Monday, September 24, 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

Comadre


Alfright, here we have dudes from Comadre getting nostalgic about their records. 
Their roles in the band were respectively:
Wes - drums
Juan - vocals
Kenny - guitar
Jack - guitar
Steven - bass.
Here we go.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Yumi

Yumi's guitarist Anvea talks about their past, future and specifically their recent LP "Epoch".



"We are a 5 piece screamo band from Singapore. I am Anvea, I play the guitar. Mimi is on vocals. Darell plays bass and sometimes sings too. Farhan is the youngest in the band and plays the second guitar. And lastly we have Hairil on drums. The name Yumi is derived from the Japanese word which consists of 2 meanings to it - Bow and Beautiful. We played our first show end of 2008 and since then we have done shows and supported tours for bands like Comadre, Heaven in Her Arms, The Saddest Landscape, Rosetta, Rvivr, Reason to Care etc. We did a Malaysia/Singapapore tour with Japanese band Heaven In Her Arms back in 2012 and also a Japan and Taiwan tour respectively in 2014. To date, we have released a CD EP, A split 7” vinyl with Heaven In Her Arms via Transcendence Records/Epidemic Records, our debut full-length “Epicureans” on 12” vinyl via Dog Knights Productions, and finally our latest release 2nd Album “Epoch” on CD and Tape via my label, Lithe Records.

Lets talk about EPOCH. This new album was a game-changer for us. The recording was split into 2 parts between 2015 and 2017 with lineup changes between those 2 years. The first track Lithe Paralogue erupts into aggressive, unrelenting downpour of wrought guitars, crashing drums and throat-scathing vocals followed by Murmur. Our third song, Tenants Of The Weak has a deliberate exhausting sequence to it. It also emphasise on sonic degradation and disintegration, even throughout the album. It was in a way to achieve some kind of closure on our departure from the previous material. I think we try to develop much more variety on how we communicate with sound. The last 4 songs with 1 that is an interlude, gets slower and slightly more solemn towards the end with buildups, off time signatures, rhythms and breaks. I would love to go into details but it will take forever so I’ll stop here. Overall, now that I look back on it, it’s really an angry, sad, and hopeful album, but an honest one. Hence the name EPOCH.



The band pays homage and draws a lot of our influences from past and current bands like Envy, Killie, 3cmTour, Nitro Mega Prayer, Raein, Daitro, Engine Down (hence one of the track title Keeley Davis from our 1st album), Converge, Corrupted etc..

A lot of the lyrics are based off metaphors describing an amalgamation of the state of the world you and I live in as of late; twisted. Not like it isn't happening before but just that it's gotten worse and makes no sense at times. The records we make have been and will always be a reflection of what our lives are like at the time we write them. I guess it’s an album that speaks to everyone.

As we are approaching 2018 in a couple of days, we’ve started writing new songs with the current new line up. And also toying on the idea of touring Europe in the summer. Really looking forward to visiting places we’ve never been before, play at punk/DIY venues and festivals but it’s still in the works.

I guess this is also a good chance to introduce some Singaporean bands; good friends of ours and amazing people as well. Istilah, Forests, Terrible People, Afsa, Astrid, Adhara, Daily Ritual, Calvaire, Paint The Sky Red, Sphaeras, Two Seas, Racoonhead, Bruised Willles, Marijannah, Wormrot, Fluke, Abrasion, Obstacle Upsurge, Amateur Takes Control, Radiant Archery, Tapestry, Grandfist, This Is Atlantis, Subsonic Eye, Cosmic Child, RecoverLubricant, Systemize Illustrating Noise, Circuit Trip, Schizophrenic Wonderland, Paris In The Making..the list is exhaustive but yeah these are some of the many great bands embracing the Singapore music scene."

Yumi's Facebook
Bandcamp

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Jeromes Dream



Sorry, guys, I always had problems with punctuality. Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Jeromes Dream. A month ago I finally received a letter from their drummer - Eric with answers to my questions. And now with a short unfortunate delay I would like to share it with you.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Portraits of Past



Rex John Shelverton who played guitar and sang in Portraits of Past wrote a few words about releases of his highly influential band.

