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6 Month Update. December 2014 – May 2015. This, is a big one.

As some of you may know, life has been extremely busy the past 6 months. I have moved to Asheville NC to study Music Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. I have recorded an EP. I have joined a band, which have played successfully live numerous times, and write their own work. With this band I have been back in the studio to record a single, done field recordings, have a documentary out about us and our beginnings, and are scheduling a 2-week summer tour of the eastern seaboard. I am writing and recording prolifically for my own personal music projects, and have taken up the pseudonym MONK. The EP tracks are uploaded on YouTube, where you can hear the demos. The official EP will be released in July.

Whew. Now you see why I haven’t released a post in a long while. Let’s start with the EP.

The EP – MONK – Seperation (EP)

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In mid December, with the move date for Asheville fast-approaching, I began writing a short album of ambient and acoustic sketches as a surprise going away present to my life partner. There was no clear idea about what the album should be about, no clear directive musically. I expanded short sketches I had recorded over the previous few months, reshaping them to fit together more harmoniously as I didn’t have time to completely start from scratch. I had to do everything quickly. Write, rewrite, record, edit. Even miking the guitars and amplifiers was done quickly, using a single ribbon mic to record everything, running directly into the computer. No overdubs, no splicing or duplicating. Tracks were recorded in a matter of minutes, whenever I had the chance, yet somehow these basic sketches took on a beautifully rough nature. Not that the product was poorly executed, but in not having weeks or months to prepare the execution of such a project I was forced to create and create quickly. Not all parts have been recorded for the EP, only the bare bones guitar tracks. The rest will be completed in early May, and a release date should be set soon thereafter.

I used the idea of separation from me and her as a way to shape the sound of the album, giving it a lonely, haunting feel. This is why I have taken up the name MONK. The name represents my separation of not just loved ones, but from society in many ways, from the ideology of where I grew up, from the things that hold me back. Just as a monk or a nun separates themselves from the world in order to find a type of inner peace and self-realization, I have done this to myself in a way to fully tune in on who I am musically.

The Shameful Nameless

Vocals – Izzy Daniels

Synth – Caveh Davari-Nejad

Guitar – Jonathan Price

Bass – Jack Burton

Drums – Hurley (Drum machine) / Jack Burton

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The Shameful Nameless, March 2015

Within seriously hours of moving to Asheville, I had found a band. Unreal as it may seem, I had asked the now bassist, Jack, if he knew any bands at the time who were looking for a guitarist. Coincidentally, he was in a band, which was in need of a guitar player. They had only written one song, had never played live before, yet had somehow been around for a year, kicking musical ideas around without any luck of songwriting prolificacy. But there was potential. Within days of practicing together, there was a sound, a feeling developing. A feeling of pent up energy and raw potential which we are still trying to fully tap in to.

We held our first show only two weeks after our first practice, opening up for an indie-prog band called Mellowfield, at The Grotto; a venue on the bottom floor of the Highsmith Union building of UNC Asheville. Our setlist, which included three originals went over surprisingly well, being broadcast over the college radio live. Soon thereafter, we performed once again on campus opening the EchoFest music festival; a twelve hour college radio sponsored music festival on three stages simultaneously, held in the Highsmith Student Union. The culmination of what sounds like if the Pixies and the Foo Fighters had a punk offspring, our sound is full of classic, listenable aggression, with prog-like melodies and time signatures.

EchoFest 2015 Lineup

EchoFest 2015 Lineup

Talk soon emerged about touring. While we were at EchoFest, we were scouting for a potential band to travel with us for a short summer tour over the course of about two weeks, from Raleigh/Durham, up through Richmond, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Providence, Hartford, and finally Boston. Although there were a few possible contenders, none thusfare have been able to commit to such a difficult stretch of time. We have now been contacting venues and bands local to the previous areas to book ourselves as opening acts, spreading notoriety somewhere other than the Asheville area. Around this time, a documentary was put together to demonstrate what the beginnings of a band look like, and how each member brings their own set of skills to the table.

All the while we have been writing, and recording in order to keep growing as a band; fast approaching our goal of an EP. We entered University of North Carolina at Asheville’s Lipinsky’s recording studio two weeks ago to record our first single, “I’ve Been Looking for a Corpse“. A dance-y, hook-filled indie pop track, tastefully pieced together.

Recording "I'm Looking for a Corpse", March 2015

Recording “I’m Looking for a Corpse”, March 2015


Guitar setup for The Shameful Nameless, March 2015

Guitar setup for The Shameful Nameless, March 2015


Preparing for the vocals on "I'm Looking for a Corpse", March 2015

Preparing for the vocals on “I’m Looking for a Corpse”, March 2015


The entire Shameful Nameless crew; including both Mitchell Connor (Press), and Kari Barrows (Press). March 2015

The entire Shameful Nameless crew; including both Mitchell Connor (Press), and Kari Barrows (Press). March 2015

This past Thursday we cut a fast, lo-fi recording of “An Evening Out with Your Significant Other” live in a small conference room we commandeered yet again in the Highsmith Union. Although poorly mixed (We used a iPhone in the middle of the room) we’re using it as a rough demo and a way to analyze and critique ourselves into performing as well as writing better.

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/THESHAMEFULNAMELESS?fref=ts

Twitter

@NamelessMusic

Spotify

The Shameful Nameless

Bandcamp

The Shameful Nameless

Soundcloud

TBA

MONK Music

March, 2015

March, 2015

Writing and recording continues to expand upon the Separation EP, into the eventual album, entitled “Anamnesis.” The music has taken a bit more of a middle-eastern flavor acoustically, yet retains the big, ambient sound of electric guitar soundscapes and looping, with dramatic drums, and pulsating bass tracks.

