Category Archives: My Music

Friday Drumming Playlist

So, I upload a ton of different videos to my YouTube channel, but some of my work I am most proud of is the stuff I’m playing drums on. So I thought I would put them in a playlist (sorted by popularity) for everyone to check out.

I have a lot of different stuff on here, from my work with drumming to Vocaloid, Super Mario Songs, Milkytracker, to just original songs and bands I’ve played with.

Check it out!

New EP, Sandra’s Bullock – First release playing all electronic drums!

Sandra’s Bullock EP is the first release where I used an electronic drum set instead of an acoustic one and is the first EP I’ve released since Tracker Adjust. It’s on sale now for only $3! Or $10 with a free copy of Manasota 180g vinyl!

Track details:

Jungle Jim – Composed in Milkytracker and drums recorded in Mixbus. Samples are from my CT370, and Fairlight CMI. Custom created drum kit on my Alesis Nitro Mesh..

Ambient Park 2 – Produced with Garageband on my vintage iBook G4 using all Garageband synths with midi controller.

Lunar Landscapes – Made with Ableton Live 9 and Windows 10, Mothman Series VST synthesizers and Alesis Nitro Mesh custom kit.

The Transit – Produced in Rosegarden for Linux running on Elementary OS Juno, and many of my custom created soundfonts such as Sundrums, Kawai K1, Casio CT370, and the Fluid GM soundfont, as well as the Hexter DX7 Emulator for Linux, and Jack-Rack.

Sandra’s Bullock – Made in Garageband on my vintage iBook G4, drums are the Alesis Nitro Mesh with custom kit.

The Struggles of Being an Experimental Freelance Musician

 

That’s me a couple days ago when I was thinking about all the struggles of being a freelance experimental musician (I know, boo hoo, right?) haha. Anyway, this post isn’t for you to feel sorry for me, but rather to reach out to those of you that are in a similar boat as me.

I’ve been making music since I was 10 years old, and started producing my own music when I was 20 when I got my first cassette 4 track recorder back in the 90s. Since then I’ve created my own record label called Anthill Recordings and self-produced over 20 albums. As far as sales, some have done okay, some have had literally no attention at all, but absolutely none of them have done extremely well. At this point it doesn’t bother me that much, but there was a time when it did.

When you pour your heart and soul into something you think is unique, passionate, and extremely well done, and others do not respond to it at all, it can be a disheartening experience. At the same time when you observe others seemingly churning out the same old thoughtless dribble and getting praised for it, can be even more maddening. The problem is with our society is it rewards conformity and punishes uniqueness. This is something we all learned well in grade school. All of the most popular kids were doing whatever was cool. Football, cheerleaders, jocks, whatever music is on TV or the radio they liked, they wore all the same name brand clothes. They’re all good little sheep.

So it really should come as no surprise to me when I craft something as unique as my album Turn of The Scroct that has a measly 4 bandcamp supporters, while vaporwave artists are simply re-releasing slowed down previously released pop music and are getting thousands of downloads. Here we are again, people just following what other people are doing. There’s literally hundreds of thousands of releases like this, none of which have any originality whatsoever. Contrary to what I just wrote, I don’t hate vaporwave, and have dabbled in it myself, but took it as inspiration. I didn’t merely copy what everyone else was already doing and slap some statues in front of a Windows 95 screenshot and call it a day.

I spent time making my music, thought about it, tried to make it different, tried to make it unique. I took time to perfect my playing, as a drummer, and with all the other instruments I put on my recordings. Am I rewarded with sales? No. No I’m not. To me it’s not desirable to fit neatly into a specific genre of music. This is a huge problem with today’s music and marketing. If it doesn’t neatly adhere to a specific hashtag, nobody cares about it. Because hashtags seem to define people’s identities these days.

