pre-FAWM planning?

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  • @bootlegger 8 weeks

    Is anyone doing any pre-FAWM planning?
    gathering of notes? getting ideas together?
    storyboarding a concept album?
    grand plans?

    I ran into an idea for my FAWM album while driving one day and I had to pull over to start writing a few notes in my phone. It all starts with a journal. A supposedly found journal.

    That's all I really had at the start. That someone would come across a journal and an albums worth of songs would come out of it.
    But as I brainstormed ideas the pieces started coming together.
    And it's going to be an undertaking.
    I don't know if I'm going to pull it off in any way, shape, or form.
    But I'm going to try.

    The initial idea came in November. I spent November and much of December storyboarding and brainstorming.

    I eventually landed on an idea. A 28 year old man finds his father's journal after his father dies. He reads it and puts pieces of it together to form songs that make up an album. It contains stories about his father's past and his own past and stories about his mother and grandparents and father's friends and old girlfriends and escapades growing up.

    I spent much of December writing the journals. I'm still not done. I have some time. I plan to write the album based off the journals in February and produce a full album. I'll likely record most of it at home other than drums which will be done at the studio I work at by a friend of mine. I'm really excited for what it can be. I hope it works out.

    And for anyone wondering about an album title. Simply: The Journal.

    I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with as well. I'll be around for listening and forum-ing and commenting and album swaps and idea-bouncing if need be. Good luck everyone!

  • @howthenightcame 8 weeks

    @bootlegger that sounds like a very good idea for a concept album, and leaves things open for the kinds of music you'd like to explore. good luck!!

    I'm planning to do a concept album based on the myth of Beowulf, a book I reread a couple of years ago. To prepare for FAWM, I've listened to a Beowulf audiobook, and I'm currently reading John Gardner's amazing novel "Grendel". I have spent a long time working on 14 track titles that cover the basic narrative of Beowulf. I'm still not done, but things are taking shape - I think this structure will guide me well when February arrives!!

  • @unkept 8 weeks

    @bootlegger , that sounds awesome! Same with your idea @howthenightcame !

    My only prep so far has been to be more active on the Facebook Skirmish group, I find it helps me warm up to the production so I spend less time during FAWM on the technical aspects of creating a song and more time on lyrics / creativity.

    I do have some ideas in my head about writing soundtrack music for a fantasy world, because I would have use for that outside of FAWM... but generally every FAWM I get so inspired by every one else's work that I go in random directions each day. 😀

  • @johnstaples  8 weeks

    @bootlegger that is an awesome plan! And very inspirational! I hope I can come up with a plan for once.

  • @scottlake 8 weeks

    I use Trello each fawm to keep track of song and composition ideas. Once February rolls around, I use Trello to flesh out those ideas, and if lyrics are involved I stay in Trello and flesh them out there. It’s a great compositional tool but was never intended for that use. I also upped my EZDrummer drum sets and midi files and might buy another set of Groove Monkee midi loops for it (they are on sale for $10.95 right now).

    Lastly I’m doing album cover art favor myself and others

  • @tcelliott  8 weeks

    @howthenightcame - You might try reading Grendel which is awesome, but very hard to find. It's the story from the point of view of the monster, Grendel. But maybe not now that I think about it.

    @bootlegger - I love that idea.

    I'm doing Jamuary - writing a song, snippet, piece of music etc., every single day in January to get in the groove... in addition:

    I had the idea of picking my favorite 14 punk bands and trying to write a song "in the style of" each of them. But that sounds like a LOT of work.

    I had the idea of trying to do all electronic based music... using at least a synth in each song. Mainly to learn how to do that sort of thing at least a little. But that sounds like a lot of work.

    I thought about doing 14 collaborations in addition to anything I might do solo... but that sounds like a huge time commitment that I'm not sure I can commit to.

    So I'll probably just Fawm it as usual. Probably.

