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Ohh man, I have been working on new Philmont music in my room for the past couple of days, and I am pretty excited. As we have been writing new stuff this time around, I’m trying to make the music side of our songs more technically/musically challenging, while still keeping everything fun and accessible. My terminology may alienate some of you from here on out (if that phrase didn’t already…), but I’m basically working on constructing chord progressions and guitar parts that are meaningful and harmonically rich, rather than just leaning on simple pop-punk arrangements. Most of our Attention album was written and recorded as basic power chords, palm-muting, and octaves. When we play these songs live nowadays, I find myself always trying to add new flare to the parts since they are pretty mundane.

Now, as Philmont steps forward into our next phase of song (the tail end of our “transition” if you will), it is my whole-hearted desire to create skillful music that is full of integrity. Our last EP was a step in the right direction – “Closer” in particular featured much better musicianship than most of our past releases – but my ambition presses on! I think I will always try to stretch myself and my music creatively, whether it agrees with modern protocol or not. Don’t worry though, this doesn’t mean that we are going to start recording seven-minute experimental ambient tracks – it is still Philmont’s goal to have catchy and memorable songs at the end of the day, but I know that each of us will feel prouder of the music we make when we are challenging ourselves in our God-given abilities.

All that said, I’m also working on my guitar tone a lot recently, trying to find that perfect balance between drive and clarity. What do I mean by that? Well, we play rock music. Logic follows that I need to have a big, punchy distortion sound for most of my guitar parts – the degree of distortion is primarily controlled by the “Gain” knob on most amps. More distortion/higher gain = dirtier “rock and roll” sound, longer sustain AND your mess-ups don’t sound as bad. However, it also = more muddiness in general, and less of an ability to hear all the notes in a chord. This becomes a problem when you’re playing more complex chords/parts – a lot of notes get lost in the shuffle. SO, the idea is to dial back the gain enough that you still have a good dirty punch when you need it, but that the richness of full chords and more delicate parts is not lost. My personal goal is to find that balance, and to then play my parts cleanly and smoothly live, since less gain means more obvious mistakes!

Well this has probably been a very boring read for a lot of you, but it is what is on my mind this week, and I hope some of you enjoyed it! And I hope you all like the new stuff we come up with. Hopefully we will start playing some new songs this summer! Below are some songs that feature guitar parts that really inspire me. I know I’ve recommended some of these before, but even if you don’t wanna drop the bucks on them, go listen to them on Youtube or something…

Five Songs to Buy on iTunes This Week:
1. “Am I Wry? No” by Mew
2. “Light Up Ahead” by Further Seems Forever
3. “Time Consumer” by Coheed & Cambria
4. “You Have My Attention” by Copeland
5. “Good Man” by Third Eye Blind

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3 Comments

  1. I actually really enjoyed this blog. Do you know how many times my piano teacher tells me to let off the sustain pedal because the sound is too ‘muddy’? It has worn off on me in piano and guitar lately. I’m starting to prefer cleaner sounds when I play. I’m really looking forward to hearing some of this 50/50 stuff instead of all distortion! I’m sure it is sounding great!

  2. I think it’s beautiful to post about music. Thank you for doing so! I’ve been trying to learn more, especially about pedals, etc…

  3. I love hearing about the musicianship behind-the-scenes, so to speak. I loved reading this, Josiah :]
    and HEY- what’s so wrong with 7-minute experimental ambient songs? Some of my favorites lie in that category… 😛
    Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Philmont’s music.


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