My wife, Paula, always complains that I have too many jobs. And she’s right (as usual!). Aside from being the “celebrated” (by myself that is…) artist and songwriter that I am, my day job – or shall we call it “real job” – is being a senior lecturer at a university teaching songwriting, music production and doing research (see my staff profile here). As if these two “careers” wasn’t enough I’m also writing and producing music for commercial jingles (like for instance this one for Folkia) and occasionally I play the role of ”Benny” in the the ABBA tribute band Super Trouper (more on that here).
This month I can now proudly add “writer” to the list. I’ve been asked to contribute with a series of articles about the art of songwriting for the excellent Swedish music production magazine “STUDIO”. Those of you who follow my blog might remember it’s the same publication that made a three hour video documentary with me last spring about the making of “Never Mine” from Soundshine.
I said yes (surprisingly encouraged by Paula!) since it’s a subject I am very passionate about. And the first article in the series is OUT NOW and can be bought in your Swedish newspaper stand or as a pdf file here.
I strongly urge anyone interested in songwriting and music production to support this (and other) specialized magazine in today’s tough world for intellectual property where everything’s suddenly supposed to be free. Maybe not so much for my own article (although I’d appreciate it). It’s more of a “recommended mindset” just because I think we all need good journalism in our respective trades covering our areas of interests. I love reading about other songwriters and producers and how they work with their craft and how their studios are equipped etc. Nerd fun!
The theme of my first article is “magic melodies” (he said humbly) and I’m trying to give some ideas as to what makes a melody “simple and singable”. It’s four pages long and in Swedish (sorry Paul McCartney!). But for those of you who speak Swedish – hope you enjoy! Would love to hear your opinion in the comments below or on my Facebook Page.
Remembering the highlights of 2013 and all the blog posts I never found the time to write. Like this previous one for example. Another fantastic memory is when I played for the first time live in The Big Apple, New York City. As a solo artist that is, because already in 1998 I played there a few times with my former band The Merrymakers. See photo from that occasion here.
Anyway, the background was that my wife Paula and I went to New York City for vacation, staying at an East Village hotel but also for a few days staying at our great friends Tony (from The Mockers) and Vanessa’s place. I had previously been contacted by an American promoter named Dean Dedopoulos about doing a live show in New York and I thought that this could be the moment to meet the American auidence for the first time since the release of Soundshine. If not with a full band, at least a solo acoustic performance. Here’s a video with some glimpses from the concert:
Dean (featured with me in the first photo below) is a passionate, enthusiastic and highly energetic guy and he got going. He booked a super cool venue called Stage 72 on West 72nd Street (guess what I was thinking?), and we also found a support act called The Whims who also backed me up on a few songs towards the end of the concert, including a couple of Merrymakers numbers, and of course, like any gathering of melodic pop should include, a Jellyfish song!
On April 5, the event took place. Obviously I was quite nervous. After all, I’m not really used to “headline” concerts in New York and I wasn’t sure if I could expect anyone to come or not. Well for sure, Paula, Dean and his wife, and our hosts Tony & Vanessa were going to come. As well as The Whims. But apart from that…? To my big relief the place became really crowded (after all it wasn’t The Madison Square Garden). And some other good friends showed up like Seth (also from the Mockers) and Kathy, Javier Piñol who made a guest appearance on bass, Todd Stanton (the man behind this video) and his family, singer/songwriter Eytan Mirsky, my friend from grammar school – now famous hair stylist guru in NYC, Krister Atle, record label owner Mark Hershberger (also responsible for the video above – thanks a lot Mark!!!), radio profile David THE Boogieman, Eric Kern from the group Vegas with Randolph (who helped out on the piano on a couple of songs including Merrymakers Japan -97 smash hit “Monument of Me”), his band mate John Ratts, and many other wonderful people who made the night a very memorable one for me. And I hope I didn’t make them regret spending their Friday evening with me and my music.
Here’s also some pictures from the event courtesy of Alex Wender, Mark Hershberger, Todd Stanton, Vanesssa Trost, and a few more (please let me know if you think you should be credited here). Please note the cool T-shirt made specially for the event by Andrew Stanton.
Thanks a lot New York! It was too long between the concerts in 1998 and this one in 2013. I hope to be back much sooner than 2028!
Only now and then every few years I discover an artist that I really get to love. One of my absolute favorites from the last couple of years is the Danish artist Tim Christensen who I can’t stop talking about (for instance in this interview) how great he is and how for example his albums Honeyburst and Superior should be in everyone’s record collection. Since I’m not the shy kind of guy, obviously I “got to get him into my life” and it turns out (not surprisingly) that we share a mutual love for great music in general and The Beatles in particular. So, back in February, when the man was going to make his first apperance (ever!) in Sweden of course I volunteered as his support act. Also it became my first concert at the legendary venue Debaser Slussen in Stockholm.
