Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Apocalypse (in 9/8)

I thought I'd give you all a little break on the Squids Travel posts. Those condensed trips really pack it in on the muso action. I've been in Miami since getting back from New York and I'm keeping busy as always. With Sonic Reality we're working on sounds for IK Multimedia's SampleTank 3 virtual instrument software for musicians. With Sonic Elements we're working on the release of "Moving Signals & Waves", a Rush tribute album I'm producing and playing keys on AND on 12-12-2012 we announced the official name of the new progressive rock band I'm in with Simon Collins, son of legendary Genesis frontman/drummer Phil Collins. The band is called "Sound of Contact" and the new album coming out in 2013 is called "Dimensionaut".

We've been working on this sci fi concept album, Dimensionaut, since 2009 starting with sessions at SR Studios in Miami. After Simon, Kelly and I had worked together on our cover of "Keep It Dark" and Simon's U-Catastrophe album and Simon had added multi-instrumentalist Matt Dorsey to his live band, Simon came to me in 2009 wanting to do a band project next instead of a solo album. This time we would all write together, play live in the studio and jam and craft a concept album around a subject that Simon and Kelly had been discussing... a story about a dimensional traveler. That's how Dimensionaut was born. 

Sound of Contact: Kelly Nordstrom, Simon Collins, Matt Dorsey, Dave Kerzner

Sound of Contact in the studio recording "Dimensionaut"

The first three songs we recorded didn't make it to the final cut of the album. Although they'll be released separately at some point (some as bonus tracks perhaps). Most of the album was recorded in 2010 with engineer Chris Holmes at Greenhouse Studios in Vancouver, BC where Simon lived at the time. When it came time to mix the album we brought in Nick Davis who has produced and/or engineered bands like Genesis, XTC, Marillion, It Bites and more. I've been working with Nick on a sample library for Sonic Reality recording the sounds of Tony Banks' vintage keyboards, Mike Rutherford's rare guitars and capturing the iconic "Collins" drum sound at Genesis' studio called "The Farm" in Surrey, England which I've also done with veteran Genesis/Collins producer Hugh Padgham. 

Nick Davis with Dave Kerzner & Ryan Holquist at The Farm

Squids fun fact of the day:  Today is both Nick Davis and Alan Parsons Birthday! 

To work with Nick Davis on a music project was a whole other story! Because it was Simon and I in the producer chairs and Nick was just mixing (not producing) we had a really nice bonus "mentor" when it came time to making our decisions about what we wanted. It was like a "safety net" and both Simon and I learned a lot from that experience. We mixed the album at The Warehouse in Vancouver, a studio that belongs to Bryan Adams. Then, months later, we mastered the album at Lurssen Mastering in LA with my old friend Gavin Lurssen and Rueben Cohen. Gavin and I used to be roommates when I lived in LA. We had this house on the top of Mulholland with a recording studio and a panoramic view of the city that had a revolving door of musicians and engineers living there. One ex-roomy named Robbes ended up engineering at Van Halen's studio, 5150. Gavin ended up becoming a multi-Grammy-winning mastering engineer. You know what happened with me... and if you don't just keep reading and somehow it'll all make sense! I've got some great stories about the 90s in LA but I'll save it for another post. In the meantime you can read more about the Sound of Contact story on the new web site! Plus, there's a Facebook page for the band to follow if you're interested. 

It's the end of the world as we know it!

So, this business about the apocalypse and the end of the world... it's December 20th, 2012 here in Miami and it's already tomorrow in some parts of the world. There are a lot of interpretations about this particular time. A lot could happen in one day or in one hour or one minute or even one second. But the changes that are gradual are sometimes missed. What I've been seeing is a shifting of conscious awareness over time. I've often had thoughts, lately it's been partially fueled by the sad events in CT that I don't even want to talk about because it's too painful, that children have a very important aspect to them that is a clue to our ideal co-existence. They start off life in a state of being that is open, loving, eager to learn, wanting to play and experience joy. When a young child you don't even know looks at you in curiosity and doesn't know you're not part of their family and that you're technically a stranger they DO know something else on a deeper level. We're ALL related! We just lose touch with that when we get older. There's a disconnection from who we really are that happens to various degrees... and sadly from recent events going back to many other times in human history we have seen the extremes of that "disconnection". At the same time we're connected in other ways now more than ever. I know there are many who would agree that it would be nice to see the beginning of a new world of "connectedness", of harmony, peace and love. I think we are capable of it since we've all been there before as young children. We just have to protect and nurture that in children and find our own ways back to these qualities ourselves. 

So, when we talk about the end of ages and the beginning of new ones, the end of centuries and millenniums and the beginning of new ones, the Mayan calendar and all sorts of intriguing myths about this time with thousands of interpretations... I find myself simply open. I don't claim to know everything. A lot of people cling to what they think they know and their particular beliefs (or perhaps the ones imprinted on them from an early impressionable age) to avoid the fear of the unknown. Society wants you to pick a faith! Yet ironically those different believes divide us from each other and have been the basis of too much opposition and conflict throughout our history. Meanwhile we're constantly learning and expanding our collective experience. There are great lessons from the world around us. If you're flexible in your views you leave enough room for something new and exciting to reveal itself or room for more "universal truths" to be understood (as opposed to a divisive "man-made truths" that may have been created for unknown reasons in human history). The more open we are the more we'll be able to evolve. I'm all for that! Ironically part of our evolution is reconnecting with a state of being we all arrived in as children. A huge step is already here right in front of us! If we clear up the clutter, the distortions, the distractions and the wastefulness we arrive at the basic core of our existence. A "perceiver" that can interact physically and mentally "experiencing" life in the pursuit of happiness. 


On that note I wish you a great couple of days, an amazing week, a joyous time during the holidays if you celebrate them, a happy new year and a wonderful life! :) As for me, I'm doing more of what I love. Hanging with my friends and family, going to the Ocean, making music, cooking in the kitchen (I just had a STELLAR breakfast!), going to great restaurants (just did a crab feast with my bro last night!), creating, doing business, relaxing, laughing, thinking, reading, listening, collaborating, sharing... and continue looking for the good stuff! Later in the week I'm doing a road trip to visit Francis Dunnery. We're celebrating his birthday, doing some recording and a gig on New Year's Eve! I asked him what he thought about what people have been saying about the end of the world and he said "Not on the Dunnery clock! We've got too many things to do."

Here's Francis Dunnery's song "My Own Reality"

For anyone looking for an apocalypse have one in 9/8 instead. Here's me, Francis Dunnery and Simon Collins guesting with Steve Hackett of Genesis doing Supper's Ready (the three of us come in on vocals and keys from the Guards of Magog section to the end of the song):

Here's the Sound of Contact...

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