2nd Annual Fantasy Football Wraps Up!


Congratulations to our second annual The Sixty One Fantasy Football champion Clancy490!
At #4, she was the lowest seed in the playoffs, clancy490 orchestrated a come-from-behind victory to capture the crown.
This is the second time in t61 fantasy football history that the lowest seed claims the victory.

Clancy490 impressively defeated Eloqu3nt in the championship, winning 120 to 88. Liquidtrailz placed third for the second year in a row.

The following players participated in this season of fantasy football:
forgottenprince
clancy490
Imonlysleeping
Eloqu3nt
lankysob
sf49rox
Liquidtrailz
listen
davyhamburgers
strick414

If you are interested in partaking in t61 fantasy football please let me know!

Congrats to all and see you next year!

Review: Shael Riley and the Double Ice Backfire, Songs from the Pit

Rating (out of five stars) ****

Eight songs, one hundred cassettes, thousands of hearts.

So go the statistics for Shael Riley and the Double Ice Backfire's album Songs from the Pit. An album of eight songs, released in a limited-edition set of a hundred cassettes, and put up in digital form on thesixtyone.com where the songs reached a few thousand hearts--each.

"Hold on," you're saying, "am I reading this right? They released an album, in the year 2009, as a cassette?"

Sure--why not? The original explanation I heard was that chiptune music sounds best on tape, and the band wanted the novelty of a unique format. I can't remember the last time I bought an actual cassette tape before this (if ever), but it has a distinct, very real feel to it. It's not just sounds and pictures in your iPod; it's something tangible. Also, my car has no CD player, so it works well enough there.

When I first decided to review the album, I didn't know the first thing about nerdcore. And, well, I still don't. I am in no way an expert in video games, as my experience with them started to get hazy after 1996 or so. (Tetris is still popular, right? Right?) But I first stumbled upon Shael Riley through his project The Grammar Club, and though the musical style has shifted a bit this time arouns, he and his band don't disappoint.

This is an attitude-driven album of love, video games, and kicky melodies. Perhaps the one thing you should keep in mind is that chiptune is woven into the soundtrack, and for those not in the know, that means it sounds a bit like an old NES video game. The album is peppered with references to movies, video games, and general pop culture. It's sassy and irreverent and epic, as it should be.

The first track, the incredibly energetic "Publishing Rights," featuring Schaffer the Darklord, sets the tone right away: this band means business. But it leads into the softer song "The Other Side of Memphis," which is sweet and rather elegant. "How to Fire a Gun" may well be the star of the album, and most of us can identify with the speaker: he longs for independence, and maybe the ability to leave a mark on the world.

"Asian Kids Have all the Best Moves" is a rather fun and touching tale about friendship and trying to assimilate another's (much cooler) culture. "Hipster Hoax" revolves around the catchy hook "It's just a joke, it's a ... hipster hoax that I'm not cool enough to understand," while "Chinese Ninja Warrior" is a cover of The Immortals' theme song for a character for Mortal Kombat. (Yes, I had to Google that.) But the power chords make this song pretty awesome, and the chiptune is trippy.

As for catchy tunes, it doesn't get better than "tip eht fo mottob," a rockin' song that also references Mortal Kombat. The album's outro is a solo piano-backed reprise of "Asian Kids Have All The Best Moves." It's quite pretty, and the stripped-down format lets the lyrics ring out.

Altogether, it makes for a great and intruiging listening experience. The cassette album is currently sold out, but many of the songs are available for listening and purchase on thesixtyone.com.

The Bravery - Slow Poison

This one is best watched full screen. Lots of sci-fi effects and laser beams. Woo hoo! It's a lot of fun and the compositor did an amazing job.... and I dig The Bravery.

I hate that AOL makes you watch a full commercial before the video. Seriously annoying. I'd link somewhere else but AOL has the premiere up today. Boo hoo.

Free MP3: Bright Eyes by Bearcraft

Dicky Moore's latest musical project Bearcraft has a great song called Bright Eyes that you can download for free. I love Dicky's voice. It's so smooth. I'm a sucker for a good synth. :-)

Download Brighteyes.

Bearcraft on Facebook

BUFFETLIBRE: Dragonette - Easy (Buffetlibre Remix) : Free download "Track Of The Day"


They send me tracks from Buffetlibre all the time but I don't always post them. I thought you might be in the mood for a nice remix today.

Download Dragonette - Easy (Buffetlibre Remix) - right click or command click to download

skakeys brother: Unsigned Band with 2 Grammy Nominations

This band, shakeys brother, makes classic indie pop and I just love their sound. They are unsigned and usually play to crowds of 50 or so, but get this.... they're nominated for 2 Grammys!



Looks like they need some videos. Hey, shakeys brother, I do video!

Music for Halloween: Harley Poe

If the Pogues and Violent Femmes had a baby, it would sound like Harley Poe. Some of the video below isn't of the best quality, but it gives you a taste of Harley Poe. Thanks to Scott at Postapalooza for the recommendation.

Corpse Grinding Man



A Vampire's Night Out



Here's Transvestites can be Cannibals too.



Check em out!

Faderhead - Exit Ghost video

Posted on Facebook by a friend. Beautiful stuff, wonderful lyrics. Reminds me a bit of "Something I can Never Have" by Nine Inch Nails.

Pomplamoose - Beat the Horse & Nature Boy

I follow Curt Smith of Tears for Fears on Twitter (@curtsmith) and he said Pomplamoose was his favorite new band. Pamplamoose consists of Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn. Nataly's vocals are fantastic. Jack seems to do all of the instrumentation. Original stuff. What's not to like?! What do you think?



Here's Nature Boy, a song made famous by Nat King Cole. Gorgeous. Get a free MP3 of the song at their MySpace Page.

Interview with Joshua James

I interviewed singer/songwriter Joshua James at the Intersection in Grand Rapids, Mi, on October 1, 2009. Very nice guy, down-to-earth and mindblowingly talented. His performance was so emotive and rockin'. I was blown away!

I Fight Dragons: Behind the Scenes on NES-Rock


For Chicago band I Fight Dragons, saving the world--and sounding great--is all in a day’s work. This week I caught up with lead singer Brian Mazzaferri, who explains the band’s mix of pop-rock and sweeping electronic melodies--those cute beeps and bloops from old video games.

“When I heard the distinctive waveforms and patterns of the NES soundcard growing up, it was always associated with adventure, with epic journeys,” he said. The band channels that energy into their songs, be they clever tributes to video games or just plain knock-your-socks-off rock. To play the NES components of the songs live, they use various modified video game controllers, and even a guitar from the game Guitar Hero.

To start, here’s a video of Brian demonstrating the practice studio:




For those who don’t know, how would you explain NES-Rock?

