[大人独家] Season On Train 冬夏雨晴:那就是我,顏色不一樣的煙火。Up close with James Woo: a ride down memory lane!

[特约 Contributor James Woo 英译 Translator 刘大人 摄影 Photographer James Woo 部分照片官方提供/Images by SeasonOnTrain]

鋼琴別戀
Piano and organ: to change or not to change?

有人說,學音樂的孩子不會變壞。
大概爸媽都害怕我們四個孩子變壞,於是要我們從小就開始學音樂。

小時候的家,客廳裡有兩架琴,一架鋼琴和一架電子琴並排在一起相濡以沫。也不曉得爸媽哪來的靈感,讓我兩個姐姐和弟弟都去學鋼琴,偏偏唯獨我就被安排去學電子琴,於是鋼琴就與我插肩而過。

還我沒接觸電子琴前,家裡練琴最勤的就只有二姐,常在家聽她彈優美的古典樂、彈奏 Richard Clayderman 的鋼琴曲。也曾經幻想過有那麼一天可以坐在鋼琴前注視著眼前的琴譜,雙手落在琴鍵上行雲流水般來去自如,那真的太帥了!直到那一天像是接到通知,老爸說要我去學琴,我興奮莫名想說終於可以像姐姐那樣隨手拈來就是貝多芬、莫札特、巴哈的偉大樂章!

當時年紀小,又怎會分辨電子琴與鋼琴的區別?看來還不是一樣的黑白琴鍵,「稍微」不同的是電子琴就像是把鋼琴硬生生剖成兩半上下分兩排,腳下的踏板由鋼琴原有的三個變成超多個“而已”。滿心以為是一樣的東西,由第一首的《Mary’s Little Lamb》開始。然而學著學著漸漸發現,原來那些「稍微」與「而已」完全不是這麼一回事,鋼琴和電子琴究竟是兩個世界。

Loving music and enjoying it is something that runs in every human being’s blood but learning it is something different altogether. While my parents may hope that enrolling the 4 of us in a music program will make us a better student, it never occurred to me that I would embark on this lifelong journey, albeit via a detour.

When I was young, my heart would fill with envy whenever I heard the tunes of great composers such as Beethoven, Mozart and Bach filled the air, and secretly wished that I could one day emulate my elder sister and play piano at will. My dream actually came true, but in an unexpected way, when I was enrolled for the organ instead of the piano. At first glance, the 2 instruments looked the same, with both keyboards consist of seven white keys, a double set of black keys and a triple set of black keys per octave; but the organ came with a split keyboard, some cool button controls and more pedals. I thought I had the better deal but little did I realised that the similarities end there and my dream musical voyage was about to take a different turn.

電子琴本身沒錯,錯的只是我。
每個星期前去上課,我幾乎都不練習,可想而知挨罵是每星期都得要發生的。仍然記得每個星期那恐怖的星期一、行屍走肉狗血淋頭的星期一,有時不禁問蒼天為何原來喜歡的事變成了痛恨的事?直到有一天,老師給我學了第一首流行曲,我怎會忘了那首譚詠麟的《愛的逃兵》?開始接觸了流行音樂,那種感覺像是久違的甘露,似乎開始找回了當初那種感覺。

有一次心血來潮坐在鋼琴前翻閱姐姐的舊琴譜,看見一首豆芽沒太複雜的樂曲便試著去彈。天曉得原來這就是貝多芬的名曲《Für Elise》(給愛麗絲),這首樂章分成三個部份,最簡單的第一部份我花了好久好久的時間才漸漸熟練,接下來練習比較輕快卻更難的第二部份,再來更加撕心裂肺的第三部份…….

恐怖的星期一 Monday blues (again)

I’m no stranger to Monday blues as the dreaded organ lessons began to take its toll on me. Every practise session felt like an eternity and I was about to call it quits until I was given《Soldier of Love》by Alan Tam, my first Cantopop song that rekindled my passion for music. But the real turning point arrived unexpectedly as I was flipping the piano scores of《Für Elise》and for some unknown reasons, my fingers were actually playing freely on the piano keys, although it took me ages just to master a third of the song.

