Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Many Things

So, I mentioned earlier this year that I'd launched a new project, screams. Since my other projects (Face TatGirl-Face) were mostly in the reformation stage as people moved and adjusted to life changes, this is was mostly going to be a solo side project, with the goal of finishing up a bunch of songs I'd started over the years but didn't get finished as other projects got in the way. But as these things go, ended up writing up a bunch of new material.

Since it was just going to me with my friends helping me to flesh out the ideas and appearing as guests on the tracks, I really wanted to go for a lo-fi electronic sounds, a la Black Moth Super Rainbow, Suicide, early Grimes, with just a tinge of industrial, a real stripped down lo-fi sound. So I released the first screams song: Many Things.

I wrote the principle music for Many Things in one go (as I'm sure you can tell) and messed with it here and there. The bassline is a MicroKORG, the lead is a Roland Gaia, and the drums I built off a  Roland Octapad SPD-30. The Gaia is killer, but not as easy to interface with as the MicroKORG or the Octapad (though the Octapad has a bit of a learning curve and there's plenty of things that it can do [looper, sequencer] that I don't use cause I have other machines that can do the same and a lot easier to use). I initially recorded it just to save an idea, but really like the grittiness so I decided to round it out. Found a killer movie quote from Dune, when the Guild Navigator tells Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV that little Paul Atreides need to get whacked, and threw it on there. It took me a while to clean up the sample, there's all sorts of machine and hissing noises cause those Navigators are weird mutants and that white noise was part of the scene so I just decided to include in the song cause to take much more of it out would have taken some from the voice quality of the Navigator.

I looped the "plans with in plans" part at the end and got it to extend out so far by automating the volume on that track so that it kept increasing as the loop faded out, thus making it last nearly five minutes. Which is longer than the music. Studio magic, my friends. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Desert Daze 2012

Guess this tour diary is a bit late, seeing as how it's about Desert Daze 2012, but I just played Desert Daze 2018 and wanted to write about it and couldn't write about one without writing about the other, so here goes.

Back in 2012 I lived with two roommates, my Mist Giant bandmate Rap Dan and some guy called Al Lover, who's put out a thing or two.

Me, Al Lover, and long time goodbuddy and bandmate Mike G got together and made a few cuts: Al on an MPC-1000 doing beats and samples and Mike and me on fuzzed out guitars trading harmonic and melodic lines. It was simple, stripped down, and a lot of fun. We practiced, showed up, played some shows. Called ourselves: Al Lover & the Haters.

Well, we (and by we I mean Al) got invited to play down at the 2012 Austin Psychfest and then the Moon Bloc Party's Desert Daze 2012 music festival. So we booked up a few more shows, SF, Santa Barbara, LA, ABQ, Las Cruces, and a few spots I forget and took our show on the road. Mike and Al drove down to LA and played Burger Records while I stayed in SF to finish up some work thing, then I flew down and met up with them and off we went.

We played Desert Daze soon thereafter. It was crazy. I mean, it was great. They had the fest at an old beat up roadhouse called Dillon's down in Desert Hot Springs. Actually, don't know how run down that place usually is, might even be a fancy spot, but we didn't get there until day eleven of the fest. You read that right, they ran an eleven day music fest at a roadhouse in the desert. One-hundred and twenty acts, two stages, eleven days. So, you know place was hit kinda hard. I mean, actually, for an eleven day music fest, it wasn't as wrecked as it coulda been. But then again nothing is as bad as it coulda been, except Nazis.

Desert Daze set up some camping nearby for the attendees, but all us artists(!) got to stay in a nearby motor lodge type place. One of them two-storied horseshoe shaped deals with a big pool in the middle, though they didn't let us swim after dark and it's a fest, so nobody got to use it. The cool thing was that after the fest we got to go back to the motel and keep partying, going room to room, while the owner operators mean mugged us.

After the fest, we went back on the road and played some shows on our way to Austin, TX. Played the Trainyard in Las Cruces with the Cosmonauts.

Burt's Tiki. Blurry. Sry.
But the best show we played was to an empty lounge in Albuquerque, NM. Burt's Tiki Lounge (which moved locations by a block and then abruptly shut down earlier this year 😢). And but for the other bands and us and the bartender, there wasn't anyone else who showed up. At that point, some of us had toured a bit and some of us hadn't toured a bit, so some of us were dismayed at the lack of support from the locals and from the bands (all of whom jetted right after their set, an amateur move) and there may have been some talk about not playing the show cause it all seemed so pathetic. But that's an amateur move, you gotta show up, always play, barring you know accidents and flight delays, shit happens afterall, but you don't not play a show just cause no one cared to show up. Plus, at that point, we'd all drank our two free house beers, so you know, had to play.

Golec's wall.
And, of course, you never know what's going to happen at a show, even an empty one. We set up our merch, did a line check, and were about to go on when this shaggy haired kid showed up and asked if he missed Al Lover's set. Told him no, about to go on. And he stood right in front of the stage and bopped his head the whole time. It might have been a bit weird, one guy gettin down right in front of the stage in an otherwise empty room but for the amount of energy this kid had. I say kid cause he was like, I dunno, 24 at the time. He had a big smile and as soon as we were done he asked about merch. And asked us if we needed a place to stay. And do we want drinks? And do we like to party? He bought $60 worth of merch (which was everything we had) then threw in another $20 for gas money. Then he called his friends who were around the corner. So, we went and met them at this pretty swanky second story spot called Anodyne, happening place with a bunch of billiards tables, large selection of beers, and a lounge/library area that had a dog-eared copy of Samuel Delaney's Dhalgren, which appeared to have actually been half read (didn't make it a quarter away through that door stopper, myself). His friends were great, of course, had a few drinks with them, then went back to the kid's house and stayed up way too late talking and playing guitars. His name was Daniel Golec, but he went by Golec and was a great dude. Stayed in touch with him and I found out last year that tragically he was in a pretty terrible accident, struck by a car while on his bike that left him in a coma. The saddest part is I can't find any update online and his FB page is full of people asking for updates and people saying they miss him along with old grainy photos.

You never know who you're going to me or what's going to happen at a show. But you gotta play to find out.

(Hope you're doing well, Golec.)

Al Lover & the Haters.
The Behemoth in the rundown Trainyard, Las Cruces.
Entryway to the Trainyard venue.
Psychfest lineup. Everybody remember the Al Lover, nobody remember the Haters.
The Magic, happening.
Beauty Ballroom, our stage for Psychfest.
Golec's dog.