Odd Vice

I’ve been horsing around with Markov chains with the idea of developing some songwriting tools. One of my experiments seemed funny enough to make into its own Twitter bot. It mashes up VICE headlines into strange new ones. Some examples:

If this is something you need in your life, you can follow it here.

April Update

I’ve been winding down the “real” work (aka hourly, billable, profitable, stable) in favor of doing music full time (aka unlimited hours, not billable, unprofitable & very unstable) which has been slower and harder than I thought. But I’ve been finishing up a few projects and songs and getting ready to crank out new Brad Sucks material all over the place. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the first bit of 2015: Bee & PuppyCat

I’ve written a few things for the awesome Bee & PuppyCat show that I’m excited about. The song I’m finishing this week is sung Felicia Day. I got to direct her via Skype which was a new and cool and frightening experience for me. It was pretty awesome to hear her singing words and a melody I wrote.

Natasha (B&P creator) posted this shot of me on the monitor in the studio while I was handsomely directing Felicia Day from my desk here in Canada:

It’s been really fun working on this, I’d love to do more. If anyone reading this runs like an uh, awesome, successful project that needs… bad music… you know, get in touch.

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing on Vinyl

A while back I asked on Facebook if anyone's interested in a vinyl pressing of I Don’t Know What I’m Doing, which was first manufactured as a real packaged CD in 2005. People seemed enthusiastic so I’ve been moving forward with it.

Honestly, I’m not a person who cares much about vinyl records. I own two: Micheal Jackson's Thriller and Twisted Sister's Stay Hungry and they’re hanging on my wall. I don’t own a turntable. I’ve got more nostalgia for cassette tapes and 128k MP3s downloaded from Audiogalaxy. Pressing (and shipping) vinyl is 'spensive and a big commitment and I’d like to avoid having hundreds of my own old-ass record in my basement, so I’m hesitant (aka scared).

But I have a bunch of vinyl quotes and I’ll figure out the next steps soon and probably re-ask that everyone’s suuuure they want my 100% digitally recorded album in an old, giant, fragile, heavy, noisy, expensive to manufacture and also expensive to ship format.

My friend Bruce’s album

Over the past year I’ve been helping my Texan chef friend Bruce Enloe out with bass playing and some recording and mixing on his new record Unseasonably Cool (soundcloud link). (Tracks 2, 3 and 7 are my faves.) I also played bass at the CD release show last week, which had this cool poster (designed by Mark Ettinger, drummer of the band):

Also there was an article in the big local city paper about Bruce and the record.

That’s it, thanks for reading. More stuff soon. "Always be social media-ing," they told us in Internet school. I update my Twitter and Facebook regularly.

So long, Big Yellow Man

Sad news. I learned yesterday that ANSI artist Fredrik Olsson aka Big Yellow Man, who did the rad artwork for my 2008 album Out of It, passed away in October.

Out of It

I really wanted to use ANSI artwork for Out of It because BBS’s and ANSI were a huge part of my teenage life. (I was in iCE and ACiD at various points.) I also thought it might be the first time it was done? I found Fredrik’s work on Deviant Art. Pieces of his like “television” and snowy street really stood out to me from other ANSI artwork, which tends to be a bit juvenile and cleavage-heavy. “television” is the back cover of the Out of It CD and I still love looking at it.

Fredrik was a loved and respected member of the Blocktronics ANSI art community. They’ve paid tribute to him with their latest Artpack. (I used PabloDraw to view it.)

ILM-BYM

I didn’t know Fredrik well, but he was great to work with. Not only did he design the artwork for the package but he handled all the fiddly print stuff to make sure all the colors and pixels came out perfect. He seemed proud of how it turned out.

Check out some of Fredrik’s artwork. You can also watch a captured session of him drawing an ANSI piece if you want to see what it was like to paint with your keyboard and ANSI text characters in the old MS-DOS days.

Thanks and so long, Fredrik. You’ll be missed.

bym-bio

Vacationed

warning Just got back from a vacation in Nova Scotia. Man, I really needed that. What a beautiful province, I ate so much chowder and so many mussels and looked at so much ocean. I also was really surprised at how much I loved the Alexander Graham Bell museum. Turns out I knew almost zero about him, what a rad dude with a rad wife.

I'm really excited about music and recording again. I wasn't sure that'd ever happen. I’m going to start recording drums for new songs in the next few weeks -- it’ll be my first shot at using a live kit and human drummer for Brad Sucks songs so I’m curious/nervous to see how it’ll go.

I’m heading back to XOXO in Portland in September this year. If you’re in town, let’s grab a drink. XOXO was really inspiring last year, it really nailed home for me that my independent Internet creator angst is not in any way special or unique to me.

I've been loving the latest Queens of the Stone Age record the new Freeman record (by Aaron Freeman from Ween.) What have you guys been listening to?

PS: Current plan is to update here more regularly. But I also post stupid stuff on Twitter and Facebook.

sunset

Adios 2013

The last half of 2013 was a lot better than the first half. But I did spend a lot of time working on getting better musically and cranking out demos, so that's good. I was really in a slump there for a few years, it was impressive, how does that shit happen? Hopefully no more. Thanks for your patience. So I'm looking forward to a musically productive 2014, movin' on into the future, taking more chances, being a person who does things again.

