The Last 12 Months

The humidity is dropping, the leaves changing colour and football is back. September is upon us. Even though I’ve been out of school for years now, I still think of September as a new chapter of sorts, and a fitting time to look at the last twelve months while  simultaneously look ahead at the next twelve months.

Here's me a few days after the surgery when I was able to walk a little bit

Here I am about a week after the surgery when I was about to have the tube taken out and finally get to go home. 

Exactly one year ago today, I was in the hospital with my second pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and awaiting surgery. I had to be put to sleep for the first time and that was a little scary. Although once the IV was in, I was a happy groggy camper. Using video cameras in me, the surgeon basically stitched and stapled my right lung shut with titanium. I have three scars now from that day. One for the video camera they interred into me; one for the instruments; one for the chest tube I’d become quite familiar with in 2012 and would spend another week with after this surgery.

September 21, 2014 was quite probably my weakest point. And it’s quite uplifting to have moved on from that experience and be where I am now. I’m writing a lot of music, I’m learning lots about music and music theory, I’m collaborating with a lot of great musicians and about to start online classes at Berklee to learn even more about writing and producing. When I look back twelve months and look at all the little baby steps I’ve taken since then as an artist in that time, I’m elated. I’ve released my long-awaited debut EP, PGEP; completed two different collaborations with my friend Karver; worked really hard on a TWRP remix; but honestly more importantly, as I discussed a few weeks ago, I’ve truly developed a love for writing.

I can’t wait to see where I am in another twelve months. I know I’ll at least have another EP out and will have played a few live shows. I’ve plenty more exciting plans than that but you’ll have to be patient and see.

thanks as always,

Ryan

Mid-September Update

Hi friends,

How are you? Good? Good. I feel like we haven’t talked in a while, even though we did less than two weeks ago. Let me update you with the current affairs in GeckoLand.

Tupper Ware Remix Party picked the winner for their remix contest for The Hit (featuring Ninja Sex Party). It was a Polish gentleman by the name of Phortify, and it’s dope as heck. A previous me would’ve been jealous and sad but the current me is rockin’ out so hard to this. When they announced that Phority won I was actually so happy. I went to work with a spring in my step. I just truly enjoyed the process and am so thankful they released their stems for me and many others to play around with. TWRP just released their new EP, Believe In Your Dreams. I just purchased from BandCamp and can’t wait to listen to it.

Download my version of their remix here: [purchase_link id=”416″ style=”button” color=”green” text=”Download The Hit Remix!”]

I’ve been practising a lot with the talk box lately and damn, it’s hard. I can get all the vowels down alright but sounds like B, H, P and V are actually so tricky. In due time… I’ve met with Poly Gecko’s live drummer now a few times and now the live keys / guitar player once. We’re going through PGEP and another unreleased song and deciding what parts we should each do and which parts Ableton can do. Obviously the more we can do live, the better – but we can’t do everything live.

I’m also really exciting to be going back to school in September. I’m going to Berklee School of Music. But no, not in Boston… I’M GOING TO THE INTERWEBS. I’m going to be taking Producing & Composing Electronic Music online for 12 weeks starting next Monday. Having gone to school for Recording Arts, some of this may not be new knowledge but there sure will be plenty of songwriting tools I will pick up. I’m really excited to learn more about this genre and put things I’m learning into action in current songs and upcoming ones.

Finally, the mid-month tradition of the music I’m listening to! Emiliana Torrini has been in heavy rotation lately with her album, Tookah. I’m truly a sucker for female vocals and she is no exception. My drummer Andrew has got me really deep into London Grammar and their album If You Wait. This is some very ethereal stuff that lets loose from time to time and oh man it feels good. Check out their live performance from Montreal to see what they’re all about. And finally, Wolfgang Gartner. I always meant to check out Wolfgang Gartner ever since he collaborated with Deadmau5 on Animal Rights and then again on Channel 42 and I’m DEVASTATED I put it off for so long. His 2012 album Back Story is absolutely so money. Almost every tune from the album is unreal. I can totally see why him and Deadmau5 got together – they have a lot of the same sort of ear candy and I love it deeply.

 

Stay dope,

Ryan

Process Vs. Product

It was pretty early into my teen years when I knew I wanted to be a musician. I was playing bass guitar in a band and playing mostly covers but we’d write the occasional original tune. At that point, being a musician in the loosest definition, I just wanted songs. I didn’t want to actually write them. I just wanted to have them, and to brag and to play them for people and be famous. I was in search of a magic button that just created fun songs that I could attach my name to. Of course, that’s not how music works.  Even when I started writing electronic music I still struggled with this. I wanted to obtain songs with my name on them but not bust my ass to create them. Looking back, that’s a pretty selfish way to look at music, and writing music.

Now into a few years of writing electronic music, I’m starting to really appreciate the process. And it’s not just the songwriting process I’m enjoying, it’s choosing the title, choosing artwork, collaborating with other people and learning from them. Even when a song is in it’s infancy, a title really matters to me. I’m not the kind of guy who can name a song “untitled_1“. Even little voice recordings on my phone have titles. Since I first thought of Poly Gecko as making mainly instrumental music, titles really would be the only word used to represent a song, so I instantly gave them more value.

Artwork is a fun process, too. Lately I’ve been really into visual art and photos. *cue hipster music (on vinyl)* I’m starting to really put stock into a good cover and visuals for a song / EP / album, etc. This part of the process however is a task that I can not perform. I’m lucky to have a few good friends who are talented with a camera and Photoshop to make things I envision come to life. My friend, and collaborator Karver Hitchcock have just finished a song, State of the Obvious and it’s now my duty to find or create artwork for it. Wish me luck.

But, okay, back to the actual songwriting. As you might know, I just finished my submission for a remix contest hosted and judged by Tupper Ware Remix Party, one of my favourite groups – certainly my favourite to come from Halifax (not to mention the FUTURE). Upon finishing the remix, multiple people were telling me “oh, you have to win”, “this is amazing! Nobody can beat this!” While I truly, truly appreciate those words and am so flattered by them, that’s not exactly how I’m looking at this. TWRP released the stems to their song, I experimented, learned a lot, worked on a deadline, and completed a remix that I’m really happy with. You could say regardless of the winner, I’ve already won. It sounds cheesy but that’s honestly how I feel. And besides, if there’s another cooler remix to The Hit, I really wanna hear it. Of course I would be honoured if I was selected as the winning remix but because the process was so enjoyable, I feel like I’ve already met every level of fulfillment.

The more I write music, the more I’m really developing a love for the process instead of just the end product. It didn’t happen overnight, but now I’m really beginning to feel it. It’s still so important to have an amazing end product because that’s what ears will consume but the real magic and fulfillment comes from the creation – because that is the art.

Have a good week,

Ryan