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgG-D2QX9kxLwLug9e7gvlQ

More to come soon!

– Jonathan

Out of Acadia

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Although it has been a lenthy seven months since I have graced the servers of wordpress.com, I am finally back talking about my newest project, “Acadia” which is still in its infancy. This album has been a three year long metamorphosis of two albums, several different bands, and thousands of hours, and dollars, and hundreds of people to finally get a set image and feel for the album.

Firstly, the album has actually been constructed from two separate entities. The first album from my band The Northern Arcade never saw completion, along with the many hours of solo “sonic exploration”, I was able to come up with a palette of sounds that “worked” for me. By picking the best pieces from The Northern Arcade and mixing it with the almost shoegaze and ambient complexity of my newer works, my album could finally have a place to grow in the mind of myself, and others who have aided me in this mind-boggling task.

The new album in itself will be a feat of sonic engineering. “The best albums overall of any band is always the first” I had said in an interview. “You can hear and feel the creative hunger in the music, you can hear the soul and the long hours of searching for the right sound until they put down whatever they have, and say ‘To hell with it; we second album will sound better anyways.'” This is exactly my predicament: I want this album to have the hunger and edge like that of the first recordings I can remember laying down, but with a more mature and natural sound. This will be the third album I have put out in recent years, but the first I have released under a self-titled and solo name, truly making Acadia a difficult venture.

In the past six months, I have worked with a new drummer, vocalist, bassist, and possibly two new guitarists to give the new record a fresh, and hopefully “Freshmen” album feel. The sound will be as dramatic as the making of the record as well: Two drummers, like that of The Northern Arcade, two guitarists (me being one) focusing on ambience and mood setting, rather than intricate guitar licks and screaming solo work. Unlike my previous band, most of the work for this album will be instrumental, with the addition of harmonic, string-like vocals. To cap off the already dramatic arrangement of instruments, the bassist and keyboardists are new and will build a ambient pad that the rest of the band can work on top of.

The sound of the band will be reminiscent of Explosions in the SkyMogwaiand Bon Iver, but with an acoustic twist, a hint of piano, and a dash of experimental effects usage. Very mellow, very melancholy, but at times uplifting and overwhelmingly beautiful, this new sound will become almost cinematic as the album presses forward, ending as though you have just finished a blockbuster movie. As for now, only about 20% of the final product has been approved and is ready for mastering, with the other 80% being written and recorded within the next couple of months.

At the rate that Acadia is progressing, the finished product will air by the end of summer 2013, but as of right now, hard work and perseverance is my motivation, not to mention my work ethic. Hopefully the following album cover spoilers will keep you interested, as well as a promotional video for the Acadia album in the near future.

Image

Image

¡Control Yourself!

As much fun as it can be to rip up a new, sizzling solo in the middle of a live performance to flatter the crowd, flattery could be the sole ingredient that destroys the song. As nice as it sounds to crank your 63′ Bassman to achieve your “sweet spot” tone, roll the volume back to 3 and work for your tone. If you drench your clean tones in a lush plate reverb, bring the mix down in a large hall and save your note definition. 

Many musicians today forget the basic principles of how sound travels when performing live, recording in a studio setting, or even during experimentation or creation of a song. Attention to tone, signal processing, and melody selection have plagued musicians from the beginning, but without a basic understanding of how these processes work, not only your sound, but your career can suffer. No matter how great of a musician you are or aspire to be, if your tone is undesirable (say, too bright, or too flat) the untrained ear will tell you that you are not as great as you believe yourself to be. 

By understanding the way frequencies work, as well as a bit of ear training, you can achieve an incredible and even new sound from your instrument or amplifier with just the turning of a few knobs. 

http://www.berkleeshares.com/production__technology/eq_band_critical_listening

Frequency equalization is not the only problem that faces many players technically, but also the world of noise and decibel reduction. It’s true that a 100W Marshall Super Lead may sound beautiful against the rest of your live band setting, but remember, that your amp is not actually doing the amplifying. By using lower wattage amps (my rule of thumb is 30W or less) you can achieve a sweet overdriven or clean sound, at a MUCH lower volume. Not only will this make the sound guys happy, but your sound will be much clearer through the PA system and mix better with the band, in turn making you happy.

As much as I rant and praise effects and effects pedals, you must remember that signal processing is not everything. You will find that some songs will need delay during the bridge, or a flanger during the chorus, but sometimes, your best effect is not effects at all. A way to achieve this is my mixing your altered tone with your unprocessed signal, whether with a mix knob, or running your guitar into stereo amps, inputs, ect. Many guitar players (especially acoustic) run their signal into a DI on the floor and split it, running their clean tone into the board at the front of the house, while the other runs through their pedals, and subsequently their amplifier. These are just a few ways you can drastically change the presentation of your sound to the audience, and yourself, making you sound like a better musician, and therefore making you a better musician. 

Don’t forget the room that you are playing in! The volume of your amps, effects, and amounts of gain, reverb, or other basic sound effects will need to be changed accordingly. 

Last but not least, control your hands on stage. Learning when not* to play is the most critical thing a musician can learn other than basic theory. For example, the less busy a song is with guitar the clearer it will sound, giving the guitarist plenty of sonic room to build up to a dramatic climax, or solo. When soloing, packing as many notes as possible does not make you look any better than any other guitarist, and if anything makes you look amateur. Learning to slow down and take your time will drastically help you aid the band in a performance, rather than taking the wind out of the other musicians’ sails. Not playing notes in a solo or melody also aids in giving the piece more momentum, edge, suspense, or emotion, so think twice when you enter a solo on stage next time. 

¡Happy Recording!