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Archive for the 'Editorial' Category

SF Says Goodbye to One of its Greatest Instrumental Rock Bands

On Saturday, August 28th Judgement Day will accompany the legendary Bay Area instrumental rock trio From Monument to Masses for their final show at Great American Music Hall along with Silian Rail. The night is sure to be bittersweet.

Over the course of their 10-year career From Monument to Masses released four epic, politically charged albums on Dik Mak Records, leaving a heavy footprint in the world of post-rock. Their long, slowly-shifting song structures and intricate guitar loops made them a perfect match for intelligent instrumental bands like Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai, but their drum beats also contained elements of hip-hop and drum-and-bass that could get even the most intellectual hipsters to shake their asses on the dance floor.

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Although they were instrumental, From Monument to Masses gave themselves a powerful voice by incorporating audio samples of speeches and lectures into their songs. As a political band in the Bush era, they spoke out strongly against the war in Iraq and for human rights. Their name represents the idea that change in history comes as a result of the actions of the masses, and not the action of the individuals for whom monuments are built.

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From Monument to Masses has had an undeniable influence on many great musicians, including many of my friends. Eric Khun of Silian Rail has always been a big fan, saying “they had the intensity that I know and love from rock and punk rock, but with a lot of intricacy and subtlety  to it.”  For me, going to see these guys at Bottom of the Hill back in the days when Judgement Day was still just playing on the street, they were band that made it cool to be an instrumental band.

We are extremely honored to be joining From Monument to Masses for their final performance. If you are a fan and a supporter of instrumental rock, this show is a must-see.

Published in: Editorial | on August 12th, 2010 | No Comments »

The Epic Final Chapter of Our SXSW Adventure

South by Southwest 2010 is now over but it was an experience that I will never forget. Every band comes to the festival for their own reasons. Some bands come to showcase. Some bands come to party and drink free beer. Some bands come with no plan, just because they have heard that South by Southwest is a place where dreams come true. I think that Judgement Day fit into the latter category this year. Having never been to the festival before, we really had no idea of what to expect. We only had the faith that it would be an event rife with opportunities for our unconventional, independent string-metal band.

If you had asked me before our tour if I would like to showcase for a room full of music industry bigwigs I would have said, “Yes! for sure!” We definitely did not do that; there were no big record execs at our out-of-the-way, underground shows. After everything that I’ve seen and experienced this week though, I really don’t feel like we missed out. Instead of showcasing for record executives, we spent the week playing real shows for real people. We played on the streets for everyone walking by, and free parties where no one was turned away for lack of an official badge. We played an amazing party on Thursday night, put together by our tour-mates BATTLEHOOCH, in the overgrown back yard of a punk house for a crowd of artists, musicians, fans and friends. We had the time of our lives dancing our hearts out while the lawyers and managers typed away on their BlackBerrys at the official SXSW show across the street.

All week we handed out fliers for our big Saturday show but when the day finally came, the weather (which had been warm and beautiful all week) suddenly became brutally severe. Temperatures dropped into the 30′s and were accompanied by strong gusts of freezing wind. This was bad news for us because the road to our venue was quite a trek from the heart of the SXSW festival. It was 1.5 miles away across a giant bridge infested by over one million bats. We thought for sure that our show would be empty, but as we set up the room began to fill and when we played the house was packed. I cannot fully express our gratitude towards those who braved the storm to see us. I only hope that the show, in my opinion one of our best ever, was a just reward.

In the end, did our dreams come true? I’d say the jury is still out. I dream of the day when a band can find its audience without going through the lawyers and record executives. I definitely doubt that we will come away from this year’s SXSW with the ability to sell out The Fillmore, but I do know this:

We played on the streets of Austin all day long for three days straight and during that time there were not 5 minutes that went by without someone filming us. We may have been filmed over a thousand times. So far only one group has posted their video: NPR’s All Songs Considered. What will happen when everyone else posts?

-Anton

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Published in: Editorial, Tour Journal | on March 22nd, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Violin Hero: 7 Months in the Making

About a year and a half ago I was walking around in the the toys isle of Walgreen’s when all of a sudden this awesome idea popped into my head: Violin Hero music video! I wasn’t sure how to do it but I really wanted to make this video. It would need green screen and animation and those are two things that I knew absolutely nothing about, so I started looking around for directors. I have a lot of friends who make films because I have worked for them as a composer. I talked to a handful of people who seemed interested, but then I found Zzalgern0n (as far as I can tell that actually IS his name – one name, like “McLovin.”)

