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Posts Tagged ‘Songwriting’

I’ll Write You A Song

October 25, 2011 4 comments

A devastating circumstance shook my world almost two years ago which prompted me to explore music further and start writing my own songs. Before that point in my life, I never knew I was capable of doing that. Every time I held my keyboard or guitar, I usually just pounded or strummed a couple of chords chopped from a good song of a known artist. I found out that songwriting is an excellent way of converting all the negativity in my thoughts and emotions into something creative and tangible for other people to listen or even relate to.

I was struck with disbelief when I wrote my very first original. At the same time, there was a mixed feeling of satisfaction and pride with the lyrics, melody and rhythm I came up with for I knew that all of them were created by me. However, I had no idea then if they were good enough for others to listen to. Fortunately, the first people I asked to hear my early works were kind enough to give me the pat on the back I needed. Thanks, friends! haha Since then, I never stopped writing.

Usually, I would spend the late hours of the night strumming my guitar, repeatedly playing a chord progression until I come up with a melody that suited my mood. It was a trial and error process until I arrived at something that really sounded great to me. Then, I start thinking of the words that would complement the melody and rhythm I created. There were some instances when the lyrics came first but those were very rare. I often start with the music.

I’m very thankful to Mathew, Dawn, Chemae and Francis, my bandmates in Manaha, who helped me put some of these songs to life. Without them, my songs’ demos would forever sound like a mad cow singing with a guitar. I really dream of the day when all of us would share the same stage again. Until that moment comes, I’ll just keep on mooing and writing my heart out.

But music was his life, it was not his livelihood
And it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good.
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul
He did not know how well he sang; it just made him whole. ~ Harry Chapin, Mr. Tanner

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And They Went Away For A Day

May 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Since Ava and Athan are both in Taiwan right now, I’m left with spending the weekends by myself. As Ava would put it, I have my “Me Time”. Honestly I’m realy not used to it since I always stay with my babies on weekends. I really miss them terribly.

When I woke up this morning, I really didn’t know what to do. I decided I should have my man date with Jesus. It was a good one! I went to church at around 12 and it injected my soul with good vibes. I really needed that with all the stress from work recently. By the way, I might join a songwriting contest which will be hosted by our parish. There’s really no writing involved since the lyrics are already made. The contestants just have to add a melody to it. I hope I come up with a catchy chord progression. The selected entry wins 5,000 bucks. Ain’t that sweet?

After mass, I headed home and played Infamous for an hour. It’s really an awesome game where you play as Cole McGrath, a bike messenger turned super hero after being exposed to a mysterious object called the Ray Sphere. Doing so caused a huge explosion to the story’s fictional setting of Empire City. For some unknown reason, Cole acquired the ability to control electricity.

I’m probably 70% into the game and I can say that it really is a masterpiece. It lets you decide if you want to become the righteous do-gooder or a villainous scum bag. I’m impressed with how it reacts to your choices. Your deeds dictate your rank as a hero or villain. For my first play through, I chose the path of the good guy. Every time I move Cole around the streets of Empire City, the people react positively when they see him. Some would wave at him while others would pull out their cameras to take a snapshot of their hero.

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Cole McGrath

Cole McGrath watching over Empire City

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Another thing that caught my attention were the abilities that Cole gains throughout the game. He can shoot thunderbolts, glide through the air and rail-grind on train tracks and electric wires. Aside from that, he can also scale almost any structure in the city. I can only imagine the amount of time the developers painstakingly spent to get the life-like detail in the game’s physics engine. It’s these details that makes you want to come back to Empire City every time.

At around 2 p.m., an old friend and bandmate of mine, Eros Arbilon dropped by. I asked him last week if he could sing some of my songs. We haven’t jammed for almost 8 years and I was really glad that after all this time, we still clicked. We recorded two songs today. I posted Liham in one of my previous entries featuring Dawn on lead guitar. Too bad he wasn’t able to join since he had somewhere to be. You can check out the songs on my SoundCloud page. Just click on the these: Liham, Kama.

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Eros Arbilon

Eros

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It was a good thing to catch up with an old buddy. Eros was one of the guys from high school whom you can count on. We were in a band called Idlefrets back then and we used to cover True Faith and Stone Temple Pilots songs. We won 2nd place in our school’s battle of the bands. Mathew and his band, Braincloud won first. We reminisced on the old days and we realized how far we’ve come along with music. He now plays for the indie rock band, Away For The Day. Check them out!

