Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Michael Plaster and I discuss the Black Tape For A Blue Girl "Bike Shop" Kickstarter and cats (of course!)
(listen to the music while you read the interview:)
Sam: How does it feel, singing on new songs after being out of the public eye for a while?
Michael: Actually it was a really good experience. I have had the songs for my own upcoming album churning around in my head for over a decade, so to be able to work on someone else’s songs was pretty neat.
Michael: So tell me about the subject of the songs on the “Bike Shop” EP. Are they all based around one person?
Sam: No, actually they are about the last three relationships, merged into one person for the sake of the story. Reflecting on the feelings after a break up, going back to old memories, remembering little sweet things that happened, and then feeling sad that they’re not going to happen anymore. The funny thing is that I don’t even own a bike, but I was seeing somebody who repairs at a bike shop, and I liked having a physical location in the song, a place I’d want to go back to as an excuse to talk with her again. When I was writing “Vega,” I wanted to come up with a name for this romantic partner, and it needed to start with “V” to make the little joke in the lyrics work. I was running through all sorts of names that started with ‘V’ – and I came upon Vega and I thought...
Read the full interview at the Projekt website
Monday, October 5, 2015
Support the "Bike Shop" limited edition 12” vinyl EP (featuring Michael Plaster of SoulWhirlingSomewhere). Free download for all!
The first week of the Kickstarter got us over 50% of the way to the goal. Fantastic! Thank you so much, everyone. You're backing a 12" release on yellow and black vinyl, with four new songs. I need your help to make it happen. Your support goes to the cost of mastering, pressing, and paying Michael for his amazing vocal involvement!
I have to say that this is something about the new record business that I really enjoy: I can write & record songs in September. And make them available for you to hear in September! In the old days, there was such a long delay between the creative spark and when the CD finally came out. Now I can put the songs up on Bandcamp for you to hear immediately, while they still feel amazingly fresh to me... and then in early 2016 you can get the vinyl. That's very cool, if you ask me!
I'm also excited about recording with a first generation Projekt artist, Michael Plaster. We've been friends for 20 years, we've worked together on all his Projekt releases. It's been forever since he's had new music for all of you. Please Sennd Help came out in 2001, it was PRO121. This EP comes out 200 releases later, PRO321!
Ok, so let me tell you a little bit about the recording.
I’ve been working on the new Black Tape For A Blue Girl album (these fleeting moments) and I'm about two-thirds through writing it. Last Christmas I recorded guitar parts for a new song; about a month ago I wrote the lyrics and that became “bike shop/absolute zero." I was reflecting back on my last few relationships: thinking about the good parts but also kind of wondering how they fell apart, and how it took so long to recognize they were over.
I've always loved Michael Plaster's voice and emotional delivery. As I was writing "bike shop," I kept thinking, "Damn, this would be a great song for Michael to sing." It has a similar quality to his lyrics: looking back on a past relationship with some joy and a bunch of sadness. I waited until I recorded my guide vocals, and then presented it to him ready to go. "Here, this is happening! Would you like to be the singer?" Michael said, "Yes," which was very exciting to me!
I had the idea of doing it as a vinyl single and we talked about what might go on the B-side. Maybe a new version of an old Blacktape track? But knowing Michael was the vocalist inspired me to write three more songs really fast — like in a week! These songs sprung from little bittersweet memories.
For the most part, things didn't happen exactly the way it goes in these songs. Yes, there's a real bike shop and a real cabin. And I did get dumped on the phone (ouch!). But there's nobody named "Vega," and there's no real canoe, and I wasn't getting relationship advice from Dennis Hopper! : ) Yet the songs capture intimate and personal stories about relationships and love.
The three additional tracks give you the back story on "bike shop." Think of it as diving deeper and hearing more about a character you will meet in a song on the upcoming album.
While I was in Brooklyn a few weeks ago. I recorded drums for two of the tracks with Brian Viglione (of Violent Femmes and The Dresden Dolls). I love how quickly the "Bike Shop" vinyl EP has gone from idea to something you can listen to!
I'd like you to hear my new music, that's why I've put it up so you can download the ep for free at Bandcamp! I hope you'll like the tracks and go to the Kickstarter page to chip in three dollars. Or even more, 'cause there are some sweet premiums that you can pledge for.
Whatever you give, you're supporting art -- and that's super-cool of you!
Friday, June 19, 2015
I've begun shipping MONOLITH to the Kickstarter backers. Thanks to those of you who pledged for the physical edition. If you haven't grabbed your free download, it's still available, now at $1:
The next Livestream will be Sunday the 28th at Noon, Pacific Time. Send me your questions, and I'll answer them on the stream. Message me or post as a reply.