Not only is Zzalgern0n an awesome, hi-energy, internet-savvy director, experienced with both green screen and animations; he has also beat Guitar Hero on Expert! It was clear that this was the man for the job:

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Pre-production

There was quite a bit of pre-production on this project. Comic-book artist Brandon Redenius designed a Violin Hero logo and box. Zzalgern0n made a disc. My girlfriend Laura Weinbach from Foxtails Brigade made illustrations for the start screen and song-select screen. For the song-select screen we also consulted with musicologist Baker Peeples to come up with a list of the most shredding violin songs of all time in ascending order of difficulty.

Trisha Gum, who made the clay sculptures for Dark Opus now works making miniature sets for stop-motion tv shows on cartoon network. She built a miniature set for this video out of mostly cardboard and paper:

Production

Zzalgern0n wrote a very ambitious treatment for this video which included locations like Egypt, Japan and Hell. Obviously it was out of our budget to film on location, so we had to do what we could with the magic of special effects. On the first day of filming we built a sweet makeshift green screen in Lewis’ old bedroom at our parents’ house, where we filmed some violin students (thanks Keith and Sierra!) After that we went over to a couple of our aunts’ houses and filmed our cousins there. Lewis and I have 25 cousins of all different ages on our mom’s side (I am the oldest), and we have been making movies with them since we were little kids. It was awesome to carry on that tradition in this video!

For the band footage we went to LA, where Zzalgern0n’s friend donated the use of a real green screen studio. It was super fancy with all kinds of different lighting tools. I couldn’t believe that we got to use that place…. so awesome! Rebecca Fierro did costumes and makeup:


After that, Zzalger0n wrapped up the rest of the filming on his own in LA. He got a ton of awesome people to be in the video. Watch for hilarious cameos from:

Paul Rust (I Love You Beth Cooper)
Matt Braunger
Josh Fadem (30 Rock)
Josh Perry (Retarded Policeman)
BJ Averell (winner of The Amazing Race)
Matt Cornell (Extreme Elvis)

Post Production

This is where the real fun began. Zzalgern0n had literally hours of footage to condense into a 3-minute video. This was truly a monstrous task, but he did it! The final step was animation. For this we turned to Mike Mayfield (The Cleveland Show). To help him out, I did a colored transcription of the Cobra Strike cello part:


see how that works?

________________________

Monday!

We premiered the video last weekend in LA and the response was off the Richter Scale! It’s going up on YouTube on Monday, February 1st and when that happens we need all of your help posting it everywhere! Here are some tips for posting:

-Join the Posting Day event on Facebook – http://tinyurl.com/postingday

-Post a link in your Facebook or Myspace status

-Post the link on Twitter and (if you’re into this kind of thing) call it #ViolinHero

- Email a link around your office or school or any kind of club you are in

Forums and Blogs:
If you have a blog or you post regularly on a forum, post a link there. If you really want to help us out, you could even sign up for some new forums and post there. These are the kind of sites that would be good:

-Band forums: metal bands, experimental bands, indie rock bands, classical composers anything!

-Music Blogs: again, any genre

-Sites that Post Amusing Videos: Digg, VideoSift, Fark, BestofYouTube etc

-Video Game Forums and Blogs: after all, this is a guitar hero spoof

-Comedy Forums and Blogs: We have so many awesome comedian cameos in this. Comedy fans will be interested.

-Any Other Topic You Can Think Of!

We worked on this video and we would love for as many people to see it as possible. With your help, we will make that happen. Thank you!

-anton

Published in: Editorial, Music Videos | on January 30th, 2010 | 3 Comments »

What’s So Great About Street Performing Anyway?

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In San Francisco, September is the warmest month of the year. It’s the one time of year where the clouds disappear for weeks at a time and the good citizens can walk around in t-shirts. For Judgement Day, this is Street Performing Season. We love to play on the street. There’s something really rewarding about a total stranger stopping to listen to our music. Nobody HAS to stop for  street performers, so when they do it feels like a true compliment. That’s just the beginning of the fun though. Here are some of the other perks that make corners like Channing and Telegraph some of our favorite venues in town:

It’s a Great Place to Practice.
Running tunes on the street is a great way to keep your chops in tip-top shape and can also be a good way to come up with new material. The last few times that Lewis and I went out we had jams sessions in between songs and came up with some sweet new riffs. Future Judgement Day songs?

