YOU wanna be somebody!

wasp-live

 

YOU… wanna be somebody… be somebody soon. Too soon! And that’s the problem. Why do you all want to be “somebody” so badly? Why can’t you wait and earn it?

“We released our demo today, can you please write about it in your blog/zine/site/mag please”? “We’ve only been together a year, but we are determined to make it to the top”. “We may have only recorded 4 songs so far, but they are 4 songs that show plenty of promise”.

Where do I start? I know, how about if that’s the best you’ve got then I’m not really feeling psyched to check out your 4 song e.p. Your 4 song e.p that got snapped up by a digital only label. I don’t really understand these digital only labels to be honest. As a band you have access to all the same music streaming sites as everybody else. Why wouldn’t you just do it yourself? I’ll leave that subject here though, as it’s not what this piece is about. Back to your 4 song e.p.

I’m looking at your half page ad that you shelled out for, published in a magazine of good standing, and all I see is words. Word after word of fluff, guff and typos. Guess who wrote their own P.R? Guess who had no business writing their own P.R? I get it, hiring a P.R firm doesn’t play nicely with a young band’s non existent budget. Too bad, you need one! And a graphic designer too because your ad looks terrible. No, your bass player clearly isn’t a graphic designer. Fire him and hire someone who is. This is why one does not simply become a “somebody” when their resume consists of only a year of gigging, and a 4 song digital only e.p. If you were bent on writing your own hype then the money you spent on paying the artist who did your cover art would have been better spent on a 6 week journalism course at community college/adult education e.t.c.

You’re not thinking things through. You’re not considering the bigger picture as it pertains to the career you are clearly longing for. Quite obviously the psychology of this has not entered your plan for global domination. For instance, when you say “we may have only recorded 4 songs, but they are 4 songs that show plenty of promise” you are making a statement that simply says “we know we are not somebody’s yet and we’re asking that you make allowances for that”. Oops, that wasn’t the best marketing line for your ad. You’re supposed to be selling yourself here, not hi lighting how little you’ve accomplished. “We’re not somebody’s yet, but we have promise and we are going to work hard until we reach the top”. Ok, good! So why not take that promise and put that work ethic and enthusiasm into raising your standards, for EVERYTHING, over the next few years. Why not hang back until you know you have something good. Forget the magazine delusions and work on your craft until it can compete with established artists. With your peers. Your crummy ad isn’t going to get you to the next level. Only you can do that by being good.

Your music, art, design, website, (what’s that, you don’t have a website because you have a Facebook page?  Doh!), social media, contact list e.t.c all have to be up to snuff. If not you’re a sitting duck. Why any artist would be happy to be forgettable is beyond me.

If your work is strong in every area it will speak for itself. And your half page ad need only have your logo, cover art and a snappy tag line. If you’re good that’s all you’ll need. Trust me.

On the subject of wanting to be a “somebody”, let’s talk about the artist who actually was a “somebody” in their past, but that time is long since gone and they refuse to let go of it. If what you did was great and made a legitimate impact you will be a “somebody” forever. If Frank Sinatra were alive today do you think he would be on his Facebook once a week making posts about gigs from 60 years ago? No, he would be drinking whiskey, straight over ice, in a swanky room with women 40 years younger than himself, while some other chump posted about gigs from 60 years ago on an un-official Sinatra page. Once or twice a year is alright for nostalgia sake, but once or twice a fortnight, or even a week is desperate as fuck. Let go of it and let the work speak for itself. Don’t sully it’s memory, it’s potency, it’s legacy by constantly engaging in “remember when” behaviour as a means to validate yourself now. You obviously don’t feel like you’re a “somebody” right now otherwise you wouldn’t feel the need to continually drag up your past. It’s one of the oldest, longest running side effects of music business notoriety. This awful trait of never shutting up about something you did years ago. If you want to be relevant now be active in your present. Fucking do something, instead of talking endlessly. I see original members of VERY famous rock bands on my Facebook all the time doing this. But at least they always have a tour on, always have a show, a flight booked. At least they are actually doing something. There are people who “do”, and people who “don’t”. People who “do” waste no time talking about what they are going to do, or what they have done, because they are too busy focusing their will on what they are doing right now.

The wannabe “somebody” writer comes next. I’m fucking sick of them. Just because you have some shit internet page and call yourself a writer/reviewer/king of the realm doesn’t make you so. Oh no. It’s insulting to bands that actually put the work in, to see just how little work you are investing on your end. What kind of a “writer/reviewer/blogger” that wishes to be taken seriously can’t even fucking get the title of the album they are reviewing correct? Especially when the title is comprised of 3 simple english words. Nothing fancy or mysterious, just 3 words. Do your fucking homework! I completed an interview recently with a music journalist. Someone who has been writing for a reputable title for some years. The quality of the questions he posed to me revealed he clearly had read up on me enough to form something of intelligence. They were thoughtful and considered questions, but more than that, relevant to the artist he was interviewing. It’s not that hard. If you are serious you will do your research. There really is no excuse for calling the album you are reviewing something it’s not, as there really is no excuse for saying the singer is somebody he’s not, or that the band features members from a country it does not. The P.R pack you received has all this information in it in plain english. You really can’t figure it out? You are not a music journalist. You are not even a blogger. You are dyslexic. And all this is watering everything down to the point of stale cat piss. Why can’t you all demand more of yourselves? This is weak. This is a joke.