Well, I'd explain NES-Rock (as we define it) as Pop-Rock music plus Chiptune, which is music made using old video game soundcards (specifically Nintendo ones like the GameBoy and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)).

How did you get the idea to combine NES sounds with your music?

It sort of happened backwards. Bill Prokopow and I were making a demo of an early version of "Heads Up, Hearts Down," and I suggested we try to make an intro that would be the chorus as if it were coming out of a Nintendo system. After making the demo and being immensely pleased with ourselves, I stumbled across the chiptune scene in earnest.

There's tons of artists out there making original music using obsolete equipment like GameBoys, NES, Segas, Commodore 64s, etc, and as soon as I discovered that scene I started listening to TONS of it, and I knew I wanted to find a way to integrate that with Pop-Rock. So we set about to do it!

Do you have any advice for musicians who want to experiment with Chiptune?

Well, for anyone who wants to experiment, I'd say if you have some recording background check out free plugins like YMCK's Magical 8-bit and Chip32. They work with garageband, audacity, protools, etc. and make it very easy to start hearing sounds right away.

For people without the background in DAW stuff but with a mind for tweaking, some of the easiest programs are Famitracker, Nitrotracker, or Nerdtracker, all of which let you program within the restrictions of the NES sound card, but there's definitely a learning curve.

For the very hardcore, get a Little Sound DJ or Nanoloop cartridge and a Gameboy! It's very fun to mess around with, and there's great tutorials online.

Thanks Brian! More about I Fight Dragons:
on Myspace
on thesixtyone

Heartstorm!

Heartstorm is a user-driven quest on thesixtyone.com. Basically, the purpose is to spotlight old, underbumped songs. Every day, someone features 1-3 songs that need love, and the community storms them with hearts.

The quest is a great way to get the community together and discover some really interesting music. The first round was an incredible success, with many songs posting and hitting the “hot right now” page. Every participant recieved pages of notes and radio bumps from many different social groups.

Someone asked if we’re still doing it, and yes, we are. Here’s the remaining schedule for round two:

Tues, Aug 18 - gregsdumbid
Wed, Aug 19 - retardedmonkey
Thurs, Aug 20 - tedford
Fri, Aug 21 - waltdiggs
Sat, Aug 22 - jsuspect
Sun, Aug 23 - sabbides23
Mon, Aug 24 - dantheman1386
Tues, Aug 25 - whelchelphd
Wed, Aug 26 - todash
Thurs, Aug 27 - SallySilvera; special Heartstorm day in honor of sumar
Fri, Aug 28 - jtommyt
Sat, Aug 29 - Digdug
Sun, Aug 30 - ksubowler
Mon, Aug 31 - cr
Tues, Sept 1 - Ahrk
Wed, Sept 2 - circerhode
Thurs, Sept 3 - SaoPauloooo
Fri, Sept 4 - zaome
Sat, Sept 5 - Kalei
Sun, Sept 6 - tjradio
Mon, Sept 7 - gretchen
Tues, Sept 8 - daha
Wed, Sept 9 - Tesserax
Thurs, Sept 10 - daredevil169
Fri, Sept 11 - Haeretik
Sat, Sept 12 - laurie
Sun, Sept 13 - kevincobarno
Mon, Sept 14 - bmorrow
Tues, Sept 15 - madcat8


To participate, go to those users’ pages on their appointed day and, if you like the songs, heart them. It’s that easy! If you want to sign up to feature songs, just post a note on my wall.

Thanks to everyone who’s made this a success already--keep up the good work!

Edit: Updated list.

Video: First Train Home - Imogene Heap

Really cool effects. She's running inside a zoetrope, of course, I probably just ruined the illusion for you. You just have to see it. I hope the annoying ads don't drive you crazy.

let yourself feel. by Esteban Diacono

The Sixty One listener Esteban Diacono (teb34) has created a gorgeous experimental video for classical musician Olafur Arnalds' Ljosio. He uses Trapcode Sound Keys and Particular v2 to create this organic look. Absolutely beautiful work, Esteban.

Ben Harper

Really close. He's mindblowingly talented! Lots to update you on. More
later.

Thenewno1

The band is rockin with a bit of a psychedelic sound. I might make
comparisons to Oasis, but a bit harder. Jet? They do have their own
sound. I quite enjoyed them. The band is Lead by Dhani Harrison, son
of a Beatle. I'm sure George is here in Spirit.

Re: Lollapalooza 2009 TV Special Announced

I'm ready to hit day 2 of Lollapalooza and got this email below. I hope the whole thing posts. I had major connection problems yesterday at the show and I only got a partial posting. Here's the email.

---


On Aug 7, 2009, at 1:36 PM, "Carrie Lynch" wrote:

Hey - I saw your post [ http://www.maxbumps.net/2009/08/lollapalooza-weekend.html] about going to Lolla this weekend... I thought that this info would be awesome for your readers - please share!

 

As a continuation of their summer music festival coverage, Fuse TV has announced that they will be airing highlights from this year's Lollapalooza festival on August 15th! This year's lineup promises to ensure a continuation of the legendary festival's cutting edge acts. Can't make it to Chicago for Lolla '09 this weekend? That's ok because Fuse is bringing it straight to your TV on Saturday, August 15th with "Fuse Fest: The Best of Lollapalooza! Featured artists include: Kings of Leon, Jane's Addiction, Snoop Dogg, Rise Against, The Killers, The Silversun Pickups and many more!

Additionally, Fuse is helping music fans stay connected to all of this year's Lollapalooza '09 artists with Twt-a-palooza, a centralized online hub that lets you find, filter, and interact with thousands of tweets from the musical acts playing this year's fest! Log in with you Facebook or Twitter account to ensure that you don't miss a beat from one of this summer's hottest musical gatherings:
http://fusefest.fuse.tv/a/home

Wait, it gets even better... like free music? Well, Fuse has over 50 Lollapalooza '09 artist tracks up for FREE download now on their site! Free tracks from Animal Collective, Alberta Cross, Neko Case, Band of Horses, Deerhunter, No Age, Santigold and MUCH more can be found right here:  http://fuse.tv/tours/lollapalooza2009/downloads.html

Enjoy, and be sure to tune-in to Fuse on August 15th @ 9pm/8c for Fuse Fest: The Best of Lollapalooza '09.

For more information on Fuse's Lollapalooza '09 concert special, head here:
http://fuse.tv/lollapalooza

TWT-A-PALOOZA: http://fusefest.fuse.tv/a/home

VIDEO TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw3QFkEDGdM

(Please embed the video trailer on your site!)


*To find Fuse in your area:
http://fuse.tv/channelfinder.html

Thanks for your time, and please share on your site!