你無法想像接下來的那幾個月,每次掀起琴蓋,我心裡想的、手裏彈的、眼睛看的全都是要獻給愛麗絲的。家人、左鄰右舍也都聽到我練琴都怕了,就是自己都會懷疑自己居然有這樣的能耐去學完整首曲。結果還真的讓我做到了,盡管是彈得勉勉強強。在初中結束後,用了畢生的勇氣告訴老爸說:我不想學電子琴了。

結果我成了一個負心漢,狠狠地拋棄電子琴,移情別戀于鋼琴。
後來彈琴,漸漸不看譜,耳朵只要熟悉了旋律就能簡單彈奏出來,可是慢慢地也開始忘了怎麼看譜。

For the foreseeable few months, my mind and heart were set on mastering 《Für Elise》, much to the surprise and “annoyance” of my family and neighbours. While my rendition of the Beethoven’s classic was far from perfect, my achievement has given me the conviction and courage to finally admit my secret affection for the piano, which also spelt the end of my on-off relationship with the organ. It was a tough decision but one I’ve never looked back. Before long, I could play any decent tunes by hearing and sight reading simply became a thing in the past.

創作是一條不歸路
The road less travelled: to go or not to go?

高中有一陣子吹起一股很強的創作風,我們聽的歌基本上都被港台歌曲淹沒,而當時光良品冠的出現讓我們驕傲地說我們也有自己的音樂。那時身邊有位同學小白很愛寫歌詞,滿腦子都是許常德、姚謙、林秋離的詞,卡帶裡歌詞簿哪首歌誰的詞他閉上眼睛也能說出來,隨隨便便就能拋出一兩句厲害的歌詞嚇唬人。

小白寫得一手好字,自己也創作歌詞。有次他把一些作品硬是塞給我要我譜上曲。也不知他哪來的靈感認為我就會作曲,更好笑的是我也不知自己哪來的天真,居然就坐在鋼琴前看著他一字一句的歌詞,慢慢一個字一個音符試著彈唱出來,慢慢拼湊就這樣譜好了曲完成了我的第一首曲。接著第二首、第三首看著他的歌詞停不了手繼續寫下去,才發現原來我也會寫歌,才發現小白這傢伙他居然就是我的作曲啟蒙!

他應該很討厭也很後悔找我為他的詞譜曲,因為我總是擅自修改他的字,嚴重的甚至會整段抽掉再把次序顛倒,就是為了配合我的曲。可是沒了他的詞作為基礎,我的曲也活不下去。後來學校的音樂學會舉辦一場創作歌曲發表會,我們一秒也沒遲疑就浩浩蕩蕩跑去參加了。

記得那時發表會的顧問老師兼華文老師對我們的歌詞頗有意見,要我們稍作修改,我們當場不忿說氣話:若要改的話我們就不參加了!這麼多年過去,我倒是認同老師的苦口婆心,歌詞就是要標新立異起碼也不要有語病啊!

Music composition was the “in thing” during our college days, and I was particularly impressed with Xiaobai’s talent of putting words together that vaguely resembled some of the famous lines from great Taiwanese lyricists such as Adam Hsu, Yiu Him and Eric Lin. I couldn’t forget that fateful day when Xiaobai insisted that I put music onto his verse and we managed to put two and two together to come up with our first song. The second and third pieces soon followed, which led me to realise I may be a music composer in the making after all. However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing as I have the tendency to mince and “modify” his words but that’s what made us a complete package, so much so that we grew in confidence and actually sent our works for the annual graduation song audition for a chance of glory. We were adamant and persistent with our works that not even a constructive (on hindsight) suggestion by our Chinese teacher cum mentor was heeded.

即將要發表的作品寫出來了,是一首情歌,取名為《過於思念》,那發表會上該找誰來演繹我們的歌?我看著他,他也看著我,兩個大男生互望都心照不宣,「思念」這種好彆扭的東西還是讓女生來表達好一些吧。當時班上就恰恰好有一把好聲音,屬於一位女同學小詩。結果小詩唱我們的歌,唱得快要哭死。哭死並不是因為對歌曲中的感動有所感觸,而是我們錯誤把 key 定得高,讓她有點承受不住。

