Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Belmont 2 Is Finally Here!

I am stoked to finally say that Belmont 2 is available for download now! It has been nearly three years since I publicly announced I was working on this album, and I obviously didn't mean for it to take this long. I had originally wanted it out in October of 2016. Hoo boy, did I miss that deadline.

Frankly, I'm glad it took three years because it gave me an opportunity to really refine the songs and tell the story as I intended to tell it. The first Belmont was easy to write. I knew exactly how many songs it would take and what each song should sound like. Belmont 2 had to be done differently, and it took a while to crack that code. Some songs were re-written multiple times, while others were combined to make one. And the longer I kept working on the songs, the darker they got. I can't quite put my finger on what happened in November 2016, but my outlook got quite bleak at that point. The lyric "When darkness exists, we must resist" came out while re-writing "Shadows of the Hell House," and it set the course for the tone of the album.

I have to give special thanks to the five people who helped me make this album whole. I've been wanting to work with Angel "Masikus" Hernandez again ever since we did Ledjent of Zelda together in 2013. He's just so good on drums, so I knew I had to get him on Belmont 2. I also brought in my good friends Amanda Lepre, who has been partying hard on the road with Andrew WK, and Erik "Viking Guitar" Peabody for some guest vocals for The Maiden and Dracula respectively. Brian Pickens, my frequent collaborator, absolutely killed the artwork, and my good friend Terry Smith, once again, mixed and mastered the album. I told them I wanted it to look like the Castlevania 2 cover of Nintendo Power and sound like a Mastodon record, and they 100% delivered.

Thank you for all your support and patience for this record. It is good to know there is an audience for my silly Castlevania concept records.

Download from bandcamp here, or stream below:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Big Changes Call for a Massive Update!

I think every post I've made on this site for the last 2 years has started with "I forget I have a website." Well, here we go again! I forget I have a website.

But now seems like a good time to give a quick update on all the things that are happening. If you've followed my instagram and twitter posts, you will know that I am a whip-crack away from finally finishing BELMONT 2! That's right, this album that I have blabbing about for years is inching closer to completion. I just have a couple pick-up takes to record and some general editing, while my friend and Ledjent of Zelda contributer Masikus is working on the drum tracks.

To say I am excited to finally get this album out is a huge understatement. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to throw the whole album in the garbage (self-doubt is a hell of a thing). In fact, I re-wrote a couple of these songs 2 or 3 times. The ideas for these songs span many years, so it took a lot of re-tooling to make the whole thing sound cohesive. The lyrics were challenging at times. The first Belmont was easy to write because I can spew words about the Universal Monsters all day. Belmont 2 had to be internal. It had to get inside Simon's rotting brain. I used the uncertainty of our current real world discourse to fuel the fire a bit. Musically and lyrically, it has a much darker, heavier vibe than the first record.

So my general timeline is to get thing out to the world sometime in October of 2018. That is the 7-year anniversary of Belmont, which is fitting since the first two Castlevania games take place 7 years apart. That worked out quite well, wouldn't you say?

But that's not it! My bro from another coast, Viking Guitar, is moving from California to Pittsburgh in August, which means I will be joining his "Viking Guitar Lite 2.0" performances. These will consist of the two of us performing the same Viking Guitar material you've been hearing at our other events, like MAGFest and PAX. This will allow us to play other cons and festivals on the east coast while hopefully playing some local venues in Pittsburgh more often. I love Erik, and I can't wait to perform more shows with him!

And I'm saving my big news for...later. It will deserve its own post. But believe me when I say it is life-changing for me. The experience I've gained through the past 20 years of playing music has brought me to this point, and I can't wait to share this news with y'all/yinz.

Until then, take care of yourselves. The world is in a rough place. Be excellent to each other.