Traveling Song

First single from the album is now out!

Get it below (click):


Credits for Traveling Song

released September 27, 2019 
johan davidsson - guitars, piano 
james whife - bass 
hannes obers - drums 
anna thorstensson - cello 
alfred strand - piano 
daniel örtegren - saxophone, clarinet 
martin lindell gilleberg - guitar

produced by johan davidsson 
recorded by jonas jönsson at tambourine studios, malmo/sweden 
mixed by björn lindberg (bjorn.li) 
mastered by jon rinneby (jon.rinneby.se) 
»


Single and album release!

I’m happy to announce that on the 27th of September the single from the album “Traveling Song” will be released. And short thereafter, on 12th of October the whole album will be out on all thinkable digital platforms.

An update about the blog: In my last post I wrote a little about the mastering of the music. Obviously a lot has happened since. Things like distribution, album artwork and naming the thing. When I have time I’ll write about that to but for now I just wanted to give an update that the music is coming soon!

Here’s a taste from “Traveling Song”.

Video : album teaser #2 (single release promo)

»


Mastering

Hello!

It’s been a while since I wrote here and since I last posted, the music has been mastered by Jon Rinneby at sound of wool. After a few versions/rounds back and forth, it is finished, meaning that the music is completely done now, wohoo!

As one could expect, I’ve listened to it countless times and a challenge now towards the end has been to keep myself open to really listening. A thing that I caught myself doing as I was starting to listen through the first version of the master, was that rather then listening if I thought it sounded good I instead focused exclusively on comparing the current version to the previous version. Although I think it’s a valid approach to use comparisons in order to see that it goes in the wanted direction, I also admit to loosing a bit of the point that music is ultimately a subjective experience. So it has also been helpful to ask others what they think of the music in its current state, without any knowledge about how it sounded before.

I think the biggest difference for me when listening before and after mastering is the extra clarity it brings to the whole thing, making it sound much more refined/finished. Anyway, it feels great to be finished and it was pleasure to work with Jon. (If you are reading this - thanks Jon!)

I’ve also made a bunch of short clips/teasers from the album that I thought to come in handy for sharing until it gets released all together. Actually, to end with, I would like to share the first snippet from the actual recording :). This is one of the more jazzier tracks.

Video : album teaser #1

View this post on Instagram

Soon my first album will be released! Beginning in mars this year I started this project and with the help of many friends and great musicians I am excited that the music is now finished and waiting to be released very soon! From what I think and what people tell me, I would say that the music seems to move through many genres.. cinematic, jazz, tango? It doesn't really matter to me as long as there is a hint of blues :) Here is the first very short glimpse of one of the jazzier tracks featuring Hannes Olbers on drums, James Whife on double bass, Anna Thorstensson on cello and myself on piano and guitar. Visit my website if you want to read more about the whole project and everyone involved! /Johan

A post shared by Johan Davidsson (@johandavidssonmusic) on

»


Final mix done!

We have arrived at the final mix! Thanks Björn for your patience and work on this music. I think we have went through about 4-5 versions so it’s been a few weeks of back and forth, listening and finding a good sound as well as some touch-ups here and there. My thinking around the mixing was that I wanted it to be quite raw sounding. Not to much of a makeover in terms of effects and the alike but more focus on the levels. And I think it’s fair to say that this was the result (even though there certainly are some FX). I’m looking forward to sharing it and I’m working on making some small preview-snippets from the music to share here, perhaps with some video but I haven’t decided on how to do that yet and whether it’s a good idea to put anything at all out there before it’s been mastered (?).

As the music is approaching being completed I need to start working on how, where and in what way to release the music. This more “business”-like side of the project is not something I feel nearly as confident in as the actual music-creation/playing (not suprisingly). I’ll have to do some research on what could be a good approach and pick the brains of some friends who have more experience in this as well. Currently I’m thinking to make a digital release, perhaps one or a few individual songs at first and then the whole album. I think I’ll probably send some music around to traditional labels but also online distribution services. Another thing that I really would like to investigate is whether it’s possible to send it to people in the film-industry. Much of the music is quite film-like and a childhood dream for me has been to make film or game music so why not at least try…

Anyway, the next immediate step is mastering and in the next post I’ll share about that and perhaps some more updates on the other stuff I mentioned. Also, I’m still working on some of the song-titles.. I’ve got a bunch of ideas but I feel that it is too embarrassing to share them, I’m suspecting though, that when it comes to names I cannot escape feeling embarrassed: [too cheesy? too pretentious? too simple? too weird? … ]. No way out. Well I guess I could just call them 1,2,3 .. but that’s just too boring. Over n out


Björn Lindberg at Rabbit Hole Studios

»


Onto Mixing

Hello!

