This marks our second post featuring DIY and self-described bedroom artists. It’s been awhile since our last DIY post, but we’re hoping to make this a regular feature. So if you fit the DIY bill, please submit your material to info thedadada.com with the subject line marked DIY. Be sure to include anything pertinent (e.g., from where you draw inspiration, recording set up, links to SoundCloud or Bandcamp sites, mp3s, etc).
Today, we feature Nolan Smock’s musical meanderings from the bedroom and beyond, the psych folk of Hemlock Shaw, play/talk’s lo-fi dream pop, the lo-fi musings of The Human Fly, and our own attempts at DIY as The Blood-Brain Barrier and Weak Soul Patch. Look for our next DIY Corner on 8/23.
Nolan Smock is best known around NC as the frontman for The Charming Youngsters. The Youngsters originally emerged from Nolan’s solo work, which featured a lot of bedroom material he recorded for the album, Ran Merrily After. The Charming Youngsters have been a full-fledged band since that time, releasing two EPs, Famous for Something Magical and Fortescue.
In some ways, Nolan is the model for the types of musician we’re hoping to attract. He tinkers, plays with ideas, records, refines, and then performs. A few years ago, the death of his computer forced him to look for alternative recording strategies. He’s borrowed multi-track cassette recorders, used the built-in mics on MacBooks, bought and sold a crappy digital recorder, and the studios of friends to record solo and with the Youngsters. It’s stretched him a bit, and made him realize the value of live performance. Nonetheless, he’s working to build a new home studio in hopes of recording again with The Charming Youngsters.
He’s placed a bunch of his musical meanderings on SoundCloud. Today we’re featuring “Pack of Cigarettes” and “Shoeglaz’d Popcorn.”
“Pack of Cigarettes”
Hemlock Shaw is Henry Schiller. He records experimental pop music and recently recorded an album called Tidal Tracks in his living room (dubbed the Hen Pen). Henry tells us, “The songs are made from acoustic guitars recorded to tape, samples of household instruments (like books and silverware), and layers of vocals and electronics.” It’s a great mish mash of layered sounds that push the boundaries of melody and arrangement.
“I Would Myself”
“The Delicious Week”
Stream/Download (Name Your Price) – Tidal Tracks
Connor DeSha makes music under the project name play/talk. He is from Oregon, and records lo-fi synth tunes on 4-track cassette. His goal is to “maintain the integrity and approachability of pop music structure and melody,” while recording music in the genres of chillwave, dreampop and new wave.
DeSha produces the songs using software synths and samples on Ableton Live, then records the tracks onto the cassette recorder. The process was designed to ensure simplicity, but was often marked by frustration as cassette recording is unforgiving. One can only tolerate so many tape-overs. Staying true to a format has its rewards though, as play/talk has a distinct 80s feel to it.
Stream/Download: Fades EP (Name Your Price)
The Human Fly
Robert Mathis is The Human Fly. He is out of Harrisonburg, VA, and works “meticulously” to record music that “sounds like it was produced anywhere but in a bedroom with an internal microphone.” His attention to mixing paid off, capturing the lo-fi sound so many artists try to emulate, while yielding material that is rich with depth.
Based on his Facebook page, it appears that he occasionally records and plays out with friends. Everything Feels Bad All At Once is freely available through Bandcamp. The tracks feature lo-fi vocals with arrangements that fall into the anti-folk, grunge, and experimental genres. Many of the tracks are staid and straightforward, yet gripping.
Stream/Download (Free): Everything Feels Bad All At Once
Our DIY ATTEMPTS:
As mentioned in our first DIY Corner, Craig (aka CL CUCUMBER) and I (Clif) started playing together earlier this year, and each of us has recorded some material separately. It’s been an absorbing process. Craig operates under the name, The Blood-Brain Barrier, while I have used the Weak Soul Patch moniker for recording mixes and songs. We encourage you to provide feedback via email (infothedadada.com) or comment on our respective SoundCloud pages (linked above).
This new feature is an extension of our interests in the process of creating music. For those of you thinking about sending stuff along, please tell us about your process.
The Blood-Brain Barrier
Craig has a notebook full of songs that he’s just itching to record. He’s using a Zoom ZR8 multi-track recorder, while playing guitar, synthesizer, and percussion. “Halls of Fame” is his first attempt at recording, evolving over the summer and just completed a few days ago. The lyrics are interwoven bits of dream and observations.
Weak Soul Patch
I’ve featured some of this material in the past and thought it would be good to put the whole set out there today. I started out with an iPad, using Audacity to master tracks. A recent Mac convert, I switched to mastering with GarageBand (I am still learning to use it). I also have a Tascam DP004 digital 4-track (the iPad seems to be occupied now by my kids) that I use for sketching out ideas. I am about to attempt my first recording using the Boss BR1200 desktop studio. To this point, I’ve only played with the BR1200. “Fat” is based on the Raymond Carver short story of the same name. “Boxed Culture” emerged out of thin air and was written and recorded in about 30 minutes. “The Paper Chase” was written after witnessing a drug deal go down during daylight in suburbia. My fascination with punk and Buddy Holly led to the silliness that is “Love Struck Sap”, which has several incarnations.
Weak Soul Patch – “Demos”
Cheers… and get your DIY stuff into us!