Matthew Ebel http://matthewebel.com Piano. Geek. Rock. Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:47:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 High Orbit Arts The Pandashttp://matthewebel.com/2014/12/11/high-orbit-arts-the-pandas/ http://matthewebel.com/2014/12/11/high-orbit-arts-the-pandas/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 18:07:22 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8151 My new sci-fi adventure album now comes with brand-new artwork, photos from the recording studio and concerts, and original lyric workbook scans. Get your copy now at www.matthewebel.com/savethepandas before this planet runs out of trees!]]>

My new sci-fi adventure album now comes with brand-new artwork, photos from the recording studio and concerts, and original lyric workbook scans. Get your copy now at www.matthewebel.com/savethepandas before this planet runs out of trees!

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HOSTP Art: “Arrival” by Brock Grossmanhttp://matthewebel.com/2014/12/05/hostp-art-arrival-by-brock-grossman/ http://matthewebel.com/2014/12/05/hostp-art-arrival-by-brock-grossman/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 16:54:03 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8135 Having just arrived in the early 2000’s, Captain Ebel and his robot first officer, Prodo-1, have to scour the city of San Diego for the extinct species they came to find. However, they can’t very well land a starship in the middle of town, can they? This piece is one of the works that’ll be
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Pre-Order the adventure now!

Having just arrived in the early 2000’s, Captain Ebel and his robot first officer, Prodo-1, have to scour the city of San Diego for the extinct species they came to find. However, they can’t very well land a starship in the middle of town, can they?

This piece is one of the works that’ll be available in the official HOSTP Art Book, along with photos form the studio, lyric workbook scans, and more. As soon as I saw Brock’s cityscape illustrations, I knew I had to get one with The Birdmobile landing in the city.

High Orbit Saves The Pandas Get the album, shirts, the art book, and more at
www.matthewebel.com/savethepandas
before it’s too late!

Art by Brock Grossman

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You’re Not Good Enoughhttp://matthewebel.com/2014/11/13/youre-not-good-enough/ http://matthewebel.com/2014/11/13/youre-not-good-enough/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 16:49:13 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8067 “You’re not good enough.” I thought I’d shut that voice off years ago, back when podcasting was the shiny new thing that had to be explained to the parents. And yet I hear him now and again, whispering bitter nothings of discouragement at the most inopportune times. “You’re nothing special; there are a thousand musicians
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“You’re not good enough.”

I thought I’d shut that voice off years ago, back when podcasting was the shiny new thing that had to be explained to the parents. And yet I hear him now and again, whispering bitter nothings of discouragement at the most inopportune times.

“You’re nothing special; there are a thousand musicians better than you in this zip code alone.”

I try walking faster, blowing the steam off my double-tall-soy-chai-latté that I didn’t order but I’m drinking anyway. I’m not picky enough to send a drink back, but maybe it’s because I’m not worth the trouble of making a second drink. I know the barista screwed up, but she’s busy as hell and I’m… just me. The more distance I put between myself and the Starbucks, though, the closer the voice seems.

“You’ll never be successful as an artist, and you’ll never be happy with a day job.”

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. When the voice gets desperate, it becomes much more specific in its cruelty. I’ve learned to brush off the thoughts of “not good enough” and “nothing special”, so the voice has learned to fight dirty. Packed convention crowds in multi-camera high definition have desensitized me to not good enough. Emails from fans telling me how Goodbye Planet Earth changed their life have immunized me against nothing special.

But maybe the voice is right. I’m still scraping by month-to-month after all these years, and yet I’m pretty sure my core would rot behind a desk or latté counter. I can’t see him, but I know the voice is grinning as a sense of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and the rent is still due next week regardless” sinks in.

“You’re always going to be working alone, no one wants to represent you.”

This is usually the part where I start to cry. Yes, I’m a 35-year-old man with testicles and muscles and I cry. And I’m certainly not alone, but that doesn’t make the event any less pleasant. Right now I have to stifle it, though, since I’m out on the street. The voice always knows the secret fears that hide even from me. I can’t brush this one off, not yet, so I stuff it down between my acid-eaten stomach and my recovering liver.

I know someone out there with business sense and vision will see what I’m doing and want to be a part of the ride. I may have written off most of the Big Label Music Industry™, but just like independent artists there are independent support professionals whose ideals and imagination align with my own.

