Tag Archives: status

Out of the Silence

Hello fans, I realized that the last post I provided you was nothing more than an explanation of the reason my site looks so different. Even that was six months ago. That being said, I wanted to provide a bit of a minor status update.

For the past several months, my life has been quite challenging. I have been faced with many issues from many different fronts. Originally, it just started with a change, albeit one out of my control, with my career. Then, my wife ran into serious health issues that required a very tough surgery. As if the world was not painful enough, an unexpected social challenge faced my family that left us reeling. The financial issues of many stupid decisions my wife and I made as much younger people also caused (and still cause) us considerable stress.

So what does all this mean? It just means that I have not been doing so well at getting creative. I have never forced myself to create music just because I feel I need to. That is why I choose to be an independent artist. Instead, I prefer to create music when the urge strikes. Virtually all music that I create when I feel like I am “forcing” the creativity ends up being music that I don’t keep or shelf permanently. Though some of this material has occasionally made it into other works in some form or fashion, it is not something that I like to do.

To simplify, I am basically in a creative downturn right now. Though I have almost enough tracks to launch Expanse, I am still stuck on creating one final track. I have dabbled with creating a ‘title track’ like I did with Currents and have made many attempts at capturing the soul of this album in such a track. Yet, all the attempts I make at such a song seem to fall short of the ‘soul’ of the album. Alternatively, I could create a final track and just not make a title track as I did with Audiophiles. Even in that mentality, I have a hard time creating anything that I truly believe is worthy of release.

At this time, Expanse has 5 original tracks and one Christmas track. The first track, Distant Voice, set a great tone and feel for the new album. Then, Take Flight was a beautiful and flowing track that captures the joy I had when I wrote “Windrider”. Next, I focused on the “spacey” feel of the album and created “Burning Star” which is still one of my favorites for this album. A chance stroke of inspiration struck that allowed me to craft the trap-focused track “Street Fire” to meet the gritty feel of the life in one of the poorest parts of my home city that I experience through my ministry with Freedom Fire. For my Christmas track, I opted for the remixed version of Jingle Bells, Space Jingle, that is still one of my children’s favorite tracks. After this, I had a momentary creative flash where I made “Solar Winds”.

All of this information means that I have 6/7 tracks to release. Yet, until I get the inspiration to create that 7th track, I won’t have Expanse ready. Again, I do not wish to “force” creativity so it may take some time until this new album is ready. For many of my long term fans, this is no surprise as it often takes me 3-5 years to release an EP. All I can ask is for your patience. If you enjoy my music, sending me some positive vibes or an encouraging message would be awesome. If you can’t/don’t want to, I understand that too.

In the meantime, enjoy the material on “A Different Christmas” as it is almost time for the Christmas season. That’s all for now… DJ 6i, out.

Dust on the Studio

It’s been a very eventful few months in my household. As many of you know, I moved to a new house in September which gave me much more space for my studio, something I have never really had that much opportunity with before. The studio is so large that I can have my full wrap around desk with three sections, two bookshelves and my printer setup and still have enough space to setup three or four chairs to have some musicians play. Now, I cannot setup a full trap set or anything but if I needed that, that’s what the storage shed is for – it does have electricity, heating and insulation after all. But alas, my studio has not been very busy in the past few months.

Now, I should state that my Studio Mac itself and the three screens have been VERY active, just not the actual studio. Because of the fact that I have been teaching online Masters classes for two consecutive terms (with more to come), the studio Mac is the only full blown workstation I have at my disposal that allows multiple monitors. As a result, I have been spending a great deal of time in my studio but only to use the computer to grade papers. Sure, I have fired up the studio to show some friends how powerful the sound system is, played some music for my kids and friends, and watched a few movies in there, but I have not made a lot of new music.

This is not to say that I am quitting or retiring, no. Simply put, the music I make is a hobby for me and that hobby is something that I only do when time allows. For the past few months, I have simply not had time to do much. The main reason is that the recent patch of sickness that passed through my house caused me to be set back several weeks in grading papers for my online teaching job. I am finally done with that until the middle of January, but even that afforded me little time to work on music. I DID touch up my revision of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” that I intended to use as my Christmas song for 2015 only to find that I simply wasn’t going the same direction on it that I had been when I started it several months ago. I attempted to work on a remix of “The First Noel” to release instead, it was a short song and didn’t have as much complexity in the chords as the others, but I ended up running out of time to work on it because my time had to go to grading papers.

