The end, or the beginning?

FirstLethalHaloMail

Almost two years.  Well, one year, 11 months, and 2 days.  It’s crazy how time flies when you’re not thinking about it.  It’s also crazy what we managed to accomplish in that timeframe, even if many of us are still looking to keep going further.

Shows, videos, recordings of shows, recordings in a studio, barcodes, ISRCs, finally signing up with SOCAN… signing autographs, signing CDs, a small roadtrip and tour – it’s all given me a taste of what can be done, and a hunger for more.

LastLethalHaloProjector

It’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to involve thinking long and hard about how my life is currently structured, and how it has to change if I’m going to give music the time and energy it deserves.

Energy is something I’ve been struggling a lot with over the past two years, and though many people take certain shortcuts to try and force that last little bit of juice out of themselves, that’s a surefire path on the way to incredible burnout.  If I’m going to be setting myself up to handle cross-country touring, I need to start with my body and mind – struggling to carry my own gear, night after night, is not how I want to remember a tour – there’s a reason a lot of musicians end up with decent muscle: amplifiers are heavy!

Time, however, is the hardest to get back.  As a child, even a teenager here, you spend your summer holidays playing games, generally being bored, and not caring too much about the world.  How I wish I had that time back to make something of myself – with a dayjob and massive commute now, I’m lucky I get a few weeks to pick off, if projects permit.  That’s basically a bit of studio time, and maybe a very small tour a year.  That’s no time to write, or practice, or do all the paperwork and planning that has to happen to make this work in any sort of reasonable timeframe.

I love the scenery and I love the mild weather here in Vancouver, but I hate the traffic, and the cost of living.  As it stands right now, I’m working full time and yet still back living in my parents’ basement (after having run myself up to my credit limit trying to live on my own, and subsequently paying it all off after moving back) – I keep crunching the numbers over and over, and I quite literally can not afford to move out anywhere in Metro Van; even the far reaches of the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island are borderline, at best.  There’s something soul-sucking about struggling to get home before 7PM every night, only to want to crawl straight into bed the moment you get through the door, night after night, week after week.

So I have a lot of thinking and planning to do there, with where I’m going to have to relocate to give this the time of day it deserves.  Splitting the cost of a small apartment between bandmates just to rent out a frigid room in a jamspace over 45 minutes away isn’t tenable long-term, not to do this right.  I’m looking at my options and saving up for a move at least part way across the country to get a solid foundation started, but there’s only so much I can do while waiting for paycheque after paycheque to roll in, mostly doing my damndest to keep my costs down over the next year or two (or three) it will take.

I have to look at the opportunities I have in front of me, at least – I’ve had multiple people contact me, trying to get me to join their or their friends’ projects, and so far I’ve turned them all down.  Granted, part of me is being selfish and wanting to restart my own project, so I can exercise some level of creative control, but the big reason is actually something simple:

I’m bored of death metal.  I wasn’t completely sold on it when I joined Lethal Halo, but the musicianship kept me in, particularly as we kept our new material decidedly on the ‘melodic’ side, but death growls and screams do nothing for me.  They never did, unfortunately; I gave it my best shot, I think we put on some pretty brutal shows, but even our peers and contemporaries don’t particularly interest me.  I don’t want to feel bad for being bored when the other bands we play shows with get on stage.  I don’t want to be picking apart their recordings for what I perceive as shortcuts and inadequacies when they’re really just staying true to the style – I have to face the fact that it’s not their fault, but I’m just not enamoured with the style.

So where do I go next?  I’m not sure.  I’m going to start by stripping everything back to basics, playing around on my shiny new 7-string acoustic, and see what comes out of me at the most basic level.  If it deserves other layers, then it can get them, but only if warranted.  No starting with ‘well it needs three guitars and two solos and a bridge’.

Maybe it’ll have three- no, four solos.  That’s it. :)

Lethal Halo – “Animanaut” EP & Hitaus

The band that I’ve been a part of for over a year finally has something really awesome to show for all the hard work we’ve been putting in – we’ve got a brand new EP that’s the culmination of over a year of practicing, refinement, and the past few months going in and out of the studio with the ever-awesome Mike Rogerson at Harbourside IT and Cam Boyer.

