Sunday, 16 February 2020

Update on the Studio


So I thought I'd put up a bit of an update about the studio. Well I haven't done much with it since December 2019, and it's now February 2020. I had put up the initial wooden frame inside, but then ran out of steam as I couldn't work out how to put the insulation in and keep it there.

Luckily for me, and old friend is handy with building houses and other stuff, did a couple of days work for me and finished the frame, repaired the window and put in the air conditioning for me. Now, this didn't solve my insulation problem but we discussed where it was going.

Initially, I was going for a padded-cell kind of look. The walls were going to look like cushions, where the insulation bulged out, covered in wadding and material, and some studs. But after he'd spoken with more knowledgeable people in studio design, we decided to put up some thin plywood wall to hold the whole thing together, and then cover them in the wadding and material I original had wanted to cover the walls in.

So this weekend, I pulled my finger out and get the plywood ordered, arranged for the electrician to come and do their piece, and got in there stringing up the insulation in the walls. I got about two thirds of it done on the Saturday and am about to go out and finish it today.

So wish me luck - hopefully won't be long until I'm in there actually making music!

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Lyrics - Contemplate

These are my latest lyrics written a couple of weeks ago while on vacation. Inspired by incredible people like Nelson Mandela and Jose Mujica - even after their violent starts in political life are now considered heroes on the right side of history. One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. Before their imprisonment, they would have been enemies of the state, hunted down for their acts of violence and dissent against the authorities. Always remember today's enemies of the state could be tomorrow's national heroes.


I can hear the voices
Telling me I'm not alone
Need to find the strength inside
And defend this place my home

I see all this violence
On the news and on TV
There's a reason we find ourselves here
On the wrong side of history

It should be so easy
To put a bullet through his head
But I can't lift myself off the floor
Not even this close to dead

These corrupted leaders
Will quickly change their game
If they get a taste of justice
Fear of death and tortured pain

My usual dark content while I lie on my deckchair by the pool getting a tan. Crazy right? But that's how I roll. It's about an imaginary freedom fighter who's contemplating taking drastic action, which I guess is how most guerrilla leaders start off. This character is the third in my protagonists from my concept EP series.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Song 3 (WIP)

So I watched Blade Runner 2049 again recently and decided I wanted to give it a go at making my own electronic soundscape. This is a work in progress - I might use it as a filler on my upcoming EP.



So I tried my hand at making an electronic soundscape over the weekend. It was actually really fun once I worked out how to do a couple of things.

First major difference was my use of reverb. I literally sent all my synth to my reverb send primarily, and add direct to mix bus only when they needed emphasis. What you're hearing is mostly reverb send.

The explosions are just a floor tom sample, again lots of reverb.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Writer's Block

I used to happily brag that I never suffered from Writer's Block. I seemed to be able to create songs out of thin air once I got back into it a few years ago. I worked non-stop these past two years and released my debut album, with time and energy left over to do marketing and all the other things that go with an album release. When I was a few weeks away from official release, I started a new project, try to keep the momentum going. One single every 6 weeks was the goal. I managed to get one song out in July.

And then it all ground to a halt...

I'm not sure what happened. I just have no fire inside me anymore. I play stuff and it sounds ok. I used to lie awake thinking of all the things I could do to make a song better. Now the feeling, the desire disappears the moment I put the guitar down.

It could be that real life and work have ramped up these last few months leaving no room for anything else.

It could be that it's winter and I've gone into some kind of hibernation.

It could be because I'm changing everything about my workflow, my virtual instruments, my drums, the way I write songs in general.

It could be because I tried doing vocal lessons and realised how much work I have to put into it to get where I want to be. You can't really practice regularly at full volume without a soundproof space.

It could be because I was reminded about how many things I was supposed to be doing regularly - like practicing guitar - that I just never do anymore.

And instead, I come home from work and sit in front of the TV! I never used to do this. Or when I do sit down in front of the computer to do some music, I only need the slightest distraction - and bang - the moment is gone.

