This Was 2015!

Music-Love-Headphones-2013-WallpaperI don’t care about new year celebrations, I don’t care for fireworks, drinking champagne, nor going partying tonight for what is in essence just and end of the year. That’s just my opinion ofcourse, I don’t judge those who like to go on a party streak, by all means, do, and enjoy yourself (no sarcasm here!).

I do however like to stand still and reflect on what has happened – as I feel (personally, for me) that’s the only thing worthwile doing in such a period. This is what you’ll find below…

I liked music…

Completely arbitrary list, don’t mind the order, these are the tracks or releases that I either discovered, rediscovered or had an impact on me this year…

  1. Conjure One ft. Hanna Ray – “Kill The Fear”, from the 2015 album “Holoscenic”.
    Really liked slow paced beat, dragging and thriving bassline. Yet, still with the typical drums and ethereal sounds and vocal approach of Conjure One. No single Conjure One album has disappointed me so far, this one is again one I will play a lot in 2016 and onwards!
  2. Florrie – “Little White Lies”, from the 2014 EP “Little White Lies”.
    Yes, she’s been around quite some time, but I discovered her late 2014 and early 2015, so for me it’s a brand new release ;)… I just like the mix of electropop and mix of styles. Apart from “Little White Lies” my most favourite track (though from 2012) is “Shot You Down” due to the very repetitive, but always building in tension, epic synth layered track.

  3. Tove Lo – “The Way That I Am”, from the 2015 album “Queen Of The Clouds”.
    I relate this quite a lot to the kind of music Florrie brings. Yet Tove Lo is bit more dirty in sound, yet still pop, yet still an alternative dark atmosphere with emotional and striking chords. The track “The Way Thet I Am” is far from “THE” representation of the album, but it’s one the tracks I did play most – there’s plenty more to discover though!
  4. Sting – “Russians”, from the 1985 album “The Dream Of The Blue Turtles”.
    Yes, not released in 2015 (as I said it’s my arbitrary list ;)), yet still very relevant for the state of the world today. As such, it would be such and ignorant thing to not include this track.
  5. Karin Park“Thousand Loaded Guns”, from the 2012 album “Highwire Poetry”.
    If you like 80s, synthpop, electropop… Be sure to check out this track, I discovered it by going through her catalogue this year after her 2015 release “Apocalypse Pop”. This is my favourite track, and another prime example of what I like to find in electronic pop music with a darker edge. Both vocals, lyrics, melodies and epic strings that are building up towards a climax. Top!
  6. Emika – “Battles”, from the 2015 album “DREI”.
    I’m following Emika since her first release, and for me it’s like Karin Park, one that’s still deserves a lot more attention, yet recently Emika is starting to get this, fortunately! The track “Battles” is typical, classical, Emika. My favourite track of her is still “After the Fall”, from the 2013 release “DVA”, due to the floating sounds and weird synths all around, especially in the chorus.

  7. Entrzelle – “Fraud”, taken from the 2015 album “Part of the Movement”.
    David Chamberlin, the man behind the project, has an amazing voice and brings a very fresh sound to the table with his male vocal based electro and synthpop. Partly due to mixing in elements into the music that are exotic to the genre, and twisting some rules. I was pleasantly surprised, and was happy to contribute a remix to the album as well.

  8. Arctic Sunrise – “200 Souls”, from their 2015 album “A Smarter Enemy”.
    I picked “200 Souls” here, but you should listen to the whole album to listen to the production, choice of sounds, the vocals, etc.. Really well produced and written synth/electropop. A totally new discovery for me this year, this band.
  9. B-Sights, a project from Dizkodude. He did a remix for a track of ours, “Words ft. J Airi”, and I really really digg his style and approach to remixing as well. Check out the remix below, it has been very well received and was very happy he could find the time to make this cool remix. Looking forward to more of the solo work B-Sights will put out!
  10. And so much much much more music from Purity Ring, Röyksopp, Robyn, Lovelorn Dolls, Guru Josh (RIP), Essence Of Mind, Junksista, Selah Sue, Vérité, Arctic Sunrise (really like the sound of their 2015 album “A Smarter Enemy”, and much more ofcourse…

I liked games…

Apart from music, I like playing games from time to time… The games that captured my attention this year? Find out below…

