Making Music In The Twenties Of The 21st Century

Sunday, October 25, 2020

What to do with the rest of this crazy year?
Well, I guess in my case the answer is: Making Music, for I am a musician.
So, I continue to tell you inside stories about Making Music In The Twenties Of The 21st Century.
Here are some of the things that have kept me busy since last week.
First, I’ve curated a really nice Playlist on Spotify. It’s called MASTER’S MONKEYS‘ Hip-Hop Favorites.



By the way, if you happen to use Spotify, you would do me a great favor to follow me there. It’s pretty important for a musician nowadays that every friend clicks the Follow-Button. It is the only chance to get some attention and to get on some playlists. Thank you!



Furthermore I’m working on a new song. I’ve just started the recordings, so I can’t play it to you right now, but I can show you the lyrics this time. Usually I’m starting with the lyrics.

Don't Feel so Well
Words & Music by Paul 'Aka' Kessler

Verse 1

Don't mean to scare you
It's getting worse
Don't wanna lie
I know it hurts

You are the last
Of a dying breed
A true hostage
Of your silly greed

The weather's changing
Growing concerns
Soldiers march
And cities burn

You feel the dark
Like going blind
Nowhere to turn
You don't have time

Hook

And I'm not feeling well myself
Don't feel so well myself
Well, I'm not feeling well myself
Don't feel so well myself
What the hell? Who can tell? Wish you well
Well, the hell will take care of itself
And I can tell I don't feel well
Don't feel so well myself

Verse 2

Don't wait for help
To come to you
So be prepared
In solitude

There's no one left
To give a cheer
Just dig your grave
Where ghosts appear

You shall not care
Why not let go?
A simple yes
To the steady flow

You sold your soul
Well, it's no crime
You gotta go
You don't have time

Hook

And I'm not feeling well myself
Don't feel so well myself
Well, I'm not feeling well myself
Don't feel so well myself
What the hell? Who can tell? Wish you well
Well, the hell will take care of itself
And I can tell I don't feel well
Don't feel so well myself

Breakdown

Don't mean to scare you
It's getting worse
Don't wanna lie
I know it hurts

We feel the dark
Go with the flow
We don't have time
Why not let go?

Hook

And I'm not feeling well myself
Don't feel so well myself
Well, I'm not feeling well myself
Don't feel so well myself
What the hell? Who can tell? Wish you well
Well, the hell will take care of itself
And I can tell I don't feel well
Don't feel so well myself

There's no one left
To give a cheer
Just dig your grave
Where ghosts appear

We feel the dark
Go with the flow
We don't have time
Why not let go?

FINE

That’s it for now! I hope you’ll be on again next Sunday for another episode of THE MONKEY TELEGRAM when it says again: Making Music In The Twenties Of The 21st Century.

Everybody, stay healthy!

Take care
PAul

Previous Articles

Sunday, October 18, 2020

So, I wanted to make a real Hip-Hop Song. Not an Instrumental. I already did that for production music. Not a Rock Song where I just put a Hip-Hop beat underneath. I did that before, like on MAY THE DEVIL TAKE THE REST (from the album THE CARE & FEEDING OF THE MONKEY, © 2019 MCDP International):



This time I want the real thing, a song with vocals and lyrics.
I want the whole package: rhymes, flow, wordplay and vocal Rap delivery.
And I knew, it takes a lil bit more than to just start and end every line with “Yo!”.
And it takes more than using lots of curse words just to get the “Parental Advisory - Explicit Lyrics” warning.
I’m not so bad with language and I’ve been writing lyrics for some time now, but when I listen to some of my Hip-Hop Heroes like Chuck D or Kendrick Lamar and so many others, I can only kneel down in humility.
But this is how it is with new challenges, you work as hard and good as you can.
It’s all about learning and doing! That’s the only way it works - Write Fearlessly!
When you are used to sing the lyrics, it’s quite a thing to change to spoken word, so I got a little help from a couple of die-hard New York City Rappers.
It was a lot of fun! And that’s true for the song, too. Out came a funny, cute & quirky Hip-Hop Song, named IN YOUR DNA.
The song is gonna be distributed by Universal Music’s Spinnup and the release is scheduled for the 1st of November and will be available in all major shops and on all major streaming services.
But in the meantime: You, my dear reader and/or subscriber, get to enjoy the preview. Until the 1st of November you can exclusively get IN YOUR DNA at Bandcamp. It’s a “Pay what you want!” campaign, you could even type in “0,00”.



