vampireLogic | Some music and stuff

Building a youtube channel. First 10 videos update

This week I just posted the 10th video to my YouTube channel (you should subscribe to it if you haven’t already). I’ve dabbled with playing music here and there over the course of my life but over the past few years I have been trying to learn as much as I could including playing multiple instruments. As crazy as it sounds, I actually found that an easier path than finding others with similar interests who would want to play together. Besides, if you do it by yourself, you are in complete control and could potentially get more from it.

One issue that arose was, I was gaining all of this knowledge, but it was hard to keep track of it all and I would just play the same things over and over again. Initially I did that intentionally to build the habbit. Instead of coming up with a grand plan where I would play for hours a day, I chose 5 minutes per day. It was better to build the habbit as opposed to feeling like if I didn’t play for an hour or two I was failing. Also, I didn’t want to burn out. So 5 minutes per day. Some days I went over 5 and would do 10 or 15, but I stuck to at least 5. 5 minutes could mean something as easy as doing one or two exercises and then stopping. Some days I would do 5 in the morning, then knowing I did that, I would do more at night, but only in a relaxing way.


I did a similar thing with drums. Again, 5 minutes per day. But when you add that, it made 10 minutes per day, so I tried to not go much past that especially during the weekdays with work. One thing of note, I started learning piano for coordination exercies. The drums are of course very similar in the sense that you are playing different parts with different limbs. So while they are different instruments, I was actually working the same parts of my brain.

Over time, I started to get somewhat better at each. I would also add guitar, bass, and was beginning to mess around with recording. For months I consistently played each day for a few minutes. It eventually got to the point where it was a habbit and I was starting to learn a lot more.

Staring the channel

As I began to learn more, I realized I was playing a lot of the same things over and over trying to “perfect” them. but you could do that forever and not be satisfied. So I started this channel as a way to learn, record, post, and eventually, move on to the next one. This way I have an index looking back at what I know and can build from that going forward.

Eventually, once I get enough done, I may even start doing original music, but for now, its covers and play alongs.

After some procrastinating, I finally created the account and was going to post my first videos. My initial thinking was to post full vidoes of me playing everything, however, I had too much to learn in order to pull that off and thought it would take forever to post just one. Its not just learning songs. Its recording audio, video, mixing, editing etc. Its a lot at first. While it does get easier over time, here is the path to where I am at this point.

The first piano songs

The first 3 videos were the Gnossiennes by Erik Satie. I chose these as the first set for for two reasons.

1: I already knew them for the most part, having learned them from a Udemy course shortly after I started learning piano

2: It was a single instrument recording and video shoot, meaning I did not have to worry about getting too deep into sound mixing and video editing software. It was one track in Logic and for video editing everything I needed was in iMovie or other free video editing software.

I did one per week as to not rush everything at first. Once those were done I moved on to Nine Inch Nails A Warm Place. This is another song I learned a while ago so I thought it would be good for momentum to record this and get it posted. After recording the piano/synth parts, I added the guitar for more ambience since there is a lot of ambient background noise. I think it came out ok, but I can also see myself wanting to redo it as some point when I figure out how to do better soundscapes. A few hardware synths will help with that.

Even though it was only two instruments and two camera shot, it was still one more than my previous videos so with that out of the way I could move on.

Adding a bass….

With the first 4 videos mainly being piano tracks, I wanted to do a play along with a different instrument. I’m not a great bass player, I play it like a guitar player plays it but I can fake my way through when needed. The thing about bass, I find it easy to play (probably because of the guitar background), but harder to come up with bass lines. Actually that can probably be said for any instrument. Its easy to mimic what someone else came up with, harder to come up with stuff on your own.

I had been working on the bass part of Rehab by Amy Winehouse . The issue with play alongs is there are so many of them out there so I would just be adding to the noise. I was on a YouTube binge watching a bunch of her live performances and came across this acoustic version. I got the idea to do a play along but add a piece that didn’t exist. That way I am playing the bass along to the track, but since it didn’t exist in this performance, its different from the standard play along.

The first drum track

The next song I did was Last Nite by The Strokes. I titled everything “Night” instead of the technical name “Nite”. The songs has been out for 20 years and it never clicked that its “nite” and not “night”

This was my first live drumming track. In fact, it is the first full song I learned on the drums. I was able to learn the bass in a short enough amount of time to pull this one off in a week or so. The biggest issue was figuring out how to record and mix the drums. The playing if fine, but the bass kick is a big too “thumpy”. It sounds that way because I watched a few YouTube videos on how to mix drums and I over thought it to the point of doing too much. The main point though is that you can see the kick drum patterns so if someone wants to learn it they can figure it out from that shot.

