Last Vlayman album of 2015: *The Moon*

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1. A Cat That Kills 03:25
2. Roll On Up 03:36
3. The Way (w Grankspoine) 03:19
4. Off 03:57
5. She Only Wants Me 04:06
6. Write It Down (for Nicky) 03:40
7. Purgatory 04:55
8. Make ‘Em Stop 03:42
9. I Get That 03:38
10. The Moon (I Am the) 03:12

The last – I promise! – release of 2015 with a rare acoustic track (#10), a song for a friend (#7), and the best one, a collab with England’s Grankspoine (#3). I recommend a martoonie and pizza while listening so that 2/3 of yer evening at least is good.

released December 31, 2015

All drums is nettage, #3 have all by Grankspoine except bass and vocals, and the rest of the sounds should be blamed on yo.
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; blog.
I mix with olive juice.

Vlayman: “Better”

c. ’15 Vlayman

You got yer story, yeah, you seem to have it lock’d down tight You can ‘ splain everything you said
About who you was with and where you was that night, before daylight
And it ain’t matter none that what you claim could not be true It’s all the same to you,
that what you claim just ain’t the truth, ain’t the truth

I wanted to tell you girl, I got yer poison letter, yeah
And in this great big world I’ve had worse to me said by better

Many years ago there was a girl gave ’em all simple hell, I know you think that’s how to be
You like to see yourself as a Jezebel,
And yer proud of it proud as can be

I wanted to tell you girl, I got yer scarlet letter, yeah
I’ve had worse to me Said by better
I wanted to tell you girl, I got yer purloined letter, yeah
And in this great big world
I’ve had worse to me said by better
I wanted to tell you girl, I got yer scarlet letter yeah
I’ve had worse to me
Said by better

This was the story, yeah, how we got right here today
And it’s now time for the ending, all about what
You wouldn’t say
It’s all the same to you, that what you claim just ain’t the truth, it ain’t the truth

I wanted to tell you girl, I got yer poison letter yeah
And in this great big world
I’ve had worse to me said by better
I wanted to tell you girl, I got yer scarlet letters yeah
I’ve had worse to me
Said by better

Drums: RH
Basses: HnrFL-Brick-dbx160XT_VC3Q
Vox & Claps: SM7b-VC1Q
Gtrs: G&Lf100E-T2-MC(pad)
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; blog.
I mix with olive juice.


I received a very nice email from a very bright guy whose questions caused me to have to attempt some personal insight. It went like this:
Hey Fedrico:

I’ll try and answer your questions.

I.  First off, I want to ask why in the music mecca of Chicago isn’t there a bunch of friends that you’re performing with as much as you write?
**I played in bands through the 80’s to mid-90’s, then got married and had kids, converted to home-recording. Of my old band-mates, I lost touch with some, some died, most got out of music. I’m now actually about 12 miles out from downtown, in the South Suburbs.

– Is it just our generation that only learned to compete and not collaborate?  I wonder why you don’t have any other players with you, with all of this sound production going on.
**I had a pretty good three years with a drummer in The Friday Project; check out:*the fridayproject. bandcamp*. We did a lot of recording, had a few other players in and out, then my partner  decided he wanted to do covers, and I didn’t.  I’ve been in three bands since, one as bassist for another guy’s originals; it was OK but I got bored after recording two albums with/for them, *bustouts.bandcamp*. Another band was a a cover band – I got bored again,. The last morphed to a cover band, so I left.

-Is everyone too busy?   Is that what it means to make music now, “It’s Every Man for Himself?”
**Yeah, maybe. In my case, I’m 55 with a job and  kids, so, as you know, time is very valuable. Other musos  I meet tend to be approximately the same age, and they have similar obligations, with most, frankly, less willing/able to sacrifice.

(PS. I know what’s happened in the post crash economy – its going through the floor – but most musicians don’t ever reference that fact. – So its “Everyone’s struggling?” …)
**I think it’s not so much about money specifically, more about time.  And, a lot of older muso’s have forgotten *how* to commit to a band, if they ever knew – I meet a lot of dilettantes and posers.