  • @andygetch  8 weeks

    @bootlegger @howthenightcame very strong concepts. I find that the limitation of focusing on a concept or theme or story arc is actually helpful. Journaling is a powerful way to generate writing ideas. In the past I have made lists of titles (and only used a small % of them LOL) and a theme(s) may emerge. Possibilities are to continue my sustainability theme, songs from an electric car POV, relationships, and just more happy/upbeat/positive songs. Meanwhile I write all year round in a song-a-week group so between now and Feb I will write at least four more. For FAWM I typically pick up the pace the last week or two of January.

  • @torniojaws 8 weeks

    I usually just make a project template before Feb. So when I start to record guitar and bass, and program the drums/synths, I just press record and I have the mix ready.

  • @scottlake 8 weeks

    ^^ same here

  • @howthenightcame 8 weeks

    @tcelliott thanks for the tip!! I JUST finished reading the Grendel novel - it was incredible. And you remembered it correctly - it's all told from Grendel's point of view. Thanks again, and see you in February!!

  • @iveg 7 weeks

    I'm writing or drawing a little every day. May do some TMBG influenced kids music. I'm also partway through a very stupid movie musical which I set aside in the summer. My usual MO is to start with a grand idea, abandon it to write a bunch of emo meta stuff, and start the next over-ambitious project.

  • @bootlegger 7 weeks

    @howthenightcame that sounds like an epic (sorry for the pun) undertaking and I can't wait to see what comes out of that! I loved the story of Beowulf when I read it many years ago.

    @unkept keeping the production chops up to speed is certainly super useful for FAWM. it's always frustrating to hit a production snag in the middle of just trying to be creative. definitely a good idea.

    @johnstaples plenty of time to form a plan! and even if you don't end up with a plan, sometimes the best stuff comes from literally nowhere.

    @scottlake I've never heard of Trello. that sounds really useful!

  • @bootlegger 7 weeks

    @tcelliott why not combine all of those? 14 punk collaborations in the style of different artists all using at least one electronic element? that would be so cool!

    @andygetch i love it. we definitely need more positivity out in the world and sustainability is something we could all stand to take part in a little more as well.

    @torniojaws oh for sure. templates are definitely a necessity for FAWM. that can't be stressed enough.

    @iveg LOVE TMBG, especially the kids stuff. i hope you do at least some of that this year. would be awesome to hear.

  • @scottlake 7 weeks

    @tcelliott im not a big punk fan but got turned on to Art Brut this past year and I love their train wreck sound.

  • @silvermachine  7 weeks

    I'm planning on running wild and free this year with no planning.

  • @aesthetic72  7 weeks

    I've started short-listing some synth sounds in Logic. I quit my subscription to Splice because I haven't been writing enough this to justify the expense. I normally don't plan anything because part of what I love about FAWM is that I have no idea what's going to happen. The downside of that is that I don't really have an album concept. I also am not really sure what my style is yet so it feels like it's too soon for me to put any constraints on subject or genre.

  • @sunnymae  7 weeks

    Just upgraded to Mixcraft pro 9, so I've got some great new features, sound effects added instruments in the library, etc.
    Getting my studio more vocal friendly acoustically and setting up a remote screen near my mic, so I can record remotely and stay put ( as opposed to tripping over my cables after I press record from my computer. 😮)

  • @andrewjtaylor  7 weeks

    Last night I spent several hours organizing (throwing much away in) my office/studio. Also preparing my computer for the task. I think I’m planning something similar @sunnymae with logic remote on an iPad.

    @aesthetic72 I paid for Serum entirely through splice. Seems it’s time to use it! And get familiar with all the other plugins, like Sugar, Nectar, and Ozone 9 Advanced so I’m not struggling with them in Feb.

    Also been reviewing my old songs from last FAWM and revising lyrics.

    Lastly, hoping to resolve an issue with my Presonus iTwo which introduces a lot of noise to the mic preamps. Just bought a tool to check capacitors in-circuit. I’ve got my eye on one that looks wonky. After Ozone I don’t think I can afford to replace this one!

  • @edwardsmusic 7 weeks

    To be completely honest, I'm not at all sure what I want to do this year.