-Carrie 

Lollapalooza: Manchester Orchestra

Just caught Manchester Orchestras set. They sounded phenomenal. I was
very impressed with singer Andy Hulls voice, strong and clear,
sometimes gritty. Great loud guitar sound, just like I like it, with
soaring crescendos.

Lollapalooza Weekend

This post is a test of my ability to post updates from the blog from
my iPhone. I'm planning some major updates over the weekend with
quickie reviews, observations and photos. It will be like you are there!

If you are actually at the show and want to meet up, drop me an email
at batface89@gmail.com. It's going to be 92 degrees on Saturday and
Sunday. Every damn year it's crazy hot for lollapalooza. It will be a
way for me to lose a quick 10 lbs., sweating it off with the indie kids!

A Conversation with King Tut

king tut

Michele: Thanks so much for doing the interview with me. Can you talk a bit abou tthe new self-released EP coming out very soon, which is your first studio recording, which you recorded in Ashville, NC. What can we expect?

Drew: Mark and I had talked countless times about doing professional recordings of our "live material. The majority of our music that has been heard online are recordings done at home, track for track, and can't be played live. Because of our equipment limitations, we'd never been able to produce a recording that represented/resembled our live music in a way we wanted. So, we went into the studio, surrendered our wallets, and enjoyed the experience all around. Minus the whole wallet issue...

king tut 2Mark: We decided it was time to get a real nice studio recording of a couple songs from our live set, and we ended up at Altamont Recording. The studio is owned by Todd Kelley, who also owns Smashing Guitars and Endangered Audio. The record was engineered, produced, mixed, and mastered by Clay. We recorded over the course of a two days, and spend another one and a half mixing and mastering. It was a nerve-racking experience, spending so much money on such little time. The studio's rate was $60 an hour, and the final bill for those two songs came out to a little over a grand. That doesn't even include the cost of pressing, which is another $700-800. But it was well worth it--it was definitely one of the most enjoyable musical experiences of my life. The songs are "Francis" and "Rue the Word" and both are available for listening or paid download on T61. Because we love T61 so much, it's literally the only place you'll be able to listen to the songs for free. We're only going to charge for the downloads until we have paid off the recording and pressing, and then the songs will be free again. We're not interested in making lots of money, but we're not all that keen on losing money either. We feel it's not a bad trade to offer 60+ songs for free and humbly asking for help paying for these high quality recordings.

I was surprised to learn that you had been recorded your first album Chopping Wood & Carrying Water on a Mac Laptop in Garage Band and with built-in mic. Were you recording, mixing and mastering everything yourselves?

Drew: The majority of CW&CW was done on Mark's laptop, or my Mac Mini. Although a fair amount of the recordings used the laptop mic alone, we eventually began to use more "sophisticated gear such as USB interfaces and basic/entry level microphones.

Mark: I definitely had access to a few decent entry-level mics (Shure SM57, 58, some AKG condensers) which I ran through a Tascam USB-122. It only has two inputs which meant sometimes I'd record things in stereo, but more often than not, I'd just record two tracks of the same part in mono and then pan them left or right. That's where a lot of the jingly-jangly-fullness of that album comes from. Some of the guitar parts and most of the vocals are overdubbed five or more times--usually one in each headphone, one set a little closer, one closer still, and one directly center. I still do that a lot because it's a great way to cheat and make a poor vocal sound appear more full. I can't remember specifically what parts were recorded with the in-monitor microphone, but probably a lot of the singing and handclapping.

Drew: We certainly weren't working with anything special, and a lot of time was consumed by trial and error, but it was a necessary learning process for both of us to go through. I had no previous experience with recording besides previous projects, and by fitting the stereotypes of the drummer, I had to learn a lot more about audio, electronics, etc. It really has been a positive thing for both of us though. I'm able to give a lot more input with things, and began working on a solo project (Charles Martel) because of it.

Mark: (Apple's) Garage Band was basically what got me started playing music. My friend Luke Brandfon (who wrote the original chord progression for Luke's Hymn) introduced me to it. I saw how he could build a full song pretty quickly by himself and I was floored. He also was the one who got me into looping pedals as well. Those two discoveries made a huge impression on me, and it comes through if you listen closely to the music. The way I began writing music was to find a 4-8 bar phrase that I liked, and I would just play it over and over again until I felt like I had enough time to "play" with and develop the first theme. Then I'd just overdub different guitar and singing and whatever parts until I felt like the first section was done, and then I'd move on to the next part and do it over again. That's why so many of our songs have anywhere between 2-5 distinct parts and no choruses.

It's both an interesting and lazy way to write songs--and I say lazy in that I felt like my composition skills were not (and still aren't) up to the same level of intensity of the feeling I want to express, and so I fall back on easy, great-sounding, happy chord progressions, mostly based off of I-IV-V or its variants. I learned how to hide it well by adding these intense, fast, trippy guitar parts that would draw attention away from the fact that I was doing the same thing over and over again. But a part of me loved that in a way, that you could take the same basic ingredient and each time come up with something different. "The Ocean of Motion" was my celebration of that chord progression, and I just said fuck it and embraced it. I've never really taken lessons in guitar, but in a way, Garage Band were my lessons. I can't say that much mixing or mastering actually happened on that album -- we really had no clue what we were doing. No matter what it was, I almost uniformly boosted the high end, cut the middle, and boosted the bass.

There was one song we recorded "in the studio" but to call the Kenyon College studio a studio in the same breath as Altamont (where we recorded our recent EP) would be, uh, kinda silly.

Drew:The song, "It's All In Your Head, as well as a few drum tracks were recorded at Kenyon College's radio station.


Mark: The laptop setup was great though, because it let me record in a variety of places (some good, some terrible). I wrote "Monsters" and "Koen E Ikimashyo" as well as a few others on my windowsill at my mom's house in Bay Village, Ohio. At the end of "There's No Mountaintop to Yell It From" you can hear my mom calling upstairs to me. Other places I/we recorded were: in my mom's garage, in Drew's basement, in my dorm at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, in the performance space at aforementioned college, at my dad's house in the "fen" (what they call their mix of the family room and den, though I'm not quite sure of the difference anyway), and some other places I'm forgetting at the moment. I wouldn't say the album is mastered in the least, as the levels of the songs vary wildly, and the CD was actually pressed using mp3 versions of most of the songs because I'd lost a lot of the original GarageBand files (they had become corrupt for some reason). All in all, I'd say the music survived the massive uneducated beating I gave it.

Since then Drew and I have both read a lot more about the art of recording and got better equipment along the way too. I now use an Apogee Duet with a Rode K-2 tube condensor microphone. I'm still mixing on headphones, but I think the sound is getting better and tighter. I understand the wonders of compression and light EQ'ing more now, and how much the room you record in influences the outcome. "At the Gates" is one of the better recording jobs I've ever done I think, with the new gear and everything.