  1. Party Hard from Pinokl Games.
    The story? You’ve been woken at 3PM, the party will not allow you to get asleep, kill everyobody at the party and don’t get caught… It’s a quite addictive stealth game and it has a really cool 80s inspired soundtrack :)! The game still recieves a lot of updates via STEAM. As I said, it’s fun, but it’s not quite an easy game.. Patience, stealthy, being cunning enough and sometimes a bit of luck will give you the win, or the kill… 😉
  2. Project Cars from WMD & Slightly Mad Studios.
    A kind of sim racer, not true sim as iRacing or rFactor (2) and others. But it does give you a more edgy, difficult experience than an arcade racer, which it is far far from. It isn’t a perfect game either, but when it does hit the mark, you can have some epic experiences on the track as well as online. And whilst the studio itself has had a bit of a rough start, and avoiding or ignoring criticism from the users, they’re still releasing patches and content for the game that is indeed improving it along the way. Apart from the initial release, after patch 3, I did start having a lot of fun mastering the cars and driving endurance races, as well as GT3 sprint and touring (Clio & Megane) races. Enjoyable to get away from this world and focus on something completely else for a few hours!

2016, here we come

I can’t wait to start 2016 – not because of the partying, celebrations and such, but because in 2016 I will be releasing the new PSY’AVIAH album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”. And the closer to that date, the happier I am. Really eager to share the work of late 2014 and most of 2015 with you. Stay tuned!

Grtzz
Yves Schelpe
Psy’Aviah

Win “Symphony” Game (Steam/PC) : Psy’Aviah 2015 Xmas Giveway

giveway2015The end of the year is in sight, holidays all around, and … damn you christmas music ;)!! We thought you could use a treat 😉 – we have 10 STEAM (PC) keys of the music based game Symphony! Check out the gameplay video below (with three new Psy’Aviah tracks from the upcoming album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”) and then take part via the form below to take a shot at winning the game. The contest ends on december the 27th!

In the game Symphony, you fight through levels uniquely generated by your own song collection, discover items and vanquish bosses to defeat the evil within! Every song has a unique emotion, sound and rhythm, and we wanted the gameplay to capture that as fully as possible. When your music gets intense or calmer, so does the gameplay. Enemies appear and shoot on the beat of the music. Some weapons are music-driven. Each song has its personality and it directly translates into gameplay.

!! YOU HAVE UNTIL DECEMBER 27th TO TAKE PART !!

Video

Take Part

Fill out the form in a new page by clicking here [ http://goo.gl/forms/LW26anr8HH ], or via the embedded questionnaire below

#ThisWas2015: EP “Never Look Back / Words”, Videos and 18k listeners on #Spotify

Thanks a bunch to all of you out there who supported us by either streaming, buying or having played something of us this year. I’m happy & grateful to have landed on some of Spotify’s hot (#dance / #electro and #triphop) playlists that made us discoverable for a lot of new people that would’ve otherwise not found out about us.
18000 listeners on Spotify for Psy'Aviah in 2015

Anyway, there’s a lot more new music coming in 2016, our new album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars” for example that is a follow up on the EP “Never Look Back / Words”, so stay tuned for more!

Grtzz & see you in 2016!
Yves Schelpe / Psy’Aviah

“Face To Face” remix contest winners: “rool” & “People Theatre”

Thbooklet4-5__Editanks to every single one for sending in their entry to our remix contest for “Face To Face feat. Roeland van der Velde”. It was a short deadline, one month to deliver a remix, but so many of you managed to deliver a version – each in their unique style and genre. We hope you enjoyed it as well.

I hereby want to let you know it wasn’t an easy decision, as choosing is so difficult we opted for picking two remixes in stead of just one… The winners are, pom pom pom (well you’ve probably already read it in the title): rool [ facebook: www.facebook.com/rool-54058090700/ ] and People Theatre [ soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/people-theatre ]. Congratulations, you’ll find those remixes on the “bonus disc edition” of “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”, or you can listen to the preview on the soundcloud link below.

For those who couldn’t remix, aren’t interested in remixing, but do want to participate in a contest, rest assured, we’ve got something cool coming in the form of a “music game” that you can win… More info soon – so stay tuned!

