Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Open Source Look What I Did Episode 2: Free MP3 Tracks from Zanzibar III Writing Sessions

In keeping with the transparent writing process we are conducting for Zanzibar III, today is the second installment in the "Open Source Look What I Did" series. The first had 5 MP3 skeletal tracks that will be ultimately reworked and probably used for our upcoming vinyl concept release Zanzibar III: Analog Prison. Today's update features 4 more, including the theme we will be using to signify the entrance of the protagonist Sebastian.

We are planning on having a sort of Peter and the Wolf style entrance theme for a few of the main characters that may reprise periodically when each one appears in the storyline.

Anyhow, feel free to download these tracks and listen at your leisure. Also, if you are an electronic musician in need of samples, feel free to use these tracks however you would like so long as you link back to www.melodicnoise.com in the event that you intend to post the results online.

The purpose of these skeletal tracks is to give you the listener the opportunity to see the different riffs and ideas at various phases during the writing process. It can be interesting to see how much the ideas change over time as we continue to work.

Most of these were recorded on a cassette four track recorder using a single SM58 as a room mic.

Zanzibar III skeletal tracks - delicious loaves by LookWhatIDid
Zanzibar III skeletal tracks - Sebastian's Theme by LookWhatIDid
Zanzibar III skeletal tracks - Happy Sinister by LookWhatIDid
Zanzibar III skeletal tracks - drippy caves by LookWhatIDid

In Other News

The rest of the Look What I Did are plotting future blogs, so expect lots of exciting new updates. Also, I recently wrote an article for gazzmic.com called The Gatekeepers Are Gone: You Can Be Yourself.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Should Screaming Vocalists Fake Scream or Scream Hard?

Screaming vocals are arguably among the most polarizing musical techniques on Earth. Few musical theorists consider the style to be a valid musical art form despite the fact that millions of fans connect and relate to this passionate form of vocal expression. However, there are some unique concerns that confront screaming vocalists, and very little academic discussion on the subject exists. This means that the majority of frontmen in metal and punk bands have no idea what the proper technique should be.

To Fake Scream or Scream Hard

I've been a hybrid screaming and singing vocalist for over a decade, giving me lots of experience with the consequences of doing both day-in-and-day-out. Also, the fact that I engage in melodic singing means I have some way to identify how little damage has been done to my voice -- it is actually in better shape now than ever before. I can sing longer, clearer, and louder now than ever and haven't experienced Robert Plant syndrome to any real degree.

I am officially on Team Scream Hard, and this comes from a medical standpoint in addition to a style standpoint. I believe it sounds best when you scream hard, but, medically, it is also best for your voice.

It's All About Hydration

Before I was in Look What I Did, I sang for a band called Point of You? in Nashville. Lots of noteworthy folks were in that band including Miles (who was also in Look What I Did and now plays for Kelly Clarkson), Colby Shea, Evan Brewer (later Reflux, Animosity, Terror), Dylan Napier (Scatter the Ashes), and Brent and Patrick later of Keating, among others. During that time, I had a severe injury to my voice that caused blood to literally come from my mouth when I sang.

Luckily, Nashville has an entire medical industry devoted to professional singers. I went to a specialist, which was covered by my insurance plan at the time, who told me how to stop the problem. It turns out I had developed the habit of clearing my throat constantly due to the irritation caused by screaming. Clearing my throat was doing severe damage to my voice, because it is basically a form of whispering where vibration is passed through the vocal chords without any accompanying breath. That breath is required to lubricate your vocal chords, and not completing that process is very unhealthy.

Remember the Tissue Paper Singing Drill?

For those of us from a traditional singing background, you may recall a drill whereby you sing with a piece of toilet paper in front of your mouth to make sure that breath is coming all the way through your respiratory system and out of your mouth. It is easy to not complete that biological process while singing, and doing so can cause significant damage to your voice. Your breath is loaded with moisture, and that moisture lubricates your vocal delivery system, leading to a healthier voice and less overall biological damage from singing.

This same principle is true when you are screaming. When you reach back and belt as hard as you can, an enormous amount of wind travels throughout and comes out of your mouth. On the other hand, fake screams are very similar, biologically, to the activity of clearing your throat.

Over time, loud screaming will callous your insides and strengthen your ability to handle it. There have been plenty of times when I had to sing and scream every night on a 7-week tour, and I've rarely had any problems with losing my voice.