I’ve had a little break from the blogging and it’s been a while since I posted. Time to start writing again. My last post entitled “Recording finished” (really just photos) might have suggested that the whole thing is done. But ofcourse it now needs to be mixed and mastered. I did think about mixing it myself but I disregarded that idea pretty quickly for many reasons. Firstly I do not have much experience in that and it feels much better to have it done by someone more experienced, secondly it takes time and thirdly its just nice to involve more people I think. Also, after spending so much time with the material I think it is easy to get bored of the songs and in some ways that would lower the bar of the work. That’s why I think its good also that different people do recording and mixing. And if I were to try and mix it myself I would probably get bored right from the beginning as I’ve had the songs on repeat for the better part of the spring.

Anyway I’m happy to announce that I found someone to do the mixing about two weeks ago and that person is Björn Lindberg at Rabbit Hole Studios in Malmö. I’ve been acquainted with Björn for some years through mutual friends, so I’m really looking forward to the mixing process the coming few weeks. And funny enough his studio is just a few hundred meters from where I grew up =). I’ll try to keep you updated on how it goes! Maybe I can even share some audio-clip-peaks.

Now onto something else. Another thing that I really need to address now is: names. I have yet to come up with a name for what the propject/recording shall be called. That goes for a lot of the songs as well. If there is a condition called titling-procrastination I probably have it. And why did I choose to name myself magicjohan on instagram? - no idea… Anyway I need to do that - I need a name for the project, titles for many of the songs. Ofcourse if anyone reading this have a good name idea I’m happy to out-source this task. I think I will write a post just on trying to find names for everything. It is much like lyrics, I’ve rarely had the experience of writing lyrics that I like and to be honest, I often don’t listen as attentive to the lyrics of music but rather the instruments and vibe of the whole thing. Maybe that’s why my music is instrumental mostly. Not to say I dislike lyrics thouugh…

Ok, so there is mixing, mastering and finding names. What more? Well I need to decide on how to release the music and in what format… Vinyl, digital, cd, mini-disc, cassete, pathé cylinder.. I think it’s safe to say that it will be digitally released. It would be fun to get together some artwork and/or videos too. But what I hope ultimately is that it becomes easy and available to those who want to listen to it.


Video : 32 GB of music off to be mixed

View this post on Instagram

🔊

A post shared by Johan Davidsson (@magicjohan) on

»


Day 3 & 4 in the studio

Hello. We have now finished the second weekend in the studio!

The past weekend we did much of the ground work for many of the songs and so this weekend has been mostly spent adding to the present recordings. I was joined by my friend Anna who plays cello on many of the songs. It was a lot of fun to start to hear everything come together and I think the cello brings a lot to the music. Actually, the majority of the time this weekend was spent on recording Anna. After that we continued to record guitar and bass clarinet. On that note, I realize there is one person I have yet to introduce in the previous posts. So here it comes - joining on bass clarinet is my friend and great player Daniel Örtegren:


Daniel


I got to know Daniel when we studied jazz together some years ago and have played many times together since. I’ve always loved his playing and vibe so I’m really happy he could join in. This time on clarinet as he mostly plays saxophone otherwise.

Back to the recording. We also did some guitar recordings.. I got to record all three of my main guitars. Acoustic, electric and baritone electic. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to record everything so me and Jonas will join together later in the week to record the last bits i.e. more guitar :). And to top it of I also had the pleasure have Martin (see pic below) put some nice guitar backup behind a solo. Thanks Martino.


