Music me Bitch

Over the last month or so I’ve been trying to figure out the question of “what’s next?” It’s exciting to think about, as the possibilities are pretty endless, although it’s pretty clear to me that I won’t be climbing Mt. Everest anytime soon. I mean–I could, but I won’t. It doesn’t appeal to me. 

Part of this “what’s next?” question ties in with figuring out which one of my personal endeavors I can hold myself absolutely accountable for. I need accountability in my life. It’s a personal assessment as to whether or not I’m making true progression. My work in Bagua has taught me the importance of making the things we hold ourselves accountable for as part of our regular scheduled programming. 

So what’s next? Well–music is definitely on the menu. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a new project. Musicians always tend to do this. If existing projects don’t fit into or serve a very specific need to what we want to do our first response is, “let’s do a new project.” But why limit what a project can do? Yeah, they might have a specific sound to them, but if that sound isn’t as fun as it used to be it might be time to change it. I’ve decided against it for the time being. 

Changes 

I used to be a little more obsessive with making “serious” music. Growing up listening to Black Metal can do that to you, until you realize that the guys in Satyricon or Behemoth are just a bunch of practical jokers who have very good work ethics. 

Over the summer I released a track called “Cat Party Baby.” Its been getting played regularly by a few DJs who appreciate the importance of cats and dancing. 

I did a few things different with that song that I didn’t do before. I took a step away from preset sounds from my VSTs, instead I made a few of my own. Moving forward I think that this is an important practice, but shouldn’t always be pursued if it gets in the way of songwriting.
I made the switch back to Image-Line’s FL Studio. I still really love Logic, especially for recording actual instruments, but FL works better for electronic music–at least for me. I can also go back to using it anytime or ReWire it, or both. After using Logic for over four years it’s not like I’ll unlearn it. 

I got to learn my way around Yamaha’s Vocaloid 4. Cyber Diva isn’t the perfect vocalist, but she’s definitely impressive for an artificial voice.

I still have lots to learn on the production front. As I’ve broken ground on the new Vi album, I’ve been able to work faster and more effectively. Details have become more important to me. I won’t really go into what that entails, but this includes a better understanding of how sounds work together, automation, velocity of notes, etc. etc. “Cat Party Baby” taught me that making a song’s structure simple, to the point, but with unique smaller details can be much more appealing to the ear than something that is difficult to follow. The way I wrote lyrics for “Cat Party…” was also different than I’ve done in the past. Simple stories with visual and relatable details and a few sexual innuendos makes for decent entertainment. 

The weirdest thing about My experience writing “Cat Party…” was that I was actually having fun. I didn’t give a fuck if I was being serious, the more I wrote the lyrics and the song itself I literally kept saying to myself “this is ridiculous.” And it was.

As I begin accumulating new material for the new Vi album for 2017, I’m not going to worry about whether the songs fit into some preconceived vision of the future, but rather whether or not each song really gets me going. I want these songs to be fun. I want them to take me somewhere. The I’m making a departure again from the Neon Metal sound of “Singularity Now.” In retrospect, I think that album is good, but it doesn’t embody what I want out of the project yet. “Singularity Now” was extremely experimental for me. It was the first album that I recorded completely by myself without studio intervention. I did the best I could at the time, but it really shows. I’m going to do much better for 2017. The work goes ever on. 

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Music me Bitch

Going Dark for Neon Metal

I’m going to first start off by saying that over the last month I have been completely consumed by a project that needed to get done. I decided to buckle down and reduce my social media intake for the by 100% during this time. The result was putting the finishing touches on my Neon Metal project Virtual Intelligence’s “Singularity Now: The Future Worlds of Yesterday” album. It’s been over two years since I last released a new album so I felt it was time to get up off my ass and finish cranking it out.

What is Neon Metal?

A postmodern fusion of science fiction/future oriented electronica and symphonic metal. The process of writing Neon Metal begins either on a piano and/or in a digital audio workstation and adds additional live instruments after that first step. I chose the word “Neon” to describe Vi’s brand of metal as it is often paired with the cyberpunk genre of fiction.

Other bands and musicians have touched on this concept in the past. Pretty Maids’ song “Future World” and The Kovenant’s “Nexus Polaris” and “Animatronic albums come to mind as possible sources of inspiration for this–but in an effort to zero in on exactly what my music embodies I needed to find a term that can help to classify what I’m doing musically with Vi.  I’ve always had a difficult time describing my music with Virtual Intelligence to listeners. I originally framed it to be an electronic only project, but after completing work on my “f AI t h” album in 2013 I began to feel as if adding a metal element would be beneficial to the overall feel of the music. I already had certain elements from Black Metal in my music, but it felt like something was still missing.

Make no mistake–Neon Metal is metal first and foremost. While Neon Metal may have elements of EBM or electronic dance music, trance, and sometimes no guitars at all, songs are written with a proclivity for arranging songs in a metal sense. As someone who grew up listening to the likes of Malice Mizer, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon, Darkthrone, The Kovenant, Kraftwerk, and Sisters of Mercy writing songs in this way makes the most sense to me.

To see more about Virtual Intelligence pop on over to gothicelectric.bandcamp.com to give a listen to our mini album “Interface to God” and our first album “f AI t h.” There are also more details about our latest album “Singularity Now: The Future Worlds of Yesterday” arriving on 10/16.

For an extended biography, photos, and other jazz head on over to www.gothicelectric.com

Going Dark for Neon Metal