We talked about how life has been for us after our jam session. He works as a film archivist for the government and I work as a programmer for a private bank. Though our jobs are different in nature, we share the same sentiments regarding the compensation that come with them. Though we try not to complain, we both agreed that there must be something better than what the world has in store for most of us. The sad thing is, we tend to be okay with the fact that the common Filipino laborer is underpaid, unrecognized and unvalued. I wonder when all of this would change. I have always believed that the greatest asset for any agency or enterprise, would be the people who spend a large portion of their day for the benefit of its existence.

Music is our saving grace from all the shit that we have to put up with. I’m glad that I had this chance to work with a good friend and do something that we have passion for. Without it, the world would truly be a sick, sad place to be in.

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be ~ John Lennon, Working Class Hero

New Material!

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

While I was on my way to work, inspiration suddenly hit me and I thought of some lines, which I think I could turn into songs as soon as I get to my guitar. This seldom happens to me, since most of the time, I only come up with something if I’m strumming and doing some progressions as I think of what the song is going to be about. Hopefully, they turn into something decent. Here goes:

I
Tell me, are we free
Or are we living in somebody’s fantasy
Maybe it’s not just me
Who knows what the world’s got to be
Look around, don’t stare at the ground
Seeing’s part of the new philosophy
Maybe we can turn the world around
And free it from all the clowns
Wait, they say it’s fate
That shapes the face of our society
Maybe it’s not that profound
It just depends on you and me
Hey, it’s never too late
To make the needed change a reality
I’m longing to get to see
The world that’s meant to be
II
Sumisikat ang liwanag
Na kumakalat sa lupang bulag
Lantad ang kulay ng hinagpis
Sa mga matang nakatitig sa dilim
Tumutunog ang himig
Na nilimot ng mga pipi at bingi
Bigkas ang mga mahalagang salita
Sa mga tenga’t labing pinilit manahimik
Sa ano mang paraan
Sa ano mang dahilan
Kailan ma’y hindi mananaig
Ang kasinungalingan sa katotohanan

It’s depressing to listen or watch the news, be it on radio or television but for some reason, I’ve been exposing myself to it recently. I guess the negative vibes just rubbed in and I realize this is how bad I want to see some change happen in this country. Things are getting more and more ridiculous and unreasonable every day: natural disasters, price hikes, political turmoil, corruption. When will all this shit end? We spend everyday working our asses off and this is what we get from all the taxes we pay. Woosah.

Anyway, I can’t wait to get my hands on my guitar and put some melody and rhythm to them words especially on the first one. I’m still new to writing songs in English. Every song we have in Manaha is in Filipino and I think that’s a good thing. I believe writing them in our language makes the delivery of their messages sound more sincere.

I really want our country to change for the better. It’s the only one we have and the only one we can truly call our own. Too bad that most of us and maybe the best of us have forgotten that.

To end this post/rant, I’ll leave you with something I’ve been pondering for the past weeks. To those who read my online journal, I wish you a happy weekend!

Change happens only if we accept the fact that we are a crucial part of it.

Manaha

April 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I can never see myself surviving life without music. No matter where I go or what I do, it will always be an important part of my life. It’s one of the few things that keeps me sane.

About a year ago, my friend Mathew Wong and I started a project, which I consider as the most worthwhile, music-related endeavor I got myself into. We founded Manaha.

It all began when I asked Mathew to listen to some demos I came up with. Around that time, I was going through significant, game-changing events. The best way I coped with everything that was going on with my life was to listen to music. Eventually, I started writing my own songs. I really don’t know where all the words, melodies and progressions come from. It just came naturally. I’m very grateful to God for giving me this talent and also, for letting me share it with excellent friends and musicians.

To complete our lineup, Mathew recruited Chemae Magbual and Dawn Morco to be the band’s vocalist and drummer respectively. I also asked an old friend and bandmate, Francis Josef of Ophelia’s High to be the lead guitarist.

Currently, the band is on hiatus since Mathew is currently working in Singapore and Chemae’s in Canada for good. For now, you can listen to our songs at my SoundCloud account. Here’s the link: soundcloud.com/gershwinzabat