Sunday, January 31, 2010


...and i have to say it's been a good week.  Oh excuse me, hello.  Have you two met?'

Horizontal turning of the head.  Hmph.

  "Well allow me, [your name], this is Guy.  He's the lead singer of a band named The Bend and not having heard them live is why you still have trouble sleeping at night."

"Oh yeah, and you missed Gunn and the Damage Done earlier, too."

Sorry about that. It's just that you've caught me in the middle of what could be added to a literal hundred even if my first impulse is to tell you that there are a thousand things I'm doing right now.  I don't know how I even managed to squeeze in a birthday, but thanks to a couple of friends, we ended up going to Rock4Relief on Thursday night and it was amazing.  It's been a sinfully long time since my last live show (on or off stage) and it was stepping off the plane in the tropics after eighteen months of Antarctica.

There's been some conversation about my choice in album title.  It has caused me to do some deep thinking.  Though it hurts to say it, I think that though my message is clear and strong and positive in intent, it may be something that causes pain.  Whether or not intellectuals will wring me dry over "Arbeit Macht Frei" I really could care less.  But at the same time...I know that inside of every intellectual is a sensitive human being, and to that part of them I would yield.  So I may consider the advice.  I'm open to advice.

Add to that this weeks horoscope, courtesy of Rob Brezsny(chovich):
In the coming week, I predict that you will NOT experience disgusting fascinations, smiling-faced failures, sensationalized accounts of useless developments, or bizarre fantasies in the middle of the night.  You may, on the other hand, have encounters with uplifting disappointments, incendiary offers, mysterious declarations of interdependence, and uproars that provoke your awe and humility in healing ways.  In other words, Aquarius, it'll be an uncanny, perhaps controversial time for you-but always leading in the direction of greater freedom.

Pretty cool right?

I went to my first open mic night at RockIt space tonight and was really blown away by all that talent in the room.  There was this guy Kevin who was polished as a professional and it was only his second open mic night ever.  Then Jessi and Marti got up there and swayed us with there solid and beautiful harmonies.  In the midst of all that the dance instructor (from a class they have there just before they open up the stage to any and all who have an opinion) did a rap to some hand drumming.  Even I performed a couple of songs, and even though it was a little rough around the edges, it still felt natural.  It was my first live performance since May 20, 2009.  I was on the drums in with Zach on lead guitar, Walker on Bass, and Becky on rhythm guitar and lead vox in our band The Right Typewriters.  It was a great show that got a footnote in a review for her boyfriend's band who followed us with a killer show.  (Hurricane Lantern (s?) is the name of his band.)

For histories sake, the last show before that was April 15th, 2009 at The Comet with Zach on rhythm and vox, Tim on lead guitar, me on bass, and Matt as the skinner.  We were playing a Stooges vs. Misfits show and we were on the side of the Stooges.  We called ourselves Something Lovelies at the time.  I say that because our band names included Mr. Hand, Boot Blacks, and 1919.  We played Gimme Danger, I Wanna Be Your Dog, Seek and Destroy, and another one that escapes me.  That was a crazy high energy show, and we had fun.  Especially when the drummer who had let us use his hi hat decided that he had to go in the middle of our second song and ran on and quickly off stage to the befuddlement of Matt who suddenly realized that something was definitely missing.  I saw people in the crowd follow him out and I hope that they caught him.  But all I could do was laugh.  What the hell, right?

And before that I was playing a solo acoustic show a The Showbox Green Room on April 9th, 2009.  I guess I've tried on a lot of hats in the past but it's been a while since I've worn some of them.  When I walked into the door of the RockIt, I saw Jack sitting on the couch and a crowd of vibrant onlookers of all ages, some with juice and others with beer.  The smiles of a face recognizing a face that it has anticipated are shared and you feel like you're home.  And not just because this arts space was originally built as a residence, but more from the way that you can slip into the place where no one is standing and feel that they were saving that spot just for you.  From the beautiful accapella's of a Rastafarian healer to a lover singing of his lover and finally the raspy, end of the night attempts to roust the neighbors with a Beatles Sing Along, i felt like I was a part of something.  None of it was fake, either because i was part of something.  The closest thing I can equate it to is a youth group gathering without the religion.  And man it was fun, right?  If you weren't there, don't fret, there's a place for you to sit or stand next week, and every week following that from 7-10pm on Saturday Nights.