(Because) II. The reason I ask the above question is not only to state my availability and desire but also to notice that to make good performances and records requires a lot of love & care & concerted effort : i.e.”friendship” and/or productive relationships with others… hours of practice… an openness to new ideas… a desire to at least interact with the audience (social function of music)… a desire to meet women…
**The latter reason is the best reason! Yeah, and all of those things take time, focus, patience, an ability to appreciate that musical results take practice and actual effort …

– Have drugs and drinking destroyed everything but a workmanlike relationship to music?
** Not for me. ;-D  Those were issues I encountered when I was working with 20 and 30 year olds – I haven’t seen them as issues with over-40’s, except maybe pro’s.

(Because, finally) III.  I have responsibilities and limited resources and its only fair to try to have some understandings & agreements before investing one’s life force, money, gas, wear & tear on the car, time spent, etc…  I’m not really looking for guarantees…  just a sense that its easy enough to shoot one’s self in the foot &  lose a lot of time and money, not to mention facing serious opposition from others.
**Respectfully, you’d be absolutely nuts, at this point, to travel from MI to IL.  I do my stuff in a small house; I have no rehearsal space, no sleep-over space. My studio is my bedroom. Also, I am not an easy guy to get along with, Type “A” and all of that, so no guarantees. I do do a fair amount of collaboration over the internet, and that would probably be the best way to start, (requiring a basic DAW and interface, and the ability to upload and download).

– So, in a way, this is as much an offer for friendship as for a spot in your band… (David Thomas says he has enough friends and wants people who can sell his records, ok, whatever)…  if that sounds fucking hippy well I’ve been thru punk rock too and whatever your day job is, you still need friends to make music…
**Absolutely! Friendship is essential, unless you are brothers like in Oasis, Kinks, Black Crows … There the blood covers it.  Sometimes. (Pere Ubu’s Dave Thomas?)

actually most of my friends in Chicago are old punks and anarchists…
(Influences:  Mekons, Wacos, Big Black, Shellac, Swans, Vudi, Einsturzende Neubauten, Art Music, etc)…
**Yeah, my bands were on the funk, grunge and the side of things. Pumpkins, Phair, 11th Dream Day, Urge Overkill, etc., hung in the same bars, played the same clubs …

– Right now, at least until the spring, I only have weekends except for the occasional weeknight gig (that is unless there can be a more radical arrangement – Songs from the Big Pink style,…  the disconnect I sense could be stated: “I don’t need anyone (Off), I need people” (Red with Grankspoine). (Which is a fuggin’ good song).  Is there a nihilist there mixed with a social democrat or anarcho-socialist?  (“…Off the muthafucker/I see red…”
**To quote my old friends in The New Duncan Imperials, “I’m schizophrenic. No, I’m not.” I’m also a big reader, and songs are often influenced by what I’ve read – I love noir, sci-fi, procedurals, mysteries …

– Ensemble-wise I think it would be best to find a young drummer…  I can play guitar, bass and a few other things… I have good rigs… I sing and write some as well… I can dance… right now there is plenty of material, the only question I ask is “Why do you want to do this?”
**For me, currently, live interaction is jamming, hanging, strictly casual.  There are no original music venues in the South Suburbs where I live; the closest are in the city, and the demographic there is 20’s to 30’s.  My thought was to find some local guys to get loud with, record with, etc. Doing shows would be mostly impractical for the above reasons. I lost touch with all my booking contacts years ago.

– I’m trying to find a way out of my super-difficult circumstances.  I don’t know how I will do it.  I work two jobs and cook for my folks during the week. I won’t send them to a nursing home. I don’t know any way out except to commute to Chicago weekends, which I’ve done in other years (see resume).  I live far a-fucking way.  I’m an artist and writer as well.  I have a 26-year-old daughter that still needs some support.  I love songwriting, recording and performing.
**We have much in common – I have two teens living at home, I am sole custodian (well, the daughter is now 18). I take a train into the city daily to work in a high-pressure, white-collar job. I have an elderly mother who, at this point is in good health, but at 75 … I pay my bills, drive an old pick-up, skip vacations, buy microphones, food, guitars, booze, and stuff for my kids. I have a tax lien and crappy health insurance, I’m fat and bald and pretty happy being single; although I’m considering looking for a girlfriend, I’m not too ambitious about it, yet, and mebbe never again – I hate the hassles and love the freedom.

