I Am Woman Watch Me Roar- Symmetrix

Hello Everyone, we live in a strange time, a time which has proven troublesome for many of the creative industries. Musicians are reduced to live streaming and other creative ingenuity. No doubt there will be a flood of tours and new releases when this is all over.

My band  Symbols IN soundS debut will be out within the week. We are no strangers to long periods of introspection and isolation, as it is part of our modus operandi. Our debut Think is all about this current covid climate, next blog will be dedicated to that. Please enjoy the latest in the Women Who Rock in Music Series for 2020- I am Woman Watch me Roar

Symmetrix from Melbourne

Briefly describe your role in Music? (eg songwriter producer dj, radio, manager, engineer, all rounder etc)

Marita Ryan, I play under the name Symmetrix.  Songwriter, musician, producer.

How long have you been engaged in your musical journey?

I would say since around 1997

In what ways has unconscious bias (sexism or other) affected you personally?

I probably thought when I was a child that rock music was mainly a ‘man’s domain’ and that women were ‘the singers’ not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it wasn’t until I saw The Bangles that I realised that women could sing AND play instruments as well and I know now that sounds kinda stupid today, but I grew up in the 80’s and you just didn’t see women playing instruments and singing in bands, unless it was the piano, for me The Bangles was the first time I remember seeing a female drummer and I thought that was SO cool! Then I as I got older I discovered L7, Babes in Toyland and Hole and that made me realise I could do it, especially L7 because those women were to me, the real deal, take no shit from anyone and guitar solos! I didn’t see a lot of women doing guitar solos back in the 90’s, so that was a big deal to me.

What do you feel women need the most to thrive in the current social and musical climate?

I am certainly no expert, but to thrive I guess I would say they need to try and find their ‘tribe’ people who genuinely like what they do and nurture those relationships.

 What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome on your musical path?

I think that the obstacles I have faced have changed over the years. In the early days it was, “can I actually get up in front of a crowd and do this”? Over different stages it’s been writer’s block or getting bored with the sound so transitioning it to another style and also these days with all of the free music that’s available now, it gets very hard to get heard sometimes.

Why you are sharing this video?

This is my latest song, Night Falls released in May 2020. (Instant ear worm, very retro, love it CM)

What is unique about a women’s voice, and approach that is so desperately needed in music today?

Women’s voice and approach is important, women have a way of telling stories that I think is just different to males, I think both are great, but I want to hear a womans take on many of the situations that we often all experience, in our lives.

Do you have any advise for young women or others in the early stages of their musical exploration/ journey?

I think that obviously things are better now for women in the music industry than it was in the past, but in saying that, the music industry is very male dominated and I’m not sure why. Is it because more males are interested in making music than women? Or is it something much deeper about women being more fearful to ‘give it a go’ than men and if so, who is making them feel that way? I would tell any young women who is in the early stages of their musical exploration/journey to just go for it! Don’t be intimidated, don’t worry if you don’t feel as ‘competent’ as other musicians out there, the only way you learn is through trying. (Yep, along the road, you gotta walk it Cath)

All the best Symmetrix with your new release and future works, thank you for sharing your thoughts. You can catch Symmetrix playing around Melbourne when not in Covid lock down.

Website URL

https://www.symmetrixmusic.com/

Social media Links

https://www.facebook.com/SymmetrixMusic/

https://soundcloud.com/symmetrixmusic

https://twitter.com/symmetrixbeats

https://www.instagram.com/symmetrixmusic_/

https://www.youtube.com/c/Symmetrix

https://open.spotify.com/artist/1PowuUT2lxteXRekx7jKuu

I Am Woman Watch Me Roar – Bek Davis

WOMEN WHO ROCK IN MUSIC 2020 BLOG SERIES

So far we have featured a cross section of musical paths and styles with Zoe Ryan, Jenni Dagley, Lacunae Glow, Seraya, Elaine Nolan and Melody Moon. Still to come is interview responses from Symmetrix, Anya Trybala, Luana Moreno, Jasmine Lynch, Ivy Lucille and possibly more. Each week I feature women musicians from my network talking on theme from an honest, uncensored place about their personal perspectives on issues for women in music. We are just beginning. My next personal blog might be controversial, it will heavily critique pop culture and the portrayal of women and the abuse of sexuality for profit, but that is next week and still to be written.

INTRODUCING BEK DAVIS FROM MELBOURNE

 

Briefly describe your role in Music? (eg songwriter producer dj, radio, manager,
engineer, all rounder etc)
I am a vocalist, songwriter and producer.
How long have you been engaged in your musical journey?
Music has always played a huge and very important role in my life. One of my very first memories was singing and playing on my grandparents old piano and the endless dancing around the lounge room to all different genres of music. I was very lucky, to grow up in a family who appreciate music and always had it playing. My grandma was an opera singer in London, and my mother was a ballerina in the Australian Ballet School, and my older brother had a pretty cool collection of CD’s… Music has always just been a part of how I can function “normally” and will always
be.
I wrote my first song when I was 8 years old and recorded it on a cassette player. I’ve been writing and recording songs ever since! I’ve been creating, performing, and playing music since I was a child. I’ve studied music at TAFE,Uni and dedicated as much as my life as I can to pursuing it. I’ve played in bands in Brisbane and in Melbourne. I’ve played solo,I’ve played in
duos.I moved to Melbourne 10 years ago to follow my music dream. I’ve had a few set backs a big break away from it, but I always find myself coming back to it. Music is a part of me and always will be.