寫歌寫歌每天都自彈自唱自娛自樂,有這麼一天可以登上舞台發表我們的歌,自然一步也不能鬆懈。每天聽她練習,每天彈著琴為她伴奏,學校禮堂舞台上的那台鋼琴快要變成我的第二情人。那晚的發表會終於到來也終於圓滿落幕,我們的歌在全場的迴響裡還算蠻大的一首。當時候就在想,如果有那麼一天,一定要把這首歌好好編曲並且製作出來。

發表會過去很快迎來畢業,以往的畢業典禮都會以時下的流行歌作為畢業歌,那時候張學友的《祝福》、吳奇隆的《祝你一路順風》都是畢業歌單內必有的歌。大概也因為創作風的影響,從那幾年開始每年的畢業歌都交由畢業學生自行創作,從眾多投稿作品中挑選,於是我和小白又自告奮勇投稿參加寫了一首《好好珍重》。還是要小詩為我們演唱,彷彿我們就是默認的三劍客,沒了誰也不能成事。然而《好好珍重》遺憾沒能和 1997 年的畢業生說聲珍重,據說落選的原因是老師們都覺得這首歌旋律太憂傷。

Our first song was a sentimental piece that was missing something, and we came to the conclusion that we were lacking the right vocal. By coincidence, our classmate Xiaoshi proved to be the missing link, even though our audition did not go according to plan as we unknowingly set the pitch too high for her comfort. Nevertheless, our entry received one of the loudest ovation from the school crowd.

While Mandarin pop hits such as Jacky Cheung’s《Blessing》or Nicky Wu’s《Bon Voyage》have long been the preferred graduation theme songs, our convocation was looking at original compositions from aspiring talents. Needless to say, our power trio decided to try our luck with《Farewell》, only to be disappointed again, this time for the sorrow melody which didn’t go down well with the teachers’ panel.

畢業後,大家各奔東西,我們一起走的創作路也就告一段落。
未來的路該如何選擇?我鼓起莫大的勇氣和向來都嚴肅的父親說:我想要唸音樂。從小到大,我很少提出要求說我要什麼,往往大部份的決定都已被安排好。毫無意外,如同大部份的父母都會拋出那一句:唸音樂哪會有什麼出路?在巨大的冰山前我並沒有堅持,於是選修了大概在任何年代都需要的電腦系。

Upon graduation, everyone went their separate ways in pursuit of their dreams and I was no different. Music was my only choice but I was ultimately persuaded to look elsewhere and ended up in the ever-popular computer engineering courses.

迷失的音樂路
The detour: destination in sight or heading nowhere? 

對音樂的嚮往就這樣一直放在心中,擱著。

偶爾聽了一些音樂後心血來潮想說也寫首類似的,好比如有個夜晚聽了 Jim Brickman《Starbright》我就一氣呵成寫了《聽昨夜星光》。這時小白也已遠赴他鄉走他要走的音樂路,再也沒有人替我寫詞。所以往後所寫下的旋律就只有曲,並沒有詞,我恨我自己為何只會胡亂改詞而無法作詞。

後來我也遠赴國外深造,你可以想像一個生性孤僻、英語又不靈光的小孩獨自走到一個文化、語言完全陌生的國度,整個生活彷彿只有音樂才是唯一的語言。仍記得剛到步所住下的那棟臨時宿舍,樓下地下室房間裡的黑色三角鋼琴,每天下午我都走進去彈奏著自己的歌。有次彈奏完畢,門外一位老外走進來給我拍掌鼓勵,我紅著臉心生感激。

每每經過大學裡的音樂學院,我總是假扮音樂系的學生偷偷走進去,試圖找間沒人的琴房(尤其是三角鋼琴)自娛自樂。有時剛好有學生打開門走進來看見我一臉錯愕,我還故意舉起手看手錶假裝喃喃自語:噢!原來已經過了時間!也有的時候,拖著女朋友的手一起假扮音樂系學生走進琴房,彈自己的作品給她聽。

My mind may be writing computer algorithms but my heart was still penning tunes whenever inspiration strikes. 《Yestanight》was composed soon after a song by Jim Brickman’s《Starbright》struck a chord within, but there was no lyrics as Xiaobai was sorely missed. How I wished I could also pen my thoughts at will but the best I could muster was to “modify” or copyedit the works of others. Soon I was also pursuing my degree overseas, but the musician within has never quite left me. On many occasions, I was attracted by the sound of the piano from the music room in the basement of my hostel, and I couldn’t help but sneak in just to quell my music hunger, often uninvited, mostly alone and sometimes with my girlfriend just so that we could pretend to be students from the music school having our regular practice.