1994-1995



"To me the Portraits album (as well as many albums I’ve worked on) is a total time capsule and captures that era in a way that nothing else can really. It’s like an old photo or mix-tape x1000.
I think we always wanted to make the music as moving as possible whether that meant louder, faster, or more mysterious with things like reverb etc.
We were super inspired by a lot of the west coast stuff happening at the time like Heroin, Unwound and Drive Like Jehu but also by some of the “Power Violence” bands, who were more extreme. Towards the end of Portraits, when we tracked the LP, the Indie Rock stuff too, which was more melodic.
I remember how seriously we took the guitar sounds, and I borrowed some money for expensive Celestion Greenback speakers with the full intent to return them at the store when the recording was done. Of course I never got around to returning them.
I’ve been asked a bunch of times what chorus pedals we used, which is funny as there’s no effects on the guitars at all besides the reverb from the amps and room.
The band tuned down to C# which caused the intonation of the instruments to be quite off and, when both of the guitars were double tracked, created a cool natural stereo chorusing effect which sounds unique even now.
The only thing I’d change is the snare tuning/mic’ing, and I would’ve practiced my singing parts a lot more. I had never tried to sing some of my parts at practice, as we usually only set up one mic, and I was too shy to try out the singing with the whole band. I ended up having to just try my best in the studio which kind of captures a bit of the bold naiveté of a 20 year old making his first record."






2009 - Cypress Dust Witch EP



"For our EP recording in 2009, it was really a cool challenge to dive back into the Portraits universe, and we all took it super seriously.
These were all new songs which we recorded and mixed completely on our own so that we could control the entire process, keeping authenticity a priority. 
Even the guitar and amp I used to write and record were the same ones as used on the album back in ‘95.
As the songs came together we'd often check with each other "is this how we would've done it?" .
I feel like we all tapped into whatever it was that inspired us so long ago and there were still melodies and ideas waiting to come forth and be put into words and music. 
The thing is, even though the band broke up, and we all went on to travel the world etc, there's always been a connection with the five of us, so it was totally natural coming back to that place creatively. 
I'm really happy that people have accepted Cypress as an authentic and honest Portraits of Past record and not just a self indulgent or sentimental ego trip which can easily be the case when bands reform decades later. 

Thanks for the interest and appreciation."


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sinking Steps... Rising Eyes - Majestic Blue



Writing of Majestic Blue

Eli DeGroff (guitar):

"People sometimes commented on how much different Majestic Blue was from our first ep.  That is true, but the band dynamic changed a lot after our first tour.  I’ll give you a little background.   During the first year of SSRE we wrote, recorded and toured on our first ep.  We started with one bass player, Brogan Costa, during that first year he decided to go back to Dubai in the U.A.E. to attend a University, his family was living there and he planned to return after the semester.  In his absence we added our friend Seth Dekkenga on bass so we could start playing shows.  When Brogan returned, we wrote in second bass.  Josh Boyd, our drummer also got married early that year.
Heading into the fall after our first tour, Seth got married and decided to leave the band.  And after writing a few more songs, Josh left too as he had a child on the way and knew he would not have time to dedicate to the band.  Also I headed back to school, about a one hour drive from Sioux Falls where we lived.  I had left school the previous year to start this band. 
So Brogan, Mary, Brandon and myself kept writing and trying out new drummers.  I would come down every weekend to practice.  Brandon Aegerter soon joined on drums and we wrote all winter. 
Previously, the songs were written mostly from guitar and drum parts, one song was entirely Seth’s bassline and I wrote guitar parts over it (Deepest Hymn).  With the Majestic Blue songs Brogan and I did a lot of writing together and we finally had a huge practice space in an old school house building used to store medical waste.  The owner rented out rooms to bands and we could go there at all hours.  As the songs progressed, we spend a lot of time tailoring the beginnings and ends of songs to fit into other songs such that we could play a live set as one song if we wanted.  We now had a dedicated amp and PA speakers for the piano/keys, which allowed us to make that a more dominant element in the songs. 
Brandon A. was also into trying out odd timing and transitions so we experimented with those types of things to make our songs more interesting.  Thinking back on it, our first 5 or 6 songs were just us jamming out a bunch of songs so we could tour, not that they weren’t important to us but they were more superficial from a creative standpoint, it more emotion and energy.  I think when we were writing the songs for Majestic Blue, we were all different people and were tapping into a more creative place.  We were all going through a lot of transition, there is a lot of darkness and depression in that record." 

