I’ve been thinking about making a story about accidents for a while. Specifically an accident involving a cello. Well, not just any cello. This cello.
My cello. The cello that I got for Christmas one year to use in my music for short films.
I couldn’t play it very well. But all I needed do was hold a single note and thanks to my years playing the violin (badly), I was able to do exactly that. I even added a little vibrato! And, it sounded convincing enough to get away with it.
But then I stopped playing my cello.
I wasn’t writing for short films anymore, (I wanted to focus on writing music for advertising, as I needed to pay the bills) so my cello was no longer needed. I packed it away in its bag and put it in the attic.
Then we moved house and the cello went into a cupboard.
Then we moved house again and it started getting dusty in the garage.
Fast forward to the day I was asked to write some trailer music that sounded ORGANIC. I had to use “real” instruments again.
I remembered my cello gathering dust and thought, “Why not!?”
I got my cello out of its bag and laid it on the floor.
At this point, my daughter, who was 1 at the time, and hadn't noticed the instrument on the floor stepped on the neck of the cello. Cue the terrifying noise of wood cracking.
I was so upset. However...
The neck was split but thankfully it was not broken. It meant that I couldn't tune it to the standard cello tuning. If I did - the tension of the strings would snap the neck.
The best I could do was drop-tune it. And it sounded fantastic. Gritty, growly and full of character.
I then opened Logic and loaded up my track, Throat, and played one long, low, gritty and detuned note.
This single note turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It got picked up by several trailer houses and I was asked to create more cello music.
I wrote track after track after track using my cello.
This time it didn’t matter if I played poorly, out of time, or out of tune. The more interesting the better.
These albums of weird cello music were called Throat and released by Elephant music.
These albums have been some of my most successful and lucrative to date and the sound of my damaged cello is still being heard by millions of people all around the world, on all sorts of movie trailers and TV shows.
Who would have thought that a £150 cello could have been so instrumental (pun intended) in the success of my music career?
So what I am trying to say is “thank you” to my cello, and thank you to my daughter for stepping on it, as it forced me to create my signature low cello growl.
As Frasier Crane once said, “There are no accidents”
🎧 I’m Listening To...
About 6 years ago I was listening to music on Bandcamp and I stumbled on an absolute gem of an artist. Her name is Abby Gundersen and she composes music in one of my favourite genres, ambient neoclassical. This music is led by beauty and by space; gorgeous soundscapes create the backdrop for emotionally-fuelled piano and string music. Well worth a listen.
I particularly like the pages where he talks about preparing for success and being a freelancer. When talking about the advantages of writing as a freelancer he said:
"I was being paid to learn how to write economically, crisply, sometimes under adverse conditions, and on time”.
These are some of the best things I learned from writing to briefs.
Art Matters, also reminded me to keep pursuing the art that lights up my soul, because that's what matters!
📺 I’m Watching...
The Art of Life. A documentary about the art of living outside of conventions, in deep integrity with one's essence. I especially enjoyed the section about spirituality.
🔥 I’m Still Loving...
Do what you can’t by Casey Neistat. This video is perhaps one of the greatest calls to action for all creatives. This still fills me with a tremendous drive to create when I watch this. Enjoy!
🌟 New From Rich
Sketch A Track In Minutes
Over the years I've learned many ways to write music with less friction and more ease. This way of sketching a trailer cue works particularly well with sound design tracks.
Don’t Stop Failing
There is so much focus on "failing" to get into the "business" and start your music career, and not enough focus on "failure" once you have your foot in the door. There's even less talk of it when you have a "successful" career.
7 Lofi Drum Patterns
I've created 7 simple but effective kick/snare patterns to kickstart your next Lofi track.
❝ Quote of the week:
“There’s two strings of spirituality. One of them is love what is beautiful and positive. The other one is in transcending that and seeing everything as beautiful and positive” - Michael Behrens in The Art Of Life