    In 2018 and 2019 I did have a couple of really good ideas (the former a project to have different singers on different tracks, and the latter a concept album about communication), but neither project is actually complete. I believe I'll spend this year re-recording and refining songs from these projects if possible (in addition to having to write "new" songs of course).

    I should set up my own room for recording sometime prior to FAWM. I do have a Steinberg recording pack that comes with a microphone and audio interface, but I've only used the interface as of now. I haven't been able to set up the microphone because there is no space for it.

  • @cts  7 weeks

    I don't have any specific plans. I plan on having fun, though! 😀

  • @atam94 7 weeks

    I look forward to hearing tracks from “The Journal.” Also, I don’t have major plans for my album yet. I feel unprepared and like I’m not good enough at playing my instruments yet. I was going to wait until next year to participate, and then I decided that I want to see how much I can improve by next February.

  • @philkmills  7 weeks

    I suspect I'll do what I usually do: start with a backlog of ideas, write a bunch of songs, and end with more ideas than when I started.

    It's not very effective but it *is* very me. 😀

  • @tawny249  7 weeks

    I have always prepared according to a theme in the past...but last year's was VERY flexible, and most of my songs ended up being challenge responses rather than based on the theme. And I was much more productive last year than the previous 3 years. So maybe I should stop trying to write to a theme? 😝 Who knows. We'll see.

  • @tcelliott  7 weeks

    @scottlake - Well, thanks... I think. I've got "DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake" stuck in my head now. Not necessarily a bad thing... I think.

  • @chandra83 7 weeks

    I mostly just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best...

  • @heretcband 7 weeks

    I'm simultaneously working through Neil Gaiman's master class on storytelling and fiction. He recommends always keeping a journal to "add ideas to your compost heap". I fell in love with this idea. It freed me to include ramblings, bits of a thought, and my brief impression of passersby. (ooh, that reminds me to add one about the guy that never smiled).

  • @leah0k  7 weeks

    I have and always will be on the non-plan-plan... But! I’m excited to come back and see what happens. I popped out a song on my YouTube just today, I’m trying to shoot for writing all year this time! Hope all my good stuff isn’t used up by Feb 😛

    Looks like a lot of cool plans and ideas here. I can’t wait to see what everyone does! It’s nice to see things gearing up. It’s always such a positive place to be, and I look forward to it each year. Thanks for being great, everyone.

    I’ll include my song link, if anyone is getting antsy to start listening to music already 🙃

  • @postcardhelicopters  7 weeks

    @leah0k - Oh, that was wonderful - Thanks for posting the link! (I guess I *am* a little antsy for listening).

    I'm also in the camp of hoping to be "writing all year" and so far, so good. Little things are getting captured already. Unlike previous years, I'm not gonna try to hoard them until February. I'll start working on stuff now with the hope that I'll be fully in the swing of things when it all officially kicks off. Maybe this year I won't get lost in those first few February songs like I usually do.

  • @tcelliott  7 weeks

    I guess I forgot to mention, I'm doing the Jamuary Challenge of making music every single day in January. Not necessarily a song (although so far, it's been a song or more) but something musical every day. And I'm sharing it in a couple of places to hold myself accountable.

    Sometimes I wonder if that will make my "the well run dry" but I think it just primes the pump for me, most of the time. Assuming I still have something to say in another three and a half weeks.

  • @chipwithrow  7 weeks

    Good to see this thread - as soon as the holidays ended I began looking forward to FAWM!
    A few of you mentioned concept albums - makes me want to revisit the FAWM concept album I did a few years back, of songs based on a painting my daughter did. Now she's a senior in high school - yikes!
    I'm in the "somewhat specific plans, a few starter ideas, then largely abandon that and see what happens" camp. Like, I started by 50/90 as banjo-focused and that lasted maybe two weeks. (Banjo is still my instrument I'd study if I had a largely uninterrupted year to dedicate to it.)
    Piano is my first instrument, and I do want to plug my keyboard into the computer for most of February and do as many songs as possible on it. Last year's FAWM was all acoustic guitar/vocal songs with a few ukulele instrumentals.
    I've gotten to the point - not bragging, because I've done it so many times (this will be my 13th FAWM) - where writing acoustic guitar songs is just a little too easy.

