Sprucing up Track 4

Track 4 is coming along nicely, although I think the guitar strum pattern during the folky parts was a bit bland.  Here is a sample of what we have been working with.

It works, but it’s nothing special really.  Bluegrass guitar is usually is a bit more interesting than this.  That’s what I love about the genre, there’s so much talent in the instrumentation!

I have to admit that I’m not all that talented when it comes to more intricate guitar parts, but I took a crack at spicing up the strum pattern to make it a tad more interesting.  Here are the results.

Not amazing, but still much better, in my opinion!

In other exciting news, Rob dropped some mandolin on this track as well. So then, here is the same clip with the newer guitar strums, and some simple mandolin.  It’s not well mixed with the bass and drums yet, but we’re definitely getting somewhere with this track!

I suppose some banjo would be nice at some point too…

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Poster Update

Dave has been busy at work lately, and provided a photo of his work in progress.  As you can see, he’s moved onto the final pen version, and it’s looking pretty damned awesome.

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almost done with the inking!

We discussed a few changes from the rough draft that I want to point out to you.  Firstly, the previous version was too Old West.  In this new design, the setting is a grassy Appalachian field, with trees and mountains off in the distance.

I also mentioned that Abram is a fan of his whiskey. You’ll notice a jug lying on the ground in front of a dark shed that could perhaps hide a whiskey still.  Instead of the sun as a halo behind Abram, we decided to make this the moon (hence moonshine.)

Of particular ominousness is the crowd behind Abram, calmly watching the execution by banjo (whether by force or by curiosity, we don’t know.)

The pile of bricks (remember, Abram is a mason by trade) is absolutely perfect.  It’s going to have great dimension once this is colored.

We’re thinking that three colors (including black) should do the trick, but Dave has a few tricks up his sleeve.  Not only will the poster background provide an additional color, but Dave can also apply a gradient to the layer of colors.  We’re gonna have a solid work of art here. Very exciting indeed!

New Hires

Throwing a Kickstarter is no walk in the park. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch quite a few of my friends raise money for various projects, and their campaigns are always quite impressive.  Here’s an example of The Hollows’ Kickstarter, the first one I’ve ever backed.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you need:

  1. An awesome video.  It has to stand on it’s own and get people excited about the project.
  2. Great rewards.  Kickstarters succeed by having interesting “reward levels” that people will back.
  3. A sample product.  This means we have to have a solid demo of our stuff… better get to work.
  4. Visibility.  This has to look professional and grow organically… Easier said than done.

Anyhow, it looks like I have my work cut out for me.  As I’m pretty occupied directing music, I’ve enlisted the help of some good friends to take on the additional responsibilities.

To direct our artistic efforts, professionalize our appearance, and organize any visual representation the project has, we need an Art Director.  Lucky for us, Lindsey is a professional graphic artist! She has a great eye for what looks good together, and can tailor our look as needed.  It’s quite fortunate we already have her on our team!

So as part of this whole thing, we’ll also have a very public face and voice.  I can be a decent writer sometimes, but I’m no poet.  The Kickstarter needs a solid write up, annnd a sweet video. I know just the person for the job.

This is Joe.

JOE

a face you can trust

Joe has a way with words, and knows how to edit a good video.  Therefore, Joe is our official Public Relations…guy…

Welcome Joe!

Completing Track 7 Lyrics

Alright, Track 7 has been in need of some serious attention for a while now. The entire second half of the song didn’t even have any lyrics!  It has taken a while, but I think I finally have some lines I’m happy with.

Bear with me though, the lyrics I’ve settled on are a bit absurd. I wrestled with this for a while… Should we be serious, or just embrace the ridiculousness of fighting off a violent horde with just a banjo?

In the end, I found it much more natural to go for the latter.

Before we go over the lyrics, however, I’d like to announce that this song now has an official name. There is a great apocalyptic battle that is described in the Dead Sea Scrolls between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness. It’s your classic good vs. evil, angels vs. demons sort of thing…

Anyhow, because Track 7 is about such an epic battle, it will henceforth be referred to as Sons of Darkness.

