Autumn – Video Installation Week (5/7)

This video is a blend of a wonderful snapshot I got in 2010 when we enjoyed a particularly beautiful autumn in Sweden and an unpublished song from the archive called “All I Earn Is Madness”. The lyrics are about the games people play and how fooled you are in the beginning before you learn the rules (well, you might still be fooled, but you’d recognize it sooner with experience). The song as a whole turned out a bit dull for my taste, but the chorus is nice and jazzy.

In all it’s seriousness and thoughtfullness this video also has some crazy sense of humor. I wonder if anyone will notice.

Mermaid – Video Installation Week (4/7)

Shooting a body of water from the boat almost certainly comes out well. The variety of the water and the speed of the boat makes every clip interesting. We have a lot of them! When choosing which one to make an installation out of, a fork of the river in Borneo along with the song Mermaid became our choice.

Alone – Video Installation Week (3/7)

This contribution, called “Alone” in English, is filmed, edited and produced by Linn Rydahl. The music is from one of my songs: “Unguarded”. The song has never been officially released, not sure why. Maybe someday.

This video is more of a short film and I’m proud to have it featured in our video installation week.

Bat Circling Me – Video Installation Week (2/7)

When you’re out on a expedition or safariing you often have expectations of what animals you’re going to see. The most sought-afters or just the unexpected. Common for those perfect moments are that they seam to appear out of nowhere, like this bat did when entering a grove in the Borneo mountains.

It’s hard not to love bats (especially when knowing they eat one bucket mosquitoes each every night). If you want someone to tell you that he/she loves you or just chill down, here’s a bonus clip.

Rain Drops – Video Installation Week (1/7)

To try new things is how you grow, but it’s also how you discover new ways and things you didn’t know you would like doing. This week Enchanted Duo is trying out video installations. Well, we’ve already tried, but this week we will publish them for you to see. I was surprised to find that I really liked making them. And I could possibly make some more when I feel for it. It feels freer than making a music video. Here our music is merely an inspiration and a part of a whole.

Starting out is a video clip we caught last summer during some heavy rains. It’s the rain drops falling from the roof. The music is a glimpse of our next song “A Rock For A Heart”.

When the magic of music almost died

I’ve always had high expectations of myself. I might even say too high. Music has been a struggle from the beginning. It’s difficult to say when I reached a state of personal acceptance and it suddenly felt okay to say that I make music in my spare time (without an adrenaline rush or a blush). That is how it was for a very long time. Not that I was ashamed, but afraid I wasn’t good enough. Ergo not worthy to be titled composer, singer/songwriter or producer. It makes me sad to think about, but I’m afraid that was what nearly drove me off the edge. I struggled so hard with the first album, then with the draft for a second and went to India and when I came home I headed straight into a depression. I wasn’t aware of it, I just felt so tired and everything fun about music had been drained from me. I couldn’t even think about music. This is what stress does to people. I was in my early twenties and completely clueless about how close to the wall I had gotten.

I have come back or should I say, music has come back, but in a different form. The thing is that when you push yourself that hard you also damage things around you. For me it means it’s difficult to even contemplate making a new full-lengt album. It makes me sick and nauseous just to think of it. Nowadays with the digital music era we do one-song-at-the-time-releases and that works fine. Also, I can’t sit in front of the computer mixing for long durations without being struck by anxiety. Mostly that means that Nicko does the mixing and I give my input. These are just two things I can think of at the moment. It’s been 10 years and it’s still hard, but I’ve learnt to listen. Making music and especially recording takes a lot of energy. When energy runs low it’s time to take a break.

So, lessons learnt, listen to yourself and your body. If the body is screaming to relax and take it easy, then you should relax and take it easy. Pushing yourself further will have consequences you may not be prepared to deal with. I kind of wish I had known myself better back then. This will also work, but it’s a lot harder. Not in the sense listening to myself, but to work my way passed and around the scars from what I did to myself. I love music and I really want it to be a part of me. It frightens me to think how close I came to losing it.2015-06-30 22.32.15

A snapshot or a process

When I started writing lyrics some 15 years ago I used to write several lyrics a week and it pretty much didn’t matter to me where I was. Back then I resented the idea of altering anything afterwards. It kind of felt like cheating. To me the lyrics became a snapshot of that moment in time. I can still read some of the lyrics and travel back in time to that exact moment. Writing back then was also a practice in English. The over 1000 lyrics served their purpose. Most of them silly and romantic and something I’d never show a living soul, but they brought me here.