Did I mention that I've made a contact with an amazing person down in Renton recently?  There's a place you should look up called Tyrannosaurus Records. They've got a really cool thing going on down there, and they're not alone.  There's a great burgeoning community in what they lovingly refer to as DTR.  They have the more modern forms of media available (cd's) as well as the old Vinyl for those of you who are cursed with an audiophillic bone in your earlobes.  Live in-stores happen pretty often, and they have a recording studio on site.  I've never really had a great excuse to hang out in Renton, but with the discovery of this place I think that I need to reevaluate that as well.

Also, check out Shadowland Open Mic night in west seattle.  Tuesday nights.  That's it for now folks, but I'll get atcha soon.

Here's not looking at you,

M. Chase

PS~Cancer Sucks.  Remember that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the mix down

What's great about the music as it happens to sound when a recording is fresh and still smelling of afterbirth is that you can hear the reality of the moment that you were alive to put down all of your tracks.  All of the dynamics are completely organic, and in that way pure.  Unadulterated.

When I listen to a song, and I mean really listen to a song that someone's made, I want to hear at least one thing that wasn't supposed to happen.  That one little muffled pat of a foot tapping in the booth or a buzzed fret for good measure.  An illogical breathe is even enough to satisfy this odd desire of mine.  i guess that's why for a really long time in my life I listened to nothing but live music.  All of this indulgence was made possible by the people at Napster and Kazaa whom I do so sorely miss.

Wait, did this musician just say that he misses free downloads without consequences?  Yeah, dude.  I think that free access to your art is the best way to earn the trust and respect of any listening audience that may sprout up for you as an artist.  That's right, I'm talking to you.  I'm talking to myself, too.  And the best part about being on a blog now is that at anytime, I can talk about what I'm thinking about and share things that I wouldn't normally have a chance to share with everyone I know and don't know, and in turn all of you can talk with me about these things.  Then I can go check out the other blogs that I follow and see what my friends are thinking about.  Pretty cool, huh?  and none of this has any time constraint.  in five years, chances are someone can come back here and see what I was thinking about.  Who is controlling history now, biotch?


We, the people do suggest that everyone in the world get in on the conversation.  and just like our world, the art and context of it all is ever changing.  We feel one way about it one day and then experience a bipolar reversal in our opinion the next.  More bass.  No, that was too much.  Louder drums. quiter drums.  g-verb. tremolo. 3 db. -12 db. normalize. compress.  act react preaction.

and all this just to issue a different mix of a song that's already on the blog a few entries down the way.  but that's the thing.  we don't just finish a song, put it to master and call it a day any more.  we live in a time of remixes and remasters and 3-d quadraphonic sound.

On this mix, I eq'ed out some of the scratchy highs on the vocals and boosted the volume and bass on the drum track in certain key places.  A little boost on the bass track volume so you can hear what's going on down there.  It sounds good through Sony Headphones anyways.


M. Chase

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's not over till the skinny white boy sings

I have an indecision problem. And this problem is pervasive throughout my life as many of you who know me well know damn well. Miranda will ask me, "What are you making for dinner?" or "What do you want to do for your birthday (which is this thursday I might add)?" or Zach might ask me "Do you want to go to a show on Sunday?"

"I don't know."

And that's just the simple stuff. Of course there are far more relevant examples that I could make, but frankly, using them would make me look bad and stupid. Whether or not I am bad and stupid, I will leave up to you, my humble readers.

Now the reason I am even telling you this is that you are going to have to bear with me (or not, really) when it comes to naming my creative endeavors.  I am a frequent user of "working titles," and I like to write songs that could be holed up with all diversity of pigeons.  Double and triple meanings, agendas that are hidden from the agendas:  This is just how I am.  And who I am, I might add.

