11th Annual Punk Song Nominee
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Record Label: Psychodelectric Media
Home Base: Spring Hill, Florida since July of 2011. Prior to that, Randolph, VT. I grew up in Naugatuck, CT and still have a lot of friends and family there.
Genre: Well, that’s a hard question for me to answer. I consider myself to be a Rock composer, and I’ve done quite a bit of heavy rock and metal, as well as some strange and psychedelic stuff. The Genre of my craft isn’t specific in that I write music that emotes something of the meaning behind the lyrics. The style is an exercise in “form follows function”. It all depends on the emotion I’m trying to convey how the style of the song will end up.
Categories Entered: Alt/Indie and Hard Rock Songs
Work Submitted: I submitted two songs that I finished recording last year: “Damn the Speed Limit”, which was nominated in the Punk Song category, and another song called “Skiing In Vienna”.
Artists Featured: There is only one artist involved in this nominated work: myself. I am a one man operation most of the time. I have done a couple of collaborations and in fact I am working on some new stuff now with a new partner. I write, record, play, program, mix and master everything I do for the most part.
Label: Psychodelectric Media – this is my own label name that I created for the purposes of putting out not only my own music but eventually more. I’d like to record other artists and produce them. That would be my dream job.
Scary Tales Official Site: http://www.scarytalesmusic.com
Jango Radio: http://www.jango.com/music/Scary+Tales
Amazon MP3: http://www.amazon.com/Scary-Tales/e/B0047NNTX6/
Who are your influences? My influences are wide and varied, and have definitely changed over the years. The biggest influences to me have been Rush, Pink Floyd, Led Zepellin, Kansas, Styx… the song “Damn the Speed Limit” was influenced by the band DEVO and really happened by accident. I grew up with Grand Funk Railroad, Bad Company, The Who, Aerosmith, Led Zepellin, The Doors… I really fell in love with the psychedelic flavors of King Crimson and Pink Floyd in my early years. But lately I’ve kinda grow out of a lot of the older pioneers of heavy rock (except Rush – I’ll never get tired of Rush) and have gravitated towards more modern sounds like Disturbed, Linkin Park, Sick Puppies, Seether, Papa Roach, and believe it or not – Eminem. Eminem has had a big influence on me in a lot of ways… I don’t know how much of that influence will translate into music but I really respect him as an artist in a league of his own, out in the stratosphere of the greatest most gifted creators like Zappa and Floyd. Oh and I really love Evans Blue – they’re like my number one band right now and I listen to their stuff over and over and never get tired of it.
Describe your nominated work. Oh where do I begin. The song is a satire, really. It came about kind of by accident. My friend Ron told me that I couldn’t write a New Wave song (this is back in the early 80’s) so I hammered out the main guitar groove on the spot. I was catchy and stuck with me for a few days so I set about to write it down. I created my own version of Guitar Tableture back then that I used and wrote down the riff. Then one day a week or two later I was playing Frisbee with a couple of friends and the Frisbee was bent and it didn’t fly right. I said “it’s like Luke Skywalker flying Drunk” and then that “devine inspiration” hit me and I got a notebook from inside my friends house and sat right there on the lawn in the sun on a Sunday afternoon and wrote out the lyrics for Damn the Speed Limit. It’s about a guy who is drinking JD on ice with some girl he met in a bar named “Asteroids Pub”. He drinks this special concoction called “Aurora Borealis” – which incidentally the bartender warns him not to drink if he’s driving – and ends up driving anyway. He “goes down the rabbit hole” so to speak and ends up finding himself “Drunk Driving in Outer Space”, being chased by the police, “they like to chase, I like to run”, and “doing 360’s all over the place”. His car is “the dream of the stars”, complete with “an anti-matter impulse engine under the hood” and a stereo which boasts “two octiqued triaxials (they sound real good)”. He tries to outrun the police and when they get too close, he shifts into overdrive and goes into hyperspace. Now, I know drunk driving isn’t cool and I don’t advocate it any more than Shawn Ryan advocates Police Corruption. It’s just art, and it’s a funny song. The lead solo is the big police chase, in case anybody didn’t grok that.