I've given advice to many others about writers block and it's usually "don't be so hard on yourself, you just need to give yourself time to recuperate and re-energise". Maybe it's time to listen to my own advice.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Press: Roadie Metal - Review: Tatius Wolff - The Relapse (2019)

http://roadie-metal.com/resenha-tatius-wolff-the-relapse-2019/

One of the essential factors to Metal has always been the thrust of his emotions, experiences and embedded feelings in vigorous lines compositions, and of course this is also one of the elements present in the world musical creation in all styles, but the metal itself, It has a fluidity to the extremes of feeling like no other style, anger, despair, and all the peaks of human emotions are embedded easily and this is where I start the analysis of the first full-length, " the Relapse ", the Australian project Tatius Wolff , released on the last day June 8, 2019 independently.


Influenced by the wave of noventista gothic metal, melodic and progressive, m was founded in 2017 as the solo project of alternative metal Stephan 'Wolff' Borg inspired by Type O Negative, Tool, Nine Inch Nails and Deftones, a search for the mix of sounds flowing between silent interludes and more aggressive landscapes in a very characteristic identity.

I always mention how much I consider it important that the emotional aspirations to be used as combustion for music and inevitably also becomes a therapeutic process or a torment exhaust process and as I mentioned above we can say that Stephan knew employ this creation.
Stephan is a multi-instrumentalist from Sydney who grew up between the metal influences to join the band of Death and Doom Metal "Oblique Visions" as guitarist, with which it was launched the demo "The Fallen" in 1994, followed by the album "Seas of Serenity "in 1995.
in 1998 Stephan moved to Australia, which ended his involvement with the band and 17 would follow until the EP" thumbscrews "containing three single tracks were released in 2017 already as Tatius Wolff.




In the same year Stephan was hospitalized and went through all the turbulence that a debilitating disease submitted it on a journey of trials, tribulations, hope and despair. Feelings derived from the delay in recovery and instability vivid for those who face the struggles of becoming ill.
After the data run to the album starting with the cover that exemplifies picture indisputably where the foundations are in place, the phrase "For a good listener word half simply" can be used here and how not to mention that art is the exact album contents.



Start my hearing in " Auxilium ", an instrumental track from 4:35 traveling in oscillating guitars and setbacks in an atmosphere that awakens a feeling depressed and at the same time with fury, I confess that it is a time of uncertainty about what we will find the follow, but it's interesting how the nuances change through the " the Shock" Where you will find all of the above elements and influences but the way this is all grouped the listener is quite intriguing, so the instrumentation continuously diverge as the general representation of each style. We can define as follows, you will find a marked progressive presence with brief solos that flicker, the aggressiveness of Death rhythmic metal harsh and aggressive and a dissonance with the industrial pinches of Gothic Metal in its melancholic.
I like the distant keyboards introducing that run in sequence for more sharp lines, the first tone of the vocal comes here and although this stylized tone not like me much I still see him as a good fit the theme of the nuances developed.
We spent the " Recovery"And textured vocal is maintained while the battery work get more presence. There is plenty of counter-time at several points and sonoplásticos effects are employed in a synthetic sound.
" False Hope " comes to counter aspects of guitars that keeps more in the Death metal weight and can finally hear any more the voice of Stephan. A curiosity about Tatius Wolff is I have enough of the metal feel of bands like Godflesh in times of "Streetcleaner" in a blender with Tool in times of "The Pot", I just like to find in the foreground more vocal.
The title track, " The Relapse " is a bit darker turn and a distant gothic atmosphere is present but has lucid points lapses pianos.
Alternative Metal is something quite confusing in my opinion because it deals with almost mind - blowing pulsations of the human psyche and in fact it gets delirious tones even musically, sometimes even a bit incomprehensible, but it is nice to get to " Proelium " that holds only a diffuse instrumentation .
" Trauma " and is the point of this album where extreme confronts the most cynical depression Gothic Metal, and I like this contrast although I feel that is too abrupt between the passages of time within the range.



" The Tormentor " is quite different from all the rest is possibly the one that pleased me so far to contain a more consistent fit at all points, starting winding and developing more creatively within the styles mentioned. Extra point on the vocals that finally gain a most remarkable place. So far the best track on the album.
We finished the album in " Despair " with the metal in a more stimulating presence.
I must say that this is a rather curious album and a really good example for those who are familiar with the lines of the alternative metal. This is an album for more selective tastes in style but overall Stephan can take you to very distressing feelings and reflective with a taste trip to the '90s.




