Digital Reality Tour 2017: Mind over Matter

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Digital Reality Tour 2017: Mind over Matter

Lubbock, Texas. That's where I am right now. I'm taking a look at my tour spreadsheet and I've got some statistics on how I got down here. It's taken about 30 days to hit this most southern and western point on the tour. I've put 6,000 miles on the van so far and I'll be putting another 4500 on it to get back home over the next 10 days. I've spent close to 100 hours driving (I swear it seems way longer). Trying to think about each of those minutes individually is crazy. Much of that time has been taken up with listening to podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience, Super Duty Tough Work, Waking up with Sam Harris, and S-Town. I've listened to the new Dirty Projectors album countless times, and totally neglected new Gorrilaz singles (I'm waiting for the new album next week!). And I've had a lot of time to just sit and think...like A LOT View Post>>>>

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Digital Reality Tour 2017: Reboot

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Digital Reality Tour 2017: Reboot

So, turns out this tour is becoming a little more difficult than I originally thought.

I don't think I've ever challenged myself so hard physically. It takes about 5 trips between the van and the stage to load all my stuff in, and 5 trips to load everything back out. A majority of the time, the distance between those two points seems to be at least 3 blocks. I've come to dread shifting the black box containing my mixer, interface, and wireless units that combines about 60 pounds of weight with incredibly awkward sizing. Simple tasks have become a struggle as certain items consistently get lost in the van...I brought too much stuff. I look at that girl with the ukelele differently now. Instead of someone who's following some annoying fad of performing quirky music with a small Hawaiian instrument like the woman on "Scrubs," maybe she's just approaching this whole music thing really fucking intelligently. I admit, I'm jealous. View Post>>>>

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Digital Reality Tour 2017: Take Off

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Digital Reality Tour 2017: Take Off

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh....that's the noise been constantly trying to penetrate my head in the last 24 hours. What that noise means is "I thought I was totally prepared to leave for 40 days, but at this point I'm a day into the tour and I'm still getting ready." It's mostly comprised of long term things I forgot about like renewing my passport for a trip this Summer, filing my taxes, paying all my bills for the next two months, and many short term things on optimizing things for Digisaurus and my own well-being on the road. I got about a quarter of the things done that I wanted to do, but you know what, I think I'll always have something on my plate. Yesterday I rushed back home after a trip to Wal-Mart so I could pack the van, go get a haircut, and leave straight after. Of course, I forgot something. And going to pick it back up after the haircut was really only 10 minutes out of the way. But I got to a stop sign where home was left, and Virginia was right. I took the right turn. At some point, you can only be so ready and I was prepared enough. Everything sorts it self out and now was the time for me to begin my journey. So off I went!...into stand still traffic on 95 South coming out of Philadelphia :) View Post>>>>

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Digital Reality Tour 2017: Preview

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Digital Reality Tour 2017: Preview

I'm getting ready to leave on tour next week. The van's being fixed, we're getting the merch together, and I finally came up with a name for the tour...well, kind of. I recently did an interview with Lex Vegas of Cadaver Dogs and The Skulx (check them out with us this Friday at Rumba Cafe in Columbus to kick off the tour!). He titled the interview "Digital Reality," and I love it so much that I'm stealing it. So yeah...Digital Reality Tour 2017 commence! 

I'm going to be embarking on this tour by myself, which is something I rarely did last year. Last Spring I played a solo tour, but my manager Zach came along to help me out. Then over the Summer and Fall, I was lucky enough to be accompanied by the illustrious Eric Groseclose and Jeff Martin as we expanded the production musically. Each tour has morphed in it's priorities. We accomplished a lot but it required a lot of mental capacity to manage so many technical aspects of what we were doing. We had always planned to take out our full production and tour again this Summer/Fall to coincide with the next release, but this solo Spring tour came about because I wanted to get back out there sooner. Right now I'm in the midst of writing an album and I've been drawing inspiration from a lot of conversations with new people. It's taking shape and hones in on a number of different themes: the divide in the US, the power of technology and the internet, the pace and delivery of information, etc. I want to expand on that inspiration by taking 40 days to travel around the country and talk to more people about these things....Click to Read Further

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On Tour this Spring!