也在那個部落格還沒流行起來的年代,我開始架設了自己的網站,知識從零開始慢慢摸索做出自己的部落格。有事沒事就是無病也呻吟寫一些生活上無關痛癢的點點滴滴。也不曉得為什麼,從那時候開始我再也沒有寫過歌,大學畢業回國後走進社會也就更加不必說了。唸的是電腦工程,大家腦海中可能浮現這樣的刻板印象:瘦瘦高高、戴著黑框眼鏡、有著盧廣仲蘑菇髮型,身穿格子衣服的宅男,這個人毫無意外就是個電腦工程師吧。開始的幾年工作都在渾渾噩噩中摸索,我想我太習慣在還沒學會游泳就被扔進大海自己得想要找辦法生存下來的那種模式。不管是在工作中,還是完成自己想做的事。

後來陰差陽錯下,我竟當了老師,學院裡的講師!
十多年一晃就過去,2013 年適逢我的母校百年校慶,籌委需要一首百年校慶主題曲,籌委當中有位剛好是我的中學同學小亮,她居然還記得我曾經創作,所以邀請我投稿。我半開玩笑開出條件說:如果你還能連絡上小白讓他來寫詞的話,那我就作曲吧。怎料她還真的連絡上了小白,更讓我吃驚的是小白這傢伙竟然也沒多想就點頭答應了。

又怎會想到相隔了十五年,我們還會再次攜手合作?

作曲 Composer: 詹姆斯 James Woo (yours truly)

Even before the internet and blogging started to gain widespread popularity, I had already set up my personal blog (albeit trial and error) just to pen and share my thoughts as the days of composing seemed so distant. My mind was filled with “1”s and “0”s, lines of computer code and nothing else. Eventually, I became a lecturer and life kinda became mundane, day after day. It was pretty much reminiscent of the “Monday blues” of yesteryears that I could hardly look at myself in the mirror…

Time flies and over a decade on, and the centennial celebration of our high school in 2013 finally brought us back for an unlikely reunion. Incidentally, our school was looking to for a theme song to commemorate the occasion and I was asked to send in my composition. However, I insist on having Xiao Bai on board or it’s no go. To my surprise and delight, Xiaobai agreed and I was finally reunited with my partner-in-crime (I mean composition) 15 years on!

第一首完整製作的歌百年校慶主題曲《我們的歌》
《Our Song》, the title says it all…

歌詞很快就出來了,我還是像以往那麼討人厭,把他的歌詞隨意更改,把原來的副歌換成了前奏,再另外寫了副歌的歌詞,拼湊拼湊於是便有了那首芙蓉中華中小學百年校慶主題曲《我們的歌》。寫歌的速度和從前一樣,詞曲很快搞定,再來就進入我未知的世界了。

在還未完全辭去工作當老師前,因為工作牽涉到廣告歌的關係,認識了音樂製作人劉永輝,把這首歌交到他的手上進行編曲。從前就算發表作品也不過是一台鋼琴和一把女聲,編曲對我來說是個全新的世界,現在是要為詞曲量身定制一套衣服,從前奏到尾聲,每一個聲音的小細節得要設計,該用什麼樂器表達怎樣的感覺等等。第一次聽永輝做好的編曲,我的眼淚在眼眶裡打轉,原來赤裸裸的詞曲穿上了量身定制的華服是長這個樣子!

永輝做好編曲的部份,接下來這首歌要進入哪一個階段?之後又會是怎樣的世界?我更模糊得一塌糊塗。那至少…… 還需要一把聲音把這首歌唱出來吧?這時候我想起了小詩,也想起了當年一起玩音樂的朋友們,他們都去了哪裡呢?故事的發展並不如偶像劇般的劇情,當年酷愛音樂的朋友都在你最需要的時刻走出來成全你。

編曲与制作人 Arrangement & Producer: 劉永輝 Andrew Low

Not much has changed, as the lyrics were written almost effortlessly by Xiaobai, while I was still making myself a “nuisance” even after all these years. However, things were much more “professional” as we made the step up into the recording studio. I got acquainted with Andrew, a music producer in my early days of producing commercial jingles for corporate clients. It was then that we missed the voice of Xiaoshi, and my eyes were welled with tears as we witnessed the completion of the demo in no time at all