What about the studio recording/mixing/mastering engineer who’s hasn’t even made anything that’s been seriously released, picked up by a label or written about anywhere? What about that guy? He has a Facebook page, it says right there that he’s all of those things so he must be right? No!! Just a couple of rank digital recordings that lack any understanding of gain structure, correct use of compression, e.q, e.t.c, thrown up haphazardly onto every online streaming site doesn’t make you any of the titles you bestow upon yourself. It makes you desperate to be a “somebody”. Forget about the guy who says he can record everything in full bit depth at his “professional” studio and provide it to you ready for immediate mixing at industry standard, when the reality is very different. The reality is it was actually recorded through sub par pro-sumer equipment and exhibits so many clocking errors and phase cancellations between microphones that these “mix ready” recordings are anything but. “Mixing technology is so good now you really don’t need to bother with recording through the best possible equipment in the best possible room anymore”. Say what?  Just hire a top mixer to sound replace everything so you can sound like every other bland as fuck record of the last 12 years. That way you can have that same sound as 50 million other piss weak bands with no artistic integrity, no message, no fucking purpose beyond being a band that gigs on big tours and sells albums. Shit band names, shit song titles, shit lyrics, shit ethos, shit plastic production. I take the stance of the dissident and say a resounding fuck that, and please pass me the salt.

Then there is the Facebook “photography” page. Oooooh, what a nasty little creature that is. Just because you have a DSLR, a Facebook page called “Stale Cat Piss Photography” that is loaded with pictures you took with the camera set to auto at multiple family lunches and assorted gatherings doesn’t mean you’re a fucking photographer. If you want to call yourself a photographer so badly go do an adult education course and see if you can learn how to take a photo in manual mode to begin with. Once you have that sorted start taking photos and see if you actually have any talent at all for composition. You know? For actually seeing the photograph before you’ve taken it. If you get that far maybe start learning about light sources more. Natural light. Where it comes from and what it does to your photographs. Then maybe start thinking about artificial lighting, how you can use it creatively to light subjects in an emotive way, or use it to try and replicate natural light. What was that? You’d like me to repeat all that? Just read it from the top down again, it’s all there. Sorry, what? You still don’t understand? That’s because you’re not a F.U.C.K.I.N.G P.H.O.T.O.G.R.A.P.H.E.R!!!!!! So stop calling yourself one. I could go on and on all day long. Photoshop artists that abuse the bevel emboss/plastic wrap/blur/ clarity/lens flare/saturation/sharpen tools e.t.c with no understanding of how to use any of them. So called record label owners who have never pressed a cd, or at best release themselves on cd-r because they don’t want to step up to the plate and have to deal with pressing plants, deadlines, communication problems, real money. Come on guys.

Stop calling yourself a Singer/songwriter/musician/recording/mixing/mastering-engineer/music journalist/writer/blogger/ tour promoter/record label/photographer/film-maker/digital artist/graphic designer/painter unless you do any of these things well and have proof of it. If you don’t, the only thing you should call yourself is wanker.

Wannabe Somebody Wanker.

Demand more of yourselves!

I get more meaningful interaction from my wood pile. I am deadly serious about that. I have tree frogs living in there that I see and talk to every day. What I get back from them is far more evolved than all your internet fraudulence combined. What do the tree frogs say to me? Fucking nothing!!!

It’s time to go back to the drawing board for all of you. Get better or leave this place. But like Conor McGregor says, “You’ll do nuthin”.

I just finished listening to Bethlehem’s classic “Dark Metal”. On the cover of the booklet it says “Fucking Kill Yourself”. Nice little synchronicity there huh?.

I’m not even apologetic for any spelling or grammar mistakes I’ve made here because I can write better than 90% of you “writers” so called.

Put that in your blog and smoke it.

 

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The Shock to the Guts.

Shocktotheguts w lyrics

When you realise what to do with the suffering life presents you with, the reasons why it is presenting you with it, and what it’s ultimate purpose is in your life you gain something crucial, awareness. Awareness is the key to understanding all components of your life, all the metaphysical sign posts that exist everywhere in your subtle, and non subtle environment. They are always being revealed to you, at all times, but are sadly missed by most. And usually at the most critical times of self development. And they are not missed due to ignorance. To miss them owing to ignorance implies that you had the awareness of their presence to begin with, and chose to ignore them anyway. Most people miss them because they simply lack the awareness of these things all together. They lack awareness in their life in general. There are those that do possess it to a level though. Awareness actually exists in everyone as the gut instinct, and we’re all guilty of having ignored this at some point, choosing instead to ignore the clarity of it’s guidance, defy our awareness and make a shit choice in spite of it. The gut instinct is the simplest part of our operating system and the least susceptible to bugs, crashes and data corruption. But it’s not entirely immune. The ego and the heart can derail it’s usually flawless operation. The gut instinct is a perfect protection processor we all get for free. It’s designed to circumvent the heart and the ego and serves to give us clarity over confusion. The gut instinct is the best sooth sayer there is. It’s remarkable. It can see the future and reveal it to you in less than a second. The shock to the guts!

