We've created a Spotify Playlist! This will be ever-evolving as new projects release, etc. Have a listen/follow/share below. We've compiled a mix of projects recorded and produced at Riverview Sound as well as a few other projects of note Sam has engineered and/or produced.
We've dreamed of hosting house concerts at Riverview for years and it finally happened! Our inaugural event, "Live From The Living Room", featured Brian Carroll and The Meadows Brothers for an acoustic evening full of musical highlights, including a guest appearance by Ian Fitzgerald. Huge thanks to our partner 9 Athens Music for their support in making this happen! Enjoy a few clips below, filmed by Brian Carroll.:
I love to write songs and am constantly honing my craft. Here are a few things I've learned and incorporated over the years, which I've found helpful to think about throughout the process of creating new songs...and some recommended reading for inspiration.
1. Start With a Title
The song title is arguably the most important element of your song to help define the overall direction and framework for your new masterpiece. Keep a running list of song titles and spend time brainstorming titles only — this will help down the road with options to choose from and become a catalyst for the creative process. Plus, titles are not protected by copyright laws. An interesting strategy to consider, especially for an emerging artist, is to pick a title that is well known and create an original composition around it. When songs with recognizable titles are released, then they become associated with other already famous works with the same name. Translation = you will increase your odds of being found by new fans with this association.
2. Universal Appeal, With a Twist
Pick a title that has some universal appeal. If you are trying to get your songs out to the masses, then you best choose to write about subjects that are universal in nature, connecting us all on some level. The trick however is to put a new, unique twist on the universal topic/concept you're addressing. There are thousands and thousands of songs about love, but if you can breath fresh live into an age-old subject, then your writing will have a much better chance of standing out. Using metaphors, for example, can be a great way to put a new spin on a universal concept.
3. Incorporate the Title Into the Hook / Chorus
Your song becomes more cohesive and powerful if the title is tied directly into the hook. This can also help writers keep their focus throughout the process and spread a more powerful message, that is universal. In some ways, it can also simplify the process and help to establish purpose with your song/hook/message. How many songs do you know that do this? "Let It Be", "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", "No Woman, No Cry", "What's Going On?"….the list goes on and on and on.
4. Verses Should Tell The Story and Support Your Hook / Chorus
Verses should be used to support your hook and chorus. They are key to help you set up what is to come in the chorus. The verses can help tell the story and set the stage for the main message. Each verse can be used to expand on the story, but consistently tying them back to the hook/chorus will help you in telling a compelling and crisp story, and set the right mood for maximum impact.
5. A Bridge (Middle 8) Adds An Unexpected Lift
The "Middle 8" or "Bridge" is typically an 8-bar section often placed in the middle of a song with a different progression than either the verses or chorus. Bridges are used to highlight a new element to the storyline or song and to provide some sonic diversity that help create an unexpected turn and lift in the music. A Middle 8 can help to set the stage for the grand finale in the song, and also be a nice compliment to your other sections.
6. Melodies = Money
A few years ago I had the opportunity to work with a well established Country songwriter in Nashville. After hearing a few of my songs he looked at me and said, "You should do nothing but exclusively listen to Classical music for a year and see how that impacts your melodies". His point was well-taken. Melodies in songs are as important, if not more, than having a strong hook. Melodies are also part of the music that can be protected under copyright, so when I say melodies = money, it's pretty literal. Melodies do more than support your lyrics, they define your sound, feel and emotion of the song. Because there are so many unique melodies composed as part of orchestra arrangements, Classical music can be a great source of inspiration when crafting popular songs.
7. Two Heads Are Better Than One
Lennon / McCartney. Jagger/Richards. Bacharach/David. Some of the best songs ever written were actually collaborations between 2 people. I know it's cliché, but when it comes to songwriting two heads are often better than one. I've found that some of the best songs I've written have been in collaboration with another writer/artist with whom I identify with in some way. The dynamic of a duo keeps in place a nice system of checks/balances for your writing and perhaps also the opportunity to leverage each of your own unique strengths (e.g. One may be better with melodies, the other may be better with writing hooks).
There are billions of speakers and devices in the world that can play, understand and transmit sound waves. The rise of the Internet of Things and smart, connected devices has helped pave the way for the “Internet of Sound.” New companies, technologies and solutions are changing the way in which sound can be applied to make stronger connections between the physical and digital worlds.
The concepts of Audio Fingerprinting, Watermarking and Audio DNA are catalysts for a new revolution in sound and communication --- all without having to enable or create new devices with sensor technology. Here are three key building blocks for the rapidly evolving “Internet of Sound”.
1) Audio Fingerprinting
The early pioneers of the The Internet of Sound use a technique know as “Audio Fingerprinting” where services like Shazam or Soundhound benchmark sound waves against a known library of sounds or music. This is useful in helping people identify a sound or song they hear, immediately connecting the user to more information. This early approach in using sound to understand and transmit data has led to two other main areas of development in the Internet of Sound: Watermarking and Audio DNA. (Source: http://www.blisshq.com/music-library-management-blog/2012/08/21/what-is-audio-fingerprinting/ )
2) Audio Watermarking
Audio Watermarking is the practice of embedding sounds into media that can be tracked (and are often inaudible to human ears). Did you know humans can’t hear sound frequencies outside of 20hz – 20khz? This has huge applications in advertising and marketing. Companies like Mufin provide audio watermarks in content to enhance things such as broadcast monitoring, ad recognition & audience measurement, by implementing audio inaudible to humans that has the ability to track key data.
3) Audio DNA
Coded audio that transmits data (e.g. pictures, notes and URLs) using sound is often referred to as Audio “DNA”. This practice has the ability to change the way information is transmitted from one point to another. Any devices with a speaker or microphone can transmit data using audio. Companies like Chirp are already starting to leverage this model, proving out some powerful new use cases for transmitting information using sound:
We will continue to see the integration of audio into new connected products and technology solutions and it will change the way we interact and experience the world. The implications for the Internet of Sound are huge -- what do you think this could mean for our future?
It was such an honor to work with The Meadows Brothers this past winter, producing their latest album "Won't Be Troubled" at Riverview Sound. The album can be heard and purchased at the link below. It was great teaming up with Andrew Kramer who mixed the album and we mastered it together. Also a huge thanks to Executive Producer, Chuck Honnet from 9 Athens Music for all of the tremendous support and collaboration throughout the course of the project. Here's to Ian and Dustin - for making great music and letting us capture these amazing songs and energy in the studio.