positive developments

some good happenings this week. in addition to releasing our second video, we got some more love from the ottawa music community

on tuesday, deathdisco’s dolston, while acknowledging that he might have to step back a few paces for a well-deserved breather, took time out to praise others on the scene, including asw and our talented colleague Nick Doyle:

“The good thing is that I am thinking about slowing down when other people have started doing more…. There are new music projects forming in Ottawa – Apriorism, Antisocialworkers… The dark music scene here is vibrant and new people are coming in every week.”

nice to know that dark music and new projects are embraced, particularly by luminaries of the scene.

blessing #2: our music will get its first club play (that we’re aware of) at Industrial Overload on May 18.

thank you, ottawa!

antisocialworkers – reciprocity – official video

reciprocity (6:08)

sometime, sometime, sometime
will come a time when
all the things you’ve done
will be accounted for
and in time, in time, in time
you’re gonna find that
all the pain you’ve caused
will come back to you some way

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.”*

who are you?
no-one really knows, do they?
but i know, and i’ve seen what lies ahead

(sometime, sometime, sometime…)

stop. look at me. i know you
i see what the others can’t
you are all that is evil in the world today
no. don’t laugh. listen,
because to my eyes you are transparent, empty, barren, a fraud

externally pure and internally corrupt
law abiding yet morally bankrupt
charitable with your wallet, not your heart
in love only with yourself, your power,
your perceived authority and mastery over others

charmed only by the sound of your own voice,
and captivated by the tales of your own deeds
imbued with polite arrogance and condescending disdain
woven in the words that escape your smiling lips
or in concealed contempt imprisoned
behind the gleaming bars of your whitened teeth

who are you?
no-one really knows, do they?
but i know, and i’ve seen what lies ahead

(sometime, sometime, sometime…)

It is said that “as a cowherd with his staff drives his cows into the stable,
so do Age and Death drive the life of men**
blinded by your own conceit you believe that you drive yourself
but in your intoxication with your own desires and conquests
you fail to observe the sun passing over you,
the earth moving under you,
the time enveloped around you
pulling you toward an inevitable end

what will you find there?
only the rewards rightly due to the one
who never invested in the well being of others
nursed a savings of happy memories
or founded a treasury framed by place and purpose
and fortified by bonds, love, gratitude, legacy

but what awaits you?
i know – i’ve seen what lies ahead

(sometime, sometime, sometime…)

look over your shoulder
do you see them now?
they’ve already begun moving toward you
they noticed you a long time ago

you’ve never met them
and yet you know them well
they are as you are,
and someday they will be what you were

looking as you looked
taking what you took,
becoming what you became
until you are no more

in time, “the wicked man burns by his own deeds, as if burnt by fire”.**
the crowd is already gathering
but how long is the time that remains?
i know – i’ve seen what lies ahead

(sometime, sometime, sometime…)

” There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed.”***

time’s up.

* The Dhammapada: I. The Twin-Verses
** ibid., X. Punishment
*** ibid., XVIII. Impurity

antisocialworkers – nonentity – official video

because nonentity was written, recorded and a video produced all in one day, a few things were missed. one was a bass part that wasn’t fitting well, so it was scrapped in favour of a pure guitar massacre. in addition, there were a few technical issues with the original one-take recording.

now, a remixed and slightly more polished song comes to you, complete with the same crappy video (well… very slightly altered):

nonentity (4:35)

i have no body
i have no soul
i’m the remainder of a fully-absent whole

i’m without purpose
i’m without form
i am the nothing that ought never have been born

i’m watching – not seeing
i’m using – not needing
i’m hurting – not feeling
i’m breathing – not being

i have no family
i have no love
i am invisible from attention i’m unworthy of

i am irrelevant
a crass mistake
i am a burden, beyond anyone’s desire to take

i’m watching – not seeing
i’m using – not needing
i’m hurting – not feeling
i’m breathing – not being

my mind is rabid
my heart is gaunt
i have no conscience to prevent me from taking what I want

it’s you i blame and hate and damn
because you are the criminal who has made me what i am

i’m watching – not seeing
i’m using – not needing
i’m hurting – not feeling
i’m breathing – not being

why it’s better not to be discovered

marriage has a place in romantic relationships, but in the music business it tends to be preferable to remain open and non-exclusive.

unsigned bands have it better than they realize. really. i’m aware of the business model of most of the music promotion sites, and they’re counting on the fact that you don’t realize the value of what you already have.

they’re constantly trying to sell you opportunities to play major shows, audition for producers, submit your songs for inclusion on some CD, or get a professional review.  they’re relying on your desperation: it’s healthy for their bottom line. but ultimately if you get what you think you want, you’ll yearn for what you have now.

big label fame carries expectations and restrictions. obscurity is the ultimate freedom.

the more third parties you involve, the more likely it is you will lose control of your music. the more unnecessary open hands are in the room, the less you’ll have left in your pocket once those hands are full.

record labels—those people you’re clamouring for the attention of—are not unlike the Internet-based promotion tools in that they have their own agenda, and it runs contrary to yours.

record labels are very good at mass-production and distribution: moving product, and making a profit.  and like the Internet freebie sites, they’re relying on your desperation.