Awareness allows the warrior mechanism. It allows one to adopt the form of the warrior as opposed to the hunter gatherer form. The warrior is only concerned with beating his own expectations. He wars for knowledge. He does not scavenge it. He knows when to war and when to isolate. When to be seen and when to be invisible. Due to being in a state of un-satiated hunger, the hunter gatherer can be prone to impatience, hostility, frustration, anger and will often suffer from self importance and self pity as they scavenge for validation through these traits. Some will even mistakenly view these traits, or even proclaim them proudly to be virtues. That is because they lack the awareness that in fact they are useless. They lack the honesty of self to be able to admit that all the above mentioned characteristics are not strengths, but are merely weaknesses in thrall to common garden variety boredom. Only boring people get bored. And the need for constant entertainment and stimulation are symptoms of someone who lacks the awareness to be able to master the physical/material manifestation of matter. Awareness, however, comes from beyond this manifestation. It comes from beyond the matter. To possess awareness and ignore it is to suffer defeat at your own hand. And without awareness everything a man considers extraordinary is actually completely ordinary and impedes his continual self development.

When you have a true hold of awareness there is no time for distractions, no time for seeking unearned praise, no time for talk – either internal or external that does not serve an impeccable purpose, no time for meaningless pursuits that should be spent going to war for something of importance, no time for games or to champion stupidity as genius.

Awareness allows a warrior to glimpse death and defy it anyway, even under the most threatening of circumstances because it gifts us the appropriate fear, respect and self assurance needed to evade it’s touch. Awareness can make even death an ally. You can make an ally of almost anything when you have a hold of awareness.

All of the above is code, and it’s hard wired into your gut. You’re lucky for that. Awareness will save your life.

So the next time you feel that shock to the guts pay it the respect it deserves.

Let It Be Known!

THROES Dissident sigil

So here is another necessary artistic statement of intent from ThrOes. Now that the debut album “This Viper Womb” is in the final stages of preparing for release I have had to do some digging around to see what labels and zines are active today. Who has a strong presence and is reaching people. Things have changed so much since I started writing the earliest material in 2003. Now that I am looking around a bit I’ve discovered a few things. Firstly the internet has spawned a myriad of weak and trendy labels that lack continuity and power in their direction and ethos and I am unable to determine what their true creative intention is, I can’t help but see persons just wanting to run an internet label. A lot of them are going to the bother of releasing quality packaging for the artists which is great, and a lot have pretty decent websites. But I must confess that nearly every artist I check out on their rosters leaves me unimpressed and feeling like they are trying too hard to be some new artsy thing. This is how they are removing themselves from the established names of the established genres. This is something I understand, and I also support. The problem is I don’t believe any of it. It feels like there is a whole wave of bands calling themselves “post” this, “gaze” that, “transcendental” this, and on and on. I’m sorry but it’s all pretentious dribble to me lacking in substance and artistic depth and I’m astounded at how well some of these flimsy bands are doing and how much press they are receiving. This means nothing to me. I’m just surprised. Well, maybe not all the way. Mediocrity seems to reign with an iron fist these days.

Now it’s not just me. In looking into labels and zines I’ve noticed a few making very stern statements similar to this:
“DO NOT TELL US YOU ARE SOME UNIQUE AND NEW STYLE OF METAL, IT WILL PISS US OFF WHEN WE FIND OUT YOU ARE JUST SOME WEAK UNORIGINAL SHOE GAZE HIPSTER CRAP”!

I respect this because as I am now forced to poke my head back in to the scene I can see it’s inundated with this trendy meaningless third rate lies passed off as high art just because some twits with silly haircuts say it’s high art. Evolved! Pffft. An artist can say anything they want about they’re work but if they’re work can not back this up then you are just jumping on band wagons and speaking in ways that is clearly just marketing for impressionable suckers.

Let me stand up tall once again and state FIRMLY for the record that I am not a part of any of this. I spent many long years divorced entirely from every type of metal scene there is, long before any of what’s going on now started happening and becoming the new trend. I was extremely isolated from any other metal music, letting ThrOes evolve organically and independently of anything else. I didn’t really listen to much metal between 2005 right up till now to be honest, except for the odd album that I worshipped. This is one reason I think ThrOes sounds so original, which leads me to my next point.