So, I know that I had posted a song and labeled it as "Well" a couple days ago, but that was a mistake.  I actually meant to call it "The Stranger" in homage to both my psychopathy and my favorite rag.  The Stranger is a local free weekly in Seattle, and it is the newspaper who's classifieds led me to a dingy, sweat encumbered and soon to be condemned little building in the stadium district known as "Hush Studios," the place that I actually became a musician by virtue of the fact that I was creating and performing music in real life and outside of my barracks.  I will submit that I had been a producer and *chuckle chuckle* rapper (that's right, I said rapper ( if you don't believe me)) up until that point, but I never thought I would actually end up doing that forever.  I learned a lot from it, but it wasn't my ends.

So there it is folks, change order #1.  And I may end up changing it again.  You know, to keep you on your toes and such.  The Stranger.

M. Chase

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Alright, so I've run into a major hitch in my plan. Time to make a video. Seems simple, right? And it would be, except that I have an old school 8mm camera and no way of hooking it up to my computer to post new videos.

So, this camera that I have is a Samsung model SCL610, and it has two possible outputs that I could use, though I'm not sure which is best. There is an S-Video output and an A/V Out output. I'm guessing that the A/V Out is my best bet, but how do I plug it into my computer?! The jack for theoutput is what seems to be a standard 1/8" plug, and I assume that the best thing I could do is plug this into a usb port on the cpu. Does anyone know anything that will help me?

M. Chase

ps~also, since I know that all five of you who are now following me are just positively dying to know,  I laid down the structure for my next song today.  It's one I wrote a very long time ago and it's about time I made it real.  I should have it finished by weeks end if all goes well.  If not, then it could be months ;)

****UPDATE****  So I've found a little device on eBay called the "easycap" and it is exactly what I was looking for.  Hopefully it will actually work.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


So I'm happy to announce that I finished recording another song today. Of course there are things that I'd like to improve upon, but it does me no good to just hold out forever, hoping that I will lay down that golden track any day now...

Next thing you know, weeks have gone by and you are still working on the same old song. And in fact you've actually started to despise both yourself and the music that you are trying to create. That's what started happening with the last song I was working on.

So in this new track, I'm trying some new techniques as far as recording the drum machine and guitars. I've got a Fender mini amp that I tried playing the drums through to give them a more acoustic presence. For the bass, I just ran it straight into the board. And the guitar is set with a some extra gain through the mini. Vocals are direct in too. The track has minimal effects; I added a splash of reverb and delay to the vox and guitar track for presence and whipped up a little "pan magic" to make it sound a little more live.

Things I'd like to work through include a lot of hissing in the background, figuring out a way to get a clean vocal without overdriving my mic, and getting more than one guitar tone into the song. Enough about what I think, though. Here's the song. Enjoy, "Well".


Alright, so I posted this a little over a week ago, and I'm realizing that I need to put a little more into it than I did.  Let's talk about this song, alright?  Forget about the technicalities of the recording, and the musicianship or lack thereof (depending on your tastes).  As you will be hearing from me quite a bit if you send any amount of time absorbing this blog, there is something of a back story that needs to be observed before I can adequately explain what this song is all about.

It all started with a fellow named Ben.  I was fresh out of the army, and working at my first full time civilian office job in Bellevue.  I had gotten the job through a very close friend of mine, and was doing pretty well at it when this tall, bouncy guy with tousled and slightly greasy blonde hair, rumpled clothing, and some kind of fire under his ass.  He was a temp, and so no one really got on him about his appearance.  Besides, his attitude and willingness to work hard more than made up for it.

After he had been working there for about three weeks, I saw him standing by the bus stop after quiting time and so I thought I would give him a ride home.  Then rides became a regular occurrence and we eventually started hanging out quite a bit when we found out that we were both really interested in expanding consciousness and spiritualism, meditating, and other soul-related stuff.  One SeaFair weekend, we wanted to get to Capitol Hill for something and driving was just not an option, so we decided to walk there.