On the other hand, fake screams will do significant damage and will also not sound nearly as cool. Furthermore, real screams make your face turn purple and veins come out of your forehead, and that is freakin' cool as Hell.

In Other News

Skeet and I are helping our buddies Josh and Rob by recording a cameo this weekend. That is officially a hint. Also, I recently penned an article for gazzmic.com called Tomorrow's Streaming Songs: Evaluating the Future Potential of Streaming Media.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

LIVE VIDEO from March 15 Nashville Show at the End with Last Chance to Reason, Wretched, et al

Here are some videos of exceptional audio quality taken from Slumbernot.com of our performance at the End in Nashville, TN on March 15. Our buddies in Last Chance to Reason (Prosthetic Records) played in addition to our new friends Wretched (Victory Records), and Mindset Defect provided the local support.

"Haematospermia" from Atlas Drugged
"Six Flags Over Jesus" from Atlas Drugged
"My Girlfriend Leo Strauss" from Atlas Drugged
"Serf Song" from Atlas Drugged

Here also lies some footage of Last Chance to Reason's set. Be sure to check them out and pick up their upcoming record-slash-video-game!

In Other News

An official band Twitter is on the way, as well as lots of new stuff decided upon in last night's planning meeting. Funds have been allocated for marketing, so expect some new friends to join the Info Punk movement very soon. Lots of interesting updates and exciting stuff are coming in the near future! Also, I recently wrote some articles for gazzmic entitled How You Can Support the Gazzmic Revolution and How to Make Your Content Go Viral. Rock on!

Monday, March 21, 2011

GAZA live in Nashville @ Exit/In 3-16-11

I got the immense pleasure of catching the always awesome GAZA last week at our local big boy rock room, the Exit/In. GAZA has come through Nashville around 5 times in the last year or so, and their show never gets any less awesome to watch. About a year back I saw them with Converge at the same venue, and their show has definitely tightened up and become even more awesome in that time frame. This time around they were support on a tour with The Red Chord and Trap Them, and GAZA definitely brought the spirit of the evening. Below is a live clip I caught...enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Open Source Look What I Did Episode 1: New Zanzibar III related free MP3 content

So henceforth in the clutches are we of the writing of the great fable Zanzibar III. It is a cartoon song, a sequel to an ongoing series that began in Zanzibar I: The Dry-Mouthed Horse That Died at the Watering Hole on My First Time and continued on Zanzibar II: Sasha and Sebastian from Minuteman for the Moment. Some may recall that Zanzibar II featured a guest spot by Aimee Echo from TheStart and Human Waste Project.

It's a tale of a town of centaur-like horse-people whose only source of water is a lake patrolled by the tyrannical and cruel pirate Zanzibar. Sebastian is the hero of his horse-tribe, and Sasha his love interest. By Zanzibar III, Sebastian is enroute to imprisonment in Zanzibar's gaol with Sasha stolen away as the pirate's concubine. Meanwhile, the forces of Brigham Young, lying in wait on the moon, are planning an attack against Zanzibar's fleet to steal the lake's water for use on their moon-base.

At this point in the writing process, we have put together musical sketches, assorted combinations of riffs, and other skeletal components which we are now arranging into songs. Today, we will present five of these sketches in mp3 format below. Feel free to download these tracks and use them for sampling purposes, listening enjoyment, or any other usefulness you may find of them. If you use them as found art in a new creative work that you post online, such as an electronic song, we simply ask that you link back to our blog at http://www.melodicnoise.com in return.

We will post more of them in future installments. These were recorded using a single SM-58 through an old cassette 4-track recorder. Feel free to comment on the tracks themselves using the Soundcloud commenting interface, or in this blog, to let us know how these tracks make you feel.

Zanzibar III skeletal tracks - moon over bluegrass by LookWhatIDid
Zanzibar III skeletal tracks - spy into weird slimey by LookWhatIDid
Zanzibar III skeletal tracks - subdued mutey by LookWhatIDid
Zanzibar III skeletal tracks - dreary sludge riff by LookWhatIDid
Zanzibar III skeletal tracks - Sebastian party by LookWhatIDid

In Other News

We got to see our buddies in Last Chance to Reason at our show together in Nashville at The End last night and met the gentlemen from Wretched, who were fine individuals as well. Mindset Defect from Nashville opened up and it was a great evening. It was a one-off show we did to highlight the fact that our buddies in Last Chance were in town. They have a video game slash album coming out on April 12th on Prosthetic that you should check out. Slumbernot.com was on hand to review the event. He has some live footage of the show in his review as well. Also, a group of fans in Knoxville have started a campaign to Get Look What I Did to Play in Knoxville, Tennessee on Facebook, so feel free to "like" that page and support their efforts if you live in their area!

