Saturday, March 27, 2010

Never Lay Down

In my last post I stated that my goals for this week are practicing and recording the drums for Trepidation, plus filming the music video as much as possible. Two of those have come true, but one hasn't - meaning that while I do have plenty of new material concerning the video and I've practiced for hours, I got nothing new recorded for Trepidation or for any other song at this time. I'm not that disappointed though, because I have been working quite hard. For the music video, I now have exactly 1 hour, 11 minutes and 41 seconds of material (!) when all the clips I've done for the performance part and the walking part are counted together. During this week only (or more accurately, during Thursday and Friday) I've shot about a half of that. So, I've indeed done some progress, but it's worth noting that as much as 98% of what I've filmed will be cut away and will never be seen by anyone except for me, most likely. This is because a scene I might've filmed for 10 minutes in total will only be shown for a few seconds in the final cut, due to there being 5 different characters that need to be displayed each on their own turn, so to speak. Even though I have enjoyed the filming so far, I'm pretty sure I will never become a director/actor, haha, let alone a cameraman.

Next week will obviously be a short one because of Easter, and so it will be tough for me to make any progress at all (for those of you who are not that familiar with me yet and thus are wondering, I usually only film/practice/record when I'm alone at home). I do plan to keep filming, and hopefully finish all the bassist and guitarist scenes so I can finally cut my oh-so-long hair after Easter - after which I could move on to filming the singer and drummer scenes with both having shorter hair. It is important, however, that I will at least begin on the recording of Trepidation as well. Considering that I still have yet to start mixing Melodia, I probably won't have much rest during next Monday - Thursday in general, haha. Easter itself is naturally very inspiring for me, and I am excited about it. Even if the weekend is only extended by two days, those are definitely needed because I plan to make the entire period of four days very long and productive.

While playing a lot of MHM2000 as well as being productive, I've kept listening to Faithless a lot this week. Just about two hours ago I got Haste The Day's debut album Burning Bridges, and I've also been listening to that one for a bit already. The band is classified as Christian metalcore, and even though some parts that I've heard so far are quite predictable and not special at all, some other parts sound very innovative have got me hooked. Currently I have a lot of bands and even new genres that I plan to check out in the near future, though, and so I won't spend much time listening to just one band or artist for now.

I don't have much else to share. Tonight I plan to keep listening to some fresh music, check some new video updates by P.O.D. drummer Wuv Bernardo (they are back!), maybe listen to some old music as well, mix Melodia, watch some TV, continue on some demos perhaps and write. That reminds me - just this morning I began working on yet another new demo. :P This one is called Permafrost, and so far it's only a little over a minute long build-up, yet solid and very Tool-ish. I wrote some new riffs and lyrics earlier this week already, particularly for Sweet Oblivion, and so I certainly have not stopped being creative. Shyoul is back on its feet again too. The group has been split in pairs now to make working on ideas and such easier, and I have a really good feeling about some of the things we've discussed about lately.

Let's see if I have anything worth posting about tomorrow... In case I don't, have a nice week readers. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reverence

Lots of things have been up this week, but let's start by the pictures I was planning to show to you a week ago already, but never did, for some reason. You see, I got my custom-made t-shirts (that I took out to be done on my holiday) back last Friday and took some pictures of them the same day. I love both of the shirts but obviously the P.O.D. one is more valuable on a general scale. The cost was 50 Euros in total, and well worth it.
Front side of the Wicked Breath shirt. Has a logo in it done by a French soon-to-be professional illustrator who is also the keyboardist in Shyoul. Excellent work, thanks again (you know who you are) ;)

Back side of the WB shirt. Has the text "The engagement of darkness and hope in all of us" pressed to it, which explains the name and the whole meaning of the project quite well in my opinion. Doesn't get old as quickly as a lyrical quote would, either.

 
Front side of the P.O.D. shirt. Has nothing but a black logo in it, but looks great in my opinion, nevertheless.

Back side of the P.O.D. shirt. Has the front cover of Fundamental Elements of Southtown pressed to it. The cover is one of my favorite covers of all time - just like the album is one of my favorite albums of all time - and its spiritual diversity just simply belongs to this shirt. Makes it one-of-a-kind, too.

One more thing about the shirts - in case you didn't know, I will be using both of these for the Xie Xie video. Which "members" are going to wear which shirt shall remain untold for now though. :P

As for the EP, I have good news. I'm quite sure that I'm now done with In The Art of Dreaming for my part, and also with the recording for Melodia. The reason why I can't be 100% sure is that keeping my eyes (and ears) open on both cases is for the best this time around since nothing ever really is perfect (especially when it comes down to my work, haha), and so I can't say that any of the songs I will be finishing in the future are 100% done before the EP gets its way out to you, the listeners. I just want to shout to the world that I am now very, very close with these two. :P Melodia still has to be cut and mixed, obviously, and thus it is possible that I will need to re-record some parts for it later. In The Art of Dreaming, then again, has been a true pain in the ass these past few weeks but the work has truly paid off because it sounds truly good - and I really, really ask you to trust me on this one because I know what I'm talking about now. Don't get your hopes up on the whole EP yet though... Haha. As for next week, my goal is to practice and record the drums for Trepidation, and hopefully I'll also have some time to film the music video.