Here’s a video clip from the concert where I’m playing “Wanderlust” from my album Soundshine with my backing band (to see who was in this great line-up, see the You Tube “About” field).
First Tim looks excited, then a few hours later I’m the one smiling while Tim’s thinking… this Swedish guy is really intense…
I had already met Tim Christensen once before at this UNBELIAVABLE McCartney tribute show in Copenhagen that my wife and I went to where he, Mike Viola, and Tracy Bonham with full band were playing the full RAM album on Macca’s 70th birthday (what a great way to celebrate!). I can strongly recommend the DVD (just watch this trailer and you’ll understand). Here’s an Instagram picture with Mike Viola, Tim Christensen and myself, from the party afterwards where McCartney and Beatles songs were played in the speakers for hours and hours…
For any songwriter, to have his or her song blasting out from television sets around the country, is a very rewarding feeling so obviously I’m very excited about this. Too add to the excitment I am today pleased to announce the world premiere of an official video for the song using some video clips from the Durango Recording studio in Stockholm where the basic tracks for Soundshine was recorded together with Andreas Dahlbäck (drums), Rikard Lidhamn (bass), and Anders Pettersson (guitar). For this video clip we were joined in the studio by Marcus Olsson (Wurlitzer). In the video you will also see clips from the PDOL festival concert in my former home town Piteå. Please enjoy – and if you do – please feel free to share with the world!
Newsflash!I am very happy to announce that my song “I love the feeling” from my solo debut album Soundshine will be heard in hundreds of thousands of homes in Sweden and Norway this fall since it will be the signature tune of “Montazamis med vänner” featuring enormously popular television personality Maria Montazami.
The song will be released as a radio promo (only) single in Sweden and Norway on Oct 25th and will hopefully be accompanied by a new video clip soon.
On Wednesday I will be doing my first concert live on the internet. I will be sitting in a corner of my Stockholm studio with a guitar and a piano and I will perform the entire B-side of the Beatles “Revolver” album. Hope to see you there!!!
All you have to do is to get your ticket and see how it works over at stageit.com – here’s the link to my concert!
The whole thing is part of a series of concerts and the initiative came from my very talented artist colleague Mike Viola who said:
“An act of randomness and pure cruelty. Fans of Mike Viola signed up to have their names pulled out of a hat and assigned to cover and perform live an entire Beatles album side! Some might go deep, some might stay shallow and safe, some might wear uniforms, some might perform naked (Wedding Album). You have to tune in to find out. This is FOR the fans and BY the fans. It’s gonna be ugly, beautiful, soft and quiet, but above all: it’s gonna be weird!”
Wednesday Aug 7 (4 pm in California, 7 pm on the East Coast of the US), midnight in the U.K., 1 am (1 hour after midnight) in Sweden/Spain etc, and 8 am (on Aug 8) in Japan.
The song is the brilliant pop masterpiece “The Things We Do For Love” by 10CC. I first fell in love after hearing it on Swedish radio in my twenties. My first reaction was that “this sounds a bit like Jellyfish!”. As many of you know I was a member of The Merrymakers in the 90′s and we were lucky enough to work with Andy Sturmer from Jellyfish on our second album Bubblegun. Obviously it was Jellyfish who had borrowed some inspiration from 10CC rather than the other way ’round just like they tastefully did with influences from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Queen, Wings, and Supertramp to name a few.
Anyway, a while ago I was approached by Andrew Curry and Elisabeth Racz about whether I would be interested in participating on a Drink A Toast to Innonce: A “tribute to Lite Rock”. Since I didn’t grow up in the US and didn’t listen a lot to the radio there in the late 70′s (when I was just a kid in the north Sweden building tunnels in the snow) I wasn’t really sure what it was all about. But when I saw this particular song on the list I immediately jumped on the bandwagon and picked it before someone else would. I brought the same backing musicians together as on the recording of Soundshine which is Andreas Dahlbäck on drums, Anders Pettersson on guitar, Rikard Lidhamn on bass, and Marcus Olsson on keyboard. I sang all vocals, played guitar myself, as well as glockenspiel and the whole enchilada was mixed by Marcus Black.
