About




Wendy Lang
hails from Brisbane*, Australia. 

Just as Peter Pan never grew up, Wendy has never grown out of her childlike wonderment, and infuses her work with a sense of imagination, curiosity and humour.

*Brisbane: a sunny, subtropical city which lies about an hour's flight north of Sydney and an hour's drive south of Bindi Irwin.

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    Monday
    Oct282013

    My new song: "Funky T-Shirt"

    Elvis sung about Blue Suede Shoes. The Cat Empire sung about beanies. Now I am adding to the world's catalogue of sartorial songs by releasing a song about t-shirts. 

    Not just any old t-shirts though. Funky t-shirts! T-shirts printed with funny slogans or cute photos or beautiful intricate illustrations. 

    I had the idea one night when walking home from work. There was a girl waiting at the stoplights wearing a white baggy tee printed with a big black slogan so profound in meaning that I can't remember what the darn thing said. 

    Nevertheless, it got me thinking about how printed t-shirts have become the window to our soul. Okay, not that cheesy. But I like how they can be used to display a part of our personality. I like having a little chuckle when someone has a funny quote on their shirt. The t-shirt is definitely the most comedic of clothing items. Except for neck ruffles. But they're not currently in fashion.

    So here it is. "Funky T-Shirt". Because we all love a funky shirt! Except for those of you who prefer kaftans!

    Tuesday
    May282013

    Where's Wendy been?

    Recording.

    Music, yes, music!

    To be let out in the wild soon, yes, soon!

    Stay tuned, stay tuned!

    Sunday
    Dec302012

    The Curse of the Gothic Symphony - on ABC1 TV TONIGHT!

    Here's a story that for me, started eight years ago.

    Sometime in 2004, I was doing work experience at 4MBS Classic FM - a community classical music radio station in Brisbane. If the words "community classical music radio station" trigger in your mind images of jolly retirees discussing opera and the last cruise ship they went on, with a backdrop of homemade bottled jam and a soundtrack of Mozart, well, you've nailed it.

    But the more time I spent at 4MBS, the more I realised this wasn't just a place for baby boomers and older to come and play their favourite tunes. Rather, the station was very active in producing concerts and festivals, engaging and encouraging local classical musicians - both young and old. 

    And as it turned out, the station's General Manager Gary Thorpe had a MUCH bigger vision.

    I was sitting at my desk one day when, completely out of the blue, Gary came to me and asked, "Have I told you about the Gothic?".  

    I said no. And he plopped a giant score (A3 size and half the thickness of a phone book) and a photocopy of an old photo on my desk. The score, he said, was of a symphony by a relatively unknown eccentric British composer named Havergal Brian. Symphony No. 1, The Gothic was considered to be the largest, longest and most complicated symphony ever written. It was such a ridiculously huge thing that hardly anyone had performed it. 

    Gary had managed to catch a rare performance of the work in England in 1980 and ever since then, had dreamt of getting it performed in Brisbane. He'd had about four failed attempts already.

    The photocopied photo he showed me gave a clue as to why. It was of one of the few performances ever staged - showing hundreds and hundreds of musicians and singers crammed into a concert hall. This mammoth symphony actually requires over 1000 musicians. That includes over 600 singers, four brass bands, one massive orchestra and one self-disrespecting conductor. 

    Where in Brisbane, do you find a stage that can fit that many musicians, let alone find that many musicians who are skilled enough to handle such a musically complex work? Oh yeah, and the music itself divides people. For every person in the world who thinks the Gothic is an undiscovered masterpiece, there's another spitting and saying "Ugh, it's horrible!".

    So yeah, Gary had a bit of a challenge on his hands. But also a potentially fascinating story. So I called my friend, documentary producer Veronica Fury (from WildFury), and she was crazy enough to take it on.

    Eight years later, the feature-length documentary The Curse of the Gothic Symphony screens on ABC1 TV, December 30 2012 at 10.20pm.

    I sang in the chorus so I can testify how NUTS the piece is!

    But it was a pretty special experience. I've written more about it here

    And now I shan't tell you any more because you've got to watch the documentary! 



     

    Wednesday
    Oct172012

    Songs I Wish I’d Written: Adele’s “Skyfall”

    Song: Skyfall
    Performer: Adele
    Writers: Adele, Paul Epworth
    Producer: Paul Epworth
    Released: 5 October 2012 

     The name’s ADELE. James...no wait, just Adele. 

    *insert cockney laugh here*

    British singer/songwriter Adele has co-written and performed a James Bond themesong for the new film Skyfall. Coincidentally, the song’s called Skyfall.

