Track By Track: Yourself Open

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Track By Track: Yourself Open

This song came from a friend lending me his electric guitar and me not knowing anything about playing guitar at the time. I recorded myself plucking and striking the instrument, and did a lot of sampling of individual sounds to a keyboard setup. I then programmed these guitar melodies like I would a softsynth. I ended up with a one or two minute beat. Once I moved to Montreal, I brought Astrolope into the mix and had him restructure the song with me. It became a six-minute strange instrumental, with a decent portion of it in 5/4 time. Izzy came over and we hashed out lyrics and recorded the vocals in a night.
This song was a real problem tune for me as the album started to take more of a form. It was too long, it wandered a lot and didn’t really have a payoff. I took some time away, about 6 months to a year.

On a plane to Mexico in 2014, I figured out the new structure. I wanted to cut the crap and make it more direct and give it a tangible climax. This became the version that can be heard on the record; something simple and to the point.

Listen to Yourself Open: http://bit.ly/1U2DV0A

Next up, Masks.

Track By Track: Yourself Open

Track By Track: A Death Over The Radio

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Jonfrid Eliasen Photography

Next from Coldform is A Death Over The Radio.
I started this song while in the backseat of my parents’ car on the way to see my great grandfather who had recently turned 100. It started with the raspy “respirator” synth sound and the various piano melodies, and was left as that for a little while.
I later started sequencing drums, and ended up using a lot of samples from a brush kit because I liked how fluid they felt. Underneath, the rest was essentially basic dance drum patterns.
I tried playing this one live at the release party for my first album World Makers, but it just didn’t seem right; something was missing.
I took the tune to Jesse Manou from Other Families to lay down some electric guitar. He gave me one mean take, and that’s what you can hear in the finished song.

A lot of time passed, and I had moved to Montreal for school. My Great Grandfather died and I started to think about what the song was really about. I got a message one day about the account name for one of my other projects from someone named Súsanna Herálvsdóttir. She wanted to use the name for her own project, Dóttir (pictured). I gave it to her, and discovered that she had the most lovely voice.
I sent her the instrumental to muse over, and after a few months she gave back the recorded vocals. I remember getting really excited upon hearing them for the first time- I immediately called Astrolope and told him to come over and hear them.

A lot of time and small mix revisions later, and the song was finished. For me, this was one of my favourite songs off the album and marked the first time I collaborated with someone I didn’t know in real life.

Listen to A Death Over The Radio: http://bit.ly/1rptc5R

Stay tuned for the process behind the next song; Yourself Open!

Track By Track: A Death Over The Radio

Great Release

Photo by Evan Spicer
Photo by Evan Spicer

On Saturday, July 6th 2013, I held my release concert for my new World Makers LP.
I had never put on a show before this, so I was really amazed at the amount of work that went into it.
I had Rob Lee helping with producing and organizing it, and a lot of friends backing.

I was also amazed by the crazy ups and downs that I went through at the show, emotionally. One minute it would be euphoria, the next; extreme dysphoria. Maybe it was due to all the leadup and planning of the event, and perhaps that combined with releasing something I had been working on for so long…

So the event came, we had a strange and wondrous time, and then it was over. Just like that. My album was out, I had performed, my friends and fellow musicians performed, and that was it.
After months of having something to hold back and hype, I have nothing.
In a second my plate was clean.

When you release something you worked really hard on, it’s a bit like sending your kid off to school for the first time (or so I’m told). You have this long stretch of time where you got to know it, helped shape and mold it, gave it strengths and inherent weaknesses, created it. Then the day comes where you say goodbye and put it in someone else’s hands.
It’s a very strange feeling.

There are parts of this record I am proud of. There are parts of this record I am not proud of. What matters to me though is that it’s done. I started writing it in 2010, and that was three years ago. Three years is a long fucking time for someone my age.
It feels like now that this is out, I can finally breathe. I don’t have this weird ethereal thing sitting on my chest anymore. I understand that its strong points and shortcomings will reflect on me for a long time, if not forever. I understand that where I have failed, people will see that as a reflection of my ability to make music.
I also understand that now there’s no barrier of having unfinished business with my old work. There’s no obligation to it anymore. I can only acknowledge that it happened, and now it’s over.
It really does feel amazing.

So that phase of my life is over. The themes covered on the album aren’t really at the forefront for me anymore. I’m subconsciously focusing on different things now. I’m moving away from Toronto to work at a university degree in Montreal. I may not even perform again in Toronto until December. I may come back with more than just myself involved in Waxlimbs, and I may not even come back with Waxlimbs…

I think uncertainty through time is a wonderful thing. There’s opportunity for something to change into something better, and there’s opportunity for something to die and have something else take its place.

The best part? I’m completely fucking uncertain.

You can stream and download World Makers for free right here, or on my bandcamp page.

Great Release

I Just Got Into My Dream University Program…

Leaving...

I have been stressing out a lot lately due to not knowing whether I will be moving to Montreal in September to attend Concordia University for Electroacoustics.
After a long and worrying wait since applying, I just found out I’ve been accepted.

Wow, what a relief, yet a new weight on my mood…

Even though this is what I want to do, and I get to pursue sound design professionally, it’s kind of terrifying to think that I’ll be leaving the city and people I love for a long time…
In the last 16 months, I have a made a lot of really incredible friends. I started going to independent shows in the area and became a part of my local music scene. It’s been a big year!
To think that I’ll be leaving all this behind and possibly returning as a stranger is really frightening. I’ve never lived away from home before, save for camping.

Note to future self: Please don’t become an asshole…

I Just Got Into My Dream University Program…