There's a 9 minute video at youTube, an excerpt where I answer some questions from the previous Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKalWJJMxTs
I've started 4 new songs in the last couple weeks, and i've been thinking about what the lyrics should be.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Hi there. An update from Black Tape For A Blue Girl:
As you might know, I have a Patreon page for my music. Patreon is a crowdfunding site where you can pledge monthly support. To date, 96 patrons are donating $683 to assist my creations.
In emails back and forth with patrons, I often see comments like, "Just wanted to say I'm here mostly to support you and the music you make, rather than the goodies, but they're definitely a plus." Or "I honestly support just because I want to, as a thank you for the music that I have loved for years, and as an investment in future music from you."
It is so cool that you like what I do and want to be there for me. Thanks.
There is stuff you get in exchange for your support. At the $5 level, you get two free download albums from the band's catalog. At $10, you also get a hand-written lyric. And all patrons have exclusive access to my music as I'm creating it.
This month, I've uploaded a 15 track collection of out-takes from the last year in the studio. It's doubtful any of it will make it to the new album, but perhaps you'll find a hidden gem that you love! (The 2nd half of this message is more information on the download).
If you'd like to hear this music, join my Patreon. Everyone who joins this week will get the June 2015 package, even though you haven't been charged anything. Patreon charges your credit card once a month around the first.
I'll also throw in the May package with the first draft of the new album in progress
The Kickstarter for MONOLITH (the electronic space-music album from my solo-project As Lonely As Dave Bowman) was a success; it reached 150% of the goal. It is now in production at the 3 different plants involved. The plan is to be complete in time or earlier than the July release date. There will be some additional copies available from the Projekt webstore.
The Blacktape Bandcamp page has all our albums and my side projects available. Some as low as free, few as expensive as iTunes. Give it a listen, you can stream most tracks. Or purchase something.
I've mentioned that 2015 is the year I get back to making music; I'm really active with that and I appreciate that you help make it happen.
PS: I shot the photo on the cover of the June package this weekend. Check out more from the set here on my photo website. These are glamour / portrait shots - nothing naked on this page. But be warned that some of the links on the page goes to NOT SAFE FOR WORK images. Be careful with the clicky-click at work or if your partner doesn't care for that kind of thing.
Information on the download:
June 2015 - Album Deitrus
I was asking myself, "What is the most embarrassing thing for me as a songwriter and artist?" I think the answer is, "my failures." Which is to say, all the little bits of Black tape for a blue girl music I try to create, don't like and discard.
Honestly, the really really bad stuff never even gets recorded. I'll play around with an idea for 30 minutes and then go, "Nope, that's awful!" and move on to something else.
Last weekend I saw Paul Barker (ex-Ministry) record a live podcast interview (at a theatre here in Portland, following a movie about the early UK industrial music scene.) Paul said something I've also expressed: when you're working on music, you get really focused on what you need the piece to achieve; if it's not up to that high level, you toss it. But sometimes you come back years later and realize it wasn't as bad as you thought it was.
I would add that artists get overly obsessive-compulsive during this process, a bit manic or depressive (based on their personality), and we lose sight of the trees for the forest. Making art is a lot like falling in love: it’s irrational. You don’t see reality, you begin to see what you want to – and need to – see. Perhaps when there are bandmates with equal creative control, you have others to balance the obsession? Working on your own, it’s just your own irrationality & obsession to base these decisions on.
Of course, this also explains bands that break-up over "creative differences." If four or five people all start getting obsessed on different aspects of a song, it's no wonder songwriting teams almost always explode. How long would you put up with Lou Reed, if you were John Cale? : )
Ok. Did I get off topic. I think I got off topic.... rewind...
I have 15 failures for you this month. Well, ok, I'm being melodramatic, maybe they aren’t that bad… but they are all bits of deitritus from the last year in the studio. Most of this music is listenable at least once. Some of it is repetitive because it's backing instrumental tracks that would have had more added as time went on.
And who knows? You might absolutely love one of the pieces and find your own buried treasure within these 30 minutes of remains, remnants, fragments and scraps.
I am sure Ashes fans will enjoy the first track. I was trying to see if I could figure out the sequence from "I wish you could smile." My notes from the 80s recording were rather cryptic. But I got it.
“2014_09 Icy Drone” could have been a track for the As Lonely As Dave Bowman Monuments (addendum) release. I forgot completely that I had recorded it; When I was compiling the bonus release, I kept thinking to myself, "Wasn't there another song I planned to include?" Ooops!
