Friday, January 20, 2012

Amazingly Unreal

Posted by James Worden

I remember when I played Unreal Tournament '99 back when it was new on the market. It was....and still amazing game. Though, what led to that was the first Unreal game that I had sadly not played, even if it's been mentioned quite a few times in my elementary years. It was easy to see, however, that Unreal Tournament used the Unreal 1 engine as a base (that is an obvious "Duh!", I realize). Unreal technology has always been big when it came to gaming. So many games rely on the Unreal engines and I honestly couldn't see a world without these available to the market in the form of Software Development Kits.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sea of Skies

Distance EP by Sea Of Skies
I recently got a chance to interview Sea of Skies for this week’s artist in-depth, which was quite an experience; the interview practically started with Paul commenting on my shirt which “makes him happy.” I was wearing my NWA “straight out of Compton" shirt, then which was followed by Joey declaring he was eating a peanut butter sandwich. The interview was filled with good conversation and great one liners and ended with some old faces from the music scene back when I lived in Corona.

This band of brothers hailing from Corona, California has made quite a rumble in the short time they’ve been on the local circuit. The band consists of Joey Virrueta-lead vocals and guitar, Andrew Virrueta-guitar, Alex Zimmer-guitar, Paul Zimmer-drums and synth and Drew Howard-bass and backing vocals. As I said before, truly a band of brothers. As a fan of bands like Animals as Leaders, Killswitch Engaged, and Dream Theater, this band has a little bit of everything and more to offer. Joey started playing about 11 years ago, but what pushed him to metal was when he heard Battery by Metallica which was actually being played by his father. Alex Zimmer started playing guitar when he was just 7 years old. 17 years later, he is now a guitar teacher himself. His younger brother Paul has been playing drums for 14 years and whose influences come from Porcupine Tree, Peter Gabriel, Pain of Salvation, and Yes and Genesis. Drew has been playing bass for about 7 years. Finally Andrew has been playing for about 7 years as well.

Joey and Andrew Virrueta who originally created the project and are also the main song writers, started off with an old Mac. Producing together, it basically broke down to two parts tones and mixing, with Joey doing mixing and Andrew coming up with the tones used on the E.P. I had made the comparison of Adam D. from Killswitch (famously known for his playing and producing) asking Joey if that would be something he’d like to pursue, a sort of rockstar by night and producer by day thing. He simply responded with, "Yes" and continued to say that he enjoyed the production aspect a lot and would love to pursue both. Then we got into the discussion of influences, each went through and laid them out. As far as Joey’s influences, they mostly derive from the band Thrice, whether it is vocal style or just songwriting in general saying “When I heard the band Thrice, I was maybe 15 years old. It changed my look on music. Ever since then I’ve been taking my fundamental songwriting, my vocal techniques and overall emotional overtone from Thrice amongst other bands.” Andrew, the more technical of the bunch derived his playing from bands like Animals as Leaders and Between The Buried and Me which provides the technical aspect of Sea Of Skies. Drew started with rush then lead to bands like Primus and Rage Against the Machine... you know the typical bassist response ;). Alex started with the album Awake by Dream Theater which was given to him by his father. Alex also takes influence from classical and jazz alike. But then exclaimed, “But really I’ve been influenced by anybody I’ve played with. It’s probably my biggest influence taking experience from others, from what to be and definitely not what to be.”

Then I posed a question I was anxious to know asking, “My favorite track by far would have to be Evolve. Well, Terra Firma is right up there as well; tell me about the process that the two songs went through from writing to influences or the thing or song that sparked that masterpiece? Side note; who the fuck came up with that amazing lead in Terra Firma?” Andrew replied with, “For Terra Firma, I had written a riff that was to hard to play, then Joey had adapted it and written a tappy version and we went with it.” As for the track Evolve, it apparently started with one chord from the song “posture and progress” from the band Artifex Pereo, which then from the one chord played on the high strings on that track, Joey then took that and shifted the chord a few times.

As for the background of the band and how it came to be. The band was started by brothers Joey and Andrew who first put a demo together in early 2010, about six months after and a lot of playtime on the internet. Alex came across the demo and gave it a listen. Then after being blown away by the demos he heard, he felt compelled and driven to join this band while dragging his brother Paul into it as well. Then after contact via Facebook, Joey thought it was all a bunch of bullshit, due to past musicians' failure to impress. After a jam session, they knew it was meant to be. Now as for Drew, the man with the bass, Paul had known Drew from another band in the same scene as Paul’s older band. After Paul’s departure from that band he had lost contact with Drew and that scene. Then after a post on craigslist, Paul basically crapped himself when the only response was from Drew, after an audition and all is said and done, Sea of Skies was formed.

Soon after that, a blast from the past came walking the door. Shota Yokoyama, the bass player from a ska band Instafu that I used to go and watch at the local venue Showcase Theater. Instafu opened for the band The Aggrolites. It was certainly a walk down memory lane to say the least. After all was said and done, this night was filled with great laughs and it was truly a pleasure to talk with these guys. It’s truly remarkable how such a young band has prospered and thrived in what for awhile was a dead scene. This whole experience has rekindled interest in my old music scene and I love it, but that’s another post for another day. Be sure to like them on Facebook and check their site. Listen to the playlist in the corner of our site to hear this amazing band!
Sea Of Skies Facebook

Death Cab For Cutie On Tour This Spring!

