speaking up

We had an opportunity to add some extra tracks to Thunder Cloud Blue (Jewel Toned Baby). We started out by adding some vocal harmonies to the chorus. We layered my initial harmony with two other vocal parts provided by Jamie and Susan. From there we added some midi harmophone to back the vocals on the choruses. I had been doing some journalling and reflecting before I came to class because I had had one of my reoccurring dreams. Sean and I got to talking about the stuff I had written down and I asked if we could take some recordings of me talking through them and add them into the song. There was an instrumental section before the last chorus that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with. We had talked about doing a key board or guitar solo but I thought the spoken word would be more of an interesting move. After recording my spoken word, I had the idea to manipulate the tracks. At first I wanted to play the whole thing backwards but after listening to it, I found that what I was saying was more interesting. We did alter parts of the audio to add some interest and reflect the topic of what I was saying. I was really happy with the song when we finished up with the last recording session but after this one it really feels complete. 

record breaking recording session

The recording session on Wednesday went really well. I’m so pleased with how the song turned out. I was pretty nervous when we got started. I was set up in the recording studio and the rest of the group was in the control booth so I felt a little separated from them. I was also nervous because my voice can be kind of hoarse in the mornings so I was concerned about the quality of my vocals. I did vocal warm ups in the morning while I was getting ready for class so I wouldn’t sound too horrible and I’m glad I did so. We were able to track the ukulele and vocals together in just four takes which was awesome. From there, we recorded acoustic drums and tambourine, played by Sean Morrin my professor, bass which was played by one of my classmates. I don’t know very much about recording so it was really interesting to be to watch the equipment being set up, checked to make sure it was all working properly, and then once the music was recorded, how it was treated through music software programs.

It’s so satisfying and inspiring to work a song through this process. It started out as a few lyrics and some chords in my bedroom to being a fully produced song I can play from my phone or laptop. It’s really inspired me to get back into my song writing. My music took a back seat to my art the past four years I’ve been at MECA which is fine because school needed to be a priority but now that school is wrapping up I plan to focus more on my music. It’s something I’m passionate about and I don’t want to lose it.

I’m a work in progress

I’m in the process of spending a week working on my collages. After a meeting with my professor we decided it was the best move to dive into these. The three I created over spring break were some of the most inspired work I had done in a while. I think I needed to work on focusing on the making process and not get to held up by the final products. I think this week will be a nice breather. I feel good about what my exhibition space will look like, the t-shirt design is done, I just need to order them, same with my stickers, Finalizing the cd and 45 covers shouldn’t take too much time, and I need to get started on my thesis books. Five weeks is a short time but I’m feeling pretty confident.  

write and write and keep on writing

My song writing course is (finally) in full swing. For the first half of the semester, we focused mostly on music theory. We went over harmony, chord progression, and other basic music knowledge. This was a great refresher for me because I hadn’t taken any music theory since high school. However, it made me a little nervous because it’s pushed back the actual song writing process. But those nerves faded away after our class on Monday. Our professor, Sean Morin, split the class in two; one group went into the studio to record a song we started before spring break and the second group went into a practice room to start work shopping the next song. I volunteered to have my song work shopped. I had written about half a verse, chords, rhythm, and melody. With my group, we were able to nail down a complete verse and chorus, as well as starting a second verse. We figured out what the exact sound would be and picked accompanying instruments. We start recording on Wednesday. 

I was pretty nervous to share what I had written because I don’t really know anyone in the class. Although it is a creative class and everyone is really nice I was still worried about opening up with something as personal as my music. But you know what, I’m glad I did. I took a deep breath and just dove in, allowing myself to trust that my peers would be there to catch me. And they did. They were all incredibly helpful and receptive. They were really into the sound I was trying to achieve and they were able to fill in the places I was lacking with their strengths. I really loved the whole process of collaborating with a group of people to create music. I can’t wait to get back into the music studio and hear the final version of what we’ve come up with. 

Like Speed Dating

Date One: Look into Nils Frahm (folklore based around the band), Animated GIFs to be projected behind band on stage (Early Lana Del Ray), more down and dirty, photo copy, cut and paste, make record covers instead of CDs (more real estate), duo tones and photo copy are economic measure which work well with punk, screen print t-shirts, less precious, more messy.

Date Two: Logo looks too precious, match the punk, pushy imagery, think about the inside of CD and record sleeve,

Date Three: Drake on Cakes, get off the computer, more physical, do both CD and album covers, more research on the designers/artists that I’m into, labels, interviews, I should start journaling, get introspective about childhood memories because it is personal.

Date Four: List of adjectives: really nail down what I want to say about the band and about yourself, do separate experiments for each style of album cover inspiration.