  • @metalfoot  7 weeks

    I'll be back to the Periodic Table project. Didn't really get far with it in 50/90 but I was having some other struggles. So hopefully I can make some headway in FAWM this year. Otherwise, just more of the same songwriting games, skirmishes, and collabs.

  • @ampersandman  7 weeks

    @bootlegger I admire your conceptual work, and I remember your 2019 output to have blown me away. Thrilled to see what you are up to ...

    For myself, I only have to vague idea to force myself to (also) write songs in German which has never worked for me so far. I liked last year's approach of pursuing a 90s indie Lo-fi style, I might or might not continue in that vein.

  • @radioovermoscow 7 weeks

    I recently wrote an article for work on the biggest conspiracy theories that have emerged in the past 10 years, so that's going to be my well this year I think.

  • @gubna 6 weeks

    so weird. My father passed in September. My brother and I not only found his journal, but tons of art we didn't know about. He was a semi-famous artist, SF late 60s visionary artist. Found some of the coolest art. But in his journal, I found notes about paintings, sculpture. I've been on quite the journey the last few months because of it. And my being an artist, he is still schooling me! We're having a memorial Jan 25th for him so at least that will be settled before FAWM. It's been rough, and I need a break, but I think focusing on and getting lost in the process of creating music again will be really healing for me.

  • @bootlegger 6 weeks

    @gubna I’m so sorry to hear about your father.

  • @oddbod  6 weeks

    I might tune my guitar to a correct pitch
    oh and check the egg shaker for cracks

  • @standup  6 weeks

    I adjusted pickup height and neck relief on a guitar. I might organize a hard drive. And tidy up my space so I can wreck it in a few weeks.

  • @pcob1993  6 weeks

    I just opened a digital notebook I have in a website called Lilac Writer and was embarrassed by the amount of half-baked stuff I've scribbled over the years but I scribbled another few lines yesterday morning whilst noodling on guitar and it somehow gelled into a song so I'm now gathering ideas and notes for a, gasp, CONCEPTUAL approach to my songs, as opposed to my usual jump-in-and-freeze-your-gonads-whilst-flailing style....
    so happy it's nearly February too, still love all you Fellow Fawmers... Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

  • @vomvorton  6 weeks

    I'm trying to conclusively finish an ongoing project from last year, so that I'm all clear to work on new stuff from February 1st. Hoping my brain will be flooded with new ideas as soon as I've cleared out these old ones!

    Most / all of my guitars probably need re-stringing before FAWM kicks off, too...

  • @jamkar  6 weeks

    I have been working on a screenplay, so it is quite likely there will be a song for that soundtrack. Meanwhile, notes, riffs, and instrument practice continues.

  • @jamkar  6 weeks

    I have been working on a screenplay, so it is quite likely there will be a song for that soundtrack. Meanwhile, notes, riffs, and instrument practice continues.

  • @guatecoop  6 weeks

    @radioovermoscow : THAT is a great idea! I wish that I were a lyricist. Conspiracy theories from the US would be enough for 50/90.
    I’m a nester. I prepare by getting files set up, set up recording templates in Reaper, get some new plugins, restring guitars, get new heads and drumsticks, and maybe get a new instrument or two. This year, I’ve also been working on sound treatment for where I mix and record drums. I resist writing during January to build up the drive, but I probably don’t have to. Maybe it’s that I don’t want to use up a great idea before FAWM.
    I’m always interested to learn more about how lyricists prepare, as I am not one of those.

  • @konemake 6 weeks

    I have sampled some interesting lectures/speeches/videos/whatever about topics that interest me. I am probably going use some short clips of them as "vocals" or at least use them as inspiration source for my own lyrics.