– In short, please write me back and tell me what it is you’re doing and why.
**Hmm. Music is what I do. I mean, I can’t be cosmic about it. I also cook and drink and I read tons, work, raise kids. But first, music is what I do. I recall being mebbe 28 when a bandmate told me, “You are a musician.” Fuck, that was huge – I’ve not looked back. As of now, I’m pretty happy writing and recording; I have decent gear (far too much of it), a small house to write and record and mix in, a few guys I pass files back and forth to on the ‘net. I post my music on free sites, free to post and free to download. It’s not a money thing for me and it’s not a job, and since I’m actually doing it, it’s not a goal. Every now and then I notice somebody’s listening, but I usually just post a link to my stuff at a couple forums and on my blog and facebook, and that’s it.  I might get feedback on one of every 3 songs or so, and that’s OK, because feedback or not, I’m gonna keep doing it. And while live performance is a rush – loved it – it’s been a couple years now since I did a show, and the rest of it is satisfying, even if I do place CraigsList ads.

– I have facial hair and wear a hat.

– please don’t bother writing a crappy letter, I know you’re eloquent.
**As are you.

mike vlayman

Vlayman & Grankspoine: “The Way”

The Way
c. ’15 Vlayman, derranged by Grankspoine

I know you feel you wanna keep every thing hidden
Ain’t never gonna put nothin’ on display
It ain’t that you ever get to feelin’ guilt-ridden, no
That ain’t yer way 2x

And I know you cain’t never really be happy
Ain’t never gonna show you ever even feel OK
You never wanna seem close to what you really be, no
That ain’t yer way 2x

I expect you’ll reject any move I make toward you
Ain’t never gonna acknowledge it’s even close to OK
You never want no one to think they can afford you, no
That ain’t yer way 2x

I don’t know if I can show I ain’t mean you no harm
And I wouldn’t put you at risk for just a lay
There ain’t no reason for you to feel alarm, no
That ain’t my way 2x

I know I seem like the kind that always keeps things hidden
I ain’t the kinda guy puts it on display
It ain’t that I ever feel any kind of guilt-ridden, no
That ain’t my way 2x

I don’t know if we can go somewhere you’ll feel alright
I don’t know, mebbe somewhere we can keep it bright as day
There ain’t no reason we can’t do something in the light, no
Do it that way, it’s OK 2x
Do it that way, it’s OK, Pull down the shades

Drums: nettage
Bass: Alvz-Brick-1176_VC3Q
Vox: Luna-Eureka
Gtrs, horns, keys: Grankspoine
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; blog.
I mix with olive juice.

Aiight, so to ‘splain the *Stems …* album

I said:

Aiight, not only izzat a Clash reference, it’s the drum stems from “Casbah”, see.

Do go back and listen to “Riot”. I think it’s the best choon; it’s the drum tracks from a Sonic Youth ditty, “Teenage Riot” and thus requires the noise intro …

All songs, BTW, are using drum stems from hits, ex., “Love Roller Coaster”, “Yoshimi & the Pink Robot”, “The Hardest Button to Button”, “Shiva”, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, “Ramble On” …

As I wrote on the page, the original titles inspired the lyrics and song names.

The drums are mostly from the video game, Guitar Hero and were .ogg files so the percussion tracks are not the best fidelity of sound.

The weekender album, Vlayman’s, *Stems for Seeds*

Downloaded drum stems, and me.