Brandon De Jong (vocals)

"The lyrics for Majestic Blue were heavily religious, but a bit less obvious than our E.P. I always tried to keep the lyrics sincere and honest. My writing largely reflected my longing to feel something spiritual… something real. I wanted an emotional tie to God and screaming was the closest I could get to feeling anything."

Recording of Majestic Blue

Eli DeGroff

"We recorded it in Minneapolis, MN at Analog Electric with Adam Lazlo.  It was a home studio.  We really wanted to record in an all analog studio and we asked around and heard about Adam Lazlo, we recorded and mixed it on 2 inch tape.  No overdubs, almost all single takes.  If there was a gap in guitar part or something you could punch in, but it was hard and usually easier to do the song over.  But we made a point to try and take the first take unless it something major.  You can hear a lot of small imperfections but we wanted it that way, we didn’t want it perfect, it’s never perfect. 
Erin Toft, now Erin Castle who sang on the record, started singing with us at practice sometimes.  Initially for just one song, but started doing more parts trading off with Brandon DeJong on the lyrics he wrote.  Originally there were more screaming parts, when we were recording we realized some of it didn’t really fit so we stopped recording and all went out to eat and discussed what to do.  We removed some of the vocal parts so there was more space where we felt it needed it.  All the lyrics are printed in the album, the lyrics in blue font are the ones that are either sung by Erin, or screamed by Brandon.
We did it in a weekend session and used a lot of really cool vintage RCA ribbon mics for vocals and room sounds." 

Brandon De Jong

"I remember having difficulty with my voice during the recording, but was finally able to “break it in” after a few songs. The tracks were recorded sequentially, and when listening, I can hear my voice got stronger with each song."

Current Projects

Eli DeGroff

"Roman Ships – 2008 – Current.
Josh Boyd ( original SSRE drummer ) on drums, myself on guitar and vocals and Brandon Aegerter ( SSRE drummer on Majestic Blue ) on bass / baritone.  I was completing college and moving back to Sioux Falls and Josh and Brandon A. had started playing together so Josh called me and told me I was in a new band.  After recording a 5 song demo, Brandon A. left and our friend Pat Nelson joined on bass.  Roman Ship put out two tour demos and in 2013 we put out a full length CD / LP on Init Records."


Thoughts on Majestic Blue after 10 years

Eli DeGroff

"I listen to it every once in a while.  I think it came out in 2004, but we had recorded it about a year previous.  It is something I am still proud of, I have been writing music ever since but nothing that is so layered and nuanced.  Part of what made it different from anything I have been a part of is that we were in a place in life when we were all in on that project.  I was in school but I was failing out and just writing music and practicing all weekend.  We spent so much time writing together that we were able to really listen to each other and create something that challenged us all.  I would say that I grew the most as a musician during that time.  None of us knew how to write verse / chorus type songs, so we just wrote in a sort of stream of consciousness style.  It took a very long time to write but we would just play parts over and over until we figured out where it went next.  When we released it, it seemed like most of the people that liked what we done so far were not really into it.  I think after we broke up I started to hear more positive reviews of it. "

Brandon De Jong

"Majestic Blue is much more mature than our E.P., and I still find it interesting to observe the stark contrast between the two albums. In a way, I think the music outgrew me, so I feel fortunate to have been a part in its making. Although I’m a bit critical of my role in the album, I’m proud of the overall results. I still listen to the album somewhat regularly and at high volumes. I specifically enjoy some of the discreet layers of sound that may go unnoticed during initial listen.
Even after all these years, I still have a hard time describing our music to people, but I hope that says more about the music than my ability to articulate. The band created real, lasting relationships and this album represents a period of my life that I will always look back on with fondness."