In what ways has unconscious bias (sexism or other) affected you personally?
When I first moved to Melbourne, I was young and fairly naive. My whole focus was to pursue music and I didn’t want to turn down any opportunity. I learnt pretty quickly, that there are a lot of older men in the industry who take advantage of younger women and say that they can “help you” and “make you famous” with all of their “connections”… majority of those times were met with ulterior motives, setbacks and disappointments. However, I have also met plenty of really wonderful men who have encouraged, supported and assisted in shaping my musical journey. You’ve just got to be very choosy with who you let into your support network. With anything, you’ve got to back yourself and trust yourself. With experience, you learn these things!

Why are you sharing this video?

I’ m sharing this video to showcase snippets of songs that will be on my E.P that will be released next year. In lock down, I’ve had time to try and teach myself guitar and hopefully by next year I will have the skills to play not only synth/keys live, but also guitar!

What do you feel women need the most to thrive in the current social and musical climate?
Confidence. A lack of confidence remains one of the most pervasive forms of unconscious bias
within the music industry. Women have to be so good at something before they put themselves out there. A lot of men jump right in, which is great… but we should encourage women to jump in the deep end too. Be brave, be loud, be you! Don’t be afraid to be different! Create support each other and connect.

What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome on your musical path?
Going on one of those rubbish televised music shows. Scripted, humiliating soul degrading nonsense. It definitely took a toll on my mental health and took away my love for music and performing for a very long time.
I Do NOT recommend it.

What is unique about a women’s voice, and approach that is so desperately needed in
music today?

The fragility, vulnerability and honesty.
Do you have any advise for young women or others in the early stages of their musical exploration/ journey?
Keep going. Be unapologetic and resilient.
There will be painful setbacks, there will be self-doubt, there will be people you meet who don’t have your best intentions at heart, and life will sometimes get in the way…but KEEP GOING.
Trust yourself, back yourself, push yourself, and connect with as many like-minded people as you can. Be choosy who you let in your circle and have the self-confidence to push on and on and on.

What’s in the Future for Bek Davis music? I am planning to record and release an EP under my own name and I’ve recently formed a band with a couple of friends… the name will be announced once lock down is over and we start gigging.

Socials

instagram.com/bekdavismusic

https://www.facebook.com/bekdavismusic

Thanks so much Bek I look forward to your release and band playing live, all the best on your musical journey. read the other interviewees in the descending scroll below.

I Am Woman Watch Me Roar- Elaine Nolan

Women Who Rock in Music – I Am Woman Watch Me Roar

Welcome to the next installment on theme,  a musical detour through the eyes of women on issues in music. There are still about ten women to feature, so every few weeks I will inject my other blog topics for the year as we are already in July. Coming up is Mental Health Matters- & the Benefits of Creative  Arts Therapy, The Debasement of Music- The Body Sexuality & Power Plays and more

Introducing Elaine Nolan from Ireland- photo Carlow Photographic Society

Briefly describe your role in Music? (eg songwriter producer dj, radio, manager, engineer, all rounder etc)

I guess, composer, orchestrator, producer.

I’m not a songwriter in that I write more orchestral or modern classical music, which doesn’t necessarily conform to traditional formats or time constraints.

On the writing side, I’m an author, and self-publish.

And then I also combine both disciplines and create soundtracks or soundscapes to accompany the books, similar to film soundtracks.

How long have you been engaged in your musical journey?

The short answer is this has probably been a life-long pursuit, without necessarily knowing the direction I was going it. I started music lessons quite young, and kept it up to the end of school. But then life and having a job got in the way. I did return to some music in some shape of form, whether that was learning classical guitar, singing in choirs, or (eventually) studying for a degree which included music.

I eventually found the musical avenue I was always longing for about a decade ago when I returned to composing music again.

The writing journey started shortly after the musical one, and took the same nose dive as the music, but I returned to the writing side first, probably about five years earlier than the music, and hiding a small A6 notebook under the table on the train while commuting to and from work.

In what ways has unconscious bias (sexism or other) affected you personally?

I don’t think I’ve experienced a bias on gender, but I feel I have on age grounds. A lot of competitions or calls for scores to help ‘emerging’ composers cap an age limit to the late 20’s or mid 30’s, presumably on the expectation that budding composers will have ‘made it’ by then, which limits options for submitting works. That is changing though.

On the writing side, I found there were no strong female characters to read about or to follow, and I found that I was falling into the gender bias trap of making my own female characters weak, or ineffectual, or worse, falling into the stereotypical manic grab for power. It made me reassess my own deep-rooted biases, of the culture and societal preconceptions I was raised with, and where I was personally falling into that trap in real life, how to recognise when I was heading in that direction, and how to stop it.

Latest Literary and Soundtrack Release: (December 2019) Rule 53:

What do you feel women need the most to thrive in the current social and musical climate?

Confidence, assertiveness, and to be taken seriously, and to work positively with and support each other. We as women also need to remember that success for one, leads to success for all when we work together, not against each other. Not just in the musical world, but the world in general, across all disciplines or endeavours. We are smart, clever, creative in the most unusual and unique ways, and for the most part, again from our cultural and societal upbringing to be the nurturer, we naturally bring a strong collaborative, rather than competitive, element.

