Today we are graced with the company of Daniela Serafimova, a singer, songwriter, and teacher, who was born in Bulgaria but raised in Sweden. It feels like autumn is finally with us and we three make the smart decision to follow each other's lead, and order the same cozy coconut curry, avoiding any possible jealous looks across the table at cafe Omayma.
We begin with a pressing issue...
"My voice memo app isn't working. I was already having regular issues with the pause function, amongst other things, but for some reason, it's struggling with my new phone so I've stopped taping stuff."
For fans of Daniele's music, this is a worry. A nervousness begins to rise concerning the world-beating songs we may have lost in those frustrating moments. "Yes, so when you wrote to me about Tape It the timing was perfect!"
"I'll often sing a melody or phrase into my phone but I also think it's super important to catch those moments of inspiration around me. Recently I saw a guy sitting all by himself in the middle of a square with a trumpet, and he was playing the melodies of old Swedish folk songs. Just a lonely horn in a sea of people and it was super inspiring but I couldn't record it because my voice memo app isn't working. I'll occasionally even use recordings like these in my productions. I think people do that a lot, more than they might admit."
This seems to have left a gap in her life, one we are happy to help refill. Other ways of using the phone to help aid the creative process begin to come up...
"I once recorded the sound of a motor which sounded like a horn to me, and I used it together with a plug-in of horn instruments. I adjusted the pitch so it worked as an actual note and it all fitted together with the horns. That was super fun."
We digress a little around the topic of what, or how, different people hear, especially those with "trained ears" and those who aren't, such as her girlfriend who is more likely to get a "warm fuzzy feeling" than specifically identify the addition of a harmony.
"It's almost boring to me because I just hear it, so it's less of a feeling, and I have a learned vocabulary and experience, but I find it so interesting to hear how any sound would be described by others who don't."
The rain which has been threatening finally begins as we leave and head towards the haven of a warm cup, and as we walk we return to stories of phone recordings. "I once showed my pianist a recording of a song, but without the sheet music or anything, so when it came time to play it, he had forgotten the order of the notes and accidentally played them the other way around. Ever since then I much prefer the new version, which his brain remixed."
As we settle into the classic old bakery/cafe Gunnarsons the discussion above leads smoothly into how moments like this help her teach her students. Daniele works as both a production coach for young women in a studio and is also the boss at a school for songwriters.
"That kind of improvisation is so important and I set teaching exercises about that all the time. One involves my students being made to sit and improvise for 15 minutes, then they have to listen back to the recording and pick out three things that they like, which they have to make something from."
We point out how useful it would be for them to set markers at those moments in the recordings, as you can with Tape It, or add photos of chord structures as needed.
The very next day she messages to say she has decided upon a new assignment within which her students must record a 10-minute field recording, wherever they are, and then write a flowing text about the sounds that they managed to capture. She likes the idea of using Tape It in this task and we can't help smiling from ear to ear at the very thought :)
into this fully formed gloriousness:
Thank you, Daniela!