It’s a Party!
We ALWAYS run into homies when we’re rocking out street-side – friends from other bands, friends from school, friends from the mixed martial arts dojo – and we make new friends all the time too. When we played on the street in Brooklyn, within 5 minutes we had two new members jamming in our band, a trombonist and a dumbek drummer. That was fun. Another time we were playing in Berkeley and these two hip-hop dancers came up and started busting some crazy moves to our music. They must have been professionals because we were playing “All in Vain” (which switches between 5/4 and 6/4 every few measures) and they were hitting every beat. You never know who you will meet on the street. And that’s what’s it’s all about.

You Might See Celebrities
One time we were playing on Telegraph and this old guy with scraggly gray hair and dirty sweat pants came up and started watching us. I honestly thought he was a homeless guy until he tipped us 2 dollars and walked away. I thought “how did that bum have two dollars?” All of a sudden a guy that worked at the record store across the street came running over, super excited. “do you know who that was??” he whispered, “That was Neil Young!”. I wasn’t sure if I could believe that, but ten minutes later the old guy came back and dropped another dollar. This time I got a better look at him. It was Neil Young.

Scrilla
Let’s be honest. We’ve got bills and rent to pay and a new record to print. We need money. Sometimes when music work is slow, playing on the street is the best way to make a few extra bucks. If you’ve got a good act and you know where to go, you might be able to make as much as 50 dollars an hour on a good day. With wages like that, who needs law school? Well, actually I tried to make my living playing on the street for a little while and I can confidently tell you that not every day is a good day. You should probably stay in school and get that degree. Still, making few extra bucks for playing music outside on a nice day is ok with me.

It Gets the Word Out
When you’ve got a big show to promote (like our Rickshaw Stop show on Oct. 2nd) there’s no better way get the word out to potential new fans. On a busy day on Haight Street you could be seen by literally hundreds of hipsters. That’s just as good as opening for Vampire Weekend. Pass out fliers, sell CD’s and before you know it you might have some real fans.

You Might Get Some Crazy Stuff.
Here are just a few of the crazy things that I have been tipped on the street:

  • – Cookies
  • – Tea
  • – Beer
  • – Marijuana
  • – A hundred dollars
  • - CDs by rappers
  • - London Calling by The Clash
  • - “The Key to the Universe” (it was made out of plastic and painted gold)

You Might End Up Starting a Band
When Lewis and I started playing on the street we had no idea that it would one day become Judgement Day, but people kept coming up to us asking if we wanted to open for their band. Before we knew it we were at the Porter Soundbox in Santa Cruz, trying to think of a band name 5 mintues before opening for DESA at our first show ever.

So pick up your guitar, fiddle and juggling balls and get out there!

-Anton

To find out about future Judgement Day surprise street shows, follow the band on twitter.

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Judgement Day playing All in Vain on Telegraph Ave. in 2004

Published in: Editorial | on September 25th, 2009 | 9 Comments »

Looking Back at The Locals

ALSO PUBLISHED AT THEBAYBRIDGED.COM

The Matches --  photo by Julie Zielinski

by Anton Patzner

This Sunday, August 23rd, The Matches will take the stage at The Fillmore Auditorium for their final show. When I heard this there was a side of me, perhaps my romantic side, that really couldn’t believe it. This was the band who had truely become “more than local boys”, who would be together forever, singing epic anthems to cheering crowds around the world. My practical side understands. Years of non-stop touring in small clubs and sleeping in motel 6’s will take its toll on any artist and eventually he will want change. Still, I can’t help feeling that this is the end of an important era in Bay Area music.

Judgement Day has known the Matches since even before they were called “The Locals“. My brother Lewis went to grade school with their drummer Matt Whalen and bassist Justin San Souci and saw them play their first show together at the St. Theresa’s school talent show. After that, I would always hear stories about their band from my parents. “The Locals played at Noelle’s birthday party”, “The Locals just opened for Blink 182″, “The Locals won a contest and are touring Japan”. It was almost like my parents were trying to make me jealous. At that time, as a rock-and-roll-dreaming high school student, I wanted nothing more than to have a band that actually played real shows. The jealousy quickly turned to admiration, however, when I finally met these “Locals” and saw what they were doing.


