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37. Remixed. Remastered.

Here’s the short version.  37 has been remixed and remastered!  The new mixes feature additional keyboard and guitar parts that didn’t make the original release but were recorded during the original sessions.  I believe these new mixes are truer to our vision for the EP.  So what happened?  Keep reading.

The long version.

Finishing an album (or EP) is a strange thing.  You are simultaneously excited to share the new songs, but also just a tad bit sick of them.  There really becomes a point of time when you decide it’s time to move on because you’ve nickel and dimed every mix decision to death and lost all objectivity months ago.

Such was the case in 2013 with 37.  The band was picking up steam.  We had gigs booked and were networking heavily with other local bands.  We really wanted physical product to sell at our shows that showcased our lean and mean approach to our live set.  And that’s where I think we went astray.  We felt rushed, and as a result, became too reductionist in our approach to the mixes.  We should have let things simmer a little longer to see what treatments best served the songs.

Some time after Karl’s passing, the idea of remixing 37 took root.  I worked in earnest on these mixes for months.  Revisiting EVERYTHING.  Changing EVERYTHING.  EQ.  Compression.  Level.  You name it.  But then, Nick and I started working on our new songs and the remixes went back on the shelf.

About three months ago, I found myself needing a distraction from mixing these new songs.  I pulled out a copy of 37 and put it on.  Generally, I liked what I heard, but right away I was disappointed with the drum sounds, particularly the snare.  Scott had such a great sounding drum kit and my mixes really didn’t do it justice.  Next, I noticed Karl’s bass tone.  Live, he almost always used a phaser and his tone was thick, meaty and chewy.  Not so on the EP.  And the bass tones on my remixes weren’t much better.  I decided right then and there to keep the good stuff from the original mixes and only change the things that really bothered me.  Along the way, and to my surprise, I discovered some forgotten tracks “hidden” within the mix files that really brought a couple of the songs to life.

Every song has at least one new part added that was omitted from the original release.  Some are very subtle, some aren’t.  I’ll let you discover all of them for yourself, but I want to mention three of my favorites.  1) The Fixx influenced vocal delay line (a la Red Skies at Night) on the chorus of Push & Pull, 2) Karl’s Moby-esque piano track on Change, and 3) my sustaining feedbacked guitar duringthe outro of Upside Down Girl.  Totally worth the price of admission.  

Now on to the nerdy, engineering stuff.

How did I address the lackluster snare sound?  Well, the main culprit was my overuse of the bottom snare mic.  Simple fix.  I muted it.  Second, was the snare reverb.  I was never really happy with my reverb options for snare (sorry Logic and Lexicon), so I went searching and found Valhalla’s excellent VintageVerb plugin.  The 80's plate algorithm sounds just like what a reverb should sound like on snare.

What about Karl’s bass sound?  Even though we recorded both a dry and wet version of Karl’s bass tracks, we only used the dry version for the original mixes.  Karl and I felt his phased out bass tone was too much - the phasing effect totally washed out the attack of his bass.  We tried mixing the dry and wet tracks in various combinations and tried every modulation plugin I owned, but nothing replicated the magic that happened live with his BOSS GT-10B multi-effects processor (with phaser set to stun!).  When it came time to work on his bass tone for the remixes, I knew I needed to nail the phaser effect.  Luckily, I had recently picked up the SoundToys PhaseMistress plugin and the first preset I tried on Karl’s bass track was exactly what I was looking for.  Thick, meaty, and defined. Perfect.

By the time you read this, the new mixes should be available in all the usual places for downloading and streaming.  If you are a collector and must have the original mixes, there are still a few copies of the CD available at CDBaby and Bandcamp.

I really hope you enjoy the re-mixes.

Now…back to the new EP.

It's Feels Good To Be Back!

Our first house concert on December 5, 2015, was awesome - a lovely backyard venue and a friendly crowd of 40+ people.  We could't have asked for a better night for Jordan's first gig with us.  Even the temperature was warmer than expected! On the spur of the moment, Jordan poured some liquid nitrogen (!!!) into our host's pool for an impromptu "smoke" show.  The combination of the smoke, the pool lighting, and the ambient guitar looping at the beginning of Introduction really set the mood for the rest of our set.

We posted two short videos from the show here and here.  Heck, even the sound is great! 

So now with this gig under our belts, it's time to shift gears and get back to the work of finishing vocals and sundry guitar parts for our upcoming EP.