Grtzz
Yves / Psy’Aviah

 

Remix Contest “Face to Face ft. Roeland van der Velde”

The rules

  1. One winner will be chosen and featured on the bonus disc edition of our upcoming 2016 album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”, released via Alfa Matrix records – worldwide, on printed CD’s, digital distribution via streaming & download sales (iTunes, Spotify, etc.. etc..).
  2. All genres are welcome, though we’re focusing on trance, dance, dubstep and drum & bass influenced tracks. But feel free to send in other genres if you want to surprise us!
  3. We’ll need the files (afterwards) unmastered, with the vocal and a dub version in WAVE or AIFF.
  4. Do not publicly share your remix, please keep it private for us only.
  5. Contest closes end of november, that is november 30th 23:59!

How to participate?

  1. Download the remix pack at [ via our FTP FaceToFacePsyaviahRemixkit_118BPM_ContestUntil30Nov2015.zip || or via our dropbox mirror https://copy.com/TmGb69gcLxjTSuSV ].
    NOTICE/WARNING: If you experience ERRORS while unzipping,
    on WINDOWS, try using 7zip [ http://www.7-zip.org/ ], or WinRar, and not the standard unzipping tools that come with your operating system
    on MAC/OSX, try using Kekahttp://www.kekaosx.com/ ], which is a 7zip port.
    — Also make sure sure the zip file is downloaded completely.
  2. Send in your remix before november 30th 23:59 to info@psyaviah.com with a download link to an MP3 file, or a link to a privately shared SoundCloud or YouTube video. But do not make it public yet.

12011130_10150524938714982_1972278526696560149_n

New music video for “Never Look Back” ft. Ellia Bisker (Sweet Soubrette)

The12184040_10150538464789982_2584957731907556742_o music video was shot at the [MIDDELHEIMMUSEUM], an open air sculpture museum located near Wilrijk, Antwerpen, Belgium. #Nature and #art meet each other halfway in this environment, and with a little imagination these sculptures really come to life and can tell a compelling story.

Especially during autumn, a season which I adore because of it’s rich color palette… So, if ever you’re in Antwerp, do take a visit to the museum. On their website ( www.middelheimmuseum.be ) they have information on free guided tours, workshops, events, and more…

Either way, for those who can’t pay a visit, have a look at the music video 😉

The sculptures portrayed in the video are

  • Lopend Meisje” by Kurt Gebauer
  • Kolom” by Felix Roulin
  • “Ursula” by Julio L. Hernandez
  • Pandora” by Edwin Scharf
    (shot from behind the trees)
  • Grote Bandende” by Wieland Forster
  • Roodhuid” by Arvo Siikamäki
  • Dames” by Floriano Bodini
  • De Danspas” by Giacomo Manzu
  • And many more…

Lyrics

driving in circles, caught up in cycles
it’s all happened before
that old deja vu, got an eye on the rear view
put the pedal to the floor

we can’t seem to run away
but we don’t need to anyway
please believe me when I say
baby we can change

I’ll give you a reason to give me a second chance
sun rise it’s a new day
we’ll start a new season without a backward glance
it’s too good to throw it away

gotta learn how to become
more than all the things we’ve done
gotta face into the sun
gotta put our shadows behind us

never look back
past is the past
a half empty glass
never look back
past is the past
a half empty glass
look into the future

remember the long nights, and how much you missed me
forget about the things that I said
it’s gonna be all right, we’ll rewrite our history
take the past and put it to bed

we can’t seem to run away
but we don’t need to anyway
please believe me when I say
baby we can change

I’ll give you a reason to give me a second chance
sun rise it’s a new day
we’ll start a new season without a backward glance
it’s too good to throw it away

gotta learn how to become
more than all the things we’ve done
gotta face into the sun
gotta put our shadows behind us

never look back
past is the past
a half empty glass
never look back
past is the past

Dissecting the Song: “Words ft. J Airi”

WORDS_img_01 In “Dissecting the Song” I try to explaing what’s behind the lyrics, what production techniques were used, and more…

“Words” is a track taken from the 2015 EP “Never Look Back / Words“, written by Yves Schelpe, vocals performed by jamaican artist J Aira (aka Aisha Ricketts), mixed by Mitia Wexler and mastered by Geert de Wilde.