Everybody, have a good time!
PAul

Next Sunday on THE MONKEY TELEGRAM:
What to do with the rest of this crazy year?

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Hip-Hop? Really?
Well, so far Hip-Hop is obviously not the first thing that comes to mind when you look at the music of MASTER’S MONKEYS. But Hip-Hop played a major role in my musical socialization. 1986 the BEASTIE BOYS from New York City released their debut album LICENSED TO ILL and blew away an eleven year old boy from Germany.



Hip-Hop had started to make its way from the american underground to a large audience around the world. I was immediately infected.
PUBLIC ENEMY, ICE-T, RUN DMC and others followed and became a great influence for me.
This was the first time in my life I seriously wanted to start a band with my 2 best friends. My older brother told me that you don’t have to learn to play an instrument to make Hip-Hop. “What? That’s great! I can do that!”, I thought and started to scratch a children’s audio play record on my cheap record player.
It turned out that it was not so easy after all.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I still love it to this day. I even produced an instrumental Hip-Hop album for television two years ago.

Southside Slow Rap Album Cover
SOUTHSIDE - Production Music for Television


SOUTHSIDE by Paul A. Kessler; ©2018 RipCue Music

Again, as always, the question is “What comes next?”
And now I know the answer:
A hard-hitting Hip-Hop Song.

To be continued …

Next Sunday on THE MONKEY TELEGRAM.

PAul

Sunday, October 4, 2020

My wife said:“No, that's not it.“
Sh*t! A bad low blow.
But she would not be my wife if that was all she said.
She added:”Can you play me that FEEL IT STILL song again?”
And I wondered. What has this to do with my problem child ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE? But whatever! So, I played FEEL IT STILL.
After the first chorus she said:”Make it so!”
My first reaction was a definite:”Ehhh ….”
Then I thought:”So what? I’ll give it a try! What should happen in the worst case?”
So, I set to work on Madhouse again. The tempo had to be drastically increased and although the instrumental arrangement was working really well, I knew I could never sing that. Not at that tempo. Not in head voice. So we decided to look for the right singer.
We listened to several singers and finally found Connor, an incredibly talented Los Angeles based singer. He really nailed it! Yes!

Picture of Paul Kessler
Paul ‘Aka’ Kessler with the original Jack Nicholson cap from “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”

The first time after 13 long years I was happy with the song.
Here is an excerpt of the final version:


ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE, Words & Music by Paul A. Kessler, ©2020 Monkey Music


You may wonder where you can listen to the whole song?
Well, the thing is: ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE is not officially released yet. That means no record label, no publisher, no Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube etc.
But in the meantime I want to take care of all readers and friends of Master's Monkeys.
I decided to make the song available for every newsletter subscriber at no costs.
A special link for you to listen and/or download the song is prepared and ready to be sent to your email address. So, make sure to get it right in the Mailchimp subscription form below.

But I digress … The question was: What comes next?
That brings me to my next question:
Is there actually a relationship between MASTER’S MONKEYS and Hip-Hop?

Next Sunday on THE MONKEY TELEGRAM.

PAul

Sunday, September 27, 2020

ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE was a problem child.
What had to be done?
I tried additional female backing vocals and a lot more but nothing worked. So I had to put the song aside.
Now we do a leap in time: 5 years and 2 Kids later: 2018.
A company was looking for an instrumental piece that’s in the same ballpark like the song FEEL IT STILL by Portugal.The Man. I didn’t know the reference track but when I heard it, I liked it right away.