The Matches – “Yankee in a Chip Shop”

I first met Matches singer Shawn Harris outside of The Fillmore, fatefully the same venue where our bands will share the stage for their last show. With a guitar in one hand and a stack of fliers in the other, Shawn was hard at work, promoting his next show at a new Oakland venue called “Imusicast”. He was accompanied by a pair of young girls who were wearing Locals t-shirts and carrying Locals banners on long poles. Having left the Fillmore show early, I had the chance to introduce myself to Shawn before the rest of the audience came out. The name of the show on the flier that he gave me was “L3: Live, Local and Loud”. It featured a handful of cool Bay Area bands and sounded like the perfect chance for me to finally see The Locals. Just then the Fillmore show officially ended and the doors flew open. Shawn took up his guitar and bravely turned towards the oncoming flood of music fans. I watched him break into his song “Superman” and sing for a moment until he was enveloped by the crowd and all I could see were the Locals banners flying above them.

One week later I attended my first L3. It was quite a sight. The venue was a large warehouse decorated with bright, colorful lights and video screens. The whole vibe was very futuristic. The crowd was YOUNG. At 20 years old, I felt that I might very well be the oldest person in the room, other than the parents who were working the door and merch tables. Kids were hanging out, dancing, joking and having a great time.This was the hang out spot that I had always longed for in high school and never had. Finally, The Locals took the stage, dressed in colorful, home-made clothes, and the crowd really came to life. Guitarist Jon Devoto and bassist Justin San Souci spun in circles across the stage and jumped off of walls. When Shawn shouted out the lyrics “Shake! Shake! Shake!” the entire audience chanted along shaking their fists in the air, united in a sense of high-energy, punk-rock community. From that moment on, I was hooked.


The Matches – “Chain Me Free”

L3 was a monthly event hosted by The Locals which would always take place at Imusicast. The Locals would always play, followed in the early days by more established local headliners like The KGB and Link 80. The opening bands would almost always be high school students, often times playing their first shows ever. The formula was a surefire recipe for large crowds of wide-eyed teenagers. For many L3-goers, these shows were about more than just music. This was their social outlet, their favorite night of the month and their first exposure to creative, DIY expession. Former L3 regular Ashley Wetmore, now a professional image consultant, credits the shows as a major source of inspiration for her and her friends, many of whom went on to play their own bands, put on their own club nights and design their own clothes. “We would see the Matches wearing these amazing outfits that they had made for themselves and we all wanted to do it too,” Ashley says, “The Halloween shows were the best. We’d all be trying to outdo each other for the best costume. It was a really fun.”

Month after month the crowds at L3 would grow larger until finally the huge warehouse room couldn’t fit any more and all of the shows were sold out. For trademark reasons The Locals were forced change their name, so they ironically chose “The Matches” as their new moniker and titled their debut record E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals. Shawn Harris did the artwork himself and in the bottom corner of the booklet, spray-painted words “no fake record label here. We’re just a band putting out our own record”. When the major labels came knocking (and they came in droves) The Matches decided to keep it indie, choosing Epitaph as their home. The next 7 years would bring them huge tours, award-winning music videos, and 2 more great albums.


The Matches – “Papercut Skin”

We have had the honor of working with the Matches on multiple recordings over the years and the privalege of their friendship throughout it all.They have always been supportive of our band and Shawn Harris, who has truely become an amazing artist, has collaborated on the painting of the cover for our upcoming 2nd record, Peacocks / Pink Monsters. Judgement Day, like countless other bay area bands, will always look up to The Matches. We will always be inspired by their DIY ethics, their high-enegy live shows, their good humor, their constant strive for creativity and everything that they have done for the Bay Area music scene. It is with great honor that we will accompany them for one last, great show.

-Anton

Anton Patzner is the violinist for Oakland “string metal” band Judgment Day. He blogs regularly on his band’s website http://stringmetal.com .

The Matches‘ Last Show
Sunday, August 23rd
The Fillmore

1805 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94115
with Dizzy Balloon and Judgement Day
7pm / All Ages / $21

Published in: Editorial | on August 22nd, 2009 | No Comments »

Recording for Slash

Slash – Former Guns n’ Roses guitarist and true guitar hero.

