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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sound Control

Well, the band Seven Sweet Surrender finally performed on Saturday afternoon, the last band to perform for the preliminary rounds for Euphonious.

But just one day before that, there was really quite a lot of havoc. I'd arranged to book a studio for a one-day-before-performance practice and we'd sorted the timing out so that all the band members would be able to make it because all of them would be coming back from places such as Sarawak and Terengganu on that day itself. It turned out those who were supposed to be late came in early and those that should have been on time would only arrive even later. Given that situation, I had to push the booking for the studio a few times but when we all went there, we couldn't even use the studio at 10 p.m because apparently two other bands had already booked the spot.

In the end we had to arrange for a 6 a.m practice and we'd be performing around 3.30 p.m. We all woke up early enough, but the engine of car wouldn't start so we were delayed for quite a while before being able to start it and head of to the studio for a one and a half hour practice.

We did a sound check at the performance hall at 1 p.m. The sound was pretty alright, just that a friend, Audrey, told me I was a little too loud, suggested I tone it down a little later on. Later on when we actually went up to perform, a lot of us didn't have enough volume (according to audience feedback), especially keyboard, violin, bass. Only the guitars could be heard louder compared to the others, even so the judges commented it was too soft. I think I may have taken a TOO MUCH of Audrey's advice, hehe. Nonetheless, kudos to her for giving some much needed feedback then.

The worst thing was I screwed up the most during the performance. My newly formed arrangement of the jazz version of Vindicated didn't come out well, and the guitar solo for Dare You To Move was also screwed up by yours truly. It was just disgusting, I hit every note in the solo, but when it came to the very last note before heading into the chorus, there was suddenly NO SOUND AT ALL from the amp, and that was seriously frustrating, annoying, and anti-climax or 'potong stim'. I think my heart sank when that happenned, I mean in my mind, it's like, "WHATTT?!?!?!"

Playing the stuff wasn't our problem, our problem was getting an equal balance of volume from everyone, which I guess is partly my fault, but perhaps not completely. I mean, other bands managed to balance their settings well, we didn't and that wasn't so great. I guess our knowledge regarding amp settings, sound balancing wasn't what we though we had. Even then, we took longer than a quite a number of bands to set up.

After our performance, and even after the competition, I just felt so.... I'm not sure what is the word to describe it, perhaps a combination of sad and depressed. It wasn't because we didn't make it through or all that competitive whatnot, but the part where I screwed up for Dare You To Move was pretty much unacceptable for me. I think until now, I'm still bummed about it. I'm stil bummed about our sound balancing anyhow.

But I'm grateful though that there was some interesting response when I played the funked up part for Vindicated, there was one section of the crowd that were definitely not our friends that started clapping, that was pretty cool. The crowd response after we'd finished wasn't too bad either and I'm thankful for that. I said before this to a friend, that I'd be happy if we performed well and people just enjoyed what we put up there. I think we did manage to do that a little so I'm appreciative of that.

I just couldn't help but think though that our sound could have been much much better, skillwise, the band did fine, excluding myself, really. But all this cut short, I'm have nothing to say when people ask me, "How'd you do?" As it is, I don't really know what to say about it. I don't know whether to say , "It was good", "It was ok" or "It was ...."

But I just really want to thank my band mates for the effort put into the whole thing, the experience with them was just great. I just think we deserved a little more for the effort, not talking about entering finals but having the songs sound like they should have. That's what's really bugging me.

If only I had a portable FELIX VOON. sigh.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I start around 3.30 p.M ++

Wish me luck....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Schetered Dream and a Gibsonic Epiphone Savior

Just last Saturday, on the day of Resonate itself, I asked Khye Shin to lend me his precious Schecter guitar and his small amp so I could keep my hands warm and ready for Euphonious. It would be good to get my hands on an ELECTRIC guitar for once and stop practicing on my acoustic for a while. Just before Resonate started, I called Khye Shin up to see if he arrived yet. Obviously, he hadn't and worse off he told me he couldn't bring over his guitar and his amp.

