Joe Bugsy and Muffin Man – The Lost Tapes

Joe Bugsy and Muffin Man

I was doing some “iTunes cleaning” the other day, and I noticed a bunch of unnamed files. I had a listen, and realized I had found a shit load of awesome hip hop tracks that I made with an old roommate, Devon Ferguson. I had forgotten about how great these tracks were, so I decided to revisit the Logic files, clean up the mixes, and finally share them with the world.

3 or 4 years ago when I lived with Devo, we would often end up getting drunk and making rap songs for fun. I had a Korg ESX-1 Drum Machine (the best drum machine of all time) and Devo had a surprising good flow and set of freestyle skills. He was also amazing at writing great hooks like “Yea, Im ballin on a budget/most girls hate it, but I just love it” His lyrics were clever, humourous, and could create hilarious images in your head “we can go to ikea/thats not a bad idea/50 cent hot dogs coke and a pop/combo it up and your saving a lot/and you will never see this coming/but I collect your bottles after we’re done fucking”

We gave our selves the names “Joe Bugsy and Muffin man”, recorded about 10-15 songs, and  even played a show. The “show” was a night to remember. It was a calm, amateur, open mic night at a Kensington bar called the supermarket. After a couple of hours of lame amateur/singer songwriters strumming their acoustic guitars, Joe Bugsy and I walked up on stage in full blown character, not giving a fuck. I plugged my drum machine into the PA, bugsy ripped the mic off the stand and begin play. The crowd was loving it, and people were blown away. It was like the wu-tang clan interrupting a Sarah Mclachlan concert. It unexpected, random but very interesting and full of energy. However, we did manage to severly piss off the old sound guy. He clearly did not like hip hop.

Joe Bugsy with his new friends, 2012


Unfortunately, Devo had to move to Vancouver to persue his career in Acting. He is still rapping, in fact, he is creating a tv pilot called “Rapping in Connecticut” but its more of a purely comedic approach.  Anyway, I am very happy with our lil group and very proud of the songs we have made. I think if he decided not to move out west, we could of been better then LMFAO. In retrospect,  even though I didn’t take it too seriously at the time, it was some of the most fun creating music I have ever had – and isn’t that the way creating music should be?

Here are a few of my favourites to listen / download if you like.

Ballin’ on a Budget

Rich and Famous

Future Fantastic

Burn Quick

Creating a Film Score vs. Writing a Song

Over the past year or so, I have had the opportunity to compose music for various short independent films. I guess since I’m an ex rock and roller, and a guy who likes to fuck around making electronic music, some friends approached me to score their works (Melissa!, The King of Collingwood, Parasite). Having never taken a lesson in film composition, music, or even music production, I did not know what to expect. I just said “sure, i like movies and music and stuff” and jumped right in.

The experience was exhausting, and extremely frustrating, but ultimately, rewarding.

Justin McDonald and I working on "Melissa!"

I went though some terrible, pissed off, mood swings. Trying to satisfy directors, rushing to meet deadlines, constantly becoming uninspired, and trying not smash my computer when it fucked up, were just some of the problems I encountered.  Every film took a lot longer to complete then I had imagined, and at times I would get so sick of working on the same scene over and over and over, I would just want to quit the entire project altogether. Some days, it just really made my blood boil.

But, it was not all negative, I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot about music/sound production, composing, recording, and just music in general. I learned my creative process for scoring is not that much different then my songwriting process, I just chip away at something until I am happy.

However, here are the main differences which agitated me enough to write about and share:

1. The composition process can be very un-organic. I couldn’t just “rock out”, the music had match specific cuts, be carefully cued to hits, impacts and dialogue. I couldn’t just go on a shirtless-crazy-drunken roller-coaster rampage and fuck my guitar on fire just to see what kind of music came out. I had to specifically match the emotion of the imagery that has already been created. In other words, when your making your own music, you play from your heart. When composing, you play from your computer monitor.

2. Musical direction is ultimately shaped to the directors taste, not yours. There was nothing that pissed me off more then spending two days on a beautiful piece of music, only to hear the director say “Meh, I don’t really like it”. Sure, I was encouraged to explore and take risks, however, I was still being “directed” by someone else’s vision. This was something I was not used to. I just had to get used to the idea of working with and for someone else. That is something I have always seemed to struggle with, especially when my art and creativity was on the table.

But in the end, it all makes sense. Im scoring films, not making a Yoko Ono album. And aside from all this resistance i just wrote about, It’s been a lot fun.
I hope I get the chance to compose more music for film in the future, i’m sure I will. Just maybe next time Ill be the director as well.
Anyway, Im off to get drunk and hump my guitar…

Here are some samples of the last two films I worked on:

“Melissa!”

Still image from the short film "Melissa!"


Parasite:
 

Parasite” is set for release this February.

Also, below are a teaser and “behind the scenes music session” the director and producer shot while we were working on the “Melissa!” Score. Melissa premiers Feb 18th at the Royal Cinema in Toronto.

“Melissa!” Behind the Scenes:

Teaser:

Merry Christmas (Wikileaked your Wish List)

Paradise Circus

I have recently fell in love with Massive Attack. This is a year old, but its a great promo for their last album, Heligoland.
It autoplays, so I can’t embed it, but click the link to check it out.

http://massiveattack.com/blog/2009/12/15/paradise-circus/

The Best Music Videos on Vimeo

I spent a couple of hours browsing Vimeos “most liked” music videos yesterday. There is a bunch of artsy fartsy shit on there, but there is also a lot of great content.
I hand picked some of the most entertaining, visually creative, and sexy to share with you.

Now, I dont necessarily like all the music, but the videos are still worth checking out. Also, being the “most liked”, I’m sure you have seen most of these before.

Watch these puppies in full screen.

Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save Your Soul

The Good The Bad – “030″
(Caution: This will give you a boner)

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros – Kisses Over Babylon

Sour – Hibi no Neiro

Massive Attack – Splitting the Atom

Chairlift – Evident Utensil

Tame Impala – Solitude is Bliss

Justice and Lenny Kravitz – Let Love Rule

Röyksopp – The Drug

Uffie – Difficult

I will continue searching for more…
let me know if you have any to share.