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Cello Lessons: Mike Block with Rushad Eggleston: Singing While Playing - Discussion

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Rushad, why-
>> Hello.
>> Why did you start
singing with the cello?
When did it happen?
What were the first motivators?
>> Well, like a lot of people I know,
you grow up being an instrumentalist.
And then you realize that you maybe
have more to say than notes can say.
As notes pick up where words leave off,
words also pick up where notes leave off.
And when you got the combo of them,
you just can really zero in on what you're
really trying to say in life, because
you're not only being like
the carpet is green but
it's like, you know,
you're gonna be like the carpet is green.
Or like, the carpet is green.
The carpet is green.
The carpet is green.
The carpet is green.
It's like, you know, you can change it
from sneaky, to majestic, to triumphant,
to all over the place to cackle-y,
speckled out, desert, cactus, snake,
lightening bolt, thunderstorm, Egypt,
Nairobi, just [SOUND] all the time.
You can say a lot more while singing.
So then I had to, of course you've
gotta figure it out onto the cello,
it's kinda clumsy.
The reason I feel like it's
a challenge to sing on the cello and
play at the same time, is because
the part of your brain that sings,
is often the part that bows.
>> Hm, yeah.
>> My brain's saying [SOUND].
There's like a fat lady in there,
just going off, you know what I mean?
So when I'm being that lady it's
hard to be like, do something else.
You know what I mean?
It takes a lot more concentration.
So, but then you think about it, and
at first I was very rudimentary
with my singing and playing.
But as I got to thinking about it, there's
great examples of people playing and
singing on all kinds of instruments,
but most notably guitar.
And the way they do that of course
is just by strumming back and
forth, and back and forth.
And all the rhythms come out
of this back and forth-ity.
So of course we've got the back and
forth-ity here and.
And it may not look like back and
forth but it's a down,
down and a silent up.
Your hand's just moving in a circle.
>> Mm-hm.
>> And you get, you can take 30% of
your conscious awareness, and put it on
the rhythm, so that it can be varied, and
so you can be hitting the right things.
But then 70% can be put
into the lyrics and
the melody, and
feeling of the singing, or whatever.
>> Yeah.
When you started singing,
did you start learning covers, or
was the motivation to write your
own songs from the beginning?
>> Yeah it was, well.
When I first started singing,
I guess it was to sing with my uncle and
my other friends who played folk music.
But then when I started
seriously singing and playing,
it was definitely to try
to play my own music.
I think one of the first ones I wrote.
When I'm walking alone in the night I
see the green coyote in the distance.
Strolling in the desert,
long beneath the crescent moon.
[SOUND] And the boomerang
climb the hills and I wonder,
thunder and
the lightening falls into a barren zone.
Maybe someone tore it I don't know.
I'm a mountain jumper,
when I ride the night.
And stuff like that, you know?
>> Yeah.
>> I'm gonna keep going.
Actually that should probably
fade out after the first verse,
because it messed with the lyrics, but.
>> Nice.
>> Whatever, who cares, I don't care.
>> Well in your like singing and
playing, like, journey,
what are you thinking about these days?
What gets you excited to like practice,
or write a new song?
>> Well these days I've been thinking
about ways to vary it up because any
musician pretty much whether you're
making up your own new style of music or
you're playing the existing
style music you tend to
lock in on a certain type of
rhythm that you really like.
And do it over and over again.
For me it's.
I got songs like.
Being weird, being weird,
there's nothing better than being weird.
Thinking of rabbits from the batter.
Raising fish from ours.
Tossing an orange high into the sky.
Watching the orange come back down and
smack you in the eye.
[INAUDIBLE] Cuz that's what gets you high.
Etc, but so, that I do,
I have plenty of those songs.
>> Yeah.
>> So that, the project is to that
in a way that just feels real good.
That's like when I'm just trying to
make it feel the bounciest and the best.
Because I'm not trying to necessarily
do something that's totally new
when I'm doing that.
It's just kinda like my rhythm,
my vehicle for writing songs.
Most of the time.
these days I try to
think about some stuff.
For the general concept of my show,
it's nice to break it up from those
numbers to have,
either faster numbers in this rhythm.
Fluffy Jack just tries to fly,
doesn't get too far into the sky,
eye, eye.
It takes an emotional hit.
But then it does what anyone
who's sad should do.
Sun is made of mostly water,
but as big as fire.
[NOISE] And of course,
I like to find the little
places where you can lock up with words or
with a kazoo or
an instrumental melody or whatever.
On the rhythm.
For example.
You got.
Cuz then it
sounds like music.
>> The other
thing I've been focusing on lately is
to get some more stuff in three and
in six eight, cuz that's pretty fun
these days, outlets with my new one.
>> [MUSIC]
>> Here comes the goblin,
here comes the goblin,
here comes the goblin.
He rides a wooden steed.
Here comes the goblin,
he comes from East Janoblin.
Here comes the goblin to
fill your strangest needs.
The likes of which you've never seen.
The likes of which you've never seen.
The likes of which you've never seen.
Or shall you see again.
He's bringing the things
that couldn't have been.
He's bringing the things
that couldn't have been.
He's bringing the things that couldn't
have been, from the land of men.
You should be taking notes.
Cuz actually I've been hearing this in
popular rap music on the radio when they
go into a fast six eight.
>> [MUSIC]
>> Cuz it's not on the daily,
how does it go?
