Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hallucinations - Original Song

Check out my original song here!

I can officially say that I am a songwriter after uploading this to the world. I first started writing "Hallucinations" in July of 2012. My first ever recorded draft only included a work-in-progress verse and the model chorus that I used in the final. The song was only meant to be acoustic, but later I was inspired to include full instruments in the recording.

Before I get into the technicalities of the recording, I'd like to explain the lyrical content of the song. The words for the song was motivated through situations I faced back in my last year of high school. Everything was going haywire in my life back then. My school and my church, the two safest havens that I've considered to be my resting place of comfort, were in chaos due to a big split. It was one of the biggest storms, not only in my life, but I'm sure my family's and other people who experienced it as well. I was left confused and desolate. The first lines of the song was, "Through this darkness, I'm surviving. When my terrors come to life. Phases changing, where'd my life go? It begins to fade away." My comfort zone was being taken away from me. Just when I thought I felt safe, things took a turn for the worse (or so I thought). My old life began to fade away and I knew then that I couldn't have it back.

The whole chorus basically narrates how I felt during that time. No, I didn't really have hallucinations but everything that happened felt so unreal. Like things that only happened in movies. But I was actually facing the "bitter taste of reality".

The second verse just talks about my graduation from high school. With all these stuff happening, the glimpse of light was close and within my reach. Running this 'race' was tiring and I thought I could rest at the end and get away from the madness. Enter, senior trip to Komodo Island :) Personal story aside, I do believe that there is always a silver lining to whatever is happening around us. Jesus is our "glimpse of light" amidst the darkness. He's there to protect and to comfort. All we need to do is reach. Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." [NIV] No matter how deep our hallucinations get, He's our great escape.

Alright, now for the recording! As I've said earlier, I planned on recording this with just an acoustic. One day during worship practice, I was playing the electric guitar to Chris Tomlin's song "Our God". The intro riff was stuck in my head even when I got home. So I was messing around improvising the intro and that's how I came up with the riff at the chorus of "Hallucinations". It's just ascending notes but it makes a whole lot of difference to the music. And with that, I decided on taking it to a full band recording.

I recorded the drums using Doggiebox and editing its sound in Garageband. I'm pleased with the result. It's definitely worth the money. I added a lot of bass and reverb to the drums to give it a live edge feel instead of a session computer drum. I like my drums edgy because I'm too used to ROCK music \m/

The guitar parts are, without a doubt, influenced by U2's Edge and Hillsong's Michael Guy Chislett. Those delay pedals got me playing the guitar. There were four main tracks for the guitar: Intro/Verse delays, Chorus delays, Rhythm Distortion, Rhythm Open Distortion. The Intro/Verse delays track is basically what it is. On the Chorus delays, I added more volume, reverb, and echo so that it becomes the "Lead". Rhythm Distortion is just a track for power chord rhythms. Rhythm Open Distortion is for the open chords for the chorus.

In addition to the drums+guitar, I have a bass and piano in the background. The bass is audible but the piano is just used as a fill-in so that it doesn't sound empty during the verse.

Garageband can work its magic under the right user. I've been saying that since my previous recordings turned out successful. This marks my first original song recorded with Garageband but it's definitely not the last.

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