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News: May 27, 2011: The band is no more....
deliberating on it for awhile, i've decided to end High Watt. It's been
a great run for all these years, and i've met and talked to many
awesome people along the way. Eventually everything must end, and I
felt that it had to end at some point when it was still creatively
vital. There were some tough times, to be sure--the music's weird,
uninviting and often terrifying veneer endeared it to a very, VERY
small audience in which the albums lost alot of money to offer 100
percent of a vision--but the music was absolutely uncompromised in the
way of getting what was in my head onto the final medium, which
involved numerous nervous breakdowns in varying stages of completion
and promotion. But when you consider that many bands are convinced
by labels, managers or even bandmates to make something that they don't
want to, I can tell anyone that I wouldn't have done anything
Well....maybe that's not entirely true, as I
don't personally believe that any artist really is completely satisfied
with their work, but I think that as long as you're almost all of the
way there, that at least the intention
is there. There will always be things about ourselves that we don't
like, and art is no different--the main thing is that you know that you
gave it everything you had. That's why the releases were never put out
until they'd endured endless mixing, production and reworking. For
better or worse, there wasn't even a second on any of those three
records that wasn't laboured or obsessed over, and I figured that
anything that still moved me after all of that work, was worth
releasing. I certainly wouldn't expect it to be worth an audience's
time if it wasn't worth my own.
Even alot of the
spontaneous jam type of things like various extended guitar solos
weren't necessarily laboured over in the recording process where there
was some freeform art noise at times (wherein the recording medium
functioned more as a documenting tool, in terms of a particular overall
vibe if not necessarily a smaller, specific one), but I can say that it
was laboured over in the final
mix and editing. If hitting the record button was the inviting allure
of night, the playback was the cruel light of day. Some tracks on the
records that are three minutes long were originally anywhere from 5-20
minutes long. Some tracks had got re-written because there were parts
of longer jams that took on a new direction and life, but didn't
necessarily work within the context of those longer songs. There's
plenty of High Watt material that didn't make it to the records; some
of it I really like but it didn't fit into the album concepts; some
other stuff was okay; some stuff had got physically erased off of my
harddrive because it was a waste of time in hindsight. Some things seem
better in the idea stage, but aren't so great in actuality. We all have
limitations, and the key is to find out what makes you push for
something that you can tangibly reach, and what you're not cut out to
do; a comfortable uncomfort zone.
personal high for me, probably, was the inclusion on Classic Rock
Magazine's Space Rock
compilation disc in Dec. of '09, as well as seeing all three of the
releases go on to enjoy some good radio airplay on a variety of campus
radio stations and shows, where they play music that wouldn't otherwise
stand a chance on the mainstream radio airwaves. With very little
promotional budgets for the releases that had otherwise consisted
pretty much of an industrial strength campus radio promotion (LOTS of
envelopes and stamps) and niche magazine/ zine/ blog promotions for
each record, coupled with a few well thought out emails to various
people, the releases survived solely on what others heard in the music.
I don't know that much about being a record label guy (my label really
functions more as a way to evade the "independent" tag), but one thing
that i'd learned is that the main thing is that you get the music out
there to those who you speculate would enjoy it the most. There's some
that tell you no, but when i'd found the people that were into the
admittedly obscure influences, the door was always open far more than
it was closed. "Night Songs", if I recall in tracking back to where and
what was played, had all of the songs played somewhere, eventually. For
records without singles (and one record in "The Bermuda Triangle" that
essentially was a single,
albeit a 39 minute one!), it had gone much further in that regard than
I could have imagined. I'm truly grateful for that--all the hosts and
station directors passing it onto people and getting the music out
after creating three albums that I feel were challenging--with none of
them sounding a heckuva lot like each other-- I felt that i'd exhausted
everything that i'd set out to do with the band, and that new
recordings were progressing in a manner where it was no longer the
spirit of the original intentions of the band.....which was to provoke
somewhat, to have an overall sense of chaos. Maybe that just boils down
to getting older, but sometimes one's priorities and goals change in
life. I also feel that i've gone as far as I can go with the weird,
obscurist psychedelics, as new recordings under a totally separate
project are much more pop oriented, although with a space rock friendly
of "The Bermuda Triangle", but with lots of three/ four part vocal
harmonies and huge choruses and solos and discernable vocals and
lyrics. It expands to include many things that i'd reached for and
failed at, but fortunately, I feel that's the minority--the mixes and
end results have pushed me as a writer and producer to create something
that reaches something that I didn't know that I had, that would have
otherwise been out of place on a High Watt record.
Plus, I like
the idea of finality to a band or project, that the idea that the
reactions to the music and art eventually determine the validity of
that music over the passing years. As musicians and artists, ultimately
we never write the final chapter on the music when it is out there in
the public domain, we must let go of our own preconceptions on it and
let it survive purely with others. That
is perhaps the most difficult thing to accept for any artist--it is
most likely the reason why bands put out several (or endless) attempts
to re-create what made their classic albums so special, but no matter
what a band or artist says, whether the new one is their "best ever" or
not, I find a certain solace in that sometimes you just take your chips
away from the table and stop playing the game altogether.