As a result, things have been very boring for my music persona as of late. I firmly believe that I am one of the most boring Twitter artists ever as I would get new followers in waves that would stay on my page for a few months only to vanish shortly thereafter when I did not post much. That’s okay, I was never in this for the fame. 🙂 However, it is cool to see what many other artists I follow are doing and in a few rare cases, being able to interact with them. I was totally stoked when I responded to a tweet from SchoolBoy about being in the ER and he ACTUALLY responded to me. Sure, he may not be as well known as someone like Skrillex or Zomboy, but he has droves of fans and has worked with some big name artists and chose to interact with me. That’s pretty cool in my book!

What does the future hold? I don’t really know. I have a number of ideas to flesh out and even some songs to finish. The main issue is just finding the right mixture of time and drive to put some new stuff down. Until I do, stay tuned!

DJ6i Out!

Studio Updates Underway

Hey there everybody, it’s been a few weeks since the family and I moved out to the country. I had expected that I would have the updated studio put together by now, but I simply had too many other things to unpack and/or do that I didn’t get to work on it until this last weekend. However, I am pleased to announce that the studio is about halfway put together by now and I have already played around with pieces of it to make sure it’s working normally.

Here is what I have done so far:

  1. I have had the Mac setup and running this whole time but I just recently hooked it back into the Lexicon so my studio feed can go out through the mixers.
  2. I purchased two JamStand monitor stands, assembled them, and put the studio speakers (my KRK Rokit5’s) up on there.
  3. I ran the audio out of my Lexicon and into my Behringer Xenyx mixer.
  4. The mixer board now gets the studio feed as a hard channel (in the past, I would only plug in the mixer when I was doing some recording with my friends) and I can have full mixing (and FX control) from my studio source before they hit the speakers.
  5. I have already attached the condenser microphone to my mixer and ran some tests. I was able to distort my voice using the Behringer FX options which is something that had only worked part of the time with my last build. Not to mention, the kids had a great time playing with the different tone shift mixers on the board to make their voice sound different. So far, our favorite is FX number 78, I call this “The Dark Lord of Evil” pitch shifter. It literally makes even my 4 year old boys voices sound like Darth Vader or Diablo.
  6. Lastly, I decided to test my ability to do a hard mix out from something pre-recorded so I used the opportunity to make my oldest daughter twitch. You see, she has taken a liking to Luke Bryan’s song “Kick the Dust Up” which comes from one of my least favorite genres – modern country. I got her very excited when i told her that I would allow her to listen to her favorite song on ‘daddy’s big speakers’. I queued up the iTunes feed (remember, my Lexicon now directly connects to my mixer) for the song. As soon as she would get to singing a portion of the song, I would fire off a different pitch shifter (such as the Dark Lord of Evil FX mentioned above or it’s polar opposite, a high-pitch tone shift that sounds almost like the chipmunks without boosting speed) and screw with her. She thought it was funny the first time but after the third or fourth, she started stomping her foot at me or otherwise expressing her frustration – mission accomplished. After all, what good are your children if you cannot screw with their heads every once in a while?

That is to say that the studio is about halfway together. I already have some more wiring on order so that I can run some more leads into the mixer and switch the near-field speaker wire feeds to something higher grade. When I originally purchased my near-fields, I was at a local big box retailer and wanted something quick to hook the feeds of the speakers in from the Lexicon. As a result, I purchased some cheap leads at the store. They worked for a while but I noticed that they tend to pop and hiss from time to time because they are not as well shielded as they could be. That being the case, the new wire leads will be much better quality. I should have those today.

Other updates that I plan to do shortly:

  1. Purchase a powered amp like an Alesis that will push wattage from the mixer to the speakers without clipping the audio.
  2. Get my Casio keyboard wired into the studio so I can go back to recording some synth melodies.
  3. Convert my studio Mac into a table-mounted monitor so I can pull it above the keyboard for compositions ( I have the parts but have not installed them).
  4. Add a second monitor to the table mount to provide me more screen space for my mixing freedom (again, the parts are here, I just have to install them).
  5. Connect my guitar and pedals to the studio mixer and test some guitar riffs in new songs.
  6. Invite some local musicians to come in the studio and jam with me to test some recording.

Ambitious, I know, but I have never been one who is prone to cower against some big challenges – in fact – I would say my ability to take those in stride is part of what has made me what I am. Hope to have some new tunes for you guys soon enough! DJ6i Out!