5 From Kanem

For this month, I have "5 From Kanem". This idea stems from a "Five Bullet Friday" mailing list from this fella named Tim Ferriss. He has a cool book called "The Four Hour Work Week" that I have read (well actually listened to on Audible), and a really good podcast that I listen to from time to time. I am not trying to completely replicate what Tim Ferriss is doing, but I like the prospect of my sharing coming to you 5 things at a time. I will refrain from further disclaimer, here is your "5 From Kanem":

  1. Quote I have written down:
    "Every Situation is an opportunity to act" from "The Obstacle is the Way" by Ryan Holiday. 
    I tend to write down quotes that I really like on sticky notes and post them around wherever I am working.
  2. Song I've listened to way too much recently:
    "Gold" by GZA/The Genius off of Liquid Swords
  3. Guitar Strings I use
    I use 010 GHS Boomers. I like how long the strings last, and I like that they are made in Michigan. I have been using them for about a year I want to say. I recently restrung James Gibson Explorer I, and Layla I also has these strings. I used to use 9's, Ernie Balls Super Slinky's, those are really nice too. I used 9's because I had a Gibson Les Paul Double Cutaway with a fragile head (it was once broken by me on accident). I stopped using that guitar, and I wanted a string with a bit more weight, so I upgraded to 10's, and I decided to switch to GHS, and I've enjoyed the strings very much since the switch.
  4. How I (and Stevie Ray Vaughan apparently) hold a guitar pick
    If you know some things about Stevie Ray Vaughan, you might know that he held his pick a little different than most guitarists. I just adopted this out of admiration of him, it's weird at first, but you get used to it, and now it's weird to hold a pick any other way. 
  5. Song everyone should check out:

Remarks from the artist, Colin:
This was a song I started writing August 2015 when the first 8 bars got stuck in my head and I decided to expand them into a song about the history of North America/the US. Each of the first three verses battles with itself in that they begin from the viewpoint of a regretful oppressor before switching to the side of the oppressed. Really, though, I just hope listeners find value in the song in one way or another.

I present a guitar with new strings! Sir James Gibson Explorer I! #stayInTune

A photo posted by KanemMusic (@kanemmusic) on

Thanks for reading,

Kanem

What's been goin' on? July to August

Damn...I was supposed to post on the 12th! I'm sorry for being a day late, hopefully I can hit my mark in September!

It's crazy to think that it's already August! I have been talking with some other musical friends about starting up our own little network of musicians in Southeast Michigan. If you are a musical artist in Southeast Michigan, looking to play in places like Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Detroit, please sign up here! The current network right now is working on creating opportunities for musicians from all experience levels and genres to perform. We are looking to put on fun showcases and open mics at bars and other venues, and working with various organizations (student organizations, non-profits, etc.) to potentially provide fundraising as well. Please contact me if you are in an organization or know of one that would like to work with our network to put a fundraiser together. Building up this network is going to be enjoyable, meeting new people and friends, and struggling my hardest to remember all of their names. I love performing music, and I'm looking forward to be performing along side other passionate artists.

As much as I am looking forward to performing, I am excited to say that I am buckling down, and will be recording a 4 track EP. I have set the date to be March 2017 for it to come out in the world and I am enthused to be taking on a more official project. The EP will consist of 2 current demos that will be re-recorded ("Black Mamba Blues" and "Move On") and 2 new tracks. I know one of the new tracks will be a fun driving tune called "It's Alright", but I have no idea what I want the 4th track to be (which is funny/irritating).