Drink A Toast to Innocence: A tribute to Lite Rock just came out a couple of weeks ago and I can strongly recommended it. It’s one of the best tribute albums I’ve ever heard and I’m also very proud to be on it with a number of greatly talented artist colleagues (and in many cases friends as well). Like for instance Mike Viola who I met last summer when he, together with my Danish musical hero Tim Christensen, made a fantastic McCartney tribute concert; Bleu, Linus of Hollywood, and Brandon Schott who I met all of them when I was in L.A. earlier this year; Vegas with Randolph and Eytan Mirsky who I met in conjunction to my recent concert in New York last month, and many other artists that yet have to meet IRL but have been in contact with in cyber space because of a mutual admiration for each other (Sonic Executive Sessions, Cliff Hillis, An American Underdog, Michael Carpenter and more). I could go on about this project more but I recommend you to check it out yourself on the project’s Facebook page or buy a copy at BandCamp. It can also be found on iTunes and Spotify.
In the words of the project leader Andrew Curry himself: “This is the culmination of a long time dream: to hear some of my favorite current musicians tackle the Lite Rock classics of my childhood. Whether you love the original versions and you’re curious about how the new recordings might sound, or you’re a fan of the current artists, and you want to hear their latest tracks, Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock is for you.”
Through this project I became friends with Todd Stanton and his family in Ohio. Todd is a devoted power pop lover and also happens to be a professional video editor with his own company Todd Productions. He’s been helping the project with a couple of promotional videos like this one and the one below where I also participate myself. He kindly offered his help in making a promotional video for “The Things We Do For Love” and I of course took him up on this incredible offer. What you see today is the result of many long days of devoted work from his end – but also from his daughter Alyson who made all the incredible illustration. I hereby want to express my deepest gratitude towards Todd and Alyson for all their hard work and I hope we’ll all be rich and famous in another life (if not in this). Also, I want to thank Andrew Curry and Elisabeth Racz for putting together this tribute album and to all the other participating artists.
I guess all this hard work from everyone involved serves as perfect examples of the “The Things We Do For Love”!
Newsflash! It seems that Swedish media finally have “discovered” Soundshine! In the new issue of “Studio” (4-2013) which is a music magazine specializing in recording and music production (and that I’m an avid reader of myself) you will find a three hour(!) long “mix video” featuring myself talking about the writing, recording, and production of my song “Never Mine” which as many of you know is the opening track of my solo debut album Soundshine. (Feel free to have a listen on the Spotify player to the right!).
The magazine says (kindly) that Soundshine is a “fantastic solo debut” and that it’s “sprängfyllt med gnistrande poppärlor” which would be something like “filled to the brim with glimmering pop pearls”. Don’t know if that works in English though… Should anyone (except for me) be on the look for nice praise over the album in “real” English you can also check out Hooks and Harmony who named Soundshine the album of the year (followed by interview here).
In the STUDIO interview I talk about how the idea for the verse melody came to me already back in 2006 and how I reworked it over a two year to period until I finally was happy with it and how the song was put on hold while The Merrymakers were still active (or should we say inactive?) as a band but became an obvious choice for me to include on my album once I was a solo artist. By then it was up to no one but me to decide whether my songs were good enough or not – and guess if they were! (Insert laughter here…)
I also discuss at length about the choice of co-producer (and drummer) Andreas Dahlbäck, session musicians Anders Petterson, Rikard Lidhamn and more, and you will see unique video clips from the recording, how the drums were miked etc. Above all the mix video contains a detailed run-through on-screen insight into my Logic (recording software) project. There you will see which instruments are part of the arrangement and how they were recorded and treated from a production perspective.
Also, in the last part of video you get to meet Marcus Black who mixed the whole album where he discusses his approach to mixing in general and to the mix of “Never Mine” in detail (with an on-screen run-through of his Pro Tools project). At the very end we talk a little bit about the mastering at Abbey Road and you will be invited to see the mastering room of senior engineer Steve Rooke who apart from my album has worked with among many, many other artists Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Not to mention the recent re-mastering of The Beatles themselves.
The magazine also features an article about myself and the recording of Soundshine. So if you are in Sweden (or know Swedish) and you are interested in the above I hope you find your way to the magazine store this month. Or if you’re living the modern digital life you can buy it as a pdf here.
UPDATE: As en Easter egg STUDIO magazine is offering the video link for free! Just click the picture below to get access to the three hour video (in eight parts). Remember to click the HD symbol so it becomes grey (not white) in order to get high quality.
A million big humble thanks to chief editor Mats Stålbröst and business manager Andreas Hedberg at STUDIO for showing an interest in my music and sharing it with their readers.
Please let me know what you think about the article in the comment section below or at my Facebook Page.