As always, thanks for your continued support!

Matt

P.S.  Don't forget to download our take on the classic Christmas song, We Three Kings.  It's FREE.

What?!?  A gig?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the States and there is plenty to be thankful for - family, friends, our health, the RAIN, and of course, music.  It's true that our EP project is progressing more slowly than anticipated but our planned trajectory was diverted by an unforeseen gig. Yes, a gig! This, of course, necessitated finding a new bassist and getting him up to speed. Quickly.

Please welcome my good friend Jordan Reading into the King Never fold. Truthfully, Jordan has been a part of the extended King Never family for quite sometime. Most notably he played bass on our Christmas single We Three Kings from a few years ago.

What about the gig, you ask? Well, it's a house concert and could be cancelled because of rain!  Ha. But, it will likely go off without a hitch, and honestly, I've been curious to try this whole house concert thing. Especially since we have the perfect yard for just such a thing. 

Hmmm....

As you gather with friends and family this holiday season, would you be so kind as to mention King Never? We really need your help getting the word out as we approach the release of the new EP.

As always, thanks for your continued support. 

Matt

Drums, drums, drums!

Hello there! I'm happy to report that Nick's drums have been recorded for all three of our new songs.  We just finished recording drums for the last song last weekend and it sounds great!

I posted a couple videos to our Youtube page, and if you listen carefully, you can hear a teaser of one of the songs in the background as Nick is tracking drums.

And yes, we recorded in my garage...it's the only space in my house with vaulted ceilings and it really makes a difference with drums. 

By the time you read this, I'll hopefully have the basic guitar tracks recorded for a song or two.  Then I'll start tackling the vocals or maybe circle back around and add some additional texture guitar parts or loops.  Regardless, I've got my guitar cabinet mic'ed up and ready to rock!

As always, thanks for your continued support.

Matt

Dodgy Lyrics and Re-Voiced Chords

Work is progressing nicely on our new three song EP.  Finally.  I got a bit bogged down with lyric writing paralysis, but that has passed.  Two songs are ready to go and the final song is well underway. Yesterday afternoon I spent some quality time working on the final song, tentatively titled It Doesn't Have To Be (yes, a horrid, whiney name).  Of any of our songs to date, this one has been re-worked the most.  It started life back when Scott was still drumming for us and underwent at least two major re-writes with different, yet similar chords, and some dodgy verse lyrics that never seemed right.  Another major re-write happened when Nick joined.  I changed the chords again and Karl recorded what will be the final bass line.  My guitar part was getting closer, but still wasn't THE PART.  Well, that is, until yesterday afternoon.  I re-voiced a few chords and simplified the others and was left with the distinct impression that Karl would really dig what I came up with.  So...the verse lyrics still need help, but now that the music feels right, they will come quickly.

If you are subscribed to our email list (and if not, why not?), you'll notice we've switched to MailChimp for list management stuff.  Hopefully the switch was seamless and nothing blew up in cyberspace.

Thanks for your continued support.

Matt

Gone But Not Forgotten

I’d be lying if I said Karl’s passing didn’t knock the wind out of my sails.  For me, it was two deaths in one - the death of a friend and the death of the music we created together.  This really hit home at Karl’s funeral.  His brother Derrick and friend Morris set up Karl’s rig - his lefty Schecter bass, Fender amp, and BOSS effects.  Everything was ready to go, but Karl was gone.  I can’t believe it’s been 7 months already. In the months leading up to the discovery of Karl’s illness, we spent a considerable amount of time as a band working on a new song tentatively called It Doesn’t Have To Be.  We were also in, what I like to call, the “train wreck” phase of a song called Over Me.  During this period, I emailed Karl the rough demos I created while working on the melodies and lyrics for the songs.  In turn, Karl sent back versions with his bass parts overdubbed on top of my raggedy guitar parts, dodgy singing and lyrics that seemed to be in a constant state of flux.  BUT, with his bass added, the songs seemed more complete and well…song like.  We were making progress.

As his health deteriorated further, Karl emailed me an audio file unassumingly called song2.  It had an undeniable vibe to it and I knew it was the beginning of a great song.  I overdubbed some guitar parts and sent it back, to which he replied, “oooh that was policey, love it :D.”  Yep, Karl got it.  He always did.