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On Tour this Spring!

Unfortunately, I don't have time to write up a new in depth blog this week because I just found out our business taxes are due on March 15th this year instead of April 15th. Needless to say, it's been a tenuous few days (and if you're also just realizing you need to get your business taxes filed by next week, I feel you).  However, I did want to use the Digital Minds space to point out that I'm hitting the road again for 40 days this Spring across the Northeast, Midwest, and South. I'll be touring solo and talking to people about themes and ideas to help shape the concept of my next album. I'll have more details on that in the blog next week, but for now you can check out the dates below or on the live page.

If you're in one of these cities, you can find Facebook events for every show in our events section. Please let me know if you're coming and share the event with your friends. I'm so excited to see all of you again (or maybe for the first time), and enjoy this video of Eric, Jeff and I running into a cow herd in Montana on our last tour.

3/17 • Columbus, OH • Rumba Cafe *FULL BAND TOUR KICK OFF ST. PATTY'S DAY EXTRAVAGANZA W/ THE SKULX* $5 Presale Tix Now Available: hyperurl.co/killb6

3/22 • Harrisonburg, VA • Clementine
3/23 • Fairfax, VA • Epicure Café
3/24 • Richmond, VA • On the ROX
3/25 • Staunton, VA • The Pompei Lounge 
3/27 • Baltimore, MD • Teavolve Cafe & Lounge
3/28 • Brooklyn, NY • the way station
3/29 • Lock Haven, PA • Avenue Coffee
3/30 • Buffalo, NY • Lockhouse Distillery & Bar
3/31 • Lancaster, PA • Chameleon Club
4/1 • Camp Hill, PA • Cornerstone Coffeehouse
4/2 • New York, NY • PIANOS
4/4 • Burlington, VT • Manhattan Pizza and Pub
4/5 • Burlington, VT • Radio Bean
4/6 • Dover, NH • Dover Teen Center
4/7 • Biddeford, ME • Elements: Books Coffee Beer
4/8 • Manchester, VT • The Perfect Wife Restaurant & Tavern
4/9 • Stroudsburg, PA • The Living Room at the Sherman Theater
4/10 • Kent, OH • Stone Tavern at Michel's
4/11 • Petoskey, MI • City Park Grill
4/12 • Port Huron, MI • Loud Music & Apparel
4/13 • Muncie, IN • Be Here Now
4/14 • Indianapolis, IN • 10 Johnson Avenue 
 4/16 • Iowa City, IA • Gabe's Iowa City
4/17 • Des Moines, IA • Lefty's Live Music
4/18 • Lincoln, NE • Duffy's Tavern
4/19 • Kansas City, MO • Prohibition Hall
4/20 • Norman, OK • Red Brick Bar
4/21 • Lubbock, TX • Cafe J
4/22 • Lubbock, TX • Local Bar & Grill
4/23 • Lubbock, TX • Barpm 
4/25 • Fayetteville, AR • The Syc House
4/26 • Springfield, MO • Nathan P. Murphy's
4/27 • Fayetteville, AR • Dickson Street Pub
4/29 • Thomas, WV • The Purple Fiddle
4/30 • Charleston, WV • The Empty Glass
5/11 • Brattleboro, VT • Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery
5/12 • Wareham, MA • 3065 Live
5/13 • Boston, MA • PA's Lounge

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The ACA & Me

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The ACA & Me

This week, I want to touch on a subject I've been thinking about a lot recently: Healthcare. It's a metamorphosing beast that's never been truly figured out in the US, but it has been and will be going through a lot of change. The Affordable Care Act directly impacted my ability to leave my job and go into business for myself as a full-time musician. So I wanted to lay out some of my experiences with the ACA and my thoughts on it in this week’s blog.

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Interview: Evan Brace

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Interview: Evan Brace

This is part four of my interview series with recent collaborators. Today, I'm sharing my interview with Evan Brace, who directed the music video for my latest single, "I Don't Feel Alright."

