
just contributed to the thing but most of its you know notated out you know so
if I wanted to do it with the band no I had a drummer that read you know we just
do it but the cello part was all written out you know and the challenge on that
was it’s all glissandi you know so I was trying to get a classical cellist that’s
used to using all four fingers to play on one finger you know that was about
the only difficulty with that and then with my daughter it was just like sing
these notes melody you know it’s do it I’ll give you a reference pitch you can
kind of tune to and just sing it over and over again I’ll get a bunch of takes
and then we’ll build a choir out of you that’s it and the rest of it was me just
laying down you know guitar and vocal tracks and playing percussion and you
know synthesizers and you know whatever because I had the I mean one of the
advantages of not having to take a band into a studio to do something is that
you can you know really dig in and mess with it until you’re pretty sure it’s
right which is good because the final product you’re happy with bad news is it
just slows the whole damn thing down right it’s potentially you’ve never done
and most of your parts will record it in your studio that you have there or I
said yeah that’s another whole thing these two I don’t even know where half
this stuff was recorded it was either recorded in my so it was recorded here
but this is fairly recent lived here that on try some of it was recorded in
my little studio in my attic in Pennsylvania some of it was some of the
takes like we did the drone parts in the studio Penn State because we had a
better room and write weekly more more good preamps and I had in my video so
and then well actually for the tracks were recorded at the studio of an
engineer friend of mine Bob Klotz okay yeah just and yeah so Bob and I have
been working together for a long time so he wasn’t he was a big help on this but
yeah but mostly it’s just me in my work station and you know yeah that was the
other thing I was gonna say that production value on the album is is
wonderful obviously it’s like you say that because it was a learning process
and I’m happy with some of it ya know yeah yeah no III was fairly
impressed with with the production value you know it is that is that something
that you mixed on your own and and also on top of that mastering well yeah okay
so mixing basically how a lot of this worked was I did the preliminary mixing
okay then I worked with Bob as he you know just to have that other set of ears
on it and also he’s got some instincts that I value that you know I knew I
could rely on he also has you know the guy’s got 80 different compressors on
his workstation you know it’s like so let’s try that tape head emulator on the
bass right okay you know great so so a lot of the sweetening on four of the
tracks anyway happened with him I did all the stuff on the other ones but but
then mastering was done at air show mastering and Colorado Springs okay hey
guys I don’t mean to cut this short but I have to run but if you guys want to
continue by all means do Sauter’s want to jump in here but this is great
chatter of both you great catching up Paul thank you so much it’s been awesome
so yeah always good to see you telling ya same I’m so far away
yeah it’s great well come about beautiful place but it’s not it’s done
the way to like nowhere which is a good thing good it is well in some ways yeah
all right take care chance do you thank you all right bye-bye
Yeah right that we doing awesome yeah man that sounds awesome I mean I I’m
unlike Tony I’m very much into the technical part of it the recording and
the and the mixing and the actual process that goes into really the
recording of the album and the concepts that that’s always fascinated me for
I can live well I can tell I didn’t think all the stuff around he was like
just a decorating scheme I see that I saw the the other camera angle with the
two deluxe yep you have the twin that’s yeah you’re you’re obviously really
dedicated to that yeah yeah sound sound is you know it’s important what goes
into our into our years my good vocal mic yeah oh yeah no I really enjoyed the
album it it’s a it’s a it’s very well done and so there’s just the seven
tracks on it then yeah you know I had nine originally I was gonna like had
mapped out but it’s I swear every place that I tried to stick to of those tunes
just broke the thing and and I also had the experience I’m gonna talk about
another artist here but when the back album colors came out okay yeah I’ll the
production on that album is really interesting to me because it’s just two
people it’s just better than this producer he worked with vanilla playing
everything and doing the production and so I paid real close to into it and I
just thought wow this is a fantastic album but then when I realized after I
don’t know a few listens it’s like yeah these three tracks are really kind of
this is where stuff goes to die right I actually went and made a playlist I call
