Breaking News from Tumblr!

« »

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Project Nightmare - A Journey

The year was 2009. It was anything but a good year for me, in terms of life and activities. I started the year by saying goodbye to a bandmate heading to Italy for the semester. Granted we all knew she was leaving, but it didn't make it easier to take. Eventually, the band I was in fell into chaos and disorder, and within a month, I was cast out of my own band.

Slowly, the bricks were being laid down for something. But I didn't know what.

Misfortune would rear it's ugly head again, this time with my computer. A hard drive issue led to me losing all my project files for a set of 2 EPs, which after all that I went through, I was crushed.

And that led to a preemtive call for a hiatus, that was intended to be a career curtain call.

I stepped away, leaving behind a collection of unfinished beats making up the EPs and showing what could have been.


And for 2-3 months, I was living a life without music, without the thing I loved the most. Too heart-broken to do it, I was living life in college, lonely and slowly spiraling downward. And in love, all at the same time.

So in November, I made my mind up to go back, strictly on an instrumental basis for the time being. And with good reason, personal turmoil had made writing impossible because I couldn't think for jack then. I was in love, I was failing out of college, I was depressed, and broke, and had just returned to the artform that in a way, started off my downward spiral of a year.

And yet, something happened. In the final days and hours of 2009, I went into recluse mode. No outside activity, nothing. Just stay in my room with my laptop and work on songs, day in and day out. Get them to a point, save, move on, sleep, do it again.

And then it was time to unveil it.

New Year's Day, right when midnight struck, this went live. I barely remember the day, because I was passing out from exhaustion after the last track and PDF uploaded to Bandcamp. And for a bit, it got some traction.

But for the most part, I was still living with demons. Not the drug/drinking part, the mindstate ones. It was getting worse. And I was unhappy. Still making music, but just unhappy with life. Broke, no job, pressure to go back to college, and a relationship that all but faded out, it was a combination that makes most men sick.

I was convinced Project Nightmare was the one and done creative mulligan I could have. Eventually another full length record would emerge, but alas, that was not happening. Sure, I did write one, and it was really close to happening, but it was way too emotional and too epic for my tastes.

I asked myself "OK, so what can you do to make it different, what could a sequel feel like?"

The answer came from a childhood past time that stayed with me all the way through adolescence.

And that alone would do more for me than I could ever imagine.

Within 2 months, I had it done. 17 revisions for Project Nightmare 2.0, a video-game related spinoff centered around songs that weren't so obvious to video game fans.

It was at this point in time I started to slowly accept a universal truth: it's so much easier to be yourself.

And then, the real changes began. I got kicked to the curb about 2 weeks after Nightmare 2.0 dropped so my life became a real life.

The final knockdown after being screwed over so many times. At that point, the fight to get back up and win again begun.

I restarted my life and after a string of "get-it-together" nights out in Boston, I met my close friend, Danny Horgan, at a Public Enemy show.

We connected and we were hanging out frequently. And from this, the sessions for Project Nightmare 3 and Project Nightmare 2.5 were underway.

Nightmare 3 was as much as a victory for me as you could hope for. The guy who recovered from what many would call a set of circumstances that would sink someone else, returns to the scene of the crime 1 year later and does something definitive.

I would have to say Nightmare 3 was the one project that probably won't happen again, in terms of experimental ambitions and just overall drive. But man, was it fun.

Divided into 3 acts, each one bleeding into each other with elements from the prior act, it was ambitious. Maybe too much ambition. But I find it just quite the showcase of how I was trying to redefine the constraints of Project Nightmare.

And there was the NYE basement show somewhere in the city of Boston the night before launch. That was a moment....for the first time I had to remake Project Nightmare tracks live using my computer. I admit, first 20 minutes were a tough experience, how do you practice for a DJ gig?

But then, a magical moment happened. I pulled up MIDI from the Metroid games and busted out an entirely improvised jazz remake of various Metroid themes. I called it Jazztroid. People called it amazing.

The ride home on the train, just as 2011 begun was all the needed motivation to realize "You're going places. Stay with it!"

So as 2011 comes in, Project Nightmare X became a reality, thanks to a jazzy remix of a BGM from Mega Man X and added inspiration from friends to make it happen.

After a few delays, Nightmare X comes out, and that's when I started noticing the attention. People were taking note. And then it got even more real.

I wrote Project Nightmare IV in what was a turbulent time. Friends were changing area codes, I was coming off a frustrating summer of no jobs and a recently nuked computer, and I was still reeling from being kicked to the curb.

But I got over it for the time being. And the end result was a haymaker of a collection. The epic scope of the final 3-4 songs of Nightmare 3 had become the measuring stick for Nightmare IV and what happened was just this brooding, dark, apocalyptic and downright evil collection of beats that were a glimpse into the end of the world as we knew it. There was even more ambition, my beat-making had become almost manic and uncompromising.

It was my creativity finally building. Finally climaxing.

Of course, 2011 also had another major release that year, the track "Fatal Error" which for me, was when Project Nightmare clicked for me and it all came together. This wasn't a one-off thing, nope. It was the big thing in my creative process and it was the best thing to happen to my career, because it gave me a platform to expand my influences on, to see more to music than 16 bars, a hook, and a beat. Stories can be told without words.

And with Project Nightmare 36(5), there was one more facet to it. Evolution over time...what if 1 year was enough time for beats to gestate and become fully featured? What if a compilation was a diary?

It warrants the question...after all these releases, the game releases (Nightroid, TURBO Mario Edition, Pink Monday, Nightmare X and the upcoming Nightmare X2)...why do you keep doing it?

Simple: I love it. It gets me to a point where I can explore my past, and better understand all the factors that make me who I am. And it gives me a lot more material to enjoy playing with on stage.

Project Nightmare did a lot for me, and it can still do more. It's the gift that kept on giving.

No comments:

Music I Made



GREEN = on-time
RED = delayed



Project Nightmare 36(5) - All Year


the uglyside of beautiful

the beautifulside of ugly

The Imperfect Dialogue

Merch Stand (Buy Something)