writers block!

Creative roadblock? Simplify. Add deadline. Then Fight!

When you’re inspired to create something, and there is some mental roadblock keeping you from executing on your inspiration, I’ve always found it’s helpful to simplify. Reduce the number of options to you. Force yourself to create something with just a handful of tools. Or just one tool. Just one color. One instrument. One theme. And it’s helpful to have a unmovable deadline, forcing you to make creative decisions quickly. Looking back, some of my songs that I like the most were written and recorded in one or two days.

I knew I wanted to write something today. So I turned to one of the best sites to give you instant inspiration and force you to make creative musical decisions quickly—SongFight! They give you a title, and one week to write and record a song. No prizes, other than knowing that you just created something. It’s been a while since I entered the ring, so let’s get this shit started. This week’s fight title is “Bitter Monday”.

steal this song steal

Make sure to check out all of the songs in the fight and vote for your fave.

Lyrics:

Sunday was your favorite
the smells of the ocean
the swells of the sea
cascading over the sand
when the light began to fade
you knew it was over

high above,
Sunday will live on.

you never followed your heart
it burned through your soul
you believed what they said
that you wouldn’t amount to anything
one simple thing
kept you down all these years.

 

For the gear nerds:

Lead vocals: Audix OM7 mic. Backing vocals: Shure SM7b. Vocal effects: Line 6 Pod Farm Analog Delay w/Mod » Strymon BigSky Reverberator. Keys: Wurlitzer 200a » Strymon BigSky.

New album coming soon

Working on the new album.

I’ve realized my life travels on the path of a sine wave. I’m once again making my way out of the trough and heading up towards the crest. Finally knocking some musical ideas out of my head and carefully arranging them into ones and zeros.

I’m incredibly excited about this album. These songs have come to me easier than anything else I have written. Looking forward to being able to share them all with you later this year.





Album artwork idea.
Album Artwork Idea

State Shirt gear, looping video

On Top of a Hill – live looping improv / demo

Here’s a song that I’d consider, using music industry vernacular, a “demo”. I wanted to start out with a completely ridiculous sound and try to turn it into a song. This is the result. Maybe this will turn into an album track, I’m not sure yet. Hope you enjoy checking out this work in progress. :)

buy buy steal steal

Gear list if you’re interested: Circular Labs Mobius looping software on my Macbook Pro. Vocals: Line 6 DL4 » Strymon TimeLine. Keys: Wurlitzer » Strymon BigSky. MIDI: Behringer FCB1010.

Live Looping Improvisation

Live Looping Improv [Mobius looper, Strymon TimeLine delay]

Woke up this morning and had the urge to do some improvisation. Here’s a live looping improv that I just recorded. Beatboxing, distortion, and weird vocals. Everything was recorded live, nothing pre-recorded. Music gear nerds: There is a gear list below if you’re interested. :)

Using Circular Labs Mobius looping software on a Macbook Pro. Vocals: Line 6 DL4 » Strymon TimeLine. Guitar: Fender Toronado » Strymon OB.1 Optical Compressor » Sarno Earth Drive » Strymon TimeLine » 1980 Silverface Fender Twin. Keys: Wurlitzer » Strymon BigSky. MIDI: Behringer FCB1010.

State Shirt music video - Sorry I Ruined Your Life

Sorry I Ruined Your Life [music video]

Here is the music video for my new song “Sorry I Ruined Your Life”. Working on a new album now! :)

buy buy  steal steal
[mp3j track=”Sorry I Ruined Your Life@http://stateshirt.com/audio/videosongs/stateshirt_sorryiruinedyourlife.mp3″ flip=”y”]

This one was fun to put together. It started off as a simple video song in my studio. But the song is about destruction so it morphed into a music video with a sledgehammer and some busted walls. I built a $20 DIY Snorricam (see a photo on my Instagram page) and looked ridiculous while shooting a bunch of these scenes. Good thing I enjoy looking ridiculous. Thanks to Angela Heine for shooting the sledgehammer destruction scenes.

Lyrics:

no more good ideas are
in my head i’ve spent them
all on other things I don’t care about

wasting away clearing leaves
out of gutters and cracked sidewalks
crumbling in my aging hands

don’t you see me
when we die you can blame me
don’t you hate me?

always thinking of how things could have been
or how they will be when
someone else solves this for me
forgetting there is a here and then.

anxious about things i’ve
never tried some slight guilt
about all the times I’ve lied
the times I’ve lied

Strymon BigSky, TimeLine, Mobius

Strymon BigSky, TimeLine, and Mobius demo video songs

So as some of you may know, I’m the marketing guy over at Strymon, and I write and perform many of the audio clips for Strymon products, including writing the music for the BigSky, TimeLine, and Mobius demo videos. A bunch of people have asked me the names of these songs and if they can download them. Well, I guess the songs don’t really have names. :) But since you asked, you can now download the songs here:

BigSky song:
download download

TimeLine song:
download download

Mobius song:
download download

And in case you haven’t seen the vids, check them out below. :)

Live Looping Tips & Techniques

Looping Tips and Techniques

Looping Tips and Techniques - illustration by Ethan Tufts

I recently had the opportunity to contribute an article for Premier Guitar magazine. The topic? Something very dear to my heart—looping tips and techniques!

“If you want to take your looping from four-bar bedroom jams to a performance environment, start thinking of your looper as an instrument, not an effect. Creating engaging loop performances can require the same type of effort that you put into learning guitar. Really get to know your looper until using it becomes second nature.”

Head on over to the Premier Guitar site to read the whole article:

Read the article

And if you’re interested in seeing some of these techniques in practice, please feel free to check out a couple of my recent looping vids on YouTube. :)

Some new lyrics. Thank you for not caring.

Some new drunk lyric ideas that I haven’t used yet.

Thank you for not caring.

so fucking high
80s dance party was a blur gone by
Morrissey kept me company for hours

walking the streets at night
La Brea streetlights always seemed so real to me
and in the miracle mile
i passed the tar pits where the world ended once before
i want it to end again tonight.
shadows of kids staring at bones
hollywood bitches creaming for franz kline
valley whores complaining about lichtenstein

i could waste away alone
leave me alone.
i’m here by myself for a reason.
asleep in a beverly hills park bathroom
just me and my suitcase
filled with my sketches of hope.

almost died last night. my eyes are tired
can’t look in the mirror anymore.
crawled away, fell into the seat.
she smiled and brought me coffee
that was all i needed.
I could live and die in LA
and no one would care and that’s what i wanted
and i don’t need to feel what you feel
every day when you slog to work.
i’m alive and dead.

these marks on my arm keep me aware
that i don’t want to be you.
i don’t need to be you.
you might call me lost
you might call me crazy
but i can lay here without worry.
thank you Los Angeles for not caring.

no plan, no way out for now.
i can be me.
even on the dirty corner of hoover and 8th,
i knew that i was nothing
and it was grand.