Great!
So I set to work. And that’s what I did:

FUNNY STRANGERS ©2019 RipCue GmbH


You are probably wondering what this has to do with it?
Well, I will come to it. We must do a leap in time again: 2 years later: The beginning of the Twenties before the pandemic struck.
ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE was still there. Somewhere in my head. You carry it with you. That’s what you do, whether you like it or not. And then, it reappears unexpectedly. That is exactly what happened in early 2020.
Now I had that collage-idea. From all the different versions since 2007, I surely had enough material to do a totally weird collage. After all, it’s Madhouse-Time, right?
So I set to work on Madhouse again. I finished the first draft and played it to my wife to get the first feedback.
And that’s what she said:

Next Sunday on THE MONKEY TELEGRAM.

PAul

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The question was: What comes next? My last two productions are ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE and IN THE AIR TONIGHT. The latter was a spontaneous work, out of the blue, literally. ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE was a very different story. It took me, believe it or not, thirteen long years to finish that song. Again in numbers: 13!!!!
So, what the hell happened?
We have to go all the way back to the year 2007, when I was working in my little home studio and recorded this demo:

Demo 2007


As you can hear, it has this funky bass-line in the verses but also a latin “Smooth Operator” (Sade) groove in the chorus. Hmm … somehow a strange mixture.
I didn’t know how to produce it. My first approach was to incorporate a lot of electronic stuff because of Beck, who did his 9th album “Guero” 2 years earlier and encouraged me to experiment fearlessly. So, with that in mind, I grabbed my demo recordings and went to a bigger studio. The audio engineer Markus Kaiser at his s.p. audiolab helped me with the sound and and my brother played the bass. But it didn’t work out. Unfortunately the recording disappeared without a trace.

Four years later in 2011 Tom (Waits) & Kathleen (Brennan) released the album “Bad As Me” and the opening song “Chicago” inspired me to try another version of ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE.



Tom’s “Chicago” is a static wall of sound with an evil train-beat - Fantastic!
So, let’s hear what it did to my song:

ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE 2011-2013


I was not happy. Still I didn't want to let it go, because I love the lyrics.
What had to be done?
And again, what next?
It brings us back to The Twenties Of The 21st Century.

Next Sunday on THE MONKEY TELEGRAM.

PAul

Sunday, September 13, 2020

And again the question: What comes next? Damn it!
I just finished two productions, one was ESCAPE FROM THE MADHOUSE and the other one was the cover song IN THE AIR TONIGHT. I’ve never done lots of covers. Well, I played some Tom Waits songs live but never recorded them. I played them just for the moment. Indeed IN THE AIR TONIGHT was the 3rd cover I produced in my Life. The others are I WANT TO BE THE BOY TO WARM YOUR MOTHER’S HEART by The White Stripes and SEVEN by David Bowie.
The White Stripes song is doing well, once in while someone in Puebla City (Mexico) or Noorderwijk (Belgium) is listening. That makes me happy every single time. But the Bowie song remains unnoticed somehow. You never know why.

IN THE AIR TONIGHT is only released on YouTube so far and is not doing good. The recording was pretty painful, too, for I had to play the bottleneck guitar with a discus injury at my left wrist that still needs surgical intervention.
I know the song is sooooo long for nowadays and I played it even slower than the original Phil Collins version from 1980.
And the video! You must watch this goddamn zeppelin all the time. But I tell you what: I did the song just because of the zeppelin. I first shot the video, randomly, during a family outing. And then came the idea. I don’t know why. I captured the idea and like David (Lynch) said, I should stay true to my idea. Yes, I did, David. And now IN THE AIR TONIGHT is a Blues with Gospel & Soul influences, I really love.
But I digress … The question was: What comes next?

Next week on THE MONKEY TELEGRAM.

PAul