It was a pretty huge dissapointment for me because I'd been looking forward to practicing on it the whole week before I go back to Tronoh on Friday morning or afternoon. Well, anyway, I went over to ask Ps. Andy (Children's pastor of SIB KL, the children's church is called Kidzone) to ask him whether I could borrow one or two of his guitar pedals.

In an unlikely turn of events (I've forgotten how), he eventually ended up lending me his VERY VERY PRECIOUS Epiphone Les Paul guitar. To inform the uninformed, Ephiphone is a subsidary of Gibson guitars which is among the best guitars in the world, designed exactly the same as Gibson, but only lighter. Having the chance to play on it, is just awesome. Andy set me up with all his pedals for me to practice on in church so I've been practicing on it the whole day, just have to get him to teach me some of the effects I want to use for the performance. He's letting me take about one or two pedals back with me to Tronoh so that'll be fantastic.

I've been working some new arrangements out for Vindicated as well, see how that goes.


Back again in Kuala Lumpur for a week, well less than that. I head back down to Tronoh this Friday for a jamming session before my band takes part in Euphonious the day after that. Just amazing, some of the guys have to fly down early from Kuching, just to make it for our last practice, really thankful for their commitment to that.

Anyway, made it in time for the twice a month Resonate service, at least I think it's twice a month. Anyway, I got to see the team practicing, and man, it was just awesome. The band, consisted of a few of what I personally call 'elite' (because they all are really good) with the likes of Felix Voon, Rudy, Chris Chew, Weng Onn, not to mention Chris Wee and seasoned veteran Esther Gong. When I came in, I thought I heard what was a song, but it was just actually a 'syiok sendiri' session and everyone can just fill in SO GOOD. I think one of the things I've missed the most is Weng Onn's playing on the piano, just great to hear it again. That band can really click man, it's just phenomenal.

Well, for the first time ever, Daniel Tan finally preached to people from the main service as opposed to having only conducting sermons during youth services. He shared about distorton, the distortion of the truth that causes us to lose a correct perspective that can lead to so many things including a distortion of the perspective of yourself, basically losing your real identity. It's interesting the way the bible puts forth what distortion is about, you just have to read a little of the bible story about Eve eating from the tree of knowledge and it's pretty interesting how subtle the distortion of truth can be, it's pretty close to the truth yet it's not.

That's pretty much what Resonate was about, got some photos here to show for it, hope you like 'em. Oh, and Daniel Tan worship led and preached for Resonate, I can only imagine how stressful it was preparing for both, lol!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Tuning it Wider not Louder

Living thoughts, simply loud, a form of expression that stays in the mind and doesn't come forth in a spoken tongue because the idea is thought to be awkward to say in words, embarassing to say, shy to tell, or perhaps too dark to reveal so blunt and direct. This blog, writingforgrowth.blogspot.com always intended for me to write to maybe help me grow in confidence of just letting out what is in my mind instead of keeping it inside, at least the thoughts that I believe can be shared with those who read my blog. I just say what I want, and I believe I will be unreserved in what I say, even though I know that there are a few who would disapprove of me doing so.

I don't think I have a hard time expressing what I feel on this blog, although most of my posts lately haven't been so much about that. I haven't really written many very emotionally inclined posts. The last one I remember was just before my exams during my first semester in UTP. Expression came about when communication was deemed to be vital for any cause. Let it be the anger on your face as a warrior to strike fear into the enemy soldier, or a smile to give sense of warmth and comfort to your beloved.

I think I have a serious problem with communicating with people, especially through verbal expression. I think many of my friends would doubt that quite a lot, deeming my situation much better off than a lot of people who tend to be anti-social. I'm not anti-social, but that doesn't make me a good communicator with people. I've come to think that I'm actually a very shallow person when it comes to talking to people. I've realised that nowadays, anywhere I go, I need to try to make people laugh to get people to notice me and eventually befriend me. I've been thinking how else would I ever have fitted in with the people that I do fit in with today?

It feels quite dissapointing to think that I only get to know people a little better than on the surface just because I'm able to reproduce a couple of inherited jokes, that get people into me a little more than they originally intended. The thing is after I've done all that, after I've run dry of all these jokes to tell, I find it hard sometimes to build conversations. I realise that many times, I'm the one just listening, not that it's bad to listen but I'm sure it wouldn't hurt if I talked a little more. I myself feel very frustrated, although I may not show it that I have nothing to say. There's a feeling inside that's telling me, "Is there really nothing in this brain of yours that can materialise something to say that's worth more than 10 seconds of conversation?"