正苦惱著該找誰來唱時,故事雖不如偶像劇,卻猶如童話故事般進行,有個小女生在這個關鍵時刻走進了我的音樂世界。她是我中學的學妹胡雪雯,說是學妹其實是讓我好下台,不如這麼說吧,當年如果我的高中三連續留級十五次的話,我就會成為她的同班同學了。

經朋友的輾轉介紹,我認識了這位第一次見面就幾乎迷路的路痴小朋友。雪雯雖然年紀輕輕,其實已有多年的歌唱比賽與駐唱經驗。第一次聽她的聲音是朋友傳來她在駐唱時的錄音,環境嘈雜也不怎麼聽得清楚她的聲音,只是隱隱約約間這把女聲有種很獨特的溫柔。好不容易敲定了歌唱人選,接下來要做的事是把雪雯帶進錄音室錄唱。這是她的第一次錄音,也是我的人生第一次走進錄音室見識別人錄音。錄音室長什麼樣子從前只有在電視上的 MV 看過,一面厚厚的玻璃分隔兩間烏漆麻黑的小房,一邊一支麥克風,而另一邊控制台上五顏六色許許多多讓人看得眼花撩亂的按鈕。後來才發現電視上的 MV 都太夢幻,讓人天真以為歌手只要在錄音室裡唱一唱,錄音師在鍵盤上按一按、推一推,一首歌就這樣輕輕鬆鬆做好了!

哼唱 Vocalist: 胡雪雯 Lorraine Oh

Our minds were frantically scrambling for a vocal replacement, and like any fairytale drama, along came Lorraine to the rescue. Incidentally, she was our distant junior from high school, but her stage experience actually belied her tender age. Her voice was so gentle and soothing that we knew she was the one! The recording session was a first for most of us and it looked like chicken feat from the music videos (MV) we saw on screen, with just a few press of the buttons and singing into the mic. Boy how wrong we were!

天啊!事實上那得要來來回回錄唱多少次?
錄音室按每小時計算,若沒達到理想的效果心很痛。
好不容易錄音完畢後還得要花上多少時間來回聆聽調整?

透過小白的介紹,認識了錄音師兼混音師小楊,他簡直是我的救命恩人,有了他的指導,我才了解原來錄音並非易事;有了他的指引,才讓雪雯用不同的層次方式來詮釋歌曲;也因為有了他的調整與混音,讓整首歌像是活了過來。我一直以為,寫一首歌很簡單,過了這麼多年後,才知道把歌寫好才只是開始,開始著手製作才是煎熬的重頭戲。

從焦頭爛額毫無頭緒到接二連三遇上好幾位貴人的協助,《我們的歌》好不容易做出來了,交給母校聽候發落。我一向都沒什麼比賽的運氣,從前參加創作比賽如是、當年徵選畢業歌也是,只是這次的比賽時段似乎拉得太長,交稿後的整整一年裡來來回回被擱置後再考慮、考慮後再被擱置,最終我才接到通知說我的歌正式被選為百年校慶主題曲。

錄音師兼混音師 Sound Engineer: 梁俊陽 Izzy Leong

We probably got more than we have bargained for from our first proper recording session, given that the rental was calculated by the hour. Anxiety started to creep in as we strived for perfection, until another unlikely hero in the form of Izzy, a sound engineer cum mixer who after a few attempts managed to put our progress back on track. Thanks to all the help we could get along the way, 《Our Song》was finally completed and made its way to be the theme song of choice!