We had such a good time and felt so good about the whole thing that we made a decision that any time Ben and I were going somewhere together, we would walk and only if necessary would we utilize public transportation.  In our prime, we were averaging 50 miles on foot per week with treks that took us from Richmond Beach to Sodo.  At one point we covered 75 miles in one weekend.  We barely even slept.  It became an addiction.

The solitude that comes with being constantly on the move and all of the thoughts that finally had the time to think for themselves led me to figure out what matters to me in this life.  Most of the philosophies that I still adhere to were formulated on the road.  And though Ben and I would have conversations from time to time, we mostly just gave each other a reason to keep up the pace.

But as lives tend to go, Ben and I started moving in different directions.  I was getting saner and saner as I aged (debatable I'm sure) and he was losing grip.  I had been fired from my job and he had been hired on as a permanent staff member in my place, and the office environment wasn't kind to his free spirit.  He could've been a shaman in a hut and not a dweeb in a cubicle.  Should've.  But reality is what it will be and times were tough on him.  The last time we were together was after a night of music at the Sound Asylum, and he was being extra spacey.  He wanted to get on the road, to get moving, and tramp about.  Not just in Seattle, but all over.  And though I though it was a novel idea, I wasn't about to uproot myself from my band and my life in Seattle.  It was all still pretty new to me and I wasn't ready to even consider it.  Well, he didn't like that and he went off on a tirade about no one caring what he did with his life, which ended in him slamming his arm in the car door repeatedly to prove that he felt nothing.  I don't remember what happened next but I wasn't having any part in his newfound sense of destruction, so I kindly took my leave of his immediate friendship.

After Ben and I stopped hanging out, one thing that remained in my life was the walking.  I didn't feel right if a week went by without an inordinately long hike that involved taking the long way around so that I would have a chance to walk down an unfamiliar street.  I would be alone in the seediest sections of the CD during the darkest hours of the night just to feel alive.  The sounds of the city around me were a constant reminder that I wasn't alone in this world, even if I was in lonely company.

With all of the time I was spending alone on the road, I took up the habit of talking to myself.  I was pretty self conscious about it at first, but after a while I stopped caring if I had an audience.  But there was this one specific time that I was tramping and I was full on back and forthing with myself in a debate on some incidental or another when this clean cut suburbanite lady crossed my path.  As we approached each other, I could see that I was frightening her and that she thought I was going to snap or take her purse or something.  I can imagine that from her perspective I looked pretty scary with my frazzled long blonde hair and huge baggy clothing, but I had never really thought about it before then.  At first I was in a tizzy about it though.  "Who is she to be judging me?" I thought.

When I got home that night I sat down with my Harmony and started riffing out when I came across the chords that I ended up using in this song.

And that, my friends, is the short version.  Seriously.

Also, I'd like to add that one of the themes of this song is the internet.  It's so strange and beautiful to me that we can express ourselves in a way that can be decoded by people from all walks of life both nw and in to the future.

Here's to Al Gore.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The "Sign" Post

Okay, I'm sure that you've all been out there living your lives and thinking your thoughts, feeding your dogs and cats, planning your plans, and questioning your very existences when all of the sudden, your next big idea is on a three for one special somewhere. It's like, as soon as you come up with an idea that you know is a hit, someone else capitalizes on it big time. Like that time that Charlie Brown and I came up with this great pre-quel to the Batman story where he starts out by traveling the world and learning martial arts from the eastern world (we were in Korea at the time), only to return to the states and see Batman Begins step into the box office.

Well, I have had many of these experiences, but just the other day I was in my local grocery store picking up a few things for dinner when I decided to stop at the comic aisle and see what was there. You see, Miranda is getting really interested in pursuing a career as a tattoo artist and I thought maybe she could check out some comic books for creative inspiration. And there under a pile of assorted tales superheroes that you could file in the "wow that's great that you've got the ability to dress in tights and a funny hat and go in public but I've never heard of you, man" category, is a comic with the album title that I've been considering scrolled across the cover.