Martin


This (big) part of the project is coming to an end and now starts another. Next up will be things like mixing, mastering, release form and many more things I’m certain. All things I will continue to write here and share about. But before I start writing about that we just need to finish all the recording. Until then I’ll again share some photos.

Thanks to:

Anna Thorstensson
Jonas Jönsson
Daniel Örtegren
Martin Lindell Gilleberg

for joining this weekend!

Here’s a few photos:


Anna and Jonas


Anna and the cello


Johan (photo by Jonas Jönsson)


Jonas and Anna


Jonas


Jonas and the Studio


Anna, Johan and Jonas


Daniel


Daniel


Listening…


Martin

»


Day 2 in the studio

The first (of two) recording-weekends finished! The second day we continued with both recording the bases for the songs as well as doing lots of overdubbing. It feels like we got a lot done this first weekend and managed to come a long way on 10 songs! One or two of them are probably completed altogether. I’m really happy also that Karolina Almgren could join in on soprano saxophone on one of the songs. For most of the songs, we record a kind of base on duo/trio setting and then add on instruments afterwards. For a few of them however, we recorded everyone together - like the one Karolina joined in on. Alfred also joined to record piano on four songs.

I really enjoyed the experience and feel happy with what we achieved so far and I’m obviously really grateful for everyone who took part. Being so immersed and focused is intense and I was quite exhausted afterwards I must say. So I’ll take few breaths now and then continue on =). Next up will be overseeing what we have done so far and preparing for how to best use next weekends recording. I think I might do a few adjustments here and there. I think its good to have a few days here between recording sessions because I get a chance to make some changes based on how these last two days went. Next weekend I will be joined by Anna (cello) and Daniel (baritone clarinet / saxophone), so really looking forward to that.

Thanks to:

James Whife
Hannes Olbers
Jonas Jönsson
Alfred Strand
Karolina Almgren

for joining this weekend!

Here’s a few photos from the second day:


Hannes, James and Karolina


Jonas


Jonas and Johan


Alfred and Jonas


Alfred


Alfred

»


Day 1 in the studio

Hello!

It is now sunday morning and we have yesterday had the first day of recording!

We are making the recording at Tambourine Studios. A big thanks to Jonas Jönsson (sound engineer) who we have the great pleasure to work with.

So, I am really happy with how the first day went and we managed to at least start on and lay the basis for 6 songs. It was myself, James (bass) and Hannes (drums). The songs we focused on were the ones that have a bit more jazz in them and I played about as much acoustic guitar as piano this day.

I’ll share more details about the studio later but now it is time to go back to the studio :)

I’ll leave you with some pictures from the day!

See you soon / Johan


Jonas


Piano


James


Johan


James and Hannes


Johan and Hannes


Johan and James


Johan and Jonas


James


Hannes and a little bit of James


Johan, James and Hannes

»


Drums, cello and more rehearsing

Now it is only one week until we start recording. I’m really looking forward to get started and also a bit nervous I must admit. As a result, and as time aproaches, the classic burst of thoughts arise -> “Have I prepared enough? Rehearsed enough? Should I’ve picked other songs?” etc. As this project is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, I was kind of suspecting this and it feels kind of normal so no problem there. The most important thing for me is to get the music out there and enjoy the whole thing, so thats what I want to focus on. The last few days we have done some rehearsing. First with these two gentlemen:

Hannes Olbers (on the left) I think is one of the drummers I’ve played most with since I got to know him about 10 years ago, so I’m very happy that he could join :). James (on the right), I have already mentioned in a previous post - a great man. Anyway, we where checking out some of the more jazz-influenced songs. In particular one I wrote for piano that I’m excited to see how it turns out.

I also had the chance to see my friend and great cellist Anna Thorstensson. Anna will help me with some nice string-addons here and there. I really like the sound of the cello and I think it will fit well in many places. Thanks Anna!

The coming few days I will do a little more rehearsing and final touches on everthing. There are still a few questionmarks with one or two of the songs but after struggeling with it for a while, I think its just best leave it and figure it out while in the studio. The next post will probably be from the studio if I don’t manage to put one out before that. Take care! /Johan


Video : untitled

»


Easter egg

Hello and happy easter. I’m pleased to say that the focus is now shifting. From mostly being by myself, writing and practicing music to meeting up with, and rehearsing with the awesome people who I’m lucky to have join me. The one and only James Whife, one of my favorite people, is one of them. James (on double bass) will undoubtebly be the one featuring most in the recordings a part from myself.