Why you are sharing this video?

Emergence Facebook Live performance of the album Emergence on Piano day.

This video link was my first solo piano performance since I was about 14 years old (and that wasn’t yesterday, or the day before that).

Why am I sharing it? Because it was frightening, both from the actual performing in front of people, to the music also being a premiere of a new album. It’s also frightening sharing the link. I know I messed up in the performance, and I still doubt my own compositional ability… but Music is about expression, any maybe someone reading/listening is also scared to step into the light, and this can prove that it’s alright to be scared, so long as it doesn’t hold you back. And maybe I just need reminding of that lesson too….

What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome on your musical path?

My own self-doubt, learning to use all the tech stuff, such as a DAW, sound libraries, mixing and producing my own music. The cost associated with getting music professionally produced is prohibitive for budding composers getting their music out there, and then trying to be heard. Modern classical music is surprisingly an oversaturated genre. Who knew…

On the writing side, despite the relative successes by the likes of JK Rowling, there also the ridicule heaped upon the likes of EL James (I’m not getting into the artistic merits or critiques of either), it is still extremely difficult to be taken seriously as a writer. It’s easier to be taken seriously as a composer. Writing by women are seen as gushy or ‘chick-lit’ (pardon me while I throw-up a little). Now, I’m not denigrating those genres, or the people who read them. At least people are still reading, and find enjoyment in reading. Chick-lit is just not for me. The biggest criticism I get in my writing is not that my women are actioners or doers, or that in spite of their flaws or quirks they still struggle to come out on top….No, the criticism is that there’s not enough gratuitous sex, or a blow-by-blow, if you will. That seems to be the greatest obstacle on the literary side, if you’re a woman you must write cheesy rose-mantic, hapless little girls, desperately awaiting their Mr Darcy to save them and protect them from the big bad world, so rough as to strip any pure, virginal innocent of her faculties…. Well, sorry, but fuck that shit.

What is unique about a women’s voice, and approach that is so desperately needed in music today?

For centuries society has told women that we should be seen and not heard, that we’re weak, soft, we’re intellectually inferior… which is utter bollocks… oh yeah, only harlots and ‘bad’ women swear… well fuck that… we may not be physically stronger for the most part, as in bulging biceps… but period cramps? Pushing babies out and then feeding them from our own bodies?

We are emotional stronger, and mentally stronger to withstand all the shit that life throws our way, to pick up the pieces, and have the ability to pick up and help others along the way. I think our unique, but not so unique if the majority do it, is to have and show compassion. We will be brave to protect others, sometimes at great cost to ourselves, but then hide in fear when it comes to being brave and protecting ourselves.

I think that level of compassion, combined with our ability to just work together where needs be to collectively achieve a greater goal. We need more women to be brave for each other and more importantly, themselves.

We are also unbelievable tougher and more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.

Do you have any advice for young women or others in the early stages of their musical exploration/ journey?

Believe in yourself even when your friends don’t, don’t take no for an answer… but don’t be afraid to say NO either. If something doesn’t feel right, then its not. And NO is an entire sentence, without the need to explain yourself. You don’t.

And most definitely, the best advice I was given: never take constructive criticism from anyone who hasn’t constructed anything in their lives…

I’d like to share my latest works with you. As part of the intended 2020 Carlow Arts Festival (Ireland), to have been held 1st week of June, 23 photographers from the Carlow Photographic Society submitted 5 images each on the theme of “Inner Exposure – The Unsung Song Within” The arts festival was cancelled due to Covid19, but the collaboration project continued on, opting for an online expo instead. Included is a live link to the website and as each photographer’s images are released, the website will be updated….. check out the beautiful music and stunning imagery on Elaine’s website here
https://www.elainenolan.net/collaboration-with-cps

Social media Links

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elainenolanwrites/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElaineNolanWrites/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElaineNolan_

Website: https://elainenolan.net/

 

Thank you Elaine, all the best with your creative work, please do check out and support independent artists. Next up we have Rebekah Davis from Melbourne.

 

Self Production The Feminine Voice (part b) Women Who Rock Series

WOMEN WHO ROCK IN MUSIC SERIES 2020 BLOGS

Continuing on from last weeks theme of Self Production and the Feminine Voice, read the previous blog below or here https://www.catherinemeeson.com/women-who-rock/self-production-the-feminine-voice-women-who-rock-in-music-series/

Look after your mental and physical health (I will write more about that in another blog later this year). Your health is your greatest asset and it is crucial to completing work. Life gets in the way, we have our up cycles and our down cycles, and our cruisy cycles. Bills come, stuff happens such as births, deaths and all in between.

It is advisable to have a dedicated account or saving strategy for the long haul, to fund yourself and your work. I got a university award for my honours work and  that helped to pay for album number 2 Atmospherica. Get funds where you can, crowdfund, get grants, teach, whatever it takes (this again is my struggle, you can be creative both with and without the financial assistance). But, for God’s sake, just press on regardless, you don’t know where you will be in 5 or 10 years even if you plan. You don’t know what work will resonate and what work will not. Keep creating, keep producing and nurture yourself.