I met Evan after a show we played in Nashville on our last tour. He was filming another band playing with us that night, Soft Robot (half of which ended up serving as crew on the IDFA video). He ended up shooting some of our set and gave me a card to get the footage from him....

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Interview: American Science

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Interview: American Science

This is part three of my interview series with some of my recent collaborators. Today, I'm sharing my interview with American Science, who remixed my latest single, "I Don't Feel Alright." You can listen to that remix here.

American Science is the new electronic music project from Columbus producer, Tony Stewart. Tony and I go way back, and we touch on most of that in the interview, so he doesn't need much of an introduction here. Without further adieu, here we go...

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Interview: Osea Merdis

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Interview: Osea Merdis

This is part two of my interview series with some of my recent collaborators. Today, I'm sharing my interview with Osea Merdis, who remixed my latest single, "I Don't Feel Alright." You can listen to that remix here.

Osea Merdis is the new project from DJ and producer, Moxy Martinez, most well known as DJ Moxy throughout the Midwest electronic scene. The project is routed in the experimental dance electronica space, and pushes Moxy's love of synths and cinescape in a new direction. The remix is the first material to be released under the Osea Merdis moniker...

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Interview: Black Esther

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Interview: Black Esther

For the next few weeks, Digital Minds will be featuring a series of interviews with some of my recent collaborators. Today, I'm sharing an e-mail interview with Black Esther who remixed my latest single, "I Don't Feel Alright." You can listen to that remix here.

Black Esther is the project of Bryan Byers, a producer and songwriter based out of Bloomington, IL. With a synthpop/electronic sound that draws influence from Phoenix, Passion Pit, and Miike Snow, Digisaurus had the pleasure of playing with Black Esther to close out our Fall tour this past November. Flanked by Ryan Johnston on stage, they provided a powerful and technologically advanced performance full of energy...

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Follow up on Artistic Relevance in a Trump Presidency

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Follow up on Artistic Relevance in a Trump Presidency

I'm writing this post with many of the same feelings I held last week. I’m confused by what's happening in America, and I’m baffled by the actions President Trump is taking. Everything is changing at a turbocharged pace and it's hard to keep up. This blog included.

Last week I wrote about U2's now scrapped new album and artistic relevance in a Trump presidency. I didn't get around to posting the blog until Friday. Within an hour, the topic shifted out of my focus as Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from seven countries for 90 days and refugees in general for 120 days. It's hard to keep up a conversation on art when executive orders like that are issued. But I did have an experience that made me want to revisit the subject of artistic relevance this week. It builds on my previous post, so check that out here if you didn’t have a chance to read it.

This past weekend I travelled to Tampa to see some friends. While down there, I went to a museum that features a permanent collection of Salvador Dali paintings and an exhibition of the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. I found myself paying close attention to works from certain historic eras and events: Post World War I, World War II, the dropping of the atomic bomb, the rise of communism, etc. I've seen some of these paintings before, but this time they took on a new meaning to me given the context of the world today. It's not as if I ever underestimated the importance of those events, and we're certainly living in our own unique time. But the feelings of chaos, doubt, and questioning were so present and relatable. There were many other pieces in the gallery that exuded more positive concepts of optimism, inner peace, and personal growth. While not as striking, they still presented a welcome reminder of what else is important in life. A friend, Cyndi Rice, commented to me in response to last week's post that sometimes art of hope and acceptance can inspire just as much and bring out strength and confidence. I could definitely relate to the sentiment in that moment.

With the encounter at the museum, I answered a lot of the questions I posed last week. U2 (and other artists) shouldn't be worrying about whether their art is relevant right now or not. In the modern music industry it's easy to get caught up in the notion that music is at it's height when it's released and only matters at that time. But music and art can take on meaning at any occasion. What's most important is to create in the moment and put something out there that gives off pure emotion. I realize that’s a pretty basic tenant of art for me to arrive at as a conclusion. But sometimes even basic philosophies need to be examined and rebuffed when there’s so much going on in the world.