Karl started chemo around this time and it was hard on him - physically and emotionally.  One day, he emailed that he had gotten some “new blood” and hoped to flesh out the chorus for song2.  Sadly, he never got the time.

In the short month or two leading up to his death, I listened to these songs over and over again, always thinking Karl was going to beat cancer and we would pick up where we left off.  I still needed to finish lyrics, but I couldn’t bring myself to put pen to paper.  Unconsciously, I probably knew.

So when Karl passed, I tried to let the songs go.  They weren’t the songs I had come to love without his bass playing.  But still, I knew he had recorded his bass parts, and I secretly hoped Nick and I could somehow finish the songs.

I eventually asked Derrick if he would poke around on Karl’s laptop to see if his raw bass tracks were there.  The mp3s I had were just too rough use, thanks to the “demo” nature of my parts and the programmed drums.  Unfortunately, Derrick’s searches turned up nothing based on the song titles I knew.

Still hopeful, Derrick and I got together a few weeks ago and began to pour over Karl’s computer.  There were easily a hundred or more different songs on his hard drive.  None of the names were familiar to me, but I opened up the most likely candidates.  song2, policey, demo1, demo1a, demo2, demO, idea1, never, and new.  None of them were OUR songs.  But then I got lucky - 02 Audio Track-1, 03 Audio Track-6 and 04 Audio Track-1 turned out to be the bass parts for Over Me!  Perhaps not wanting me to camp out all night, Derrick let me take Karl’s laptop home to continue the search.

Within two or three hours of getting home, I discovered that 02 Audio Track-6 and Has2Be were the bass tracks for It Doesn’t Have To Be.  And the project named complexities contained the individual bass tracks for song2.

So what does this all mean?

I now have in my possession all the bass tracks Karl recorded for three new King Never songs…and Nick and I plan to finish them. We will finish them as a duo, honoring Karl’s substantial contribution to the band.

We hope you’ll stay tuned as we bring these songs to light.

Matt

 

RIP Karl Lane

If you've been following our Facebook or Twitter feed, you've already heard the terrible news.  For those of you that haven't heard, I am sad to say that our bassist and friend Karl lost his fight with cancer on August 11, 2014.  His passing leaves a huge emptiness in the band. Karl's obituary can be read here.

Sometimes...

Sometimes life kicks you when you are down.  Sometimes life just kicks you. As some of you may have already gathered, our bassist Karl has been having health issues the last few months, but only recently has the full extent of it been known.  I'll let Karl fill you in....

This is what's on my mind.. Those that know me in real life know that my health has been up and down for some time now, I just didn't know the extent of it until I went to the ER last week to see why my 'shoulder' was in so much pain, 13hrs hours later I'm admitted since the dr's were 99% sure it's Cancer, so that's where im at now, King Never is kind of on hold from gigs, and I won't be doing much else besides what the army of dr's wants me to do to get thru this. I know I'll be ok, but I admit this all scares me. So much on my mind, but dwindling energy will cut this short. Life seems so different when you're not sure how long you may or may not have left of it. Anyway, I start chemo in 2 weeks, had surgery already, tumor is completely removed, it spread slightly to my lung, hence the 'shoulder' pain, chemo should zap that. I want to thank my family for helping me thru this, my mom first of all for having to take care of me again, then my brother and my sister in law, I love those two, more than I can say, then my Dad, my best friend. Thanks to my friends for visiting and calling whil I was in the hospital, I love you guys/gals. Ok done being all emo, figured I should update the friends I haven't gotten ahold of, nothing personal, just hard to do while sleeping 15-20hrs a day. Ok friends, goodnite, I never could have imagined in a million years, the outpouring of love and support I've gotten. Thank you.

I can't really think of anything to add except to please keep Karl in your thoughts and prayers.  Specifically, pray for healing.  Karl is an incredibly gifted musician and a wonderful person.

Matt

Some Upcoming Gigs

This Friday night, April 4th, we return to the Boardwalk in Orangevale, CA.  If you plan on coming to the gig, let us know.  We can save you $2 at the door if you purchase tickets from us before the show.  We had a great turnout last time we played the Boardwalk and we hope to do the same this time. Friday, April 18th, we return to San Francisco for a show at 50 Mason Social Club.  If you show up in your favorite 60's garb, you'll save $2 off the cover charge.  Don't ask us why it's 60's garb, because we don't know!

We hope to see you at one of the shows!

Thanks for your continued support.

- Matt, Karl and Nick