Like most things in life, everything has a story, and all stories have to begin somewhere…
It was December, 2005, and I had taken up a new hobby of graphic design, specifically 3D design using the programs at the time. I was toying around and learning to use Vue (version 4 maybe at the time), and found it rather fascinating.. I was more interested in the illustrations it could rather then creating photo-real scenary (plus my laptop certainly was not capable of doing that either!). I ended up creating an image, the one below:
The strangest thing happened, looking at the image, I felt “inspired”, and ended up writing a piece of music from the image. The piece of music at the time I titled “2035″, and is now titled “Equilibrium”, the opening song of 2035. The piece was really nothing like I had written before, it was very dark and electronic sounding, but had a hint of middle eastern flair to it, and had some really interesting blends of strings and choral sounds mixed with the electronic percussion and beats. I had the idea of doing an E.P of tunes with the theme being middle eastern electronica, blended with industrial guitar and beats… Dark and brooding.
And I intended to compose a suite, called 2035, which would be 20 minutes and 35 seconds in length. The pieces consisted of “2035″, “Better Days”, “Lost Paradise”, “Eternity”, “Rebellion” and “Cybernightmare”. I also wrote some single tunes to accompany the suite, including “One” and the reprise of it. After working on the project for about a year, I decided to scrap it entirely: the writing went in a completely opposite direction… was not middle eastern at all.. and basically sounding like 80′s rock instrumentals… Something which I was not thrilled about considering the year was 2006… ahem…
The majority of the music was garbage… except for “Equilibrium”. I could see the other tunes being useful though, for what I wasn’t sure. I kept on working on the song, seeing how I could make it better, and even got the chance in 2008 to perform it for an audience, which was an interesting experience. I kept working & studying on music as it were, and ended up doing a soundtrack for a stage play called “INFINITY”, which was released on iTunes. The soundtrack was interesting work, and had me thinking about my knowledge of ethnic music in a different way, and I was constantly thinking about 2035 in the back of mind, since the stage play had sci-fi elements to it.
Still though, my knowledge of eastern music was not where I wanted it to be, and the fact that I didn’t know much about micro tones from the region, and the fact that I didn’t play an instrument that could create an “authentic” eastern sound left me feeling discouraged with the project.
It was when I worked on “Failure To Adjust in 2009, I re-discovered some of the old material from 2035, especially “Eternity” and saw that it actually was a good tune.
It was also around this time that I started playing the Armenian Duduk, and found that I now had an instrument which I could combine with guitar to create the sounds I wanted for 2035.
and from 2010 until now, I worked on and off to create what I feel is my most “complete” work to date.
The music of 2035 was a big departure from the sounds I usually make. Usually I create very atmospheric, spiritual, soothing, meditative sounds.. 2035 was the complete opposite. It’s darker, heavier, and probably more adventurous then anything I’ve done.
I knew the Duduk was going to fit in perfectly with the compositions, but I also realized that because of it’s lower haunting sound, that the majority of the keys I used were going to have to go lower to facilitate the sounds I wanted, so the majority of the tunes which were in D (like “Chase The Storm or “Game On!”) where going to have to be lower, like B or even A… which made me think about the rhythm guitars. I ended up stringing my ESP M2 with some DR DDT strings, 12-60 gauge, and initially tuned it to Drop A, but not only was the balance off, but it wasn’t half as heavy as I wanted… so I tuned the whole damn thing down to A.. and had that huge Baritone sound, but on a regular guitar neck.. So It was quite an interesting blend.
The Baritone tuned Heavy guitars, and the haunting Duduk now in the fold, there was something still off. Most of the songs had only electronic beats and percussion, but the heavy guitars now required some equally heavy drums to help fill in things and add to the dynamics of the stale sounding beats. So I spent allot of time programming and getting as big of a drum sound I could, something I had neglected in past recordings.
As time went on, I learned allot about what I could and couldn’t do, especially in the lower registers of the mix, since there was some serious low end, thanks to the lowered tunings of the guitars and bass, I had to be very meticulous, and more importantly, I really had to ditch the atmospherics and abuse of reverb normally associated with my sound.
Another interesting aspect was the inclusion of the tunes “Rebellion” & “No More”. Rebellion was from the original demos of 2035, and I thought a really cool industrial rock track that had kind of an eastern vibe to it. My main issue though was making it into an interesting instrumental, since the original was a bit out there, but didn’t have much in the way of modulations or harmony. After toiling much with it, I realized it would make a perfect vocal tune. I contemplated this more, since “No More” was written as a quick track and I had intended to also use that for a vocal based project sometime down the road… So I convinced myself to “man up” and step up to the Mic and step away from Instrumental exclusivity…
No more was originally a song written about war (Iraq specifically) and Rebellion was written around the concept of the story for the story of 2035. I’d like to point out that the song is no way connected, inspired, or related in any form to the events that took place here in January, and I have no intentions of trying to pretend otherwise. Not only do I find it hugely disrespectful to those who were harmed or lost loved ones, but I do not see the need to glorify what happened into song. And if anything, I think the lyrics in “Rebellion” reflect a slightly different aspect.. Interpret that how you will.
I have a thing about the number 3, so I decided to write a 3rd vocal tune, and this ended up being “The Game That We Play”. It was one of those rare moments where the song just came together, and the vocal melody and lyrics just fell into place. It was certainly easier to pull off a convincing vocal performance for the track, and I’m happy enough with my singing on it to release it as one of the “Singles” for 2035.
The important aspect for me about 2035 was this synergy that was created by an image, which led to the creation of music. I saw this concept, this story, the potential to do something with them…
Initially I created a screenplay for the first segment of the story, which would lead into the second part of the story (You can thank Geroge Lucas for that kind of thinking..). But in all honesty the first part was garbage…
I had contemplated doing an animated series, but after seeing the amount of work that goes into animation, I realized I couldn’t do this alone, nor could I afford to hire people to work on it with me.
I settled on the idea of doing a graphic novel instead… But then in all honesty, I said what if I spend a year making this graphic novel.. and people think it’s complete garbage! wouldn’t that suck? So, I said heck with it: I’ll make a comic! That way I can work on it with the readers, see what they like, don’t like, develop something that people will really enjoy reading, relate to, and even feel a part of!