Finally, I wanted to end this week's post with a story of something that inspired me last week. I was working Thursday evening and ran into stand still traffic at the intersection of Broad and Walnut in central Philadelphia. I could see the road ahead had been closed. A significant amount of people were marching towards city hall with signs protesting Donald Trump and his presence in town that day. I parked my car, got out, and walked down to the end of the block to take it all in. The chants, the atmosphere, and the messages of the crowd were all so passionate and authentic. I could breathe a little easier that night from bearing witness to the courage and vocal opposition of everyone in that moment. As much as art can inspire, so can people's actions in our everyday lives.

 

Picture: "Salvador Dali with Babou, the Ocelot" by Roger Higgins

 

 

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U2 and Artistic Relevance in a Trump Presidency

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U2 and Artistic Relevance in a Trump Presidency

It's been a crazy week. Since I last wrote, Donald Trump has been sworn in as President, record crowds gathered in cities across the world in support of women, and I spent a week holed up working on new songs with the Mike "Landy" Landolt at his studio in Columbus. It's baffling how fast the world is changing, and with that, songs that were written one or two years ago for Digisaurus have taken on a whole new context as we've been working on them. They're sounding darker, more aggressive and faster paced. There's a sense of urgency and resistance taking over. While some of it feels preemptive, yielding to those emotions doesn't seem like such a terrible idea either.

Before I dive into things, I do want to say how proud I am to know so many people who are standing up for what they believe in and recognize the struggle that so many people in this country face. As I'm writing this, Donald Trump is arriving in Philadelphia to meet GOP leaders for a retreat at the Loews hotel (seriously, only he would hold a retreat at a luxury hotel in the middle of a major city.) With the presence of a Trump presidency weighing down on myself and others, I wanted to explore something I read about this week in regards to the arts. While you may be expecting something about Trump's proposed budget cuts to arts and humanities programs, this is about something more important and pressing: U2 scrapping their new album in the wake of Trump's election.

In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this month, U2 guitarist, The Edge, detailed how the band finished up a new album, Songs of Experience, in the middle of 2016. Release plans were in motion, but then Trump was elected President. As a result, U2 decided to delay the album’s release indefinitely. The Edge had this to say in the interview: "We just went, 'Hold on a second – we've got to give ourselves a moment to think about this record and about how it relates to what's going on in the world.' That's because it was written mostly, I mean, 80 percent of it was started before 2016, but most of it was written in the early part of 2016, and now, as I think you'd agree, the world is a different place."

My emphasis on the importance of a new U2 album should be taken with a healthy dose of sarcasm. However, I did find the whole sentiment quite relatable. Having just been in the studio working on songs started pre-election, I was lucky (well, lucky as a songwriter...unlucky as a human) to be at a point in the process where it was easy for me to re-frame their context and breathe a different life into them. Hell, I needed to do that just to get excited about recording them. And even though I feel indifferent about U2, I think they've definitely earned the right to take as long as they want to write, re-frame, and hone an album until they think it portrays the statement they want to make. If we're being honest, it's about time they did that given what they've put out over the past decade.

However, not everyone agrees. When listening to the CD Baby DIY Musicians Podcast on my way back from Columbus, hosts Kevin Bruenner and Chris Bolton expressed complete frustration at the decision. I think they might like U2 quite a bit more than myself, and they come to their conclusion more as fans and quasi industry analysts: The album's recorded and done. U2 should put it out. If their philosophy is the times must match the context of a record, and given how much lead time U2 typically has between record completion and release, how will they ever be in a position to release new music? Music = relevance. If you can't release new music, you're no longer relevant. U2 is copping out and basically admitting to a lack of relevance. 

The argument's go deeper on the industry side, and you can check out the episode here. So what do you think? If your favorite band was in a similar situation, would you want them to release the album? Is that an album you'd even want to hear right now? If you're an artist, do you think you could stomach promoting and touring a record that you wrote pre-election while knowing the world is such a different place? Let me know in the comments below, Facebook or Twitter, and I'll revisit this next week. 

Picture: Helge Øverås

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Recording this Week. Find us on Instagram!