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? Well, that’s a great question. Actually, the entire song was recorded with interesting instruments – Virtual Instruments. VST’s. For one thing, there are no real drums, bass, or guitar at all, except for the fact that they are all high resolution digital samples of real instruments. The Drums were created using Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.x. I used a customized drum kit from the Metal Foundry SDX. The drum parts were partially reverse engineered from an old recording of the song performed live by my brother Mark Boutot – meaning that I listened to his drum parts from that recording and programmed the drums using his playing for inspiration. They’re not note for note because the recording was old and of very poor quality, but the spirit of his playing is there. The bass is Spectrasonics Trilian – one of the electric bass patches right out of the box. The guitars, well they’re REALLY special. The guitars are entirely programmed using Vir2 Electri6ity. There are two counterpart guitars that take care of the pump and grind throughout the entire song. One is from the Les Paul sampled guitar and the other is from their Stratocaster sampled guitar. The Lead Solo is also the Stratocaster sampled guitar. The lead solo was an opportunity for me to really knock it out of the park with the Electri6ity instrument. I tried to program a plethora of real articulations including mutes, bends, hammers, pulls, harmonic bites… and I’m pretty proud of how it came out. It was only my second song ever using this instrument – the first was the other song that I submitted to the 11th annual IMA’s, called “Skiing in Vienna”, which is also 100% programmed instruments. I did some tweaking to some of the vast array of parameters in Electri6ity, but mostly they are straight built in patches. I ran the guitar VST tracks through Line 6 Pod Farm 2 inserts in Cubase. The rest of the instruments you hear are from the Steinberg Halion Sonic VST. So yeah, I’d have to say that Damn the Speed Limit, using 100% VST Instruments would fall under the “unusual effects or instruments” category.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? Well actually no, not really. The guitars and bass parts were written on paper originally and I programmed them into Cubase pretty much note for note. The lead solo, well, I did take some liberties with that and doubled the speed of the playing on some of the passages to make it sound nearly impossible to actually play, and it came out way better than I had hoped. So no happy accidents, but maybe a little pleasant surprise.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses? I paid for everything myself. Actually, it only cost me a lot of time if you don’t count the equipment. I have a Quad Core Intel 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate machine with Cubase 64 bit native, all native 64 bit VST’s, 8 gigabytes of RAM, and it’s pretty much dedicated to recording. There is some outboard gear in a rack which aside from the ART tube preamp I just don’t really use anymore. The software instruments, VST’s, like Halion Sonic, Halion 3 64-bit, Superior Drummer, Trilian and Electri6ity were acquired over time. I have two 24-inch monitors and pretty much do all of the mixing on screen. So there is a significant investment that was realized over a several year period and supported with constant upgrades and purchases of important instruments, but it cost me nothing but time to produce. I do my own artwork, create and manage my own web site and web presence, do my own marketing, everything – mainly because of necessity and economics. I have to start selling a lot of mp3’s in order to afford to hire other people to do those things so I wear a lot of hats. But, I do have two albums and 3 singles out there and I’m hoping that as people start to discover my music there will be more money coming in than going out.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 11th IMAs? Well, for one thing it’s an opportunity that is unparalleled for Independent Artists. You can’t just go and submit your stuff for a Grammy, you know? You have to be part of the “old” recording industry for that. But the Internet changed everything forever and now guys like me who may have gone to their graves completely unknown – regardless of level of talent – can put their art out there for a worldwide audience to appreciate. I did it because when I first heard about it I was excited that such a thing existed at all. I also did it so that I might find some form of validation, which I did actually. I did it so I could be recognized, should I be nominated or win, for my talents as a composer and programmer. I wouldn’t mind tossing my talent into the mix for other artists to have access to, and getting a nomination or award in the IMA’s might just give me some of the street credit necessary to get that snowball rolling. I did it because I believe that it’s good stuff and should have the chance to be heard.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Oh, that’s easy. Success is when you are aligned with your source, your creator, expressing yourself in this world in the voice and talent you were given, being able to do what you love and were meant to do and be. It’s being happy, content, and fulfilled. It’s being truly loved. It’s not making money. Believe me I make a lot of money with my Custom Software business but it’s not fulfilling to me and although I’ve achieved a modest level of financial success for which I am truly grateful, the money is not success. Success is when you achieve oneness with your true nature. If you do that, and focus on that, I believe money just comes from it as a side effect of doing what you love.