Tag Archives: ska

It’s A Party in The USA – Thailand Part 7

Yesterday we arrived in Ayutthaya and set up camp in a hostel called Tony’s Place. While there are some minor flaws (zero water pressure in the shower) this is hands down the coolest place I have ever stayed at while abroad. The whole front of the building is a giant deck / restaurant which is swarming with a mix of traveling folk and it’s directly across the street from Christine’s favorite bar, Chang House.

There is WiFi and decent food in the terrace as well as a tourist information desk, it very much blurs the line between hotel and hostel. Everyone here is super friendly and I’m typing this while eating a delicious BLT breakfast (I got a little tired of chicken and rice).

Our room has cable tv so we settled in and relaxed for a bit and flipped through stations before settling on MTV Africa (an odd thing to broadcast since Thailand is not in Africa). I haven’t watched MTV in years, in fact I’ve been pretty actively boycotting it since around 1997, so whenever I do catch it for a while I’m always blown away by what I see. 8 videos in a row and 7 of them (including Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus) clearly used and overused auto-tune. I’m sickened, is there any musical talent required anymore? Geez. Anyway this frightened me worse when I realized I was watching MTV Africa, not MTV US, these pop stars and the ads for Jersey Shore are representing America to a lot of people and they look up to it, that is really scary.

After that we went to Chang house and hung out with Christine’s friend Earth. Awesome guy, we split a bottle of “Blend” whiskey (Distilled by Red Bull, cheap and not half bad, considering) and attempted to overcome language barriers and had a good laugh doing so. From there we went to another bar where Earth’s band was playing and found some French guys and Christine’s coworker Dan from the UK. We had a really good time talking about cultural differences and I wound up telling the one gentleman from Paris my trick to getting a Parisian to speak English, he had a really good laugh and admitted he had no doubt it would work.

From there we went to a nightclub where there was a Thai rock band playing. I was exhausted but it was a lot of fun. It seems a lot of Thai rock is set on a reggae beat so it’s very, very similar to the ska punk I grew up with on Long Island which is very strange but very comforting. Eventually the band busted into a Thai Punk cover of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance which turned out to be surprisingly good.

Thai covers of American music are actually really huge over here in the touristy areas but they are quite amusing to those of us who natively speak English because most, not all, of the singers don’t understand the words to what they’re singing. The singers will butcher the lyrics but hit the notes, tones and timing near perfectly. It’s an amazing phenomenon and very entertaining nonetheless. From there it was time for bed, but as a whole the day turned out to be really enlightening and fun.

Today we’re catching a boat tour around the city and checking outcome old ruins, I can’t wait to take pictures and to share them with y’all. Cheers!

Digging up old stuff…

Submitted for your approval (or disapproval) a music video I made for “Magnetic North” a Less Than Jake song in 2002 before YouTube and making your own video was all the rage. This was one of my first experiments with Final Cut Pro and video editing in general. Warning in advanced the whole thing is shot with a handheld camera and is very jerky. I just found this on my harddrive and figured I should post it for posterity’s sake. Unfortunately I appear to have lost the source project.

Enjoy and thanks for watching!

Rules of the audio cleanup game.

Since March I’ve received a lot of feedback regarding my cleaned up remix of the Gimp version of ‘Supernothing.’ (In case you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, take a look at this post here.) In fact the .mp3 file generates the majority of the traffic that this site receives. So much so that I needed to up my hosting plan. I don’t mind though. As a Streetlight Manifesto fan I’m just glad to be contributing and helping other people enjoy their music as much as I do. I’m really glad people are grateful for the work I did and I really appreciate the comments and messages regarding it. Most of which come from people from Skachilles (the official unofficial Streetlight Manifesto message board.)

It’s because of those messages that I’m prompted to write this. The majority of them come with curiosity as to what I’m working on and encouragement that I work on more. Most ask me to take a crack at Catch-22‘s ‘Rules of the Game’ EP. I figured I should post something of a follow up to that since I get asked so often. Although I’m a graphic designer, not an audio engineer, back in March I was excited at the work I’d done and I took a serious stab at remixing ‘I’m Better Than You’. I even went as far as to buy good studio headphones to work on the project. However, once I got into it I found that the recordings of ‘RotG’ are a bit more challenging than ‘Supernothing’ was. Partially due to the recording quality, partially due to the speed / intensity of the songs themselves and mostly due to my own lack of expertise.

With ‘Supernothing’ there is a lot of silence and lows in the song. That gives me more to work with to take out the ambient tape noise. When working with a song like ‘I’m Better Than You’ that’s not so much the case. Thus far I’ve had no luck with any of the other recordings and haven’t produced anything worth releasing or commenting on here. I haven’t given up entirely, but at this time it’s not within my skill level, nor is it high on my list of priorities. (No offense!) While I appreciate all the encouragement and feedback, what it comes down to is… I’m a graphic designer, not an audio engineer. It’s just something I tried out and got lucky with. I’m going to keep trying and I’ll keep you guys posted should I manage any other future miracles, but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up too much.

Thanks again for the interest and kind words, keep me in your bookmarks if something pops up, here will be where to find it.

‘Peace out bitches!’

Impressed with myself

So recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Streetlight Manifesto and the earlier projects of their singer Tomas Kalnoky.

Tomas was the original singer / writer for the uber popular ska act, Catch 22, most notably on their ‘Keasbey Nights’ album which many will argue to be Catch’s best (or only good) album. Well back before Catch, in like 1995 Tomas was in a ‘punk’ band entitled: Gimp.

After Gimp disbanded one song by Tomas on their album, ‘Supernothing,’ was reworked from a slow ’emo’ esq acoustic song, to a faster more upbeat version that appears on Keasbey Nights. The original really has it’s own merits as a version for being so different and is actually a favorite among many of their fans. Sadly the only copies of this album out on the internet sound like shit as they’ve been taken from tape recordings that it seems were never really good quality to begin with.

Tonight I had a bit of free time and I was playing around with Soundtrack Pro for the first time and decided to throw Supernothing into the program to play with and to see if I could do anything about the quality. I was surprised with the results. I managed to correct the volume problems and remove almost all the tape hiss / noise that was crapping up the song. I’m impressed with Soundtrack and how easy it actually was to do without distorting the audio in the song, and that someone like myself who is virtually tone deaf could manage to do something with it in a matter of minutes.

Anyway I’ll let you be the judge of my work.

You can checkout the original here:
http://skachilles.com/music/gimp/11-Supernothing.mp3

And my cleaned up version:
http://www.subism.com/audio/gimp/supernothing.mp3

The immediate difference is subtle but really evident at loud volumes, through a car stereo or headphones. The original has a strong annoying hiss from the tape and is recorded at a lower volume. Using soundtrack I managed to clean up all the hiss / noise and boost the volume to that of a normal recording which in my opinion makes it vastly more listen-able than before. I’m debating doing more of this type of thing with some other projects, including ‘Rules of the Game’ Catch 22’s pre Keasbey demo that is also only on tape, but I’d like some feedback on how people think this sounds first.