Michele: So King Tut is just the two of you: (Mark Boyd on guitar, synth, and cocals and Drew Veres on drums and synth). It's pretty impressive that two people can crank out so much sound and such a variety of music! I mean, your first album had 21 tracks! Do you have a process for writing music?

Drew: Mark definitely gets all the credit for that. There was a time when we lived almost 3 hours apart, and almost every week, anywhere from 1 to 3 new demos would end up in my email or on MySpace. I think the variety of our sound comes from a few other things too. Our musical tastes are pretty broad. I couldn't tell you the last time I listened to the radio or turned on MTV, but there are times when we're on the road to a show and we go from Oscar Peterson to LCD Soundsystem, and then switch on Godspeed You! Black Emperor to finish with Black Moth Super Rainbow. There's definitely a solid list of main influences, but the range of styles we enjoy is just as important. Mark and I both love to record on our own. I think it'd be safe to say for the both of us, that it's incredibly therapeutic. In some ways, it's oddly similar to obsessing over videogames as a child. You're sitting in front of a screen for hours, playing/listening over and over to get to that level/sound you want. Also, whenever some new piece of musical equipment comes in reach, we immediately try to incorporate it into something new.


Mark: Drew hasn't played much of a part in the "recorded" songs so far, but that's rapidly changing. In the past, I've written and recorded a majority of our music by myself, which was silly, because Drew's probably all-around a better musician than I am. Long story short was we wanted to overdub a lot of the songs with drums, but, being the recording amateur I was, I never recorded to a click track, so the result was these songs were incredibly hard to play along to.

One success, however, was "Weeknights." Drew did not do the drums on "Luke's Hymn" (he would have done a much better, less repetitive job)--that was just me recording a single drum/cymbal at a time and overdubbing them. Drew has, however, always had more input on our "live" sound aka what we do when we play live. This might not come as too much of a surprise, but most of the songs we have recorded are never going to be played live. They're just songs for people to listen to. We have definitely neglected our live set for far too long, and we're working on a new direction that is much more jazz-influenced. The songs from our EP can both be played live, though there was some overdubbing in the middle of "Francis" and at the end of "Rue the Word."

"Luke's Hymn" we can also do live, but we haven't played it in a while. The variety of our recorded stuff has resulted mostly from a lot of experimentation with different programs and ways of recording. We used Reason for all of the electronic sounds, and sometimes would combine them with live stuff later in GarageBand. Drew always wants to start side projects for the different genres we do but I'm just like "Whatever dude I don't want to start a whole 'nother MySpace and T61 account just for that." Also, he and I don't like the band name, it sounds kinda stupid, and we want to change it, but I kinda feel like we're too far in and I don't really care all that much, be he still wants to change it. King Tut is easy to remember, I guess it's got that going for it.

Michele: You have plans to include a lot more guest musicians in the future? I would think it would be difficult to perform live if there are just two of you, with so many layers to the music, but maybe not. I saw the Ting Tings last year at Lollapalooza and they're just 2 people knocking out a wall of sound.


Drew: I'd like to think our sound is pretty full for two people. If we didn't use live looping it would be a stretch, but it's something we don't want to seem dependent on. I try to approach drumming as a melodic addition to Mark's guitar playing when applicable too. If you were to add more players to the situation and have me play the same parts I do with just Mark, I'd come off as a total asshole, but at the same time, just playing a steady beat would be a tedious hour of music. For a while, we were determined to find a permanent bassist, but after nothing came through, we ended up feeling it was better to see just how far we can push things as a duo.

Mark: When we play live I use a Boss RC-50 looping pedal, which allows me to record and play up to three independent phrases at a time. Think of it as three normal looping pedals chained up and synced together. As I said before, our live sound is purely instrumental and very different than our recorded stuff. That will change a little as we add more guest musicians, namely, my friend Lorca LH, who will do some singing for us, mostly on the new folk set I'm trying to put together.

Drew: I really like the idea of playing with new musicians to change perspective and approach of playing and listening.

Michele: Speaking of Lollapalooza, any plans to play any summer festivals?

Drew: I'd be interested in playing... Just won't be attending.

Mark: Drew and I always talk about how we'd love to play festivals but never actually go to them. The sound like cesspits to me, with creepy people selling drugs, and people coming to listen to bands but to get fucked up first and foremost. That's cool if that's your thing, no disrespect, it just doesn't sound like a fun time to either of us.

Michele: I've been to a lot of rock shows and festivals and I haven't really come across people selling drugs, smoking a bit but not selling. I think that's probably true about the young kids, but I go to see the bands. After you're married and have kids its tough to get away and see a lot of shows, so by going to a festival, I cram a years worth of concerts into a weeked.

Mark: Playing a festival would be awesome, but we can't even get our act together to get a summer tour going. We've actually never toured and have only booked 2 shows in our history as a band. People ask us to play shows often enough that we don't feel like going to the trouble of booking them around town. The summer tour didn't happen because we waited too long on getting a booking agent (once again, we don't like booking shows) and plus we didn't even have money to press our vinyl, so why waste time touring if we can't sell our new record? I think late fall/winter will be a much more open window for touring. We'll start regionally then work our way around the East Coast, then to the middle and eventually the West if we ever actually get that popular so we're not spending thousands and thousands of dollars on gas 'n' shit with no return moolah. Yeah.

Michele: On the second track on your new album, Rue the Word, you use a sample of Amelia Earhart. What is the significance of her speech to you?


Mark: None whatsoever, it just sounded cool. Drew had a CD called "Great American Speeches" he had to study for his speech class at AB Tech, and we thought it sounded good over it.

Drew: It was just a last minute decision in the studio. It worked out in the end, but we've talked about shortening the length before releasing the 7.

Mark: It actually leads into the Apollo 10 (I think?) Christmas speech, because we were recording it from Drew's computer through a few effects and then into the mixing board, which was a bit of a happy accident because it ends on a pretty cool note.

Michele: You use samples from old movies and that type of thing. Where do you find them?

Mark: We used one sample from an old radio show that was a knockoff of the Twilight Zone I think. Drew will probably remember where he got it. That's in "It's All In Your Head." There are a couple of Timothy Leary speaking on "Here It Is & There It Goes" and I just found those by searching "Timothy Leary .mp3" in Google. Drew found out about this archive of sound which he'll tell you about that is pretty awesome, and I'll probably start using more of that soon.

Drew: I find a lot of samples online, and recently was introduced to freesound.org, which is an amazing resource. The sample used on "It's All In Your Head was from an archive of radio shows originally broadcast in the 50's and 60's. I can't remember the name of the show, but I know it was under science fiction...

I'm also always looking out for things to use at thrift stores and such. I actually have a fair amount of records I've collected with voice samples I'd like to use, but haven't had the time to transfer them onto my computer.

