Friday, August 25, 2017

"The High Place" - A Song and Comic about our Mental Well Being

I've been doing a wacky, daily comic on instagram called "The High Place".  It's based on a song I wrote of the same name.


https://www.instagram.com/ghostrain3000/

The song is about the highs and lows we all deal with. You can hear the song at ghostrain3000.com
(or click the embed player below). You can stream it for free! Or you can download it for the price of an email (used only to update about my music and comics). Thanks all and happy Friday!






Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Vinyl Record Made for Mars

What will vinyl sound like in Mars' thin atmosphere?

As a small boy I was taught by my dad how to play an album on the record player. First you carefully remove the record from the sleeve, then you  put it on the player, then you put the needle on the edge of the record and then you press the play button. Wait for the warm crackle and then voila music plays out of the speaker.

I made the cover of my first release look
like a vinyl album. (it was really a CD.)

Really though, vinyl records were annoying because they were delicate. They could be snapped or broken into pieces, they could get scratched and then skip forevermore, they could get dusty, they could get warped in the sun, they could skip if you jumped around to much while they were playing. And 12 inch records were hard to cart around to a friends house because they were big and unruly. They didn't fit in any backpack or duffel bag properly. You couldn't walk around and listen to a record, you couldn't play a record in your car because it was just too bouncy, the needle would skip, the music listening experience ruined.

Huh. Actually they did make a record player for the car...

When 8 track tapes, and then cassette tapes, and then compact discs and then MP3's came out then transportation of music became easier, music in the car was a no brainer, walking around with music was a no brainer. These days there are so many ways to consume music and media it's a constant question how should one consume music? It seems like streaming is leading the way with endless amounts of artists and songs and the entire back catalogue of recorded music available on the internet and through free or low cost streaming services.

I'm personally loving the music streaming. Access to every genre, every artist, the history of every piece of recorded sound. Well, not access to everything exactly, but definitely access to an amount of recordings that would have taken several lifetimes to physically collect.

And yet it seems some people are buying the most bulky, physical form of recorded music still: the vinyl album.

Why?

Well, when I was in a record shop asking that exact question I found myself going through the Dire Straights albums they had and found a recording I always wished I had owned "Love Over Gold". I had to have it. I bought it. I needed to own the physical manifestation of the music.

A well loved copy of Dire Straights "Love Over Gold"

When I really connect with a band or artist's music I feel like I need to have a physical piece of their vision. To hold the music, the creativity in my hands, to feel it, to see it, to smell it.

Ephemeral digital music is great. I love it, I make it. However you can loose the music in a digital update, or moving to a new laptop, or lost in a shuffle, or lost due to a dying hard drive, or lost to an old digital format, or lost to an old computer interface.

When you have vinyl records and a record player you can clean off the dust, you can hold the music, you can see the vision of the artist in the cover art, the album notes, the color of the vinyl, the labels on the record, the smell of the packaging.

As I get older and make more music and more songs and use more computers and more digital instruments I wonder how best to share this music? Yes, I release it to the wild internet and the streaming and the downloads and expect nothing in return but a few listens and some thumbs up. Which is totally fine and good, but what about the listener who like me has to have it, to hold in their hands?

Digital music is great, but you can't hold it in your hands. 

I ask myself, how do I want to see my music in physical form when I'm all old and hunched over? "Oh shoot kids if only you could hear a snippet of grandpa's digital music but you can't because I lost the connector to my old hard drive, or my cloud streaming service shut down 20 years ago, but I do have this old record player. Guess I should have pressed some vinyl... "

And that is the exact thinking that has lead me to order a handful of vinyl records of my 2016 album "The Longest Moment is Now". (They will be ready in about 4 weeks. I'll make a post about it.)

When I say I'm making a handful, I mean 5.

The 2016 GT3000 album cover without custom drawing.

The GT3000 cover with 1 of the 5 custom drawings. 

Exactly 5 copies have been ordered. They will be 33 minutes: 16 and a half minutes per side. They will be cut using a diamond stylus onto clear, see through vinyl. Each cover will be a unique, intricate hand drawn image using gold and black permanent markers. One copy will never leave my shelf, one copy will go to the president of Bush Party Records, and 3 will be available to the rest of the world.

NASA thought the technique to make records was so robust that they sent solid gold albums to outer space on the backs of the Voyager space craft. Those records reached the edge of our solar system last year and are now travelling interstellar space. Gold records between the stars.

When I go to the planet Mars in 2040 or so, among my sparse possessions, will be a few vinyl records and some of those records will be of my own music.