No matter what the voice tells me year after year.

“Nobody is listening to you.”

At this point I stop walking. I can’t speak for the whole of musiciandom, but I’d wager my aforementioned testicles that this is the number one fear at the heart of every artist. Playing to an empty theater, blogging to an unread feed, singing to only the sound of your own echo off the back wall.

The truth is that there are a lot of days where that exact thought paralyzes me. Despite what the other Good Book says, I panic. Urgent tweets and pleas for attention don’t receive immediate replies, validating the voice as it begins to laugh at me. Emails to industry contacts I used to know go unanswered. Like House of Leaves, even the echo isn’t there, just the voice as it repeats itself.

NOBODY is listening to you.”

I sip my double-tall-whatever-the-fuck-it-is latté and take a deep breath. The voice doesn’t know that I live in the future. I’ve got metrics, bitch. They may not be talking back right now, but people are listening. Whether it’s Pandora streams or Facebook Likes or new signups for my email list, I’ve got irrefutable evidence that more people are listening every day.

But logic never makes the voice go away. Nothing ever does.

I resume walking at a comfortable pace. The chai really isn’t that bad, though it’s sweeter than what I’d normally order. Whatever, it’s a new flavor to explore. Life is full of mistakes like the Slinky, Dave Matthews Band, and Penicillin. Trying to avoid mistakes only makes the voice louder. Avoiding mistakes is what the voice wants you to focus on, not creating something risky.

What I’ve learned after 35 years is that you can’t ever shut the voice off, but you can learn to rise above it. Like a daily workout, you only get better at it if it hurts a little. Sometimes it might feel like all you ever do is hurt, but some day you’ll lift that keyboard case a little easier and it’ll dawn on you: You’ve become stronger.

I turn my attention to the voice as I stroll through the city. I speak to it, as loud as necessary.

“You’re not good enough,” I tell the voice. “Nobody is listening to you.”

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Two Days at Mad Oakhttp://matthewebel.com/2014/10/31/two-days-at-mad-oak/ http://matthewebel.com/2014/10/31/two-days-at-mad-oak/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:11:31 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8055 So the last two days have been something amazing. My powers of articulation fail me, so I’ll just read the transcript of the little man upstairs in my head that’s been doing cartwheels for 48 hours. “HolyshitholyshitholyshitholyshitholyshitholyshitAWWYEEEAHholyshitholyshitholyshit…” Actually, it goes on like that for twelve pages. And that was just the first day. I’ll spare
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So the last two days have been something amazing. My powers of articulation fail me, so I’ll just read the transcript of the little man upstairs in my head that’s been doing cartwheels for 48 hours.

“HolyshitholyshitholyshitholyshitholyshitholyshitAWWYEEEAHholyshitholyshitholyshit…”

Actually, it goes on like that for twelve pages. And that was just the first day. I’ll spare you the rest, but there’s a few “FRESH POTTTTTTSSSSS!” in there as well.

The Recording Experience

Air Drums, Meet Real Drums

After deconstructing the demos, we started with the drums. Like I said in my Phase Two video, the drums are the bedrock upon which all good rock is founded. Watching Runtt work his ass off surrounded by that much hardware was an awesome sight to behold. I mean, I play live shows next to this guy, but he’s a force to be reckoned with when he knows the red light’s on.

We were fortunate enough to be joined by some of our higher-tier backers as well. I’m glad that Runtt and I have had plenty of experience performing in front of close audiences and even closer lenses, ’cause Mad Oak Studio is pretty tight quarters. Still, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves (and the beer, and the amazing coffee roasted by one of the studio’s co-owners).

The Space Pirate Crew at Mad Oak

My favorite moment was hearing Benny, the engineer AND a touring drummer, compliment the hell out of Runtt. He seemed pretty impressed, and this guy’s worked with Ben Folds, The Dresden Dolls, Aerosmith, Weird Al, and a parade of Boston-area hardcore rock bands.

Benny Grotto Listening On day two we took the bass and guitar parts provided by Matt Pompei and Rosco (friends of mine) and let Benny handle the reamping. That’s your musical term for the day: Reamping. When you take a guitar, bass, or whatever and record a take with NO effects on it, you end up with a super-clean, direct-input sound. Then you take that clean recording into the studio, send the signal out through an amp or effects pedals or whatever, and record THAT output with a microphone.