However, I am rewarded with my own love of creation. When I listen back to what I made, I think about how good it felt to finally be able to play the drum part I struggled with, how I was able to achieve such a strong sounding mix, how I was able to press a vinyl record after playing every single instrument on it, recording it, mixing it, mastering the vinyl, all by myself. And the few that have reached out to me thanking me for my efforts have done so in a very heartfelt manor. One listener even called me on the phone after I released my album “In The Park” and wanted to personally thank me for making it. This was really nice.

But again, this isn’t why I do it. I do it because I love the process of creation. Making something that I am proud of, that my own thoughts, ideas, focus and energy went into. Knowing it came out exactly the way I wanted it, and maybe one day people will find it and enjoy it as much as I do. But even if they don’t I don’t care. In a way, I’m glad I’ve freed myself from needing other’s approval of my music. Now I create for me. But what I do wish I was getting more of is….. money.

Yes that’s right, I said money. I work hard and I would like to be rewarded financially for my work. I don’t care if people are calling me a genius, or if my music becomes the next trendy thing, I want money, lots of it. So over time I’ve found little ways to make a bit… not lots, but I keep trying to learn new ways to make more. Some of which are making gear reviews on YouTube with my music, creating exclusive content for music licensing, as well as offering my mixing and mastering services to others. Do I make as much money as the amount of work I do? No, not at this point, but I’m going to keep trying. To me this is the ultimate struggle, but I will never give up.

-Justin

Demonic Sweaters – In Depth – Now Out For Patrons Only!

My latest album, In Depth is now complete, and I am really proud of this one. I think it came out great! The album is available right now for Patrons only, and will be released later this summer for the rest of the world.

This amazing cover art was done by my friend Ligang Luo. I really think this album is one of my best to date, and features a nice mix of live instruments with tracker tunes, drums, bass, guitar, synths, and Milkytracker. It’s experimental, and lifts you up in sections, then takes you to the depths in others. It’s 11 songs and about 40 minutes long. If you become a Patron for any amount at https://www.patreon.com/demonicsweaters you’ll get it right now. There is also a beautiful foldout insert also done by Ligang. You can really help out by becoming a patron, plus you’ll get some awesome music!

When I’m a sideman

Hey all, I’ve made plenty of posts promoting my own music, but some of you might not know that I am often working as a sideman on other people’s music. I thought I’d put together a little list of fairly recent-ish recordings by bands/solo artists that feature me on drums.

    1. FRAME – State of Mind. Caitlin Frame is an incredibly gifted musician and songwriter. The band FRAME is her brainchild. It’s amazing indie pop, with incredible vocals by Caitlin, slick nostalgic production, and mature and well thought out arrangements. I’m playing drums on probably 90% of this album. Get it on 180g vinyl with the bandcamp link!
    2. Ronan Conroy – not a part of anything -Folky, punky, and diverse in energy, but Ronan’s music is always from the heart and full of atmosphere and mood. Once again I’m on drums on most of this album, except for a few tracks my sister plays on! Ronan is a talented and prolific musician, you should take the time to check out his work. This and most of Ronan’s albums are available on CD.
      3. Echoscape – Halfmoon – Acoustic math folk? Is that a thing? Well yeah it is, especailly once you hear Satoshi Inoue’s work in Echoscape. I played drums on this incredibly complex EP that is half in English and half in Japanese. It was the last thing Satoshi and I worked on together before he moved back to Japan. We had previously worked together in Quiet Sons. I am really proud of this one, and you can get it on CD 4. The Excitables – 3AM – This one is a bit of an odd bird, but a great EP. It’s odd because my friend Will Scecina back in St. Petersburg Florida and I recorded the drums, guitar, and vocal tracks way back in 2010 when I was still living in Florida. Then in 2015 I added bass, and keys. So I’m playing drums, bass and keys on this one. Will wrote all the songs, sang and played guitar. These are some great catchy 90s indie vibed songs. You can still get this one on CD from bandcamp.

This obviously isn’t all of the sideman work I’ve done, but these are within the past 5 years, so I thought I’d share them all here. Help support these awesome musicians by buying some of their merch!