Archive for August, 2010

End of the Tunnel

Posted: August 18, 2010 in Audio/Music, Eastchase
Tags: , ,

Well, the Grand Master of Rhythm, Señor Kevyn Kersen, departed from us again yesterday. He had leave for week, and we were not only able to hang with him for that week, but we were also able to squeeze a drum part or two out of him. It was good to see him again. Aside from all the fun and mischief that we got ourselves into, it was nice to be reminded of how much fun simply jamming out with friends could be when all the elements were intact.

It’s nice to return back to that perspective every now and then. We spend so much time trying to squeeze every once of creativity out of our brains, that it’s sometimes easy to forgot what it’s like to just turn the brain off and bounce stuff off of each other, and just let the flow go in whatever direction it so desires. Not that trying to milk creativity isn’t fun, but it felt good to get back to our roots for a few days.

Speaking of the creative side, we made a series of small, yet important decisions today. For starters, as I have mentioned before, we are indeed looking to make a new album! The album will more than likely be an EP, depending on how many songs make our final cut. That leads me to the next decision made; we agreed upon a small list of songs from the large library of material that we want to move forward with. Some of it is older material, some of it is extremely fresh, and some of it is still a little iffy, but mainly, it has been agreed upon. At this moment, 10 songs are on this list. We are going to try to focus all of our energy on these songs, and not let new material or other older material distract us. Some of these 10 songs may get cut later on, but we want to have a good selection to build an album on, so for now the count is 10.

I mentioned that while Kevyn was in town, we were able to get a drum track or two out of him. The drum recordings that we were able to get done go to one of the songs undoubtedly made our list. That song is getting pretty close to being as complete as we can make it; the lyrics are coming along, and the song has that “wall of sound” that we look to create. Once we push the song to the point that Trin and I can’t possibly push it anymore, we intend to turn it loose.

The way that Trin and I see it, there is only so much that two people can do, and there are certain things that at this point, we straight up can’t accomplish. The two main things are drums and singing (again, thanks Kev for donating some of your time this past week to the good cause). Trin and I can try to sing all that we are able until we are blue in the face. Some people will tell us that we sound fine, but for the two of us, we just don’t make the cut.

Our intent will be to put as complete of a version of our new song as we can make out there, and open it up to our friends and colleagues. Maybe we can find the voice that we want among our existing circle of friends and acquaintances. It’s a scary prospect; to open up our creative process to someone new again. Especially given the results the last time we did. I think though that it’s a necessity, given our small number. All musicians dream of sharing there ideas with the world, most though intend to do so after their idea were finished. We did always want to be different.

We’ve got a lot of work in front of us still, but even now we can see a glimpse of what the new album is going to sound like. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m excited.

I usually like to throw in a picture of some kind at the end of each post. Somewhat coincidentally I used the Eastchase logo that I made for the band such a long time ago. During some of our down time this past week, Trinity and I put our heads together and came up with some machups for a new logo. Coincidence…more like providence. Everything is starting to come together now, and it’s starting to look a lot like progress.

– The Outlaw


It all began with a vision. Five friends united with a common goal, a passion and a skill set that drove us, and consumed us. We wanted not just to play music, but to write music. We wanted to make music, the kind that we all want to listen to. So in Fall 2007, we set out to try to turn our dreams into a reality. And on one fateful night, we got together and took stock of our skills, tried to find out what everybody brought to the table.

In the beginning, there were Five. Trinity, the Lead Ax. Jason, the Power Ax. Jerry, the Low End. Kevyn, the Beatmaster. And myself, the Voice. And on that cold night in December 2007, as we began writing and crafting, a new band was born, and before the night was over we would also have our first song.

In the coming months, as we started coming up with more and more complete songs, we started to think that this was something that we could do something with, something we could go somewhere with. We needed a name though, and despite a lot of ideas, we had a hard time coming to an agreement. We really did have a lot of good ideas; Quick Start, Spirited Anomaly, Standardize This, and 20 to Nowhere were among the more popular. But after the votes were tallied, there was one that we surprisingly all liked, Eastchase. When we came up with that one, and we all somehow gave it a vote, it felt like providence. It felt serendipitous, like it was meant to be all along.

Coming up with a name kind of set into perspective the long road that we had in front of us. We now had a name. We now had a band, and we wanted to really treat seriously. It was at this point that we faced our first test that might have broken us. While I was a decent singer, I wasn’t near the quality vocalist that we needed to be able to move forward. I had to face the fact that I wasn’t going to cut it, and that I had to step aside. Fortunately, there was still a place for me. With all the new stuff we were coming up with, there was still room in most of our songs for another instrument to fill up the sound. So I did what I could to start learning keyboard.

This could have easily been the test that would lead me to back out of the group, but for the first time in my life I was doing something that not only made sense to me, but doing something that felt right and that I was having with. Besides, at that point I had about 6 1/2 years of musical background under my belt, including a semester of music theory, so picking up keyboard felt like an accomplishable task. Within no time, I was proficient enough to be able to come up with some simple melodies that complimented our existing music nicely. And the search was on for a 6th member, someone who could give us the vocal power that we needed.

In hindsight, we should have searched a little bit harder. We found someone, and he was indeed talented, but we should have interviewed a few more people. Maybe we should have given this guy a few more than just one interview. Either way, we weren’t necessarily prepared for the personality…for the ego. We didn’t know that we had picked up someone who clearly was the personification of a “Front Man” in pretty much every way. Despite the fact that we knew there was trouble brewing, we made the most of it while there was peace. We even had the opportunity to put on a small concert, the only one to date for Eastchase. It was certainly fun while it lasted…while it lasted.

