For those who have heard Zeta Reticuli and wondered how its songs were composed and how WW came to be, here’s the third of a series of posts that will hopefully shed some light on the subject. Many people have asked me this question, so sharing this with the world seems quite right – our debut album would not exist without these crucial steps. Enjoy! here is part ONE and TWO in case you haven’t read them yet. Enjoy!
Having the same influences in terms of music, Alex and I immediately connected. Months go by, and after many arranging sessions, gigs and changes with this band, it became obvious that there were some definite differences of opinions in the direction and stylistic approach department. By April of 2012, the band had dissipated and there I was again, looking for more…more stage time with a new musical venture! Around the same time, I had already started to send some of my demos to Alex by email to see if he’d be interested in collaborating with me. To my surprise, he really liked what he heard (despite the fact that I was singing on the demos lol) and we immediately started working on the material. HERE is a fun combination of versions of Aurora and Halo put together to illustrate what kind of changes it went through over a period of three years (March, 2012 – Feb 3rd, 2015).
Now since we lived in different locations, 80% of our arranging was done through email and chat, the other 20% through good old fashioned jamming. I would send Alex a song demo and then he would respond with a guitar part for a specific section. After months of going back and forth on songs such as Aurora and Halo, Time Machine and Highway, things were starting to take shape! One challenge we were having is that Alex would often come up with a cool pattern that needed a specific drum pattern, but living in a small apartment with my sweetheart made it difficult to set up and record those parts. Then came something I NEVER thought I would ever use – mostly due to what I had heard in the past, and being totally overwhelmed by it’s technical learning curb: MIDI drums. After Alex recommended Addictive Drums, I immediately tested it out. At first, I was thrown back by its samples and endless options/combinations, but after playing with it for a few days, I got comfortable and started applying it to demos for songs like Aurora and Halo, Moment Of Glee, Zeta Reticuli and Super Virtual. With a bit of patience, time and practice, I was able to create parts pretty efficiently, which then took our back and forth ways of arranging and writing parts to a WHOLE NEW level!
While all these creative ideas were being passed around on a daily basis, we were also looking for bass players and singers through friends, contacts and classified ads. Whenever we’d have an interested candidate, we would set up an audition at a local Rehearsal Factory and either jam on a cover and/or an original. Bass players were a RARE breed…especially ones who could play this music with ease and fluidity. Singers, on the other hand, were in abundance. But the right singer, not so much. We were graced by some talented individuals, men and women. Gender didn’t make a difference, we just needed someone with that certain “je ne sais quoi?” lol. Many singers found our music a bit difficult to syncopate themselves to due to its Progressive Rock nature. We would often send the singers a song without vocals with lyrics to have them dub their voice over a verse/chorus. Some really surprised us – but in most cases, their stylistic approaches wouldn’t fit with the music. On one occasion, we thought we had found the perfect singer. He has a very dominating voice with a deep, Rock type tone. Sadly, after a couple of months of working with him, we realized that he didn’t have the same amount of free time for music as we did, so we had to part ways. This arranging/writing + singer/bass player search process went on for 2 years…but we never lost hope. And it’s a good thing we kept going…
After going through an extensive amount of singers and a fair amount of bass players, we had decided to give our search a rest by the early Fall of 2013. We decided we’d just focus on arranging and writing. Besides, we had one particular song that was taking MUCH time and tinkering to complete (more so than the other 8), that song was none other than A Million Lies (we’ll elaborate on how this one was put together in a later post – this was Alex and I’s first FULL collaborative effort!). So the search eventually came to a grinding halt. The holidays were upon us and we were talking about resuming our search after the holidays when on December 5th, 2013 we received a message through our contact submission form. It was a short message, but it was clear: a singer had found us through all the local cyber rubble, despite the fact that we had stopped putting adds out for months. Little did we know that this short, yet curious message was submitted to us by The Weird & The Wonderful’s future voice – a voice and personality that would take all these compositions to the next level; a youthful, convincing, clean and dynamic element that only one person could bring to our original sound: Mr. Joshua Pivato.
HERE is an earlier blog post describing Josh’s warm welcome to the Wonderwagon 😉
Stay tuned for part four, were I’ll go into how we prepared Josh and ourselves for something that I consider to be the biggest undertaking of my life: the recording and mixing process for Zeta Reticuli!