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

No comments:

Post a Comment