Michele: I love the textured guitar rhythms you create. They are just beautiful. What inspires you?

Mark: I love the band The Books, and I love how they can create these really intricate melodies. They do their stuff with the help of computers, of course, so I don't sound as amazing as they do, but yeah. I basically just take fingerpicking patters and speed them up and then layer different patterns on top of one another, and pretty soon it gets real dense.

Do you have any music videos in the works for the release of the EP? The Luke's Hymn Lonely Monkey video is very cute.

Mark: Haha yeah that video is cute. There is a music video a friend's boyfriend did a while back for "It's Strange" and we have one in the works for "Rue the Word" that our friend Blake in Charolette is going to do.

Michele: I work in the video post production industry, so I'm always interested about videos. The day of the big post house is over in a lot of places. It seems the same for the recording industry. Bands no longer need to have a full studio set up and a superstar producer riding the faders. Bands can self-produce and distribute music at various places on the web. But, you're pressing vinyl. Why do you love vinyl?

Drew: Things have changed a lot in just the past decade, and continue to change at a rapid pace. Although the convenience of recording on your own and being able to control the entire process is a huge part of King Tut, we still have a strong appreciation and admiration for the qualities we couldn't provide on our own. Being able to use priceless vintage equipment from microphones to plate reverb is a total high for geeks like us. We joke at times about how the clichĂ© would be for us to get all hyped up looking at pictures of muscle cars in magazines, but instead we get off to the circuitry of an old microphone. We feel the same way with vinyl too. Mark and I have been collecting records for a few years now, and when you make a good find, or get a record you've been waiting for that is 180 gram, has a poster, and sounds better than when you've heard it before it just feels great. It's something that I've never felt when buying a new CD with a plastic jewel case, a lame foldout, and flat audio… CDs have no real advantage anymore. The majority of people who listen to music might buy a CD, but they get home, put it on their iPod, and that's the end of it. Vinyl just seems to have so much more value all around.

Mark: Typically when you're mixing and mastering for vinyl, you want to get with someone who knows the physics of records. You can't make your mix too loud or it will literally make the needle fly off the record in the loud parts. That said, we did go into a real awesome studio for that record, and got a great product from it. The difference is mostly heard in Drew's drums, though the guitar definitely sounds more full. The reason we're not interested in doing CDs (ever again actually) is because: people don't take care of CDs like they do vinyl, vinyl sounds better (mostly because of a kind of micro-feedback that happens between the needle and the speakers which makes it sound more full), there are more art possibilities with vinyl, and it's more personal and physical and just cool. I feel like people will realize eventualy that CDs were always a big waste of time and eventually they'll go the way of VHS. If people want digital copies of our songs, they can have them (we're sending out free digital copies of the songs with the album). There is literally no quality difference between CDs and what can be played and stored now on people's computers. Most people don't even have a good enough speaker/headphone set up to realize the difference between a .wav and a .mp3. People who don't have turntables are still encouraged to buy the album because it'll come with a ton of free extras, like pressed flowers, handwritten love notes, and 100% original, unique custom art on every single cover done by 30 artists from around the world.

Michele: How is it promoting the music of King Tut via The Sixty One, MySpace, Reverbnation, Pandora, and other online music outlets? Do you spend a lot of time promoting the band online? I would have to think it would be easier and more productive than the old school grass roots methods. Has it really helped grow your fan base?

Drew: Promotion online has been a good friend of ours since the beginning. We've definitely settled down in comparison to how we were early on, but we wouldn't be where we are now without sites like MySpace and The Sixty One. I feel were at a point though where online promotion has done as much as it should for now, and we need to begin trying to play for living people, instead of their online alter egos. Of course the internet would/will be a big help in that, but I'm ready to start trying things from another approach as well.

Mark: MySpace used to be cool, but I've almost totally neglected it since I found T61. People on T61 actually want to hear your music, and you don't get pestered by high school scream-o bands that totally missed the wave 10 years ago (and what a wave that was...). I think printing out flyers for shows if you're not hot shit like Do Make Say Think or Mogwai is crappy and a waste of trees. I don't know if this happens as much in other cities, but nothing bothers me more than people who come up to you on the street, pretend that they want to talk to you and get to know you for about 1.5 seconds, and then shove this mini flyer in your hand as if you didn't have better things to do next Saturday than see a stupid jam band fart on their instruments for 2.5 hours. It's a horrible waste of money on an already un-lucrative endeavor, so we do everything free or cheap. We've never used any spam bots and every message I've sent out to our "friends" on MySpace, or our friends on T61 had been done by me sitting at the computer for hours and hours on end. But it really pays off cause cool stuff like this interview happen because of it. I don't think we would HAVE a fan base if we didn't promote the shit out of ourselves. I think Luke Brandfon is the perfect example of this--don't get me wrong, I love the guy, and I know he's not the kind of person to sit on a computer and send the same thing to a thousand or more people, but if he put just a little more effort into promoting himself I'm sure his music career would take off. You can find him on T61, you'll see what I mean.

Michele: I am sure a lot of 61ers were blown away by the number of tracks you uploaded this past week. What spurred that mass upload?

Mark: Think of it this way: we have 51 tracks of stuff we'd want to make available for download for our friends and fans. If we uploaded them at what is generally considered a fast rate of one song every three days, I would be uploading old ass songs for the next 6 months. And it would be a full time job too. I've never been that sure of how T61 works, and that mass upload was never meant to cramp anyone's style, we just wanted to give our songs away for free. It's kinda funny cause although I love T61 to death, it's the only place on the internet where you can get seriously bitched out for giving away nearly 5 hours of your music for free just because you did it all in one day. I know people want to play the game, but I'm sure there are plenty of people on that site that care more about the music. In the future, we'll do the normal thing where we'll tell everyone the date and time of the upload and let them do the whole discovery thing, and really, it'll be better cause they'll be better songs and people will probably get more points or hearts of bumps or whatever out of them. Most of the people who posted on our wall seemed overwhelmed but happy we did it, so I'm down with those people.

