Monday, September 26, 2011

The dialogue (and lack thereof) of "Post-Everything"

Post-Everything by Autohypnosis

One of the most experimental songs I've ever recorded is "Post-Everything," the closing track on Conversation (in) Pieces. It also turned out to be one of my favorites.

Of particular note is the first two and a half minutes of the song, which features a collage of voices speaking over a swelling wall of sound.

I had the album just about wrapped up in terms of recording and editing, but the last remaining puzzle piece was the "Post-Everything" intro. I had recorded several other ideas for it, but none of what I'd come up with felt satisfying.

Then it hit me what the song -- and the album -- needed: other people's voices. When the idea came, it seemed so obvious, especially considering the tone, theme and lyrics of the rest of the album.

So I solicited help from friends and fans who had the ability to record their voices on their computers. A handful of folks signed up, and I sent them each a few lines to read, encouraging them to record each line several times and read them slightly differently each time. I'll be forever grateful to those awesome people who contributed.

It was a detailed and time-consuming but very fun process to edit them all together, and I'm still blown away by the great readings I got. I think the cumulative effect of all those voices coupled with the background sounds is pretty powerful, and I'd be curious to hear what others think.


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Listen to every Autohypnosis song and get a free mp3:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Some song and performance history

Autohypnosis performing live in Greensboro, N.C., in 2005.

A bit of Autohypnosis trivia: Some of the songs on Conversation (in) Pieces date back as far as 2003. In fact, more than half of the album was written at the time The Surface was released in March 2006.

A few examples:
  • I wrote the oldest of the songs, "The Blame," in the spring or summer of 2003. At the time, I was the singer in a rock band called The Big Secret, and we played "The Blame" at a few gigs that summer.
  • "Recurring Dream" was also written in 2003. That fall, my friend Jason and I traveled from North Carolina to Louisiana to catch a Radiohead concert. The day of the show, I played a stripped-down version of that song for Jason on the piano at my parents' house, which was the first time anyone heard it.
  • "Thanks a Million," "Sleeper Down" and "Fake It" were all written in 2004, when I was working toward finding a sound that lived somewhere between electronic and rock music.
  • I wrote both "Electricity" (from The Surface) and "In the Loop" during the summer of 2005. I briefly considered including "In the Loop" on The Surface but ultimately decided it was better suited for a different project (which, of course, turned out to be Conversation (in) Pieces).

In 2005 and 2006, I did solo Autohypnosis live performances in North Carolina. In addition to songs from The Surface, I played "In the Loop," "Sleeper Down," "Fake It" and "Razor-Sharp and Paper-Thin" at various times. I kept a meticulous log of my live set lists, which you can read here.

It's been five years (where did the time go?) since I've performed live. Will there be more Autohypnosis shows? I honestly don't know. One of the hardest decisions I have to make is whether to devote most of my all-too-scant free time to working on new recordings or preparing a live set and trying to book gigs.


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Listen to every Autohypnosis song and get a free mp3:

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

PAST /// PRESENT /// FUTURE ::: years and music

Conversation (in) Pieces took five years to complete, which is a ridiculously long time. But there are a couple main reasons why it was such a lengthy process.

First, during that five-year period, I moved halfway across the country twice -- first from Greensboro, North Carolina (where I wrote 95 percent of the album) to my hometown of Thibodaux, Louisiana (where I recorded the bulk of the album); then from Thibodaux to Los Angeles (where I wrapped up the recording, went through the grueling process of editing all the tracks, and got the album mixed). Moving and settling into a new city is always time-consuming, but it can also be inspiring creatively, and that was the case with both of my moves.

Second, during the time I spent recording and editing Conversation, I was also working on lots of other music (which I continue to refine) that I plan to gradually put out over the next few years. So while I was not happy about having a five-year gap between the first two Autohypnosis releases, I'm planning on making up for that by releasing new material more often.


Listen to every Autohypnosis song and get a free mp3: