easy livin' riddim soundcloud cover header

Riddims To Go: Putting Old Demos To Good Use

I have a mountain of song demos on my computer. Actually, I take that back. I have a mountain of idea demos on my computer. Rarely do I actually finish a demo for a complete song. More often then not, I get an idea, and I record it using Garage Band just to get it out of my head. Just as my notebook (the paper kind) is filled with lyric ideas–some song’s complete, most are not–my recorded ideas are not complete. Some of them could stand alone, many of them really require having the rest of a song built around it. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. If I have an idea that fits whatever band I’m playing with, I might present it to the band and we might jam on it, and it could turn into a song.

It occurred to me one day that I just have a stack of these piling up on my computer. The drums are programmed with Garage Band, and I play the guitar, bass, and sometimes keys. Sometimes there’s a melody, but sometimes there isn’t. Most of these ideas could best be called riddims. The wikipedia definition is a bit too scientific. I think this Urban Dictionary definition conveys a bit emotion involved. The point is, it’s a backing track and they’re widely used in reggae, dancehall, and reggaeton. Multiple artists will record a vocal track over the same track.

Here’s an example. This is the recent “Ram Jam” riddim. In this playlist are 10 songs with different vocalists over the same backing track.

Make sense? So I thought to myself why not post some of my ideas out into the world. It would be really cool if a singer or MC thought a track of mine was worth singing over. But they can’t sing over it if they can’t hear it. Last week I posed the following track to soundcloud. It was pretty hastily recorded and the drums are clearly Garage Band and the keys are on a toy casio. Whatever, it’s not the worst recording of me available on the internet (please don’t go searching for that). I called it “Easy Livin’.”

It was all based on a guitar lick I used once in a song with The Hard Times that I thought was worth hanging on to. You can hear me use it in the video below. We’re covering the Clancy Eccles early reggae classic “Fatty Fatty.”

That’s all there is to it. I’m hoping someone comes back to me asking to use it, whether they want me to go back and re-record or want the original individual tracks to mix and match it. I very well could use it with a band I’m playing with now but that’s no reason no one else can use it. SoundCloud works within the Creative Commons license and that kind of sharing-with-attribution fits this kind of thing perfectly. If anything, it’s a license that only recently caught up to the music.

As for the “cover art,” I made it using Canva’s online design tools. Speaking of licenses, it cost a whole $1 for the license to use that and took maybe 10 minutes to create, if that.

So, any takers?

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