The First Time is Terrifying

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Photo by Sam Haggart

Waxlimbs has a small show at a small bar called The Cavern in a small city called Toronto on Wednesday, and we’re playing three new songs.

This is one of those times where I nervously consider how my experience of a song will translate to the experience of other people hearing it for the first time. Naturally, they won’t place nearly the same weight as me on the experience because I’m the one responsible for delivering it. What is terrifying is the thought that what we do as musicians won’t make an impression, that it will glance off people and spin into the abyss that is “new music.”

TL;DR: What if they don’t get it?

It’s also a very exciting moment where you get to do the thing you’ve been dreaming of for months or in some cases, years. All of the pressure, doubt and struggle that went into making this thing will finally be relieved on stage!
That’s a pipe dream- but every artist believes it on some level. Through presentation, they are free of the burden of keeping the material alive in their own hands- it will go into the world and grow on its own. This isn’t always true but everybody has that feeling deep down.
I know through cyclical discussions with friends that my fear is baseless anxiety, that things will evolve with time; my satisfaction will wane with it.
That validation that comes with “releasing” something is purely vapour, and that’s ok.

I think the hard part of having a back-catalogue is owning it years after you release it. I hate performing a lot of older songs now, but I owe that to the work. I need to support it after the shine has worn off. Otherwise, I’m squandering what might be there for others. It’s kind of like raising a kid, but with less sticky hands and gross things like that.

Alright, end-rant.
-Alex

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The First Time is Terrifying

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

Waxlimbs Going Forward:

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Some artwork for the new album.

I haven’t posted on my wordpress blog in a very long time. I don’t have many followers here, but I really should use it more often for the longer posts. Apologies. Here’s what’s going on in the world of Waxlimbs.

The new album is finished, and now begins the long process of planning a release for it. I really cannot wait to show people what I’ve been working on for the past (nearly) two years.
It’s very much an album which tries to explore death and the process of traveling through it, as well as the perspective of those left behind. I feel like the ways in which I write songs have changed, with an emphasis on the lyrical part of songwriting.

I also want to say thank you to everyone who has been there for us this far. When people come up to us after a show and tell us how they feel, it’s unlike any other sort of feedback. That’s where we get to have a real and direct interaction with those listening. It’s an incredible feeling and oftentimes we’re at a loss for words when confronted with it.
So thank you for talking to us, it’s painful, it’s strange and it’s beautiful.

We’re going to go away for a little while to work on getting this record ready for release and revamping our live performance. We’ll come back in the new year. See you when things start to bloom again.

With love,
-Alex

PS: In the meantime, my latest record can be heard and downloaded here.

Waxlimbs Going Forward:

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