You may think this only happens to me with friends I'm not so close to but it does. I've experienced it many a time and it's just annoying, frustrating, exasperating. In fact, sometimes I wonder if I'm boring the person next to me, and I worry whether I've wasted my friend's time. Friends don't mind as much since I guess they may know I'm like this but it isn't so nice for them isn't it. I think I've mentioned this on my blog before, one of my earliest posts, but it's come up again, simply because it hasn't really left me. What does it take, what will it take for me just to be able to talk about something nice other than music and sports. It doesn't have to be ultra meaningful, just a nice conversation.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Seven Sweet Surrender

Last post, I mentioned a little about the band I'm in, Seven Sweet Surrender for the Euphonious competition. It's a little strange that I'm in since I never had any intention of joining when I first heard about it. At the back of my mind, I always said, it'd just be too hard to find the kind of people I'd like to play with. I've always wanted to play in this kind of setting, let it be a gig or battle of the bands setup but finding people has always been a problem. Previously, I almost joined this other punk band, Six Day Home (Nic Wong, Jon Leong, Chris Sam, Khye Shin) in form 4 but I had to decline the invitation since I was really struggling with my studies at the time.

It was perhaps only over a month ago when I got to know a couple of people who just visited my church that could play drums, guitar and the like. It never came across my mind to ask them to join Euphoneous along with me, I was more interested in getting them to help play in church. It wasn't until during lunch one day after Sunday service when Richard mentioned he was joining Euphoneous and was still looking for people and that's when I pulled myself in. I decided to join because I'd seen some of their guys try out the instruments in church and their skills were quite up to par with what I'd hoped for. I got pretty excited at the prospect of finally being able to play in a band. I've played in church a lot but it's just not the same when you're in a band, where you play with the same musicians over a period of time as opposed to church where you play with different people week after week. I guess that it does help build your agility though.

Anyway, we held our first band meeting to choose the songs to play, not to mention the name of the band. We chose to play Vindicated by Dashboard Confessionals and Dare You to Move by Switchfoot after a long long time of debate. Choosing the band name took ages too, I gave suggestions like Air Academy, The Sevens (there are seven people in the band by the way) but we ended up agreeing on Richard's suggestion, Seven Sweet Surrender.

I've was really nervous and a little frustrated since then because we never had a practice. It's a little nerve racking to go a few weeks without practice when there are only a few weeks to the event. Thankfully, we managed to have a few hours of practice last week at church in Ipoh and kudos to Eddy for getting us an electric guitar for the day. That really made a difference. There's something I haven't mentioned, all of us, except our violinist do not have our respective instruments. That's worrying too, haha! The session went well for a first time practice, we all know what to play, it's just about knowing when to play and when not to and maybe certain things to add in here and there. It's just about fine tuning now. That's really good progress, especially because that's all there is left to do after one practice.

One thing I've enjoyed is the company of the band mates. All of them have got a really good attitude, and they're pretty easy to work with, open to ideas and just receptive of anything that anyone has to say. They were all very patient even though some parts of out practice was draggy because we had to figure a few things out, but it's just been great. I like the band I'm in and hopefully we'll have what it takes to get us to the finals where only 5 bands will play out of the 21 bands in the preliminary rounds. The band's just great, they're all committed and I think we're all pumped to give in our best shot in the midst of our business. Coordinating seven people in a band ain't easy but we'll do just fine.

Seven Sweet Surrender is: Richard (lead vocals), Javiar (rythm guitar), Christon (lead guitar, vocals), Augustine (bass guitar), Witton (drums), Seok Yee (keyboard, vocals), CK (violin)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

First Up

I've discovered.... the band I'm playing for Euphonious(battle of the bands competition) is the first one up for audition.

That... is a little scary...

Seven Sweet Surrender better be ready....

And I can't stop thinking about the arrangements I want to do with the band and I have two quizzes tomorrow! ARRrrghhh!