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Recording this Week. Find us on Instagram!

Hey everyone. Unfortunately, I'm getting ready to head back in the studio this week to work with Mr. Mike Landolt on a new EP at Curry House Studios. I wasn't able to get a blog together this week, but I will be documenting our time in the studio on our Instagram profile for the next 5 days. Go ahead and follow @digisaurusmusic and I'll give you some peeks into what we've got cooking.

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Welcome to 2017

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Welcome to 2017

2017. Something different. A chance to start anew.

While 2017 signifies the departure from a year that most hold in a negative view, it's a little bit more than that to me. It means that I've officially been working Digisaurus full-time for a year now. I'm older, wiser, and not a total nEwb.

2016 was the year I flew by the seat of my pants. I hit the reset button and started over while committing to grandiose adventures on the road. I came out of it with a lot of great memories, but it was very stressful as someone who's not used to living so spontaneously. After taking a year to get adjusted, I'm much more relaxed than I was at this point last January. 

To start off the new year, I spent a week in the studio expanding on some ideas, arrangements, and lyrics that have been piling up over the past couple of months. Now I have an arsenal of new songs. While the release details won't be clear for a while, the best way to ensure you hear them is to check out a show. And there will be plenty of those this year.

But releasing new songs and touring isn’t anything new for Digisaurus. So what will be different? You'll be seeing a lot more content coming out via our Soundcloud and Youtube account in 2017 (Follow us here if you're not already: Soundcloud/Youtube). Expect remixes, music videos, covers, tour diaries, live streams, and the occasional tutorial for the gear heads. First up, I'll be debuting a series of remixes for "I Don't Feel Alright," by American Science, Black Esther, and Osea Merdis (DJ Moxy's new project) in the next few weeks, followed by a music video I shot with director, Evan Spencer Brace.

In the past I’ve usually tried to keep things quiet before they come out, but there's a reason I'm telling you about everything I want to do in advance this time. It's because I want to be held accountable, and I want my friends and fans to help me do that. I also want to know what your goals are for this year. E-mail me at info@digisaurusmusic.com and tell me about them. Maybe there’s some way I can help. Maybe there isn’t. But at the very least we can hold each other to our word. It’s also an opportunity for me to tackle my New Years resolution of communicating more positively and directly with people. When I see you at a show, I want to be able to say, "hey, great to see you! How are your Yoga classes going?" and you can say "Namaste James, they’re going great...but how come I haven't seen any footage from your tour so far?"

It's a new year, and a new opportunity for us to be the best versions of ourselves. Happy 2017!

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Happy Holidays

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Happy Holidays

Photo Credit: Mitchell Multimedia

Ah, the holidays. Usually the only part of Winter I can actually put up with in the Northern Hemisphere. While the temperatures are dropping and the weather is popping, all the lights and festivities make it somewhat joyous to gather with friends and keep things humorous...okay, maybe the rhyming stuff gets annoying. But all in all, we get to encounter one last dish of positivity before we head into the inevitable depression of January, February, and sometimes March.

I don't have time to do a well thought out post this week, but I did want to say thanks to everyone who made it out to our Columbus show last week at A&R Music Bar. Despite the cold, the heat not working, and the tragic passing of a local music stalwart that day, it was really nice to be able to gather with friends and loved ones and play for you all. And really, getting together and supporting each other is what the holidays is really all about. Big thanks to Cherry Chrome, The Odds of Being Born, CD102.5, and Promowest for helping out with the show.

I do have one more show going down this year in New York City at Piano's upstairs. It's this Friday and it's a free show, so if you're in the area, come get one final night of Digisaurus in 2016. Other than great, have a great holidays and I'll see you soon.

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A Columbus Love Letter

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A Columbus Love Letter

In 2016 I’ve had a changing relationship with the city I’ve called home for the past ten years. I recently moved to Philadelphia with my girlfriend and I was on tour for about 150 days. However, I still think I’ve spent the better part of my year in Columbus so I’ve been slightly hesitant to relinquish this city as my home...and maybe I never will. I'm finding a lot of reasons to keep coming back.

If you live in Columbus, you constantly hear about how much the city's growing. That's true of the music scene too...so much so that groups and think tanks have formed in order to help push the discussion of that growth on a larger scale. At times, I've found the conversation to be somewhat counterproductive to what artists should actually be focusing on (making good art). But it has shed light on how much this city has expanded as an artistic hub. There's so much talent and so many resources available to inspire creativity. I’ve seen a lot of people move away over the last few years who’ve kept studios, bands, and other facets of their music careers going in Columbus so they can stay involved. And now I’m one of those people. I've been back four times since I moved in September, and each time I've had a full docket of writing sessions, recording sessions, shows, etc.

On top of being a great place to get creative, I feel like there’s also been a shift in attitude when it comes to pushing artists out into the world. When I first started playing music here, it felt like there was an insecurity complex when it came to musicians and artists exploring opportunities in other places. Now I finally feel like a value has been put on that and is encouraged by the city and it’s people. Going to other areas, whether it be for touring, residencies, collaborations, or even to live, is essential for musicians to broaden their horizons, gain perspective, and in turn create better art. Retaining talent and growing as a city is important, but it should never come at the sacrifice of an artist reaching their fullest potential.

A lot of what I’m getting at here is gearing up to the fact that I have a show in Columbus this Friday (A&R Music Bar at 7PM with the Odds of Being Born and Cherry Chrome). If you're in Columbus, I want you to come. So yeah, maybe I’m sucking up a bit by bigging up this city. But I also want you to know how important its been to me and how much its helped me this year. The Greater Columbus Arts Council awarded me a performing artist travel grant to help out with tour costs while I was on the road. CD102.5 is playing Digisaurus over the airwaves and is helping present our show this Friday. The Independent’s Day festival included us as part of a kick ass line up that included Cloud Nothings, Speedy Ortiz, and Eskimeaux. And the other two shows we played in Columbus this year were easily our largest attended performances of 2016.

I’m residing in a new city now, but Columbus still very much feels like home for me.  I think anyone who creates should be cognizant of this place, and I’m really proud to introduce us as “Digisaurus from Columbus, Ohio” when I’m on stage in other places. I’m excited to be playing in town again this Friday, so if you’re in Columbus, please come out. It’s going to be a great time. And if you’re not in Columbus, just know how much of an awesome city it is. I'll see you soon.

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Digisaurus’ Top 5 Music Tools of 2016

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Digisaurus’ Top 5 Music Tools of 2016

I knew I wanted to do a year end list of sorts. But what to rank? I could go the normal route of best albums, songs, etc. But I’m doing my top ten albums for another outlet, and I recently switched from Apple Music to Spotify. Without access to my top played songs of the year, I’m actually kind of lost.

So, I’m gonna do my own list: Digisaurus’ Top 5 Music Tools of 2016. I’ve done our show over 150 times this year and been recording a bunch. There’s some definite go to pieces of gear/programs/apps that have worked wonders for me. This one’s for the nerds out there and anyone who needs gift ideas for said nerds:

1. Ableton Live 9

Starting out with the obvious, but a good DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is central to my entire operation. If I have an idea I need to get out, I need a DAW that can keep up with my brain as its spewing whatever.  Logic and Garageband are great for getting up and running in a pinch. But having the right tools to mess around, manipulate, and open up those ideas after is important too. That’s where Ableton shines. Warping, sampling, slicing, the instruments and anything MIDI related is easy peasy. It’s also the best DAW out there for live shows in terms of triggering samples, tracks, and automating effects.

2. Nord Lead 2

Up until 2013 I was still mostly using pre-sets on synthesizers. I struggled for a couple of years to really grasp synths and a big part of it was it was the lack of an easy to understand layout of knobs, sliders etc. on a machine or virtual synth. Not only does the Nord Lead 2 sound great (it’s my main keyboard in the live show), but it was the first machine that laid out the engine in a way that made sense to me. It comes with an excellent manual on subtractive synthesis to help you study the concepts too.