Alright, here is the second half of the song.  Lyrics are posted below.  (You must excuse my terrible attempt at screaming!  Remember, these are just placeholders.)

Blood for blood!
And so it shall flow!
Give unto the lord,
Unsheathe thy banjo!

Each note that he plucks brings a whirlwind of death,
harken to ragtime doom!
it’s perfect, it’s sacred, divine…

One (whispered)

HUNDRED MURDERS!
FIVE STRINGS!

ONE HUNDRED MURDERS!
FIVE STRINGS!

AHHH!!!!!!!!

ONE HUNDRED MURDERS! (gang vocals)
FIVE STRINGS!

The lyrics aren’t really sung by any character in particular.  It’s really coming from the voice of bad influence: either Satan or his demons.

I can’t wait to find someone else to sing this though… the scream at 0:50 kinda reminds me of Kevin from Home Alone.

home-alone

tell me i’m wrong

Another Session with the Angels

Good day, I hope your weekend was as productive as mine.

I met with Lindsey and Amanda to write some more vocal harmonies and, as always, we had a blast working together.  I sincerely wish I could work with all of our musicians more in person!  Being creative and thoughtful about writing the music is a ton of fun.

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not your typical studio…

So, we had a few items on the agenda.  The big one was working with The Binding (Track 3) although I haven’t had time to integrate the recorded parts into the song just yet.  We decided to go with the harmony ideas that Nicole had provided, so just imagine that until I post the update.

I also had it in my head that Track 9 should have some eerie harmonies here and there.  One such case would be right after the first chorus.  I know we don’t have lyrics written just yet (working on it) but these harmonies should go pretty well.  Have a listen to what we came up with.

Not bad!  I think the song could probably use a a few parts like this, but I suppose we’ll revisit it once we have some lyrics written…

Time to Melt Faces

Remember that German guy I mentioned?  Well, apparently he knows how to shred.

I sent him Track 7 and told him that it was just begging for an epic solo. What I got back made me smile from ear to ear.  He told me that he just got a computer interface for recording and really wanted to practice and try out some effects.  I would say this is a mutually beneficial relationship, but you can hear for yourself below.

Here is the first version of the solo.

It’s a bit laid back in the first half, but I like how we got two guitars going on.  It exemplifies the dual between Abram and the mob leader. The second half gets a bit crazier with some excellent riffage.  Not sure if we should tone it down just a touch though…

Here is his second version of the solo.

The first half gets exciting very quickly, and it’s pretty awesome. I’m not going to lie though, I kinda miss having the stereo effect of two different guitars.  It’s a tough choice indeed, but then again, these are just the first drafts!

I gave Jeremy some constructive feedback, and we discussed how to hone in on the perfect solo.  I’m sure he’ll blow me away with the final draft when he gets it back to us.  Can’t wait!

Poster Sketch

So Dave took some time to get up to speed on the project, which must be pretty nuts for a newcomer.  Every once in a while I’m reminded of just how absurd this whole thing is. Lucky for us, he says he’s into it.

Anyhow, he sent a draft of a concept he’s thinking of, and it’s pretty damn powerful.  Take a gander for yourself.

this is going to be good...

this is going to be good…

I must say, this is a rather dark depiction…and it’s amazing.  I wanted something grim and powerful, but not necessarily gruesome or gory.  Dave’s concept of a public execution by banjo is absolutely brilliant.

We did discuss the finer details a bit.  For one, it has a bit of an Old West feel instead of Appalachia.  Easy fix though!

Another detail was the chopping block.  In this image we have a stump that is quite similar to our logo design.  While I do like the congruency, I really want the logo to stand on it’s own. The original Henry Joseph Heike (after whom this story is inspired) was a stone mason, so Dave and I discussed having a stack of bricks instead of a stump.

Exciting stuff. Can’t wait to see him polish this one!