Note : 8/10

Track listing

1 - Auxilium
2 - The Shock
3 - Recovery
4 - False Hope
5 - The Relapse
6 - Proelium
7 - Trauma
8 - The Tormentor
9 - Despair

Band members

Stephan "Wolff" Borg - All instruments, lyrics and production

Press: Subterranean Noise - Underground Rock and Metal: INTERVIEW: Tatius Wolff

16. July 2019

INTERVIEW: Tatius Wolff



A few days ago I had the pleasure of reviewing "The Relapse", the conceptual debut of Australian one man band Tatius Wolff, and founder and sole member Stephan Wolff was more than willing to satisfy my little curiosities.

SN:
Could you first of all tell me a little about your project? When did you form the band? What are your inspirations and influences that made you the band you are today?

WOLFF:
In 2015, after 17 years of not playing guitar or writing any music, I decided I wanted to start playing bass. I bought a cheap bass and joined an internet community called Wikiloops, where I collaborated with other artists (https://www.wikiloops.com/artist/Wolffy_au.php). This is where I first started learning to record and mix. In 2016, my old band from Malta, melodic doom death metal Oblique Visions asked if I could start writing music with them again. We did this for a year and did a 20 year reunion gig in Malta (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlM2-N_ZqJOaGzNVwSb5k-PNBQ4FUiks-). But by the start of 2017, I realised this couldn't be a long term solution because of the distance. I was very insecure about my song-writing capability, my audio production skills and my voice - but I found the courage to go solo anyway.

I officially started Tatius Wolff April 2017. This is when I went public, created the Facebook page, started writing my blog (https://tatius-wolff.blogspot.com/) documenting my journey into the unknown.

I have a blog post about influences (https://tatius-wolff.blogspot.com/2017/08/my-earliest-influences.html). I can go back to listening to Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana as a kid - albums that belonged to my mum. I got into Van Halen and Guns N Roses as a teenager. I learnt to solo playing along with Pink Floyd's Delicate Sound of Thunder on repeat for months on end. I then switched to metal after a friend (the drummer of Oblique Visions) took me to a metal gig and they played Sepultura's Troops Of Doom. Pretty much the next day, I got myself a copy of Arise and Entombed's Left Hand Path - I was hooked and the rest is history. My biggest influences are Type O Negative, Tool, Deftones, Nine Inch Nails and early Entombed. Lately, I've discovered Meshuggah and Mastodon, whose influences are definitely shining through in my music.

SN:
How would you describe your music? What are your ideologies with the music you make?

WOLFF:
Man, such a tough question. It's definitely heavy, but I would believe the genre could be anything from progressive rock to Djent(ish). When I quote genre's for my music, I'm just recycling the genre's of my favourite bands, because I really don't know where I fit in the scheme of things - alternative metal, gothic metal, industrial metal and progressive metal.

For the first 3 singles in 2017, I was doing the social justice warrior themes - neo conservatism, the right wing movement, the miliary industrial complex, money in politics and indigenous people's issues. But I found that my music wasn't vulnerable enough. There was emotion, but it wasn't personal enough. I thought about the two greatest concept albums in my collection - Pink Floyd The Wall and Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral, and I decided I wanted to write a concept album about something traumatic I had been through. And so The Relapse was born. Althought it's about getting sick and recovering, themes are quite broad - everything from personal struggles to bullying and grief.

SN:
What is the meaning behind the "Tatius Wolff" name? What made you choose that particular name for your project?

WOLFF:
It's a combination of my nickname and a Roman name that sounded good with it. The Roman Standard Bearer logo of the band came first, and I just looked for a name that fit the character in the logo. I believe "Tatius" means founder.

As a high school teenager in Australia, I had a friend call me "Stephan Wolff" after Steppenwolf, Born To Be Wild. This continued once I was living overseas in Malta, where everyone in the metal scene just knew me as Wolff. When I was thinking of a band name, I wanted the word Wolff in there, but it needed something more because there were already a bunch of bands with Wolff as their name.

SN:
How do you write material? Can you describe the creative process?

WOLFF:
It varies. It could start with a bass line, a guitar riff, a scrawl of lyrics or I'll plan the whole song out on paper beforehand. I'll also take notes of songs that I really like sections of, and go back to them to see if something similar would fit into what I'm writing.