換個角度想想,好事多磨吧。
接下來學校要求錄製合唱版本,找來了本地資深音樂人周金亮老師製作。

我想這是一種緣份。在我的中學時期早已聽過老師的大名以及他的組合「另類音樂人」,只是從來也沒有想過會有這麼一天會見到本尊,更加沒想到是為了我寫的歌。第一次見老師在他的錄音室,見面之前我有點膽怯,我即將要見的是在本地樂壇已走了超過三十多年的音樂大師,身兼唱片製作人、詞曲創作人、歌手、樂手、編曲人多重身份的重量級人物,後來老師毫無架子的親切讓我發現我的擔憂是多餘的。

《我們的歌》先有了獨唱版,再有了合唱版,折騰了整整一年多後,終於走出了錄音室與大家見面。那種嘗盡辛酸後的心情就如同裡頭歌詞的第一句「走過了人生上半場 才明白什麼是艱難」,對於創作者最大的感謝莫過於在校學生、師長們、校友們聽了後淚在眼眶裡打轉說:好聽;唸小學三年級的外甥向我投訴當他驕傲地告訴他朋友說這歌是他的舅舅我寫的時候,朋友們都不相信他的話讓他一臉委屈,我當場感動得不知道該如何安慰這小傢伙。

To ensure only the best for《Our Song》, we enlisted the help of seasoned and well-known local music producer Chow Kam Leong for the group vocal recording. Chow was pretty much larger than life even during our secondary school days, and it never crossed my mind that I could actually collaborate with him one day. I was very much overawed by the occasion during our first encounter but he proved to be very friendly, approachable and ever ready to dispense any advice for aspiring musicians like us. I couldn’t be more grateful that the entire process from start to finish was accomplished without any major hiccups, and I really drew comfort at seeing the tears of joy when the song was sung during the centennial celebration. Even my nephew in primary school couldn’t hide his pride at his uncle’s achievement, except that none of his friends really took him seriously. Poor boy, I was really clueless as to how I could soothe his hurt feelings…

記憶中往返的列車 – 冬夏雨晴
Season On Train: a ride down memory lane

故事發展到這裡,按照走勢那應該要趁熱打鐵再接再厲做第二首歌,然而我卻停下了腳步,當起了周金亮老師身邊的小小助理,幫忙處理歌手的大小事,也因此更加了解做音樂的心酸,尤其是在本地。2015 年當我的音樂夢再次燃燒,再找回永輝想要以付費的方式請他製作我的歌,從編曲到錄音,從剪接到合音編寫,從混音到母帶整個過程,一個完整的付費項目。

那次的久別重逢,噓寒問暖後我開始提出了要求,讓我意想不到的是,永輝並沒直接回答,而是從現實的角度「盤問」我:為何你想做這樣的事?

奇怪了,音樂人不該都是感性的?怎會問起我這麼赤裸裸的問題?(後來想想,音樂人也是要吃飯的嘛)被永輝這麼一問,像是一棒子往大腦重重打了一記,我愣在一旁竟然不知如何對應,像是肚子餓了自然就想要吃飯,誰會去想過為何我們需要吃飯?

Under normal circumstances, many would look to continue the momentum and go on with their second recording soon after the first, but instead, I chose to carry the bags of Chow and learn the tools of the trade from the master. However, the fire within me still burns bright and after some inner reflection and soul searching, I re-approached Andrew to work on my childhood dream on a commercial basis. Instead of responding to my suggestion, Andrew actually questioned my commitment and objectives which came as a huge surprise and set me thinking all over again. Why was I doing all these?

我開始認真思考,一切的源頭來自哪裡?
如果寫歌是上天賜給我的天賦,我該盡我的責任不讓美好音樂埋沒,讓她以最完整的面貌綻放。這是我沒當場告訴永輝的事,我怕他說我太臭屁,而我還真的是很臭屁!

「歌曲製作好了後,你接下來的打算是?」
這是第二道我也不曾想過的問題。如同吃飽飯了,你會想幹嘛?我想說就留著吧,留著這份作品當作一個回憶,在若干年後,至少還有一些東西可以拿來和孩子溝通:爸爸哦,年輕時也曾經有些作品……

可以理解永輝這些問題的用意,當然並不是為了打擊我,而是讓我更清楚認清自己想要什麼,才可以更堅定的腳步走下去。回頭想想那幾年,在我繁忙的工作之餘,仍然在做一些與音樂似乎有關卻又不盡然的事情。比如帶歌手出席活動、接洽歌手活動、從旁協助安排處理善後等等的助理工作。奔奔波波忙忙碌碌中有時深夜凌晨獨自開車回家,不禁會問自己:我到底是怎麼了?