A couple of weeks ago Lewis and I went down to LA for a recording gig with Eric Valentine, a producer who we work with often. Sessions for Eric are always great, so we didn’t even ask who the artist would be this time. When I got to the studio Lewis was already set up in the live room and Eric was hard at work getting tones. He started playing the song that we were working on. It was a pretty pop ballad and the singer kind of sounded like of Maroon 5. Was this a Maroon 5 session? As the song smoothly progressed, my eyes began to scan of the room for clues. I noticed a handful of unusual black guitar picks strewn across the desk and couch. I leaned over to pick one up. Just then, the song hit the bridge and the tone totally changed. A ripping, monster guitar entered, shredding like a demon out of hell. The logo inscribed on the guitar pick was of crossed bones and a skull wearing a top hat. This could mean only one thing…

Shaking slightly, I finally asked Eric who the session was for.  “Oh, Slash will be here in about an hour”. My heart skipped a beat. “This session is for a Slash solo record”.

Well this was pretty friggin exciting for me. Back when I was in college, when we first started Judgement Day, I had a mission to teach my self to truely rock. Having studied classical violin my whole life, I had always looked up to great violinists like Jascha Heifetz, but now I was in dabbling in a genre in which I felt I had to find new heroes. Slash was a huge influence on me. During my descent into rock n’ roll depravity, I learned his solo for “Sweet Child o’ Mine” almost note for note, as well as the opening riff, which is probably my favorite guitar riff of all time.

Waiting around, I was pretty nervous.  Having heard all of the crazy legends about this dude, I really didn’t know what he would be like. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to do a good job on this session, so I went to go warm up in the B-room. When I came out, Slash was standing in the hallway with his hair in a pony tail. “Hi, I’m Anton”, I said offering a handshake.

“Hi. Slash.”

As it turned out, I really had nothing to be nervous about. Slash, in addition to being a legendary rock guitarist, is also a cool-ass dude. Within moments of meeting him I felt totally comfortable hanging out with him. While Lewis was recording his parts in the live room Slash and I were just chilling in the control room and he was telling stories about playing shows and having crazy parties in San Francisco in his pre-Guns n’ Roses days. He seemed stoked that we were from San Francisco and even more stoked that we had a metal band.

The record sounds like it’s going to be pretty cool. It’s like a god damn Grammy party. Each song is co-written by Slash and a guest vocalist. The vocalist on our song was, in fact, Adam Levine of Maroon 5. Some of the other guests include Ozzy Osbourne, Flea, Chris Cornell, Iggy Pop, Fergie and now, Judgement Day.

Not bad for a day’s work.

-Anton

Published in: Discography, Editorial | on August 9th, 2009 | 22 Comments »

7″ Release Tour Diary

FREE MUSIC DOWNLOAD: BOOTLEG OF ENTIRE SPEAKEASY SET by TASY WAX RECORDINGS

Wow, what a crazy week! This was a great tour. It was the first tour that we booked ourselves in a while, so that meant way more adventure. The northern California shows were all great, especially at The Crepe Place in Santa Cruz, which sold out! Big shout out to Mountain Animal Hospital, the great Santa Cruz band that we played with that night. We definitely felt a whole-lotta-love from Nor Cal. Thank you!

Santa Barbara was interesting. We played at a sporty tequila bar called Sandbar, opening for our friend’s Reggae band Onetwo Tree. When we got there we heard that the owner wanted us to play our “softer, more melodic material”. I guess he was worried we would scare away the party crowd. To be honest, we were a little bit worried too, but as soon as we started people were totally into it. It turned out to be another awesome show. Afterwards I sat in on violin with Onetwo Tree, which was really educational. They are all solid musicians and their drummer, who used to play in Steel Pulse, holds it down with a totally different kind of feel than I am used to. Playing with them was quite a pleasure.