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals? I don’t know exactly, yet. I will put the logo on my web site, Facebook Page, FanReach emails that I send to my fans. I’ll put “Independent Music Awards Nominee” in my email signatures. I’ll put it on whatever I can whenever the opportunity arises. I’ll probably reach out to some other industry professionals with a new-found confidence that comes from having a legitimate and official recognition such as this.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique? I can’t even answer that question. I have a fair number of fans on Facebook, Jango Radio, and Reverbnation, but I can’t tell you really who they are or what makes them unique. They seem to be from all over the world and with a lot of diverse interests. For instance, I have fans on Jango who became my fan after having heard one of my songs in a station with Lady Gaga or Fallout Boy, while others became fans while listening to Slipknot or Disturbed. I don’t know. Something about what they hear makes them become a fan. Of all of the facets of this journey, that is the one big mystery to me because I don’t really pay a lot of attention to that. I just write music that I like that I think other people will like and I accept the fact that not everybody will like it and am very grateful for those that do.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? I don’t tour. What I do is entirely in the studio and I really have no experience with touring at all.
Who are your musical heroes & influences? Rush. Neil Peart for his amazing and incredibly intelligent poetry, and all three of them for the incredible virtuosity as musicians and creativity as song writers. Their professionalism and commitment. They’ve pretty much been my major musical “heroes” for as long as I can remember. As I stated before, I grew up on some music that influenced me but I’ve morphed over the years from Beatles and Grand Funk Railroad to Eminem and Evans Blue. I like all kinds of styles, and can be influenced by great music in any genre as long as it’s cerebral, well put together and intelligent. But Rush will always be at the top of the list for me, along with Pink Floyd and Eminem. Three of a perfect pair!
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why? No, not really. I don’t think in those terms. I’m my own artist, and I do my own thing. I’d like the money that was made on some songs, but I don’t wish I wrote anybody else’s songs.
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? Well, I really love Eminem and have loved everything he’s done since his first album. The last two, though, really showcase the maturity of his gift. I’m not a big Rap fan, but I don’t consider Eminem to be Rap any more than I would consider Pink Floyd to be rock. Some artists are in a league of their own and he’s just one of those. I get what he does and I think I understand where he’s coming from. The other surprising thing is that I don’t really associate with punk music that much either! I’m surprised I ended up getting nominated in that category I wouldn’t have picked it. But I am grateful that I was nominated and frankly I don’t really care what category it was nominated for – it’s a real honor all the way around.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming? For the last year or so I’ve been discovering a lot of new music on Jango Radio. I just start it up, pick a band I like and have it create a station around that band. I’ve heard a lot of independent work that’s just amazing and I’ve heard a lot that I didn’t care for much, but it’s the true discoveries that keep me coming back. For instance, Evans Blue – I have everything they’ve ever put out and will buy anything they release in the future. I don’t buy music any more or less now than in the days of the old recording industry and CD’s. I have to hear a band a few times and if I really like them I buy. I don’t care if I can listen for free by streaming, if it’s something I really like a lot I’ll buy the CD. I like physical CD’s and always will. I like the cover art and inserts, liner notes, pictures – none of which you get from an MP3 or downloadable album. But, at the same time I don’t own a huge collection because I’m picky. Once I like a band I tend to get everything they release. If they release a single as an MP3 only, I will buy it but if those same songs are released later on a CD I’ll buy the CD. I believe in supporting the artists I really like because I know that without fan support they can’t make a living and will no longer be able to share their gift by writing and releasing more music. Fans need to support the bands and artists they really love by buying their music.