    She’s written it with Paul Epworth with whom she wrote Rolling in the Deep. (Another song I wish I’d written). Big tick to the James Bond Music Director for choosing these two.

    Look, I don’t have the faintest idea what the film Skyfall is about, and just like most of the other James Bond films, I’m unlikely to go and see it. Action films aren’t my thing. But we all know the James Bond theme music is a killer. (Sorry). But it is! Those flaring muted trumpets! And that sly guitar! They don’t make it like that anymore. 

    So I was excited when I heard echoes of the original theme music creep into the new song, starting with the iconic murky brass chords, using the trademark step-wise bassline in the verses, kept in place by simple drumkit rhythms (which always remind me of high school stage bands).

    On first listen I was blasé about it. It doesn’t rival Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger. But it walks all over Madonna’s Die Another Day. And now, I can’t get this darn thing out of my head! It’s catchy, but not annoyingly so. The lyrics are vague, like a lot of Adele’s songs, but the writing’s clean, so it just lets the melody do its thing. And what a strong melody! Seriously, as a result of me singing this constantly around the house, (along with having the flu), I’ve lost my voice. I’m dying for it to return completely so I can sing this song again!

    Speaking of voices, let’s speak of Adele’s. How does she do it? How does she sound so effortlessly powerful? Most other belters around seem to overdo it. But Adele sounds incredibly strong without being forced. And unlike a lot of belters, it seems to come directly from the very depths of her soul. A cliche, but so true. 

    Adele is also the master of vocal textures and colours, in my opinion. One minute she sounds soft and tender; the next, she’s as assertive as all hell. I love the textural differences between her lower and upper registers. She does lovely little slides without being indulgent. She uses just the right amount of vibrato. And those little jazz ornaments floor me. Listen to the little vocal turn she’s put in on the end of the word “overdue” at 1.11. Gorgeous. 

    Favourite line: “You may have my number. You can have my name. But you cannot take my heart.”

    Adele, can I take your voice?

    Skyfall 




    James Bond theme music





     

     

    Sunday
    Oct142012

    The Ten Recording Studio Commandments

    Earlier this year I spent time making a little pop music (to be revealed next month!) in a few different recording studios around Brisbane. It was something I'd always wanted to do, and as expected, I found the process to be thrilling.

    But I also found it to be emotionally draining.

    As TED speaker Brene Brown says, "Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change". And boy, did I feel vulnerable in those studios! Anxious thoughts would rush through my head like, "Maybe I'm not making the right choices. Maybe people will laugh at me. Maybe I'm wasting everyone's time. Maybe I shouldn't have had those triple-choc-chip-fudge cookies instead of an apple".

    Often, I'd leave the studio feeling gloomy.

    After one particularly disenchanting session, I finally put my foot down. Or at least, I put my pen down...on paper. I'd had enough of feeling so sensitive in the studio. It was counter-productive. So...I WROTE A LIST! 

    I thought hard about how to make the studio experience a positive one, and came up with about seven points. At my next studio session, engineer/producer Andrei Maberley contributed his excellent ideas (drawn from many years of experience), and we ended up with a guide that would make Moses proud. It works wonders! (Especially Commandments One and Ten). Drumroll, please...


    THE TEN RECORDING STUDIO COMMANDMENTS

    1. Thou shalt not go hungry or thirsty.
    Fed, watered musicians = happy musicians. Stick to healthy snacks + good quality chocolate! Carrot and celery sticks = rock 'n' roll.

    2. Thou shalt come mentally prepared.
    Don't let small worries and disorganisation get in the way of big ideas!

    3.  Thou shalt not use the word 'no'.
    Instead, maintain morale and ask 'how' it can be better. Some may disagree with this point.

    4. Thou shalt remain positive.
    Disillusionment will only hold you back! 

    5. Thou shalt write fearlessly.
    Borrowed from Pat Pattison. Fortune favours the brave!

    6. Thou shalt have FUN.
    Isn't that what you're here for?

    7. Thou shalt take breaks.
    Give your mind some space!

    8. Thou shalt protect thy ears
    Keep volume to a safe level. 

    9. Thou shalt be decisive.
    Because, as Steve Jobs would say, "Real artists ship".

    10. Thou shalt bounce and take away!
    At the end of the studio day - even if you think what you've done so far is lame - a recording in the hand will give you a proud sense of achievement. This is a powerful one!

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on these commandments. Let me know if you agree or disagree with any of the points - or if you'd like to add your own. Feel free to share!