This is the bar that we played at in Santa Barbara

This is the bar that we played at in Santa Barbara

Our LA show was also pretty unusual. It was at this new place called The Bootleg Theater in Echo Park. It is actually a theater – as in dramatic theater. There was a play going on and we were supposed to play in the lobby. It was pretty weird. We loaded in and set up during the first act, then everyone came out for intermission and we just kind of hung out for a bit, then everyone went back in and we had to wait quietly until the second act was over. What made it even weirder was that the play was running about a half hour late, so all of our friends started showing up in the middle of the second act and we had to wait around whispering until the play ended. It was a little bit awkward. As soon as the play got out we were supposed to get up on stage and start playing before all of the play audience left. That was actually kind of cool, because we got to play for a totally different audience, at least for the first couple of songs. There was one little kid who came up and sat right in front of the stage. He was totally feeling it. Future metalhead for sure.

This was the play that was going on at the Bootleg Theater while we were waiting to play.

This was the play that was going on at the Bootleg Theater while we were waiting to play.

Our Oceanside show was really special, and probably my favorite show of the tour. I first discovered Speakeasy Studios, an amazing recording studio and art gallery built into a car repair warehouse, during our tour with Dredg in May. There I saw The Burning of Rome play an epic, inspiring show, complete with robots, wedding gowns, fire dancers and the kind of choruses that could get even the most stuck-up, arms-crossed hipster audiences pumping their fists and singing along. Later, I contacted them to tell them to see if they would want to do a show with us and they offered to have us play their next event. It was so awesome playing on the quirky, home-made Speakeasy stage. We got to go on right after nightfall, the perfect time to play, and we got the audience to pack in really close. It was a blast.

Check out this crazy robot and alien art that was showing in the Speakeasy gallery.

After our set the cops came! Everyone had to go home and The Burning of Rome didn’t get to play. LAME! There was one little girl, maybe about 5 years old, who explained to me what happened: “There’s a mean lady on a hill who called the police. And she’s trying to sleep really early.” (You can read the real story of why the cops came HERE) After most of the crowd left we started packing up the stage, which was outside, and moving all of the gear back into the studio. The Burning of Rome set everything back up in the studio and rocked late into the night for all of us after-partiers. It was a great time.

The next day, after a crazy, late night of partying and jamming we woke up at 5:30 am and drove to the Orange County airport. Lewis and I had to catch a plane to meet up with Mates of State in Tahoe for the Wanderlust festival. Jon, always the trooper, drove the van back to the bay by himself. We had a super quick layover at the San Francisco airport. I split up with Lewis to go use the bathroom and I didn’t see him after that. When we landed in Reno I called him to see where he was and he told me that he was still in San Francisco. He had missed the flight! He had used the bathroom too but apparently his trip had been a little more serious.

Check out my sweet ride at Wanderlust!

Check out my sweet ride at Wanderlust!

Well he totally missed out. I picked my rental car at the airport. It was a bright blue 2010 Mustang! So I rolled up phat to the Squaw Valley resort, parked and hopped on the Gondola, which took me way up the mountain to the festival site. It was absolutely amazing. This was the first year of the Wanderlust festival but if I ever have the opportunity to go again I would want to go and camp out. It was just so beautiful. I had a great day, hanging with the Mates and other friends. I met a bunch of really nice musicians from other bands like Broken Social Scene, Rogue Wave and Spoon. Our old friends in Wendy Darling were playing there too, and my friend Tyson, from my other band Devotionals was just there hanging out. So it was a quite party. We drank lots of beer, went wading in a freezing cold pond during the beautiful sounds of Andrew Bird, and got to watch some great bands from the side of the stage. Spoon totally killed! There were parties and fun happening afterwards but I was too tired, so for the first time on the tour, I stayed in. I had a big week. Can you blame me?

-Anton

Published in: Editorial, Free Music Downloads, Tour Journal | on July 28th, 2009 | 2 Comments »

Out of the Abyss: Live on Tape

We’re very excited to announce that we will be releasing our very first vinyl 7″ record “Out of the Abyss: Live on Tape” on Third Culture Records on July 21st!

Track List
SIDE A:
Out of the Abyss
SIDE B:
Etude

BONUS TRACK: Genosha (Reep-Meister Jam)

EXTRAS:

  • Free digital downloads of both songs on the record as well as a 10-minute bonus track.
  • Sheet music for Etude.
  • Sweet artwork of a dragon with it’s skin melting off by CJ Dunn

Credits:
Produced by David Reep and Judgement Day
Engineered by David Reep at Calrec Studios
Mixed by Roger Pruett at Calrec Studios
Mastered by Mike Wells and Hyde Street Studios
Illustration and Design by CJ Dunn

__________________________________________

Why Live on Tape?