Michele: Kind of funny about how people get mad when you upload a lot of music at T61. Some people are really into the game. I can't deny playing myself. Changing subjects... you mentioned that you're building this effects unit called The Gristleizer, which you use in the song "Pages & Pages". What is exactly is a gristleizer? Are you selling them?


gristlizerMark: The Gristleizer is the name given to what is basically a portion of an analog synth removed from its housing and put into an effects pedal. The original circuit was designed by a sixteen year old kid for an electronics project magazine. The effect was popularized by the band Throbbing Gristle, who many consider to be the first industrial band. The thing is, though, the original circuit was flawed (give the kid a break, he was 16), so my boss, Todd Kelley, working under the company name of Endangered Audio, spruced it up to the point that it would keep the same character but sound and work better. It involves a voltage controlled amplifier and filter, which is a fancy way of saying it can go from being a really classy sounding tremolo to a fucked up dirty ass ring mod and anywhere in between. I got involved in the project during our recording session, when we actually used The Gristleizer on the final part of our song "Rue the Word" (an Omni-chord run through TG). Todd needed people to help solder and assemble it (they're all handmade in the shop, Smashing Guitars in Asheville). I didn't know a lick about electronics until I started working there. After the first run of table-top versions, there was a bit of a lull when I started working with Rhodes pianos. At first I was re-winding broken pickups and since then I've learned how to tune and voice them. Eventually I'll be able to rebuild one from the ground up. We're also working on a whole bunch of a new pedals and remakes of classic effects that saw limited production. In the next couple weeks, we'll start R&D on custom guitar pickup winding and will also eventually build our own shop lapsteel. As you can see, this is the best fucking job in the world.

Michele: And, you were a finalist on BBC's Next Big Thing Contest, with your song What You're After. That is pretty awesome. Congratulations! Has that brought you a lot of attention and opportunity?

Mark: Other than bragging rights? No, not that we know of! It was fun though. We dreamed of playing at the BBC, but maybe someday.

Michele: Thanks again for the interview. You guys are incredibly talented and I really enjoy your music. Best of luck with your new release.

Mark: THANKS AGAIN! You're the bestest.

Video: Franz Ferdinand - Can't Stop Feeling

Sometimes simplicity makes the best videos. No visual effects, no 3D renders, just lots and lots of wipes and clever timing. Genius.



Via @aetuts on Twitter

Glenn Case Interview

Check out the Case No Point Podcast, run by Glenn Case. It's a slick production and on episode 6, Glenn's guest host Brian C. Baer interviews Glenn. It's very entertaining and we love Glenn, who is a music machine. If you're not familiar with his music, have a listen.

Glenn can be found on The Sixty One here.

Each Passing Day free track!

Check out the newest track from Loren Radis and his band Each Passing Day. It's a free download of an exclusive track.

Download MP3: If You'll be Mine

Here's a video of Loren explaining the free song promotion, in which Microsoft is going to give the band 50¢ per download.

Interview with Flight Crash Companion

This week I caught up with Evan Cooney, the man behind Flight Crash Companion. He released his fourth album, No New Message, on June 23rd, and it’s currently a free download at his web site.


Max Bumps: So tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started with performing and recording music?

FCC: My dad always had really good taste in music, so I grew up listening to a lot of great records. But it wasn't until probably Nevermind that I got really interested. That record was so raw and different and exciting (at least for my little sanitized world). It was the first time I remember music really making me feel something. After about the 500th spin, I got the idea that maybe I should be making my own and convinced my parents to buy me a guitar. Playing guitar was fun, but it wasn’t until I added other people into the mix that I truly fell in love. I LOVED writing songs and playing. It never got boring, it was never finished, it could always be better. And then, thanks to the home studio revolution, I was able to actually record my ideas and that was it for me. Music was all I wanted to do.


What's behind the name "Flight Crash Companion"?

FCC: It's a little morbid, but the name came to me while sitting on a plane. I thought about the plane going down, and having a minute or two before I die, and this person sitting next to me experiencing the same awful set of emotions and thoughts, and that maybe having someone with me would make it a little less awful. Later it sort of morphed into a metaphor for saying we're all in a slow descent towards death, and there’s a person or thing in your life that could be your companion, and make it a little less awful. So it's hopeful, and morbid.

What other musicians influenced you? I saw that you did a Pink Floyd cover.

FCC: My biggest influences are NIN and Elliott Smith. Between the two of them, you have every range of emotion perfectly covered. I am constantly in awe of Reznor's work. His ability to create these incredibly intense emotional soundscapes within the confines of classically good songwriting is brilliant. So heavy, so dark, so beautiful... And Elliot Smith is so fucking next level, I can't even begin to dissect his body of work. I hate using the term 'genius' to describe artists, but he really is.


What instruments do you play, and what goes into writing/recording a song?

FCC: I play drums, guitar, keys and sing. Each song is approached differently, but they always end up the same -- me obsessing about every stupid detail. "Are the vocals too loud in the chorus, should the snare be 2dB hotter." All the stupid things that no one notices and have nothing to do with good songwriting. All the FCC songs that poeple like were written in about 2 hours, and recorded over two or three weeks. If it's a good song, it comes naturally. It's a big red flag when you start spending 3 weeks working on the second verse lyrics.


Have you found that the more you record, the easier it gets? The response to No New Message seems to be overwhelmingly positive.

FCC: It gets easier and it gets harder. Easier in the sense that you can reuse equipment settings and techniques to achieve similar sounds, but harder in the sense that the more you know about recording, the more you obsess about the sound quality. I've recently decided it's really better to leave all the technical decisions to the pros and focus on the music yourself, but when you're a one man show, you have to be involved in every aspect of the song production. So it's good and bad.


You're incredibly involved on thesixtyone. Has the response from the community changed the way you promote your music?

FCC: My fans on T61 have been incredible. I owe them a lot. Everyone on that site is an avid music fan. I use the feedback from songs to help me determine things like "what should I put in a set," "what should be the single." T61 is the ultimate focus group: informed, brilliant, no bullshit. People on the on the T61 have incredible taste and passion. The guys who created T61 are brilliant, and the people on that site are top fucking notch. I really can't express how much I love it.


What is the song “Mr & Mrs Fader” about?

FCC: That song is actually so all over the place, it's hard to summarize the main message. It covers a lot of FCC topics...pining, decadence, loneliness, drugs, wanting to fit in, the absurdity of human emotion. Out of the 25 or so songs I've released, it's one of the least focused (lyrically) but also one of my favorites. What does it mean to you?


I had this image of a detective investigating a married couple, while at the same time enamored with whatever it is illegal that they're doing.

FCC: Haha, awesome. People’s interpretations are sometimes better than my own ideas.


No way, your ideas are fantastic. Thanks so much for your time.

FCC: This was a lot of fun. Your questions were great!


- Laura Bradford

Video: Fleet Foxes - Mykonos

Alicia who works with me at Toolfarm posted this new video from Fleet Foxes today. Stop motion paper animation by director and animator Sean Pecknold along with artist/illustrator Jesse Brown for Fleet Foxes. After Effects was used to finish the final sequences.



Making of video:



"Our last 4 weeks stitched together. Mainly timelapse of setting up each shot."

A Conversation with Sum: The Lone Wolf

All of you from The Sixty One are certainly familiar with SumKid. I spoke with him about his incredible new album with Belief, The Lone Wolf. It is available at iTunes, The Orchard and all over the web and I highly recommend it. It's one of those albums that gets under your skin and you just want to listen to it over and over.

