Tuesday, November 30, 2010
PATH TO MISERY: Discography
I recently was requested by a handful of people to upload our demos because apparently the blog that used to have them for download no longer does.
The Path To Misery member in me wants the 2006 Demo is fade into obscurity ... but the hardcore nerd in me wants to make it available so that I'm not a hypocrite as I hate when bands downplay their old material. I'll always be flattered whenever people go out of their way to seek out my music, so who am I to contend?
The first demo (2006) was recorded before we ever played a show. There were only three members decided upon at the time so we all wanted to throw in as little money as possible without it being a waste of time. There was a guy named Dave Piatek who was starting to record at the time. He was $15 an hour and would come to your practice space to record you. We went with this because he had made some other local bands sound way better than they did live at the time. I had never recorded instruments in the studio so I was unaware of what "triggering" a drum kit was. I had to record drums on this demo because we didn't have a drummer yet (I actually drummed at our first show). We also had a different vocalist on this demo who only ever played about 5 shows with us. We should have assumed things would not work out whenever he showed up to record with lyrics/vocal patterns to 1 and maybe a half songs. I personally thought his vocals were killer though.
There's nothing crazy on this thing other than one song that was never re-recorded or really played out that much (mainly due to most of our drummers not being able to thrash beat). It's the first track after the intro called The Untold. Mostly though, this album just features poorly-played and over-produced versions of our full length. I really, really don't like this thing. To be fair, however, we DID hand out over 400 copies of this around Pittsburgh before our first show and at our first couple shows. I suppose I should pay my respects considering this is what introduced us to the local scene.
As previously stated, we lost our original vocalist after only a few shows and replaced him with the guy who was filling in for him at the shows he wasn't coming to. We wanted to record something really quick considering we had already realized that we weren't happy with the results of the recording and wanted to display the talents of our new vocalist. We called up Dave again to come down to my basement to record us ... this time knowing a bit more the kind of sound we wanted. He brought all real mics for the drums this time (no triggers) and we had a lot more specifics in mind for the tones of all of the instruments. We recorded Third World War in about an hour ... and then the vocals took another hour ... maybe two. It was somewhere in this session that we realized our vocalist had absolutely zero rhythm in his body. But once again, the vocals were so good that is was worth looking over.
We put this track on our MySpace and kids definitely took notice. This was recorded RIGHT before the deathcore trend hit really hard, so considering the tendency of the song, we definitely found some new fans. For this same reason, however, we realized we needed to do something different ... and quick.
Due to more than a few personal differences in opinion, we parted ways with the vocalist featured on Third World War not long after the recording. It was once again time to break in a new vocalist for our next demo recording session. This time around, however, no guidance was needed in the studio. We set out to lay down two new tracks which displayed a faster, thrashier version of the band. The two songs laid down at this session were Relentless Persistence and The Gauntlet ... our two "most punk" songs to this date; lyrically and musically.
Despite the fact that we made vast improvements with Dave Piatek on the recording of Third World War from the time of the 2006 Demo, we decided to go with a different local guy by the name of Charlie Bursch for the 2007 Demo. We learned a lot from recording with Dave and 99% of our distaste for the recordings were our own fault, but we wanted a more organic sounding recording. We learned really quick that simply going into a real studio with an arched, wood ceiling would automatically make the drums sound fuller than my 7 foot tall drop ceiling basement, even if we would have been using the same exact recording equipment. Charlie has a lot of recording tricks up his sleeve that I won't go into, but essentially we were finally fully happy with a recording of ours.
When it came time to record our full length almost a year later, it was obvious that we would be returning to Charlie at Elicit Sound Studios for the engineering. Naturally our vocalist had left, so it was once again time for a replacement. I decided to step up to the plate this time around. I also once again recorded drums and bass for the offering. These were done mostly in a single take; as were the guitars. The vocals, however, were a different story. I re-recorded vocals for the entire album twice before being mildly tolerant of the third and final take that we chose to keep. It wasn't until I had screamed my vocal chords to the point where my only means of creating noise was screaming that I got any sort of tone I could tolerate. While I'm still not entirely happy with the quality of my vocal performance, I think, at the very least, that my passion and enthusiasm for the lyrical content shows through.
