music, songs, songwriting

Santa’s Fantasy. 2008.

Merry Christmas everyone. It’s been a while since I last presented a song here. I wrote the original version of „Santa’s Fantasy“ in Sydney, Australia, in December 2007 as „theme song“ for the christmas party I attended. It was thus first performed live about 365 ago depending on your time zone…

Almost one year on I decided to partially rewrite the song as a little Christmas present for my Australian friends. What you can listen to here is the result of the effort. I’m quite happy with it.

Many thanks to my sister, who sang the backing vocals and Sebastian Linke, who’s, as so often, the mastermind behind the drum arrangement. As usual, it’s a mostly VST based demo in 160kbps mp3 format. Enjoy!

„Santa’s Fantasy“
(c) 2007-2008 Tobias Schwarz

When Santa was a little boy
He was a problem child
His parents were quite worried
‚Cos he was way to wild
When he grew up and went to school
And learned the family trade
It took a few nights on the booze
When he found out his fate

To put on weight grow facial hair
stay celibate to his despair
And fake smile for all his life

He hates his job he tried to quit
He hates the reindeers but loves the whip
And every year he’s gotta spread joy
But Santa’s just a dirty old boy
He’s bringing joy not to the nice
But the naughty in disguise
The game is on under the tree
If you are Santa’s fantasy.

Year after year he sits and sulks
And keeps on watching porn
He tried his best to like job
But in the end he’s torn
He wants to go out on the town
Meet girls and have some fun
But he will only see the world
For his (special) delivery runs

He’s stuffing socks and quite a heap
but has to work while others sleep
so no one can see Santa weep.

Chorus

But he still has a fantasy
A naughty girl who likes
A big guy wearing Santa clothes
Without a change, for life.

Chorus x2

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intellectual property rights, music

So art can still be subversive…

This is probably the coolest copyright non-infringement performance anyone has come up with yet. Disabling bureaucracies by DOS-style, yet form-based requests is probably not entirely new as a concept, but putting together a 33 second-long piece of music using 70,200 samples, just to demonstrate some of the fundamental problems of today’s copyright and licensing schemes, as artist Johannes Kreidler is planning to do, is quite an achievement. There’s more if you click on the link, but it’s in German.

http://www.nerdcore.de/wp/2008/08/18/johannes-kreidlers-song-aus-70200-samples-den-er-bei-der-gema-anmelden-will/

And here’s a video by the artist himself. Also in German.

hat tip: nerdcore

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music, songwriting

Suzanne Vega, measure for measure

I simply love Suzanne Vega’s writing about song writing. I think it’s amazing how she can lay out the complex creative process leading up to a lyrically and musically finished and polished song. In her latest entry in the NYT’s measure for measure blog, she writes about being comfortable with being a two hit wonder and about the creative development and production of her 80s hit „Luka“.

Suzanne Vega, Surviving the hits.

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music, songwriting

Suzanne Vega writes about songwriting

I just discovered that the NY Times has a songwriter blog called „Measure for Measure„. In one of the last entries, Suzanne Vega explains how her writing style and method have changed with time and that she has a non-standard relationship with melodies.

„I would start to write a song sometime late Saturday afternoon. Then, after dinner, when everyone in my family was doing other Saturday-night things, I would go into my room by myself and fool around with the guitar for several hours, usually managing to hammer out some kind of idea. In those days the chords came first, and they depended on what I was singing about. Then the melody, and lastly the lyrics.

Each chord told a piece of a story, and by putting the chords together in a certain way you had a musical narrative. Major chords = happy. Minor chords = sad. Sevenths were sort of sexy and bluesy. Augmented and diminished chords were spooky and spiritual, so I had a lot of those.

Most of the time I didn’t know the names of the chords or what kinds of chords they were; I learned that later when I worked with a band and producers. But in the beginning I worked from a book called ”Pop Songs of the Sixties” that had little pictures of the fretboard and showed where to put your fingers. (Actually, I have never learned to read music and still don’t to this day. I have always depended on the
kindness of arrangers! Hahaha.)“

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music, USA

Australia will be next – ‚Tokio Hotel‘ in New York.

When I had a drink with friends in Sydney’s Darling Harbour quarter, no one native to the red continent understood why I had to chuckle when I read the bar’s name – Tokio Hotel. Well, they may soon, as Kelefa Sanneh, writing in the NY Times about Tokio Hotel’s first concert in New York City (‚A wild welcome to German teen-pop band‘), believes that the number of teenage girls screaming the name of the East German teen band’s singer will rise dramatically following the band’s US album release in April.