For me ThrOes is very much it’s own style. I haven’t heard anything else that sounds like it. If someone else can show me a band that sounds like the music I have made I would welcome the chance to hear it. As far as intent goes, a band like Bethlehem reminds me of ThrOes because no one else sounds like them. They do their own thing which is not pretentious, it is just how they write music. Some of the most original music in metal, and any genre for that matter that I have ever heard. They knew they were individuals and they dubbed themselves as “Dark Metal”, a term that had not been used before. A bunch of bands started adopting the term after that but they didn’t have much in common with Bethlehem because no other band does. Bethlehem are Bethlehem.

As I’ve mentioned on my official Facebook page when I started writing ThrOes I dubbed it Trance Metal. It wasn’t Black Metal, it wasn’t Death Metal, it wasn’t Doom Metal but it was heavily preoccupied with creating real hypnotic states within the music whilst also being very heavy. No one else was using this term and I was happy to represent it. Recently I’ve found out that this is a term now being used and some of the examples of bands I’ve heard using it unfortunately turn me off big time and they sound nothing at all like my ThrOes. I also don’t find anything hypnotic about them at all. Obviously this is a term that exists, and has been in use now for 3 or 4 years from what I can gather, before I got my work this far. No longer do I choose to use this term to represent my sound.

I have made a stance to again act alone. I stand by the fact that I feel ThrOes does not sound like anything else in metal. I feel it is in opposition to 90% of metal on a stylistic and thematic level and I do not care one bit about belonging to a group or limiting my style to a few enforced adjectives by authorities I do not follow.
I now refer to ThrOes as “Dissident Metal”.

Dissident:
a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.
dissenter, objector, protester, disputant; freethinker, nonconformist, independent thinker; rebel, revolutionary, recusant, renegade; subversive, agitator, insurgent, insurrectionist, insurrectionary.

This is who I am. In life and in art. Anyone who really knows me knows this to be true. This is not a gimmick. This is what my music is. The term describes it with absolutism and total self belief. Any established “genre terminology” is archaic and unsatisfactory to me as an artist and I will not use it. ThrOes does not belong to any of it. ThrOes is Dissident Metal. This is the only way I will refer to it. It is descriptive of not only the sound, but the lyrics, the art, the way the album was made and the artistic intent behind all of it. It is a complete rejection of many things and scene authority is certainly one of them.

ThrOes is Dissident Metal!
If you will not review or listen to my music because this is how I refer to it, because this is displeasing to your rigid framework of genre classification I will not be losing any sleep over this. I stand by the music and the music speaks for itself.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!

T.

The Black Falconer

Time and Tide….

Sea

ThrOes started in December 2003. She has been fighting against time and tide ever since. I often refer to ThrOes in the female tense. She’s a Venusian whore and sardonic Crone in equal parts. She is a vessel. I process my preoccupation with sex, death, pain and all energies belonging to the underworld through the catharsis of song writing. She is a cruel mistress. She dictates to me exactly how, when and where she will give birth to a new song, and NEVER is it the other way around. If I try to control her she becomes hostile and will lash out, raining down on me all manner of earthly misfortunes that would seem unrelated on the face of it to the uninitiated, but I always know it is her doing. It’s happened too many times to ignore, and ignorance is for ignorants. I simply never ignore the kind of things I’m talking about here. I will take a stance and make a decision on the spot based on whether I just saw a hawk circling in my proximity, or if everytime I look at a clock it’s 11.11 or 3.33, if there were electrical storms happening or strong unrelenting winds, words of importance jumping out of seemingly benign and irrelevant haunts like some rank t.v advertisement, a pamphlet in a waiting room or a newspaper. What I’m trying to say is I operate and organise my whole life around occult navigation systems. Synchronicity, sigils, symbols and archetypes. Numbers, weather patterns, oracle systems, personal omens. I go through times of feeling so in tune with these energies it’s laughably effortless, and then other times where none of them have much to say to me at all, or me to them. And that is just as it should be. Sometimes the taps are turned on full blast and other times it’s just a trickle. There seems some cellular inclination exists for me to view the world in this way. Something that was obviously always there, but something I didn’t discover and act on until I’d reached my mid twenties, this was when I started bringing ThrOes into existence.

I have such long periods of complete inactivity when it comes to writing ThrOes material that when a period of writing or other work starts up it’s impossible for me to see myself as anything other than a stylus, a scribe or a scryer for whatever this is coming through me. Let me divert momentarily back to my first paragraph where I mentioned electrical storms among other things. This would be funny if it weren’t completely expected and right on time. As I write this thunder has just erupted out of the sky and rain has begun to fall for the first time in weeks in Tasmania which has been stricken by drought and there are 80 bush fires currently ablaze around the state. Lightning and thunder is rolling in right now. See what I mean? I’m not making one bit of this up. It’s been this way since 2009. I’ve just stepped out on to my back deck. Sheet lightning everywhere and it’s pissing down. The sky’s are pitch black! I feel energized! I digress though, what was I saying? The periods of artistic inactivity far outweigh the periods of activity. But I say “artistic” inactivity because there is always something influential going on in my life that ends up in ThrOes songs regardless of whether I am actively working on them or not. In fact I would say the periods of “artistic” inactivity were so “psychologically” active that I’d have no meaningful material without them. It’s almost like she needs me to feel pain and struggle before she will even think of letting me pick up a guitar yet alone turn on all the studio equipment and hit record. Like it’s not going to be honest unless the abyss has been faced and it’s crossing attempted. It’s 3.33pm now and the thunder, lightning and rain has all doubled in intensity. She knows I’m talking about her.