A Conversation with Sum: The Lone Wolf from Michele Yamazaki on Vimeo.

My First Earthquake: new album and video

You only wish you were as cool as My First Earthquake. The San Francisco indie-rock band, generally known for being awesome, just released their music video for "Cool in the Cool Way."

Their songs are delightfully quirky, and worth a listen for their hilarious lyrics, groovy beats, and fantastic vocals and delivery. Their first full-length album, Downstairs, is out now.


Video: N.A.S.A. - A Volta

Note: Not Safe For Work (NSFW): Language, nudity, violence (of course, it's all animated and in Spanish!) This is some seriously cool animation. Pretty freakin' amazing work.

Video by Logan, who are most well-known for its work on the Apple iPod Silhouettes campaign. Art by The Date Farmers, aka Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez.



I love this quote: "Ingenious beats + more guest stars than 'Love Boat' + Martian booty dancers = the party album of the year" - SPIN Magazine

Here's the "Mocumentary Making of" video:



Extra bonus: MP3 download: Download Treasure Fingers Epicwave remix mp3 of N.A.S.A.'s "Gifted"

MGMT - Kids Video

I've been waiting for this video, and man, the poor kid in this video is probably scarred for life. Lots of cool scary monsters. Such a great song. Make sure you watch the animation at the end of the video. Lots of fun, trippy cell animation.

Ernesto Remix Competition

Exceptional Records are excited to announce that, in celebration of the forthcoming Ernesto single 'Bassline', we are giving all of you talented producers out there the chance to remix and rework the song.

Have a listen here: http://soundcloud.com/exceptionalrecords/ernesto-bassline-out-june-29th

Ernesto himself will pick our glorious winner who will be sent an exceptional goody pack which will include a signed copy of the new Ernesto single 'Bass Line', a goody bag of CDs from the Exceptional back catalogue, plus of courseglowing respect from your peers. In addition your mix will be put up as a streamable track on the exceptional web pages with link back to your own website. What better way to show people what you can do?

So...
  1. Just download the zip file from here... http://www.mediafire.com/?4jyyy1jonzy
  2. Get your creative juices flowing
  3. Email your finished work to info@exceptionalrecords.co.uk as a low res MP3 by 6 July, with the subject line 'Ernesto Remix comp'. Include your name, contact number and website address (if any)


Best of luck and enjoy!
From: The good guys at exceptional

Got a spare minute, why not check out Exceptional Records on...

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/exceptionalrecords
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Exceptional-Records/57949048800?ref=ts
Website: http://www.exceptionalrecords.co.uk




Ernesto "Bassline" EP is released on digital download on iTunes from June 29th.

Jonatan Bäckelie aka Ernesto is a 27-year old swedish soul singer from Gothenburg Sweden. He was last seen in action on exceptional records with the mind-bending, jaw-dropping album "A New Blues". When his last album ”Find The Form” was released in Sweden it was hailed by the leading music magazine as ”everything that is good with modern Swedish soul” and ”in his biggest moments, Ernesto makes the listeners pinch their arms”.

Since 2002 he’s been frequently played and supported by Gilles Peterson, Jazzanova, Mr Scruff and girls all over the world. Jonatan has lent his disarmingly soulful vocals and collaborated with numerous producers including Seiji (Bugz In The Attic), Swell Session, Jori Hulkkonen, Beanfield, Plej, Atjazz, Drumagick, Blu Mar Ten, Nu:Tone, Logistics, Kyoto Jazz Massive, Motorcitysoul and Stateless.

The single preceeds his new album ‘Ernesto Sings’, which is due for release on exceptional later this year.

Patrick Wolf - Who Will (Buffetlibre Remix) : Free Download 320 Kbps

Patrick Wolf Mix

DOWNLOAD: Patrick Wolf - Who Will (Buffetlibre Remix): http://www.buffetlibredjs.net/patrickwolfbuffetlibre.mp3

ALTERNATIVE LINK: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=FDUYOS5O

Format: MP3 (320 Kbps)
Release Date: June 2, 2009

Produced by: Buffetlibre
Mastered by: Sidechains
Artwork: Roboto
Acknowledgements: Radiocontrol

Coming soon: Patrick Wolf - Who Will (Buffetlibre Radio Edit) , Patrick Wolf - Who Will (Buffetlibre Dub Version)

Review: Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, Not Animal

While you were raking leaves last September, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's released two companion albums: Animal! and Not Animal. The unusually-named, eight-piece band from Indianapolis plays a blend of alternative and chamber pop, and has been compared to The Shins and Arcade Fire.

So why isn't the band more popular? Who knows? The lyrics of Not Animal positively drip with melancholy, and they're so catchy that it doesn't matter. The band blends vocals, guitar, and piano with synth, hand claps, percussion, harmonica, bells, a trumpet and violin. And despite the large number of instruments, the band layers the songs neatly.



Not Animal starts with the soft, dreamlike "Children's Crusade on Acid," followed by the interesting, mellow "German Motor Car" and winding, ballad-like "Broadripple is Burning."

"Holy Cow!" and "Cold, Kind and Lemon Eyes" have some great instrumentation with violin and keys, and the vocals don't disappoint, either. But when "As Tall as Cliffs" finally arrives, you'll wonder why the band held out for so long. It's one of the best tracks on the album, and especially shows off their talent at percussion.

"Pages Written on a Wall," another good track, lures you in with a slow tune and then rises dramatically, favoring the brass and drums and creating an eerie mood. "Shivers (I've Got 'Em)" is also great, if a bit dark--which also stands true for the whole album.

The band is currently on tour in the US.

Flashback Friday: Midnight Juggernauts - Shadows (2006)F



I am posting this Flashback Friday a bit early, but I heard this song at the DJ booth at Lollapalooza a couple of years ago, before the iPhone and Shazam, and I couldn't figure out the musician for the life of me! I loved the psychedelic-electronic sound. Since then, it has been my quest in life to find out the band. A lot of my friends think Pearl Jam is the greatest band ever, so they're no help on music questions like this. I couldn't even google it because I didn't know the title. I was just playing a Pharrell Mix (Sunny Fall Mix) and it was there, on my iPod all along. Shazam to the rescue! (I know, you probably knew the song all along!) I'm so excited about my newfound knowledge that it's getting posted a day early. Awww yeah.

The band is Midnight Juggernauts, a Melbourne, Australia-based band, and now that I have that information, I can finally sleep at night. I need to check out their full catalog.

juggernautsI checked out the video, directed by Krozm, and it has some crazy futuristic Tron thing going on in a small piece, making it worthy of a post. I love the prismatic shapes coming from the instrument. Krozm has also done vids for some of my other favorites: Cut Copy, Architecture in Helsinki, Van She.