The result is the same as if the guitarist were playing directly through that amp, but it lets you fiddle around with amp and effect settings AFTER the guitarist has given you the best performance they can. Imagine if your bassist gave you an amazing performance, only to find out later that the fuzz pedal they were using was too noisy. Hence, reamping.

Until day two, all I’d heard were my fake-ass software amp simulations in Logic. Toys like the vintage Vox amp and original Russian Big Muff bass pedal that Benny provided, however, turned an adequate idea into enormous reality. (…holyshitholyshitholyshitWOOHOOOOholyshit…)

Also, these awesome photos were taken by Earl Madness, some of which will be a part of the Art Book. Which you can still pre-order at www.matthewebel.com/savethepandas!

Turn The Bass Up

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It’s Slacker-Backer Time!http://matthewebel.com/2014/10/30/its-slacker-backer-time/ http://matthewebel.com/2014/10/30/its-slacker-backer-time/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:57:03 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8047 So if you hadn’t noticed, we made it to about 300% of our initial goal on Kickstarter! But now what? Well, until we get all the goodies assembled we can still take backers who may have missed the month-long campaign. The Kickstartering (that’s a word, dammit) may be over, but thanks to the miracle of
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So if you hadn’t noticed, we made it to about 300% of our initial goal on Kickstarter! But now what? Well, until we get all the goodies assembled we can still take backers who may have missed the month-long campaign. The Kickstartering (that’s a word, dammit) may be over, but thanks to the miracle of the internet, Paypal, and Amazon Payments, you can still get your hands on exclusive pre-order goodies like:

  • The PDF and hardcover Art Book (you like the image of the ship I’ve got here? You could own that.)
  • Limited edition T-Shirts with your name on them
  • Autographed CD’s
  • Autographed vinyl LP’s
  • J.J. Abrams: The Home Game
  • And more!

Pre-Order The Album Here ☞

Are we shooting for any more of the original Kickstarter goals like animated videos? No. At this point we just want to make an awesome record. But one of the goals I really didn’t include in the Kickstarter campaign was a Double LP release. You see, the entire adventure plus music is about 70-75 minutes, but a single vinyl LP is only 22 minutes per side.

If we can raise enough extra funds from pre-orders, we won’t have to cut out nearly half of the album from the vinyl release. How cool is that? It may seem odd that you’re mostly supporting the necessity of getting up from the couch to flip a record over three times, but it’ll be soooooo worth it, I assure you.

Pre-Order The Album Here ☞

HOSTP-Preorder-Logo-2226x

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A First Look at Mad Oak Studioshttp://matthewebel.com/2014/10/13/a-first-look-at-mad-oak-studios/ http://matthewebel.com/2014/10/13/a-first-look-at-mad-oak-studios/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 19:22:31 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8008 I believe in the same rule that Alton Brown has for homebrew supply stores: If it looks slick and well-decorated, you probably don’t want to be there. Mad Oak Studios just moved to a new building in Allston, MA, so when I headed there to scope the place out in person, it took me twenty
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I believe in the same rule that Alton Brown has for homebrew supply stores: If it looks slick and well-decorated, you probably don’t want to be there.
An Unassuming Place
Mad Oak Studios just moved to a new building in Allston, MA, so when I headed there to scope the place out in person, it took me twenty minutes to find the place. Not only was the Mad Oak sign not up yet, but a construction crew had completely blocked the driveway. I had to park two blocks away and walk past an asphalt machine to get inside.
Asphalt
Once inside, though, it was everything I had hoped for. You see, I’ve recorded (for myself and as a side man) at a wide variety of studios. From the big-and-impressive, like Omni Sound in Nashville, to the more humble-looking sound holes like this one. The truth is that, no matter what the place looks like, all that counts is who’s behind the desk.
Benny Grotto
In this case, it’s Benny Grotto. You’ve probably never heard of him, but you probably don’t know any of the engineers or producers that made the albums you listen to. Dave Matthews would (probably) be nothing without Steve Lillywhite shaping his early albums. Benny here has worked with a lot of bands both great (Aerosmith) and small (me), but I got his name through mutual acquaintance Amanda Palmer.

