"Welcome aboard boys and girls. My name is Mairead and I will be your guide.
We hope you enjoy your tour through this rather compact but functional... ship.
When writing and recording I usually work in my hide away studio which is located at the bridge of the ship. Over the last couple of years it has been developed into the ultimate device for capturing my music.
Here I share my duties with my most loyal and dedicated electronic friend.
Please do let me introduce Captain Howie... (Jean Luke Picard).
Captain Howie (Picard)
Captain Howie please do meet the visitors of today's tour.
"Hey, think I'll join you all...beam us up Mairead (Deanna Troi)!"
"Ok Picard, just hold on tight... I'm beaming you up to the next level right now!"
Mairead in her wee home studio
Geordie La Forge ?
I N S T R U M E N T A T I O N
* Vocal-chords are my instrument. For meditation I dabble from time to time on the keyboards/guitar, just enough to write song chords. I also like to have a bash on the drums!
( I also play flute and tin-whistle occasionally... when I do I'm usually told to "knock it off!").
* Fortunately Howie plays guitar and drums exceptionally well... so I leave all the playing to him.
Over the last few years Howie and I have merged our musical skills.
We send each other amazing vibes... we have a chemistry.
You see, when it comes to creating music...the vibe is crucial above anything else.
Yes, everything depends on the vibe.
Picard: "Hey Troy, did you feel that vibe?!!!"!"
"Yes Picard, I sure did!!!!
"And here... we have The Bridge"...
The Bridge is the helm of all operations and creative recording processes.
As you can see it has limited space...
we are often lost in space without space. It all began late 99 and has moved around over the years and has grown in size as we applied more and more to it. I's a mothership now really.
Understandably, in this modern age, it incorporates a combination of modern
electronic devices, classic musical synths not to mention some of mankind's most
beautifully crafted musical instruments.
It operates both digital and analogue with two
main platforms... 'Logic Audio Platinum' & 'Pro-Tools'.
E N G I N E E R I N G
*In the past I've studied sound engineering to 'City and Guilds' level... I was the only female in the class...it's such a male dominating world!!! But I get too irritated with all those spaghetti wires and that whole invisible signal flow thing.
I don't mind working with MIDI...but even that I find rather energy absorbing.
*So Howie takes care of all the engineering/programming side of things. He's qualified and knows what he's doing.... the electronic modules/devices are his toys.
Howie's a complete natural when it comes to the digital operations... he's patient and his level of concentration is 100 percent.
When the bulk of the recording is completed we work on the sound production together. A lot of the producing (sound wise) actually happens during the songwriting/recording process.
Sound and vision are often the same thing for me.
Howie mixes the tracks... and I flutter in at the end with my pixie ears to help out.
We work close together but we also give each other a lot of artistic space.
We usually find a balance.
S O N G - W R I T I N G
My work can be ambiguous for sure... but this is my secret... and your mystery.
I've been writing songs for some time now.
It's something I do automatically as a creative person.
Songwriting's like a habit that you can't quit.
When I'm writing the words I usually write the melody line
at the same time.
I try to carry a dictaphone with me at all times...but I find
that the best ideas usually come
when I don't have it with me.
But if it's good enough it stays in my memory... if it doesn't,
then it probably wasn't good enough in the first place.
Like thousands of other writers... I tend to write out of the blue.
When inspiration strikes it strikes! I usually have a little note
book with me. I try to be discreet as I get some
strange looks sometimes...
I think people think I'm an under-cover detective
taking notes. If I'm out and I don't have a note book on
me I'll just start writing words on napkins/tickets/beer-mats...
even on the jeans I'm wearing.
Usually I create poetry and songs with a visual image in mind...
so I will also sketch and doodle on the same page as I'm
writing. I keep it all in little notepads/scrap books etc where
I can later go to for reference points.
I also tend to sing and write songs in my dreams...
which I find a bit strange. I make myself wake up so I can
write them down as quick as I can.
Songs like 'Mr Rocketman' took me something like 10
minutes to write... The 21st century was just around the corner and I had a message for the world.
I had a TV show to appear on... so it made itself evident in
the form of a song. I still want to save the world with it! (For out of all the planets I've been to... Earth is still the most beautiful!)
Then it took me almost 2 weeks to write the remaining words
in the 2nd half of verse 2...and all because I'm really such a
foolish perfectionist when it come down to it all. First I wrote the words with the vocal melody and then I sat at a piano and figured out and composed
the chords simultaneously.
It all started to fall into place... like a jigsaw puzzle. I'm never content until the final piece is placed.
(Testimony: The Truth is... that kind angels bring these songs to me in my dreams... and I'm not afaid to say it.)
With song writing I just can't spit out any old words cause
they happen to rhyme... and all for the sake of filling in the
space. Everything has to mean something to me.
Otherwise what's the point?!
I also enjoy collaborating from time to time. Mostly with people who I happen to meet who are also really into making music.
Sometimes I just dig out old lyrics that I wrote months
or years ago and try them with new music.
The process is different depending on who I'm working with.
At the moment I'm co-writing with captain Howie here.
I write the lyrics...
then we mostly compose the music together.
*But on a typical songwriting day, I might be sitting in a
cafe and I'll suddenly write a song...
At the same time I'll be singing melodic ideas quietly into
then I'll rush home and sing it to Howie.
I'll then go into the sound booth to sing it as Howie records
it onto tape in the studio.
Howie adds more music to it as we go through
different grooves/beats/synths... feeling the vibes,
choosing the right chords and sounds... building it up layer
upon layer. Later on when the track's almost complete,
I'll go back into the booth and sing some backing
vocals/harmonies over it.
I try to keep it as simple as possible,
too much unnecessary clutter can destroy the aesthetics.
*On other songwriting days... Howie will write a piece of music, coax me into
the sound booth to listen back to the track and...
(as I listen to it for the very first time) and
if the music feels right... I just can't stop myself... the melodies
and words will just naturally pour out of me.
Later we both listen back to it and decide what parts to
keep and what parts to ditch.
it's MAIREAD: In the sound-booth...
In Da Booth!
*Some days while doing backing vocals for one of my other
almost completed tracks. Howie might suddenly send some
strange but inspiring musical sound waves to my headphones
that puts me in writing mode without planning it.
If it feels right I will automatically begin to sing/compose a
melody line/words over it...while Howie starts composing some music... and before we know it we have created a brand new song!
I find the actual creative possess not so much a planned or conscientious thing...
it's difficult to describe... but everything depends on the vibe...
it's a wonderful sorta spiritual thing...
We never take anything for granted... buiochas le Dia (thanks to God) for the
moment of creation".
I'll shut up now and let you all go.
Thank you for visiting us. Call again and I will offer you more tea.
VANGELIS I LOVE YOU