Sunday, February 28, 2010

the haps

It's been a week and a half since my last post.  I've thought of apologizing for that, but the point of that is moot.  I'm all about apologizing when I've done something wrong, but in this case I haven't blogged because I've been right.  Starting this project is exactly what I've needed to get things on the right track creatively.  Let me once again go over the progress that I've made since my first post.  So far, I've finished recording two songs, two video performances, and booked two live performances.

I could mention to you the fact that I've accomplished very little from one point of view and very much from another.  Compare the fact that I've only really finished two songs to what that actually entails.  Taking a closer look at the process reveals this to be no small feat.  I've written and arranged two separate works as a composer, then I have become both studio musician and sound engineer as I work my way through the performance and recording of the separate drum tracks, bass lines, acoustic guitar and electric guitar parts, lead and backup vocals, and then taken those performances and mixed them into cohesive representations of something that like a crazy person I have heard inside of my skull.  If I were to dive into the question of "where did all of these imaginings of songs comes from, and what does their origin imply?" we could be here all day.  Honestly though, that is just another digression.

As far as the recorded material itself, you can hear it on my blog (you're on it), my Facebook Fan Page, The ROCKiT Space Website, occasionally on The Westside Will Radio Show, Myspace and Myspace.  but I think the most amazing thing is the places in this physical world that this music has already gone and the happenings that are going on around it.  At the aforementioned ROCKiT Space, I've performed a few times at the weekly open mic there.  I've also gone to Shadowland Bar and Grill open mic, and now today I played my first formally booked performance at Alleycat Acres on Beacon Hill.

Before I go any further, let me talk about that for a minute.  It all started with this communications class that led me to create a blog in which I could write about music that led me to connect with a few classmates, one of which is running an urban farm that is just a stones throw from the arts space that I volunteer and open mic at.  Friday night last week, I was reading through the replies to my posts for assignments in class and one of the replies was from Sean and in it he asked if I would play some acoustic music for their Sunday workday lunch break.  I started off the morning with some coffee, a simple breakfast, and some vocal recording.  After throwing an outfit together, I bounced off to Beacon Hill in my little blue Metro, unloaded my guitar and walked up to the sunny crest that the Alley Cats were turning from a vacant lot into a full on production-focused urban farm.  The Alley Cats is the group of volunteers that have been meeting with Sean for about a month and who are now working on orienting the farm for maximum productivity.

As I entered the space, I was greeted by said Sean who was being interviewed by a reporter from the Seattle Times about this project that he started.  After we talked for a moment, I walked through the crowd of workers that were busy relocating the large pile of composted soil in the front of the yard to the uniformly oriented rows that had been dug out perpendicular to the street stretching across the 42' of depth that the lot contained.  It wasn't until a was a few feet from the shed at the back of the lot that I could see just how far the hill dropped off behind it as its weeds and tangled trees tumbled down to Lake Washington below, surrounded by land and with the silvery towers of Bellevue looming over its banks.  After taking in the vistas, I walked back over to the table next to which I had stashed my guitar where the crowd was gathering to eat their lunches.  While tuning up, I had some good conversation with a couple of the volunteers about where the project came from and where they want to go with it.  I also was offered did happily accept a very tasty vegan brownie.  And while each of the people I talked to seemed to have their own individual reasons for being there, the unified purpose seemed to be what was in the forefront of their thinking, that being the food that they were going to get to take part in creating.

Standing next to the large compost pile in a little patch of sun, I played some new and some very old tunes of mine, along with a nice cover of a cover song.  And though the crowd was talking and not all gathering around googly-eyed worshiping me for my gift of music, I could tell that they really appreciated me being there so that they could turn off the radio and hear something organic while they fed their growling tummies and cooled their perspiring brows.  Before I left I was able to work out some ideas about getting kids from ROCKiT Space and their families involved in an agricultural class of some sort.  Of course it's all ideas right now, and I won't have much hand in that, I feel lucky to be in a position where I can connect two different organizations that are doing what they can to make positive change in the same neighborhood in their own ways.

In other news, my next booked performance will be played with another musician and old friend at Tyrannosaurus Records in DTR on Sunday March 21st at 4pm.  There is no cover charge, but there will be a tip jar and a Childhood Cancer Sucks donation jar up on the counter during the show.  That reminds me, I've got to call Nich (the proprietor of  TRx) and let him know those demos and flyers I promised are going to be a couple days late.

And just so you know, I was going to post a song on here today, but after going back and listening to it, I really want to flesh it out a little more.  After this song, I have one left to record before I make the official booking demo that I will use throughout the summer to try and gain exposure here in the northwest and beyond.  Don't get me wrong, I'm going to continue to record music and document the progress of that here, but I will also be talking about where the music takes me and what I get wrapped up in as a result of it.

I hope that you will find these ventures to be entertaining at worst and informative at best!


M. Chase


  1. chase,

    thank you soooooo much for coming out today. i look forward to seeing where this goes, and collaboration between alleycats and rockit.

    the music was a great break from the sterile radio and the hum of the rototillers!


  2. and by that i mean you're pretty amazing at what you do! :)

  3. i definitely appreciate the positive feedback my friend, and let me say thank you for what you're doing. you know, just as a human being i appreciate the environment you're helping to create at the farm.