Sunday, May 26, 2019

The concept behind what I'm doing here is to start with some songs that are fully written . . . but still need some production. I'm going to upload demos from 27 different songs that I've been working on over the years. Some of them will get polished and will become B-sides. Others will become songs that end up on the next record. Now that the technology exists - its really easy for me to upload and replace a demo with a newer version. So - if you are listening deep like many of you do - you'll get to hear the changes between versions and see the evolution and how I get to a final version of a song.
So - with bandcamp - if you are to purchase now - you'll have access to all 27 demos and their evolved replacements as they happen.

The older replaced versions might not always be available via bandcamp - so if you like something and get attached to it - download it. . . or at the very least make note of the date code if you need to hit me up for it later.

What I'm hoping to do - is take any of the proceeds that I do get and use them to either fund new merch or some software plugins that I'll use for mixing and advanced production.

~eMpyre ramireX

Friday, February 1, 2019

IVx17 Self-Destruct Code

I've finished writing a few new songs - but the first one that will be finished is called: IVx17 Self-Destruct Code. Its about aliens and the end of the world and possibly a techno-organic virus. I'm told that it is plenty complicated like I would hope for. I'm playing and recording on upgraded equipment and software. I am positive that you will hear the difference. I have a semi-rough mix done. Its very close to being arranged the way that I want it to be. Its catchy. The bass hits. It tells an interesting story. Its also something that everyone can relate to. There will be a new T-shirt to go along with this song's release.

I can also confirm that the album that it will be on is titled: Mutants, Humans and Robotrons. I'm not sure how many total tracks there will be but I'd guess between 6 and 10. I'm hoping to release a track every 2 months or so. This is the artwork (close to final) that will appear on the front of the T-Shirt.

~eMpyre ramireX

Monday, January 7, 2019

What does "I'm Back" even mean?

I know that some people don't use Facebook and that is where I post most of my news and happenings. In the years since my last release I've gotten married, had 2 kids and earned a Master's Degree. Now that school is done I've been working on new material. I have 7 songs that are mostly written. Most of them only need a little bit of recording and then some mixing to be finished. I'm not 100% sure how I'll release them but I would expect to hear at least 1 of the tracks by the end of January. A long time ago one of my co-workers and I used to joke that all rappers feel the need to announce that they are "back" on each album . . . I don't think I've mentioned it in any of my songs. . . but it's still worth joking about considering the roads I've taken between releases. Its been a challenge to stay focused and continue writing and creating. I might beat Tool though - at least there is that.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Kovax - The One You Shall Not Sleep On

As some of you have noticed - I've been noticeably absent from releasing new music. A lot has happened in the last few years. Marriage, children, and the thing that makes it the most challenging is working on my Master's Degree. I have about 9 months until I finish. . . and then its on. In the meantime however I have been working with Kovax (a local Detroit MONSTER) to help bring him to the next level. . . actually I'm thinking double promotion here and getting him to the level beyond that as well.

I've met and listened to hundreds of independent artists over the last few decades and every now and then someone will strike me as being a few notches better than all the rest. Usually they are missing something . . . but this dude has it ALL. He has the drive, work ethic, talent and he is willing to learn new parts of the business. He's performed to large crowds and he's one of the best stage performers that I've ever seen. I've seen him evolve musically over almost a decade now and he's continually changing things up while still keeping his deliveries full of energy and wit.

Definitely check out these 2 albums. He has another one dropping towards the end of the year. On Catching Energies Bare Mitts and Die in Detroit on Feral are some of my favorites. . .but honestly both albums are strong from front to back. They are available on Amazon, iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and plenty of other outlets.
Kovax: Feral

Kovax: Catching Energies

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Rock Band 4 Review - FINALLY

The most important thing first - my kick pedal trigger works fine with RB4. Like I said in my last post...I did purchase the Rock Band 4 Bundle. I have been using my RB1 drum-set though. I've been having issues with my RB4 Drum- Kit. I've tried many things to get it to work and currently I'm waiting for a response from Mad Catz.

So first the good stuff. I love Rock Band 4. It combines some of the wonderful stuff from Rock Band 1, 2 and 3. The guitar is much more responsive than the previous Rock Band Guitars. I don't play guitar nearly as much as drums but I had no problem playing on Expert on Bass and Guitar. I also did some vocals. Again not my prime instrument but as a test drive I think the vocals were what I would expect them to be.

