About a month ago, my band decided to embark on an idea that was a little bit crazy. We decided to shoot a whole music video in about 4 hours on a Thursday night (several of us work 9-5 day jobs). The main plan? Everyone wear their pajamas and we'll just jam the song a few times.
What ensued was far beyond what we expected: four hours of pure unbridled creativity and hilarity that I cannot begin to describe in words. Each idea was better than the next and the experience itself was truly fitting with the lyrics of the song. So, without further ado, the music video for Transcendence:
Transcendence by Don't Panic
P.S. If you missed our last video release in February, you can watch it below:
New Ryan Tree Music Video - Views to Benefit Halo Animal Rescue
December 26, 2014
The Writing Process
Earlier this year, I embarked on the journey of writing a string quartet part for Ryan Tree's song, "What I'm Living For." I was first introduced to this song when preparing for a gig with Ryan at Crabby Don's a few months earlier.
Like most songwriters, Ryan always has interesting songs floating around in his back pocket. He pulls these songs out and lays them in front of his musical collaborators when preparing for the right show or writing the right album. When he first laid this song in front of me, I felt an immediate emotional connection to it as a cellist. It's the kind of song that the cello just yearns to play and I immediately wanted to fill it with long, lush notes.
Interestingly, I also felt a connection to this song from my experiences as a violinist. I learned to play the violin when I taught orchestra. It really added more depth to my understanding of how playing a particular instrument can shape the kind of music that a person will gravitate towards playing. When hearing this song, I wanted to play beautiful high notes that hung and the air and danced like the sun in the trees on a cold winter afternoon.
When thinking of a string part to write for what I'm living for, a simple cello part never seemed like enough. This song deserved a lush chamber piece that could speak to all of its emotions. In chamber music, each part is meant to be important and rich. It is like a 3, 4, 5, or 6-part conversation or debate where each voice must be heard and has something important to bring to the table.
Since I play a six-string cello, it was quite easy to write and play violin, viola, and cello parts on my instrument. This made composing a fun process where I could easily hear exactly how each part would already sound.
The most challenging part of the song-writing process was actually recording. I really wanted to try and make each part sound like it had been recorded on the specific instrument it was written for and not just played on a higher or lower range on my cello.
I decided the best method to achieve this was to use my violin bow in the recording of the violin parts and to use a lighter touch with my cello bow when recording viola parts.
During this process, I became intimately acquainted with the reasons that the violin bow and cello bow are built the way they are. While using a violin bow certainly helped my violin parts sound more like they were played on a violin, I ran into quite a bit of difficulty making the bow behave on a cello string. I had to adjust the way I bowed to create a nice tone and ran into constant issues with squeaking and scratching when playing the high parts. It was definitely a lesson in physics that gave me a greater appreciation for modern bow and string designs.
Several months later, I was invited to be a part of the music video shoot. We had a fun time getting the band shots!
Ryan launched the video earlier this month to coincide with the release of his debute album, Illusions. For every music video view, 5¢ will be donated to the HALO Animal Rescue. Watch and enjoy!