Its a little sad in that I think this is all the Axis demos I have so we’ll be moving on deciBel after this.
In the past I would have argued that this tune was the pinnacle of our writing back in the day. Looking back I would actually argue that was Absent (off of Death and Rebirth) but this one would definitely hit in second. Its also the most finished of everything I’ve uploaded. No lyrics were ever written to it and some of the guitars could use some recording and everything needs EQ’ing but that’s how demos go.
This was one of those tunes that Steve wrote and then Trent remixed and then I remixed. Most of Steven’s original synths made it through the changes though. Trent re-wrote the drums and structured the song. I added all the guitar and a few synths, gave the song a chorus and finished out it out.
In retrospect we probably should have released it as an instrumental but then again I think I was the one who liked the song the best out of the three of us. Anyway, check it out for yourself and download it:
In a way I feel real bad for Steven back in the day. A lot of the time he would write something, ask Trent and I just to add guitar and then we’d remix the whole freakin’ thing and add a ton of our own synths and drums. Granted part of that was because Trent and I had no songs we performed that were entirely our own. But then again that part was also circumstantial. The primary reason Steve had so many songs that only he had written is that he had simply been in the band way longer. Granted Steve did randomly write entire finished songs which drove my guitar elitism up the wall. Working as a group is hard.
So Going Back was essentially once of those done-ish riffs. I took it home, added a bunch of my own drums, did some effects and editing where Steve’s drums were concerned, and added a synth or two. It sounds almost entirely different from the original in my opinion. I think the song was eventually given to Trent to do something with who promptly made an entirely original song that had nothing to do with the other versions.
So way back in the day, Steve and I used to name the songs from the start through the project file name. Eventually that turned to us messing with each other. For some reason or another Steve named this file “I just killed your cat” and from there it went to “dead cats and such” to finally being “katkiller”. Obviously none of these would ever be used for the title. Oh there seems to be a kick labeled “fuck your mom”.
This song started out with Steve making a bunch of beats. I heard it and decided it needed a huge kick and did some EQ’ing and effecting of some of the drums and came up with the guitar. Later on Steve made up the appregiator sequence on the fly matched the bpm by ear. We wrote the break down section together. Never could quite figure out how to finish up the song.
Funny story, a lot of the synth on this track I’m pretty sure is the Astation Steven eventually sold me even though he’s the one using it.
According to the file we were working on this in 2007. You can listen and download it here:
I have a lot of ideas on at last interacting with the world through words and music through this blog. I’m attempting the Penny Arcade Method of an entry or posting new musical content 2-3 times a week. Energy is a big factor in it all and something I typically don’t have much of. The plan is to post one or two demo free to downloads a week to Soundcloud starting with some old deciBel and Axis stuff. Without further ado, lets discuss Flux.
Fluxwas never finished as evidenced by this 2-3 minute version. Flux in an esoteric way is a lot like the history of Axis. Axis has had probably a total of around 15-20 different members over the years. They started out with Jason and Steven, who probably wrote at least the basis for at least half the initial album Death and Rebirth. Jason had left the band before I joined. And the female singers of the band usually consisted of whoever was in the band’s significant other with the one exception that I know of, Layla. I came on as a guitar player around the beginning of 2005 and stayed in the band until around summer of 2008.
My first big task in the band was improving the incredibly simple guitar parts. Some people might think I’m condescending today (I’ve never understood the criticism myself) but back then I was super critical of guitar players. Andy was the other guitar player in the band when I started who eventually moved to Vegas. As much as I like Andy I was very happy to become the only live guitarist for the band. With Andy’s departure the band became the family I knew for years and we rocked hard. Trent, James, Steve, Joy, and I. It was a fun lineup and we could move a crowd. Some of my best memories of live gigs with the band were at an old warehouse downtown where we would play off and on all night long with our friends jumping around with us.
Unfortunately, we were all drama queens. Every single gig someone had an issue and refused to play. Sure Pitterspattler, God in a Machine, and Axis may be good friends now but good god the drama of the first meeting. I wasn’t even at the venue when whatever happened but the next thing I know half the band is looking to fight and getting in myspace wars. And really this happened at every gig. A lot of our friends liked us but unfortunately our promoter friends really just liked using Steven for free sound equipment. While this guaranteed us opening up for bands like Thrill Kill Kult and Haujobb this also guaranteed our sets would be promised at 45 minute and reduced to 20 minutes often which always set me off. Eventually it got to be too much and everyone but Steve and his new girlfriend who replaced his ex-wife as singer quit. They’re still at it now but its really a completely different band than it used to be. Just like it was a completely different band when it was Steve and Jason.
Flux has a similar history and like the band remains unfinished. The original version Steve wrote all the instruments to and Trent laid vocals over. Its a pretty good version if you ask me but we never could figure out how to bring energy to it live. Steve wanted a new version and assigned Trent and I to the task which is where a portion of what I’ve uploaded comes from. The problem is I evidently don’t remember the specifics of who did what. I know I did the guitar, bass, and some of the synths because I have the files and use programs the others don’t (or didn’t at the time). I also know I was involved in making the intro to it because you don’t forget being locked in a room with Trent. But Trent claims he never heard the guitar and bass parts which means I did those with Steve possibly? Trent actually has a mostly finished version he did that has almost none of my contributions on it which blew my mind since I didn’t now it existed. At least that’s what I thought until I found the file for it on my hard drive. So to some it up, Trent, Steve, and I all did stuff and this happened somehow in 2007sih. Enjoy.