Take time out when you need it.

Collaborate and continue to learn and develop always. The best thing about conferences are the little gems, things you may not have tried and new stuff as well as access to all sectors of the music industry, such as those who have walked before you who are brimming with insight and experience. I see it as a rich treasure trove.

I wish I were better able to reach out and get help beyond just mastering or photography or digital arts, but I struggle a bit with people. I’m very much a loner, I thrive is solitary to do my work. So, with tangents included, let’s come back to the goal or blog focus. The feminine voice and self-production process. It is a lot for only one person to do. How much self-belief do you have and how much work you want to put in, to produce your art? For me, it is every moment I can. I also regularly rebel against my own self-imposed disciplines and order, creativity is chaotic, for most creatives it is therapy (myself included, it is my lifeline and my guitar my greatest companion).

By 2015 with my third album Contemplating Buddha I had managed to get supporting actors into my video clips and someone to help film. I had my mastering engineer and a small team which that helped me slowly take my vision and work to the next level. It was still very much self-directed. People from other disciplines can get frustrated with you if you don’t talk their lingo so learn some,  and do ongoing professional development. Film Summer School was fantastic, they offer short intensives in all aspects of film making, with industry professionals. It gave me more guiding structure which helped to commit my ideas to form. My approach is two fold, brainstorming and story-boarding and spontaneous improvisation working with place and anything that pops up out in the field, whether idea, shot type, scene, etc. If I’m doing a film clip I will write the vision down, know what I want and learn as I go. With film clips there is a lot of unexpected on-site learning. Getting others involved requires planning, OHS stuff, equipment, funds, food, budgeting, considering light and weather conditions, having meetings, clear definitions of roles or communicating what you want and expect. I’m still working on that. You might get many gigabytes of footage and do the same scene 3 or 4 times and only get 5 to 10 seconds of usable work, you just have to hope for the best, life really goes to plan. Story-boarding is great, but don’t rely on it solely or you could miss the magic of the moment, which is  part of the joy of improvisation. A response to place which then leads the creative imagination. Spirit will always speak through you in response to the world around you, if you let it, it is called follow your gut and follow your intuition.

Contemplating Buddha gave me ‘Ascent for the Eastern Sunrise’ and ‘Rainbow Bridge’ videos. With Ascent for the Eastern Sunrise I wanted to jump out of a plane, but alas, I didn’t have the funds so my nieces partner had just been to Queensland and jumped out of a plane. I asked if they had any footage and they said yes, I asked if I could use it and they said yes! So, I got the footage and there was just enough to fill the film clip and sort of convey my idea. It wasn’t a complete rendition of what was in my imagination, it didn’t demonstrate turbulence and a few of the other aspects I hinted at in the audio, with the captain speaking to the jumpers before they’re about to jump out of the plane, but nonetheless, it taps the same essence. With my track ‘Windcatcher Upon the Waves’  off  Atmospherica, (album no 2) I had arranged to go out on a tall ship called The Endeavour. When the day came to go do my filming, it was slightly stormy and broody and it was perfect but they cancelled the ships sail, due to the winds.  I was upset it was exactly what I wanted. So, I ended up having to drive a lot further down the East Coast and did the sunset sail instead. I could not produce the full-fledged sailing ship dynamic rise and fall that I had seen when creating the track, (you know, imagine it going through the cresting waves and  panoramic cliffs all around or a vast crevasse type structure opening out onto the open sea). So, you do what you can with what you’ve got. I had an old portable handy cam. I had to convert the footage I took and did that video clip with Windows movie maker. It is far from perfect, but conveys a story in music and picture. Again, It was on a wish, hoping that I had enough footage to populate the video, but I didn’t know until I got home and was able to assess it all.

Story-boarding for Come Back

After these clips I got more ambitious because I was starting to achieve a little bit of my creative vision and direction. With ‘Mr Big Man’ and ‘I Am (Song of the Earth)’, they were a huge step up, with a new computer, using Da Vinci Resolve and Green screen footage, as well as stock footage and good old YouTube tutorials. I also take advantage of samples and Creative Commons stock and have a dedicated attribution’s page on my website for this purpose. I love Creative Commons  but it can also hold you back in both audio and video work. So, I just document everything and have a dedicated page under the music tab.

Mr Big Man’ was a punk rock inspired protest song written in response to a call out from Green Music Australia. I attended the Stop Adani tour and I got permission from protest groups to use footage and also got some paid stock footage, the rest I did with green screen in my garage. It communicated what I wanted an in your face confrontation and protest against an idiotic government and multibillionaire who is determined to rape and pillage the Earth in a dying fossil fuel age.

By I Am (Song of the Earth) I had met my friend Maria (R.I.P). We dreampt the clip up together. We met at Summer Film School in Melbourne. She was a photographer and aspiring cinematographer / film director who dreampt of getting an Academy award, but sadly never got the chance. She was behind the lens on-site. We did scounting trips after Google searches and had regular meetings, settling on a site close to her down around Mount Martha for it’s stunning geology and changability in the light. I spent weeks as costume maker, researcher, stage make up artist and created Oma the ancient clan mother,  which itself grew out of another one-woman show that I did that was filmed and made into a movie. ‘By The Mandate of Heaven’, it is on Youtube or available from me.