She and Brian Viglione relied on Mad Oak for the Dresden Dolls album No, Virginia…
No, Virginia
…in fact, he’s still got the creepy Santa-thing watching over the recording room. (Don’t tell Runtt, this thing might try to eat him while he’s recording.)
BOL_9260
The best I can describe the vibe of this place: relaxed. And that’s precisely what you want in a studio, not new hardwood or a hot tub or a well-stocked bar. This is in Allston, if you want a bar there are plenty to be had just down the street. If you want a room where there’s no pressure, no menacing red light to suck the life out of your performance, this place is certainly it.

And on October 28, Runtt, four guests, a photographer, and I will be there making an album.

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Slap Me On Vinyl And Call Me Captainhttp://matthewebel.com/2014/09/24/vinyl-is-happening/ http://matthewebel.com/2014/09/24/vinyl-is-happening/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 16:00:35 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=7983 I had an awesome time in Seattle last Friday night! Tiny Ninja Café (now called the Stone Way Café, apparently) is a beautiful place with the most amazing backdrop I’ve ever performed in front of. The people that filled the Café were a hell of a lot of fun to play for, and now some
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I had an awesome time in Seattle last Friday night! Tiny Ninja Café (now called the Stone Way Café, apparently) is a beautiful place with the most amazing backdrop I’ve ever performed in front of. The people that filled the Café were a hell of a lot of fun to play for, and now some of them are backing High Orbit Saves The Pandas!

In fact, they backed the project so heavily that we made it to Phase Four!

That’s right, we’re pressing 7″ singles once we have the whole works mastered. I can’t tell you how excited this makes me, but I will try. I am very excited. There. I mean, it’s a whole new medium with a whole new sound. Along with the fact that this adventure will be produced in a far, far more professional manner than any album I’ve done previously, now I get to hear what these songs sound like in rich turntable quality. For a creator, there are few joys like seeing your works go places you’ve never gone before.

If we make it to Phase Five, we’re filling an entire 44-minute LP. But we’re only going to make it there if you help spread the word and kick this album in the ass! So please point your friends to www.matthewebel.com/savethepandas and let’s see if we can put the whole adventure on a big, big disc!

HOSTP-Kickstarter-Phase4COMPLETE-620x100

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Oktoberbash 2014 Is Onhttp://matthewebel.com/2014/09/23/oktoberbash-2014-is-on/ http://matthewebel.com/2014/09/23/oktoberbash-2014-is-on/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:00:53 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=7988 If you’re a Matthew Ebel Officer or Entourage member, you’re invited to party with me in Boston! The sixth annual Beer Bash is happening, this time with an Oktoberfest theme. That’s right, we made 10 gallons of Oktoberfest-style ale, a ton of pretzels, and we’ll be making beer brats in a way most of you
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If you’re a Matthew Ebel Officer or Entourage member, you’re invited to party with me in Boston!

The sixth annual Beer Bash is happening, this time with an Oktoberfest theme. That’s right, we made 10 gallons of Oktoberfest-style ale, a ton of pretzels, and we’ll be making beer brats in a way most of you have never tried before (sous vide).

And you’re encouraged to bring your own beer/foods if you want!

This is indeed an all-ages event, but obviously the beer is only available for those 21 and older. More details are available on the signup page, so check it out ASAP. I need to know if you’re coming so I know how much food to buy!

If you’re not already an Officer or Entourage member, sign up today at www.matthewebel.com/ziibra and I’ll send you the official invite.

Or, if you already got your invite, click here to register:
Oktoberbash 2014

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Creating a New Genre is a Serious Gamblehttp://matthewebel.com/2014/09/12/creating-a-new-genre-is-a-serious-gamble/ http://matthewebel.com/2014/09/12/creating-a-new-genre-is-a-serious-gamble/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:00:47 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=7948 Sometimes it frightens me what my fans give me the courage to attempt. I’m trying to stay calm and collected about this whole High Orbit Saves The Pandas thing, but underneath I’m chewing my fingernails down to the cuticle. What the hell was I thinking trying to cram science fiction, rock music, and comedy into
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Sometimes it frightens me what my fans give me the courage to attempt.

I’m trying to stay calm and collected about this whole High Orbit Saves The Pandas thing, but underneath I’m chewing my fingernails down to the cuticle. What the hell was I thinking trying to cram science fiction, rock music, and comedy into an album when everyone keeps telling me albums are a dead medium in the first place?