„If this concert was oddly delightful from start to finish, thank Bill Kaulitz, who should, with any luck, be thrilling and perplexing young Americans for the rest of the year.“

If the French experience is worth anything (links in German), I suppose the German foreign ministry is already busy allocating additional funds to pay for more German teachers at the Goethe Institute in New York. It seems, German is indeed getting sexy again. Even if not popularized by the likes of Grass or Jelinek, but by

„that gender-bending singer, who answers to the disappointingly unglamorous name of Bill Kaulitz.“

The New York Post’s Danica Lo even sat down with the band and, lovingly, but still true to the paper’s style, asked what their plans for world domination are. Have a look at her video report, it also features some interesting fangirl statements…

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almostadiary, songs, songwriting

Guardian Angel

I’m in Amsterdam this weekend, to celebrate the wedding of two friends. And while they were clever enough to avoid unwanted and unneeded presents by sending a list, I decided that I’ll add something more personal, sat down at the piano, and wrote a song. It’s called Guardian Angel, and I hope the happy couple enjoys listening to it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you, gentle reader, are so inclined, you may also enjoy it, by downloading the mp3 from the RSS feed, or simply by pressing play on that flash player below.

It’s a home recording, and much is VST based. Many thanks to Sebastian Linke for the drums arrangement, which he put together on a motorway at 130km/h with a laptop on his, well, lap. If you got the beat, you just got it… enjoy!

Guardian Angel, words and music by Tobias Schwarz, (c) 2007

In all these nights I couldn’t sleep
I lay awake tried not to weep
So torn apart I didn’t know there was
Hope for me beyond the rush
of emotional drugs

Some call it fate others a dream
Some say phenylethylamine
Some call it luck they just don’t understand
The truth I’m holding in my hand
When I’m holding yours

You give me strength, you make me weak
You are the sense to all the madness
I feel in me

I see your face
When I close my eyes at night
It dawns on me
Can’t live without you by my side
You save my life
With every glance you lay on me
My guardian angel
You’ll be watching over me
You’ll be watching over me

I live my life each single day
I count the hours you’re away
My blessed heart beats for you eternally
It knows that immortality
Is another word for love

You give me strength, you make me weak
You are the sense to all the madness
I feel in me

I see your face
When I close my eyes at night
It dawns on me
Can’t live without you by my side
You save my life
With every glance you lay on me
My guardian angel
You’ll be watching over me
You’ll be watching

You’ll be watching all the while
As I’ll watch over you
‚cause I’m your guardian angel
I’m your guardian angel

I see your face
When I close my eyes at night
It dawns on me
Can’t live without you by my side
You save my life
With every glance you lay on me
My guardian angel
You’ll be watching over me

I see your face
When I close my eyes at night
It dawns on me
Can’t live without you by my side
You save my life
With every glance you lay on me
My guardian angel
You’ll be watching over me
You’ll be watching

You’ll be watching over me
You’ll be watching over me

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music, songs, songwriting, video

Not on MTV (yet…) – „Still Changed“ Videoclip

As a bonus feature for the „Pilù – the other life“ DVD Sebastian Linke shot a videoclip of me performing the song I wrote for his film. For those of you, my gentle readers, who don’t want to wait until the release of the DVD, have a look at this youtube-based preview. Enjoy!

Still Changed

Dieses Video ansehen auf YouTube.
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songs, songwriting

Mehr Mond über Mainz

SpringtOifel in Concert, selbst aufgenommen in Leipzig, Dezember 2005Als ich im Januar an dieser Stelle den von Sebastian Linke (Text) und mir (Musik) unter anderem beim letztjährigen Rio Reiser Songpreis eingereichten Song „Mond über Mainz“ vorgestellt habe, habe ich ja bereits erwähnt, daß Sebastian als Schlagzeuger der Mainzer Oi!-Punk Formation „SpringtOifel“ (Wikipedia.de) immer einen schönen deutschsprachigen Text aus dem Ärmel oder der Schublade schütteln kann.

Was ich aber im Januar noch nicht angedeutet habe, ist, daß die ursprüngliche Motivation für den Song nicht zuletzt das überaus spannende kreative Experiment eines Crossovers meiner als „adult contemporary“ einzuordnenden Komposition mit der rauen Oi!-Punk Inspiration der SpringtOifel war.

Das höchst interessante und hörenswerte Ergebnis dieser Kombination – eine Ska Version des Songs – kann man dann auf dem demnächst erscheinenden Album der SpringtOifel – „Engelstrompeten & Teufelsposaunen“ – verkosten. Als Vorgeschmack aber bieten die SpringtOifel „Mond über Mainz“ und drei weitere Songs (allerdings nicht vollständig) als mp3 auf ihrer Webseite zum Anhören und Herunterladen an.

Update: Hier gibt’s den Mond auf myspace zu hören.

Und meine Version gibt es zum Vergleich gleich hinterher –

Viel Spass!

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music, songs, songwriting

New Song: „Sometimes I can’t believe“

<!--enpts-->Love Keychain<!--enpte-->It’s been a while since I’ve uploaded a new song here.

This one is called „Sometimes I can’t believe“, and it’s about those moments when we feel that love is nothing but a strange illusion we cling to despite knowing it better, because we instictively feel that this denial is what makes our lives bearable. But in the end, it’s a realization that isn’t depressing as much as it is enlightening. As is the song – I hope. Enjoy.

As usual, it’s a VST based demo, 160kbit mp3, vocals by myself.

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