In the above Playlist you can see for yourself the development of my ideas, tools and knowledge grow and expand.

We were able to expand my creative direction with film clips. I love making film clips. I have always seen works in sound and pictures, ever since I was a young child. My music naturally evokes the visual sense of the 3rd eye. People tell me they see what I saw when I was writing the music, the places that the sound takes you to, which is why I say Music is the Master Key The Universe. In Guided Imagery in Music (Helen Bonny), music is used as a therapeutic tool because of its ability to generate rich imagery and promote integration of the personal and collective unconscious. I will write more about that another time,  (music sound and healing). I am obsessed on all levels with music sound and healing, they are the fields that I’ve developed and devoted my life to. I have practitioner level training in development, as well as many other music and sound related services which will be released under the business name of The Way of Sound©. The health benefits of music and sound are the future of medicine.

It is important to have self respect and to value what you have to share. I want you to reflect for a minute, on ‘Success’. Is it sales? Followers? Likes or shares?! No, it is successfully expressing the self on all levels and giving form to one’s ideas and then letting them fly into the world to live on, beyond you. Success looks different for everyone,  anything beyond completion and release for me is a bonus. With the current state of the world in Covid chaos, the world needs its artists more than ever, to create a paradigm shift and a revolution of consciousness. So, I want to go back to the etymology of words for a moment.

Self is according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, ‘an individuals true self or typical behaviour’. I would add, it is an innermost introspective sense of who we are and all that that entails.

Production – is the making or generating of a given thing, the creation of something from raw elements or parts.

So, self-production is the creation of musical works driven by the innermost self. With the process being of stages of production going full cycle. Creation, gestation, incubation, development, birth and release of the final finished product.

What self-production looks like will be different for everyone, there are Industry norms, but norms aside, everyones sense of completion will vary as well. As in life so in nature, human nature. All art forms are subjective, yet we base our worth in the world on the perception and practices of others. Success for us, must be firmly rooted in a strong sense of self love and respect. If we have those things, we are part way there, open to learn, grow and adapt as needed. So, to summarise, the feminine voice caters more to the inner nature, it does not disregard the pragmatic or discipline necessary to achieve results, but it works holistically and with empathy. It is the Yin supporting Yang within self and in the work and the steps out into the world. It is the balance of forces within self which is necessary to contend with the forces without outside of self, that are in the world.

So, self-production and the feminine voice is about embodying your path, walking your walk, doing your work, doing and being true to this sense of self, able to call on others to support your goals and progress along the path of your choosing. Self-production and the feminine voice is about knowing that it is time to listen to  both self and to your dreams, and go your way, self-assured and confident with your choices.

I invite you to join me for a series of Self-production Creativity Coaching for Musicians workshops by Zoom to explore this process and be guided through an action plan. You’ll receive PDF documents with links and worksheets to explore what your path might look like in practical terms. I am offering a series of Free Zoom meetings for anyone interested (men or women) that will introduce you to the course content, should you want to explore a bit more in depth and chart your path for a specific project or production. No dream is too big or too small. I dream of having a production company one day, a label to support other artists and creating music for film clips and movies, but at this time, that is something beyond my reach. For now, I have to be satisfied with creating smaller works to share those things which I feel need to be shared and spoken about in the world.

INTRODUCTORY WORKSHOPS date Sunday 12th & 17th of July – Free

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https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82799989825?pwd=YWVUY25LYy9WVjRmWkVTL09hN2ZLdz09

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SELF PRODUCTION CREATIVITY COACHING FOR MUSICIANS- (block of 4) begins online August 23RD, 30TH and September 6th and 13th Bookings info coming soon

For more information on creativity coaching I invite you to search and read the creativity coaching tab . Bookings can be made for my services for one of sessions @ $60 an hour or a block of 4 at at $220. Please inquire.

Self Production- The Feminine Voice (Women Who Rock in Music Series)

We detour this week for a break from the series ‘I Am Woman Watch Me Roar’ interviews, by looking at a reflective retrospective self-production process from the feminine point of view. I refer to my journey over 4 albums and various singles, sharing what I have learnt along the way. I am just like you, trying to figure stuff out, learning, evolving and far from perfect. I am an expert in human creative self-expression/ creative process. I have appointed myself Creative Director of the Windcatcher.

Self-production can be daunting for someone starting out. The number of conferences I went to and methods and courses I have signed up for and got partway through a too many to mention. I have managed to distil it all down to an efficient but lengthy process. An album cycle can take a year if you have the funds or 2 if like me you have limited resources. I have done everything myself except mastering and of recent years some filming. My first album however was mixed my friend Megan. So here is what I have learnt and what to do in a nutshell, with commentary from the feminine voice. I also offer my services as a creativity coach for other artists in this capacity, who are seeking to walk a similar path of self-expression, actualisation and completion of creative vision.

  1. 1. You have to wear lots of hats or be able to pay for services you cannot do yourself
  2. 2. You must hatch your eggs, if you sit on them too long it can stifle the creative flow and process and lead to frustration.
  3. it does not matter how long it takes just begin and stay at it
  4. Your work does not have to be perfect; it is an evolution over time, you learn from everything you manage to complete or not to complete, one must allow the emergence, growth and maturation process.