Somewhere along the way things changed. Nowadays I save good phrases on my mobile or recorded sequences. Later when I feel inspired I take them out and sometimes they become a whole song. Now it’s a process. I like to write parts, then rewrite again and find the perfect match, the perfect sounds and the perfect words. It makes me think of Tomas Tranströmer, famous Swedish poet. For every collection of poems he writes hundreds of pages filled with words, just to find the prefect ones. Then the writing becomes a handcraft. Perhaps I have less time to actually sit and think and write now. But quite a bit of time to think – like when going home from work,  cleaning up or cutting the grass. My writing takes longer and the few projects I do take my time to work on takes longer, but I like the crafted result. I try to enjoy the process, even if it’s challenging at times.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that I never do snapshots anymore. VIVs are one type of snapshot. And sometimes you get into the flow and inspiration runs high. Sometimes.

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Bought myself a drum kit

White drum kit in an old room

I recently bought myself a decent drum kit. Something to bang on when I get into the mode. The sound is brutal because of the room where I’ve placed it. Maybe I’ll get back to “the room” and how it affects the sound in a future blog post.

I never owned a drum kit myself, only a snare drum. But from the various bands I’ve been in I have had the opportunity to play around with drum kits to learn a few beats. At one time I actually played a gig with the band Diktator as a drummer.

There’s quite a few drum kits on the market being offered to a reasonable price. I think that has to do with the technology change and a change of the sound ideal. Today you see electronic drum kits and pads in many home studios and churches etc. The sound level is easier to control and you need no big setup to record it. Also there’s generally a broader acceptance for the “electronic sound”, where drum programing has become an alternative to acoustic drums.

To me any played drums need to be rehersed well until they are to be recorded. While drum programing is more like creating a simple pattern and then make it sound better. I do think it’s sometimes helpful to be able to think as a drummer.

Musik och föräldraskap

Trumma i vagn

Det är inte allt för länge sedan som jag blev pappa, men när jag sätter mig ner för att reflektera över musik och föräldraskap känner jag att flera stadier redan har passerat. Jag hade räknat med att tiden för att hålla på med musik skulle bli mindre. Så har det också blivit, men framför allt har musiken på ett helt annat sätt blivit en del av min vardag.

Jag tror att vi har ett nytt fan. I varje fall verkar hon känna igen några av våra låtar och rösterna på inspelningarna och blir glad av dem.

Det är allmänt känt att musik är bra för inlärningen. Nu kanske det är tidigt att prata om komplexa saker som språkinlärning och logik. Det kanske snarare handlar om stimulans och tröst. Barn verkar tycka om sång med mycket vibrato. Eftersom jag själv tycker om att lattja med rösten har vi på detta sätt räddat många nattningar.

För egen del försöker jag att ta allting med musik i portioner numera. Det går inte att säga till ett barn att: “Pappa vill verkligen göra det här nu”. Det leder bara till frustration. Tiden för att stå och göra tagning efter tagning i inspelningsstudion känns förbi. Hittills har vi blivit nöjda med någon av de första tagningarna. Om det beror på erfarenhet eller att det känns skönt att få det avklarat får visa sig framöver.

Vi går nu in i en ny fas. Vår tid tillsammans.

Headphones

The latest addition to the studio is a pair of AKG 271 MK II headphones. We’ve had the same problem with all of our older headphones and I think it’s the aging plastics. If you can’t even move a bit without producing a creaking sound it’s not fun when listening to the recorded material.

There are generally three different types of headphones that are suitable for the studio, closed, open or semi-open. In our case we use headphones to record acoustic sound sources like vocals and acoustic guitar. Therefore the headphones have to be closed, otherwise the sound would leak into the microphone. Open and semi-open headphones are more pleasant for long time use since they “breath” and are by many preferred while mixing.

I usually mix with the sound played back from the monitors but from time to time I check the mix in the headphones. I do so because some effects like reverb and delay appears to be more detailed when listening through the headphones.

Headphones Circle