Interesting things about the record

Eli DeGroff

"The first and last track have exactly the same bass line.  That is why they are called part 1 and part 2.  The songs don’t sound similar because of the other instruments, but you can tell if you listen close.

The Shedding Skin is pretty much one note the entire song.  We wanted to write a song with one note.  The whole album in written in “drop D” tuning anyway, so of course the note is D.  The song just kind of trades crescendo’s between instruments but is riding a D note almost the whole time."   

Brandon De Jong

"Every line in “Procession of the Dancing Dusk (part 2)" rhymes"

Equipment

Eli DeGroff

Guitar:
·         Epiphone G400 Sunburst, Neck Pickup Standard, Bridge Pickup Sethlover
Amplifier:
·         Soldano sp-77 series 2 preamp – 2 channels
·         Carvin Stereo Power Amp 2 x 50 watts
Speaker Cabs:
·         Marshall 1960A 4x12 with stock speakers (G12T-75)
·         Sunn 4x12 straight with stock speakers  - Vintage Early 70’s.
Pedals:
·         Boss TU-2 Tremelo
·         Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb
·         Roland Volume Pedal

I had wanted a black Gibson SG for a long time.  I was working at a used music store and we also sold guitars so I was able to get a new guitar at cost of the store.  I think I paid about $300 for the Epiphone G400 ( an SG ).  I couldn’t afford a Gibson.  I replaced the bridge pickup with a reissue Seth Lover Humbucker and it sounded nice. 
I had been experimenting with different amplifiers, I had originally been playing a Marshall JCM900 but it sucked.  I was always having problems with it.  Generally, Marshalls are good, that one sucked.  I wanted clean overdrive and I had read good things about this Soldano pre-amp.  I tried a few different solid state power amps but they sounded terrible.  So what I wanted was a VHT 90 watt stereo power amp but of course that was very expensive.  There weren’t that many stereo power amps to choose from, this Carvin one was like $300 or $400 I think.  I had some things I wanted to try using stereo cabs so I wanted a pre amp with stereo out and a power amp with stereo in. 
Actually, on the song Procession part 2 on the recording the guitar fades in at full overdrive.  I was able to do that live because I could run my volume pedal full volume but run a separate volume pedal out of the preamp and slowly increase the signal into the power amp.  It was pretty cool.  I could also turn one cab on or off that way too.
The Marshall cab was what everyone used and that was the first 4x12 cab I ever bought.  It sounded pretty good, I didn’t have much to judge it against.  When I got a second cab, I wanted something old with some character so I found the Sunn 4x12 on Ebay.  It was 1970 I think, it had much lighter magnets and was not scooped in the mids like the Marshall cab was.  It was a nice blend of sounds.
Funny story, I toured with that Sunn cab for 2 summers and had never opened it.  I decided to put casters on it so I opened it up, there was a thin foam lining inside for dampening and I had to move it aside to get to a bolt hole I had made.  I big gallon size Ziploc bag fell out with white powder residue in it.  I immediately thought it was drugs, but figured that was too crazy.  A little white powder collected in the bottom and I tasted it….. it was meth.  Haha… how crazy.  Someone must have been hiding drugs in it and forgot. 

Bass guitar:
·         Ibanez ICB 300 Iceman Bass - Vintage
Amplifier:
·         Ampeg SVT-3 (Mid 90’s Version)
Speaker Cabs:
·         Marshall 1935B 4x12 Bass C
·         Ampeg ISO-Vent (2x15 + 2x10)  
Pedals:
·         Electro Harmonix Hot Tubes Bass Overdrive
·         Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb