Makin the donuts

Well I’m three days away from Imminent Domains being unleashed on the public. My daughter is a fan of “the fast one” (Red City) so I’m feeling good about things.  Anxious to see how this one weaves its way into the zeitgeist. It’s a very different .Sys Machine approach, new distribution platform and all around superior production than anything I’ve done to date (in my opinion). Damn the torpedoes!

Naturally I’m already on to the next thing creatively. Thing is I don’t  do things sequentially. My general workflow is just to make shit when I feel like it, put it in whatever the appropriate folder is (DC, Jeff Dust, Sys, Hell’s own Drag, Delta etc) and let it sit. Over the course of a year I’ll cone back to things, change arrangements or sounds, rewrite parts, play with different mixes etc. eventually I get to where I feel like there’s enough in one of those folders (usually 12-15 ideas) to take it to the next stage which is working out lyrics and things like guitar solos.  Then I start casting about for a track listing (read: separate the filler from the killer), artwork etc and a release happens. At any given time I’m at different stages with projects.  Hell’s Own Drag and Delta Shines are different only in that Doug has to add his parts (I send him ideas at the very early stages).

All that by the way of saying I was looking through folders last night and am close to around a dozen tracks on Jefferson Dust, Derision Cult and Hell’s Own Drag. Some of those go back a year or so.  If I had to guess I’d say Derision Cult will be the next thing I bring to the light of day. Early to tell what the sound will be but definitely a continuation and definitely will incorporate techniques I used on Imminent Domains that I hadn’t used before.

Next Guitar Build

For those that don’t know I build most of the guitars and basses on my albums myself (the upcoming Sys Machine EP being an exception- every guitar sound you hear is from a Parker Nitefly for proper feel). To date I’ve built around ten instruments. It’s been close to a year since I finished my last one (a hallowbody ala Gretsch flavor— was the main axe for the Delta Shines record and the Jefferson Dust covers album).  I don’t really have a regiment schedule for builds – I just get after it when I’m inspired to do something cool. Someday I’ll post a rundown of what I’ve done to date.

Anhow inspiration and ideas have finally coagulated into a plan. I want to go relic in the vein of Tele body.  I’ve spent the last few weeks reading up on various aging and relic’ing techniques.  My plan is to obtain a pre-fab maple neck (cos maple neck Fenders are my fav kinda Fender style necks), age and relic a Tele shaped Ash or maple body with some specific logos near and dear to my heart (I’ll unveil that when it’s done). The idea will be to look old and left in a barn. But inversely the plan is to drop all modern higher end/output electronics in it. I’ve been listening and reading up on them and I think I’m going to go the EMG route. I’ve got a couple other guitars with them and as a build they are extremely easy installs. There’ll be no hum or otherwise obnoxious things old guitars come with.

Updates to come! To get an idea of what aesthetic I’m casting about for- this is in the ballpark (minus the bigsby and dual humbuckers)8A393100-485E-4E1F-B10E-33394E7D4C31.jpeg

Imminent Domains

Next Sys Machine EP “Imminent Domains” is mixed and mastered!  Been working on this since around May. I made a conscious decision to make a wild left turn and create something that harkens back to the late 90’s early 00’s (particularly the way I was playing then which owes heavily to Reeves Gabrels). It has vocals which is a first for Sys Machine.  I’ll be posting soon when it’s available as I’m doing all the behind the scenes stuff to get it ready.

1. Can You Hear Me Now?

2. Red City

3. We Submit to Fate

4. Reason

5. The Day After TomorrowD419BFBE-23EF-41FB-AB77-F5C9B1CBD43C


Mixing/comping and all around assembly of the next Sys Machine is underway. I’m very happy with how it’s coming together.   It’s about this time in the process I start thinking about how pedal to the metal I want to take it. As Sys Machine has always been a bit experimental I sort of put things out and let the chips fall where they may.  I’ve gotten lucky. The first EP has a couple tracks that ended up on some  big (by my standards) playlists and channels and it’s provided a somewhat dependable and usable income stream (usable as in “hey I can buy a case of beer with royalties this month! Neat!” Not “Pay the rent” usable).

As always I put up all my releases on Bandcamp first and foremost. I’m working behind the scenes to do better with Spotify as it’s clear to me that streaming is where indie music will go as reliable but ultimately static platforms like Bandcamp lose steam. I’ve noticed the shift in the last 3 years in terms of sheer usage.  When I started out on this 2nd life of music I used Tunecore as it’s what me friends used. I realized pretty quickly that it’s really not a good deal unless you’re going to sell a lot of records. For people who just want to be able to make their music available, it’s not economical at all. I switched to CD Baby for the Derision Cult EP The Grind and that’s where everything currently sits (I let early Jeff Dust and Derision Cult releases expire so Bandcamp is the only place those are).  I love the analytics, it seems like stream income is decent but I’ve been looking at Distrokid more and more. Haven’t decided for sure but I am leaning towards trying it out for this Sys Machine EP.  My main thing is going to be to see how well it places in category searches etc.  hopefully to the end user there’s no difference. But we’ll see

Making the donuts!

Finished tracking the vocals for the .Sys Machine EP today. Producing and editing them will be a trick. I have some time off from work next week where I’ll probably do that. Still feeling good about where things are going.