I can't say for sure that this stuff will never see the light of day, there's always a possibility that something will re-spark my imagination and make it's way onto the album. But my feeling is this all goes onto the rubbish heap of history.
Do you have a favorite?Post your comments and impressions on this Patreon post.
Monday, May 25, 2015
1. You worked with a plethora of artists over the years. What collaborations were/are the most interesting and important to You and why?
The most important collaboration is whichever is the recent one I am working on, because it's the most immediate and the most exciting. I moved to Portland, OR, a bit over a year ago; and I've started working on new Black Tape For A Blue Girl music. I plan to work again with the vocalists from the last album - Athan and Laurie. But I'm also excited about working with some local players I have met, to bring back the strings!
2. Can You tell me, in short the main ideas are behind Your music? Could You name Your favorite Your compositions / albums / collaborations? What about the new album? [Besides, could i ask a copy for a review with autographs?]
With my music, it's always been about creating the sounds I want to hear, that nobody else has created. So for me, it's about making interesting music that I enjoy. I imagine the new album will be more ethereal and darkAmbient; it will be different from the Dark Cabaret / Rock sound of the last couple of albums. I feel 10 Neurotics was really successful in that sound, and I'm never interested in making the same album twice. I want to explore emotional and more textural sides of what I do.
3. The sound is magic. You‘ve proved it. But, what ends, when there‘s no sound?
Well, it sounds like this question is about the meaning of life? What is there when there is no sound? I think there are the memories of sound, and the anticipation of the future sounds. But if we are no longer of this life, then will there be sounds when we return to being part of the energy of the universe? That is a good question, but I don't know if I have a very good answer to that.
4. What is and what is not a Sound Art?
For me personally, I am interested in melody. I am not so excited by noise or music that has nothing that my brain can latch on to. That said, something like Fripp & Eno is very melodic and catchy, so you can tell my opinion is not within the mainstream. Then again, I don't assume that my opinion is very important, or should have any influence on the what is / what is not art discussion.
5. What do You think about relations between the old art and computer art? Are they compatible?
Yes, they are compatible. Computers are a tool. And like any tool, it is a question of the quality of the person who uses the tool. I love recording with a computer, because it opens up so many more possibilities; I can do thing I could never do on my analog 1/2" 8-track. So for me, the computer is a great tool to help me better realize my art.
6. What do You think about thousands of neofolk/industrial/ambient/tribal/electroacoustic/avangarde etc. bands/projects? Is it a kind of trend, o just a tendency forwards better music?
Well, that must be a European-based question. I don't know about thousands of bands like that here in America. Is it a problem for you?
7. What do You know about Lithuania? How and when did You come to it? What Lithuanian and foreign musicians do You value most?
I am not very familiar with musicians from Lithuania. Of course I know Lithuania is one of the Baltic countries, and returned to independence after long-time Russian rule. I guess I would say that I worry for all the countries in your region. I worry if Russia has ideas about those free countries. I don't have a lot to go by, to make any educated comment on this topic.
8. Could You tell, please, some words about my initiative to print the first book about experimental music / Sound Art (i call it postmusic) of Lithuania (and, at least, Eastern Europe)?
This is an exciting idea. It is good that there are still people who want to communicate and educate through physical objects, such as books. There is more than the internet!
9,What inspires You most?
In the early days, my art was inspired by angst, and longing, and passion. I think I have less angst these days; my son gives me a lot of excitement and happiness. But there's definitely still longing and passion. I think people are generally very isolated, and rather sad. And that is something that I wish I could overcome. For people in general, and for myself in specific.
Thanks for the interview. Music can be streamed here: https://blacktapeforabluegirl.bandcamp.com/
and I'm doing this, to: https://www.patreon.com/samrosenthal
Friday, May 22, 2015
A gigantic planetary-sized thank you for your support! I appreciate your pledges that made MONOLITH a success.
Well, that was fun! We reached 145% of the goal. As with each previous Kickstarter, I learned many new things about how to run a Kickstarter! It was fun, though I'm also glad it's done, so I can go back to my life of NOT promoting a Kickstarter! : )
I loved being able to give you the music (546 downloads at Bandcamp) at the same time as the CD funded. You might ask what's the difference between giving the music away on Bandcamp versus it streaming for almost-free on Spotify (or free at a torrent). The difference is that we make a connection via Bandcamp and Kickstarter; it's just a cold anonymous play on Spotify. I like the connection. Going all the way back to "we return" on the rope, it's always been about connection.
Now the next phase begins, getting the pieces into production. The scheduled ship date is July, but I do expect it will be done before then. All pieces will ship at the same time.