that colors deal aimed okay yeah and and and it was it actually was seven tracks
that when I played it it was so much better than the ten or whatever
I don’t even 11 or whatever that are on that for me you know it just for me it
just worked so much better and there was no like oh that’s that’s you know so I I
just thought you know what it’s going to be thirty five minutes instead of 45 or
whatever you know but as a as an architecture it just it just worked and
no other arrangement of those songs worked the same way and so I just
thought okay screw it I’m just going to come up with this I’ll have I’ll have
two more songs for the next level yeah that’s exactly right
yeah that’s it that’s exactly yeah there are there really with with the digital
age there really are no rules anymore you know the album of 78 minutes on an
album that that’s all gone wayward really it can be anything you want as an
artist you can be releasing things monthly you can really be releasing EPS
every couple of months or whatever it is it’s not only I want to do some that are
just four or five song suites yeah the set but you run into this thing with the
music industry though that in terms of distribution technically to be an album
it needs to be 30 minutes long otherwise it’s got to be released as a
bunch of singles that’s kind of really how the business model plays so you do
have to kind of play with that right a little like if you want to you know put
out an album you can put out as an album but in terms of things in terms of the
way it’s registered you know with like performance rights and all that kind of
stuff it matters the time you know but that’s the only factor otherwise yeah I
mean you know just put out whatever whenever that’s it it’s kind of nice
that way you know that you just have those options now what to do that’s
another whole story you know yeah very much in the early part of the learning
curve on that I mean it’s kind of nice to to be really in the middle of one’s
beginner Ness yeah especially at my age you know when I’ve been kind of thinking
about this stuff for this long so just go yeah I love the fact that some of the
stuff is totally new to me that I just don’t you know I haven’t worked it out
or to the extent that you ever work it things out you know it’s like I don’t
know the feeling like I’m I’m supposed to have expertise at this
you know maybe other people like so many might think I’m supposed to have
expertise but I’m fully happy and in touch with the fact that I’m really kind
of at sea when it comes to certain aspects of this you know it’s okay you
know cause like I said I made that choice a long time ago to to not be
Quinn you know you know where is he he’s somebody who’s
you know so in touch with his craft that I it’s inseparable from him right
whereas for me like the guitar for instance is like I’ve gone for a year
without touching a guitar you know um but then the funny thing happens like
once I pick it up again and get sort of in some kind of playing shape I noticed
that my playing is way better than it was before I think it’s just I’ve
somehow become a better musician or just a more insightful person or something I
don’t know what it is but it’s like all the sudden it’s like oh I would never
have played this like that before I think we get into ourselves a little
too much when we have our instrument around us all the time
we’re kind of we have a direction and when we take ourselves out of that for a
long time to come back to it we’re just free and where we allow ourselves that
that you know just right I would go anywhere do anything and that’s that’s
really refreshing oh absolutely you know the the the downside of taking
those breaks is that you know I wish I could play better right for myself like
a bad guitarist or anything but it’s like you know there are people in the
world that they’re a guitarist yeah like there is so good at that thing that you
know there’s like my wife was telling about this guy that she saw at a in a
restaurant in Ontario and it was karaoke night right
so the karaoke machine was a guy with a guitar and people would just walk up and
say I want to play I’m gonna sing this and he’d just go well how’s this key
yeah II just knew everything you know I’m just like ya know that’s a real
player yeah you know as a Tommy tadesco hmm right yeah you know the the LA
session who could do anything like you just him in the gig and he he’s like you
know one sound Mexican sure I can do that you know it’s you know you know
whatever he did this in that that Wrecking Crew documentary um that’s
about those guys there’s this great scene where he describes for those of
you might see this you’ll know what I’m talking about but when I was in college
when I was around this time when I was making the
about you know do I want to be in a band or do I go into the Academy if I can’t
he was doing this tour this kind of workshop thing that was funded by some
foundation where he was just going around the country talking about you