Words, words, words…

The basic idea behind the lyrics was to portray how often words fall short to describe something. Sometimes one needs to really experience something, sometimes you need to feel it. A bit like the famous saying “a picture is worth a thousand words“. I guess you’re thinkg, duh, that’s quite obvious given the lyrics… There’s other motivations I had for writing on this topic, like the times you feel like it’s better to say nothing at all than to rattle out nonsense. The times a question’s asked and you experience a total blackout – not knowing what to say – time stands still and people wonder if you’re still on planet earth, while you yourself are just panicking and thinking, what the hell should I say? And then there’s also the moments your mind is filled with words, a lot of them, so many, but you just can’t form a sentence. It feels like you’re stumbling over them, they all want to get out in one go and this way choke you, leaving you speechless and the other people wondering, again, where the hell you are…

Production

Originally the track was more up tempo and electronic, as you can hear in an instrumental draft in the soundcloud player on this page, created for the upcoming 2016 album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”. The reason it didn’t make the cut was because it didn’t fit the “tone” of the album, yet I didn’t want to let this track go to waste… So, putting it as an exclusive on the “Never Look Back / Words” EP was an ideal solution, but to make it fit I had to make a sort of triphop + motown/jazzy/retro/electro fusion remix to make it fit with the title track “Never Look Back ft. Ellia Bisker“.

Part of that was to make it more downtempo and give the drums and percussion a more acoustic feeling. (On a sidenote: I’ve always had a soft spot for acoustic drums with electronic elements fused in). Next I worked with the strings from the “Edirol Orchestral” plugin, layering a lot of parts – both filtered (as you can hear in the beginning of the track) and fully opened. To enhance a kind of triphop/retro feeling I split the bass into both a rolling bass (electronic) and a deep cello playing stackatto style most of the time, alternating with the strings that play a bit longer. (Sidenote: the stackatto style cello is from the base library of Native Instrument’s Kontakt 5 library).

Mixing process

As previously mentioned in another blog post, I work with a mixing engineer to maximize the potential of the music I write. I do make my own demo mixes ofcourse, so the engineer has an idea where the track is headed, and I can go all out creatively. Yet, when sending the stems to the mixing studio, I always provide dry versions (no fx, only creative fx) so that the engineer has the “source material” to work with when mixing the track. Below you can read how Mitia Wexler tackled the song “Words” in his wxlr.mx studio.

words-composite-screenshot
Words Mix Session Composite in Ableton – Click to enlarge

Words came as a B-side to Never Look Back, and as such, it naturally sought the similarly gritty modern-retro treatment.

Driven by the simple shuffling beat, the drums are punchy, in-your-face, but still tamed to keep with the laid-back downtempo feel of the song. Most of the work there was hitting that balance. The shaker loop on the left hand side in the choruses had to be quantised for its first appearance — its shuffle wasn’t going well with the groove.
Bass is the driving force and it had to be really big and imposing. Its low end is augmented by the bass amp sim blended in, with some EQ to keep it reasonable, treat an unpleasant resonant peak and further add more silky lows. The second bass voice present in the choruses went through an amp and cabinet sims with more EQ sculpting to get it out of the way of the main bass, and stereo enhancement to make its presence more enveloping and put the two basses on different planes.
The strings weren’t radically altered, mostly getting some EQ to better define each part’s space. Cellos got some light compression to prolong their sustain. Similarly, the synthesiser elements were mostly EQ’d to keep them out of each other’s way. Many were rich on low frequency components, which, while pleasant in isolation, weren’t contributing to the overall sound and were treading on bass’ toes.
The vocals, being the undisputed main attraction of the song, were a surprisingly easy job. After a few minor pitch corrections, gating the headphone bleed, and a touch of warm saturation, they just fell into place. J Airi is masterful in her delivery, so riding was minimal and a gentle compression on the vocal bus was sufficient to glue the whole thing together without flattening the natural dynamics.
 
There are four aux busses: a short homogenising recording space-like ambience; a long vast hall, mostly fed by strings and vocals; and two delays, used by the synths and vocals, and feeding back into the reverb busses. The mix buss is limited to a harmonic exciter adding just a little bit of high frequency spark to this song, sober yet totalling 48 tracks.” ~ this lowdown of the mixing process was written by Mitia Wexler.

Mastering process

After mixing the track went to the studio of Geert de Wilde (known of IC 434 and Skyshifter). His experience with mastering the track (and EP) is below:

Adobe Audition View, Beofre & After mastering - Click to Enlarge
Adobe Audition View, Beofre & After mastering – Click to Enlarge

A great composition and singing, and of course a well-balanced mixed song to start with made the job not too hard. This song although, being part of an EP that was mixed by different people with a different musical background in style, needed to fit in, keeping respect for its unique character while not standing out too much in one way or another.

