So why all this practicing?? Why so long to finally decide to start playing shows?? Those are very good questions I’d be happy to answer!
While recording Zeta Reticuli, a lot of arranging took place…A LOT! Whether it was a guitar part that just wasn’t right; a drum part that just didn’t groove or a vocal part that didn’t seem to pop – many parts were arranged and RE-ARRANGED during the recording process. Also, many of the songs were recorded in sections. Playing any given song from A-Z for any of us was a feat-n-a-half since they were arranged from A – H – O – L – Y – C – O – W back to A then finally to Z! Another thing to consider: these songs have less-than-usual vocal cadences, which made it a challenge for Josh to grasp at times. While recording, the breaths needed between the lines were not taken into consideration making it a challenge (for ANY singer) to pull off in a live setting – often times, having to cut lines short or mess with the cadences.
Now, aside from the technical aspects, there was also a very important one that was quite important for us to achieve, and that was chemistry. Although Alex and I had very apparent musical chemistry prior to recording ZR, bringing in another member as well as having to follow a backing track together through an in ear monitor setup gave us some extra challenges to overcome. For me, locking in with a “Super Virtual Bass” was a major challenge because of the un-organic factor – locking in with an instrument that feels mechanical tends to make you just that: mechanical. I have to say though, it definitely has helped to make us a more cohesive act, that’s for sure! With a click track (metronome sound) being there, there are NEVER any fluctuations in tempo. If some of us are tired or just not with it on any given day, it feels like we’re chasing the clicker – trying to keep up with something that has absolutely no quit in it. Some of these songs are quite a challenge for us as it is, and making sure everything is locked in is CRUCIAL. One part goes out (or off our mechanical maestro) and it all falls apart in an epic train wreck of thirty second, sixteenths and eleventeenth notes!
Gotta admit, it doesn’t happen often…but it doesn’t hurt to further slim down the odds of it happening 🙂
Another thing we really wanted to do was to practice on different stages/in different settings, and what better way to do this than to show up at some of Toronto’s dozens of weekly open mics! As a band, feeling comfortable together on stage is HUGE – as it is for every band out there.
All that practicing between four walls means shit if you can’t perform it comfortably on a stage as a confident team. If there are ANY environments where things can go wrong, it’s on a live stage! Sometimes you can’t hear each other, sometimes you can’t hear yourself, sometimes you need to be on your toes and heck… sometimes you need to deal with an inconsiderate drunk heckler! Because of our backing track, the setup is a bit more elaborate, so to be able to practice in a real world setting helped us feel confident about operating with our super virtual counterpart.
All in all, tightening up our act has been an awesome challenge, and it’s been FUN! We always have a great time together, and we work really well as a team. No egos, dictators or drama queens in this band – just three guys with the same goals. We work well as a trio, and for now, we’re keeping it that way to further our success AS a trio. That will definitely change in the future though – the thought of having a bass player to groove with and a wizard on the keys gives me goosebumps!!
Hey, you can’t get any more intense than being a band comprised of three Scorpios playing songs about extraterrestrial life, guardian angels and corporate demons!
The Timekeeper King