For example at present I am in multiple phases of old work going back as far as 10 years, new work and collaborations with a new band venture called Symbols in Sounds (look and listen up for more on us closer to release, as we will again detour whilst a focus on promoting our first release).

  1. Work has many cycles and evolutions. In feminine terms it can be expressed as
  2. a) creation and conception
  3. b) gestation or trimesters of project development
  4. c) birth and release
  5. d) promotion

CREATIVITY COACHING INFO- GO HERE https://www.catherinemeeson.com/coaching/

THE ARTISTIC SELF AND THE WORLD YOU ARE BIRTHING INTO.

My first album was Revolution Complete a mostly electronic work with some vocals and sampling. When I wrote this, I had just purchased Reason software, in 2008- 2009. I wrote a heap of work delighted that I could get it all out of my head at last, arrange it and sequence everything via midi. I had help from Megan who I met at Victory University, who was studying Audio Engineering (I was doing performance). She helped to take the work beyond midi. Back then I knew nothing of levels, automation, EQ, spatial placement, compression et cetera. I did not have the tools to record pure audio either. We did the audio recording in Pro Tools of the old V.U Sunbury asylum. Meg mixed it and mastered it, so I learnt about the process in a studio and the things that I couldn’t do. We went to music conferences together, looked into what you need to do to release work and I set my course. None of my teachers knew how to release anything because none of them had done it. I find it ironic that people teaching things such as song writing have not released any work! Employ me!

FOUNDATIONS TO RELEASE

Register as an independent artist with ARIA and get ISRC codes (metadata codes for audio masters which help track and ID your work on the World Wide Web during distribution to distributors and aggregators). It is essential for streaming services and any royalties getting back to you.

Register all songs with APRA/AMCOS to receive performance royalties if you play the material live or receive airplay.

Record your demos, learn to arrange and play other instruments, go through the audio production and post production cycle. Investigate the gear you need to fulfill your vision. Record and refine your mixes (it all takes time, you just have to do it to get better and understand stuff).

Set up a basic home studio, you really do not need much now days, it is totally affordable, even for the budget consious starving artists archetype, just begin. The basic essentials are: a computer, DAW (software), audio interface, studio flat response headphones and studio flat response monitors, cabling, midi keys and instruments. If you sing obviously a microphone and mic stand.

Get critical feedback from independent years. Pay for private mentorship from those in the industry if you can if you are struggling with specific things. Work with those who will support your vision, build you up, not tear you down as you are learning.

Set websites up and all socials (back then I only had Bandcamp and distributed through CD baby. I had no website. I had Facebook and MySpace, circa 2009 2010).

Set a release strategy and dates and create a promo list. Research radio stations, take advantage of AMRAP (Australian music radio airplay project). consider what you need to do and write it all down. Consider any press you can get and organic reach. Use your networks (I am shit at that as a loner).

Do the best you can with what you have, whether it’s the music resources, equipment, funds or contacts. The indie road is hard, but one maintains full control of your body of work and you can exploit it later should you choose to.

Get your work mastered as songs and instrumentals, for this allows you to potentially exploit licensing opportunities should fate smile upon you, or you spend the time to reach out to music supervisors et cetera. There is also the option of remixing work later, so archive and label well and keep master files in multiple places, devices fail. Learn about mastering in the mastering process and get critical feedback to develop your skills during the production cycle.

Simultaneously work on any video content. When I did Revolution Complete, I only had Windows media and photos. I made a couple of videos with NASA creative Commons photos. Now I take advantage of stock libraries, edit video with Da Vinci Resolve, as well as do on-site filming with my smart phone (my OPPO, it can do 4K). I also do Green screen work.

You can conceive and represent your work yourself. This allows a different reach and appreciation, allowing one to dive further into the art of storytelling using characters, props, choreography, storyboarding and improvisation. I often find my video conceptions beyond my capacity, so I look stuff up on Youtube tutorials and keep reference playlists. I do what I can with what I’ve got and I’m told that I produce awesome work considering my means.

I learnt of Da Vinci Resolve at Film Summer School. I’ve learnt to use it solely off Youtube tutorials. I do PD’s when I can. Da Vinci is a complete video editing and colour grading platform by Black Magic design. You can download and use it for free, as they just want to see people making work and support independents, where the company makes their money is on the integrated hardware and through collaborative and integrated production company approaches with multiple users able to network their systems.

The more you do yourself the more you understand the process and the time involved should you be able to subcontract or pay others for work, or sign any sort of future deals. You can appreciate the roles of all creative industries personel, much better.

Write your press release on bio.  Get photos done, use a timer if need be or a friend. Make sure you evolve and edit your bio with every project, you need to update and try to include positive press quotes or reviews.

Develop relationships with any bloggers who review your work.

Develop relationships with radio especially those at the CBAA (Community Broadcasting Association of Australia) community radio network, and at AMRAP. AIRIT is fantastic, but has just been decommissioned and is functioning in unison as AMRAP (Australian Music Radio Airplay Project). You submit your work so it can be downloaded by local radio stations, program managers or DJs. They love you to contact them and follow-up on your reports and will often do feature interviews.

Don’t be limited by having no funds creativity is the mother of invention. Let the creative spirit be the driver of the ship, you might be surprised by the results, connect deeply to your inner voice and nurture it.