    Today I made also a personal Fawm2020Inspiration Playlist on Spotify. So far it is filled with electronic music, so maybe not so much guitars this year...
    ( )

    Also I've tried to setup couple computers in somehow working condition so when february actually starts the software would be ready to use and I'd know where all the cables are etc.

    I have also couple of very vague ideas related to song structures, chords, arpeggios, sound effects etc. Probably I'm going to try at least some of them too.

    @tcelliott 14 punk songs would definately interest me. 😀

    @scottlake using Trello is a great idea! I think I'm going to try that too. Thanks for the tip! 😀

  • @whispermouse  6 weeks

    I'll be attempting 14 acoustic non-guitar recordings, a different challenge from last year when I did 14 rock songs with drums, bass, guitar solos, etc.

    To prep, I'll be trying to channel by brain into musically creative tracks by reading, thinking, hiking, etc, and struggling to hold back on actually writing anything until February!

  • @sw1n3flu  6 weeks

    Just downloaded every additional instrument for iPad GarageBand ... prepare for digital cacophony!

  • @kovbleu  6 weeks

    Clean my darn office/studio. I'm starting tonight. Yep. Definitely, tonight.

  • @kanttila 6 weeks

    I have a nice folder to put my tabs in that came with BAND-MAID's Conqueror. Haha, otherwise I have no real plans, perhaps ideas of what I want to do but my music just comes to me when it does and however it does. I can never make plans. My inspiration is whatever it wants to be and I just gotta follow it.

    I did get a wave by relearning some KISS songs, especially some of Ace's tricky crafty solos like Got To Choose and Love 'Em Leave 'Em. That is certainly going to play into things as it reminded me the joy I get out of KISS. I was uninspired so I went back to my musical beginning.

    I like to come up with song titles though when I'm not inspired to write songs. Don't know if I'll ever use ones like "Bald Guys Are FBI Spies" though.

  • @paulhenry  6 weeks

    I'm doing what I usually do. I post what my goal this year is in my profile and repeat it in a few forum posts like I'm really gonna do it this time, then I panic and do whatever.

  • @aflinner  6 weeks

    I should probably start a list soon of themes to write about....I used to be of the mindset that if I didn’t start with a completely blank slate at the beginning of FAWM, that it was somehow “cheating.” Now I believe the whole point is to be creative and productive and supportive of the community, and if I can at least get some rough ideas down without getting in too deep, that is actually a very good thing.

    If you squirrel away some places to start, especially if you don’t feel inspired in any particular way when you sit down, you aren’t left staring at the blank page while the month is ticking away. And at the end of the day, you are left with more to share. Plus I think it’s easier to “stay in the zone.”

    Also, I’ve downloaded a couple of podcasts from “Strong Songs” and “Song Exploder” to start stoking the song forge. 😀 Ultimately, I always end up drawing a good deal of inspiration from other FAWMers once FAWM starts - listening to new music is one of t

  • @gubna 6 weeks

    Concept album? Hmmm
    I wonder if I could pull that off.

  • @ductapeguy 5 weeks

    After years of considering, I bought Band in a Box. I always do album cover ideas to prime the pump. The past couple of days I have been playing with the Mandelbrot set and punny ideas.

  • @alyxanderjames  5 weeks

    @bootlegger , that sounds like a lot of work, and an awesome idea!

    This will be my third FAWM. I haven’t gone in with a plan before, but this year I want to finally make progress on a project I’ve been “working on” for years now - writing a song for each of the 78 cards in a tarot deck. I’ve so far written fairly haphazardly, and have a couple of songs I like and a bunch in the “well, that didn’t work” pile.

    So this year for FAWM I’m going to try to be organized and work through the major arcana in order from start to finish. I’ve already got a song I like for The Fool, so that leaves me with 21 songs to write in this set. I decided to start now and get some momentum going (not counting anything I write in January toward FAWM, though). Today I sorted through a bunch of my decks and separated out the ones I want to use for inspiration on this journey, along with the guidebooks I’ll open for some ideas if I get stuck. And then I wrote a song for The Magician. 😀

  • @aflinner  5 weeks

    Just found a bunch of notebooks of mine from about 10 years ago containing snippets of song ideas. I may or may not choose to run with any of those, but I’m probably gonna comb through them for buried treasure. 🎵

  • @boyatheart 5 weeks

    no plans at all except a few small improvements to my recording space to hopefully improve work flow.