This weekend I have dived deep into the land of electronica as I've been listening to dance/trip-hop/rap group Faithless' debut album Reverence. Filled with all kinds of things I have never listened to before, going through the album has been quite a delight for me and my ears so far. The songs that broke the charts on 1995 are also the ones that I recognize as the most addictive tunes on the album - the title track, Salva Mea and Insomnia have been on heavy rotation since yesterday afternoon and seems like that'll be the case for a long time. Now that I have finally went out of the rock genre for real, I feel like I can basically listen to anything that is out there, give it a chance and fall in love with it no matter what it is classified by. This is bound to affect and come out as more experimentation on my own music as well of course, so keep an ear on that in the near future. 

Lastly, some small notes. I finished Elena on Wednesday and it turned out that the main character was in fact a very old man, and Elena reminded him of his dead wife. The ending was good but not quite on par with the rest of the book in my opinion. Throughout the week I've also been writing some lyrics and taken some time to develop two of my demos called Sweet Oblivion (White Shadows) and Blue-Fragmented Pilgrimage, both of which are the result of many different riffs and ideas put together in a way that strangely fits. Shyoul is doing fine, but we're kind of going through a little still water time right now before the 2 members who have yet to finish recording their samples get them done. Might sound crazy, but I've also been into horoscopes a little lately and I believe that some name or theme related to that will become reality soon.

Bye then, guys and girls. Only about 1½ weeks to go until Easter, and spring is knocking on the door. Let's keep our eyes and ears open, shall we? ;)

"It's a fact, you'll attract, all the things that you lack,
So just chill and get off the race track,
And take a pace back, face facts, it's your decision...

You don't need eyes to see,
You need vision."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fever for Life

Good morning, folks. It is Tuesday and I'm sure you want to know why I didn't post last weekend and why I am posting today instead, when I should be at school. Here's the story; on Friday afternoon, I was still thinking "I won't make a blogpost today - but I will make one tomorrow" quietly to myself. The ironic thing is that I probably would've actually kept that promise instead of delaying this post furthermore, if I wouldn't have gotten sick that same evening. It started out as minor stomach ache, and turned into massive ache as well as high fever, reaching 39 degrees of Celsius on Sunday. The whole weekend was basically ruined because of this sickness, and now that I am alright, I only got one day to make up for it as tomorrow I will be going to school again, most likely. I thought that the best way of becoming productive again would be to make this post, so let's go.

Let's get rid of all the bad news first. To avoid sounding the same than I have every single week prior to this one, I'll start by saying that due to the transition of winter to spring I've been quite tired lately to say the least, and thus... In The Art of Dreaming still isn't done. :P Getting it done was, actually, one of the plans I had for the weekend, but it was impossible for me to complete as I couldn't even sit on my bed for more than about an hour at once. I still won't finish it today, but I swear that I will re-activate my chocolate strike again if I can't finish it until next Tuesday. Another bad thing is that I still have yet to record the rhythm guitar parts for Melodia and mix the song (which I haven't even started on yet). Also, I probably cannot record anything else this week, so I'm afraid Trepidation (which I have decided to start working on next instead of 15th Pb to maintain a logical order) will have to wait until at least next week, and that also means that it will take around 3 weeks at least for me to move on to Xie Xie. Taking into account that I have a music video to film, cut and promote as well, I am really starting to lose my motivation here what comes to doing everything myself every time. Let us not forget that this is just an EP, and so if it takes all my other life away, will making an actual album take all my life away then? Oo Hopefully that wasn't too dramatic and you get what I mean. I got my studies as well, so I am definitely going to slow down at least when this process ends, because it's surely a fact that one cannot take this kind of pressure at this age and experience.

There are some good news for me to share too, don't worry. I've been reading a new book while I've been sick called Elena. It's written by a Finnish writer named Joel Haahtela and even though I'm not expecting anyone of you to know him, this book or a place to be introduced to either, I have to mention this book because it is possibly one of, if not the most inspiring book I've ever had the chance of exploring. It's in a very simple form with only 1-2 pages long chapters and only 126 pages in total, but it is a very mysterious novel and concerning the plot, the length isn't an issue at all. The book centers around a lonely man who's name is unknown, who's mind has been filled by a woman he waits for in the park daily to come by. I am now near the end of the book and the protagonist has now travelled to the coast to see his friend and his huge house, and is about to leave to a nearby island where Elena, his obsession, is on holiday for the summer. The approach on the protagonist's life is very bleak, but I can identify some characteristics in him like exploring the world and the already-mentioned loneliness, which is more of a burden than a bless for him though. I'm anxiously looking forward to how the book ends, and I'll make sure to let you guys know of it too, haha.