The stereo balance of this song was already quite perfect and didn’t need any adjustment. A main EQ dip around 100 Hz was added because there seemed to be a lot of energy in that region in the original mix compared to the other songs in the EP. After this, I needed the subtle help of an automated EQ to get a bit more spectral balance throughout the song. This was accompanied with a long attack/very long release multibands dynamic treatment to get a more “compact” track, but in a way that this effect is almost inaudible when not paying specific attention to that aspect.

Finally, I added subtle multibands mid/side tube saturation, taking care of the main part of the “glueing together” of the different elements in the song, and also adding a bit of clearness.

Of course, all this went through my favourite wideband limiter to get rid of any unwanted peaks and to obtain the desired “commercial” loudness without losing too much punch and squashing the result – in respect to the other songs’ individual volumes.” ~ this lowdown was written by Geert de Wilde.

Video

Tight on budget, I always try to come up with a video that somehow relates with the subject matter. In the video I tried scraping together images of people staring at each other, in different situations… Awkwardly long moments, loving, scared, suspicious… – but no talking. I overlayed it with the title and added the lyrics to make a kind of “lyric video”, yet with a bit more context and visuals. All of this was done in Adobe After Effects, with the core plugin set.

You can watch the video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHRSb6FuyNs.

Lyrics

no way, to let you know what I feel
to say, what I really want to say
words, where are the words?
what I really want you to know
waht I really want to say

time & time again, I rise, I fall
time & time again, I rise, I fall

these words are failing me again
these words are failing me again
these words are failing me again
I don’t know how to say
what I really want to say
what I really want to say now
what I really want to say
I don’t know how to say

mind, please give me some time
to find, no longer can I hide
why begin when I know how it ends
where should I go to find the strength

time & time again, I rise, I fall
time & time again, I rise, I fall

these words are failing me again
these words are failing me again
these words are failing me again
I don’t know how to say
what I really want to say
what I really want to say now
what I really want to say
I don’t know how to say

say, what I really want so say
words, where are the words
what I really want you to know
what I really want to say to you
these words are so damn difficult

Psy’Aviah presents the “Never Look Back / Words” EP

NeverLookBack_Words_800x800

With this “Never Look Back / Words” EP, we aspire to surprise everyone by revealing the first song from our forthcoming album “Seven Sorrows, Seven Stars”.

Past is the past, let’s all look into the future, there’s a promising new PSY’AVIAH album coming our way! Meanwhile, enjoy this new EP without moderation… When words are missing… music speaks for itself!

More eclectic than ever, we decided to put our hidden trip-hop side under the spotlight, featuring the unique voice of New York based singer Ellia Bisker from the jazzy act SWEET SOUBRETTE. A musical approach without any genre boundaries that he even reinforces on “Words”, an exclusive non-album song featuring the talented Jamaican female singer J. Airi who adds her Jamaican reggae spice to this trip-hop Motown flavored blend. You can pre-order today at bandcamp, or listen from the 23rd of October on all major digital platforms, e.g. Spotify, iTunes, AmazonMP3, etc..! You can pre-order at the Alfa-Matrix Bandcamp page & post a review if you want [ https://alfamatrix.bandcamp.com/album/never-look-back-words-ep ].

** All (original 001 & 002) songs written by Yves Schelpe.
Except 001, written by Yves Schelpe & Ellia Bisker.
Vocals on 001 by Ellia Bisker, vocals on 002 by J Aira.
** All (original 001 & 002) songs mixed by Mitia Wexler at wxlr.mx. Full EP mastered by Geert de Wilde (IC434, Skyshifter).
** Artwork by sheerheart.jp (Tomoki).
Photo in artwork is Ellia Bisker, picture taken by Emily Raw.
** Released by Alfa Matrix, October 23rd 2015.

Press release

More eclectic than ever, PSY’AVIAH decided to put his hidden trip-hop side under the spotlight, featuring the unique voice of NY singer Ellia Bisker from the jazzy act SWEET SOUBRETTE. A musical approach without any genre boundaries that he even reinforces on “Words”, an exclusive non-album song featuring the talented Jamaican female singer J. Airi who adds her Jamaican reggae spice to this trip-hop Motown flavored blend.