Let me back up a bit. To Nashville, in fact.

Spending five years in the Music City taught me some very important lessons, most of which aren’t flattering.

  • Talented songwriters are everywhere.
  • Talented performers are everywhere.
  • You get more attention and management/booking offers if you’re under 25, blonde, and have tits.
  • 23-year-old blonde singer-songwriter chicks are everywhere.
  • No one will ever write a story with the headline “Male Singer-Songwriter Releases Excellent Album”.

It took me a decade to figure out how to overcome the limitations of being male (boring), over 25 (too old), not into shock rock (Manson is just weird), and stuck in a category as overcrowded as “Rock” (seriously, they put everyone from GWAR to Foo Fighters to Imagine Dragons in that one-word genre). I knew I had to do something to stand out, but with no connections and limited resources it felt impossible.

A Cosmic Leap of Faith

Nobody’s ever heard of Sci-Fi Piano Rock before, but my fans have given me the courage to take a chance on something new. After all, I’ve gotten to know a lot of these people and they’re definitely not fans of the Same Old Shit They Play On American Idol genre. I can’t stand 90% of what passes for pop/rock today, and yet I can’t bring myself to go full-on punk. There has to be a way to reach the people that like to party, play Borderlands 2, and watch Doctor Who.

High Orbit Saves The Pandas My current Kickstarter campaign is an experiment to see what kind of support those people will give a totally new idea. Booking agents don’t seem to get it yet, management companies sure the hell don’t, labels probably never will, but I’m betting everything that my fans will get it… and that they’ll believe in it enough to spread the word to others like them.

The experiment isn’t without precedent; there have been theatrical bands in the past, some of which even got their own TV shows. For the time being, though, I am doing this with only one source of support:

You.

I have no management (yet), no booking agent (yet), and somehow I don’t feel like I’m totally alone out on this limb. There’s no one holding us up but ourselves. We’re like a band of revolutionaries standing up for a brand of entertainment that isn’t market-driven, focus-tested, and auto-tuned. Something that brings genres together rather than forcing compartmentalization.

In a way, it’s about making the world a little smaller by making the horizons a little broader. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it doesn’t have to.

All that matters is that we work together to create something truly unique, something that will float above the sea of 23-year-olds with guitars at open mics. Am I disadvantaged because I’m not a pretty young girl? Of course I am.

But there’s nothing that can stop the Robot Army when they want something different.

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I Need YOU To Help Me SAVE THE PANDAShttp://matthewebel.com/2014/09/01/i-need-you-to-help-me-save-the-pandas/ http://matthewebel.com/2014/09/01/i-need-you-to-help-me-save-the-pandas/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 07:00:17 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=7929 Fundraising Has Begun! Here we go, faithful crew and members of the Robot Army. It’s time for you to step up and make something awesome happen! The new album, High Orbit Saves The Pandas needs your help! If you are a fan of my music or loved my old podcast, High Orbit, you’ve now got
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Fundraising Has Begun!

Here we go, faithful crew and members of the Robot Army. It’s time for you to step up and make something awesome happen! The new album, High Orbit Saves The Pandas needs your help! If you are a fan of my music or loved my old podcast, High Orbit, you’ve now got the chance to keep both of them alive.

High Orbit Saves The Pandas isn’t just another album, it’s a full-length outer space adventure featuring all-new original piano rock from yours truly. There’s comedy, plot holes, Prodo-2 is both an idiot and a genius at the same time, and I both cause and prevent a global catastrophe. We poke fun at Star Trek, J. J. Abrams, the state of California, and of course… the Giant Panda.

How YOU Can Help

  1. Go RIGHT NOW to our Kickstarter page at www.matthewebel.com/savethepandas
  2. Pitch in anywhere from $1 to a million dollars.
  3. SHARE that link via Twitter, Facebook, FA, Google+, email, carrier pigeon, etc.
  4. Show up at one of three Kickstarter Parties scheduled for September. One’s in Nashua, one’s in Seattle, and the final hurrah is a live stream right here at www.matthewebel.com!
  5. Repeat as necessary.

Help Us Save The Pandas!

(Oh yeah… If you’re wondering why I shaved my eyebrows and dropped 58 cards in front of Nashua’s Riverwalk, here’s Amanda Palmer’s original video:)

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