Matthew Ebel http://matthewebel.com Piano. Geek. Rock. Mon, 30 Mar 2015 23:33:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Coming Back to FWA 2015http://matthewebel.com/2015/03/27/coming-back-to-fwa-2015/ http://matthewebel.com/2015/03/27/coming-back-to-fwa-2015/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:00:22 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8273 Register now at http://furryweekend.com Runtt and I are heading BACK to Furry Weekend Atlanta for our first performance there since 2011! If you’ve been following me for more than a year or two, you know that FWA is one of my favorite cons and it’s the first that ever made me a GoH, so I’m
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Register now at http://furryweekend.com

Runtt and I are heading BACK to Furry Weekend Atlanta for our first performance there since 2011! If you’ve been following me for more than a year or two, you know that FWA is one of my favorite cons and it’s the first that ever made me a GoH, so I’m really excited!

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The Treasure Trove of Memories I’ve Tried to Forgethttp://matthewebel.com/2015/03/24/the-treasure-trove-of-memories-ive-tried-to-forget/ http://matthewebel.com/2015/03/24/the-treasure-trove-of-memories-ive-tried-to-forget/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 22:49:13 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8268 + Read More]]>

While on vacation in Seattle, my mother uncovered an enormous box of old tapes, mostly mine. Some of them date back to my first days as a sentient human being, but most of them are early recordings of stuff I wrote or performed in my teenage years. She seemed only too happy to cue them up and listen to the lot of them, even suggesting a few old songs I could re-work and re-release as an adult.

The truth is that most of that stuff is painful for me to listen to. It’s not the quality of my singing- which was terrible -or my songwriting ability- which was abysmal. I mean, I wasn’t even old enough to shave when some of these tapes were made, so I’m not expecting the seasoned performer that I’ve become to shine through something I taped in 1996. But my mother didn’t seem to understand my refusal to start listening until I explained myself.

These tapes are a time capsule from the most awkward, uncertain, insecure period of my life that I have literally spent the last twenty years trying to overcome. Are the songs about that insecurity? Of course not. Most of it’s upbeat Christian pop that I wrote because I thought that’s what other people wanted to hear. You won’t find a trace of my awkwardness in the lyrics, but when I listen to those old songs it’s all I can hear.

They’re a portrait of a kid too chicken-shit to take risks with self-expression and so desperate for the approval of others that his words were largely empty. The kid who was never popular, so he copied the actions of his peers and hoped he’d find success mirroring the successful. Lyrics of confidence sung by a phenomenally gifted liar.

I’ve always been a good liar. Hell, I’ll bet you think I’m making enough money to pay rent next month. Maybe I haven’t grown up that much after all.

I understand the importance of hanging on to these old recordings, if only for archival purposes. I may even browse through them someday when I’m on an emotional high and can withstand the hit. But until then, Mom can keep the treasure trove of her happy memories. She remembers the kid that sung all those tunes rather fondly, but I’ve been trying like hell not to be him for far too long.

One of these days, I might remember that kid more fondly too.

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New Album Update – The Boxes are OUThttp://matthewebel.com/2015/03/06/new-album-update-the-boxes-are-out/ http://matthewebel.com/2015/03/06/new-album-update-the-boxes-are-out/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 20:26:26 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8256 + Read More]]>
So for the last week now, my living room has been something like this. CD’s, envelopes, boxes, art books, lens flare generators, water bottles, shirts, MORE shirts… I’ve managed to get all the pre-order stuff out the door without going insane! I just wish I could’ve actually cloned myself, would’ve gotten it all done in a day.

So what about those folks that DIDN’T pre-order the new album? Well, unfortunately, it’s now too late to get stuff like the Personalized Shirts and autographed CD’s. However, you can still pre-order the album itself before its official release at the end of the month, and you’ll get an immediate download of one of the new tracks too!

In fact, here’s a taste of the new album right now (warning: may contain adult language):

So while my awesome Kickstarter backers and Officer’s Club members wait for their goodie bags and boxes, you don’t have to be left out!

Pre-order the new album, “High Orbit Saves The Pandas”, over at Bandcamp now!
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Some Live Recordings from Arisia 2015http://matthewebel.com/2015/02/17/some-live-recordings-from-arisia-2015/ http://matthewebel.com/2015/02/17/some-live-recordings-from-arisia-2015/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 21:55:53 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8222

Join the Robot Army,
get this FREE album.
www.matthewebel.com/freemusic

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HOSTP Art: “Panda-stic Concert” by Milena Briceñohttp://matthewebel.com/2015/01/24/hostp-art-panda-stic-concert-by-milena-briceno/ http://matthewebel.com/2015/01/24/hostp-art-panda-stic-concert-by-milena-briceno/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 13:00:02 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8207 + Read More]]>

Pre-Order the adventure now!

How in the world do you coax giant pandas into the back of a shuttlecraft? Apparently, by mesmerizing them with music. Of course, the little one looks like he knows better than to trust this guy, but the other pandas seem impressed with… well, let’s face it, Prodo-1’s interpretive dance.

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. Milena Briceño’s sumi-e style came highly recommended from a friend and I love the result!

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 Milena Briceño

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Mixing High Orbit Saves The Pandashttp://matthewebel.com/2015/01/07/mixing-high-orbit-saves-the-pandas/ http://matthewebel.com/2015/01/07/mixing-high-orbit-saves-the-pandas/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 16:03:59 +0000 http://matthewebel.com/?p=8195

Join the Robot Army,
get this FREE album.
www.matthewebel.com/freemusic

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Footage from the recording of my second adventure album, “High Orbit Saves The Pandas”. Mostly just drums and re-amping the bass and guitars, but still fun to watch.

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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

Join the Robot Army,
get this FREE album.
www.matthewebel.com/freemusic

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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 + Read More]]>

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 + Read More]]>

“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 + Read More]]> 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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