Final cut pro

Last nite was the first time I used Final cut pro. I was getting by with iMovie, but since I was doing multi-cam videos now, it saved time using FCP. You can do them in iMovie but its a longer process.

Finishing the first 10

I followed “Last Nite” with two more Nine Inch Nails piano tracks. The Frail and The persistence of loss. I didn’t know either of these going in but was able to pick them up quickly using Synthesia.

Next I was going to do New Order Ceremony but ran into an issue. The drums. I knew the song and the patterns since they are not extremely complex, but the issue was the song is 141 bpms of constant hi hat. I had a practice schedule of drumming to this track 5 times per day. I would start at 110 bpms and work up to 141. I would also mix in practice pad sessions too. Again, the issue with this was more building up the muscles and refining technique so I was able to relax and play.

Even with that, I knew recording this would take a bit to get it right and I would tire out the more takes I needed to do. So while I was building up my stamina, I took a detour and did the Amy Winehouse Back to Back video. I used the same method as Rehab so it was just a matter of learning the parts and getting a good take.

Once I finished that, I started on Ceremony. I figured it would take two weeks. One week to do the drums. And a second week to do bass + guitar.I somehow pulled off a good enough take of the drums in 4 days. When I say good enough, I knew there was a stumble at the beginning, and some of the middle fills are a bit suspect. The issue is I literally could not play the song anymore because of fatigue so I went with that take.

With that done, I took two days to do nothing since my arms were extremely sore. After 2 days had passed I started working on the bass and guitar. I got the guitar part down in a few hours since I actually learned the song a few months back, then took another day for the bass.

And that was it. My first block of 10 videos.

Imperfections in the videos

I try to not do too many takes anymore. I would think at first that I need to get things perfect in order to post. If you want to hear a perfect track, you can just listen to the original track. But since I consider these more “live” performances, I want it to be close enough but show an element of realism. I mean I could always just play the track and mime the instrument playing. With good enough sound tricks, most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. There are bits and pieces here and there if you know what you are looking for where you can tell something is off. Ceremony is the example I used above.

Here is something to think about though, if you ever watch live music, there are mess-ups all the time if you pay attention. Its just more in the moment and you can’t slow it down or pause it so you don’t notice it as much.

My general rule now is if I get a good take in the first or second try, its probably as good as it gets unless something really went awry. More often than not, the deeper I go, the most mistakes I make.

How do I decide what covers to do next?

I think the pattern I am on is a good one for what I am trying to achieve. I have a decent bank of songs I know. If not all the way through, enough of them where I could learn the rest quickly.

About learning quickly

Something to note is that is that once you start learning songs, like most anything, it becomes easier to learn more as you progress. The first song may take a while. Even if the second song doesn’t take less time, you at least know what you are in for. The more you learn, the more the pattern gets refined, and eventually, time to learn will start to decrease.

Going forward I want to do more full band covers where I play guitar/drums/bass/piano/synth or whatever else. Those take more time. In between doing those, I can always do a one or two instrument video while figuring out the bigger ones. This allows for more posting consistency. My aim is to post a video every 1 - 2 weeks. This is by no means concrete, but rather a goal that can be broken from time to time since this is a hobby.

When I think full band cover, I am really into the Joy Division/New Order (Joy Division became New Order after Ian Curtis died for those that don’t know) and its easy for me to hear the different parts in those songs. So I will probably do a few more of their songs. Similar in style (guitar bass drums) I will also work on some Strokes, Interpol, Arctic Monkey etc. Another big key is liking and knowing the bands music so its just learning the parts.

I would like to revisit some Nine Inch Nails covers and do some more. As I mentioned, a lot of that stuff is synth based so its a matter of getting some equipment and researching to try and figure out some of the sounds (I don’t have a problem with this at all)

The Amy Winehouse videos gave me a good idea where I could find vocal only tracks of certain songs. That way I can play the band and just bring in the real vocals. One of the ideas I have for this is Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode. I can play the drums, guitar, and make the other sounds easy enough and sync that up to Dave Gahan’s vocal track.

Some ideas coming up:

Sigur Rós: Untitled #3 (Samskeyti) probably the only Sigur Rós I want to attempt right now since it is a fairly easy piano part Depeche Mode: Personal Jesus see above Joy Division: Disorder, Transmission the bpm on this one 151 so the drums will be an issue Amy Winehouse : Another acoustic track where I add bass. Arctic Monkeys1 Pretty Visitors drums This has a crazy fill that keeps repeating that would be good to learn.

Those are just some ideas at the moment. Ideas usually come as I am listening to something and get an idea for how I could do it.