Death Cab For Cutie will hit the road this spring. Their upcoming North American tour will feature members of San Francisco’s Magik*Magik Orchestra. Saying it will be a “one-of-a-kind tour.”

Death Cab For Cutie North American tour dates:
4/10 – Denver, CO, Ellie Caulkins Opera House
4/11 – Omaha, NE, Music Hall
4/13 – Louisville, KY, Louisville Palace
4/14 – Grand Rapids, MI, Calvin College
4/15 – Milwaukee, WI, Riverside Theatre
4/16 – Chicago, IL, Chicago Theatre
4/19 – Toronto, ON, Massey Hall
4/20 – Montreal, QC, Eglise St-Jean Baptiste
4/21 – Boston, MA, Wang Theatre
4/23 – Providence, RI, Veterans Memorial Auditorium
4/24 – Buffalo, NY, Kleinhans Music Hall
4/25 – Philadelphia, PA, Tower Theatre
4/27 – New York, NY, Beacon Theatre
4/30 – Washington, DC, Strathmore
5/1 – Knoxville, TN, Tennessee Theatre
5/3 – Dallas, TX, McFarlin Memorial Auditorium
5/4 – Austin, TX, Austin City Limits Live
5/6 – Mesa, AZ, Mesa Arts Center
5/7 – Los Angeles, CA, Disney Hall
5/9 – Oakland, CA, Fox Theater
5/13 – Seattle, WA, Paramount Theatre

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Album from The Mars Volta being released in March

here is the track listings from the upcoming album
Noctourniquet tracklisting:
1. The Whip Hand
2. Aegis
3. Dyslexicion
4. Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound
5. The Malkin Jewel
6. Lapochka
7. In Absentia
8. Imago
9. Molochwalker
10. Trinkets Pale of Moon
11. Vedamalady
12. Noctourniquet
13. Zed and Two Naughts

Check out the two live recordings of new tracks.


It Came from Deep Space!

"A Million Miles From Earth" by Deep Space by deepspaceflight
I had heard about this project Deep Space for awhile now via facebook feed. I finally got to hear their first released track called “A Million Miles from Earth.” This track has so many great attractive qualities about it, that being said why don’t we get started? This space oddity just oozes film noir or B-film qualities and truly brings that era of film to the forefront of my mind. The ambient quality and warmth of the track surrounds you almost providing that vinyl sound that disappeared long ago. The vintage organ wails, the tribal nature of the drums beat, the live quality of the Jim Morrison styled vocals and the adventurous almost Dick Tracy guitar driving it all. Makes for one hell of a track and experience to listen to, as I said brings back an era of lost film it still manages to be original, a balancing act is never easy to maintain. Overall this is an amazing track by a band I can’t wait to hear more from and I’m sure will be blown away by in the future.

be sure to like them on facebook!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Where Coldplay failed The Piano Guys succeed!

Last week The Piano Guys released a new video their own spin on Coldplay’s Paradise, and as the title suggests I feel it’s a more defined and more original. Like any good rendition or cover of a song it has taken the core manipulated and constructed the song around their sound. The Piano Guys did just that, the African twist the breakdown of the percussion and just overall more passion I mean, you really feel soul of the track threw the singer. This isn’t just an elephant mascot escaping a zoo and buying a unicycle. Theirs pride and blissful like qualities to it unlike the repetitive melody of the vocals as an almost “Debbie downer” quality. To sum it up the original is annoying, so annoying in fact I almost didn’t listen to The Piano Guys version because I didn’t like the original. This is great listen and if this is the first time you’ve heard anything from
The Piano Guys I highly suggest you check their channel and site.

The Cost of Doing Business

Thanks to an awesome Facebook friend, Chad Lee, I got a chance to read a great article by a photographer. ( To sum it all about in one cliché sentence is “the cost of doing business.” Nothing is free, not even the digital. As a composer for film who also has his own little home studios, I am constantly bombarded with musicians and amateur filmmakers alike to record or compose for them….FOR FREE!

So like the great article above I’m going to layout the costs. So lets first start with the computer which, like broke musicians alike I haven’t made the switch to Mac, in the end is $400. For the DAW to record it all to track the magic, I had to fork out $300. Then for the VST (virtual instruments) effect plug-ins, all cost around $500, and that’s just enough to get decent sounds and nothing fancy. Symphobia, an orchestral VST, can cost 4 or even 6 times that! Then with a compilation of microphones, all comes to about $450, which again small price tag doing it on the cheap. We will finish the digital midi keyboard to control my VSTs, $120, and for monitors and headphones to hear it all, $250. Getting the picture yet?  Lastly for any other instruments, amps, and etc, $1,700.

Now just for all the things that people don’t account for like….time, producing, writing, recording, mess ups, mastering, the list goes on and on. Hours and hours of creative juices and technology know how compiled all together. Some times months of life can be dedicated to one project. So with that time for another cliché “Time is money and money is time.” Now let’s add it all up!

400+300+500+450+120+250+1,700+time= 3,720 + lots of time

There are many other factors, such as hiring studio musicians’ blah blah blah. Now that being said, this is a big thing for everyone to wrap their brains around… WE ALL HAVE BILLS TO PAY JUST LIKE YOU! So next time you want a service someone like me can provide, whether it’s a band, producer, composer, photographer, web designer, and so on...we all have bills and other expenses. Bottom line before you go and try to hit someone up to get a freebie or bribe and barter with them with exposure and credit, just please... stop and think. Help us all out and pay a brother or a sister so we can pay others and maintain, expand, and just LIVE.