Vanity can be a strange and cruel thing, because it's rarely perceived properly by the beholder.
list of people that deserve thanks is much too long to list, but it's
safe to say that if you've played the music or bought it and/ or
supported it in some way, that you're in there somewhere. Thank you! It's reached much, much further than i'd ever imagined. As for the records and cds, they won't be re-pressed, so once they're gone, that's it.
News Nov. 24, 2010: New Interview, Aural Innovations Show
There's a new interview with The Obelisk regarding "The Bermuda Triangle", and a couple of tracks (including some of "The Bermuda Triangle") were added to a new Aural Innovations show--both well respected psych/ heavy/ experimental/ prog/ ambient taste aficionados. Check it out.
The release was also number 103 for October on Earshot's Canadian Campus Radio Charts for the month of October 2010.
well, there's a great review of "The Bermuda Triangle" in the upcoming
#67 issue of The Big Takeover, as well as a review in the upcoming
issue of Progression Magazine.
News Nov. 7, 2010: New Updates In The Press Section
reviews of "The Bermuda Triangle" from Peacedogman, Babysue, The
Uniter, The Sleeping Shaman, and The Obelisk. Plus a new review of
"Desert Opuses" at Maelstrom Zine--proving that some promos still get
around well after they were initially sent....
News Sept 1, 2010: "The Bermuda Triangle"Finally
it's out! Well, really, it's only been two years since the last
record, but for artists, that sometimes feels like an eternity. "Is
this thing ever gonna be finished?". It took awhile to put everything
up properly on this site--the song samples, the specifics, making it
look fancy, you know the drill.
comes with a limited
edition bonus track/ release (download only) that's about 35 minutes
long, entitled "Atmospheric
Space Blues", a Hendrix meets Spacemen 3 lead guitar based jam. "The
Bermuda Triangle" is limited to 500 copies, and individually numbered,
and comes with individually painted, improvised one of a kind covers.
This release is much more subdued and
more optimistic sounding in nature than the last two releases. It's
more Floyd/ Spiritualized/ Love/ Dirty Three sounding, I think, and
it's all instrumental--utilizing alot of acoustic guitars, pianos and
synth stuff. As the challenge is to always push oneself
creatively as well as to push the audiences to grow along with their
bands, I think that it's integral to make sure that there's progression
over the course of time. If you take alot of the mellow songs from
"Night Songs", this sounds quite a bit like those, and though there's
some darker songs on the release (moreso mid-way through the album and
towards the end, culminating in thunderstorm sounds to close out the
cd), it's mostly a fairly calm, inviting sound. The Sabbath thing is
still there, though this is more "Orchid", "Solitude", "Fluff" than
anything, and I think that there's not the jarringness of the last two
records, which was conscious on this one. That was the goal, because
though I really still do like the difficult and abrasive nature of the
first two records, this one was done almost more as a soundtrack,
where one doesn't have to be as versed in the obscurist influences that
were all over the first two records in order to enjoy it.
lots of weird, dark and minor key moments, but it's overall a more
of vibe. It makes for good background music, but it's also crafted
enough where there's enough smaller details to keep the more discerning
listeners interested, I think.
News Mar 7, 2010: Cheaper MP3's and Digital Albums
still feels kinda weird writing 2010-- I thought we were all supposed
to be driving around in flying cars by now, but for now, it's still
pretty cool that you can read this directly from anywhere in the world,
I've made the MP3 files 49 cents each for every song on "Desert Opuses" and "Night Songs",
and made the digital albums available for $4.00. All digital stock must
go! Well, technically there's no limit on digital stock, so really
there's no excess surplus, but it sounds real fancy and business-like.
reason that i've priced them as such, is because the costs of digital
files really aren't that much, because you cut out the ink/ pressing/
shipping. I don't see any reason for anyone to be paying 10 bucks for a
digital MP3 album, simply because the costs are minimized. Sure,
there's the inherent cost of recording and gear and everything that's a
part of making the record, but just the ink/ pressing/ shipping alone
saves everyone some money.
The tracks are available through Cd
Freedom/ Nimbit, ITunes, Napster, Amazon MP3, Rhapsody, EMusic. ITunes
still charges 99 cents per track and there's nothing I can do
about that, but that's their policy.
News Feb. 8, 2010: Still Working on New Album.....
thought that i'd update the site as it hasn't been updated for a couple
of months. It's definetely not for a lack of activity! "Endorphinated"
has been bumped to the album following
this next one. The next one is called "The Bermuda Triangle", and it's
an entirely instrumental album. The reason for this was because as much
as "Endorphinated" encompasses what I want it to, I felt that there
needed to be a bit of a buffer album in between the heaviosity of
"Desert Opuses", and the change of sonics and moods and textures on
"Endorphinated". It was too drastic of a change, i'd felt. This album,
I feel, is that bridge and transition--it's still pretty far out
sounding and weird and esoteric, but the heavy fuzz is generally scaled
back a bit for synths and other instrumentation. "Endorphinated" makes
alot more sense after this one in terms of the evolution in a band's
It's still pretty heavy in mood at times,
though I think that the vibe of terror on past albums has been replaced
by more of a haunting vibe, when it does surface. It's generally a
fairly optimistic, sunnier sounding type of record.