know being a musician and what he did and so he did this little schtick as
part of it that he did when he came to see us which I loved which was he had
his guitar with him and at the time he was working on the TV show Charlie’s
Angels the original one right and you know so he said yeah okay so I come into
the session you know then they go okay so this part of this episode is based in
Greece play some group and you go okay well as this you know you play something
they go yeah that’s great you know and then they’d have another episode and
it’s like well now they’re in Spain or now they’re in Brazil or something and
he would play basically exactly the same thing but change like one little thing
about it like maybe one little thing about the rhythm to make it a little
dance here or or throw in you know a kind of flamenco style scrape in the
middle of a riff or something it was like that was all it took
in that lesson of what kind of kids people need to understand the music like
how basic and simple that is was profound you know but that guy could do
anything I mean he’s going half of the records that we listened to from the
sixties and seventies anything recorded in LA practically yes he’s on it
you know it’s amazing he’s on all that Beach Boys stuff yeah you know yeah so
those guys you know what I think about that or I think about it you know
personally Clooney can probably like you could spend three hours just playing
song after song after song with that guy if you happen to know them is you know
that’s that’s a kind of musicianship I really admire yeah I really you know I
can’t even aspire to it I just can’t I really don’t have a bass player you know
in all kinds of different music and stuff but it’s not the kind of thing
that you just get up a bunch of repertoire of songs you can play no you
know I mean yeah understandably yeah you know and that was fine I mean I love
being the bass player because I you know you get to really
shake the sound of the band yeah but nobody knows it so you can be kind
of inconspicuous and really important at the same time you know and I’m I’m
pretty shy I think probably the reason I didn’t play guitar in these bands is
just you know there are times where I just don’t want to be that guy hanging
it out you know I do and sometimes no you know so on a bad night it was always
kind of like yeah that’s another much fun plus you got to memorize you know 40
guitar solos mm-hmm you know if I put a wrong note it’s like the band doesn’t
sound so good you know if the lead guitarist blows something everybody
knows 100 yeah oh yeah with barely just cowardice I mean that’s all right – yep
well they at the end of the day I have a lot of nice bass guitars right so that’s
what matters toys are like part of me I have a 75
jazz bass that I bought new it’s my first serious bass you know and God it
sounds great yeah love that so it’s awesome yeah but anyway so cool so
before we end here okay what are your what are your future plans for writing
music and albums and what do you plan to do from here more of the same I mean at
this point I mean it’s early on so that’ll change
I mean I’m old enough to know that anything I decide I’m gonna do is not
gonna look anything like I think it looks now but the other plan is to just
keep working on this stuff get out a couple of you know maybe put out a
couple singles in the next few months another album within the year and just
keep making these things and you know find people who dig it I mean so far
that’s been pretty easy but then again you know most of the people that are
encountering this thing frankly at this point being the first project are people
that already know me oh okay or another I mean they either know of me or or not
but you know they’re it’s it’s early yet so there’s not a lot of product right so
that’s really kind of the thing I just need to get you know like I said I have
like my folder I had sitting around here but I mean it’s just like projected
sewing ideas or folders I have of finished arranged things that just need
to be recorded yeah I mean everything in between so so there’s a lot of creative
work that’s just been going on in the background that I haven’t really had
frankly a time or mental space to work on so I’m gonna move to New Mexico and
get some you know kind of studio yeah I’d like to get pictures of your space
at some point by the way just to see I’m always interested in how people can help
do a room you know yeah no I like I like um in a closet so yeah okay I’m gonna do
a plug here Tony pitched this coffee have used used sonar works oh yeah yeah
yeah okay all right that’s what made this album possible cuz
I was mixing spaces that it was just like no matter what I would do I would
just listen to and just go I can’t get rid of the clouds here right it doesn’t
matter what I do with the low minutes it doesn’t matter what I just can’t quite
get the space between all the things and it was just the rooms I was mixing in
and so when I used it in here which literally I mean it’s just like it’s got