I also recently wrote a blog for Gazzmic called We Are Living Through a Paradigm Shift.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Live Video: Almost-Complete Show, Look What I Did at the Carriage House in Ohio

We've posted some decent-quality footage of one of our sets from our most recent tour with the humor-core gentlemen of Psychostick, for whom Skeet and I are working on something right now (foreshadowing).

It was at an ancient Carriage House in Louisville, Ohio, and thusly the ceiling was short and the balconies above the stage were almost at arms-length. The show was well attended, and the people hanging down from above made me feel as though I were in the Nine Inch Nails video for "Wish" in which the crowd surrounds the band from every direction as they are trapped in a cage. It was an exciting show.

Either our manager and Malcom McLaren, Jesse Baker or Josh of the 'stick recorded these songs, depending on the video in question. This isn't a complete show as a song and a half may be missing, but here it is, a recent Look What I Did show, where we are supporting another band in a town we have never played, in semi-concert, low-fi format:

My Approximation of the Set (from memory)

1. Six Flags Over Jesus
      I don't think we have this video, if anyone else caught it, upload it to YouTube and holler.
2. Fade to Daft

3. Serf Song

4. Stop - Jane's Addiction Cover
      We dedicated this song to our friend Stacy Fleeman, who passed away. Jane's Addiction was his favorite band.

5. My Girlfriend, Leo Strauss
The first video is the pre-song banter leading up to it, where I explain that the title is an emasculation of Leo Strauss.

6. Shit $

7. Quit It

8. Pussy Comitatus

9. Cupid Full of Eros

It's Quite Possible...
   ...that I got the order wrong. While I have your attention, I recently wrote a blog for gazzmic called Music in the Information Age: Life in the Cloud.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Was Having a Panic Attack in This Video

I stumbled across this incidental YouTube footage of a show we did in NYC at the Knitting Factory in 2006 while touring in support of Minuteman for the Moment. Ironically, I remember this exact moment well. The Soiree has quite a few sustained screams and little room for breathing in the vocal delivery. We had just finished being benched for two weeks by a catalytic converter malfunction that cost us $2000. We were on our way to join Ion Dissonance and The Classic Struggle for a tour.

Little did I know at the time, the stress from the recent complications had driven me to suffer from lots of what I know now to be icepick headaches. These medical wonders basically feel exactly like they sound -- they are sharp, stabbing pains in the head that last around 5 to 30 seconds and end. They were happening to me around 10 or 12 times a day without warning, and the northeastern weather was sub-zero, so I couldn't escape the loud venues for any length of time by going on a walk outside.

Unfortunately, at this particular moment I was unaware of the medical condition and simply began to believe that I was having aneurysms. Frequent panic attacks were plaguing me until I did enough research to realize that the condition exists and that I was not suffering from a serious neurological disorder.

The ironic thing about this particular footage is that I recall with certainty that I was in the midst of a severe panic attack at this exact moment of the song. Finding it online later, neatly recorded only at the time in which I was suffering so, is interesting to say the least.

Anyhow, I specifically remember thinking (during that very footage) that I screamed so hard that I was certain to trigger whatever aneurysm I had coming.

It turns out that I was just having headaches from stress. I'm sure the constant screaming contributed as well, but I do that all the time, and it's a net positive for my health in my view. It's nice to be able to let loose primal screams all the time. Most corporate cubicle prisoners never get the chance to wretch out their anxieties in a banshee howl multiple times a week; I'm blessed in that sense.

Regardless, this video is funny to me in that it is a horrible moment from life that, in retrospect, seems silly. It's so strange that this fan chose this exact moment to push record. Perspective is everything.

Et Cetera

We recently stumbled on the lost studio footage of the making of Minuteman for the Moment and more from our last tour which will make it online shortly. Additionally, I wrote a blog for gazzmic called Fan Ethics: When Gas Prices Rise, Support Touring Bands.