  • you want validation, you’ll sign the contract without reading or understanding it.
  • you’re poor, so they offer a loan up front—money you’ll eventually have to pay back.  you’ll use this money to buy things you need (or want), thinking that your fame will pay it back and then some.  most likely, it won’t
  • labels will make you pay for your own studio time, but will retain control of the tapes you produce and they’ll keep your publishing rights. they’ll expect you to pay for your own tour. they’ll refuse to distribute your songs if they’re not satisfied, and send you back to the studio again. they can drop you at any time.

if you think you need a label for mass distribution, you’ve missed this phenomenon called the Internet: a massive tools that’s excellent for selling music.  music on physical medium is disappearing, and someday it will be a limited edition niche item.

sure, the Internet is also excellent for piracy, but the losses on digital files don’t hurt as much as the sales hit to discs—and frankly, any distribution is good distribution.

do you know why musicians tour? sure, there’s the roar of the crowd and the groupies, but it’s mostly for the ticket and merchandise sales. most money in music is made through the things not easily pirated: your presence—the chance to meet you, get your autograph and buy your stuff.

if you think you need a label for technical expertise in recording music, find an expert or a learned fan. sometimes you find both in the same person. in `99 i was playing a small cafe while a fan filmed the performance. he begged to produce us in his home DAT studio. an album was born, free of charge. he became a friend, we credited him for his work and touted his skills as a producer.  today, the same people exist, or you could learn to use digital recording software and do it yourself. with free cross-platform tools like audacity, poverty is no object.

and if you think you need to get signed by a label to prove something to yourself, or others—get over it.

record your own music, host your own website, make your own deals with digital download distributors (or do it yourself), make and distribute your own merchandise. manage your own career and own your work! you’ll get a piece of the whole pie instead of trying to live off royalties.

you don’t have to do it alone. the Internet sites have at least one thing right with “street teams”. harness your fans to help. they want what you want, your success, and some recognition for hard work.

“beer and birthday cards” is what i call it. they go a long way.  befriend and praise the people who help you by buying them a beer, sending them a card, meeting them in person, hanging out with them, and thanking them in your media  (on your website, and in the liner notes included with your digital album).

going it “alone” (without a major label) might feel scary, but it’s not as scary as being a washed-up has-been with no deal, no master recordings, and no royalty checks ever received.

a philosophy of creation

some years ago—the last time i actively wrote any music—i agonized over every aspect of songwriting design and structure. it wasn’t particularly healthy. while it felt like a disciplined, professional approach to composition and production, i don’t think it made me a particularly creative musician, or made my music more interesting.  if it was, i might have released something before now.

with this current project, there are no plans, precepts, or preconceptions… just some basic, foundational principles:

  1. while music is mathematical, i’m not going to worry about measures. if verses are irregularly long or inconsistently spaced, i’m unconcerned—so long as they feel  right to me.
  2. there may be no chorus, no bridge, no middle eight. the first two songs i’ve produced are very simple melodies that repeat, with or without variation.
  3. i’ll start with any instrument, or the words, and layer the rest. there’s no right place to begin, and i think people get in a rut when they rely on a specific process.
  4. i’ll write the parts that i think need to be there, rather than write parts for every instrument i can play. this means you might wait for the bass or the guitar part to come in… for the entire song.
  5. when i record and produce, i’ll use minimal compression. this means my record wont sound as loud as most of what is being produced today, but i like dynamics (and so do you, whether you realize it or not).

i’m tempted to say that all my lyrics will be deep, disturbing, provocative, or philosophical, but that’s another constraint i’m going to avoid. in general though, i like ideas, and i like to sing or talk about subjects of interest. my favourite music by other groups are not the endless instrumental barrages, but the songs that tell a story or convey a feeling or a state of mind.

hopefully something i write will be of interest to you, but this is the last thing i’m divesting myself of for this creative reboot: the need for recognition.

i am an attention whore. i suppose that to some degree this is part and parcel with artistry, but i’m trying to let go of it.

i sincerely hope you enjoy some aspect of the forthcoming asw EP, but the #6 that should appear in the list above is:

  • i’m going to write musical stories that i enjoy, even if no-one else does.

twitter suspended us

yes indeed. no explanation, no warning email, just a flat-out denial of service, with an admittedly kind invitation to appeal the suspension.

their prerogative, obviously, but it would have been nice to receive even a basic form letter providing some context.

  • we haven’t spammed anyone.
  • we’re not excessively following: our requests were targeted to individuals of interest.
  • we haven’t sent anything obscene (unless you count an RT of another non-suspended user who used an expletive to comment about cartoonist Tim Buckley’s revision of a webcomic to be more politically correct).

so far, we’re guilty of promoting our video and our new account on Facebook, in between other bits of humour and observation.

and i suppose we have a name that could offend people who aren’t diligent enough to realize it’s a mashup.

apologies to our two followers. thankfully, seeing as this was brand new, more people weren’t affected.

note to twitter: a restored and VERIFIED account would be a great kiss-and-make-up gesture.

(it’d be nice to think they’d actually check our website as part of the appeal process)

update: 24 April (Easter Sunday): service restored.

antisocialworkers – nonentity – easter pre-release video

so, asw said “done for now”, and decided to leave the recording of nonentity as-is, make a video, and upload it to YouTube.

writing, recording and video production for a song in less than 24 hours? can do.

it’s quite imperfect…  there are some timing issues and it lacks bottom end. might add some bass to the mix and leave this as an alternate version. shiny happy lyrics included below.

happy easter.

album recording in progress

well, well, results at last…

the first track was laid down today, with the exception of a bass part.

asw doesn’t have a dedicated studio, so there’s quite a bit of set up and tear down involved for a recording session. because this particular song: “nonentity” was written from scratch in-studio, there wasn’t enough time to get a bass part down. but 2 guitars, drums and vocals are in. the bass part, samples and effects will be added soon.

the debut album is tentatively titled “rage, hate, and fluffy bunnies”.

dig it.