With this quite depressive and sorrowful modern jazz electro pop EP, Yves Schelpe takes his life back into his hands and blows a glimpse of hope, forgetting the past and moving ahead towards a brighter future… And once again, he found the perfect highly emotional vocalists to express these darkish melancholic feelings.  Throughout the 5 bonus remixes, this release progressively brings us closer to the stars and their brighter moments of happiness and relief. Starting from the wonderful fairy-tale interpretation of “Never Look Back” by mister Jean-Marc Lederman (ex-THE WEATHERMEN mastermind) and the dubby electro rework of “Words” by B-SIGHTS (DIZKODUDE producer) towards more and more enchanting and shining dancefloor moments through the club oriented remixes by house producer Gavril and electro dance DJ Simon Carter to finally end-up with a more experimental electro-industrial rework by BATERIST SINTETIC.

Past is the past, let’s all look into the future, there’s a promising new PSY’AVIAH album coming our way! Meanwhile, enjoy this new EP without moderation… When words are missing… music speaks for itself!

Songs inspired by my experience with a #Psychopath

The Psy’Aviah songs inspired by Psychopathy

Psychopathy, most people immediately think of epic characters like Dr. Hannibal Lecter, The Joker or other famous fictional characters with a serial killer stamp. Whilst those fictional characters might have traits of psychopathic behaviour, most real-life psychopaths aren’t your typical “mysterious and a little crazy” movie serial killer. Most of them live in society, your home, your workplace, your political leader, etc.. – and the gist of them they don’t kill physically, but crack people mentally. They’re not easy to spot, as they will do everything possible to keep their the mask, cover their tracks, hide in plain sight like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I’ve encountered such a destructive personality in my life and had to live with him, my father. But it was only after many years he was diagnosed as the “disease” or “condition” isn’t widely known and not easily recognised and often confused. Psychopaths are master manipulators, so they will make sure their victims have no story against them. People won’t believe what you say, as mr psychopath is such a loving man, intelligent and so charming. Always friendly… To the outside world, ofcourse. That’s the story behind the song “Tired” for example… – I really got tired explaining the situation, all the things you see and hear – it is very tiring to always have to defend yourself to the outside world when the psychopath covers his tracks with lies and manipulative behaviour. He will make sure his story is believed, not yours.

Just one Personal example

0516ea23a2c08f58030323a17a19bd163d172a-wmI will give you just one personal example of how their “Twisted Mind” can work. My father had a heart condition, hopsitalized he was treated with a bypass operation and had to follow a diet, quit smoking, quit drinking. One day he came to tell us the doctors told him he had less than a year to live and he would die from congestive heart failure – which was never disclosed to us as a family by the doctors. But ofcourse, you believe your father, not? You’re not going to question that ofcourse.. The doctors were also quite vague when talking to us as a family, words like “take care of yourself now”, “it’s time for you to live” – we didn’t really know what the doctor was alluding too, we’d find out later ofcourse.

Anyway, back home, mr psychopath started planning his funeral, and he organised a ceremony at our home, with the local pastor – everyone had do be dressed like ‘t was a funeral. A ceremony of more than an hour where texts would be read, music played, etc… Yes he was the dying one and he’d make sure everyone would know that. Yet, years passed, he never died, checkups with the doctor revealed his heart was ok, and later we found out he never had that congestive heart failure in the first place… But the years he persisted this he could take advantage of it and manipulate people with it. It may look like something trivial, and it’s hard to explain and recall every detail exactly, so my apologies if this looks like a weak example – I can assure you it isn’t.

And it’s just one example, it doesn’t stop there. I could go on and on and on… Lies, manipulation, deceiving, lack of emotion/empathy, being a big actor and charming to people outside, but always focusing attention to himself. He had it all.

They’re real and they’re around you

Many of the songs I’ve written in the past (see the spotify playlist embedded here) deal with the subject in some way or another. I wanted to share this because I recently heard about events that reminded me of my father, of a psychopath, again. They’re real, and they’re out there, you might not be the victim of them, or you might. However, not everyone is a psychopath ofcourse – it’s an estimated 1 in 100 people – and every psychopath is different, as it’s the combination of several traits that defines the behaviour. If you think you’re dealing with one, do your research and either run as far as you can or find allies for support.

A good documentary about the subject, focusing on the typical criminal ones, but also on the ones that are in the workplace and at ome, families and communities can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVRg4Xgo7Pc.


snakes-in-suits-corporate-psychopaths

Reasons Why We Don’t Play Live Anymore (that often.. for now at least..)