It’s not hard to understand why I chose the name ThrOes for this project. Everything about it and my life reflects the moniker. And as I see it as my life’s work, where I bring my experience of life into artistic form, it’s been essential to experience life in order for ThrOes to even exist. My experience of life is the only reason it exists. The lyrics may be cloaked in metaphors and cipher but unlike most metal bands none of it is image and none of it is made up. ThrOes is who I am. There are songs about specific experiences with specefic people at turning points in my life, there are songs where I predicted the future, staked my claim and watched my predictions come true, and when the songs are not that introspective, which only 2 out of the 10 on the album are, they are global in message, reflecting my world view and disdain for the weakness and destructive apathy of mankind and the willingness to swallow cultural values and dogmas, marketing and fakery. People’s willingness to wear uniforms and say “me too”. Even if what they are signing up for is meaningless, people just seem to want to belong and fit in with the majority.

It was my honeymoon on January 15, 2012 and as far as the album was concerned I had 5 song’s demo’d. One was the track “Feed It” which was demo’d in 2006 and was the song responsible for me making this album. The energy of the song embodied so successfully everything I was wanting to achieve when I started ThrOes on a sonic and emotional level that I knew I had to make a full length album just to do that track justice. I wrote the first half of the title track “This Viper Womb” in 2007 and try as I might I was unable to write the second half for another 5 years. I also wrote the first half of the 8th track “Lavish The Anguish” around the same time. The second half again wouldn’t come out of me till 5 years later on my honeymoon. That’s what I meant when I said anytime I try to control ThrOes she usually blocks me. She works on her schedule and my schedule doesn’t matter at all, and this is often inconvenient to me. The last thing I wanted to do on my honeymoon was deal with the pain of drudging up all this old ThrOes material and get it all locked down and organised. But that’s exactly when I could feel the energy and knew I had to. It actually ended up being a pretty good experience, the remote location with mountain back drop and hawks circling the property seemed to bring it out of me easier than expected. It wasn’t the fight I thought it would be. The opening sequence of the 4th track “Conscience Makes Cowards” was written in 2004, the middle part was written in 2007, and the outro theme was written on my honeymoon. In 2009 I wrote and demo’d the tracks “Shock to the Guts”, “Dead Lights”, “Nothing Left for the Vultures” and “Nowhere Else”. These all had to be re learned on my honeymoon which sucked as I don’t write anything down and I NEVER play a song once it is written. I hadn’t touched a guitar for three years so remembering them was very hard. I got them all back, wrote down all the chords for every song so I wouldn’t forget and finalized the whole album in 2 weeks. I returned home and recorded all my scratch tracks to send to Kevin Talley in Texas so he could track my drum sessions. I spontaneously wrote and demo’d the opening track “Permanent Midnight” during this process. The 10th and final track, D.N.A corruption was written and recorded December 2004 and featured on the 2005 promotional e.p “The Drowning Rituals” which was limited to 50 copies. So I finalized and stiched together a 65+ minute album in 2 weeks. I hit it real hard and once Kevin delivered the drum tracks in March 2012 it was non stop work for me until the mix started in September 2014 and ended in the beginning of October. So whilst the seeds were blowing around and sowing themselves for 9 years it was really only 2 and a half years of real work on the whole production process which started in January 2012. I took 2015 off to get some distance from it, process the trauma of it all and to reflect on some heavy things that happened in my personal life during the making of the album. My family and I also relocated and I enjoyed the arrival of my first son Dorian. All of which has been incredible and exactly what was needed in order to get any meaningful perspective on the songs and the mix, and to finish off the last details of the album like post production, finalising the art, mastering, social media bullshit and contacting labels and press. All that’s happening now and work has been non stop since January 1st 2016.

This is not like any metal album you will hear in 2016 or have heard before. It sounds completely unique. Clearly this album is made up of work that was written at different times in my life. I’m not the first to do this. It seems a common thing with one man bands. But something that also seems common to all of them is that you can absolutely hear and feel the material was written over many different periods of time. You won’t feel that with this album. It sounds and feels like every note of it was written at the same time and recorded at the same time in a great recording studio. My recording equipment is all pro quality, industry standard but as far as the room? I tracked all of it silently with headphones on in the corner of my old family living room with kids running around my feet while I was in the middle of takes. I re-amped and mic’d the guitars 2 years after the performances were tracked in as D.I’s. Everything about recording this album was restricting and terribly hard to overcome the limitations of not having the space or isolation needed to produce it in a more typical fashion. The restrictions and limitations made it traumatic, but the trauma is deeply woven into all those songs and they’re all really strong because the vibe is so dark, hectic and tense. I made sure I was convinced in myself that there was no filler on the album. That every song deserved and needed to be on it and that the album itself should exist and be out in the world. I question whether these are things that most metal bands ask themselves when making an album? I would wager the answer is no more often than not.
The drumming on this album is technical in feel, heaviness and groove. There is no preoccupation with speed. I stopped caring about that when I was 21. I gave Kevin a brief of what I was after and he delivered better than I could have hoped. The drums sound huge and I owe that to Chris Townend’s veteran mix production.

