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Half - the making off

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

I wrote "Half" in March 2019. It was one of those songs that came out easily, just flowing as chorus went on. Then the verses came as natural and the bridge was just a gimmick to "tie it down". Perhaps the most important thing is that "Half" hit what is called the standard song length nowadays, as it runs on 3 minutes and 30 seconds which is my usual goal (rarely getting there tbh!)

Prepping for a gig in "Wild Geese"
From the time "Half" was written (Derek in the back)

"Half" is a story of how one gets trapped in the intricated word of relationships and how difficult is to exit it, how you want but you can't, how you need to but you won't. When the matter goes both ways things are a lot more dramatic and tantrum is much easily splashing off. It provides eventually the paradox of do-don't where all you are able is let the events turn their course and accept you only can do half way. It sloshes some subtle classic romantic hints as well as sarcastic self pity nuances, but in essence it's a story of struggle and helplessness.

"Half" started as a country song but eventually the sound drifted from the it. In fact, I was pushing for a lot more kick and groove, I would have liked the drum and bass to have a "club" like sound. I requested several revisions on this account and settled eventually for the current version.

Studio: Even though I wrote the song in March 2019, I managed to release it around December same year. The slow pace was a reminder of "Grey" struggle, trying to understand how the pieces would come best together, what kind of sounds to use, what kind of voices and so forth. I also had a lot less time at disposal for studio work those days. If I had the chance to change something, I would make some key additions which only came obvious later while rehearsing the song with Belgo Cowboys ... gosh, how couldn't I see it :)

Video: One of the things that are very obvious nowadays is that visual is king. Unfortunately I identified this aspect even on myself, the "3 seconds view" has become the threshold metric and I "fall" into the same particular grid as I catch myself sometimes just browsing the infamous 3 seconds before deciding to keep it going or kill it. I learned therefore lot of gimmicks, click baits professionals who would serve "the wow" from the get go so they keep their audience tight. Problem is that ... none of that tricks really catch my fancy, they are at the end of the day just little scams to keep people engaged. Some appeal to sex innuendos, (even border line soft nudity) some include exacerbated dramatic scenes, some bring in cats and dogs, some (a lot) idiotic acts, because for some reason, jester like behavior is devoured by masses. This is just psychology and "experts" make good on the opportunity, ... the desire for fame has no limits :) Where do I stand in all this ? I create scenarios and use a platform to find artists to implement them. The catch however is simple, the more complex the scenario is (implying same characters, a clear story line, same look and feel or artist touch) the more chances are that my "artists" will deliver me copyright issue product. In short, they would steal a work and re-sell it. If they can't put together little bits to make an art film, they are prone to find that story requested (give or take) and use it entirely as such. New algorithms on Facebook and Youtube are smart enough to figure that out, Youtube would tell it from the upload moment, while Facebook is a bit slower, but it might still pop up 1 year after publishing with the claim that my video undergoes infringing copyrights. However, learning that didn't come as a given, it came with some experience. "Half" was the biggest victim of this experience as the entire video is but a brut snatch from a ... wait for it, 12 nominated prizes animated video at some European movie festival. At the publishing time Youtube would only tell it's a fraud but not provide more details. The original video was found by a friend of mine and I was astonished to see that the contractual "artist" stole the entire thing all together, just dropped the lyrics in huge font all over the screen, wrapped it and shipped it. Damage done anyways, but somehow I got lucky as apparently both Youtube and Facebook suspended the video for a while and reinstated it later. Not sure why, perhaps the owner eased down the claims of usage, mystery to me, but nonetheless it got back to life. The other good news is that as my first experience with the publishing platform was bad, I complained about on the platform and they banned the "con artist" and reimbursed my payment.

To conclude, if you want to watch a nominated short video, "Half" has it big time, spite my totally different initial intention. The guy found the video that matched my story requirements and the video has a great story to say. I like to think that "Half" makes it a little tiny bit to the level at that vid :)

Technicalities: "Half" was a bit of a more mature way of recording even though I still struggled to provide clean straight tracks (I still do today) I moved completely to Mac (Garageband since I have no part in mixing and mastering) as well as Focusrite as audio interface. All I needed was clean tracks, which to an extent I had before, but a much better control and quality overall on Mac / Focursire team than my old HN4. I also upgraded my studio mic, the BlueBird did an amazing job but it was time to move to something custom, something that would work for my voice. That came in the shape of Rode K2, a beautiful coralloid with great abilities of providing a round bass sound, yet incorporating crystal highs and settled mids. Acoustic guitar was still the Gibson J45 and as usually I capture live (no amp, just guitar fetched by the mic) I think all other guitars were recorded with my American Fender, backs and solos.

Miscellaneous: Wrote "Half" on my couch; the "gin bottom bottle cracked" is a true story much as all the combo together is; I never revised the song, wrote and parked; the chorus appendix came a little later "We can call a bluff ..." but it was a necessary hook to get the song out of monotony; after recording I didn't play the song again until April 2020 when it was revived with Belgo Cowboys.

Since you're here, have a listen, if not for the song, for the video :))

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