all kinds of bad things about it yeah it’s just like tested the room and got
something to compensate for the room is like all of a sudden I could hear
everything I had been doing in the last two years and so it’s like I didn’t even
remember that that part of the slide solo was in this song like it was that
profound a difference so yeah anybody who’s working in some
crappy room you know I think could benefit from this which is the majority
of there’s like I’ve got the recording gear and everything I just can’t manage
to get a decent you know Oh it’s more than the recording because he
can record anything almost anywhere and make it and work with it you know like
it doesn’t matter yeah but it’s the monitoring it’s the trying to listen to
it trying to figure out like what you’re actually hearing and it’s almost
impossible if you’re in this room with all of these resonances and no it’s and
you know there’s there’s nothing it at 600 Hertz at the lifting station like no
matter what you do you won’t hear anything on that frequency band you know
and like but you don’t know until you fix it no and then you kind of figure
out that I actually kind was on the right track all along that was the
refreshing thing yeah was that it’s like oh this should have worked and it did I
just couldn’t tell that’s exactly right yeah I’m how many times you burn a CD or
burn it tube and you know a WAV file and run out to your car and check it and
you’re like why can I hear that or where did that relief front coming from right
this plates rattling I can’t even hear that in my room yeah yeah yeah yeah
that’s you know but that’s just part of what I mean about being a beginner I
mean I’ve been teaching audio production for a long time now you know but you’re
at the same time you know there’s just no substitute for a lot of trial and
error and you know getting input from other people about what you’re doing and
so you know for me that’s still fairly early on in the process
yeah you know and I learned a lot I mean need to learn more from teaching
obviously than you know almost anything else because you have to be able to
articulate what it is that you’re trying to talk about you know coherent wit so
you really have to understand it and that helped me a lot I think you know
just you know working with students and their projects on my own stuff and you
know it’s trying to solve those problems yeah um you know in that context I think
was really informative so I got to take some shortcuts I think but you know I’m
old enough to where it’s like I ought to get to do that a little bit right yeah
yeah very much so hmm awesome well uh well if you could tell everybody
where they could go to find out more about you
well Paul bar seemed calm a place to start
it’s actually a fairly new website but it’s got some basic information about
this project and some about me there will be more awesome it’s going to
include a bicycling part – I have to put that on there cuz that’s like that’s a
huge part of my life right yeah I know ever since you know back to State
College you were you were definitely into it then as well so yeah it’s been
it’s been a while yeah it’s kind of made life possible through you know I mean I
wrote all winter never kind of always commuted on bike and yeah so hide your
bikes yeah it’s very cold and you obviously are on Soundcloud as well
yep and twitter facebook Instagram any of that Facebook the weed garden you can
find it on there it’s I mean the things everywhere it’s it’s on you know all the
download and streaming places so you can find it you know pretty much wherever
you go it’s you know I mean it’s the one with the green Danno longhorn base on it
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah it’s pretty recognizable yeah you know I that that
was my base I had that base you know I actually have another one that’s a
modernized version of that bait like that was a replica of the original which
had it’s got some issues you know it’s 24-fret base but it wasn’t Planet une
above about the 14th because it’s just a piece of wood right you know so yeah
this one’s in trouble bridge and tuners and I’m just like why do I have these
two bases so like so that the album cover is a picture taken when I sold it
on eBay
yeah so that’s where that’s where they’re photographing you didn’t have
the stickers on everything that’s
that’s good good anyway well thank Sarah and I really appreciate you having me
yeah those ten the nature of the people that you’ve had on here before you know
I just really flattered that ya know as soon as I got the opportunity to
absolutely love to have you on and definitely would love to catch up with
you in the future and see how things are going I’ll let you know I’ll put you I
mean if you’re not on the mailing list no you will be yeah yeah yeah you know
keep you informed awesome thank you all right man yeah
okay all right I’ll see you there yeah take it easy all right

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