1. Grenade 03:33
2. Robot 04:20
3. Gamble On 04:53
4. Riot (Auto Pilot) 06:40
5. Rockin’ the Shockin’ 03:50
6. Round the World 04:14
7. Sieve 03:26
8. The Button 03:45
9. Love Is a Roller 04:38
10. Pink 04:01

_”Stems for Seeds”” came together when I found a bunch of drums stems on the ‘net, many from video games, mebbe all. I decided I wanted to use the stems as seeds for new songs, almost in demo form, for a band that will probably never form, but I wanted to take seriously.
_I gave myself a weekend to write and record ten songs as they were only to be demos, because I value spontaneity, and also just to be weird.
_I used the drums exactly as downloaded, with no edits, altho’ I did do some EQ, limiting, gates, pans and rides. Otherwise, they are as found. Hear a little bit of “clank” on the percussion of “Gamble On”? That’s what the gates couldn’t catch of ol’ Pagey. There’s other such artifacts elsewhere – hopefully they are not too distracting.
_In keeping with the demo concept, I decided immediately to use one guitar, on bass with pre-amp and compressor, one guitar amp, my pedal board, two mic’s on the amp with the same pre’s each track, a single vocal mic and pre and compressor chain.
_Geek alert: the guitar was a MIJ Super Strat, chosen because it was already in a stand in my bedio. The bass was a Hohner 2BA2, chosen because I like it’s sound, and I have to fight it some, and because I like the headless design in my tight recording space. All guitar tracks were played through a Hot Rod Deluxe, mic’d with a Sennheiser MD421II into a Focusrite ISA1 as center channel, and an MXL880 (looks like a Royer) ribbon into a Yamaha PM1000 (racked by Digitaldrummer). All guitar tracks but a couple of leads are in Mid/Side, generally with the amp’s reverb, altho “Riot” has a plethora of pedals from the board, many songs use the Toadworks Meat boost, and there’s a cuppla leads with the Meat, Jr. and a Soul Vibe. The bass is DI’d into a The Brick and a dbx160XT compressor, with the DI split out parallel to a Meek VC3Q for extra bottom. The vocals are all an MXL Genesis tube mic into a Universal Audio 110 Solo, into a Gyraf 1176 clone.
_I started at noon on Saturday and did rough mixes of the drums first, where I had more than a two-mix. Some of the drums tracks came with isolated cymbals, or kick, or snare, but all had tons of bleed; I felt lucky when it was only percussion bleed, although cymbal levels were frequently an issue.
_Next, I wrote the basic outlines of the songs. Five were done with the bass, first; the other five were with the guitar. After those song progression skeletons were completed, I added more guitars, and finished the other bass tracks. I tried to envision the forthcoming vocals, even placing small lead fills (note there is really only “lead guitar” on a couple tunes, two done in mono after the vocals). I then consolidate the tracks, pass-filtered and limited and cleaned ’em up, with some minimal editing of the guitars (only on “Grenade”) an no bass edits.
_Next came the vocals, what required lyrics before I could sing. The lyrics were based on the title of each song’s original drum tracks, for the really geeky among us. I approached each song separately for this, doing leads and then backing vocals song by song and committing to them before I went to the next.
_95% of the vocals are first take (I redid a set of choruses on one song to get more melody, and I changed 3 words on another) and the same holds true for the bass, and closer to 98% for the guitars.
_I made and had regularly scheduled meals, two pots of coffee, a 1/2 bottle of wine, and 5 martoonies while creating this. I took my kid back and forth to work, and I watched part of a football game, and I slept about six hours.
_I started final mixing (I do mix as I go along – love ITB!) at about 3:30 Sunday afternoon, and I was done by 8:15.
_There ya’s have it, then, the demo seeds from the downloaded stems, songs for a band that will probably never exist.
released December 21, 2015

Downloaded drum stems, and me.

bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; blog.
I mix with olive juice.

Vlayman: “The Moon (I Am the)”

The Moon (I Am the)
c. ’15 Vlayman

Oh, but you thought you could do what you wanted
Thought you could play your own tune

You didn’t realize I see everything
You didn’t realize I am the moon

Hey, what was the problem with my lovin’
Did you think I came too late or mebbe left too soon?

You didn’t realize I see everything
You didn’t realize I am the moon

Mmmhmm, I know you mebbe felt sorry for me
Mmmhmm, I guess you thought you knew my wound

You didn’t realize I see everything
You didn’t realize I am the moon

Baby, why didn’t you just say it?
Why weren’t you honest, why not tell the truth?

You didn’t realize I see everything
You didn’t realize I am the moon

Percussion: nettage
Gtrs: Martin-Genesis-Eureka
Vox: Genesis-Eureka
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; blog.
I mix with olive juice.