The vocals are extreme in a way I haven’t heard before. They kick your head off, but they are legit. You can feel the pain in them because the pain in them is real. Vocals were traumatic for me and Jamie both. Jamie lifted the calibre of the vocals once he was on board and had delivered his parts. He is so good it forced me to get my vocal good enough to hang with his. As the primary vocalist it was ambitious to think I could pull this off considering the only metal singing I’d done before were a couple of back up lines on someone elses album that were nothing to write home about. I was a complete novice, inexperienced in every sense. Jamie’s parts slayed. No surprise there. So I had to figure out how to sing so our two vocals would create that unified grenade I was always planning. I sang the whole album once in 2012 so Jamie could work off it and know where to sing his parts. He’s the best at that style, no one can touch him. His parts were great. Mine sucked in comparison. But it was only the first time I’d done it and I was singing next to one of the most uniquely extreme vocalists of any country. You hear a lot of metal singers on albums and you can tell straight away it’s bullshit. It’s all just silly shit they are doing inside their mouth and pumping it into a juiced mic preamp. Jamie calls them “Whispering Jack’s”, and if you have been paying attention you would know that is the second time John Farnham has been referenced in one of these blog posts. Of course you don’t, no one reads this shit. The point is Jamie is no “Whispering Jack” and neither am I. “Whispering Jack’s” can go curl up and die. Anyway, I got on with everything else over the next two years and left replacing my vocals till last. I studied Jamie’s vocals for two weeks when it came time to replace my vocal, practicing, moulding, completely changing the texture of my voice and once I found I had those harmonic complexities happening I knew it was time to do my master tracks. That’s why Jamie’s vocal is better than everyone elses, harmonics that come from the throat. It was only the second time ever I’d attempted to sing metal seriously. I found my new voice. The savagery, the pain, the harmonics were there and I tracked 8 songs one after the other in one take in a week until I blew my voice out on the track “Feed It”. My chords were fucked. I waited a week hoping I would still be able to nail those tones after the time off. After you stop there is always some element of having to force and shape your throat into submission, where as if you’re having a good crack at it smashing track after track your throat shapes start taking care of themselves. It doesn’t need to be manipulated as much, it just goes there. So I had “Feed It” left to track, it was a week after my voice fucked out trying to get it down the first time. I hit the tones fine and did it in one take. I’m pretty proud of my vocal since I developed it out of sheer stubborness and will, and the fact that it is not lacking in power and vibe next to someone as seasoned as Jamie is an achievement for me. I really bring the cold hardline with my vocal where Jamie brings his freakshow range and ability to find the pain and emotional intent in a word and pull it up from depths like no other, and physically hurt his body to get it out of him. After he finished both his vocal sessions he was sore like he’d been in a fight. That’s because he was in one. Seeing this in person, in my studio I’m even more awed by what he does than when I was freaking out over his singing in Damaged when I was 18. The physicality he uses to make those vocal tones, it’s all automatic, all subconscious. He’s responsible for the vocals turning out as nasty, viscious, chaotic and unique as they did on this album. If it were anyone else I was singing with there would be no reason to push myself as hard as I did with my own vocal.

The bass tracks were really important to me. They were the only element I found enjoyable during the whole process. Kevin gave me such amazing groove and fills in the drum tracks that I was able to write really powerful, active bass lines that lock right onto the drums and create a really thick, deep sinister groove. The bass is not buried in ThrOes. It’s a high point. The bottom end on the album is big, defined and is constantly moving. I hate buried root note bass tracks.

I wrote at least 80% of everything in the studio while tracking the songs. I start with just two tracks of rhythm guitar then I write all the second guitar parts and bass on the fly in reaction to the rhythm guitars and the drums until a full song is constructed. No practice. I’m practicing while recording which is why I record myself and why I take a long time. ThrOes songs are put together like a painting which is why after a song is complete I never play it again. Why would I? ThrOes is the artistic will of one man. It is me. It’s not a band. It’s how I paint. A painter doesn’t keep painting the same EXACT painting over and over. He’s concerned with painting a series that all work together to make a larger collective. That’s what this album is. It’s my series. Every song deliberately fits together to make an “album”. Something it seems that isn’t even a decisive factor for a lot of bands. Not in this “mp3 playlist ” age we are in now. I don’t give a fuck about that. I only ever wanted to make a real album. A true album experience like albums used to be. “This Viper Womb” isn’t a thrown together collection of songs. It’s a series, a legitimate body of work. The track order is deliberate. It should be experienced as a trip through the 1st track right through to the 10th. People that still care about experiencing albums in this way will be rewarded with this album. It’s so dense, so sonically full, so heavy in sound, theme, vibe and intent, so atmospheric, so laboured on and thought out to every last conceivable detail that it will continue to reward the discerning listener for years. I am confident of this and can’t wait to set it amongst the true believers and unknowing disciples.
Not long now….