My last big plan for the weekend was to start on a new song that I had been yearning to do since the last days of my winter holiday. Even with the ache, fever and some medicine making me feel weak, I did compose one pretty solid riff on Saturday (first on bass, then on guitar) and I've also been gathering some words, phrases and ideas for the lyrics throughout my time at home. As you know I have tens of ideas that go beyond the current recording sessions, but I have a very good feeling about this new one in particular. Let's just hope I can work on it as soon as possible...

My last.fm page tells me that I've been listening to Major Label and Heaven Shall Burn the most these past 7 days, but I don't really recall listening to anything in particular. I did get some Major Label demos and b-sides from a helpful friend of the band last week, and there's one song called Down The Sunny Road to Hell that has been stuck in my head for days. Heaven Shall Burn is a newcomer, which was recommended to me by a friend. They're classified as metalcore most of the time, but they have such a heavy sound that I could almost call them deathcore, even if I can't know 100% what it's like since I don't listen to it. On Saturday I spent some time listening to Cult of Luna and Digital Summer again, too.

Finally, I want to say a few words about the F1 season that was kicked off last weekend. I'm very happy for Lotus and Heikki Kovalainen for finishing their first GP, and I see lots of potential in general for them to succeed in the future. Besides them I was also rooting for Sebastian Vettel, but he unfortunately had some problems with electricity in his engine and so he dropped from 1st place to 4th on the last trimester of the race. I'm glad Schumacher has failed in his return so far, and that the young Nico Rosberg (half-Finnish, btw) beat him in every session of the weekend, but in the same time not happy with how Fernando Alonso is being praised once again. He's only good with luck, and the true warrior of the series, Felipe Massa, needs to beat him in the future.

Now, I'm off to have some dinner. Later I will do some more productive things and also continue playing an ice-hockey manager game called MHM2000, that a friend showed to me earlier. It only works with a program called DOSBOX because it's one of those old games done with MSDOS, but it's really addictive and requires deep thinking due to how bad the teams you can choose from actually are. Besides, I need to have my lazy and relaxed moments of fun... :P See ya!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Had Been Waiting For You To Come... Now You're Here.

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. It's all for a good reason though - big things have been happening. Firstly, here's my newest beauty - a genuine Fender Stratocaster, price 790 Euros, bought this Wednesday:

 

I actually paid almost a half of that, which obviously isn't much, but at least I'm taking some responsibility concerning my gear now. The sound of the guitar is quite amazing I have to say - the super bullet strings have a wonderful touch and even with my tiny amp, I am satisfied with the quality I am reaching with this brand new love of mine. It's an absolutely phenomenal guitar for what it cost, and after this I think I won't be asking for any new guitars or instruments in general in a while.

Now, some of you might've already wondered the question 'where is the baritone?', so I won't torture you no more. Anyone still remember my old Fender Strat, the counterfeit one which cost only about 100 Euros? Well, I decided to give that guitar a makeover as well and so I and my dad exchanged some new, medium thick strings on it last night. It came out fantastic - not only are the RotoSound strings (used by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Puddle of Mudd and Bullet for My Valentine, to name a few) sounding much better than the ones I had on the guitar before, but they also allow me to tune really, really low - the sole reason why I was yearning for a baritone in the first place. So far I've gotten as low as Drop A (that's A-E-A-D-G-B) and it seems like I could still go about a full step lower without the neck making it sound awful. Here are the pics:

 
As you can probably tell, I am extremely happy and satisfied over these two guitars right now. On Tuesday evening I only had one guitar that could be called decent at best, while I now have one that is excellent and one that is fairly good in my eyes at least. Let's move on, anyway, because you're probably starting to get enough of my ranting already and there are still lots of things to go on about...

In The Art of Dreaming still isn't done, but it is very close to being finished, trust me. I only need to put the vocals together and tweak the instrumental a little bit here and there now. I've also started on Melodia - on Tuesday I recorded the two guitar solos it has, and on Thursday I took some takes on the drums. On Thursday I also continued shooting the Xie Xie music video after a long break. Because of all the frustrating camera angle adjustments and such that my small room forces me to be careful on, I wasn't able to film much, but I'd say that about 10% of the performance half of the video is now done. I will continue shooting the video next week, but the fact that the shirts I took out to be printed take several days to be finished is preventing me from shooting any scenes that include the bassist or the singer in them.