Revolution Complete and Atmospherica did not have any paid promotion. I sent off some CDs to community radio but I didn’t know if I received any airplay. I didn’t know what I was doing back then. It was purely about the music and process; business stuff is my weakness. I still feel I let myself down, but with Contemplating Buddha my 3rd album,  I Am (Song of the Earth), Mr Big Man, Come Back and The Call of Oma album, I got more efficient and set aside a tiny promotional budget which allowed me more reach. You can only launch once, but yet again, your work will always be new to someone. You can relaunch and repackage work as well at will.

Document your processes and share it it helps other artists and is inspirational to see the way others do stuff, we can learn from everyone in life. It also helps to establish a track record to be able to seek funding or grants (something I have not done as yet).

Lose perfectionist tendencies and learn to let go, because all art is a product of time (culture, tec, expression, capture). Imagine if The Beatles sat on their work forever, there be no Sgt Peppers, or if Pink Floyd had not been open to experimentation with sampling and evolving tec, we would not have Dark Side of the Moon.

So, each work single EP or album has a production cycle. Funds can limit creativity, but ‘creativity is the mother of invention’ as they say. Do not be limited by world conventions or norms, create new paths. Be you, forge your own path, your own way. Seek inspiration in everything and reflect, review, revise and refine constantly.

I highly recommend keeping a production journal or book, you will need it. It is good for the recording the mixing process, keeping notes during that. The planning and brainstorming for all your research into blogs and radio, for you to do lists and things to tick off. It is necessary to get stuff done. You could regard it as a portfolio.

So, by Atmospherica, I started experimenting with mixing. Propellerheads released the Record aspect of their DAW to go with Reason, and I could record bass, voice, guitar and basically whatever I wanted, as well as doing all my midi arrangements. I was in sonic bliss. I pride myself in musical storytelling and in creating sonic fantasy lands – other worlds to populate with the inspired imagination of others (the receivers).

Let’s go with ‘the receivers’ as an idea for a minute, (audience or whatever). We all need to be received or we risk being the lone tree falling  in a forest (see Zen philosophy). We create first and foremost because we have to and then because we must share. Authentic self-expression is not about creating for an audience like they tell you, unless it is commissioned work to a brief. All original work comes from within the Self, the well spring of all human creativity, call it god, spirit, the divine, whatever you like. We are all connected to it. Music is a relational artform. Whether a produced product or performed live, it has to be received. Although, one can play to the winds and to the aether and be received none the less into the collective fields of the Earth, a spirit voice on the winds.

I feel I fail with funds and promotion, so I finish the work and I release It, in the best way I can within my means and then it gets archived as legacy intellectual property. When I leave Earth, I leave a lot of art works behind me, music, words, pictures, plays, works, books. I see them all, as my babies and they need to be raised and clothes to live on independently of me. My goal is to give them a body and bless them, as I shuffle them out into the world. Be detached about results, expect nothing, stay humble. You do not know how your work will be received. As artists we get hung up on that and how it is received by others. Let it matter less and the work matter more and put your heart and soul into the job, the work, the promotion, but then let it go.

More in part b) next week, be sure to register for the free ZOOM workshop this Sunday 5th July at 7pm and learn about my 4 week Creativity Coaching for Musicians workshops.

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/1161587497541940/

ZOOM LINK: SIGN UP VIA FACEBOOK FOR DETAILS

Catching Stardust-The birth of a Song-Women Who Rock Series

Welcome  February 6th 2020. The Call of Oma launch was a success it is receiving airplay around Australia and there will be more interviews coming. So far  we have had feature interviews on 97.9fm and Radio Adelaide’s Out of This World. More news on that into the future. You can purchase the album The Call of Oma at all digital outlets or go here https://catherinemeeson.bandcamp.com/album/the-call-of-oma . Today we begin a new journey.

The  video below details the spontaneous song writing process as a whole, in video document format from the beginning to end, (less than thirty minutes). Features the song ‘Stardust’ a song exploring the feeling and vulnerability of new love and the fragility of the heart. It will be released as a single in 2020.

Lyrics and Music by Catherine Meeson © 2020 ℗ 2020

All Rights Reserved

A Sonic Sanctuary production February 5 2020

Contains stock footage from Videoblocks.com

‘Catching Stardust’ is the first in a series of Blogs and Vlogs on ‘Women Who Rock’ in music (title inspired by Marilyn of the Red Church) for 2020, which will explore women in music and issues of craft as well as issues affecting well-being and sense of self from a women’s perspective. They may contain surveys and interviews with others and will also be a shout-out to influential and powerful women of music through recorded her-story. Sure, to be provocative and forthright.

‘Catching Stardust’ honours the song writing process of not knowing  and going with the flow of ones muse. Stardust was the second tune I wrote by the embers of an open fire, camping out in Lerdederg state park, whilst my boyfriend slept. It was 11th March  2019.

As a form of documentation, I literally set up the phone and recorded the whole process by firelight. It is in D# alternative tuning, (something my boyfriend has introduced to me). Before this I wrote a very long riff based instrumental piece called Resurrection Codes which was also captured. Video documenting allows one to see exactly what one was doing in the moment. Once upon a time I captured my songs on tape recorder and still have a box of tapes. Years later it became phone voice recording, now occasionally I do it on video. I always drew my chord charts and progressions down.