It was fun, but the future always loomed in front of us. What was our next step, what was going to be our next move. Whatever direction we thought we wanted to go, our addition thought different, and he wanted to take the reins and steer us in another direction. We didn’t want to acknowledge the growing tension at the time, but we all pretty much felt it was there. It became the catalyst that would bring us apart. Within time, we had our first casualty. Jason, for completely respectable reasons, decided to resign his post. It wasn’t for him anymore, he had other goals and dreams that lay outside of Eastchase. Who would we be to deny him his dreams, so we didn’t make a fuss when he stepped down. As I said though, catalyst.

As much as we felt the pressure weighing on us, we didn’t want to give up on our dreams, so we pressed on. The next logical step felt obvious. We had our music, and we didn’t have to money to keep putting on shows like the one we had done. So how did we get our music out there. Like I said, the choice was an obvious one. Recording commenced.

Now how long does it usually take to create an album, from when recording begins? If how quickly we did it was any reflection on how professionals did it, we should see more cds from our favorite bands. We didn’t even take a week to record and produce a cd. And in hindsight, this was probably the worst mistake we ever made, rushing a cd through production.

As I’ve said in previous posts, it hurts to talk about this cd. We really had no idea what we were doing, and it really showed. The volume was low, it was muddy. We used takes that we weren’t entirely satisfied with. The mixing and mastering if you’d call it that took all of 24 hours or less. 7 songs, mixed and mastered in less than a day. The only thing we really did well in this process was name the album, appropriately titled “Under Construction”.

To see this brain child just suck so incredibly was a hard blow to take. And in the end, it was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back. We didn’t really know how to recover from a failure like that. We wanted to move forward, but this time questioned whether forward was the right direction. There was obviously something that we were missing, and we didn’t want to make the same mistakes again. We weren’t ready for forward.

In the process of figuring out what to do, another two from our group were questioning their directions. Kevyn and Jerry came to us one day, and told us that they’d been thinking about going into the Coast Guard for a while, and that it was something that they were going to pursue. Losing Jason was an obstacle that we thought was possible to overcome, but with the toll at 3, Trinity and I had to face facts, this wasn’t going to happen. Our singer thought that we could still push on, find more band members and keep moving forward.

This was, in the beginning supposed to be a band of friends. It just didn’t feel right at this point anymore. The time finally came to pack it in, tell our singer how we felt, part peacefully and to go off and do his own thing. It wasn’t easy to tell him to leave, but it had to be done.

And in the end, there were two. Trinity and I, unable to move forward, yet unable to forget the dream, the vision.

Fast forward two years, to 2010. Trinity and I are still here, biding our time recording what ideas we have. Gathering thoughts, taking our time, making sure we get things right this time. Eventually, we’ll have what we need to make another try, but we won’t run till we walk, we’re not going to rush this one.

Oh and as for Jason, Jerry, and Kevyn? They still have the dream. We’re all still musicians at heart. Jason’s always around still puttin in ideas. Everytime Jerry and Kevyn come into town, what happens? Well, we always end up getting together and jamming…remembering how it was when we started.

I may not the most morally centered person in the world, or live my life with the same virtues as most, but I am a patient man. I believe that something worth doing, is worth doing right, and that good things come to those who wait. It may take a while, but we will redeem ourselves, and we will make something of our music.

– The Outlaw

Linkin Park announced their winner over the weekend. The guy’s name is Czeslaw (or just Chex) and he hails from Swidnica, Poland. While Trin and myself aren’t thrilled at not being selected, or even being in the top 20, I have to admit; they picked what seems to be a real stand up guy, with a really good mix. My dad would say that Chex’s mix sounds like garbage and noise, but he also has old ears ,and doesn’t really get behind the whole techno thing. The only thing that really bothers Trin and I is that some people made it into the top 20 that were trash talking other people’s mixes. Also, some mixes made it into the top 20 that I felt violated the rules, i.e. no vocals other than those provided by Linkin Park. Oh well, it’s not my contest to run. And if it was, there is no way I could have sifted through the some 2500 submissions and narrow it down to 20 finalists, so they are to be commended.

It’s not a good idea to dwell on it too much, so we’re moving on. Hopefully though, we can set our sites in a different location. Higher. What I mean by that, is that probably since we started Eastchase, we saw Linkin Park as the pinnacle of rock existence, and have strived to sound like them. Linkin Park is changing, evolving some would say, and we’re not sure if we like their new direction. Not a big deal to most people, but with them being such a huge influence in our own music, it’s hard to not feel strongly conflicted. There may be a little hope, based on the release of their official version of “The Catalyst”, but I’m not going to hold my breath this time around.

We used to thing that shooting for Linkin Park was as high as we could shoot. I think we can shoot higher now. If their new album turns out like the techno-palooza that we’re now expecting it to be, well, I’ll be looking for other influences.

Just the thought of it has had me looking for inspiration elsewhere, and I’ve been finding it in unexpected places. I’ve thought about all the different kinds of music I’ve listened to over the years and I remembered that I’d overlooked some stuff. Back in junior high and high school I’d made some cds with lots of music from games that I used to play, and listened to those cds a lot, like enough to consider some of my old games on my list of favorite bands.

I’ve been hard at work trying to write a cover song to one of the levels from an old favorite game, and it’s actually coming along pretty well. Trinity said the concept sounded like 8-bit Saosin.

Regardless, Trinity and I are continuing to move forward, above, and beyond all of our obstacles. With directionality questionable, there is no telling what we’ll be on the other side of the tunnel, but we’ll be there.

– The Outlaw