2023 marks 25 years since I started recording and performing music and noise. It is the year of retrospect and reconstruction of my first ideas and also the year of my first ever vinyl release under my birth name.
I started in 1998 with a classical guitar and a tape recorder. Those were the rimbaudesque days full of creative joy, escapade, expedition, and surprise – from first inspirations like Kurt Cobain, Syd Barrett, and Jim Morrison to other discoveries like Budgie, Nektar, or Hawkwind – when I started buying vinyl around the year 2000. Some of these recordings have been now released on a compilation album on the Polish netlabel Free Arts Lab.
How can you convey a song about a disease? Especially a disease like epilepsy that most people have heard about but probably know very little about. And can I express the feelings and the hopelessness associated with having a child with this disease without it being simply too much for others to listen to?
Among other things, it was with these thoughts that I started writing the song Epilepsy. A song that has now become very central to my album The Admirer, which is my most personal album to date. The song was also the first single from the album, and was released on International Epilepsy Day. That all made sense.
Asher Swisa and I share a profound connection that has spanned many years, our paths intertwining naturally within the music world.
Our fateful encounter occurred at an electrifying event hosted by my label during the esteemed Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). Playing together that night only deepened our bond, and it was clear that our shared passion for music would lead us to embark on a creative journey together.
On our sophomore full-length album, “No Easy Way Out,” we examine tragedy underneath a bed of pulsating drone-rock following the murder of our bass player Aron Christensen in 2022, inspired by artists like Spacemen 3, The Velvet Underground, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
We do a lot of things: heavy blues, psychedelic, and atmospheric rock. It’s not as psychedelic/jammy as our first record. It’s more dark and brooding. It has some jams in it, but it’s far more focused.
Tragically, the biggest story isn’t our sound but the death of Aron Christensen, who was murdered while hiking with his four-month-old puppy, Buzzo. Inept police work, a lazy district attorney, and many questions that will probably never be answered have led many news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, to write about Aron’s mysterious murder. However, before his passing, we were finishing what would become No Easy Way Out, an eight-track collection of songs that explore, examine, and contemplate life, death, and how nobody makes it out alive.
When I wrote ‘Good For Nothin’, I knew that I wanted something that was different from what I’d done before; I wanted something that would clash with the music I’d released before.
So my producer played this loop of a guitar, and it reminded me of the song that’d play when Cowboys had a standoff; it sounded dangerous and captivating but once I heard the percussion, I was immediately excited! I’d never done something that was this brash and dark; I wanted the entire song to be like that.
Reading the stories on this website is a humbling experience, seeing that every person has been through so many things — both good and bad — and it only goes to show the evils of ignorance and presumptions, which may just rid one of many a great encounter. At the same time, acknowledging the scope of everybody’s inner world can become a maddening experience. When stuck in traffic or when boarding a bus, the realization that everyone there has a family to go home to (or not), with their own individual problems and pockets of happiness, who are having children, each with their own proper names and lives, etc., etc. can drive one crazy.
Did you know that there is a word for this? Sonder, or “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” I am afraid some people never have this feeling, which is unfortunate for themselves and everyone around them. But I am also convinced that an artist cannot live without it. The artist manages to internalize other people’s stories and turn them into art: in doing it, the artist makes the ocean’s vastness intelligible, drop by drop. In keeping with this analogy, we find that some stories are constantly and haphazardly pumped from the water’s surface, whereas others must be sought for at the depth of the Mariana trench.
I fear that my story belongs to the latter category, but don’t pity me because I’ve already come to terms with obscurity. Now let this be the introduction to my own little story about how a Dutch bloke decided to write an album based on the first publication by America’s greatest author.
As I sit down to write this, I have several topics swirling around in my brain. I could spill my life’s story, I could educate you about music for the video game and film trailer industries, I could ramble about my frustrations and stress around having to wear too many hats, and so on. But for your sake (and mine honestly), I’ll keep it simple.
Welcome to my blog post! Thanks for being here. My name is Megan McDuffee and I’m a composer, music producer, and artist primarily for video games. I’ve built a successful client business over the past decade, and have gotten to work on some very cool things like all the Atari Recharged games, River City Girls 1 & 2 from WayForward, Apex Legends Mobile, the trailers for Annihilation and The Predator, and many more. You can even hear my songs in reality TV shows like The Bachelor and Love Is Blind. It’s been a wild journey, and there’s still so much more to tackle.
People ask me what instruments I play, and usually, I respond with, “Whatever gets it out of my head.”
Music has been an outlet for me for more than half my life at this point. I come from Chesapeake, Virginia, a place where music (let alone any form of art or entertainment) is totally underrated, never even remotely appreciated.
I guess if I had to describe my “story,” the story that at least gets told through my music, it would be a story of adolescence, at least for now. I have lived in Fresno for all of my (admittedly short) life, and I think it can show through my music at times. But I’m always looking for a way to escape. Whether it be the mountains or the beach, make no mistake that I’d rather be anywhere than Fresno from at least July up to September. Our summers are scalding and long.
If I can’t do that, though, I still have the long-standing escapist cliche of music.