November 18th, “Animanaut” drops, on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play… basically everything TuneCore does for us… :)

We have a supporting short tour, including shows in Vancouver, Victoria, and Powell River, then after the close-out Vancouver show at the Rickshaw on December 12th, Lethal Halo is going on indefinite hiatus.  This is something we’ve known about and been planning for months, so I’m going to squash the rumours before they start: There’s no animosity, this isn’t a sudden thing, it’s not in reaction to anything horrible.  Without getting overly specific, we’ve all decided that the band has naturally run its course, and some of us have other projects to focus on or have otherwise been getting stretched a little thin these days.

Seriously, head over to the official Lethal Halo site for more, including the press releases.

What does that mean for me?  Well, I’m much too invested in music in general, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.  If anything, we’re going to go out with a bang, and I know I’m going to pick myself up in January and move forward with something new.  I’ve been listening to a lot of my influences, and the influences of a lot of my peers, and a lot of the old songs and partial songs I’ve written over the past decade, doing my best to get a feel for what I want to do and what I want to be in the next few years.

I’m slowly amassing a collection of gear, and own pretty much the end-to-end basics to set up my own basic jam & recording space.  Outside of Music Composition classes back in high school, I’ve never gotten any formal training on this stuff – maybe I’ll go back to school and do that; learn all the tricks and shortcuts in Pro Tools that I haven’t figured out yet on my own, or maybe I’ll just find the textbook(s) they use and read them on my own.

Maybe some of the remnants of Lethal Halo and I will get together on a new project next year – there’s been some half-joking rumbles to that effect, but we’re holding the cards close to our chest.  I think how the EP is received, how well the tour goes, and how well we gel sitting in the back of a van for what will be my first proper tour outside Metro Vancouver will all be contributing factors.

Maybe, however, this is going to be the push I need to get myself back into the mindset of starting my own project.

In the meantime, check out the promo single from the new Lethal Halo EP, with yours truly on bass and backing vocals:

Lethal Halo

Lethal Halo (small)After our rebirth on Saturday, our first show as the new lineup, it is now official.

I’m the new bass player for Lethal Halo, and we are rapidly filling up the pipeline with some really cool shit. :) If you’re a metalhead, you may be interested in checking us out.

Our Facebook page has also been updated for those of you on the other big Social Media site: https://www.facebook.com/LethalHalo

We have some new stuff coming fairly quickly, and I’m excited (and exhausted) to tell you all about it, but you’ll have to wait for the surprise later. I can tell you that it looks like we’re playing another show at Funky Winkerbeans, Thursday, August 8th to help another band kick off their album release tour. More to come on that later, but Vancouverites, I hope to see you all there. ;D

Video Series – Tekkit

A few weeks ago, I got everything set up to record video and audio of some of my friends and I playing Tekkit, a mod for Minecraft, on my server.  We came up with the idea of building an automated solar panel factory, so here’s the minimally edited playlist in all its glory, if you’re completely bored out of your skull but want to see some of the awesomeness that is Tekkit. :p

From Spongy to Bold – Wedding Set

So, since people seem to be interested, here’s some recordings from my band’s set at my brother’s wedding back in July.  The Firewire card in my Mackie board, used to take this recording, was half-dead and dropping sync and packets like mad, so the recordings are skippy and shuddery.  Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do at this point to salvage them, but you can hear snippets if you’re that interested. :)

From Spongy to Bold was:

  • Gary “Kithop” Carter – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
  • Ryan Takahashi – Lead Guitar
  • Kyle Materi – Bass, Backing Vocals
  • Brandon Wong – Drums

01 T&T (AC/DC)

02 Plush (Stone Temple Pilots)

03 Need Your Love So Bad (Fleetwood Mac)

05 Man in the Box (Alice in Chains)

06 Hole Hearted (Extreme)

07 Wanted Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi) (Truncated)