The soundtrack is everything I wanted it to be. When I saw the track list I was worried because I wasn't familiar with a lot of the songs. When I played through the RB4 Soundtrack though I enjoyed every single song. Harmonix was not exaggerating when they said, "Top Tier Soundtrack." I was surprised how much I enjoyed the U2 songs. From a drummer's standpoint the songs were mostly more challenging than the other songs in their tiers but not terribly so. Where this is good is that Harmonix chose songs that you wouldn't play through once and Gold Star or FC (Full Combo) easily. They all have rhythms and patterns that are new and make the game fresh and enjoyable again. Standouts to me were both U2 songs, No One Like You by the Scorpions, Panama by Van Halen, The One I Love by REM, Friday I'm in Love by The Cure, Lazaretto by Jack White, Uptown Funk, Brandi Carlie, Cake, Avenged Sevenfold, The Protomen, 4 Non Blondes...and I could go on. My personal opinion is that it would be extremely difficult to come up with a mind-blowing set-list that would satisfy everyone. With all of the great songs available in previous games and in DLC there isn't a lot to choose from outside of new songs that were released in-between Rock Band 3 and 4. The DLC is reasonably priced and there is something there for any music lover. The new features are split for me. I love the dynamic drum fills. It makes learning the song more interesting. It also makes a full combo far more rewarding. I didn't get a chance to try out the freestyle vocals. I personally didn't like the Freestyle Guitar Solos but I just turned them off. You can also easily turn off dynamic drum fills and freestyle guitar solos. By the time I got my game up and running I was able to get the RB3 Export. I also had no problems getting my previously purchased DLC. There are some DLC songs that haven't been ported over to RB4 yet but they are working on them. They are releasing legacy DLC, Track Packs and Exports at a very reasonable rate.

Some people complain that the game was released only partially completed. I'd rather have the game that came out at release with regular updates now than have to wait even longer to get a completed game. The updates are free and to me the updates keep the game fresh which in my opinion will help the longevity of the franchise.

As far as "missing features" 2 out of 3 of them are in development. They are Practice Mode, Set-lists and Online Play. With RB2 and 3 I think I only used online play once or twice. No big loss for me but I'd love to have it. There is still new DLC coming out in regular intervals and there are almost 1700 DLC songs available today for RB4. That with any of the export packs that might have been purchased is a daunting amount of material to try and conquer.

So my TLDR review is: Rock Band 4 continues rocking and it rocks well!

I've also contacted Harmonix Customer service. . .and truly they are amazing. Mad Catz still remains to be seen. More on that later. The Harmonix folk are very enthusiastic about Rock Band and that makes me want to support the franchise until I am too old to play. Hopefully that never happens.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Rock Band 4 Review Coming Soon!

Back in October I bought a Sony PS4. I was holding out for the 1TB version. Before Christmas we got a new TV for it and shortly after Christmas I finally purchased a Rock Band 4 bundle. I've had a chance to play all of the instruments and sing. I've also had a chance to play along with friends and family.

I'm still using my Yamaha KP-65 along with a Yamaha kick pedal (endorsements anyone?). I've been working on triplets with my kick foot (I'm a lefty for now). I've had ample time to play the game enough for a fair and detailed review but I need some time to polish it up.

In the meantime feel free to add me to your PSN friends list.
My PlayStation® Network ID is empyre327

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rock Band Drums - Use a REAL Kick Pedal

For those of you tuned into Rock Band video games - you know that Rock Band 4 is due out later this year.

I played the hell out of the original 3 Rock Band games for PS3. What I ran into trouble with was really fast songs that were demanding on the kick pedal. The spring in the stock RB pedals didn't have enough action and I wound up working WAY too hard for beats I could hammer away at on a real acoustic kit. What I found recently was a kick trigger pad from Yamaha that can be hooked up to the stock Rock Band drum set or the Ion Rocker set. There are other brands of kick trigger that will work as well. I already had a pedal for my drum set and any standard pedal will clamp on to the Yamaha KP-65. They are available to purchase all over the place for about $70.

However in order to get it to work with your Rock Band Drum set or Ion Rocker set you need something to convert the signal. If you have any electronics know how it is not too difficult. There used to be a KickBox, a VTI Trigger Box or a Kickwire available from online retailers to do this signal conversion for you. However - since Rock Band's popularity waned after the market was saturated these products dried up.

Here is a schematic that will give you what you need if you want to build one yourself.

Also - here is a parts list with Radio Shack part numbers:

- 555 IC (2761723)
- 386 IC (2761731)
- 100K resistor (2711347)
- 10K potentiometer or 5K resistor (controls pulse width of 555 output)
- 2N3904 NPN (2762016)
- 0.1uF cap (55047626)
- 10uF cap
- 1/8" male mono phono plug (we hard-wired this output to the box)
- 1/4" female mono phone plug (for the drum trigger input)

For those of you like me - who have been getting ready for the release of RB4 - this information should help. I've seen a fair amount of posts recently from people looking for a Kickwire or TriggerBox.

~eMpyre ramireX *IS* sAMPLE tHE mARTIAN