For the record I started writing this on the 28th, when I picked it up the next day as if on cue the thunder and lightning started up again without warning and out of nowhere, a bolt of lightning struck so close it lit the house up like strobe lights and cut off the power. It returned in a few minutes but the storms did not. I do love it when electrical storms get involved in this.

Do What Thou Wilt

The Black Falconer. 28/29.1.2016

T_Hawk

Navigating north and south

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Don’t mistake any of what I’m about to say as some idiot telling everyone to “just be more positive”, or that I assume that the struggle of the man living in Syria or Sierra Leone is the same struggle as the man living in Seattle or Sydney. They are not. I can not speak for, nor offer any advice to the man who lives in a war zone, is under the rule of a tyrannical dictatorship, is chained to religious extremism by blood and birth, does not know where his next meal is coming from e.t.c.

I do not speak to the man who’s bloodline has been thinned to the edge of extinction by genocide, or had his culture devalued, torn asunder and then sold to feeble minded western consumers in two bit tourist/cafe/knick knack shops.

I have nothing to offer these people because I don’t pretend to know anything about it. It isn’t my experience of life. I’m fortunate. I live a privileged life. I live in the west where apathy and entitlement reign, and there is no shortage of either to study.

Western apathy is a dirty thing. A symptom of our own material worldfucking. For a lot of people, living in the west affords them every freedom. The opportunity to live a full life. Yet so many are slaves to apathy. So many have a real chance at life but they have no clue what life is. They’re doing anything not to participate in it.

Life is duality. An electromagnetic double current of seemingly “good” and “bad” experienced at random for the duration of one’s residency on earth. People in the west get so caught up in the north and south of things that it stops them from getting runs on the board. “I’m north, but I want to be south”. “I’m south but I want to be north”. There are even those people that possess talent not known by most who hold back on harnessing their gifts because they are afraid of the end result, the outcome of their talent being out in the world. Afraid of failing. This is a harmful preoccupation with events that have not yet passed.

Be concerned with being present. Quit your job, quit your marriage, quit the lease on your car, quit your pay t.v subscription. If these things are preventing you from being present and knowing who you are, if they make you miserable, if they stop you participating and living life, burn them. Those who cry boredom and anxiety do so because they’re stuck in first gear, stuck in the slow lane, disabled from being present, hopelessly trying to speed up a listless life artificially by any means necessary. Anything that will tickle the reward centers of the brain triggered by stimulation of the neurotransmitters. Drugs, gambling, t.v, relationship drama, serial affairs, shopping addiction, travel addiction, credit card debt to fund fake lifestyles, keeping up with the Jones’. These are typical western dodges, most, including myself, will employ at least once in their life to not have to deal with the often painful prospect of knowing one self.

It’s a very rare individual that’s happy to be in their own company. The few that do are who I would deem to be “free”. When you’re running from who you are you’re running in the wrong direction and you will fall over. Stay in your pain, weather the storm, face your crisis with prestige and complete the mission. Learn whatever it is you are supposed to learn from the event. Don’t cheat yourself out of a chance to gain knowledge.

Life is an apprenticeship and every experience you live is a test you are offered. Whether you pass or fail is up to you, but you can not be a master without first being an apprentice. Forget about north and south, forget about good and bad. Focus instead on balancing the energy and frequency that needs to be mastered, conquered and shaped by acts of will in your life. Such a realisation makes a man who seeks knowledge dispassionate to the circumstances a subdued man would call himself a victim of. A man of knowledge situated in the north is ready to expect the south at any moment. He favours not one for the other because he welcomes the opportunity to master both . He seeks to master both at once. The aim is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive. Choose a path with heart and view everything not as a blessing or a curse, but merely as a challenge, and accept it without anxiety or regret for the outcome. Life is too short for regret. Life should be about getting runs on the board. He who dies with the most toys does not win, he with the most runs on the board does.

 

5 possible indications your metal band sucks

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1: If you have a three word name your metal band probably sucks. There are exceptions to the rule of course, but most won’t make it out alive. I don’t think I’ve read one yet that has any depth, power or real meaning and this almost always extends to the music. You can smell the weak song structures and predictable cliches a mile a way. These types of names are flimsy, naff and blow over the minute anyone so much as farts, so forget about them surviving a real storm, like the test of time for example. Identifying one of these names is quite easy. If your metal band is called “As something something”, “When something something”, ” Within something something, “After the something”, if it starts with Beyond, Below,  Beneath, Above, well, you get the drift. If you meet these criteria it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that your metal band probably sucks. Even if you’re gigging, touring and have a strong fan base these are actually no insurance that the core ethos of your band is bullet proof against sucking. Chances are you have no real ethos. You are probably working hard on your image and making sure it slots nicely into your chosen sub genre. Acceptance. How can anyone forget that classic taxi cab exchange between Patrick Bateman and his “supposed” fiance Evelyn Williams?