Before we ran off to the shipping plant, we were really contemplating our choices about producing a product that, regardless of our enthusiasm for the outcome and the personal accomplishment felt by its completion, was just another needless product being created that would eventually wind up in the landfill. We had already made a decision to no longer produce merchandise. After several days of thought-processing, we agreed that our music and our message was in a different league than a t-shirt ... or a sticker ... or a thong ... or a beer cozy. We decided that while still focusing on creating as sustainable of a product as possible, the potential positive benefit of someone taking heed to our lyrics far outweighs the 100% recycled and recyclable cardboard content of our layout. I had a mental image of the nearly 1000 slimline cases and plastic sleeves that contained our initial two demos and never wanted to call for that much waste to be put into production ever again. Stumptown Printers is an amazingly friendly, cooperatively ran print shop based out of Portland, OR that offers environmentally sustainable packaging for CDs, Records and probably a lot more. Their services are partially responsible for our decision to bring a physical CD to fruition.
We also had a bit of label help with releasing this thing. Without ever thinking that someone outside of our band would ever be interested in helping us in ANY form, David Anthem from Southern Empire Records went out of his way to contact us about helping with the release. I've grown quite accustomed to releasing my own bands' music over the years, so to have someone outside of the band offering to help was something new to me. I've always felt that most labels were useless in the sense that I typically had better distribution tactics on my own, but the respect garnered by the label was enough for me. Joining the ranks of Prayer For Cleansing and Giant (their other two releases at the time) had me sold from the get-go. The label has since closed up shop, but David (the guy at the label instrumental in our "signing") has started a new endeavor called Communitas which has released an amazing band from NC called Torch Runner.
I'm actually quite proud of our CD layout and artwork, but have never talked about it in an interview or anything. The person (gender-neutral of course, haha) is simultaneously grasping snakes in his or her left hand while severing its own body from the roots of a tree which stems into blood and organs (only visible when fully opening the layout). The conquering of the snakes symbolizes overcoming the lies and deceit inherent in our society as it stands (plus I fucking hate snakes). The severing of the body from the roots is allegorical of removing yourself from the confines of the past ... either nature (organs symbolizing biological and adolescent impressions) or nurture (blood symbolizing the violent history of our society and its traditions). We feel as though only through defeating the lies of the present while simultaneously overcoming the destructive nature of humanity's past will one find any sort of inner peace ... and we wanted to display that through the artwork and layout considering we couldn't think of a title for the album as sick as "As Tradition Dies Slowly", haha.
We included a rather lengthy writing in the booklet of the CD about both the recording process and the meaning of the lyrics; what we used and why we used it ... and why the songs are so special to us. Despite the fact that the upload I am including for the full length includes a text file of our lyrics (equally as important as the music), I feel like there should be at least SOMETHING unique to the actual release that you can't obtain through the click of a finger. I still wholeheartedly believe that Mp3s of an album will never capture the same feeling that a disc or LP will; booklet in hand and all. Consider this a sampling of what our full length has to offer.
If anyone wants a copy of the full length ... just PayPal $7 to email@example.com and put in the note what the money is for. This offer applies to anywhere in the world. Please pass this around.
In case you are wondering what the pictures of the cassette demos are above ... I will explain. I have rounded up nearly 100 old cassettes that I will be re-recording over to produce copies of our demos and possibly full length for our final show to give to those who may not have the means to purchase our album. I'm also bothering with this endeavor to demonstrate the option of using recycled material in order to distribute your music and message. All it takes is a little piece of tape over the open tab on the top of an old Foreigner cassette and you have sustainably created a copy of your band's material.
DOWNLOAD - Path To Misery - Demo 2006
DOWNLOAD - Path To Misery - Demo 2007
DOWNLOAD - Path To Misery - self-titled full length