Then I put down simple drums first as a framework to track against. I'll customise snare and kicks appropriate for the riffs. I'm not too fussed what goes down initially because I'll iterate and make incremental changes to the song hundreds of times before I'm anywhere near the mixing stage. But I do record my takes, like it's the recording that will be on the album - because quite often it will be. Nothing worse than being at the mixing stage and hearing electrical hum or sloppy chord changes. The last check is the static mix because if the song sounds good raw with no effects, then it's probably ready for mixing.


SN:
"The Relapse" is a concept album, as stated in the EPK. Could you tell us a bit more what the story is about?

WOLFF:
In October 2017 I found myself suddenly hospitalised with a bowel infection. After years of never being sick this was a huge shock to me. I didn't take this incident serious enough and when I returned home, I didn't treat this issue with the respect I should have. 5 weeks later, I was back in hospital with a bowel obstruction, a lot of vomit and a pipe into my stomach. Those 6 days really hit home how out of control I was with this health issue. At the lowest point, I thought I wasn't going to get better anytime soon and I felt like complete shit. Feeling insignificant and irrelevant to the universe, I realised it was all completely out of my control. And that's the story - shock, recovery, false hope, relapse, trauma, torment and despair, all wrapped up in an album.

SN:
Judging from the fact that this is a rather personal album, concept wise or not, and myself also making the same kind of album earlier, I imagine it must be a relief to finally have finished it. Was it a difficult album to make? It must have been a therapeutic experience to make this kind of album?

WOLFF:
Being my first solo album, it was an amazing learning experience. I no longer have aspirations of becoming a rock star, so for me this is a personal development journey of writing, recording, mixing, releasing and promoting music.

As a novice audio engineer, I could tweak these songs forever, so at some point I had to make the jump and commit to releasing my baby into the big bad world. It was primarily difficult because a lot of what I was doing were firsts for me. And as time goes by, there are plenty of things I could go back and change - but I have to let it go, and get onto the next big adventure.


SN:
Are you sticking to the digital format for your album, or will there be a physical release as well?

WOLFF:
For now it's digital format. I've had requests for physical CD's and t-shirts, so they are on the cards to make if there is enough demand. But for now, it's just a digital release.

SN:
You do everything on this record, from writing and composing to production. For gear and hardware geeks, what kind of gear do you use to form your sound?

WOLFF:
Haha - the shittiest and cheapest gear I coud find and only free audio plug-ins. Let me explain.

For quite a number of reasons, I wanted to prove to myself and to other upcoming artists, that without money, having amazing musical instruments, the best audio equipment or expensive plugins, that releasing a good quality album can be done. You can produce something that's a level of quality worthy of public release. The flaws you hear in my audio production are my fault, through lack of experience and skill not the fault of my equipment or free plug-ins.

So if you're an upcoming artist, without any cash to buy an amazing guitar, or the latest audio plug-in - don't worry, you can make good quality music without them. Just get that music out to the public and start building your audience as soon as possible.

If you're still wondering what I used, here goes. First model Ibanez RG8 (with the shit pickups), Chinese Monterey MBE-40BK bass, Ibanez 540P, the cheapest mic on Amazon, Neewer NW-800 and a pair of AKG K702 headphones.

Free VST bundles I can't live without - Variety Of Sound, Antress, Dead Duck Software FX and Instruments, Ignite Amps, MT Power Drum Kit 2 (groove library), Nick Crow Labs, LePou's Amps, Tokyo Dawn Labs, TSE, VLadG, DSK Synths, YouLean and Steve Slate Drums 5 (free). I also use SM Drums and The Metal Kick Drum drum samples.

SN:
Are you planning any live performances with the project?

WOLFF:
Unfortunately, I have not found the courage to go play solo with backing tracks yet. And all my efforts to find a band since Oblique Visions have failed. I haven't given up yet. I may at some point try playing live solo, but it's not a priority for me at the moment.

SN:
What are the future plans for Tatius Wolff?

WOLFF:
Another album of course! Just trying to work out what concept theme I'm going for. I've had quite a few thoughts - a very dark story about a local tragedy, social justice and political warrior, relationship challenges - just not sure which one to go for yet. We'll just have to wait and see!

Check out Tatius Wolff 's discography and pre-order "The Relapse" at https://tatius-wolff.bandcamp.com/. If you're a fan of Meshuggah, Type O Negative, Deftones and Nine Inch Nails, you'll discover a fine blend of these bands when you lend an ear to Tatius Wolff.