Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Defying Gravity - a monthly discussion on the art and craft of songwriting.


Defying Gravity


Defying Gravity is a monthly discussion on the art and craft of songwriting, hosted by Los Angeles based troubadour Brandon Schott and spinbridge.com. Each episode takes on a theme and, through written word, video, audio and most importantly through song, closely examines it through the lens of our creative lives. This monthly series showcases guest artists/contributors and new episodes are published on the 15th of every month.

Brandon Schott is an an award winning singer-songwriter and producer. His fourth album, “13 Satellites” was fan-funded through indiegogo.com and released to widespread acclaim in October 2011. Sometimes he plays ukulele…or piano or toy piano. Other times, he plays the kazoo with great enthusiasm. But, most of the time he’s just a big music geek. You can learn more about his musical journey at www.brandonschott.com.

Spin Bridge provides a multimedia entertainment service by producing music themed video and radio programs, along with publishing music related articles and reviews. Ultimately, our goal is to bring professional entertainment content and the ‘voice of the artist to our viewers, in a visual, audio and written form. Spinbridge, a music site for sore eyes.

I had the privilege of reviewing Brandon Schott’s fourth album, 13 Satellites last November. I loved the contemporary psychedelica explorations of the album, and it’s obvious “Beatles” tribute aspects so when Brandon told me about this project, it caught my eye. So far it has been a marvelous series and of importance to anyone wishing to delve inside the song writing process. Defying Gravity is a  songwriter on songwriter series, each episode revolves around a theme / song which is explored through written word (essay) + video interview + podcast & free download.  What I found most interesting, and entertaining is the series, while of obvious educational value to song writers, is also very fun for fans.

“These 4 Walls” by Steve Barton from the album Projector

You can catch episode 1 on the site by following the links above, but as Brandon and I discussed the project and it became so engrossing to me, we surprised ourselves when Brandon told me that one of the featured guests on the project was Steve Barton, the front man for San Francisco rock band Translator.

Translator also explores a sub genre of rock I have always loved. They created a sound that spanned updated British Merseybeat and stripped-down punk-like rock to psychedelia. They also have obvious Beatles influences but leaned more towards the California folk-rock genre. Think The Mamas and The Papas or The Byrds. Well, the more talked I realized that I had already calendared Steve’s new album for review. Kismet! The album is called Projector. The album is perhaps the most personal work of Barton's life, The record is made up of songs that Steve wrote in the immediate aftermath of his dad’s death.


Look for the album review later today. The synchronicity was just another case of an ever expanding interests in music, but one of the song that Steve and Brandon are exploring is track a from Projector, “These 4 Walls” . The tune is explored in depth in episode 2, which will be broadcast of 5/31. It’s one of my favorite from the album as it felt to me constructed in a way that would have fit on one of the later Monkees albums, after they started recording their own tunes and shooting for an image of “more than a pop band”. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers from the up coming review; it’s a great album for many, many reasons, not least for the themes of breaking out of the trap of other peoples expectations. They also talk about how the powerful and emotionally stark material on this record was informed by his father’s passing as well as “song writing as a healing and therapeutic endeavor, the touchstone albums for him during his time, PJ Harvey and the Plastic Ono Band, the first Translator album in 26 years – “BIG GREEN LAWN”, and whether or not Steve uses stick or aerosol deodorant.” Hey, I told you these guys got personal!

Steve also give us a beautiful essay and an exclusive demo of the Projector song “PLEASE”, which will be available for download for a limited time. make sure to catch this episode.

Steve Barton and Brandon Schott

This looks like a very promising project that Brandon has devoted so much time to. So, I have decided to open up the Dirty Lowdown to Defying Gravity as new episodes are posted. I hope this will be of interest to not only professional musicians but also to fans who I think will be able to make the music a more personal experience as they view and listen to the creative process that goes into making music and writing songs.

Other artists that are committed to the project in the coming months are Plasticsoul and Barton’s band Translator. As we wait for them, take a little time to explore the site. It’ll be a more fulfilling experience than playing Words With Friends, I guarantee it. Defying Gravity.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved



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