My plan to rest on this holiday has kind of failed, to be honest, because I've been quite productive every day and the reading I've done, for example, has been very little since the start of the week. I'm not really disappointed of this holiday at all, though - it's just a shame that it's coming to an end so soon. I still plan to mix ITAoD during these next two days as well as take a walk tonight, listen to some good music and jam with my reborn instrument collection. It's worth noting that we all have witnessed how my plans are by now though... Usually they fail sooner or later, haha.

The music that I've rarely listened to this week has consisted of Cult of Luna, Celldweller, Demon Hunter, Major Label and Linkin Park. Concerning Shyoul, I've been particularly inspired by Cult of Luna, and the reason I got their album Salvation on Tuesday in the first place was because a member of the band recommended it to me. It's quite an impressive combination of post-metal and post-hardcore type of doom metal, if that makes any sense. From Linkin Park, I just listened to the album Reanimation briefly last night, while the other three bands have been mainly background music to my ears. Tonight's going to be different I'm sure - I don't want to neglect the pleasure of listening to great music while on a holiday anymore.

Congratulations if you made it all the way to this sentence. I'm out now, but don't you worry readers - I will try to come by again tomorrow to let you know how tonight went and sum up the fantastic week. :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chasing Tomorrow

So, March has begun and so has my well-anticipated holiday week. The reason why this post is being posted so late is because I don't really know what to type here - the same old thing has been going on for the past week and I STILL have yet to start on Melodia. Besides the mixing, In The Art of Dreaming is now fully done though, and I'm so glad to announce that - especially since the last layers of mixing I have yet to do is quite minor compared to the work I've already done for the entire song. My new sound (emphasis on the word 'sound') is quite amazing I'll say, and now I am actually doing some real mixing for the songs - not just using copy/paste to glue the whole together, but adding stuff like echoes, fade ins and fade outs, panning... And so forth. It's still not professional, but a lot different from what you've heard in the past... And see, I'm not trying to say that it's necessarily better, because that's up to you to judge when I have everything done and am ready to put it out. Speaking of which, I've quit my hopes on an April date now, and it looks more and more like the EP might not see the light of day until June. We all know the reasons... Perfection over quickness.

Shyoul is doing pretty great at the moment. Last week I recorded two half an hour long jam sessions (plus one 3 minute one) of me playing bass and then I cut a total of 4½ minutes of bass lines out of those sessions for a sample of what I have to offer for the band. The rest of the band is assigned to do the same with their instrument/role in the band. As I will be doing a little less than a half of the vocals, my sample also included some singing based on some lyrics I wrote in a short period of time last week. I won't reveal those lyrics nor the topic that we've settled for our first song, but just so you know, there is one. We've also set up a forum to communicate better with each other due to our different schedules, and so we're going to have less meetings from now on, but even more open discussion. We're not just trying to make music as a group of 6 people now, but form a friendship too.

On Saturday I decided to check out a band called Digital Summer since I had noticed a thread about them on New Noise (formerly Nu Metal Nebula). I now have their debut album Cause And Effect and I have to admit that I am quite impressed of the band's sound so far, which vividly reminds me of such bands as Earshot, Soulidium and Janus. I have yet to get used to the singer's rather hollow voice and the lyrics in general which are far from the best I've heard, but I see this band standing out from most of the other hard rock/alternative metal bands I've checked out recently. Last week I also listened to a lot of KoRn, particularly the album Follow The Leader.

Now that the holiday is here, I'm going to be productive in the likes of recording, mixing, composing and writing, but I also intend to rest more than I've done on my last few holidays by reading, for example. I'm going to be straight with you all and admit that I've been quite near to burning out this winter, and I am slowly starting to appreciate rest and relaxation as well because of that instead of just working on tens of projects weekly with stress as an endless weight on my heart. During today and tomorrow I will have plenty of time to rest in particular because my dad is a bit sick and at home for today and the next two days, thus I cannot record anything until Thursday. With this comes another good thing though, because my dad will most likely be able to take me to town on Wednesday, meaning that I will finally get to buy myself a baritone guitar and get those two t-shirts for the Xie Xie music video printed after a long wait.

Lastly, congratulations for all the fantastic sportsmen and -women who succeeded in the Olympics, and even to those who didn't, obviously. Finland did poorly, but the only thing I really care for is that we got bronze in ice-hockey after a really difficult tournament. It will take many many years before the void left by old players quitting their international team career this year is filled again, and so this was a really important medal, which on the other hand might make the deciders forget about the critical situation in our national junior development. We're simply screwed in comparison to the other big teams such as Canada, USA, Sweden and Russia, because our next generation only has a few great individuals to offer for the international team and market.

Anyway, I won't rant no more. At least not until Wednesday. :P See you, dear readers. Enjoy life, no matter are you on holiday, studying or working.