The Robot Version of Rick Gardiner
My Music Life
April 3, 2012

Okay, I guess I'm gonna just write a couple more posts that show the background behind what I do. Last time it was game dev, this time... MUSIC!!! Since I'm actually probably going insane, let's start with the epilogue!

So after recording a bunch of music, I went through a few music hosting sites before landing on one I like. I started with MySpace obviously, way back in high school. That's where all my electro and silly music went to first. MySpace stopped being cool though, so I had to switch to Purevolume. This one is probably my second fave. The player started to annoy me after a while, so it was time to move on. This next one was the WORST idea because I'm so broke, but I wanted to host the .mp3s on this site. I KNOW RIGHT? Waste of bandwidth. All the free web hosts I tried blocked sound files from being uploaded too. So finally, I came across SoundCloud! The whole sets thing really fits me. Okay epilogue done.

I can't really remember not being into music. When I was super young, we had this keyboard thing, one of those kids ones with a bunch of preset sounds and beats. I'd always take it from my sister and just mess around with it. We had a boombox too, with a mic. That's how my imaginary Radio Host career started. I'd record little radio show, and play really cool songs like Blue by Eiffel 65, and every once in a while, I'd play one of my originals on air too.

DJ Ricky, blessing the radio waves with buzzcutted glory.
DJ Ricky, blessing the radio waves with buzzcutted glory.

My parents got sick of me making noise around the house, so they sent me to keyboard lessons in grade 6, probably hoping it would drain my music energy enough to stay quiet at home. I kept up with the group, but my teacher HATED me for being way too allegro. I'd finish 3 minute long songs in half a second. Respect. I was part of a couple shows with the other kids in the class. We'd play a song each in a church or something, and get a plaque saying how good we did.

I stopped going to that class after a few months. Grade 7 came along, and it was time to learn the trombone for music class. I was good enough to join the school band in Grade 8, but I hated the commitment (plz don't read into that, ladies). This is where I got a bunch of my theoretical and technical background. I was getting bored of the music they were making us play. So I picked up the bass after deciding to become a rockstar. This is probably the worst thing a rockstar could think of doing though. So I picked up the guitar in Grade 9.

The White Stripes were the coolest thing ever when I started to learn how to play guitar. Playing a horribly desperate version of Seven Nation Army for my family made me feel like the most awesome guy ever. It was sad how non-critical I was about my music for the first little while. Luckily for your ears, when I was 15 or 16, I decided to waste $1000 on a digital recorder. I messed around with it so much the first few days, and ended up coming up with this.

I could have become a Lounge Legend.

I do electronic music too. This started off at around age 10 when computer camp introduced me to Acid (not that kind... yet). Sequencing seemed so neat, and was really intuitive for me. It got really boring to use all the premade sounds, and I started feeling like the Robin Hood of music after a while. I mean that in a bad way, like how it was still illegal for Mr. Hood to steal everything, ignoring any external morals. This made me stumble into Fruity Loops, or FL Studio as it likes to be called now. It made absolutely NO sense at first. So many switches and swatches and swabs. I kept with it for some reason, and started pumping stuff out like this.

Don't you just love that bass? Oh wait, there is none.

Hopefully I've gotten better now, I can't trust my own judgement though. Feel free to leave comments on any of my SoundCloud songs. I enjoy criticism, but don't get enough of it.

I will never give up on my guitar though. No amount of electro, noise, or jazz will tear us apart. I have kept a steady flow out of that region of my brain, and consider it to be my true sound. My earlier influences include bands like Sum 41, Billy Talent (PEZZ WAS BETTER!!), and Alexisonfire, in that order. I really noticed the guitar players in these bands. They had this cool riff-heavy feeling to them, comfortable repetition. The technicality of the latter two really amazing me also. Alexisonfire was weird for me. I REALLY liked them, but my friends hated the screaming. It never really bothered me, it fit with the instruments.

There's one influence that I picked up around this time, that's stuck with me since. When Queens of the Stone Age released their Little Sister music video, it stood out like a lime In Cheetos. I got into them quickly, and fell in love with all their stuff. They lead me to bands like Incubus, RHCP, and The Mars Volta, which my love for has faded away over time. The only other band that's really stayed on my playlist from this point in my life, are The Strokes.

Back to my music. I kept playing bass and guitar, and rented out drums a few times before buying a set. That drum set has been gathering dust over the past few years, but has loyally stayed by my side. I was looking up tabs a lot at this time for others' songs, but still had a slow flow of my own stuff going on.

Please ignore the title.

This will make me sound like the LAMEST person, but I started getting a lot of influence from Guitar Hero. Not the bands in them, though there were a few good ones. It gave a different interpretation of music. There was more focus on pitch and rhythm, less on texture and dynamics. There was no difference in the sound, from how hard you "strummed" the smack-bar, and no physical vibrations you could play with. This gave me a better mind for composing, and actually writing stuff down. I started to use Guitar Pro a lot, a program that you can write tabs in, and have them played back to you. That program is a curse to me now, it got really limiting, and I just went with it, like most things in life.

After escaping that phase, I was going off to college, and was not ready for anything that was about to happen. I feel like I needed to get a fresh perspective on everything, including music. I really started to get into noise rock around this time. A buddy I used to play Smash Bros Brawl with showed me Deerhoof a while before heading off to college. There was something that was so unique about them. The music felt really personal, like no one else could make it besides them. This is what I find to be the essence of noise music, and the same thing that drives jazz. Over the next couple years, I got into bands like Lightning Bolt, Ponytail, No Age, and Abe Vigoda. This is when I started to feel really inspired to make my own music.

These finally started coming in handy.
These finally started coming in handy.

I've always been starting projects. For the all-ness of what is time, I'd make an album, give it a name, make the first song, plan a few more, give them all names, then abandon it all. The sounds that came out of me kept changing way too much, and I never liked the stuff I made past the prior month. The first thing I really stuck to, is Sci-Fry. It was a 10-track album, then down to 9, now an 8-track EP. It started with the song Spawn, which was really the turning point for me. I'd just dropped out of college, had no job, and hadn't done anything productive in a while. I had a bad day/night, decided to go for a walk to "brighten" the night up, came back and pooped out Spawn.

It was completely different from anything else I made. No real structure, new effects, slow pace and had no drums. That's where Sci-Fry started. It's all composed now, and just needs to be recorded. I'm having problems getting a good recording from anything, though I made demos for 5 of the 8 songs (featuring programmed drums). Here's a song that sums the album up well.

You might notice I never really sing. It's a personal preference; I don't think vocals really fit in anything I'm making right now. And I know the word "song" implies that there is singing, but screw that.

Well this is where I'm at now. Sci-Fry ready to be recorded, and about 4 tracks written on the next collection. I'm doing the electro thang still too, releasing a song every couple months or so. I'm always looking for more music to listen to also, so tweet some bands at me, or leave come in the comments.

Thanks for reading! I honestly didn't expect anyone to read this whole thing, shame on anyone skimming to the last paragraph! Hope you enjoy my tunes, and don't forget to visit my music on SoundCloud.