Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane.

- H. P. Lovecraft

Friday, February 16, 2018


I've been up all weekend
Chasing dragons
Watching for truth
Living a lie

Once I found the apex
Expensive drugs and cheap sex
Feeling next to nothing
Fawning to fly

And then I found you

Colors washed from my world
Savaged by domestic girls
Made my bed
Now here I lie

Accepting the consequence
Except for the pretense
I wish I could say
I don't want to die

And then I found you

All the times that we had
All in the past
Back to this
There's not much else

Time is all I have now
Feeling a fade out
You made me feel
I could live with myself

And then I lost you

You're like liriope
Not that much left of me
You're like liriope
Sinking inside of me

Friday, February 9, 2018

FAWM 2013 - Five Years Later

I listened to some songs I wrote for FAWM 2013 tonight for the first time since I wrote them, probably.  These last two nights I've spent listening to a lot of old stuff, at M's suggestion / request.  When I think about revisiting what I've done, I'm always afraid I'm going to find that I'm repeating the same themes, that I have no new ideas.  Isn't that every artist's worst nightmare?

It's not just 2013 I've been revisiting, but all of the years of music I've made, at least since I started participating in FAWM in 2009.  I even listened to the first song I ever finished, a remix of Locust / All Your Own Way from June 2001.

The crazy thing is not realizing how far I've come, but how I wish I was back in the creative headspace I was back then.  I'm excited for what I'm doing now... maybe in five years I'll be able to appreciate it the way I appreciate what I did in 2013 now.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

FAWM 2013 - Some Things

I finished the demos for the 2013 FAWM project on the 28th of February.  I usually pace myself, finishing one song and posting it on average every two days.  In this way, I'm assured I'll reach the goal of the 14 songs by the end of the month.

Usually, the routine is to write a song, give it some time (when it's available), then post it and start madly writing comments on others' songs in the hopes that you'll get some comments on the one you just posted.  It's a pretty supportive community, so people usually follow this unwritten rule.  The one exception is that people usually also follow the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything"rule.  So sometimes you don't get any comments, which can be better or worse than getting comments like, "This song sucks."

I won't go into all the reasons I decided not to post comments on others' songs this year, or why I decided to post everything only on the very last day of the competition.  For that, you can check my "manifesto," which I posted on my artist page on

What the manifesto doesn't say is that one of the key advantages to this process is that I didn't have to feel like something was in a somewhat finalized state after only a day or two of work.  Sometimes dedicating a limited amount of time to a song is all it takes, and sometimes it's beneficial.  However, there are other times where it's best to let a track simmer in my mind before calling it semi-complete.

The whole idea of FAWM is to write songs.  Not necessarily finish them, or even post demos.  However, for me, it doesn't count unless I post a demo.  For the record, I don't think this is the only way to do it, just my way.  I'm fortunate enough to have the equipment, skills and time to do this, and I use February to make this happen.

Waiting until the whole thing was completed allowed me the artistic distance to realize the best order for the songs, the best flow.  I tried to post those songs in that order, but due to a combination of changes to the site and my lack of familiarity with the changes, I flipped the order of a couple near the end.  No biggie.  The intent held in this case.

Part of the limitation of releasing demos in the order they're written is that the people who are out there listening believe that the album should be sequenced in the same way it was written.  This is how I did the first album I released, but it's also partially why I never released a second.  I've never felt that every song I wrote during the month deserved a release after that first year.

So maybe I'm older, wiser, whatever.  I know now that Uncle Frank was right.  "Every artist has a built-in shit detector."  You have to trust your instincts and try to only release things to the public that are better than average, at least.  Why release something that's just not that great?  Chock it up to experience, learn from it, and count it as something you've done, but don't cripple an album by putting something substandard on it because you feel you have to.

So the takeaway is that I really did learn something new this time around, that while I love the process of FAWMing, for me, sometimes it doesn't (directly) contribute to the quality of subsequent tracks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On sountracking

I just finished my first soundtrack project, and I learned a lot about myself, my music, and my ability to deal with both.

The film just premiered in Tijuana, and is set to have its Ensanada premiere tomorrow night.

More details to come.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

FAWM Frustrations and Progress

I'm doing the FAWM thing again this year, and it's been great. I've posted two songs so far, and it's the 4th, so I'm on track.

However, tonight was a bit of a mixed bag in the studio. I managed to get a great idea recorded, but just when I was getting ready to figure out the final sequencing, Live stopped pushing audio to the Audiofire8.

Long story short, I installed the most recent driver, turned off the Audiofire8, rebooted, turned it back on, nothing.

Somehow, I think Windows XP got mixed up on what the audio device was. I have no idea how, I was in a session in Live when it decided to just stop working.

Ah, well. Fuck it, it's working now.

This was my first track from this year, check it out:

P.S. I am sick as hell. This FAWM is going to be extra tough.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Evolution UC-33e and Ableton Live 8 (or what I don't know about MIDI could fill a library)

I've had my Evolution UC-33e MIDI control surface for some time now, and I have to say, I've loved it since the moment I opened the package. There's nothing quite like finally getting something you've thoroughly researched, coveted for a while, and then finally you're the first kid on your block to have one.

After the wildfires that devastated southern California back in 2007, I made a resolution to celebrate life. One of the first things I did was to finally kick down for this little beauty. I figured it would change the way I produced, and I was right.

However, I never took the time to really LEARN the manual. Sure, I read it, but I didn't PRACTICE with it. I can't stress how important this is to all the producers out there. If you don't RTFM, you don't deserve all the functionality it offers.

Now, having said that, I have to defend myself a little bit. The UC-33e comes with a layover for Ableton Live. However, there's nothing out of the box that allows you to just get up and running with it. You not only have to program the thing yourself, but you have to know HOW you need to program it, and WHY it's acting weird when you just try to automatically assign MIDI notes to it.

Here's a brief description of what worked for me (see page 12 of the advanced manual):

  1. I selected preset #31 by clicking RECALL and then typing in 31.

  2. I assigned the faders and knobs as usual to Live (I'm using version 8.1).

  3. I clicked "launch button" #1 on the template, then hit ASSIGN, and then typed in 146 (for MIDI CC (on/off), see page 18 of the getting started manual).

  4. Then hit DATA MSB twice and entered 127 (the value to be sent to the button when you press it).

  5. Then hit DATA LSB twice and entered 000 (the value to be sent to the button when you stop pressing it).

  6. Hit Ctrl-M in Live to bring up the MIDI Map screen

  7. Clicked on the scene launch button for scene 1

  8. Pressed "launch button" #1

  9. Repeated this process for the other five launch buttons and the stop all clips, launch clip, clip up and clip down buttons

  10. Viola!
The same process works for the transport stop and play buttons, but you should assign 147 to the record button, as it works best with the Note (on/off) MIDI CC (velocity off /velocity on setting - see page 18 of getting started manual).

You actually may not have to do steps 4-5 for each button, I didn't actually have to. Those values were already assigned (you can tell when you click DATA MSB twice fast or DATA LSB twice fast - the number that appears on the display after that is what's assigned.

Special thanks to rictheobscene on this post for guidance:

Happy producing!