{ELSE} Releases “Who WIll Cry”

March 20th, 2015

11034419_581041585366316_1258135275416596239_oAfter a ton of hard work which began all the way back in December of 2013, {ELSE} is releasing our debut album! It’s 8 songs long but still clocks in at 40 minutes and took probably hundreds of hours to finish. I laid down most of my guitar parts and recorded our bassist in December of 2013, and then things sort of stalled as our original singer quit and we hunted for a new one. During that hunt, I ended up recording ALL of the remaining guitar parts and added FX and mixed and mixed and re-mixed and mixed some more. Finally, in September of 2014 we had a new singer and new vocal parts so we recorded those. In February of this year, guitar tracks from our other guitarist and drums were finally added. I ended up going back and removing some of my guitar parts to add Nate’s in, and mixed drums for the first time in my life. There were TONS of mistakes and lessons learned along the way, including one frantic call to the CD pressing company to throw out a disc which had an error on it. We’re holding a CD release party tonight and I don’t think I’ve been more excited for many other things in my life, except maybe my wedding and the 1-year anniversary trip to Europe I have planned with my lovely wife!

Whiskey Doubles Releases Nightcap

February 26th, 2015

My folkestra (folk orchestra) band, Whiskey Doubles,  just released our second E.P. The 9-song Nightcap shows off the matured natured of the band as all of the songs were written specifically for this quartet. Our previous album, Honey Creek EP, by contrast, featured a few songs originally written for the now-defunct Of the North. Another change in this CD is that all parts were recorded simultaneously in a makeshift studio, as opposed to the individual track approach of our previous recording. I think we achieved a much improved sound through both the new songwriting and recording approaches, and couldn’t be more proud of the album.

Nightcap-for-CD-BabyLike Honey Creek EP,  Nightcap features a variety of instrumentation. Because the tunes were recorded live, I do not do as much instrument doubling as have done before, but still alternate between cello, various percussion (spoons, snare, open snare, bass drum) and vocals. Other instruments in the recording include our signature folkestra blend of flute and clarinet, harmonium, guitar, banjolele, baritone ukulele, and the new addition of harmonica.

Nightcap is available on iTunes, can be streamed on Spotify, and we will have physical copies to sell at all of our shows!

Recording Pay the Devil

February 9th, 2015

Just two weeks after recording with Whiskey Doubles, and in between performing and writing new songs with {ELSE}, I took a Sunday to record my old chums, Pay the Devil. I used the same kind of set up that we used for Whiskey Doubles, running 4 Tascam instrument mics, a large diaphragm condenser for main vocals, and a few additional dynamic Shure SM58s for backup vocals and percussion. With a large semi-circle layout, we were able to achieve pretty clean and separated tracks and with some light mixing and processing, and the end result was fantastic!

The album, tentatively titled “North Avenue Free For All”, will contain about 19 songs and should be available on Spotify, iTunes, and of course in person in a few weeks!

{ELSE} Poster Design

December 20th, 2014

With {ELSE} booking more shows, I’m designing a lot more posters to try to reach the biggest audience possible. It’s good for me to have additional design projects as I don’t get many opportunities to flex those muscles. Per our brand and style, there’s a lot of black, white, and orange, as well as some grungy elements. Check out some of my favorites!

Whiskey Doubles Christmas Music

December 14th, 2014

IMG_2620Whiskey Doubles recorded two holiday tunes yesterday, all in a span of about 45 minutes. We used my new Focusrite 18i20 to record 6 simultaneous channels in my living room. I spent about an hour mixing each song, designed a quick cover photo for it, and we published less than 24 hours after recording! This is definitely how we’re recording our next effort.

