The evolution of this band is one of chasing down problems, resolving them, then refining the process. Our live show and our recording sessions have been completely melded almost from the beginning. Our visual show has been ever present. So allow us to walk you thru all of the many changes we’ve made along the way.
Originally, Damon ran his hacked together strat into his pedal board thru a Roland Jazz Chorus 120 while Eddie used his collection of synth toys and such (collectively known as Soundlab) thru a Yamaha mixer into whatever house system was available. This also included a MOTU 828 A/D convertor for recording. Having to rely on others to provide sound caught us in some fairly compromising positions.
After a particularly irritating situation in our hometown of Ypsilanti, we settled on buying a set of Mackie Thump 15a powered speakers and a Behringer X-Air 18 mixer. This setup gave us the ability to control the audio ourselves and record everything to isolated tracks rather than three stereo tracks. Now the only thing a venue needs to supply us is clean power.
Around this same time Damon started delving into building is own effects and decided being on the floor sucked as much as playing thru an amp. By the time they added a second X-Air 18, much of their effects were home built. It’s at this time Damon began building drone synths to further augment his sonic palette.
Currently, Eddie and Damon are on separate X-Air 18 mixers running into the Mackie’s. From there, depending on the size of the venue, they can run from those alone or piggy back into the house system from the Mackie’s to exploit the house’s subs. Damon has moved on to designing Eurorack style synths and effects to go into their own uniquely built road cases. To say the load has been lightened further would be an understatement, as this has saved a lot of space and little metal boxes. More on this later.
The visual show began simply as a projector running a video our friend Eric Brown put together for us. Eventually after a few shows, though we decided to use VLC and run a playlist of 30-60 second clips from a multitude of sources: Electric Sheep, Archive.org, and various other free sites. This allowed us to have more of a freeform vibe with our visuals. The visuals are now completely randomized and scripted to play a single clip only once per show. By our fourth show we also began dressing ourselves so as to become the screen for the projections.
Since then the projections have been refined as some videos get cycled out and new ones are either found or made from scratch. Recently we’ve added some videos of our own creation. Using a GoPro or borrowed USB microscope camera (thank you Claire Broderick) and various editing techniques Eddie has created new abstract videos that fit nicely with the other videos we’ve found. Damon has even created a few opening videos that hit the beats of our Intro Monologue.
During the pandemic we took a very hard look at our live set up. Over time we’ve managed to refine things to a point where it was less cumbersome to transport and set up. Making things modular using a single connection to each part of our set up feeding back to the X-Airs had helped, but creating new, lighter road cases was going to be necessary if we were to book gigs again some day. As you can see from the pictures below just how messy things still were. Also note that this was before Damon began designing his “eurorack” modules.
Building new road cases took a fair bit of design. Fortunately, Eddie’s brother-from-another-mother, Randy Williams, was close at hand with his engineering degree. As you can see above, Randy’s input was instrumental, from sourcing the parts to solving little issues we’d never conceived of during construction, as we were in the process of figuring out what exactly we needed out of new road cases.
We chose to use a lot of aluminum extrusions along with thinner pine than the originals to lighten the load without losing strength. Since we evolved into becoming the screen we had to make our road cases white to reflect the projector as well.
The last touch, which was not planned until Eddie’s road cases were taking shape, was to stencil our logo on to the top of his road cases in glow-in-the-dark paint. We’d planned to keep them lit on either side of the stage, then turn off the lights at the end, but they ended up being just the right size to replace the crappy curtain we’d been using.