3. TC Helicon Mic Mechanic 2

During our shows in 2015, I was running most of my vocals into a computer so I could have full access to a plethora of effects. It didn’t really work. I had so many issues with feedback, compression, and delay compensation. So I decided to take the vocals back out of the box. This little pedal (I use it with my hands) has such great natural sounding reverb and delay and resolved a lot issues for me. It’s not as expansive on effects as I would like, but I’m planning on upgrading to a VoiceLive Play or VoiceLive 3 sometime in the future so I can really push things live.

4. Origin Effects Cali 76

I’ll definitely give the Cali 76 “pedal of the year” props when it comes to Digisaurus recordings released in 2015. “I Don’t Feel Alright,” and “Not a Chance in Hell,” were both dancy numbers that needed a tight percussive guitar tone to help emulate that Chic funk/disco sound. This pedal was a titan in helping us pursue that. The standard pedal we used is now out of production, but they put out a re-issue  and a bunch of compact models if you’re looking to up your compression game.

5. Waldoorf Nave Synth (iPad app)

Before getting into the production of the first Digisaurus live show, I really wanted some sort of wireless MIDI controller to trigger samples. The one I was looking at proved to be just as expensive as a used iPad 3, which I could use with the Lemur app and a daemon network to create my own wireless controller interface. Anyway, before I could fully realize all that nerdy shit, I ended up downloading a few synth apps and the iPad became a synth engine. The Waldorf Nave is my primary go to and features two wavetable oscillators, a modulation matrix, and kick ass filters that bathe your ears with angelic tones. I find it works especially well for more ethereal ambience than lead parts, but you can build some straight up incredibleness for about $20 with this app.

And there you have it. The definitive top five musical tools for Digisaurus in 2016. I’m also putting together my Christmas list. If you’ve got a great piece of gear, app or plug-in you can’t live without, drop a comment below and let me know.

 

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Getting Off the Road

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Getting Off the Road

Getting off tour is an adjustment. I pretty much go from a regimented schedule of being at certain places at certain times every single day to having the freedom to do whatever I want in a very short amount of time. Over the past forty five days, I think I had one day to roam free.

However, I feel very lucky to have experienced the tour life again and to have a home to come back to. This week, I’m going to write about getting off the road and my process for adjusting back to life at home.

Go somewhere to relax

Usually, there’s so much pressure to get going again as soon as I get back... Mostly due to my own anxiety about "what’s next." After the Summer tour, I launched right back into my routine at home, screwed up my neck, got sick, and ended up being bedridden for a week. My body just simply wanted me to take a break. After this last Fall tour, I got to go stay with family for a bit for Thanksgiving. It was nice to have a transitional period where I spent time in an environment with no pressure to do anything. I felt so refreshed going back to Philly after.

Transition and Prioritize

When I actually get home, it usually takes a few days to get used to it. There’s about a three day period until I start feeling comfortable in my own bed, stop living out of a suitcase (I still haven’t unpacked), get my basement studio set up, etc. I use this time to go through everything in my personal life and Digisaurus world. There’s things that fall by the wayside when I’m tour, so this is my time to put band-aids on things and prioritize. I build up a big to do list to tackle, and figure out a clear plan forward. But first...

Process Experiences

I need a couple of days to process my thoughts. The world is essentially moving through me on tour, and it can be hard to keep up. I meet a lot of people, see a lot of places, and a lot in the world just changes (especially over the last couple of months). Now I take some time to myself after to focus on everything and figure out what it all means to me. I can’t really make meaningful music again before I take the time to do this. (For more on why this is important, see my blog a few weeks back)

Welcome Back!

Now I’m adjusted and back in my routine. My studio is set up and ready to go, and I’ve got a fresh perspective as an artist to guide what I want to work on musically. Next it’s just a task of balancing making music with the giant list of priorities to tackle on the booking, content, marketing, and technical side. But I’m feeling good. I’ve already completed my first task: Writing this blog.

I'm back home and making music again, but there’s still a few shows left for Digisaurus in 2016! Take a look at our Live section for specifics, but if you’re in Ohio, New York, or Philadelphia, I’m excited to see you again soon. 