I’m going to try and use this thing more often. The trick is not writing too much cause I like to write.
I heard back from Steven and Trent on the free tracks so I’ll be uploading those over the next few weeks. I’ll probably upload all the deciBel stuff one week and the Axis stuff the other. I’m also intending on writing a bit to go with each song on its creation, history, credits, and such. Trent and I had actually discussed giving away all the deciBel stuff before but I never got around it and then forgot.
Lately my musical undertakings have really just been exploring Komplete 8 and learning the software I own better. FL Studio takes a lot of crap and if you’re a mostly MIDI/VST based musician then aside from Ableton Live I don’t understand why you’d use anything else. But then again I’ve never understood people who only want one tool for a job. They make wrenches in different sizes for a reason. If you’re not making a score then why use Vegas over Acid?
Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately. Mainly asking myself what makes a song? For a long time I thought the only ingredient was feeling extreme about something. Highly passionate. But that doesn’t make sense. We don’t live life in extremes most of the time. Very few members of the angry, hateful metal bands aren’t goofy wise crackers outside of the stage. And no goth is actually scary to anyone but a stereotype recluse church goer. Hell, Death Cab for Cutie made a career out of non-extreme lyrics. Granted I have no desire to sound like them, its just an example.
Anyway, this week is Carousel and next is DragonCon.
Its been extremely busy for me lately. Haven’t had much time to do anything but work and recover from work. This weekend has been a blessing in that I’ve just gotten to stay home and recuperate. I’ve been awfully reflective lately too. Starting going through old project files. A lot of stuff that was never finished and might never see the light of day. I’ve contacted the other people involved in those tracks to see if they’d care if I put them up on soundcloud as free downloads. Here’s hoping.
Lately I’ve been taking the time to learn a bit more about my software and equipment. Still no expert on any of it but its a start. Also been thinking I need to get back into electric guitar more. I’ve gone classical only too long. And now I have a much better ear for FX too. I just wish guitar were as easy to record as a MIDI track.
I need a site redesign. No idea what I want. Maybe something that’s more me.
So that title is something I did. You can hear it on their latest episode 39, Sexual Nintendo. I believe it is completely unique when compared to any other music I have on the web.
I don’t have a ton of custom musics I’ve done for other people but I have done a few, and gotten paid occasionally. Its always funny though because there is a definite language barrier each and every time that I haven’t quite figured out how to overcome. I mean we get to a good place in the end. But every custom project I have ever done I get a loose set of guidelines and often an example piece of music. I also tend to research it a bit, for instance in podcasts listening to what they used in the past. Its funny too because everyone uses dark music so I always start out with dark music, thinking hey why not? Everyone loves that Carousel intro I did, that’s dark. No one ever wants dark though.
Super Budget Brothers was easy. I asked them some questions, found out they were a fan of a song from a certain Nintendo game and went off to make kind of an electro punk song version of it.
TVGP may have been my music but it was totally their brain child. It was their idea to combine those two tracks and to my dismay both tracks were at the same BPM and key (an absolute devastating discovery for most musicians, 120 BPM at that) so it was really easy to mix.
Carousel I literally as just playing around with a new VST. Truth be told, there is actually a 3 minute or so song with a terrible lead synth over what is now the intro for The Carousel but I’d sooner write a new song for the riff than release that. Its funny how often I remove whatever I started the song with.
The one episode of Tiltcast they used my music for (I think Trent’s computer literally was set on fire or something and they couldn’t find the AllThisIsMeaningLess tracks) Justin and Scott just picked out of a bunch of riffs I let them select from. Listening back I really wish I had EQ’ed them before I sent them.
The Picking up the Pixels songs have two separate origins. The intro song was a rare bird for me in that there’s a logic to its progression. RPG’s span all of gaming time right? So the idea was to start out with chiptune and gradually move into more modern sounds. The middle song I actually wrote for another podcast who the gatekeeper for didn’t want it. I am super, super proud of that track and luckily Boston loved it.
No Quarters was truth be told based on both BMFCast and No Quarters. They have a tendency to use light 70’s funk for a lot of their stuff and they seem to love bad 80’s synth. So I started with the idea of kind of a funk, punk, 80’s synth bit but I finished and didn’t like it. Evidently explosions fix everything.
Now I write all this but I’m not writing about all the songs that were rejected. If you’re an aspiring musician that’s something you have to keep in mind. You’re going to be repeatedly rejected by friend and stranger alike. You just have to keep trying. The hardest part is writing something for a friend because a lot of the time they’ll try and spare your feelings because they’re your friend. Top that off with that even musicians don’t know how to communicate with musicians and it can be really hard to figure out what a person will like. You just have to keep trying. My usual goal is to submit several differing tracks and hopefully coerce some helpful comments out of those rejections. Of course the real hard part is not letting the part of me out thats says, dude I wrote you the perfect piece why don’t you see that? But live and learn. Most musicians need that check anyway. Its not always about you.