Archive for June, 2010

Planning Ahead

June 17, 2010

I recently reminded myself the joys of planning ahead.  Being caught up in the excitement for this year’s event I forgot that NEXT year’s event needs…well…forethought!

– If I want to let people know about next year THIS year then I need to have NEXT year at least started.  Kinda hard to get people excited about coming back when they won’t have an idea what they are coming back to!

– The day this year’s event is done, we have to start working on next year.  So…do you want to start from scratch or already have hit the ground running, tweaking new ideas along the way?

– Promoting our event at similar ones is the best way to spread the word…and they seem to happen at least once a week nowadays.  If your event ends in early September, are you ready to promote next year’s in mid-September?

This is kind of a Seth Godin-like post, but I thought it important to get down.  If you’re planning things out, planning ahead is the only way to survive.

A Nightmarey Thinitiative

June 11, 2010

Nightmare = having cool ideas that never seem to develop beyond that brain-flash, the concept that can be summed up in an image or word or intangible split-second thought but can’t be translated.  That’s what Nightmare = to me.  Nightmare also = the fact that I’m increasingly using symbols and invented words to explain myself.  It’s Nightmarey, I tell you.

I always worried I would become an idea man.  How do you put that on a resume?  “I have neat ideas!”  No, wait…it’s gotta be resume speak: “I spearhead thought initiatives.”  But that’s the problem.  Spearheading.  I’d say I’m…halfy spearheady.  The other half I’m just…thought initiativy.  Thinitiativy.

If ideas were projects, I’d need an office with a team, departments, and STILL have to outsource work.  Everything I want to do I can’t do ’cause you can’t do that much at once.  I previously mentioned how I juggled plays, full-time work, a comic strip, and Camp Feral one summer…that wonderful summer of 2003…but somehow it was easy!  I didn’t make money, I didn’t lose money, and I had all the time in the world.

So…how did it happen?  I certainly didn’t have time management skills.  Are you like me?  Do you muscle through projects?  I swear there’s an easier way if I could just stop for a second and organize it, but my head organizes along the way as I plough through the steps it takes for the idea to become a project and the project to become…whatever it’s meant to become.

Back to the subject!  Ideas.  Ideas are just thought initiatives until they are put on paper, planned out, and that first step is taken.  It’s the first step that stops the nightmare.  And it’s always a small step, I find.  It’s stressful to have something on the drawing board (or, in my case, a few dozen things on the drawing board) but doing something about it makes it more of a dream.  It becomes relaxing.

…what does all this mean?  Do you have ideas??  What’s the first thing you need to do for the idea to become real?  Do it…right now.  You’ll thank me later.  Now…I’m off to do something with my accordion and didjeridoo.

…I never said my ideas were good!

1993…Take…TWO!

June 4, 2010

The following is a blog I wrote in late April that somehow did not get posted!  Obviously it’s a great start for my current projects, so…I’m posting it…fo’ sho’!

Something insane is happening!  It started late last year, when I decided I NEEDED to digitally archive some old tapes.  Specifically three: Brillohead’s album, demo, and an acoustic session documenting the last songs we’d written but (I thought) never recorded.

I archived these the only way I knew how: I took a cassette deck, connected it to my computer, pressed play and recorded through my line in.  The tapes were old.  There was lots of hiss.  Noise reduction made the songs sound like they were drowning.  But it was the best I could do with what I had and, unfortunately, all my old music was recorded in a bizarre transition time: CD burners were not affordable, home computers were not powerful enough, and ‘cassette tapes’ were still a viable option for selling independent music.

From 1993-1996 I was in two bands, and in both cases we used a Fostex 4-Track recorder for our music…a quick explanation: if you think of a tape as a four lane highway, with two stereo tracks going in one direction (Side A) and two going the other (Side B), then a 4-Track takes those lanes and sends them all in one direction, splitting the lanes so you can record on each one individually.  That means four individual instruments, vocals, or whatever can be recorded OVER each other without erasing the other recordings.  Multitracking at it’s most early 90s home-DIY’ness (…did I just say that??)

Fast forward to 2010.  I go over to hang with my buddy Ryan, who was also a member of both bands, and something wonderful has happened.

There it is…the Fostex.  And an old box of cassettes from the early 90s.  Did I mention Ryan is a music engineer?  He has taken those old Brillohead songs, the ones I ripped from a crappy cassette that had been played a hundred times, and imported them to a computer.  He’s mixed the individual tracks, he’s cleaned them up…he’s made it sound fresh and new again!  NO HISS!

The disturbing things is that they sound BETTER than they ever could have even when they were freshly recorded.  They sound clearer then they were intended to be.  We have upset the order of the earth.

…and last night, we took the older stuff, the ANCIENT stuff…and started doing the same to it.

We found the very first tape we recorded, where we were trying to learn how the Fostex worked.  We were playing with pitch (speed up the tape and sing over the recording…when you put the tape back to normal your voice is an octave lower and sounds slow…slow down the tape, opposite effect!)  We were testing how to multitrack (after an obvious attempt to record a song on one track that went horribly wrong).

It’s like EVERYTHING we are doing today starts with that one fucked up attempt to record a song, and all our attempts to record afterwards.   Think back…can you locate that ONE moment?  An act where the way you are today got kick started?

We used to start each recording with the name of the song and the name of the take (perhaps drawing from my earlier dreams of being a movie star).  Our ‘signature’ song, Dem Drugs…we heard one with no takes…then, suddenly, ‘Take Two.’  We found Take Six, and we know the one on the album was Take Seven.  It’s like a whole development phase on tape, listened to for the first time in seventeen years…

…that’s longer than some of my friends have existed!

It’s so strange to think that goofing around in a high school lobby (then called the Snake Pit) and then in a basement somehow, over hurdles and obstacles and detours, has come full circle almost two decades later and is suddenly at the center of my life again.

I was saying to Ryan about the whole thing…did you ever expect that 17 years later we would be sitting in a professional studio, with a Fostex 4-Track, trying to salvage and remix our old songs?  Does anyone EVER expect that their high school band will ACTUALLY get back together?

I guess I’ll keep you posted on what happens as it does!

More Coming Soon!

June 2, 2010

Just a quick blog…blog?  Update?  Snippet? …anyways, just a quick note that I haven’t forgotten about this place.  What with the starting a new internship, biking a lot, working on a summer camp for freaks, and thinking about my own musical endeavours, I haven’t (strangely) had much to talk about.

…I take that back.  I obviously have a lhitsoad of stuff to ramble about, I just haven’t had the time to scrape the barnacles, trim the brambles, weave the whicker…this all sounds so dirty…STOP INTERRUPTING YOURSELF!

All I’m saying is…expect discussions on working for the big guy, new discoveries, getting the word out, herding cats (and badgers, and other fuzzy things), and all the other joys that happen under the pink to start a’ flowin soon!