You might think that I'm a little superstitious for thinking that this means something, but hey, I would agree with you on that.  The thing is, Tarot cards have a tendency to be correct in my life.  So do horoscopes and signs and wonders.  When I am not sure which way to go, I surrender myself to the whims of the universe, and see where it will take me.  The universe is moving, so if you stand still for a while, you will have moved further than you could've on your own sometimes.  You dig?

But don't let me be misunderstood here, it's not that I necessarily think that all of this mysticism is the guiding force behind things working out in my life.  I think that by allowing my mind to envision the Utopian future that a horoscope and a Tarot card can present, I doom it to fulfilling that future.  By wanting the good to occur so much, I don't allow it to end up any other way.  Then again, it could be that I'm just not letting myself truly see a negative outcome for what it is.  Either way, I'd say i end up with the long end of the stick, and I'd like to point out that THAT is heavy.


M. Chase

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


***Okay first off, this is going to be kind of a long blog and I plomise that they will be shorter than this from now one (for the most part)...

I guess that this whole endeavor could use a little bit of an explanation, so let me offer you a minority of the back story that is involved.  To keep it brief, I'll sum up by saying that I wrote my first song at the age of nineteen, so at this time, I've been a songwriter for eight years now.  As far as my musical history, I received a few months of piano instruction when I was ten, and during that time, I took an interest in playing drums.  I spent many years under the teaching of one instructor or another in playing a conventional trap kit as well as other more orchestra related percussion instruments.  I had done a little singing in youth choirs at my local church, but never really showed much potential in that department.  After a few years in the army, I ended up at Ft. Lewis and was honorably discharged in 2006.

Prior to that, I had become the lead singer of a Seattle band which I continued to do for two and a half years.  During that time, we completed a number of amateur recordings and one that was highly professional.  I also spent a lot of this time period in isolation at our twenty four hour rehearsal studio at the northern edge of Elliott Bay Park (Sound Asylum) teaching myself how to play acoustic and electric guitar as well as bass, relearning piano, and continuing to hone my drumming abilities.  Here is a song that I recorded at Paradise Studio in Index, WA. This song is called Dark elegance, and this is the song that I learned to play piano for. I just couldn't get it out of my head. It's pretty short.  Recording mixing and mastering credit goes to Pat Sample, a hell of a guy with an amazing studio and family.

It was the discovery of a functional four track tape recorder that led me to begin documenting my progress as a solo artist, and in the late summer of 2009, in the only corner of my basement bedroom that wasn't ankle deep in rumpled clothing, I recorded my first lo fi album with thirteen songs on it, ten of which were originals.  I named that recording "Recycled Tapes" to honor the media that I had available to me at the time, and it was very much a "Hustle & Flow" type of scenario.  With this recording I took my first step towards fulfilling a vow that I made t myself to get my music out into the world by any means necessary.

Below I have included a song that you could say is a real highlight of that session, an acoustic cover of "Dead Flowers" by The Rolling Stones. I feel that this is a good example of where I started out as far as my abilities to provide a quality representation of my musical vision both through the performance that is captured and the capturing of that performance.  Recording credit goes to me, transfer to digital form and mixing goes to Kevin Narkness at the Seattle Drum School.  Trust me, he took a lot of noise out of these to get what we did.  Press play now.

Okay, so after that, I booked a few shows and was really starting to make some good progress when catastrophe struck and I was the proud owner of a collapsed lung.  This happened in December 2008 to keep things in chronological perspective.  Instantly I became a non-smoker, and I was forced to give up singing for many months to allow my respiratory system to heal from the trauma.  In the mean time, I began playing music with a childhood friend of mine, and we were booking as many as four shows a week for a few months, into the spring of 2009.  We tried all sorts of formats, but never really settled in to anything.  We even became a three piece for a few shows and suffered from things like a drummer who stopped playing in the middle of a song because he was lost, and a general sense of being unable to commit to a certain sonic arrangement.