My thoughts were immediately set to motion, as I explored my inner self deep down on what music really means to me. Was I fulfilling an inner call to live my childhood dream, to showcase my hidden talent to make the world a better place, or simply sharing some noteworthy works just so that my offsprings have something to be proud of? In hindsight, life was really busy without many purposes and all I had to show was a working calendar jam-packed with activities just so that I could put some bread on the table. Do I even have a life at all, let alone living it?

我想我應該是在等一個機會吧。就在這個時間點,永輝說:不如我們來合作吧?
我們談了許多有關音樂的事。如今音樂唱片的窘境也並非是這一兩年的事,當音樂人還是以十年如一日一貫的方式發表歌曲以不成文的遊戲潛規則行走,消費者在盜版猖狂歌曲在網上隨手拈來中認定音樂就該是免費的狀況下,我們可否走一個反傳統的路線,以我本身多年在網路上的行銷專業與知識,與永輝在音樂上的專業結合,用不一樣的方式讓音樂回歸它應有的本質與尊嚴,我們或許可以走出一條不一樣的路?於是,從原來只是找他製作,意外地我們竟然變成了合作!這絕對是一場意外,一場意想之外。

I guess after all that dialogue with my inner self, I was really waiting for that big break that I could justify all my actions and sacrifices. I owed it to myself to succeed and I was willing to give it a final shot. It was a case of great minds think alike when Andrew returned and gave me the confidence booster I was looking for: Let’s do it! After countless hours of exchanges and doing our groundwork, we were finally ready to challenge the norm and embark on this journey less travelled. What an amazing turnaround that came right out of the blue, from enquiry to delivery, now we are really talking!

永輝建議我主導與策劃整個項目,主題概念與方向在雙方的討論必須達成共識才開始執行。網路上的事宜比如網站架設、設計、文案、部落格,社交媒體的宣傳等都由我負責,而音樂上的所有事宜(除了曲的部份),編曲、錄音、調音、剪接、和音、混音等等全交由永輝來主導。

我把這十多年來的作品都找出來稍作整理,以鋼琴獨奏的方式紀錄,丟到雲端再一併分享給永輝,讓他以音樂製作人的角度從中鑑定與挑選。雖然將近二十年,真正寫出來的而我覺得可以過關的其實也沒幾首。從我呈交的七首曲中,永輝挑了其中兩首並認為曲風很適合往「唯美」與「感性」的概念去做,他選的不偏不倚就是我也想要做的第一首作品《聽昨夜星光》(https://youtu.be/G14bnzjWutY)。

It was like another match made in heaven, as our general consensus saw us taking up our respective roles and responsibilities, with Andrew focusing on the production (apart from music composition which I still do best) while I undertook the marketing communications and external liaison. We looked at all our pool of finished products and work-in-progress over the past two decades before we narrowed down our selection from hundreds to seven and to the final two. To my extreme delight (but no surprise this time), my maiden composition《Yestanight》made the final cut!

一切就是這麼剛好!

視覺上唯美插畫結合簡單動畫,音樂路線走向抒情療癒,雪雯溫柔穿透心坎的哼唱,於是「冬夏雨晴 season on train」 就這樣誕生了(http://seasonontrain.com)。看似簡單,其實又是一段艱鉅的旅程!

我不會唱歌,還有雪雯小詩;我不會音樂製作,還有永輝;我不會寫詞,還有小白;我不會畫畫,還有大白俊陽。說到底,我不會的事也實在太多。做音樂一點也不簡單,往往讓人卻步的莫過於需要無止盡的預算來進行每項看似簡單卻又艱辛的工作。除了前面所說的,從作曲、文案、故事、企劃、統籌、動畫製作、後期製作與處理、平面設計、行銷、網絡宣傳、網站架設、網路社交媒體管理、甚至「柴可夫」司機等等,我都必須要自己來了。

I was blessed with a very good team that complement my strengths and more than made up for my weaknesses. I couldn’t imagine my team without Lorraine or Xiaoshi (vocal), Andrew (production), Xiaobai (lyrics), Dabai and Junyang (graphics and illustration). Everything from conception to post-production was achieved through teamwork, and I was wearing multiple hats, from composing, storyboarding, planning, coordinating to post-production, animation, design, marketing, publicity, creating our website to even chauffeuring people and stuff around, nothing unfazed the “Superman” in me by now!

