Category Archives: Making: T.R.O.T.W.

Detailing the creation and promotion of the new t.o.t.s. release “The Return of the Wetlands”.

In the making: t.o.t.s. “TROTW”. Post 4

Got most of the way through the remix of “Metropolis” for SMP today. Still a few things to tweak but I hope to have it finished by tomorrow afternoon. I’ve been working on it for the past 12 hours and I’m kinda burnt right now so I’m letting the rest sit for tonight.

It looks like one of our already completed tracks from “The Return of the Wetlands” called “When the Ghosts Have Died” will be used in a new Burlesque documentary. Nothing has been set it stone yet but I got confirmation today that the producers are interested in using the track. More on that as it happens. “When the Ghosts Have Died” got a sneak release on a DJ only compilation earlier this year as well.

I also confirmed today that t.o.t.s. will be submitting material to another compilation, this time “Negative Impact Vol.3”. though I’m not sure what music will be submitted to this yet.

While working on the last t.o.t.s. CD “You Knew It All Along” I wound up releasing almost every track on the CD through a compilation prior to the CD’s actual release. I think that was mainly due to the fucking thing taking far to long to complete resulting in me struggling to keep some kind of exposure for the band so we didn’t drift away from everyone’s consciousness. I’m definately not PLANNING on a similar scenario for the release we’re currently working on though with 2 compilations already released and a 3rd on the way it would seem that we’re headed down the same path. We’ll see.

In the making: t.o.t.s. “TROTW”. Post 3

I went out to a store and picked up a Behringer “Slow Motion” guitar pedal tonight. I’ve been looking for a cheap Boss “Slow Gear” or Guyatone Slow Volume pedal but neither are too cheap. Came home, plugged it in and fucked with it for awhile… not really happy with it so I’ll be returning it tomorrow. The release on the pedal isn’t long enough for what I wanted, it’s real picky about sending loud signals through it and it muddied up the tone a bit. After that I spent most of this evening still going through the finer details of the drum sequencer GURU and the Yamaha CS6x…. later playing around with the SMP remix a bit more. I’ll probably use these two to finish off the remaining bits of the remix this weekend. I won’t get a chance to do anything with this stuff until Friday though as Qualia practice is scheduled for Thursday. I really should have programmed more shit for Thursday as there’s still a lot of work to do Qualia wise but time is kinda crunched. Gonna crash early tonight to get some sleep. Not a lot of t.o.t.s. info here tonight and I’ve got a cumulative news blast to write for the t.o.t.s. email list but haven’t had a second to do it.

In the making: t.o.t.s. “TROTW”. Post 2.

Last week I purchased FXpansion’s GURU. I was feeling frustrated at my current drum application (Taureg 2) and wasn’t feeling very inspired. I really loved the GURU demo and I so bought it. I’ve been fucking around with GURU mainly on the SMP remix right now. I’ve pulled most of the original elements from the track and recorded new guitars. Not heavy stuff… that was way too obvious for the track. So I busted out the dobro and recorded some stuff with that. So far so good but the drums are far from any I can use right now. Problem is, Jason records GREAT drums so I need to bring something different to the table.

Last Sunday I re-recorded bass parts for the track “Menacing Sky”. This is probably the most developed of the unfinished batch of songs right now and it’s been sitting around the longest. The bass was kind of muddy and after recording the bass lines for another track the week earlier I came across a tone I thought sounded wicked for his bass and wanted to re-record this track again. Basically, his bass is recorded directly into and out of a Studio Projects VTB1 tube mic pre and straight into the computer. Sounds great. In general this song has sounded really cluttered to me but after seeing the Jesu show a few weeks ago I left the concert with a few ideas in my head of what to do about the overall mix. I still need to try those ideas out and record my vocals. I’ve got about 4 songs sitting around needing vox recorded but I’ve been procrastinating with this.

I got a call over the weekend about a CS6x that was available for cheap so I went and picked that up last night. Pretty much just killed the night fucking around with it. I’ll see if I can work it into a track… we’ll see.

Also want to mention that Blight has been seriously busy creating a “” in Second Life that will ultimately play a big part in our next tour if things go as planned. More on that later…

In the making: t.o.t.s. “Return of the Wetlands”

OK. So we’ve been working on this CD for about a year now and today it occurred to me to keep a running journal of the remaining part of the process as there is still a long way to go. I’m going to include EVERYTHING in this thread. Days we’ve recorded, what we’ve recorded, equipment we’ve bought, promo decisions, etc etc etc. I thought that since this is our 3rd full length CD people might be interested in comparing their own experiences against ours… good and bad. I’ll also get a chance to look back and see how amazingly inefficient I am at some things. This is a not a “bragging” thread or a “what i do is correct” thread. I am going to post all of my decisions bad and good. I’ll keep this thread going until through the first tour promoting the release. I will also try to get the other members to post here with their experiences and feelings during the whole process. I’m probably not going to post unfinished songs. I’m just not a big fan of doing that and I have a hard with my stuff being heard before it’s finished. Obviously input is also welcome and all that shit. I’ll try to update things as often as possible and to give some perspective I’ll probably through it occasional normal work day shit and outside projects I’m involved in.

I’ll give a brief synopsis of what’s been going on from the beginning and take it from there… We self released a demo version of our second CD “You Knew It All Along” in 2003 and had a US and Canadian tour to promote it the same year. I released the finished version of the CD in 2005 and promoted that until late 2006 with another tour. Late 2006 we signed with Invisible Records and since then I have remixed another version of “You Knew It All Along” to clear any possible copyright issues with samples and have done the same with our first CD “God in a Box”. After I was done with all of that, I officially started working on the new CD in February 2007.

I decided to name the new CD “The Return of the Wetlands” for two reasons… 1) My brother and I grew up in a swamp (Gum Swamp to be exact) and I wanted the new CD to be more organic sounding than previous releases. More like something you’d might expect to hear from two brother that grew up in a bog. Less dependency on synthesizers for developing a song structure and a heavier use of guitars. 2) a reference to global warming.

We had no songs laid out for this CD in advance. Obviously there were lots of scratch ideas laid out but nothing anywhere close to what you’d call a song. At this point we have two completed songs and about 18 others sitting around in various stages. The two finished tracks are called “Nothin’ But a Thing” and “When the Ghosts Have Died”. Both have been released on compilations this year.

While we’ve been recording I’ve rebuilt my studio on three occasions, replaced my audio recording interface, acquired three new synthesizers (K-Station, Crumar Performer, Yamaha CS6x), a drum machine (Korg ER-1), new drum software (FXpansion Guru), a sampler (Akai s01), an effects processor and a new synth stand. I also joined a new band called “The Qualia”.

The current t.o.t.s. line up of members is as follows: Blight (my brother, bass), Lars Casteen (guitars), Ericah Hagle (vox) and myself (guitars, synths, drums, programming, vox).

As far as promotional stuff goes we’ve released two new tracks on two compilations, had some new stickers made (are not yet available) and discussed album art with a few different artists. I’ve written an article for Martin’s Suicide Girls column and I have acquired and updated the DarkSonus website as much as possible depending on available time and mood.

As far as none t.o.t.s. projects go… I work regularly with Lars with his project “The Qualia”, I need to record vocals for hEADaCHE’s new project, I am working on an SMP remix and I need to cut a video for my friends sideshow.

So here goes….