Friday, April 27, 2012

The Music of JOE VAMPIRE

If any of you have read JOE, you know just how important music is to him.  You may also know that a good friend of mine by the name of Mike Pallante has crafted a song called “American Monster”, a raucous metal-fest that speaks of Joe’s inner turmoil at being turned into a creature of the night against his will. 
That would piss off anyone, I bet. 
Mike didn’t know he was doing it, but he captured Joe’s angst even better than Joe could.  So he let me use the song in a book trailer I’m working on.  It’s a freakin’ fantastic fit, too. 

Thanks, Franken-Mike. 

You’re in JOE2.  It’ll make sense once you read the book.

Check out his Dark Asylum blog to find “American Monster” and other equally radical tunes.  He calls it "monster rock". 

I call it awesome.  

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that music isn’t just important only to Joe.  It’s pretty damn important to me, too.   Not an exaggeration to say it’s a necessity, like food and water.  And naps.  And it always has been.  Joe plays piano because I play piano; I gave him the same outlet I have for my creative leanings.  It was an easy reach, but it was also meaningful to us both.  Joe works in an office, because I work in an office; that’s me, too.  Joe blogs, and I blog…

Okay, kids.

This isn’t going where I had intended it to.

Think what you want, but honestly - I’m not Joe Vampire.

Joe is Joe, and I am Steven.

The overlap may be uncanny, but it’s only a coincidence.

And yeah, that's me on the cover.  But still. 

Back on track, here.  Music is serious lifeblood stuff for us both, which is why it worked its way into the story.  It’s flowing into my ears, fiddling around in my head or falling out of my hands all day, every day.  What it has become more recently, however, is a necessary stimulus for my word craft.  Whenever I’d write, I’d click “shuffle” on my whole play list and let everything roll.  Like an all-encompassing jukebox, in a contraption the size of a matchbook.  With the variety of stuff I listen to, it’s probably not surprising to find out that the diversity was a little jarring.  I wrote in fits and starts.  Mostly fits, though.  And yet, certain songs would appear and the flow would arrive with them.  As happens with most things in my life, it took me a while to figure out what was happening: very specifically, there is music in my play list that attunes my hemispheres and puts me in the distinctly verbal zone needed for my writing.  Contrary to what I had believed, not just any music can do this.  It needs to be a type of audio magic, soundcraft that moves at a certain rhythm, with all its disparate elements working in conjunction with one another to create a seamless flow.  Once I realized this, I altered my playlist to include only that particular music. 

Turns out it all comes from the same brilliant musicians.

And now, they are my permanent writing soundtrack. 

You’ve seen me promo them on social media, and you’re going to see more of that, friends.  They’ve become my go-to team for the magic I need to create the magic you read.  And they’re not only phenomenal talents, they’re incredible people, too.  You’ll find out how cool in just a bit.  For now, let’s get to know them a little better.  They are a huge part of JoeWorld, after all…even if they didn’t know it until recently. 

SleepthiefI call him Mr. Thief, but his name is actually Justin Elswick, and he’s nothing less than a magician as far as I’m concerned.  The arrangements he concocts melodically, harmonically and instrumentally are as perfect as music gets.  Sweetly tuneful voices moving through dense, shimmering layers of electronica with percolating hide-and-seek rhythms that all weave together into a sonic tapestry.  Such rich stuff, folks.  I found his music several years ago and it immediately became a constant in my collection.  Now, it’s chief among my go-to music, bar none.  His CDs The Dawnseeker and Labyrinthine Heart qualify as world-class music.  Mortal Longing will be released in May, and you’ll see huge push from me for that.  For now, click the title to see a teaser.  The video is as incredible as the song.  I can’t wait to hear the whole thing and add it to the playlist. If that wasn't enough, Justin has a side project called SpyThriller that adds even more sound magic to his already-substantial canon of work.  My suggestion is that you click on the titles above and download it all for yourselves.  When you buy his music, you support his work, and he gets to do more of what he loves.  Dude gets it right every time, and I appreciate the hell out of it.  Thank you for what you do, Justin.  Joe flows because of you.  I’m incredibly grateful for that.

Jody QuineSleepthief features a rotating cast of vocalists, each lending their own essential nuance to Justin’s songs.  Clarion among them all are the dulcet tones of Jody Quine.  I consider her voice angelic, and I hear her singing an acapella version of Eurydice (from The Dawnseeker) over Joe’s transformation scene on the film score in my head.  You wouldn’t know that from reading the book; that scene is played for humor.  If there were ever to be a film version – and I’ll be pushing very hard for that, by the way – it would be much more dramatic in tone, and Jody’s voice would be the beacon that guides Joe back from death.  It’s just that special.  Click on the title above to hear a full electronic arrangement’s fantastic.  Jody also sang with Balligomingo, and is a badass solo artist working on her own CD.  She performs for our internet-ertainment through StageIt/JodyQuine every Thursday Night at 8:30 PST.  There’s a permanent link to her site on the right pane of the blog.  I urge you to Click It and Ticket by searching "JODY QUINE", and show up next week for the show.  This is how she's funding her recording, so her audience is key, folks.  She and her bassist Matt Wilson have more fun than other people should be allowed to watch.  But we watch it all anyway.  They actually want us to.  It’s awesome.  Thank you for your sweet voice and your beautiful song-smithing, Jody.  You're just the angel Joe needed.

Coury PalermoCoury is also one of Sleepthief’s vocalists, which is where I first heard him as well, on the song World Gone Crazy.  The pureness and clarity of his voice make every lyric sound like a prayer.  And you believe every word he sings, as if truth has been set to music.  He’s incredible. And as perfectly as his tone meshes with Justin’s music, he creates solo tunes that are just as stirring and powerful.  I downloaded his CD The Broken Way We Love as soon as it hit last year, and one listen was all it took to keep Coury in permanent play.  And now, he’s part of the music that helps make Joe.  He has a side project as well, called the Fury, with new tunes soon to come.  I'm eagerly awaiting that, and I'm anxious to see where his talent takes him from here.  Click the link, download his music and hear the wonder for yourself.  Coury: well done, brother.  Your sounds are truly a gift to the world, and Joe and I are honored to receive them.

And to take this musical love fest one step deeper…

A small spoiler for JOE2: Joe and Hube make some major strides with their own musical project, and it heads in a potentially successful direction with the owner of an independent record label.  To describe what the sound is, the boys reference Sleepthief, hoping their new contact will recognize the name and help them achieve a similar refined quality in their own music.  To their surprise, he not only knows Sleepthief, he loves Sleepthief – and he has a line on Justin, Jody and Coury that may help Joe and Hube make the most of their tunes. 

In case you didn’t catch that: I’ve written these amazing people into JOE VAMPIRE 2: THE AFTERLIFE.

They’re in the book, y’all.

As a way to honor their craftsmanship and hard-work, and the way it inspires what I do as a writer.

As a thank you from me to them, for being the phenomenal artists that they are.

As a way to illustrate to the world exactly what Joe and I both think of them and their music.

I can’t tell you how jazzed I am that they agreed to let me throw them into the madness.  Awesome as they are as musicians, they are equally awesome as people, and they deserve every success that comes their way. I'll be helping with that in whatever way I can dream up.  Including them in the book their music helped me write is the best way I could think of to honor them for what they do and how it inspires me.  I hope being part of my work will be something they consider a cool thing, even if by only some small token.  

I know it means the world to me that they’re in there now.

Thanks again, Justin, Jody and Coury.
There's definitely more to come.

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