一首歌的長度普遍上不過就四、五分鐘,就是把詞曲創作的時間省略掉,從編曲開始必須得經過許多程序直到歌曲完整推出為止,這些過程所需的時間最起碼也要一、兩個月。如果你還想做得盡善盡美,那絕對可以是永無止盡的,不管是在時間上還是資金上。因為永遠都不會有最好,永遠都還可以有更好、只是那個永遠我承擔不起。

尤其在動畫製作上這一塊,我從來就沒有任何經驗。為了要完成歌曲的 MV,基本上我不能有任何理由說我做不到。不會嘛不就去學?不懂嘛不就去問?也因為我太習慣被扔到大海去,就是雙腳被綑綁我也要用盡方法用盡力氣掙脫讓自己游到岸上。那些製作 MV 來回播放來回細看仔細調整每個動畫細節的無數夜晚,現在想起來也覺得驚心動魄。看著歌曲終於上架到每個音樂平台上,聽著自己的歌看著自己的MV,重溫點點滴滴的每一秒,淚不爭氣地狂流。

A typical song probably last 4 to 5 minutes, but the work behind the scenes from start to finish would easily take a month or two for our listening pleasure. Add in the amount of resources that went into the strive for perfection, we could easily be looking at “eternity”!

It’s almost imperative that a good song would come with an equally decent music video for widespread promotion, but given our technical and budget constraints, I decided to put my limitations to the test yet again and produce my own motion graphics. Having come this far, “impossible is already nothing” and through sheer grit and determination, no amount of joy and tears could hide my satisfaction when the final product was shown to the whole wide world!

「冬夏雨晴」從 2015 年成軍走到了今天,一年一首與永輝的合作一共完成了兩首半。在第二首歌《再見不是陌生人》https://youtu.be/pFt9wV9IpJE)的推出後,僥倖被某位電視劇導演看見我們的歌,想要將這首歌作為他們即將開拍的電視劇《逆光成長》當主題曲。這是我從第一天開始寫歌到那天收到導演邀約為止的二十年來都未曾想過的事,它居然就發生了!

Since 2015, Season On Train has seen our debut single and subsequent release《So far, so close》gained widespread popularity, culminating to the latter being selected as the theme song for 8TV’s latest drama《Growth Behind The Sun》. We couldn’t be more proud and really felt that all that we have put in (and given up) along the way was worthwhile. Two decades it may have took us to come this far, but it’s still better late than never!

《再見不是陌生人》其實就是原來的《好好珍重》,也就是我在中學投稿的畢業歌。在我上台為小詩伴奏的那一刻,怎會料到二十年後我會再拿出來製作,拿掉了歌詞成了《再見不是陌生人》?又怎會想到這首歌竟被相中選為電視劇主題曲,加入了新的歌詞而成了《逆光》

For those of you who only recently came into the picture,《So far, so close》was actually derived from our secondary school’s graduation song entry that didn’t make the cut. Who could have imagined that a song that was nearly forgotten could one day make its way to the top, with a stroke of good fortune and new lyrics breathing life to the original work?

我的音樂路從來也不平坦,每一步都走得艱辛。有時以為前方已無去路,可是煙霧散去後我發現總有道光指引我讓我再繼續前進;我的音樂夢也沒有十分勵志,往往發生太多狀況產生許多負面情緒左右我讓我痛苦萬分,可是我仍然繼續咬緊牙根把問題一一克服,完成我想要做的夢。

那就是我,顏色不一樣的煙火。

Indeed, life has its ups and downs, and our journey was never plain sailing. Like sunshine after the rain, I was glad we persevere and stay true to our vision, and I couldn’t express my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude towards everyone who has helped us in one way or another.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and that’s just me! Thank you for joining me on this journey down memory lane!

詹姆斯 James Woo
七年級天蠍座老男人 | A Scorpio in his forties

非設計師跑去搞網站 | Computer-engineer turned web programmer
非音樂人跑去搞音樂 | Amateur musician turned music composer
非行銷人跑去搞行銷 | Lecturer turned marketeer

非插畫師跑去搞插畫 | Non-cartoonist turned illustrator
非動畫師跑去搞動畫 | Complete novice turned animation producer
非得要搞死自己不可 | James of all-trade, master of none LOL!
https://fb.me/jameswoo

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