Links to thread entries:
- Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Holy Mountain (1/20/18) [this post]
- Soul Asylum - Runaway Train (2/3/18)
- The Vaccines - Post Break-Up Sex (2/11/18)
- The Fratellis - Imposters (Little by Little) (2/16/18)
- Blitzen Trapper - Black River Killer (2/16/18)
[original post follows below]
"No need to shout, what you bitchin' about?"
Greetings, C3 forumites.
I'm Atruejedi. I chart vocals. You may have enjoyed my contributions to customs published by some of the community's finest authors. Today, I humbly present to you my first custom:
Click here to go to the database entry.
Don't you dare download it without reading all the nonsense below.
This Rock Band 3 custom song, Holy Mountain by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, joins in the database two other songs by the Britpop icon, Lock All the Doors by Guido and In The Heat of the Moment by funkydunkleman (featuring some of my first vocals work!). Holy Mountain was created in partnership with all-'round-good-guy/resident-legend MrPrezident. Without his contributions and guidance, this project (yes, publishing your first custom is a project!) would not have been possible. If you'd have told me six months ago I'd be publishing a custom with (almost) all the bells and whistles, I'd have scoffed in disbelief... but here we are. I've traded time and effort for frustration, satisfaction, headaches, and joy, and I'd do it all again (in fact, I've already got another custom baking in the oven). I hope you enjoy playing this, especially with groups of friends (and copious amounts of booze). Feedback and constructive criticism are appreciated.
[insert various witticisms and obscenities]
Holy Mountain is from Noel Gallagher's third solo album Who Built the Moon?, released this past November. NME called the song "a jaunty and vibrant, horn-driven, arena-ready number-- with elements of the Vaccines latter day work to its sound" (coincidentally, at my request, Prez has given me a tempo map for a Vaccines song... ). You can call it jaunty and vibrant if you want, but I call it a stupidly fun pop rock masterpiece. It's completely unlike anything on Noel's previous two (excellent) albums, and that's fine with me. Sometimes you just need something that sounds pretty and can make your body move, no thinking required. This is that song. I realize Noel can be a pretty polarizing figure, but forget what a (loveable) prick he is for a moment and give it a listen:
[Gameplay video courtesy of MrPrezident; video not entirely reflective of custom venue work]
Fully custom venue from scratch (with keyboardist events)
Vocal chart from scratch
Dryvox lip sync for all three vocal parts
Vocal tonic note
Reductions for all instruments
Numeric ID for Wii leaderboards
Prez told me I didn't have to bother cataloguing all the details of what he and I contributed to this project, but it's only right that I do just that. You can skip the minutia if you so choose, but I think it's worth reading, especially if you're not an author; a lot of effort goes into getting these customs onto your Xbox (and my Wii!). But if a doofus like me can pull this off, you can, too. So, story time:
A few weeks ago I asked an author if he'd be interested in producing Holy Mountain as a song for his upcoming customs event. He declined. I cried. But I still thought it was a good idea. I approached Prez about it and he was receptive. He and I have been collaborating for a while now, and I'm a sucker for his good taste in music and have proudly provided him with an increasing number of vocal charts. I plowed through my queue of vocal commitments in the past two weeks and asked Prez if he had anything else I could work on. He did, and when he sent me [redacted] by [redacted], he told me he would tempo map a few songs for me if I was interested. I suspect he thought that with tempo maps to pet songs, maybe I'd branch out. And branch I did.
Knowing I would be getting tempo maps for songs I was responsible for producing motivated me to learn how to do things beyond just charting vocals. Once Prez sent over our collaborative Holy Mountain Reaper file, I did my usual thing of adding vocals and harmonies... then decided to cut my teeth in other areas. You may be surprised to learn this, but this is my first song with a vocal percussion part. And I finally charted my first non-vocals parts: bass, keys, and pro keys. Each of these instrument charts went through three iterations: first, I'd slop something down, then Prez would revise it, then I would revise his revision.
I've played so many awesome Rock Band bass charts (like those tasty jams featured in AJFOne23's customs of early Chicago) that creating this one was rather easy... because Holy Mountain is not particularly complex, lucky for me! But I didn't have confidence in the consistency and professionalism of what I created. At my request, Prez looked over what I came up with, made some modifications, and sent it back to me, reiterating that this was my custom and that I, ultimately, had the final say in things. Then, once I messed with Reaper's equalizer settings and could easily discern the low frequency sounds, I gave the chart another revision, making it much more detailed and "accurate" (I confess, I treat bass charts like piano parts; blame Harmonix!). While the bass in Holy Mountain isn't particularly challenging, I find it really fun, and I hope you do, too!