We’ve always been a big fan of vinyl but what makes this release very special for us is that we recorded it in a fully analog studio on tape. These days it’s very rare for bands to record on tape, the reason being that you have to actually be able to play the song all the way through. You can’t cheat with 100′s of takes and punch-ins and you definitely can’t auto-tune. Part of the appeal of recording on tape is the warm analog sound that you get but I believe that the true benefit of tape-recording is that it captures real, uncut musical performances. Back in the days of Miles Davis and The Beatles, this was just how records were made and today’s world of robotic perfection, where digital recordings are often made literally one note at a time, those classic analog jazz and rock records seem to have more life to them than ever.

When Dave Reep of Third Culture Records approached us with the idea of recording a 7″ on tape in a classic analog studio we thought that it sounded like a great challenge. We had just finished our fall tour and were tighter than ever. We decided to record Out of the Abyss for the A-side because it was a song that we had been playing almost every night and because the original studio version, with huge orchestral string arrangements, was so different from the live version. We thought it would be cool to capture that song as we had been doing it live so we did it in one take. It’s definitely not as perfect and polished as the original recording but it is 100% real and captures that live energy you can’t get any other way.

The B-Side Etude is essentially Lewis doing  a shredding cello solo for 2 minutes straight. Etude (a french word meaning study) is a classical term for a piece of music designed to improve a certain technique.  This piece explores diminished tonalities and thumb positions on the lower strings. It is also an exercise in rationing the cellist’s energy and developing endurance for extended periods of loud, fast playing. Any cellists who wants to learn it will have their chance because the sheet music will be included with the 7″.

The bonus track Genosha (Reep-Meister Jam) is a 10-minute version of another song that we were playing almost every night on tour. It’s a song that is vastly different every time we play it. The reel of tape that we used for this record was about 16 minutes long and we used every inch of it. After we finished Out of the Abyss and Etude we figured the best thing to do would be to would be to have a 15 minute jam. It was super sweet! Too bad you don’t get to hear the last 3 minutes. The tape ran out.

The artwork is by our longtime friend and collaborator CJ Dunn who has done the layout for The Acoustic EP, Dark Opus, Opus 3: Acoustic and all of our t-shirts, including the infamous Squid Puzzle shirt.

So there it is. Our very first 7″. Now we can all say “do you want to see my 7?” You can mail order it starting July 21st at Stringmetal.com or you can pick it up at any of our shows.

-anton

Published in: Discography, Editorial | on June 17th, 2009 | 5 Comments »

music reflects art

“the object is no longer to propel the course of music forward. the path to progress is through. quality over originality. music is its own universe, and all sides have been stretched to their overlapping edges. we must fill in the tears adequately. quality is originality”

Published in: Editorial | on June 1st, 2009 | No Comments »

Damn, That was Fun

Lewis and I are currently waiting in the lobby of a hotel in Houston, TX for Jon to show up from his 20-hour drive and pick us up. We had our last show with Mates of State last night. I have to admit that I can’t help feeling a little bit emotional leaving those guys. Over the course of the last month I feel like we got really close. It felt like family. On our day off in San Francisco the whole bus (+ girlfriends) came over to our family’s house for a barbeque and it was amazing. I was so excited for everyone to meet our parents and everyone got along really well. It was really special. I think, and I hope that our relationship with the Hammels is one which will last for a very long time.

Alright. Enough of that sentimental dribble. Here are some of the highs (and lows) from the west coast tour:

  • Lewis watching all of Battlestar Galactica (see photo above)
  • Free shoes with fluorescent-green laces that glow on the dance floor
  • The Progressive Auto Insurance girl buying a shirt at our Hollywood show!
  • Great food everywhere!
  • 4/20 in San Francisco ;-)
  • Getting the van searched for drugs on the way to Canada…
  • Depeche Mode playing for free on Hollywood Blvd, right outside our venue!
  • Depeche Mode playing for free on Hollywood Blvd, right outside our venue… during our set….
  • Amazing shows every night! Thank you!

Dredg tour starts tonight! We can’t wait.

-Anton

Published in: Editorial, Tour Journal | on April 30th, 2009 | 1 Comment »
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