You know, when you have like 20 people that like your music should you really be keeping ideas secret?
I’ve been in a writing funk lately. That’s funk as in blocked, lazy, and dissatisfied So I uploaded something I am satisfied with to my soundcloud, a tune called Exquisite. You could argue that it has elements of dub step in it but no way is it dub step. But then again considering dub step is like splicing out the details out of songs of a couple other genres you could simply say I made a song that was inspired by stuff. Like that intro? Totally inspired by FF7.
But back to the topic, basically work has been killing me lately. Not a lot if any overtime but every minute of the day is at 90 mph it seems like. Top that off with a family project I need to be working on and at attempt at relaxing every once and a while and I’ve been fairly unproductive.
Hopefully soon I am going to start posting some free deciBel tracks to download (none off the sampler, just go buy it!) and then start a Youtube channel that I haven’t put any thought into other than playing some of my acoustic guitar originals that will never make it to a CD.
Anyway, that’s my update. Later!
This is a hard track to write about because while the Pixies are wonderful, this cover has a lot of personal meaning to me. I’ve been pretty light hearted in these posts so far but I can’t get away from getting a little down this time because this cover embodies all the pain and strife from leaving Axis to starting deciBel. While I don’t do anything major for any single reason, bitterness was definitely part of what brought Trent and I together for deciBel. Or at least for me it was. That was probably also part of why we grew apart.
This was originally a cover I started for Axis. I think we played it live maybe once as Axis. As deciBel we closed every show with it. When I left Axis, I took everything I did that wasn’t finished with me and stopped talking to Steven and Britney. That’s also the reason why you’re only now hearing all these tracks 5 years later. Originally Steve did a bunch of drum work on it and came up with the idea for the two note piano emulating the female singer. I was so angry I literally removed everything he did and made my own version of it. I later came up with the guitar and piano solo bits. Trent talked me into keeping one drum back track which is barely in the song. Its hard for me to write about. There were so many nights at Extinction that Steve, Dylan, and I drunkenly welcomed the dawn with the original of this song.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t highlight the amount of work Trent put into his vocals. There are a ton of back tracks that Frank Black did and just a lot of random noise that had to be an accident due to the recording method. Trent did all of it. Things I didn’t even know were there. I’m a bit nervous writing about Trent truth be told. We tend to remember things entirely different and he’s never particularly happy with my interpretation of him so hopefully I won’t get any hate mail out of all this as the next couple weeks will all be deciBel tracks. But truth be told I may never be done talking about my time with Axis.
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.