KCWM, Writing Copyright-free Songs While Streaming, and Writing Them Differently


I stream on Twitch under the name kcwm, which is also the name I credit myself under when posting my songs on Band Camp, Sound Cloud, and other sites. Kcwm is a username I’ve had since somewhere around 1998 when I was a member of the Creed message board, posting mostly in the Chat-O-Rama subforum. Kcwm original started out as Kurt Cobain Was Murdered, which was chosen for trolling purposes, although I’m not sure if trolling was called that back in those early days of the internet.Kurt Cobain’s death had happened four years prior to my adoption of the name. The wound was still fresh for a lot of people and, boy, did I ever draw the ire of people. It was exactly what I wanted because I then retaliated with whatever garbage I could throw.

Prior to adopting kcwm full time as a user name, I was also Starflyer59 and had a reputation for being a good person on that forum. I made the Kurt Cobain Was Murdered name and trolled people to drive home a point of “you have no idea who people are behind the persona you see”. Yeah, I know…I know. That’s not a creative thought, but it’s true nonetheless. Under the kcwm name I was everything that I wasn’t as Starflyer 59. I was rude, insulting, profane, disgusting, and used people’s posts against them. I wasn’t the first nor was I was the best at doing this. Heck, I wasn’t in the best mental space back then anyway.

Eventually, I purposely outed myself via a picture thread. My friends on that forum were appalled. They asked why I did it. I explained. Some accepted, and some did not. Eventually, I adopted the acronymed version of my user name and stayed as kcwm through the years.

Writing Copyright-Free Songs on Stream and Writing Them Differently

There’s a dude I watch on YouTube named Harris Heller. He goes by Alpha Gaming on YouTube. On Spotify, you will find his music under the Streambeats name. He has hundreds of copyright-free songs under different genres like lo-fi and synthwave. The songs are two to two and a half minutes long or so. Streamers, myself included, play the songs in the bed of their streams, especially when playing games like Minecraft, PUBG, and other games where either the music is non-existent, sporadic, or unimpressive. It fills the void and it does it well. However, as a fan of guitar-driven rock music, I noticed that there was a lack of rock songs in his line up. While I’m certainly not the first to do it, I thought, “Man, why not write songs and throw them online for people to use. Why not do this live on stream?”

I admit that I’ve found it hard to find motivation to start working on the next batch of songs for another EP. The idea of having to start programming drums from “scratch” is daunting. I needed motivation I wasn’t pushing myself to find. That’s where this project comes in.

Writing songs, regardless of how good or bad they are, is a pretty private process for me. Traditionally, I’ve started with lyrics, wrote a guitar part, wrote a vocal line while finding lyrics that fit the melody, and then building everything from there. Generally speaking, a second guitar part came next, then the bass, and then I’d program drums.

For this streaming project, I’m working backwards a bit. There is no intention of writing vocals or vocalizations at all. In fact, I’m starting with drums. I wander through the MIDI pattern library I have in Superior Drummer 3, find something, figure out which loop sounds cool, and then I start throwing out guitar parts to see what sticks. Then I add a chorus, a bridge, and choose a fill here and there. I’m cutting the verses and choruses in half most of the time so that I can keep the run times to 2-2.5 minutes. So far, I have seven songs, the last of which came together towards the tail end of the music stream on 10/22/20.

My audience for these streams has been minimal. I’m not a big streamer to begin with and people finding me for the first time aren’t likely going to be musicians looking for a glimpse into how another musician plays, writes, thinks, etc. Even with that in mind, writing in front of a handful of viewers gives me anxiety I haven’t felt since playing live in front of complete strangers.

Even as I talk out why I think something is cool, what excites me about it, why it sounds the way it does, or why the effect I’ve chosen works for the song, I’m wondering if I’m being judged. What if they think I suck? What if they think what I’ve come up with isn’t any good? How does that reflect upon me?  And the list goes on. Yet, I keep pushing through because I haven’t been this excited about any song I’ve written in a LONG time, and yet, there are a couple of these that get stuck up in my head  every day.

My goal is to have a pack of 20 songs by the end of the year. I’m going to take the six songs off of Skylines and the Horizon, strip the vocals from them, and start with those. I have seven I’ve come up with so far, and there’s another that I used for a work project that simply needs to be expanded upon. That leaves me six songs to write between now and December. From then on, writing 4 or 5 a month is the goal. If I can do that, then I’ll have 80 songs by the end of 2021. Can I keep that pace up? I don’t know, but I’m happy to find out. Will any of these songs go on to become Cold the Winter songs? I don’t know.

What I do know is I’m going to put them on Spotify so that they can be used by any and all, for absolutely free, without having to worry about someone coming in and DMCA’ing them.

Am I writing them in the most efficient way? Nah. I should doing loops and then stringing those together, but I don’t get satisfaction out of it. This isn’t a race for me. It’s about working on and crafting something and being able to play it from start to finish. I’d love for someone to hear something and say, “that part is cool” or “how did he do that?”.

Want to join me on stream? You can find me at https://www.twitch.tv/kcwm writing music on Wednesdays for sure and either Saturday or Sunday, depending on whether or not I have D&D that week.

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