DISCLAIMER: Don’t take this post as a personal attack, nor as an attack towards *all* PA people or *all* event organisers. This is my opinion and a small transcript of the experiences I had, which are here to point out what the title says: “reasons why we don’t play live anymore (that often.. for now at least..)“.

Psy'Aviah live at Nijdrop, Pluto festivalAs much as I loved playing live with Psy’Aviah, I put it on hold for several reasons. I’ don’t want to rant or complain in this post, as the decision is my own and I just wanted to state why I made those decisions, and that they stem from experience having played small and big venues, from Nijdrop to Ancienne Belgique, from festivals such as BIM Fest to Gothic Festival, Paris, The Netherlands to playing for theatre projects and semi acoustic sets at FNAC venues… Great times I reflect on with a smile, a smile on the times playing and being on the stage itself.

I also want to make clear that this doesn’t mean Psy’Aviah Live will never happen again, I just don’t know why and I don’t know how it will manifest then.

on stage vs preperation

Enjoying the 45 minutes on stage is what I like most. The preperations before and after are so stressful that it kills the enjoyment of those 45 minutes of joy. I never had roadies, so preparing all the technical stuff plus dealing with the in house PA plus dealing with all kinds of things that go wrong plus being on time plus getting gear on/off stage while people are yelling at you or making snarky remarks on how you should better use that kind of DI and putting the blame on your gear, etc.. etc.. I could go on and on. All the rehearsals and scheduling up front. Yes I like that stage time, and I like talking with the people afterwards but rarely there’s time for that as the pre- and post-stage stuff to deal with is a lot, and it takes away from the fun.

The venue’s pa

I don’t want to blame the guy behind the PA too much, he’s a person doing what he likes to do. But the frustrations I’ve gone through during soundchecks and during the concert itself is kind of crazy. Sending in a rider with all technical info is either never recieved or present at the day of the event. So in a noisy environment we have to communicate intent to stage people, lighting people & PA, who are sometimes stressed out themselves as well is not an easy feat.

And some of the times you have PA that’s just incompetent or stubborn… After soundcheck not even writing down the settings, or storing them in the system. How the hell are we supposed to have the same sound at the concert itself then? And then there’s those people behind the mixing desk that just walk away in the middle of your set to smoke a cigarette, leaving the mixing desk alone… These are things I didn’t experience just once, no, it happened a lot. So, we eventually took someone with us to handle the sound, for which I am grateful that he did that. But he himself had to go through the same discussions witht he inhouse/hired PA to explain he will do the sound… While all of that was already explained on the rider…

And don’t get me started when you bring visuals to the live show… The times I heard “whoops, what cable is that?” or “Yes, I’ll arrange that projector for you” and it wasn’t present or malfunctional at the event… What’s the point of a technical rider when nothing is done with it

Ben Van de Cruys on guitarOrganisation

Which leads to the organisation. I understand that things can go wrong, but I can count the events on one hand where organisation was being taken care of ok, and problems during the event were communicated well and with respect. Most of those events were actually outside the so called black/electro scene. Professionalism is rare, amateurism is the norm. And it’s not about the budget or being paid a big fee, but about true professionalism which means respect, timing, keeping your promises and communication to both audience, the PA they hired and the bands that are playing when something is going wrong or when things don’t go as planned. Those four key things are surprisingly difficult for most events/organisations to pull off. This all adds to the stress level and the overall feeling you have as a band on the festival or venue itself. I won’t go into detail, because what happened has happened, but let one thing be clear, respect, communication and keeping promises are things I consider key when you’re invited to play at an event. If they’re not present, you don’t feel comfortable, and it takes away the fun.

And don’t get me started about the lack of promotion or the lack of research that went into organising an event… which often lead to (financial) disasters…

But I STILL ENJOY IT!

And there’s a lot more, but I think I said the most important things. But let me once again state that I enjoy performing live (those 45 minutes on stage). I love to connect with the fans that show up, and creating new fans. And when a good venue, a decent organisation shows up with a good proposal we will perform live again. I want to deliver quality to the audience that comes – and ofcourse we as a band need to deliver that, but part of it is the venue, PA and organisation as well. If those things are not ok, then we won’t.

Flashback, let’s “Keep Hope alive” 😉

To wrap up, here’s a rare clip of “Keep Hope Alive” being played live at “Le Klub” in paris.