Oct 8 2007

The State of the ‘Nigma

So I “quit” Terranigma.

I put the word “quit” in quotations ’cause that’s not really what I did. To be really descriptive about it, I just told the ‘Nigma guys what I’ve been telling them all along: I don’t like gigging, I far prefer writing, and if I’m going to move to Houston in the middle of next year, they might as well have me around now to train up a replacement guitarist.

We’ve had some problems finding that replacement guitarist, but everything else is going well; the band’s still writing. I’m still working closely with them, yet I’m free to write whatever I want without constraints (in reference to the number of strings allowed, for example).

The band as a whole has taken a formal break from gigging because Charlie, our lead singer, is trying out for an incredibly famous hardcore band whose name I can’t mention here for legal reasons. But we’re all hoping he gets the job.

We were worried about what to do without him, as he is a central member of the ‘Nigma, to say the least, but we found a replacement pretty quick.

Carl, of the now-defunct Locust Grove, is the definite article. Anybody who can impress Charlie is impressive. This guy can actually belt out a 15 second-long scream. Seriously count out 15 seconds; that’s a stupid long time.

In the meantime, I’ve spent a lot of my time teaching myself how to produce. It’s interesting to see what quantity and quality of work you can do on an incredibly limited budget like mine.

Dec 3 2006

Oh Terranigma, I wish I could quit you.

See here’s what I don’t get: I really like playing music. But I truly couldn’t give a rat’s ass about playing live. At least I don’t think I can. Here’s the rub: I really do care about who enjoys our music; and it really bugs me when we play live and the crowd doesn’t seem to respond to it.

Take tonight’s show. We played last, which is normally good because the crowd was good and warmed up. But the band that played before us was really quite excellent, better than us, easily, and so the place was pretty much cleaned out by the time we got on stage. There was only about two dozen people left, most of which were members of the other bands. And the reception was, on the whole, lukewarm.

Now I’ve been writing for this band with the crowd in mind; tempo changes, big breakdowns, lots of that kind of stuff. You gotta play that music live. But if I’d rather stay at home and watch TV than play live, what am I doing in this band?

Now, I’ve got stuff I’ve been working on that I really like. And even if I started another band, all studio, that never really played live, and just wrote songs for the joy of writing them (I guess), then what would be the point of doing it at all, if nobody would hear it?

Jul 17 2006

Lemmie dust off this page real quick.

Demos! We’ve got Demos! Check it out ladies and gentlemen ’cause the final draft is done!

These are the mastered, final versions. Except for Man’s Hollow Chest which we’re gonna look into getting the snare re-EQ’d ’cause right now it sounds like a plastic drum.

I think the biggest drawback to cutting a demo is that, if it takes too long, you do what we did, which is write another half-dozen songs that we’d like to have recorded. Oh well. Can’t have everything.

Jun 6 2006

Music! Now available in Sugar Free!

So now that Charlie’s in the studio we’re finally starting to finalize some tracks. So far we’ve completed Phoenix Never Dies (also known as our “new hit single”) and Flaw Filled Arrogance. Neither are really good examples of our actual sound, but FFA was one of the easier songs to produce (in other words, less complex) and PND was turning out so awesome in the studio that we just spent more time on it than others. So we put them up on our Myspace account.

The versions we have up on our myspace account are rough cuts, which is to say they’ve not yet been mastered. As a result, some sections are louder than others, instruments aren’t quite balanced against each other, our singer’s voice is either too loud or too soft and, well, there’s a lot of work left to be done before we get something you can hear on the radio.

Speak of the radio, our producer’s contacts with 105.3 (“The Buzz“) are interested in putting us on the air. I’m totally new to this, so I don’t know if that means “We’ll put you on during our indie rock show” (which runs on Sunday Nights at 2:00 A.M. or something) or what, but I’d assume it’s nothing to get excited about, at least not yet.

And here I’m conflicted. I’m not a huge fan of The Buzz because they’re owned by Clearchannel, a radio conglomerate I’m not fond of. I really love 99x, and while they do play a very eclectic mix of music, they don’t play our kind of music, and I have to grudgingly admit that The Buzz is doing more for local music than 99x is.

But hey, radio play. Go us.

Also on the good news front, we’ve got a gig coming up at The Masquerade, which is a very “pro” venue here in Atlanta. Playing the Masquerade pretty much legitimizes your band, from what I understand. To put it another way: we’re actually going to get paid for this show. Imagine that!

This whole experience with this band is getting interesting. I can feel we’re on the edge of a horizon of opportunity. We’re a the point when most bands fall apart; we either push forward and strive for success which is entirely dependent on establishing a fan base, and how pallatable our music is to the public, or we can drag our feet and watch this sail on by. If we choose to push forward, however, I can see this band becoming a serious time sink for me, and I honestly couldn’t tell you if I would rather play music or work a nine-to-five job and live a more “normal” life.

The music industry’s something I dread. It’s unpredictable and cutthroat and not, I think, a place for a person who’s just as satisfied with at-home, amateur production as live performance. I might not be hitting my mid-life crisis yet, but I hope that when I do, I have no more an inclination to rush off and start living in a tour bus than I do now.

May 15 2006

The cost of Chattanooga

Yeah, so, we played this gig in Chattanooga. What a wild ride. The “venue” (read: bar) we were going to play at didn’t know we were coming (blame their web geek), so the rest of the bands decided to go play at a local skate park’s pagoda. Turns out that pagoda was more like a hollowed-out warehouse with no lights. And it also turns out that we were there illegally…

So we start setting up inside the pagoda somewhere around 8:00 P.M. We’re just inside, the organizer, Big Ted, has decided to have the crowd stand outside, a move I suspect made to minimize the appearance of tresspassing or something. This wasn’t a bad idea except it was threatening to rain and I have 200 watts running through my cabinet. Keep in mind there’s no light at all, save for the very directional light provided by several cars parked, with their lights on, pointed in our direction. We managed to set up and play through our gig (only we pooch-screwed one song but that’s okay). We start packing up for the two hour ride home around 10:00 P.M. while Aiden’s Fall starts setting up. They start up what sounds like an incredible song but when they stop about two minutes in we all run over to see what the problem is.

Seems one of the guitarists from Aiden’s Fall dislocated his knee during their first song. Now, we’re in the middle of the industrial district so there’s no chance of an ambulance getting here any time soon, and while there isn’t any booze or drugs handy, we’re still a little unsure of our legal right to be there, so Aiden’s Fall tosses their man into the back of a Toyota Matrix and takes off.

There was one band left to play, but we were so tired and giddy from all the near-catastrophes we just drove off. I was hoping they did well, but even the boost from two Full Throttle Furys in a row couldn’t reliably keep me up at that point.

Anyway, good fun. The crowd was great; devoting themselves to what I can safely say is our first mosh pit. Looking back, it was a crazy kind of fun, but as far as how much of a trial it was, well, whatever. It’s what they call “paying your dues,” as I understand it.