To celebrate, here's a video Eddie Utah did for Making Me Nervous with a GoPro camera:

I hope you're all doing great. I know blogging and RSS sort of died this year, but you can also find me on Facebook and Twitter and Soundcloud and maybe Tumblr sometimes? There's also a mailing list.

Shows and year end

Thanks to y'all who came out to the Montreal show. I'm actually glad there weren't more of you because I'm very shy. Winding down the year here -- I'm playing bass December 27th as a replacement member of The Burning Sensations. The next day there's a Brad Sucks show in Kingston on December 28th and then it's time to get cracking on rehearsing and recording some new things in the hopes of a musically productive 2014.

bradsucks_kingston_dec28_2013a-1

(poster by Geoff Gibson)

GeneralBrad Turcotteshows
XOXO

photo-1I had sworn I would never attend a conference again but I was at XOXO in Portland a few weeks ago and it was damn lovely. Lots of cool people and fun stuff, I'll be going next year if they have it again. Looks like all the talks are being posted on Youtube. Some favorites of mine were Jonathan Coulton's, Cabal Sasser's, Adrian Holovaty's and Vi Hart's. The first two made my eyes water a few times. I hear there were some great ones in the morning as well that I missed due to the previous evening's party levels getting out of hand.

One of the most inspiring things during the event was seeing all these independent, do-it-yourself creative types struggling with the same issues I've struggled with: overwork, pressure, isolation, confidence, customer/fan issues, balancing business and creativity. When you do it all yourself you can go a little crazy, getting wrapped up in your own universe and forgetting your problems aren't the worst problems ever invented. It's a struggle for everyone and there's something very comforting in that.

Soul Love cover

Over on Metafilter I joined in on the Bowie Summer Challenge. The idea was to, as a community, cover the entire The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars record. I was assigned the song Soul Love which I wasn't familiar with (I'm more a Scary Monsters guy than Ziggy Stardust.) Anyway, here's what I came up with: Soul Love (cover)

Update: Got a few requests for the multitracks, so you can grab them here.

musicBrad Turcottebowie, cover
UPGRADES

Hey all, how have you been? Post-album it's been upgrade season around here. New gear, better health, hopefully more positive attitude. I'm getting ready to start finishing up some new music. Still not sure what to do with it yet but I'm excited (& nervous) to get back at it after such a long break. Some of these upgrades: New monitors (Event 20/20bas -> Focal CMS 65's), new bass guitar (Yamaha RBX260 -> Fender American Standard Precision), new amp (Tech 21 Power Engine -> Surf Green Fender Blues Jr), better audio interface (MOTU Ultralite mk3 -> Focusrite Scarlett 2i4), new self help strategy (CBT -> ACT), new drum skills (couldn't play drums -> can sort of play drums now), better guitar skills (could not play 7ths all over the neck -> can now play 7ths all over the neck).

I drink these smoothies now. They have bee pollen in them. And the color green.

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Guess Who's a Mess remixes
Inner workings

Hey, we did that show in Toronto a while ago and it was good I think. I lost my jacket and gloves, I remember that part. Since then I've been reading about and practicing cognitive behavioral therapy (my favorite cognitive distortions: magnification and jumping to conclusions). I've been working at jobs for money and also working on music and recording and looking for fun new projects. Some of what I've been up to:

1) I have about 18 Brad Sucks demos I'm working on. Not sure what'll happen to them just yet. Post them online? New album? Singles? I don't know what the right thing to do is in this crazy new future.

2) I helped record a live performance of Chef Bruce and The Burning Sensations at his cool place called The Branch in my home town. On Saturday I saw Jim Bryson there and his lyrics and songs made me cry a little. Uggghhh emotions, why do they exist, what are they even for.

3) I helped my friend c.layne do the Dodged a Bullet Songfight which is apparently still in progress. c wrote and did all the hard work on the song, I just gussied it up a bit.

4) Today I'm wrapping up a quick last-minute song for Astroloco -- an upcoming adventure game about space trains (trains in space!!) that you can vote for on Steam Greenlight here. I was really into adventure games as a kid, particularly the funny ones like Space Quest and Monkey Island, so it's fun to be involved in that even only slightly at the very end.

That's all I can remember. Catch you later.

Cold comfort

I'm still playing in Toronto on Saturday. I'm pretty sure the album's available everywhere it's supposed to be. iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Spotify, Rdio and now finally Jamendo (thanks to everyone who helped out with that). Oh and I'm slowly getting it on Soundcloud. Also a big thank you to everyone who's been buying it. For a while I wasn't sure if I'd get to still be a musician but it looks like I'm OK for now.

By the way, the source/stems for the album are here. Send me anything you make with my stuff, I'll be featuring some things in the next while.

I've been neglecting this blog in favor of Facebook and Twitter. I have some confusion about where to channel my Internet energies these days.

It's -28C outside right now. That's cold.

General, newsBrad Turcottelive, music