Those Who Dig Roundup

December 1st, 2014

I’ve been in the groove of an album review every Thursday for a while now, and with the sporadic reviews I made earlier this year, I’ve now reviewed 16 albums for the website. It’s a great opportunity to hear some new music, exercise some critical thinking skills, and provide some good publicity for local and independent bands. There’s a lot of great music to be found, so read Those Who Dig’s album reviews »

I also take the time to write some longer pieces, like this write up comparing Pomplamoose’s and Direct Hit!’s articles about the financial realities of touring with your band. I really enjoy writing these and it reminds me a lot of writing papers in college. I usually begin with a disorganized swirl of thoughts and through organization and editing, find my theory, and then build around it. Read the result »

Sofar Sounds

July 15th, 2014

Last Friday I had the privilege of being a part of Milwaukee’s first installment of Sofar Sounds, a series of guerrilla living-room concerts held in just about every major city you an think of. The series began in London and is now in cites all over the US and Europe. Due to our experience shooting Dig Sessions, Ivan and I were brought on to record the bands. 4 Wisconsin bands played to a packed crowd in an East Side flat and what proved to be a truly incredible evening. It even wrapped up early enough for me to finally catch my first The Fatty Acids show! I know there are more Sofar shows on the way already and I’m greatly looking forward to them even though, by definition of the series, I have no idea who is playing!

Whiskey Doubles Available on iTunes

June 2nd, 2014

Bandcamp-CoverWhiskey Doubles debut effort, Honey Creek EP, is now available on iTunes and Spotify! We recorded, mixed, and mastered everything ourselves and are incredibly proud of it.

Buy Honey Creek EP on iTunes »

Of the North Disbanding and Reforming as Whiskey Doubles

April 11th, 2014

After playing in the 6-pieces folk outfit, Of the North, for the last year and a half, the band is disbanding. I joined a band at a time when they were getting a bit bored with their material and added my cello to help change things up. As Nate, the bandleader and songwriter, started working on new material, it started to head down a pretty different path than the previous material. The new material is smaller and more intimate, and works better with a smaller, more melodic ensemble. Therefore, the band is reforming as Whiskey Doubles, keeping Nate as the singer/songwriter, me on cello and percussion, Nate’s wife Kristen continuing backup vocals, ukulele, and percussion, and adding my wife, Ellie, on banjolele, vocals, flute, and percussion. Kristen will also bring out her clarinet for the first time with the group, so we are expecting a lot of small chamber orchestra instrumentation.

We’re practicing hard, working on recording, and have already begun setting up a website. Read more about Whiskey Doubles on our website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates!

Heironymus Bosch – Garden of Earthly Delights, A Metal Tribute

February 21st, 2014

Last week, the internet, or at least the internet if a lot of your friends are musicians and historians, blew up with the transcription of music written on a man’s butt in the depiction of hell in Hieronymus Bosch’s painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights. The hymn reminded me a lot of the stuff I heard in early music history, very simple, kind of plodding, and close to modern harmony with just a few odd cadences. It was definitely a decent minor key melody though, so I decided that given the melody’s history, I’d adapt it as an orchestral metal tune.

The melody was only available as an audio file, so I first had to transcribe the transcription. The only difficult part about this was that I wouldn’t exactly call the phrasing natural, or at least not as I’d like it, so I did slightly change some of the rhythmic values. I then determined what chord structure to put underneath the melody and started writing parts. The bass part, a bit more active than in traditional metal, came first. Rhythm guitars came next and focused on galloping rhythms, palm muting, and opened chords in the 2nd half of the progression. I was able to do all this between midnight and 2 last Friday, after I returned home after a party.

Saturday morning I recorded those and programmed the drums in FL Studio, then set to work on writing out the strings and brass. After rendering the orchestral elements with EWQL Symphonic Gold, I mixed what I had so far together. Then it was time for the leads.

I first wrote two additional lead guitars providing some counter-melodies and arpeggios towards the end of the song. You can hear those split hard left and right. The final piece was recording the hymn as the lead guitar part with a good dose of pinch harmonics and vibrato.

A few rounds of mixing, some quick intro and outro slides for the video, and it went up on YouTube. What a way to spend a weekend.