Stardust captured the feeling of new love, vulnerability and the fragility of the heart. As with most improvisation-based tunes, I noodle till I find something that resonates with how I am feeling in the moment, then I’m off on The Windcatcher (my magical mythical musical ship), we set sail and traverse the fields of time and space through sound. I voyage through feeling, melody, harmony, rhythm and form as the song is crafted/ birthed through me. Lyrically it presents as essentially a folky tune (psychedelic folk ambience) that has been developed as a demo and was submitted to the APRA professional development competition last year.

Many people have an opinion about how to write a song and what it has to be. A formula for the genre, a set structure, the rules of harmony and form. All those things are nice but they create limits if one is rigid about it. We all know the essence of popular music form through listening to it all our lives. There is no right or wrong way. Someone will always want to change what you did or how you did it, or they will change where it wants to or could go. But you know what? It’s your song, your way, your muse and voice. There is only ‘what is’ in the moment of creation. Finding ones own voice and style is essential in a world of wannabes. All one can ever truly be is oneself. Therefore, cultivate uniqueness, that is following the dao of your own unique unfolding on the river of life.

Sure you can refine songs later, re arrange them , adapt them etc, but in my experience  ( I can say this because I have been writing songs now for 33 years), they come out mostly complete entities; a chord progression and a vocal lyrical melody that stands by it’s own integrity. One does not need to agonise over it or get all intellectual about it. It’s a different process to writing to a brief or modern electronic based song writing, this is the old school way of instrument and words. It’s organic, with the flavours and tools of local space time, i.e. the feel and the instruments/ resources at hand.

You don’t go to school to learn how to write songs, you just write them. You go to school to learn composition, but degrees for song writing, that will get you a bunch of rules to break and a bunch of formulas and other peoples processes. Then you still have to do your own thing. So play, experiment, make mistakes, follow your ears, follow your feelings as they express.

This video is very raw and very real,  it features me being eaten alive by mosquitos, tripping out on the sounds of the night and being in awe of the stars. It features mistakes, bum notes and the real process I go through  to find /develop and create a song. I feel I don’t create it, I just follow it as it emerges, I am just the person it comes through. Like the universe wishing to express itself. I follow the feeling, rhythm, the flow, the melody. The lyrics come as to be expected. My hope is that this video demystifies and normalises the song writing process. This took less than thirty minutes to write.

As far as what is it – to fix it in a genre, I guess I would call it folky, psychedelic folk, as it has been developed and uses fx pedals. The structure is pretty standard. Intro, verse, bridge, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, outro. The instrumentation so far is simple, acoustic guitar with fx, bass, guitar riffs on the ricky, programmed beats and vocals, main and back up. It was a time-based completion for APRA ‘s professional development award program, (which obviously I was unsuccessful at). I also entered Resurrection and Standing there two more singles I hope to get out this year.  I will develop Stardust further and refine the parts for the single release, it needs tightening up, the vocal placement and vowels need to be bang on. It is very characteristically ambient, spacious and relaxing. It is a beautiful song that I am happy to say Marty Wilson Piper liked 😊 in a recent mentoring session. Marty formally of Australian rock band The Church is my favourite guitarist alongside Pink floyd’s  David Gilmour.

The purpose of this recording now is me reviewing my 60+ gig of video recordings from my phone, clearing my archives and storage and seeing what is worth developing and producing to completion. Not everything gets developed. The archives feature song ideas, improvisations on guitar, voice, bass, and piano, captured out there in the world, at work, or where ever I was at the moment. I am assessing my focus for the year and where my energies will go and what is realistic. I will aim for 3-4 singles, with a possible 3- 4 month turn around for each, that should be doable, but depends on work, funds and life.

As mentioned at the start of the blog I have a new series I will write about this year, aiming for one a month called Women Who Rock’ series. Look out for those as we journey along, and look out for my invitations to questions of relevance on Survey Monkey.

In ‘Catching Stardust’, I am inviting people into my process, I have always been pretty open about it blogging my albums creation and development of all my work.

I am promoting my services as a Creativity Coach (arts based coaching). If you are interested in Creativity Coaching and want to know more, click on the link below to my page about Creativity Coaching. The basic premise is that artists and creatives have unique sets of problems that need to be tackled and we may need the services of a whole bunch of allied health persons and professional arts industry allies, a Creativity coach can help you figure out what you need to be the best you, you can be as you bring your work into the world.

https://www.catherinemeeson.com/coaching/

Creativity Coaching is offered via skype, phone, email or in person. There are one of rate deals of $60 an hour (skype, and follow up email). And a 4 session package deal $220 (4 skype sessions, follow up email, 2 15 minute phone check ins). In person sessions will incur additional travel costs. Payment method is via the Paypal button on the weblink (secure).

Creative process is something I am an expert at and could be invaluable in assisting you to be all you can be. Make it happen in 2020. No matter the issues affecting your creative work, or sense of self in the world a creativity coach could be exactly what you need.

To this end my qualifications are  Adv Dip Music, B.A.I (Hons- music composition), Adv Dip Transpersonal Counselling & Art Therapy, Creativity coaching training with Eric Maisel, spiritual healing modalities. Professional development at Film Summer School (Melb Uni) and currently enrolled in part time Audio Engineering studies.