Over the past few weeks I’ve been going through the process of putting together a live band for the Tycho show coming up on July 9th here in San Francisco. Those of you who’ve been to my past shows will know that I usually play solo and the focus is on the visuals and some light synth work. But this recent break from playing live (been working on the new album) has given me a chance to re-evaluate what I want the performances to be about and it’s also afforded me some time to put into developing the whole thing a little more. The visuals will still be a central element of the show, but I also want to try and bring some of the instrumentation to the forefront as well.
This upcoming set at Mezzanine will be my first show back in a while — and one of only a few I’ll be playing this summer as I wrap up the album — so I wanted it to be something special. I’ve been working with some other musicians on the new material so it sort of made sense to try and incorporate them into the live stuff. I spent the past couple weeks deconstructing a lot of the songs and working them into live versions that sort of bridge the gap between electronic and traditional instrumentation and have been rehearsing with the band at Ira Skinner’s studio in Sacramento. Zac Brown (frequent collaborator and guitarist for Dusty Brown) will be handling bass duties while Matt McCord will be on drums. I’ll be on some guitars and synth and Dusty and Jessica Brown will be joining us for a couple songs as well. We’ve got a few more practices but things are sounding really good and I’m excited to bring it all to life on the 9th. Hope to see you there.
More info: Ghostly A/V Showcase – Facebook event page
Me on the Oberheim Four Voice
Zac Brown on electric guitar
Alex Cornell lending some acoustic takes
Zac Brown in the studio
I’ve sort of had my head down for the past couple months really digging into the recording of my next album so I thought I’d post up some shots from various sessions. Recently, guitarist Zac Brown (of Dusty Brown and DoomBird) has been coming in and contributing parts to some songs. It’s one of the first times I’ve collaborated with another musician and it’s been a great experience. It’s also been fun to wrap my head around recording guitar amps, something I had limited experience with before as most of my songs are written and recorded on my acoustic guitar with the keyboard and drum parts added later. It’s always exciting to find a new sonic texture to work with and it’s definitely an inspiring process to see your vision for a song expanded on by someone else.
If you’ve been following along with the album’s progress, you might have noticed the somewhat protracted nature of the whole thing. It’s been a test to say the least trying to keep on track with music while staying on top of the ISO50 side of things. There was definitely a long period where all I wanted to do was write new songs but not finish them, which is the hardest part for me. The good news is that because of this I now have a few albums of solid material, but the bad news is that it delayed the process of this one getting out. But that’s all behind me now and the past couple months have been the most productive of my musical life. The only problem is that I now have this self-imposed feeling that I’m behind and when I’m feeling that way I can sometimes forget to relax and enjoy the process of creating. It’s funny how much design and music differ in this way for me. While I see the processes of creating both as very similar, I don’t feel I can really sit down and just get music done in the same way as my visual work. It’s easy to say I’m going to devote three nights to a poster and be pretty confident it will get done and I’ll be happy with it. With music it’s always a much longer and drawn out process with more intangible milestones along the way.
The beauty of this entire process and the time devoted to it is that I’ve been allowed the luxury of perspective, something that’s very hard for me when I have to be neck-deep in a project from beginning to end with no breaks. The time has allowed me to continually reevaluate what the work is supposed to be and how best to do the material justice. Most of my songs start out as very small sketches, usually a guitar part and a keyboard part recorded quickly. I then set it aside and move on to something else. When I finally come back to an idea to develop it into a full composition my biggest fear is that I will somehow lose the meaning or the soul of it in the process. The problem is that as I’m adding new parts I start to go on tangents and the song can become something completely different. Sometimes this can be a good thing, but in other cases it takes time to be able to look back and realize that the original idea has been muddled in some way by the initial excitement of discovery. Problems like this tend to disappear when I allow myself to revisit work over time.
Overall, I feel close to wrapping up the production/arrangement phase but then comes mixing and mastering which can be time consuming. My goal is to have things sewn up by, at the very latest, end of summer. But putting time-lines on things doesn’t exactly serve the artistic process, at least not mine anyways, so I’m trying my best to pretend that goal doesn’t exist.
I’ll try to post some more pics / videos as things progress. And on a related note, Yourstru.ly has been filming a piece on the making of the album so there should be some interesting stuff by the time that’s done.
Tycho + Dusty Brown Live - Photo By Lead Into Gold
I’m happy to announce that 2/3rds of Dusty Brown will be joining me on stage for the Seattle show on Thursday. We’ve been rehearsing some new versions of different songs and we’ll also be playing the Dusty Brown remix from Past is Prologue. Flying out tomorrow, gotta start packing, see you out there.
Photo from Ghostly 10 Year @ Mezzanine SF by Lead Into Gold 101.