  • @dreamscuba  5 weeks

    I have tied my small work area at home and I can now get at one of my guitars to play it....

  • @bradbrubaker  5 weeks

    This year I'm sifting through ye olde riff pile for long-loved, never fully realized pieces that I want to develop into full tunes. I have difficulty writing lyrics last, though, so it my be the year of the instrumental for me.

  • @sheamiejay  5 weeks

    No real plan. Mining
    the writing books, looking at ideas and riffs I thought were important. Developing and welcoming ideas that pop into my head.

  • @sw1n3flu  5 weeks

    Catching up on SLEEP

  • @tcelliott  5 weeks

    Every year before Fawm I plan on doing Fawm. Does that count?

  • @aflinner  5 weeks

    This week, I also plan to restring one of my guitars, and get my drum mics all set and tested, so I can just hit “record” when I get time to lay down drum tracks.

  • @boxtape 4 weeks

    I'm planning to vlog / make youtube videos of my first FAWM so I've been making some visuals / title cards that are ready to drop in. I've also been gathering ideas / prompts from some suggestions from fans, as well as looking back over some ideas / titles I have in safe keeping so I have a basic list to work to when Feb 1st hits.

  • @jmadison  4 weeks

    I've been getting little house chores done to give me more time in Feb. Also, playing more guitar and bass to build calluses, and stamina since I haven't played much in the past couple of months.

    There's cleaning of the office/studio. And, I've been working on instrument music and arrangements to add to a vocal track my wife did some time ago. This is helping me re-familiarize myself with my DAW and recording techniques.

  • @dzd  4 weeks

    I was planning and have been recording some ideas and other nonsense when I remembered fawm was coming if that counts haha.

  • @ductapeguy 4 weeks

    More Pre-FAWM Gear acquisiton. 2 weeks ago I bought Band in a Box and I have really enjoying learning how to make a robot band play my songs. Today, a friend down the road posted a set of Presonus 4.5 studio monitors on Facebook. After decades of using consumer headphones and consumer computer speakers as my studio monitors, this is like the moment Wizard of Oz switches from black and white to technicolor. It is mindbendingly better. And I also scored tonight on online auction: a guaro, rainstick, pedalboard hardware, a 3 in 1 acoustic preamp- compressor- reverb pedal, and an apex condenser mic. I think my FAWMquisitions are complete... at least that's what I told my wife.

  • @mctown 4 weeks

    lol... I been chasing the muse with a stick....

  • @lastnightilie 4 weeks

    I write all year (and this is my first FAWM) but have had a dry spell, so the past couple weeks I've been getting back into it. I also made sure to organize my list of ideas and my folder containing half-finished songs, and thought it'd be a good idea to compile a list of songwriting prompts I found online, even though I do want to check out the challenges that get posted here too. Anyway ended up with like 100, you can never be too prepared haha!

  • @jacobeverettwallace  4 weeks

    I've been setting up the home studio since I recently moved and everything is in boxes still. Ordered a couple new pieces of gear. And I've been seriously going crazy noodling on the piano and writing down ideas and adding tons of snippets of melody ideas into my phone. I'm getting antsy now! Is it FAWM yet? 😁

  • @bootlegger 4 weeks

    @jacobeverettwallace im getting antsy too. Can’t wait to kick it off.

  • @meriamber  4 weeks

    Started pre-FAWM trying to finish other things so I have potentially more time for FAWM 😝 Does that count?

  • @sw1n3flu  4 weeks

    @meriamber totally.

  • @aeye 4 weeks

    We've got our story defined for this year's fawm in our continuing Explorers series. Aside from that just making sure there is time on the calendar to knock it all out.

  • @standup  4 weeks

    I'm planning to stock up on sleep this week.

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