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.
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.
Penelope Arvanitakis and I go way back to 2005. I would spot her at open mics in mysterious and leafy Belgrave, the creative centre of the Melbourne hills, and simply marvel at her talent. The cadence of her voice was like no other, her piano playing was so highly advanced for one so young, and her songs were quirky, honest and deep. She was a cut above the rest.
In 2007 we recorded three songs together at her parents’ house, one of mine and two of hers, and then … we promptly fell out of touch for 16 years!
Many years can go by, and one would have just a faint idea at best of what was going on in the midst of those rote routines, cycles, ellipses that engulf the conscious mind on a daily basis. The constant whirring of the gears, the hum of the system casting a tint across one’s attention span to prevent any particular deviation from the expected routine of the machine as it rolls along in its tread.
An observation of Tennessee Williams’ characters that seems inescapable to me is that of the unconscious voice that breaks through that cacophony of time rolling along. It’s the precarious tendency of the soul to drive the outward behavior against the will of the conscious mind, and it’s inside this space, the point of contact where the winnowing drill of the conscience irks the daily systems in one’s life to force itself forward – that is the locus of creativity to me. A slow moving, but insistent, generative focal point.
My name is Corynne Ostermann; I’m a multidisciplinary artist and musician playing bass & providing vocals for the Baltimore-based group Natural Velvet.
Natural Velvet started in 2012, and I’ve been involved since the beginning, as well as with my bandmates Spike Arreaga (guitar), Kim Te (guitar), and Greg Hatem (drums, production). I genuinely feel so lucky to have had my bandmates’ attention for as long as I have had, and as a result, I’m very protective of them and the long-term sustainability of our project.
My story starts with my Mexican parents. They eloped from Mexico City then had me in Los Angeles. Their early gift to me was a stand-up piano for kids. According to my mom, I spent most of my time on it, writing songs and playing them over and over. When I was a teenager, I was the frontwoman in a punk/indie cover band, then played in a few post-rock bands. I became obsessed with the label Thrill Jockey, and moved to Chicago because they were based there. My sister was my biggest champion—she accompanied me on the long drive. Even though she slept most of the time in the passenger seat, her love and support meant the world to me.
I remember when I first started the OctoMusic project; I was still playing in my previous band back in 2017-2018. I was kind of tired of playing in that four-piece format, and I just felt we weren’t moving the whole thing forward, so that was the perfect time for me to start working on my own thing. I began releasing different singles and working with a couple of other musicians. When you do everything by yourself, it is very challenging as you have to establish your own deadlines and you have nobody to share the workload with, like when you are in a band, but it’s also very comforting as you can produce your music with much more depth.
Def Robot was formed in 2019 when David Hancox and I, Paul Taylor, reconnected after 20 years.
I was the singer and David was the bassist in 90’s Manchester U.K. grunge/rock/indie band Kerosene, who were signed to Dead Dead Good and then Sire records. We released an album “Arrythmia” along with various singles and toured the U.K., Europe and the USA supporting such bands as Green Day, The Flaming Lips, and Terrorvision amongst others.
I have just released my first solo album. It is called Mox Nox, a sundial motto that means ‘night, shortly’, and the theme running through the record is the passing of time, particularly the transition from day to night. Rather than writing songs specifically for the album, I looked through my songbook for things I had already written that fit this theme, and one of them (now called The Broken Song) jumped out at me as being a bit of a curiosity.
I’ve always been a night owl. I can be absolutely exhausted at 10pm, but by 11 my head will be racing with ideas. The Broken Song began its life during a nocturnal writing session, and its original lyrics made direct reference to being up all night. The song was clearly relevant – but it was also an underdog, half-written and still wearing its working title. I hadn’t thought about it in years.
Looking over the lyrics, I remembered that I had always liked the verses but struggled to come up with a chorus. I’ve never been too worried about following a verse-chorus structure, but I knew this song needed more, and I knew that it was stuck. The breakthrough came when I deleted my crappy excuse for a chorus and looked at the lyrics that were left. Quite suddenly, I saw that the song I had thought was about a particular event in my life was about something else entirely.