I charted the very recognizable "whistling" of Holy Mountain to keys and pro keys, and then, once again, Prez gave it a pass, adding some horns to the chart and other fillers to keep the player engaged (smart!). In the next pass, I deleted a few portions and replaced them with additional piccolo (or whatever the hell makes that whistling noise). Just pretend you're playing a synthesizer (because you most likely are). If there were actually a complex piano part present in this song, I don't think I'd be able to handle charting it. So if keys and pro keys are one of your strengths, keep me in mind. I'm going to need your help to complete some of the plans I have...
I got my first experience with C3 Automation Tools (CAT) reductions by applying them to the bass and keys parts after I finalized them, and I manually reduced the pro keys (you're welcome... because I suck too!). I have to say, I was skeptical of the job CAT would do, but after seeing the results, I'm mighty impressed. I watched previews of easy and medium difficulty levels of the bass chart using the Rock Band Network visualizer plug-in and CAT virtually flawlessly reduced them in a logical fashion. On easy, one note is still a bit weird in a section that appears a few times, but that's just the nature of that part... something has to be charted there, so I can't fault CAT. My only "complaint" is I had to go through and fix the length of the sustains: they were all truncated into nothing. There's probably a CAT fix for that as well, but I was hesitant to experiment and accidentally destroy everything.
CAT did a similarly wonderful job reducing keys and guitar (although hard and expert guitar are exactly the same, but hey, it's not a complex guitar part at all). This is when I
lost my virginity got my first Magma error, telling me pro keys only needed overdrive on the expert track. It was a night I'll never forget. I got a few more errors after that and was impressed with the specificity of Magma. It really makes hunting bugs much easier than I expected!
Prez provided the guitar and drums charts. Brain not drum good so any customs from me will always require donations from the community. I might tackle a simple guitar part someday, but chords, while easy to play in 5-button form, are still intimidating to chart.
I recorded dryvox (17 times) that were implemented by Prez, but I wasn't 100% satisfied with them, so I re-recorded myself again (again) and managed to implement them on my own without instigating a nuclear winter. Even something this basic would not have been possible had I not been able to learn from exploring the files MrPrezident organized into a project I could study. He even provided the album art!
I would like to thank Fat Ha1p3rt and DemonUnicorns for sharing their knowledge of custom venue creation with me. I asked them roughly 285 questions and they were both very willing to help. Fat Ha1p3rt was particularly gracious and patient with me, explaining (with screenshots, no less) how I could do something as simple as create a new MIDI track in a Reaper project... because believe it or not, even the basics are impossible when you have no experience.
I knew from the start that if I ever released my own custom, I would polish that turd 'til it shined bright like a diamond. I had no desire to release a custom using the auto-generated venues I've seen so many times without any remarkable variation... go big or go home! But after putting the final touches on my own custom venue, I understand why authors choose not to put in the extra effort. It is a daunting task, especially as a Wii user, because every test requires not only recompiling the project in Magma, but converting the CON with C3 Tools, converting the venue data with MiloMod, preparing and compiling the files into BINs, and transferring the now-prepared custom to the SD card and the Wii itself. All told, I tested this custom over fifty times to make it as perfect as my patience would allow. I don't think Prez expected me to take it this far when he offered me a lil' tempo map.
There is still room for improvement. Nothing is ever perfect or finished... I am George Lucas in that respect. If you'd like to contribute improvements or have suggestions for how I can do better, hit me up. Oh, and if anybody is interested in providing animations for this custom, contact me. That is something that does not interest me... playing with no actual musical talent (and drunk) means it all looks the same to me.
I have already made significant progress on my upcoming second release: vocals are done, venue work has begun, and I've started charting (very poorly and inefficiently) the bass part (want to help? It's funky fun!). The song is from Fitz and the Tantrums' 2010 debut record. You might recognize the band's name because they already have a horrible (and horribly catchy) pop song available as Rock Band 4 DLC, but in their early years they were an awesome neo soul group. I adore their first album and might chart a few other songs from it as well, if there's a market for them. It's less fun making songs only me and my plastic band will enjoy... diminishing returns 'n' all that. So if you have an opinion, offer it up.
MrPrezident has gracious offered his services once again to provide guitar, keys, pro keys and drums for this tune... thank goodness his wife dug it! I'm unsure when it will all be wrapped up, but it will be my next release. As I said, I could use help with the bass part. And Prez can't do everything.
(or can he?)
If you wish you could make customs but are scared to try, don't be! Yes, it's a very intimidating process and a bajillion things can go wrong, but there are many helpful community members here who will selflessly offer their knowledge and assistance... because they selfishly want you to release songs they can play as well! So don't be shy. Even if you're only good at one thing (like me!), you can still work with other authors that aren't good at what you do! If we all pitch in, we can make beautiful music.
(DO YOU GET IT? PITCH IN???)
Oh, hey. You made it this far. I hope this is the first of many songs I publish in the database, and I hope to
finagle cajole convince inspire further collaboration with additional and varied authors to help me bring more full-band customs into our libraries. Thank you for reading!
P.S. Fuck Liam.
Two high flying birds.