I had some
instrumental songs kicking around, and they didn't quite fit on the
last couple of albums, and they also didn't fit on "Endorphinated".
They seemed to have their own thing and sort of dictated having their
own record, or never seeing the light of day at all. There's alot more
lead guitar and solos on this record. Some songs were older, some are
brand new. I sort of make it a priority to revisit an older unrecorded
or previously demoed song and there's one on here, too. The release
will be a limited edition with hand painted artwork, and hopefully
finished in the next couple of months.
News Nov. 29, 2009: Updates, Press, Interviews, etc
Ruins of the Pyramids" is featured on a Classic Rock Magazine space
rock sampler cd with December 2009's issue--featuring a holographic
Pink Floyd cover and a tribute to Dickie Peterson (Blue Cheer), it fits
right in, I think. Thanks goes out to Sleazegrinder.
"Desert Opuses" was the album of the week at Heavy Planet for Sept. 1. Thanks goes out to Reg.
There's some new reviews and interviews up in the press
section--some a few months old that i've been meaning to put up in the
meantime. Thanks to all involved for their time and efforts.
Also, much thanks to Tombstone and Spacey Kitty at the Crawlspace/ Melting Space Dreams/ Takilma FM for the excellent support.
but not least, the new album coming up next year is quite a change from
what I think is expected, but it's needed to continue to push
boundaries. You can read more about it here.
News Aug. 23, 2009: Review of "Desert Opuses" in Deaf
The review is here,
an excellent one, 4.5 out of 5. Thank you Hansel and Deaf Sparrow!
News Aug. 9, 2009: New "Desert Opuses" Charts,
Thanks to Scott at Lowcut for this
one! Four cuts/ stars.
Jerry Kranitz played "Headphone Opus" on the July
14, 2009 Aural Innovations show, and Aural Innovations is
pretty much one of, if not the
most well respected psych shows around. Thanks, Jerry!
It's #3 on the loud charts on CFRU Guelph's charts.
Thanks goes out to CFRU!
Also, I forgot that there was a HWE track on last year's Bad Acid Tab
7. Apparently, alot of places are sold out (Catacomb
is; StonerRock doesn't seem to have it anymore either). It's a cd/ dvd
and PDF magazine multimedia thing that's super cool, it has a bunch of
psych/ stoner/ experimental bands, going globally from a vast range of
locations. Check it out if you can find it....I think that there's
still some available right from Bad Acid's
News Aug. 4, 2009: Reviews, Interviews, Accolades,
I've compiled a bunch of reviews and interviews that i've done or got
over the last few months:
The Obelisk review
Interview with Uptown
Interview with The
top 200 campus radio albums for June 2009 (#96)
top 200 campus radio albums for May 2009 (#93)
Thanks to everyone involved! I would start by name, but
gonna forget some key people so you know who you are. If you write
somewhere or are interested in a promo for radio on a good show
somewhere, don't hesitate to ask for a promo.
News June 23, 2009:
Performance at the
Graffiti Gallery in Winnipeg on Friday, June 26.
I'll be playing a rare non-HWE gig with The Broken Orchestra
Winnipeg, and it will be improvised stuff. I love the power of
improvisation, and despite my inclinations towards guitar, i'll be
playing some noise generator stuff on MicroKorg, as well
percussion, so it should be pretty intense, and I look forward to
feeding off of the spontaneous energy of the band members. The band has some
really great and far out stuff, as they've been around for awhile.
April 8, 2009: "Desert
Opuses" cds have arrived
The cd version has
two songs that aren't on the vinyl: "Evilution" and "Stripped Ruins",
and there's a few ways that the cd and vinyl version differ
some different art designs and layout.
They're $16 CDN including shipping, worldwide. Purchase the vinyl and
cd, and save: $25 CDN, including shipping, worldwide.
Purchase "Desert Opuses" now--vinyl or
cd-- and get a limited edition download
for a "Mountains Of the Pharoahs" 5 song EP,
including one new song, one song dating back to the "Night Songs"
sessions roughly from 2004, one atmospheric demo song going
1997, and an orchestral remix of "Mountains of the Pharoahs". Also
included are photos of scratch lyric sheets and some other information
about the songs on how they were written and mixed, as well as some
other technical information.
News Dec. 21, 2008-- Special Offer
"Desert Opuses" now--either the cd or the vinyl--and get entered into a
limited time draw to win a
special test pressing of "Desert Opuses", featuring one of a kind
freehand custom drawn artwork, as well as custom hand cut
lettering on the front jacket. There are only five test pressings, all
on black vinyl, and this edition is the only one in existence with this
custom drawn artwork, truly making it individualistic.
"The Bermuda Triangle"
Released in 2010. 500 copy limited edition.
2008/2009 Released on translucent 140 gram gold vinyl and
limited to 400 copies.
Also available on cd.
Full tracks available at Last Fm
The official High Watt