Today I had my second rehearsal with James going through some songs. Here’s a easter-egg from the session for you:

Video : number 7


You are still here? Well in that case, below is a clip I recorded in the midst of making the song in the first place. It is kind of interesting to see the songs evolving. Hopefully to something better… bye!

»


Getting closer

Hello. The last two weeks I’ve been a bit more sparse on updating the blog. Thankfully that doesn’t mean that I’m not making progress on the project, on the contrary actually. It is now only two weeks left until the first recording session starts and there’s obviously a lot to prepare for that. I wish to use the time in the studio in the best way I can and so I’m making a lot of effort to planning and being as prepared as I possibly can. The processing playlist that plays goes like:

  1. compose the song
  2. write it down
  3. record demo,
  4. get input on it
  5. loop 1-4 on shuffle

Hm.. it can feel dulling to describe the creative process by stating it like above, especially if it kind of rules how one work. In this case though, its just a retrospective observation on how I tend to work (although obviously derived from somewhere). It is an interesting topic though, the one on how one can feel free and use the creative potential in a good and relaxed way without getting distracted by things like rules, stress, performance anxiety and the many more things that can obstruct. I think that this subject is unavoidable to encounter if you engage in any creative activity for a longer time. It would be fun to write a post about just that topic as it is something I’ve spent much (to much?) time thinking and experiementing with. Anyway, I’m down-prioritizing the philsosphy at the moment… I need to make music ;).

Something very important to me and the project is the people (friends) that will join in the recording. As I’m now aproaching finishing all the songs and soon time for recording I have started rehearsing and invite more friends to join. I haven’t really disclosed any of them here yet but I plan to =)· Below is me and my good friend Alfred working through some music. Alfred will join and play piano on a few songs and I’m very happy to have him with me!

So the coming project-time I will have a bunch of rehearsals, going through music, and keep planning and practicing for the recording. I probably need to look over my guitars as well, as they have strings from the 18th century on them. As always I like to end with a snippet of music for you, here is me practicing and jamming on the end of one of the songs to be recorded.

Video : untitled waltz

»


Friendly music with a little bit of blues

Just a short update about the project today as the things I’ve worked on regarding the project are somewhat semi-interesting to write about. I’m basically refining and going through the 11 songs I’ve picked to prioritize and have prepared for recording. I started doing some sloppy demo recordings at home to help me make sense of how I want it to sound later on. When doing that I’m experiencing that it is quiet easy to become obsessive about deciding the form of a song. When that happens I often need to just stop at some point and decide because there always seems to be “better” idea around. Not a new problem by any means. Anyway, all of the songs arent completely finished so there’s that to. In the clip below I play a bit from a song I finished writing today. Not sure what to name it yet, but it seems to be one of the most friendly sounding songs I have.. almost cute? Thankfully I was able to get a little bit of blues in there (as I try with all my songs =)).

Video : friendly song


»


Baritone?

Hello! Finally I have been able set the first dates for studio recording, in May. It feels great to have that in place (even if I’m still looking into finding even more studio time). Now it’s a matter of getting everything prepared so that I can make best use of the time there =)

At the moment I’m spending time with these guys (see pic above), playing and making adjustments to the music. I picked up my baritone guitar (the black one) after having almost forgotten I had it. I’m hoping to find use of that in some of the music as its so much fun to play and sounds cool I think. Speaking about baritone, I’ll share a few clips I found where I play it.


This is a snippet from the song Dear Someone written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.


Here is a song I wrote called The Digestive Song for some highly uncertain reason:


And finally, here’s just a little bit of jamming.. I think I recorded this the same day I bought the instrument:

Bye!

»


Keeping on

Hello. First I just wanted to mention about my last post that I was happy to see some interest in get-a-grip and I’m looking forward to work on that more when there’s time. Otherwise just a quick update on the project process today: Since last I’ve been mostly arranging and practicing piano/guitar. In general I would say that my music is quite simple in many ways but there is in particular one song that has some weird stuff going on and I need to practice a lot to be able to play it.. especially the piano part as that’s not my main instrument. I don’t have a demo of that for you at present but I’ll instead include part of another song below that will be recorded, hope you like it! That’s all for today. Over n out /Johan

Video : ???????