Imagine this: I'm standing outside of the Martian habitat, in my pressurized martian space suit. I've set up an amplifier, a record player and some speakers. I turn the volume to 8, I place the album on the record player, I carefully brush off the red dust, I place the needle on the spinning disc, the crackle plays through the speakers, the sound struggles to be heard through the thin atmosphere... What song is playing?

What record are you going to play on Mars?

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Second GT 3000 Music Video

two ghosts twirl through the burial ground
I storyboarded a music video for "Burial Ground" and I filmed myself singing it... so I have the important parts to make another music video.
a sketch of the burial ground
I'm cautious about it at this time because I started with a new client recently (I do storyboards for animation) and I want my work habits to be solid first before I dabble in a side project.
However, I'm starting to feel like the timing is coming for me to be able to start making the video...
You can stream Burial Ground here- http://ghostrain3000.com/track/burial-ground

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ghostrain 3000 is back On the charts!

such great news
Ghostrain 3000 (that's me) had charted on Kamloops college radio as record 9 of 30 in all albums played for early october. And is 2 of 10 in the roots album section!

In 2006 I released my second album "let the record show". I sent it to roughly 20 college radio stations. I can't tell you how many stations played it (likely all of them since it's what they do and college radio is very good about playing music they're sent) but I do know that album charted here and there and also since I registered all my music with SOCAN (the Canadian music copyright association {not the right name}) I even got paid some royalties. What's insane is that in 2015 I was still receiving some royalties from my 2006 album and was actually one of the reasons I got back into music.

I didnt know it at the time the time but I would eventually make a few hundred dollars in royalty payments for that 2006 album from college radio play alone.
Recently, i sent out one promo cd for my latest album "the longest moment is now". I just got an automatic email in October that I'm charting in Kamloops. I couldn't have received better news.
That same day I was having an argument with my client about some work mumbo jumbo, I was on day 33 of 36 of not drinking, I stubbed my toe, I felt generally down. So the charting news made me feel like life wasn't all bad!

I reached out to the radio station to see if they would like some GT 3000 swag because I'll be in Kamloops in a couple weeks to visit my youngest brothers new baby boy (!). Hopefully they respond and maybe I can get them some CDs, stickers and a t-shirt to give away heck maybe I can get an interview. I will contemplate what value I can provide the radio station... I'll think it over and post about it tomorrow.

"Winter always gives in to spring."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Official Music Video for "The Weathered Hand" is finally here!



Check out new the music video and please give it a share :) Thank you so much.
Get the new album "The Longest Moment is Now". Available for pre-order on itunes!
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Interesting facts about the music video -
- I built and animated the 3d environment of the pine trees in a browser 3d program called 3dtin.
- I shot all the live footage on my iphone with a clip on, wide angle lens. Get it here.
- I composited some of the footage in my iphone in an app called vid.lay. Get it here.
- I edited the green screen footage of myself and the other footage in Premiere CC. (I found a version from a torrent sit that rhymes with Birate Pay)
- I did a lot of experiments to see what worked and what didn't.

I'm working on a longer article about how I made the video and did the green screen. Feel free to sign up to the blog to catch that post.    

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Video - The Making Of "The Weathered Hand" Music Video

This making of video of "The Weathered Hand" was a riot to do. I wanted to do some promotional thing for the video but wanted to true to the independent nature of the process so here you have it. Be sure to watch til the end for the munchkin green screen explosion. Thanks so much.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ideas About the Live Shows

So, once the album is sent out, is playing on college radio, maybe gets a review or two, launched digitally on itunes etc. then it's time to do some live shows. I figure this'll be around late September, Oct, and Nov.



I don't want to just play the bar scene. I already did that for years. I'm not saying I'm going to do stadiums, I'm saying I want to do something more unique. There are a number of breweries that just opened up in my hood. I've approached them and they seem interested.

I want the live shows to be more than just a guy and his guitar. So I will get a drummer and another musician, but it has to be more than that. I do have a projector and will make trippy video as a backdrop, but it has to be more than that. Fog machine? Yes. But more...

I heard about PT Barnum and the circus world and how they used to promote their events when entering a new town. Sometimes they would parade the animals through the town. Other times they would do weird stuff. Like one time PT Barnum's boss at the time told him to dress up as old man. He did. Then he sent him to the town to hang out at the park or some place crowded. Then people who had heard rumors (from PT Barnum's boss I imagine) thought that the "old man" was some criminal on the loose or the like. The people chased him down to discover it was PT. The negative event still charged people up to see the circus. They were too curious to stay away.

Now I don't need to create a scandal but I have some ideas that I'll unravel around my show dates.  I'll post here. Be sure to sign up via email or RSS to get the inside scoop as I concoct the master plan ;)

And hey if you have any suggestions, feel free to lemme know. thanks!