(Continuing on from the “Welcome to Real World” post…)

Before even meeting my collaborator for Beatcamp @ RealWorld 2018 we received an assignment from the camp director Marc Langsman: select an image from the National Geographic archive that would serve as the basis of inspiration for the song that we would produce during the workshop. 

At first this felt a bit daunting, as there are well over 9.3 million images in the archive, but I held the attitude that I was going to find it quickly and that I’d know it when I saw it. Within 10 minutes I came across this fantastic photograph taken by Oliver Apicella:  

To me, it said everything about what we would be doing for the project: casting our nets, hoping to catch the big fish – inspiration.

Fortunately my collaborator, Patrick Hill, agreed and suddenly we were working together in the same direction. (Great idea, Marc!) We also agreed to create a completely new song, just for the camp and that everything would be done from scratch.  

From there the song came together rather quickly. We had the chord progressions, riffs, melodies, lyrics, arrangement and drums all done on the first day of the camp. The next day we built the song up by tracking bass, guitars, piano and vocals. The final day of the camp we recorded a violin solo, edited the tracks, mixed it all down and gave it the name “Nets”.

You can listen to the entire BeatCamp at Real World 2018 album on Spotify or iTunes/Apple Music.

Aside from having a dream come true (getting to make music at Real World) the camp taught and reminded me of quite a few things:

1) To stay focused on the goal and feel as if it is already done. I’ve been doing this with great success for a couple years now and it helped a number of times during the camp. Particularly given the time constraints and the ever-present temptation to try too many things.

2) Strive to hear my inner voice even in the midst of chaos/activity all around, as well as differing opinions. This doesn’t mean “ignore everyone else”, it simply means don’t forsake my own intuition/vision just because of what’s going on around me.

3) Go with the path of least resistance. E.g. don’t insist that I do something myself if someone else can do it better/quicker. Early on in the camp I made a conscious decision to involve the studio musicians as much as possible. Normally I would opt to do everything myself but here we had a small army of professional musicians/engineers/producers ready and willing to help out. I realized that I should make the most of this opportunity, particularly if I wanted the track to be finished on time.

4) Be open to seeing how someone else might do something. Originally my plan for mixing was to do a first pass myself and then get feedback as to what should be fixed. Then I had the thought “I pretty much know what I am going to do and how it will sound, why not see how a pro would do it”. So I asked the Head Engineer Oli Jacobs if he wouldn’t mind handling it while I looked over his shoulder and he said “sure”. Turns out that this was one of the highlights of the entire camp for me. It was fantastic being able to see his workflow, his choices/decisions and being able to ask him questions as to why. He was super helpful, responsive and kind throughout the process. 

Thanks again to everyone involved in making “Nets” a reality. Here are the credits:

Glenn Schoonmaker (Composer), Patrick Hill (Composer), Nicole Fermie (Vocals), AD Chivers (Vocals), Howard Gill (Drums), Paul Whalley (Bass), Graham Kearns (Guitar), Jonathan Page (Piano), TiiT Kikas (Violin), Oli Middleton (Recording Engineer), Oli Jacobs (Mix Engineer), Tim Oliver (Mastering Engineer), Marc Langsman (BeatCamp Director), Rena Biring (Beatcamp Organizer)