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Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. As an English person, Thanksgiving didn't come naturally to me at first. But I've spent two thirds of my life in the US now. The longer I've lived here, the more I've appreciated the holiday as a time I get to spend with people I care about...even if the original premise seems a little flawed to me. 

The tour finished up over the weekend, but I went down to Nashville for a couple nights to work on something really special with some super dope folks (more on that later). I just got back to Philadelphia last night, and today I'm heading to my girlfriend's parent's house in New Jersey for the feast. I've been traveling non stop for about 45 days now, but I'm more than willing to do it a couple more times to get in the celebrations.

Just a short post this week, but I do want to say thanks to everyone who came out to the shows, bought a CD, put our stickers up high on lamp posts, fed us, let us crash at your place, or showed us some hospitality in any form. I don't think you could possibly fathom how much any gesture meant to us as we were so far from home. And a big big thanks to Eric and Jeff for being the most bad ass rhythm section on this planet and for another great tour. We're pretty much around each other all day and then sleeping in the same room at night on the road. Things get cozy, and these guys are very patient, insightful, and talented. I can't imagine two better people to have done so much touring with this year.

I've got a few more shows coming up to round out 2016, including a big homecoming to Columbus at the A&R Music Bar with The Odds of Being Born & Cherry Chrome on December 16th. We'll be doing a Cyber Monday sale on the website next Monday for fee-free pre-sale tickets to that show with some Digisaurus swag, so keep an eye out for that. Otherwise, enjoy your holiday and we'll see you soon.

 

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Overload

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Overload

Thinking about a topic for "Digital Minds” the past couple of weeks has been tough. There’s so many things I want to write about in terms of creativity, the tour, and the new single we put out. However, last week there was only one relevant topic: the election and what it means. And you know what? It still feels like the only relevant topic. 

While there's a lot for me to reflect on personally, I do want to try and push Digisaurus past it. I've gotten to the point of overload online, and I want to steer the conversation of this blog back to being an artist in 2016. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on here the last couple of weeks and it’s become clear to me that a lot of people who read this are also creative in various mediums. So I'm going to use this weeks post to write about picking your platforms. 

As the cliche goes, there’s so much more to being an independent music artist outside of just making music. There’s the obvious support activities of making videos, making artwork, booking, marketing, etc. But the biggest thing that pushes music is the story and personality of it’s creator or creators. Crafting and pushing that context can be really easy or really hard depending on one question: How much of yourself are you willing to expose to people?

This relates a bit to what I talked about a couple of weeks ago about not being honest with myself as an artist. However, this time it deals with being honest with an audience. If you're not all in about being open with your audience, I think it's going to be very difficult to get anyone interested in your art. But the hardest thing for music artists to do in 2016 is figure out the right ways to provide that voice. We live in a world dominated by social media platforms that encourage reactionary and off the cuff personalities. We've gotten to the point where these mediums sometimes feel like the only option, and there's a lot of musicians I know who on participating in it. But if I’m going to be honest with you (see what I did there?), it’s not me. Participating makes me judgmental of others based on surface level reactions, and in turn, self conscious about how others might judge me. I’m pretty calculated as a person, and as my bass player, Eric, and I both discussed this past week, far too existential for my own good. 

So how else can artists convey their message?  For Digisaurus, I've created this blog with a format that I dictate. I’m in the habit of posting here on Thursday’s, and I have a whole week to collect thoughts, reflect, revise, and let you know my story. Obviously, Digisaurus is still on social media. But it’s not a platform for my main narrative. It's to point people to places that do a better job of conveying it, like the music, videos, art, pictures, and this website. On top of the music and everything online, the biggest sticking point for conveying my message is still on a stage and talking to people in person. That’s a big reason why Digisaurus has started touring so much this year and will continue to do so in 2017.

It’s taken a while for me to find my voice and consistently practice the things that work. But I’ve definitely noticed how much providing context drives my music with listeners. If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't despair. Get out of the idea of being pigeon-holed to just a few options and figure out what works to progress your story.

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