My brother Niklas Myhr is a Social Media & Global Marketing Professor at Chapman University in Orange, south of Los Angeles. He invited me over for his birthday backyard party that took place the past weekend. That was great fun of course and always great to meet his family and friends! I entertained his guests a little bit with my newly bought Martin HD28 acoustic guitar and managed to trick many of the guests to do some guest vocals.
Before going home I took the opportunity to hang out a little bit in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. I had the great pleasure of meeting a couple of artist and songwriting colleagues from the “power pop universe”. I had a really nice dinner with the amazing artist Bleu yesterday and after that I hooked up with Brian Wilson percussionist and old friend Nelson Bragg and our mutual friend and very talented painter/illustrator Borja Bonafuente Gonzalo at the legendary Rainbow Room. Today I had lunch with I.P.O. founder David Bash and artist Brandon Schott. Lastly I met up with the great Linus of Hollywood at his studio to talk about our many common influences ranging from ABBA to Jellyfish. All very rewarding meetings and I hope I will be back here sooner rather than later and hopefully be able to enter into some musical adventures with these very gifted writers and producers. Thanks a lot Niklas for inviting me and thanks to everyone I got to meet during these four very intense days!
Now I’m really eager to fly home to be back with my lovely wife Paula and our lovely cat Majsi!
What “a day in the life”! Recording at ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS!!!
I have always loved the Beatles. And I will surely do ’til the day I die. One of the biggest highlights in my “Beatles career” was to be able to spend a day in legendary Studio 2 at Abbey Road to record an alternate version of my song “Never Mine” which is the opening track of my debut album Soundshine. Check out the video and continue reading below for full background story.
Since my first visit to London back in 1990 I have never missed the opportunity while in town to visit the famous crossing at Abbey Road. But until 2011 I had never been able to actually enter the building. It was in May when I did it for the first time since I (in a strike of megalomania) had chosen this legendary place for the mastering of Soundshine. Read more about this occasion in this blog post.
Little did I know then that the doors would open for me again only six months later, and this time to RECORD in frickin’ Studio 2!!! Yes, THAT studio…!
I wrote then; “today we’re not here to try to change music history but more to study the process of how music history was made from within the actual room were a big part of it was created. I hope to be able to share the result with you sometime in a not too distant future”. That distant future is NOW! Almost fourteen months later…! The reasons for the delay are many. One being that Thomas Juth who took the initiative (which I will be forever grateful for!) is a highly demanded sound engineer in London and therefore hasn’t been able to find the time to work on the mix from this little “hobby project” (although very close to his heart). Thomas is a really sweet (and also cool) guy who has worked with many great names and I mean GREAT(!). Read more about his impressive track record on his own home page.
However, when I was asked to be part of a free download sampler (yes that’s where you’ll find the song I’m talking about here!) released by the music blog Real Gone (who by the way made a really nice review of Soundshine here) I decided it was time to have a proper mix made. The mix is a combination of Thomas Juths ground work and Soundshine engineer Marcus Black’s fine adjustments.
I really wanted to be able to offer a video clip as well but there was no time and no money (as always…). But then Christmas came I and went to Spain with my wife to spend time with her family. And in between tapas, dinners, family life, and a gig at Festival Alta Fidelidad in Madrid, I finally found some time to take my first, stumbling steps as a video editor using Final Cut Pro X. And with the very little rough material I had from my iPhone standing on a tripod (and a couple of other cell phones in the room) I’ve tried to make a little video documenting this very special moment.
It was really a day in paradise for us Beatle geeks and we spent more than half of the precious ten hours staring at Beatles microphones and Beatles compressor and that kind of stuff. The recording became kind of secondary and something we really did “just for fun”. Considering all this I’m really happy with the final result. It’s obvious that we do not hide our love for the Beatles in the way it’s produced and played. And that’s also my reason for not releasing it on Spotify or iTunes or on CD. As much as I love the Beatles, and to play their songs, I don’t want my own stuff to be TOO Beatlesque and end up being categorized next to The Rutles.
To put even more weight into this occasion I decided to write a little piece of lyrics for this world premiere:
It was fourteen months ago today
Thomas Juth invited me to play
To try to recreate the Beatles style
was guaranteed to raise a smile
So may I introduce to you
The song you’ve known for just a year
David Myhr’s “Never Mine” in Abbey Roooooooooooaddd….
Special thanks to Thomas Juth and his brother Fredrik Juth (who played bass and drums) for inviting me to this very special occasion. Thanks also to Michael Bianco, Dyre Gormensen who were part of the recording process. And to Andrew Campbell at Lojinx who co-ordinated the Real Gone release. To Amy Campbell for shooting some nice photos (including the one above) at Abbey Road. And to Henrik Irgens and my wife Paula who also made the day even more pleasant through their sheer presence.