Cuz it's not on the daily
that you see a scaly and
fluffy thing playing a cello for you.
And even if you did I'd be willing to
bet that he wouldn't be doing such
yelling for you.
Bicto Binenicto!
Bicto Binenicto!
And then he goes into Bicto Binenicto,
Bicto Binenicto, Bicto Binenicto,
flick, flick, flick, phase.
And it's all about finding little tricks
to break up the monotony of a regular
rhythm, like a waltz.
>> [MUSIC]
>> And then it goes on.
But then there's
>> [MUSIC]
>> People and their wires.
Too many wires, tangling up the world.
People and their factories,
too many factories.
Clattering up the world.
It makes me wanna hurl.
Too much counting to one,
too much counting to one, too much
counting to one one one one one one one
one one one one one one one one one one
one one one one one one one one one one
one one one one one one one one one
one one one one one one one one.
Too much counting to one.
Too much counting to one.
People and their strip clubs,
too any strip clubs.
And there's a lot of
ways to play six eight.
I default to the
>> [MUSIC]
>> Which is kind of like a one bar phrase.
But it's also fun to be like-
>> What I'm taking from this
is actually that you're using rhythms and
grooves as like a really,
primary, inspirational starting point.
Like what's the feel of a song?
How does it feel to play it,
and like, how can I?
It seems like a-
>> Yeah.
>> Big part of where your head is.
>> Cuz I'd say 95% of my songs I
write without the cello there.
>> I see, really?
>> I hear them in my head, but
I hear a wicked band playing.
And often I'm thinking about
how it could be on the cello.
But I hear how the beat sounds and then I
just try to replicate that on the cello.
Or you can add riffs.
It's like having a whole family
of dudes in your head, and
one of them's just like
the fruity singer that's like,
hey guys I wrote a song,
you want to like put some music to it?
And then the rest of them are like,
yeah, check it out.
>> [MUSIC]
>> [INAUDIBLE] He's like,
yeah, and then he feels all powerful.
And then you got a band.
>> Awesome.
>> And that's what playing the cello and
singing is all about for me,
is making a whole band in one person.
Because you could play the cello and
do what people normally do and
just be kinda like, here comes the goblin.
Here comes the goblin.
Here comes the goblin,
he rides a wooden steed.
Which is cool, but
it's a whole new kind of music.
>> It's not an arrangement.
Yeah, yeah.
>> [MUSIC]
>> I see, yeah.
>> And sometimes you can just get such a
slink that it brings the song into a much
bigger, deeper place,
at least in my own head.
I understand that out there it probably
all sounds like chicken scratch.
>> Thank you, Rashad.
>> You're welcome.
You're welcome.
Ja blessings rastafari ingy ingy.
Ingy ingy bobingy banana fofana fo
fingy mi mo mingy hakwangas [LAUGH]
>> So like you were saying,
playing melodically on the cello is coming
from the same part of our brain as singing
So is there any exercise or practice that
you did to help divide the brain and
be able to do cello and
singing, simultaneously?
>> Well, yeah.
Some of them, I'm fortunate to
have these rap songs that I know
all the lyrics to that I've made up,
in my own language, that work out.
But you could just do
something as simple as like,
taking rhythm like,
like bip bop bina bip bop de boop de bip.
And then play it over a simple like
>> [MUSIC]
>> Bip bop bip bip bip bop de boom de bip.
Bip bop bip de bip boom de boom de bip.
Cuz at first you're gonna want to
go bip bop bip de bip boom de boom.
You know what I mean?
And try to go with it.
>> Yeah.
>> But
the whole point is to get some separation
so that, even if this is basic.
The stuff I do is not really that
complicated, it's usually, so
you go, bip bop,
bina bip bop da boom da bip,
bip bop bina bip boom da boom da bip,
bip bop bina bip bop boom da boom da bip.
And then you can take and
gradually get it more syncopated.
I don't know if I can do this even.
Bip bop, bina bip bop da boom da bip,
bip bop bina bip boom da boom da bip,
bip bop bina bip bop boom da boom da bip.
>> You come up with just a repeated cell,
>> Yeah.
>> And a repeated cell on the cello, and
see, just kind of like zone
in on doing those two-
>> Yeah, and at first they can be simple,
like the cello's on half notes and
the vocals are on quarter notes and
you can just be like,
if you're really having a hard time
you can take the pit cow, for example.
Look it's the pit cow, look it's
the pit cow, look it's the pit cow.
Or change chords a little bit.
But then you can, like,
look at the pit cow, coming down the lane.
You could be like,
look at the pit cow coming down the lane,
look at the pit cow coming down the lane.
But I see it as a whole rhythmical thing,
like, the vocal, for
me anyhow, because I'm not
like James Taylor over here,
or Jason Miraz, or like a Mariah Carey,
I'm not all like like [SOUND] supposed to
be like flowers are falling out of
my mouth and people are fainting.
People are more like,
fainting because it's harsh, you know, but
the point is it's better for
it to be a percussion instrument.
>> I see.
>> [MUSIC]
>> Awesome.
>> You can make up your own exercises.
>> Yeah.
>> Just take it simply but, yeah,
then what you're gonna need
to do is make it syncopated,
like bom bom bom bom bom bom, and
have a syncopated vocal over a straight-
>> [MUSIC]
>> Bom bom bom bom bom bom.
I mean once you can do that you
can pretty much do whatever.
>> Awesome.
>> [MUSIC]