»


Almost announcing get-a-grip

The time I’ve put into the project this week so far has been mostly about logistics and planning for the recording and not so much working with the music. Perhaps not the most fun week… However, something that was fun was that I did a little work on the guitar-learning-tool I mentioned in the last post. So I thought to write a few words about what I’m talking about in this post:


get-a-grip screenshot

The motivation for making this app basically came from the never-ending practice of getting to know the fretboard of the guitar better. Without going into to much music-theory or details, get-a-grip simply aims to visualize where intervals appear on the neck in relation to any given key-note. In the screenshot above, the 1th (root), 3 (third) and b7 (minor seven) intervals are shown for the key of Eb on a regular guitar. As you might guess, you can show any single interval, chord or scale of choice by checking the interval boxes.

At this point, the prototype is all about showing where the intervals, relating to a key-note is. However I mean to add/expose more features. In particular it would be nice to make it useful for beginners whos first priority isn’t knowing where all the flat nines in F# lies on the fretboard. Some features exists already though that isn’t showing above… For instance it works also for other string instruments and tunings. Below visualizes the chord A major on the Ukelele with the tuning GCEA. get-a-grip screenshot

Basically it should work for any string instrument based on half tone steps (semitones). This implies that it does not work well for things like the Turkish instrument “Baglama”, but unless you play that, you should be good to go :). For example, who doesn’t want to visualize the super locrian scale on a 17-string bass!! (see below)

get-a-grip screenshot

No but seriously, I think this could be and become as it evolves, a useful tool for string instrumentalist to use themselves or by teachers. At least I hope it to be =). Of course there exists tons of tools out there already but I couldn’t find one that have the interactive part, maintaining the commonality of string instruments and the focus on intervals. If you are curious to try the prototype yourself, you can go and get-a-grip here.

So that’s the first prototype. I think soon I will make a first version of it available somewhere. I’ll probably continue to mention this app here now and again when I make progress with it as it’s kind of fun. Anyway, hope you liked the idea! It would be fun and appreciated to know your input on it so feel free to say what you think! Now I need to go back to making music.

Until next time /Johan

Audio : Predictions

»


Traveling song

Hello. Today I have been working a bit on finishing and puzzling together the song in the video below. I like the sound of mixing the sounds of electric and acoustic guitar so there will probably be a fair amount of that in the finished recording. So things are moving along and I’m also awaiting and working on setting dates for studio recording. I’ve also been working on a little side-project that I hope to share here soon. It’s a learning tool for guitar (or basically any string instrument) in form of a small web-application. But more on that later. Other than this I don’t have that much more to share today. Take care, hope you like the clip! / Johan

Video : traveling song

»


Second cut

Back home again! I have now selected eleven songs from the first cut and so this week I’ve been starting preparing and arranging them. Some are more or less complete and its more about figuring out what instruments that’s a good fit, others need a bit more fixing up before they are ready for recording. Anyway, now the real fun begins and I’m pretty excited about it. The pieces shared in previous posts (here and here) have I now basically completed to start recording along with two others. So the coming time I’ll make my way to prepare all of the eleven songs and decide where and when to record them. Until next time I’ll leave you with some loop-pedal jam.

Video : jam…

»


Sidetracks (part 2)

Back in the day (and still) I used to love film music, something that is obvious listening through old recordings. Here I have collected just a few of the film-music-like pieces. They were all recorded using midi soundbanks and Reason (DAW).


Audio : intro-strings

This is my version of one of those music-logos you see in the movies e.g. 20th century fox intro, or Colombia Pictures.

Audio : deterrence

This a snippet from way back in high school where I attempted to compose and arrange for a symphony (or almost). For the interested, an almost full version, generated directly from the score can be found here.

Audio : the catapult

I can’t remember the back-story for this piece but it certainly seems to qualify as film music.

Audio : haste

I probably made this after watching the Lord of the rings…

»