Total Eclipse of the Heart - The Literal Translation

A few posts ago I was ranting about how current videos are not all that interesting and videos from the 80s were bizarre and awesome. Here's the PERFECT example of surreal and strange from the 80s, retold in a completely hilarious manner. Seriously I thought I was going to pee my pants it's so funny.

TheSixtyOne Guide for Musicians

Bryan Hazard of Color Theory has written a great article to help musicians get started and have a presence on TheSixtyOne.com. It's his favorite music site (and mine), and he has great advice.

Read the article: What artists should know about thesixtyone .

A Conversation with Garcia Freundt

modernage Garcia Freundt



I was contacted about the band Modernage about reviewing their album Sirhan Sirhan. The music is fantastic, with sort of a Joy Division feel, but with much more warmth and melody. What really struck me, though, was the cool video. I had recently been complaining about how videos nowadays just seem like a way to market a band and there's a lack of art in a lot of music videos. The music video for the song Creatures uses stop motion with wired up stuffed toys. What is also great about Creatures is that the video was created by a band member. I talk with the multi-talented Garcia Freundt of Modernage, musician and visual effects artist.

MY: You did an amazing stop motion video for your band Modernage for the song Creatures. Do you have a background in photography and video?

GF: I've been working on tv and film for about 12 years. I've never been into photography, just took a couple of classes in college, but I'm thinking of buying a still camera but mainly to work more on stop motion.

MY: Have you done much stop motion work? This looks like a huge undertaking.

behind the scenes

GF: This is my second project with stop motion. I've always liked stop motion because it is a unique medium. I fell in love with the textures of the environment and the not-so-perfect movements. My opportunity to explore this medium for the first time was last year, when I was asked to develop some Halloween IDs for a TV cable network. I instantly knew that it would be a great opportunity to create a bizarre world... the short length of the pieces - 10 to 12 seconds - was perfect for a first timer using this technique.

Another reason I like stop motion is the fact that you don't have to work with a lot of people. It's kinda like sculpting and painting, it's very different that normal filmmaking. Roberto Vasconcelos, a great DP I love to work with, worked with me on all the shots with the yellow background, but that's the only person I had to work with.

ligiting set up

MY: One shot in the beginning that grabbed me was the change of focus from the rocker to the marble. There's a lot narrow depth of field shifts thought the video, actually. Was that type of effect something you pulled off in camera or in post?

GF: That change of focus was done just with the camera. I was using an HVX200. For the stop motion, I just used the feature in which the camera takes only 2 frames each time you press the record button. In that rack focus I was rolling at 24fpsand with one hand out of the frame I was moving the rocking chair and with the other one I was turning the focus wheel. In general, I've always loved a narrow depth of field and using mainly close-ups to tell stories, and it's easier to get a narrow depth of field when using tight close ups.. so it just works for me.

MY:I'm guessing you took large images and did your pans and zooms in a program like After Effects. Can you talk a bit about your post production process?

GF: Almost all the pans and zooms were done with the camera rolling at 24fps. I tried to stay away from moving the puppets while doing camera moves... maybe for the next project.

MY: What type of plug-ins do you like to use? For the film effect for example, did you use a plugin on that or use some other method to achieve the old film look?

GF: For the film look I just put a vignette (to give it a more fairy tale look) and just added some grain to reduce the sharpness of the video.

MY: Nice particles too!It looks like you shot a portion of it over greenscreen too. You really have a lot of different techniques in a single video!

GF: The only 3 sequences with post effects where done with Motion; the first one is the ball going up and turning into a "planet". The second was the pink puppet going up to the planet (the puppet was on a green screen). The last one was a composite the grey puppet looking at the pink one who is in the planet. The star field is a Motion particle.

dolls

MY: I love Motion particles. They're so easy to use and so fast. I'll admit, I've only done stop motion work once and it was in college. It didn't turn out too well. I know stop motion can be tedious work... everything must be so precise. Do you have any methods that you use to time things out?

GF: It really didn't take me a lot of time to do the filming, maybe 20 to 25 hours. The post didn't take me that much either, just working on the three composites I described earlier. With stop motion you don't do much editing, because you don't do any coverage - its very time consuming; you just plan every scene and know in you head how it's going to cut. However, the pre-production part was the longest one but to me the most fun - it took me 5 months, working whenever I had a chance; this involved designing and sewing the puppets and building and painting the set. I guess I didn't want it to end because I love doing stuff with my hands.

MY: So, the dolls... did you put wires inside to get them to pose or did you have another technique?

Yes, I used wires. Now I'm actually learning how to make proper dolls with armatures. The dolls I made were very rudimentary, and I had a lot of problems making them stand right or to have controlled movements...it was a bit of a nightmare, but a learning experience.

wire

MY: How long did it take to make the video? Did you learn any good tricks?

GF: Over a period of seven months, working on it whenever I felt like it. If I had worked on it not taking breaks, maybe 20 days for pre-pro, 6 days for filming and 5 days for post. I started working on it long before the song was recorded. For me, like everything I do, it is just a stepping stone: don't make the same mistakes and build on the good things. I learn by doing.

MY: The opening scene reminds me of something by The Brothers Quay? Do you have any influences in your work? That moving potato is very creepy! The "eyes" look like tentacles.

GF: Yes, among my favorites are the Quay Brothers, Henry Selick and the works of czech animators like Jirí Trnka and Jan Svankmajer. I included the potato cause I always like the "eyes" that grow on them. It gives the potato character...

setup

MY: What do you do in the band?

GF: Keyboards, guitars...and the videos.

MY: When you do a video like this for your band, does everyone have input or do you just do what you envision?

GF: I enjoy doing videos for Modernage mainly because I love the music. I love Mario's lyrics because he has a great sense of storytelling. When I heard the track I felt that it would be good for stop motion. I do most of my creative thinking in bed, right before going to sleep, when my mind is in that weird half-sleep state. I developed the main story line in my head and on the next band rehearsal I showed Mario, the singer, the IDs I had done using this technique, to see his reaction and propose to do a stop motion video for "Creatures", since he was the one who wrote the song. After I showed him the IDs, before I proposed anything, he said: "that's exactly what we should do with Creatures!".. and with that I started working on it.

set up

MY: Have you done other videos as well?

Creatures" is the fourth video I've done for Modernage. I've also done one for a band called "Santos Renuentes" and another one for "Union Cell".

The other 3 Modernage videos are here if you wanna take a look:

  • 7/9/12 video for Modernage's 7/9/12 from the EP Sirhan Sirhan.
  • Bella - The second video-single off of Modernage's debut EP Receiver.
  • Four Eleven - The first hit video off of Modernage's 'Receiver' EP.

MY: Thanks so much for the interview. Best of luck with your music and music video careers! I really love your video work. You have a lot of variety in your style and you're so talented in both fields.

GF: Thanks again!