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free? Well, touring is definitely an option. But to make the most out of the effort bands need to really think about all of the marketing opportunities and angles there are. Everybody has a smart phone these days and you can get devices that connect to your Android or iPhone to take credit cards. Sell t-shirts and CD’s at least. I don’t tour but I’m sure there are apps that will allow you to sell download codes for MP3 albums or singles. For those artists who are more studio oriented and don’t tour, such as myself, then I think a really big focus has to be on getting music licensed for commercial use in movies, TV, video games, and such. That’s an avenue that is only going to grow as the rest of the world modernizes and consumption of entertainment gets more and more of the share of dollars spent. Think about the thousands of TV shows, commercials, and Video games out there – they all need good music and musicians can sell the rights to use their music in those types of applications. And it’s not just about writing corny jingles. Remember the show “The Shield” on FX? Every episode had hard core heavy grunge rock in it from all kinds of alternative rock bands. Sometimes an episode had half a dozen different songs. And what about the theme song at the end? I only wish I wrote that song and had the common sense to submit it for licensing without worrying about the fact that it’s not a corny jingle. You never know what will be needed and why.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today? I don’t think fans and audiences really understand the impact that the free internet mentality has had on the music industry. Everybody wants everything free or as near free as possible. Even during the days when major labels were the only route to getting your art out there and they only paid the artists a small fraction of the revenue received from sales, artists still made enough money to make their art their living. In some cases that small fraction could be millions of dollars. Now it’s all changed. The attitude that it should be free is actually killing the artist, not just the music industry. Fans need to put their support behind their favorite artists by purchasing their music at least. A T-Shirt would be nice too.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future? I don’t think so. I think the technology today makes it possible for artists to release singles just as effortlessly as they release albums, but an album is really a milestone in an artist’s career. It’s a smaller collection of the whole catalog. A spotlight on where the artist was and where the maturity of their talent has progressed to – or digressed, in some cases. In my case, I plan to release a few singles while I’m working on a new album and then re-mix and re-master those songs for the album. Not every song will end up released as a single… just enough to keep my fans aware that I’m still out there doing my thing.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…changing. Metamorphosing into something new. The old industry is dead but they don’t yet know it or refuse to recognize it. The SOPA fiasco was proof of that, and should be an embarrassment for the industry, because it exposed the dark, scary underbelly of the industry – greed. It’s unfortunate because the money and muscle that it takes to really launch the career of an artist was embodied by the old music industry model. Instead of suing 15 year old girls and their parents, and spending millions on Lobbying and PACs to try and keep the old business model alive by killing any suggestion of change, the industry should have embraced the new model and put their money behind it. Instead, they fought against change and it’s just too late. I used to think all the time about getting a “Record Contract” and that would mean I’ve “made it” – but not anymore. I don’t even think of it that way at all. I created my own label just by giving it a name and put my music out there for the entire planet to find and it cost me almost nothing, really. The only thing I would ever need them for is to put up the money to do the marketing necessary to be able to make enough sales to pay for the marketing and make decent living.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year? I am now and have been working on a new writing collaboration with a great independent and virtually unknown song writer named Alan Morgan. We just released our first single together, titled “Waterfall” and it’s a pretty good first effort, I think. We’re working on a new song right now called “My Right Mind”. The music is different than what I’m used to but it’s really good stuff. We plan to submit some of this material next year to the IMA’s. I am also in the process of finishing up another album that has been in the making for way too long, and working on finally recording a bunch of really intense (and mildly insane) songs that were written and never recorded or produced. I’m getting ready to open an official office for Psychodelectric Media here in Florida and will be concentrating a lot of effort in the areas of producing audio and video – but that’s a slow process getting it going because I have to pay the bills so I have my Custom Software business that has been very successful for me, and that takes the lion’s share of my time. But I’m really excited for the future because I know that everything is happening for me exactly as it is supposed to. Just having had the opportunity to do this Q&A for the 11th Annual IMA’s is, to me, a success in the truest sense.