I have the habit of almost always coming up with a bit or riff that I enjoy when I pick up my guitar, and I'm constantly hitting a record button on my iPhone to capture the small idea to make it a full fledge song later. This is great, but now that I'm trying to decide the last song I want to use to round off the EP, it's becoming difficult to choose. I have this slow dancy song called "The Way" that has all sorts of romance to it. Another love song I've had for a while is called "One N' Only", which I originally wrote as a Valentine's Day poem for my girlfriend. Then I have a heavier, working on the rail road sort of song, called "Howl" that I love the feel of. I could go on and on with more songs and ideas that could easily become songs. I know I'm going to end up with a song that I will enjoy recording, and I know I'll end up recording all of the songs. And once I start recording, and have a rough mix of some of the newer tunes, I'll be sure to provide samples.

I hope you had a good month, and I hope the coming month brings some fun too!

Kanem

P.S. If you would like to sign up for my mailing list, click here!

What's been goin' on? Jammin' Jalapeños!

I've been meaning to post more regularly to Kanem's Log and talk about more topics, mainly focusing on music, but I'll keep a variety. In light of my lack of posts, I will be posting monthly for the next 3 months (July, August, and September 2016) by the 12th of every month by 11:59 PM (gotta leave room to procrastinate to the last minute). I hope you enjoy reading this post and future posts to come!

What's been going on? I've been jamming with some Jalapeños! I have a group chat called "Jammin' Jalapeños" with some other great musicians. I have mainly played with the original group which includes Alborz (bass), Keeyan (drums), Hootan (guitar/vocals), and myself. 

Alborz is quite a fantastic bass player, playing for a number of years and it truly shows. He brings a lot of enthusiasm and positive energy when we're all playing together. He is great at creating tunes on both guitar and bass, and I have really enjoyed collaborating on pieces that we will be building into full fledge songs.

Keeyan is a very excellent drummer that brings a lot of cheer to our playing. He plays on that great line of drumming keeping the rest of us tight and on time, never missing a beat, while not constraining the song, keeping it flexible and groovy! The first time we all played, it was on a drum set with a blown out snare. Somehow with a tom on the snare stand, he played in a way that still made the music lively!

Last but not least, Hootan. He is a very dedicated guitar player, and plays with great precision. He really has an ear for sound. He plays songs with a lot of heart. We have been playing "Sultans of Swing" by the Dire Straights, a song that Hootan has grown up with, and every time we play it, he plays it with such appreciation for the music.

We are currently working to put together some "Kanem & the Jammin' Jalapeños" shows in the coming months, combining Kanem material, covers, and material from the Jalapeños. I'll be sure to post up shows as they get lined up!

Also, during the midst of my summer 2016 thus far, I was able to squeeze out another demo, "Move On".

If you haven't checked it out yet, please do! I hope you enjoy it! I really enjoyed making this bluesy track, the guitar is very much a locomotive, and I enjoy the simple kick and clap that keeps the song going.

Thanks for reading and see you next month!

Kanem
CR===:::

Behind the Lyrics - "With You I Know"

I believe all music and lyrics can be interpreted infinitely different ways. I'm going Behind the Lyrics of my song "With You I Know" to tell one of the interpretations I have at this point in time, because even my interpretations are not concrete. I would appreciate to here any of your interpretations, please contact me with what you think of "With You I Know" or any of my other songs! I really enjoy talking about music!

"With You I Know" (lyrics are right here) is built around the Chorus, so I will start explaining the song from there and then go through the other lyrics

Chorus:
For "With You I Know", the whole meaning behind the song is built around the Chorus: "Will I go / to free my soul / to find myself /with you I know". When I first wrote this, it was about being in love, and having someone special show you all the potential you have. When you are in a great relationship, it should feel like you can do anything with great confidence. For me, I've always struggled with staying involved with music, my special someone is always great about encouraging me to stay in the pursuit.

Verse 1:
"No past is gone / no future broken." The past will always exist, but no matter what it holds, your future isn't in shatters, you haven't even got there yet. I worry about what my future holds a lot, I know a lot of people do. At the end of the day, no matter what happened previously, you can still work today to correct course for a better tomorrow.

"The cold feels warm / A silence's spoken;" This relates back to the verse riff being part of an instrumental song that I wrote before called "Shivering Cold", and I wanted to acknowledge the original title. In other way, I left "Shivering Cold" behind, I wasn't using it, so I decided to heat it up a little bit, use it for another song, let the silent beast sing.

Verse 2:
"I'm hard to satisfy /and that's no real surprise / I stay consistent / but still wonder, why?." This whole verse is about complacency. We all get comfortable in what we do day to day, but ironically, we also want some things to change. We fail to realize, that you can't expect anything different doing things the same way.

Pre-Chorus:
"And then I see you ... And then I hear you ... And then I feel you ... And Yes I know" with "And I won't forget you" thrown in between. I wrote this in regards to the impact that my girlfriend has had on my life, and has really given me confidence in so many ways. There is a build up intentionally in the lyrics, where you start further away where you see someone, then get a closer and you hear them, then you know, you start growing magnificent feelings really feel it...and then...you just know.

Verse 3:
I got the "There's more in life to gain / then I could ever lose" from a quote that my Grandfather always used to say apparently (my father always said my Grandfather would say it), but it's something I try to live by, I try not to get caught up on the little things.

"And I have gained so much / just from knowing you". I'll leave this line up to your interpretation.

Chroma art and performance showcase

I played at a student art and performance showcase this past weekend called Chroma at the University of Michigan. The photography, pen & ink drawings, and paintings showed the talent that the students have in the area, and it was the first time I stood still, looked at a piece, and read the background that the artist wrote about it. I have a poor memory of what they actually wrote unfortunately, but there was a painting of a face/head with gears in the brain that stuck out the most to me.

Outside of the art, there were really great performances. I was one of two musical performances. I played a song I've been working on called "Black Mamba Blues" and "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder (but more in the style of the Stevie Ray Vaughan version). I enjoyed playing, but unfortunately, I have the age old guitarist problem of turning my guitar amp up too much compared to the backing and the vocals. At one point too, the hardware from my strap lock hopped off my guitar and clanged on the ground. My strap didn't fall off or anything, but there was just the awkward realization that it just fell off (made me chuckle while I was playing). Overall, I had fun though! I'll post a video soon of my performance of "Black Mamba Blues" and "Superstition".

I am refining "Black Mamba Blues" to record within the next couple of months. It's just a heavy bluesy tune that came from me having fun soloing over this one riff. It's really simple, but a lot of fun to play, and the main riff has a lot of attitude.

"Superstition" was fun to play, I had been listening to Stevie Wonder a lot, and started putting together the backing for the tune. I started with a more Stevie Wonder version of a song, but I've always been a Stevie Ray Vaughan lover. So, I sped it up, livened it up, and rolled out something that was peppy and fun to play with. 

After I performed, Prabhu from 2faced (facebook) laid out two tracks. His guitar fit well and mixed well with his backing tracks. He always uses a great variety of sounds, adding a lot of texture to each piece he performs. He really makes some excellent material. I first met him at a WhatTheSound (video of the event with backing music "Machines Can Kill People" by 2faced) event at the Blind Pig. I enjoy his style of layering in his music, including some fun harmonies, and then breaking out into a different melody.

There was a very powerful poet that came on after 2faced. I admired how she put her thoughts and feelings about life out on the floor. She was followed by another poet, that cleverly weaved a story, humor, and experience into his performance.

Finally, there was a girl who danced. It seemed to be more traditional Indian choreography, but I'm not an expert on dancing or Indian culture, I'll just say that she was talented, and created an excellent performance. Her eye contact is probably what impressed me the most. She kept her gaze outward almost her entire dance. I didn't do terrible with eye contact with my performance, but I could not compare to her. I wish I had talked with her and asked her how she kept her gaze so solid. She was probably just staring at the back wall, but she did it with such conviction and confidence it felt like she was staring at everyone in the room, without even making eye contact with anyone. I hope to be able to create that in my performances in the future.