Evelyn to Patrick : “You hate that job, I don’t see why you just don’t quit?”

Patrick to Evelyn : ” BECAUSE I WANT… TO FIT…IN!”

Let’s move on shall we?

2: If the image of your metal band you present to the world is one of being misanthropic, nihilistic, anti human satanists, but you then fail utterly to be true to these ideologies in your real life, you are full of shit, your ethos is about image and your metal band probably sucks. If you claim to align with any of the above philosophies, but in your real life lobby for gay rights, animal rights, if you express genuine remorse ( which is a very real and natural human trait I might add) at human tragedies, like learning of ilness or death of any friends, family or pets, if you are miserable at the fact your work or relationships make you miserable then you are full of shit, your ethos is about image and your metal band probably sucks. Let us not forget, you tell the world through your projected imagery, lyrics, and interviews that you are misanthropic, nihilistic, anti human satanists and by not rejoicing in the examples of worldly suffering I mention is to be disingenuous in your projected artistic ideology, phoney, and anything phoney means your metal band probably sucks. Moving on.

3: If you are one of these new breed metal bands that operates off this latest trend of song structure, i.e. half time break down verse, screamo, boring, hollow annoying vocal that kids itself it’s angry and full of feeling, but is actually devoid of both, then seemlessly floats into a totally “no surprises here” chorus that’s fitted out with one of those “heard it a thousand times before” big, fake epic, melodic pop hooks that’s equipped with the spawn of Justin Bieber for the vocal, your metal band probably sucks. If you fit into both point 1 and 3 of this list simultaneously, forget probably, your metal band DOES suck.

4: No amount of lo fi production is going to make your half arsed Darkthrone rip off be the next Darkthrone. That was a moment in time and it ended 20 years ago. Get over it. If your songs are shit, boring and unimaginative, deliberate lo fi production will not be your saviour. You will NEVER be accepted into the halls of Valhalla with your idols so stop trying so hard to follow scene rules. They were put there to keep the likes of you out. If you think you are honouring Quorthorn, Euronymous and Dead with every riff you lay down to your $100 soundcard your metal band probably sucks. I invite you to ditch your uniform and find out who YOU are, and stop being who you think you have to be to fit in. You’re missing the point. Also, if you’re not Norwegian you probably shouldn’t wear corpse paint. It’s disrespectful.

5: Did you even bother to ask yourself whether the world needs your band and it’s music in it? If the answer is no then your metal band probably sucks. If you have honestly never asked yourself this question before continuing to gig or release an album you are likely more concerned with not being left out, of feeling like you’re running out of time to get noticed, feeling like you’re behind in the race. There’s the problem. You treat what should be your art as sports or an avenue to fame, a way to be known which illustrates flaws in your character like impatience and envy. Your only concern should be whether you are leaving the greatest work of art you can to the world, and if that was your concern you wouldn’t release the same bland rice and beans as everyone else. If it takes 20 years to paint 5 brush strokes of red against 6 brush strokes of blue exactly the way you see it in your head then that’s how long it takes. It doesn’t matter if someone else has completed 20 similar works in that time. It’s irrelevant. They are not you. All that matters is if you care about your art enough to allow it the time it requires to end up at it’s best. If you see your metal band as a vehicle to climb up a scene related ladder that has nothing to do with any real artistic statement that’s ok, but it does increase the chances that your metal band probably sucks.

 

 

Permanent Midnight

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It’s been a bit over a year since my first “blog post”. My silence has been deliberate. My family and I relocated at the beginning of 2015 and in May my first born son hit planet earth. These events were life changing and 2015 has been full. Despite 95% of work on the album being completed a year ago there is still the final push to come, the promotion and organising of release and delivery formats to be handled, the tedious social media admin e.t.c. This can take just as much from the individual as every other completed aspect of production, and after putting in three solid years of work I honestly wanted nothing to do with it for a year. As a result I’ve had an uninterrupted 8 months of getting to know my son. It’s been the best 8 months of my life and the distance between me and ThrOes has been crucial to both me and the project. I’m renewed, my focus is singular and my perspective is clear. Once mixing was complete it had become almost impossible for me to be objective toward the work. Distance cleans out the brain and the ears, all my senses are fresh, renewed and once again hungry. The songs are weighty and muscular, vicious and coated in an impenetrable layer of anxiety, anger, fear, judgement and triumph. They embody the intention from which they were written. They embody my life. So work has resumed and I’m recharged, and here is the first taste of what’s to come.  This is the opening track from the album. This is “Permanent Midnight”.