I got restless during all of this hemming and hawing, and my desire to see the music that was constantly running through my mind brought into being became increasingly strong.  also in the midst of all this, I met my current girlfriend and we became very serious.  In late January 2009 we moved into a bedroom that was shared with a couple of juggalos whose drinking habits and tendencies toward domestic violence really left a lot of mental scar tissue on us that is a factor in our lives to this day.  By April, we had been through enough and while our roommate was in jail for slashing our tires and being an overall total childish bitch (don't get me wrong, when we first moved in we saw the good in those people, and I still have to say that I enjoyed much of the time that we were there) and on the twentieth, we moved into the apartment that we still share, where I immediately began setting up my own home studio.

Originally, I liked the idea of naming the studio The Eight-Pound Head Shop, but in the end I've come to think that that's just too tedious.  Putting all of that aside, I was very enthused with this new apartment and the ability to begin recording at home again, so I put together a song on tape once again.  I called this song "Wicked," and you may listen to it now.  I did all the work on everything from here on out unless otherwise accredited.

After recording that song, I realized that background noise was my biggest enemy in everything that I had produced so far.  So many of the best qualities of the sounds that I was recording were getting lost in my mixes, and I had to start figuring out a way to get rid of it.  I'm a big fan of DIY, but I was beginning to realize that organic can be organized without losing most of its better qualities.  With that, I began acquiring equipment.  I got a great deal on a very fast and powerful desktop computer from a gamer friend of mine capable of running highly demanding recording software (though currently I'm all about the freeware version of Audacity).  I was given (to borrow) an M-Audio USB interface device and also I was allowed to borrow a Yamaha keyboard and Sony headphones from RockIt on Beacon Hill where I volunteer.  The same friend who let me borrow the USB interface also sold me an electronic drum kit that he was done tinkering with at a price I couldn't turn down.  In fact, it was Miranda (the aforementioned lover) who pulled the cash out of her purse without batting an eyelash and bought it for me on the spot. With my acoustic guitar (also a gift back when I got out of the army, it's a 1955 Harmony with a custom paint job, the one in the middle of picture "The Wall" on main blog page), Johnson acoustic-electric bass guitar (bought from a street kid after a show), Alesis Drum Machine(from David, my own personal philanthropist), and a Beringer amp simulator, I recorded the first song for a newly launched project.

Let me tell you a little about that quickly here, and I will leave you tonight with one more song.  So it was Michael Moore who inspired the name of my newest undertaking, and that which will be the subject of the blogging on this site from here on out.  The name of this "band" in which I am the only member wearing all the hats is Dead Peasants.  Under this moniker I will write, record, and distribute music that I eventually intend to play in front of live audience with a full band of other musicians.  The first album, which will really be more of a demo will be called "Arbeit Macht Frei."  Here is the first completed demo track from Arbeit Macht Frei, and it's called "What Do You Know."

As I am currently in the middle of recording the next piece of music for this album, I will be talking with you again soon with more on this story as it unfolds.

Positive Vibes,

M. Chase

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What's this blog for?

Oh sure, I've blogged before. You know, on myspace and stuff. After 89 posts I had 65 comments and 4455 views. That's the equivalent of driving an e-pinto in a real blogger's eyes, but who says that's what I am? No one. Easy answer to that question. Not even I consider myself to be one. But now, with a little motivation brought on by my choice to participate in an online class at South Seattle Community College, I will finally start a blog to chronicle the process of learning to work in my home studio that i fondly refer to as "The Love Seat."

Though there are plenty of inuendos that I could be making, I am actually just translating my name into French, loosely anyways. It was my friend Conrad who's living in France right now who pointed it out to me that "m" can be short for love in slang, and "chaise" is quite the comfortable lounger. Hopefully one day his band Boneless Butterfly will get the recognition it deserves. Until then, I will blog.

More to follow,

M. Chase