Logo Design

Over the past weekend, I started developing my logo more thoroughly. I had done some sketching and brain storming earlier in the month but it was set on the back burner. I started out by brain storming what I wanted to logo to stay and how I wanted it to reflect the band’s music. I created a mind map and also listed out a series of adjectives. My mind idea with this logo and identity system is to blend two contrasting ideas. Like punk and and folk or indie music. Since most music draws inspiration from multiple sources and past musical influences, I think it’s important to be conscious of this mixing of genres.  Honey Gone Bad is a combination of folk punk and indie rock. I want to celebrate this blending. I created two work marks (logos) this weekend, one was a funky san serif and the other was a fun script both of which started out with sketching and hand lettering. I liked both of them but they weren’t quiet what I was trying to achieve. However, in my studio course I worked on a third version. This time I jumped straight onto Adobe Illustrator, not my usual technique. I carefully used my tablet to write out Honey Gone Bad in cursive. I was intending to just play around with the letter forms and see if I could generate some new inspiration. This turned out to be really successful. I created some really interesting shapes in the forms of my ascenders and descenders. I used these shapes to further form and refine the rest of the letters. There will probably be one more round of edits before the logo is finalized but the process is moving along very well! The fun, soft cursive will be contrasted through the use of color selection as well as the imagery used throughout the rest of the project. 

Visiting Artist Workshop

On Thursday (and Friday) of this week, the Graphic Design department at MECA participated in a workshop run by visiting artist Tricia Treacy. She is designer who works and teaches in North Carolina. Most of her work consists of books and zines mad in collaboration with other markers and artists. In our time with her, we focused on making, not thinking, and collaborating in small groups with our peers. After a short presentation about her work, we were told to write to brief sentences about our own work and thesis process so far. From there, we extracted two words, and wrote them on pieces of paper which were later redistributed throughout the groups. We based for projects of concepts inspired by these words. After discussing our words and nailing down a concept, my group decided to create our work through collage methods. This is a process of making that I have always loved. Pasting together found images, vintage clip art, and mismatched letter forms has always intrigued me. In fact, it was my main form of making throughout my high school years. We went through two rounds of this process focusing on the words identity and attraction. We began to explore the idea of self reflection and looking inward at oneself. unfortunately, work and a conflicting class prevented me from attending the second day.

This is not a test

In the last few days, I’ve had trouble clearing my head and focusing on the task at hand. I’ve been sifting through some of the books I took out of the library but just left lost. Sometimes, I feel like the research phase is distracting my from my end goal. I know what I want to create, I just to figure out how to frame is properly so that my research and process will align.

The next step in out thesis journey, is to create another project; a follow up to the “what if” poster. Again, I was feeling slightly lost on what to create next. I’m itching to get in the the design phase of my identity and branding but I’m getting ahead of myself. So, once again, I sat down to do some research, hoping that by just getting started some inspiration might come my way. And it did. The great Mark Jamra once told me that inspiration does not strike randomly. You have to start working to see what will and will not work, and in that effort, is inspiration. As I began flipping through my books and scrolling through the endless tunnel of the internet, I began to ask myself clearly and pointedly, “who designed these album covers?” I started with Bikini Kill. In my background knowledge of the riot grrrl movement, I knew that a lot of the bands created their own zines and thus I assumed they also created their album art. I was able to find credit for Bikini Kill’s art directly on their site. It was created by Kathleen Hanna, the band’s front woman and lead singer. It was here that my idea came into a full form. I am going to create a series of zines, between four and 10, exploring a set of bands that inspire me. Each page of the zine will look at a visual piece of the band’s identity, including the image and a blurb about the designer of artist responsible for creating the work.

Poster Child

As a way to dive into research and begin informing my thesis topic, I designed a poster using cut paper, found images, and a scanner. When given the assignment we were asked to start with a series of “what if…” questions. From there we narrowed it down to a single one to answer.

As a way to dive into research and begin informing my thesis topic, I designed a poster using cut paper, found images, and a scanner. When given the assignment we were asked to start with a series of “what if…” questions. From there we narrowed it down to a single one to answer. I focused on “what if the punk poster met design history?” This was a way for my to frame my exploration of traditional punk posters and how they might meet and interact with design theory. My initial posters were created in the typical punk style at 8x11” and then were further refined to incorporate design history.

The Beginning

Over winter break, I thought a lot about what I wanted to focus on for my senior thesis. Having just finished a course focused on branding and identity systems, this design style was pretty fresh in my mind. I’ve also been wanted to explore my interest in musicians and bands and how to appropriately brand them. With these concepts in mind, I decided to go for it. Over the next 15 weeks I will be branding a band which I have titled Honey Gone Bad. Although it doesn’t exist yet, it’s my hope that by creating the branding, merchandise, and song material I will bring it to life. This first week has been a little rough for me though. I was rearing to dive into this project but in true meca fashion, we are taking our time and starting out with smeller projects that will later inform our work. Currently, we are working on a series of 18x24 posters that set out to answer some “what if” questions about our topic. I see the value in this exercise but I’m just really pumped to start on designing my logo and album covers.

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