Promo pic for the song In The Garden from the album Psycho Social Sexual by After-Death Plan
We've been hard at work through this dark winter working on the new album Psycho Social Sexual. It’s got some rock, arcane goth, and dance songs; and we got to let loose more because the subject matter is not about books and authors but about our own experiences. Wrote a lot of those songs while rehabbing a pretty wrecked Tudor house so there’s a lot of percussive drive. There are strong feminist themes throughout Psycho Social Sexual and with that in mind I collaborate with Anna Frick from Airshow Mastering for mastering. She has a strong skill set but it is her emotional intelligence that won me over; for example, describing one of the dancier songs as ‘a backhand to pop culture.’ She is someone I want handling my mixes. As we hand off these grown babies we turn our alarmingly indie sights onto things like packaging, press materials, website overhaul, and video content. We have guest stars on five of the ten tracks which is great. Collaboration was the spirit of my former project Mal VU.
Psycho Social Sexual with Milan Karcic
Psycho Social Sexual is the title track. To replace and re-envision the guitar solo, we brought in the illustrious Milan Karcic. He’d played for years with George and Costa in Salt Horse and Everything. Milan is a prolific singer and guitarist who makes videos and runs the Peace Love and Freedom Urban Farm. Here he is pictured winning Zelda over in record time.
Neil Harvey with Lizard McGee
We tracked Neil Harvey at Musicol Recording Studio. We’d not played the song together before and wanted to recreate the improv feeling the Hondroulis Brothers and I had experienced years ago when creating Mal VU songs. Costa (Constantine) and George jammed out music and I rearranged it and laid on vocals using a sheet of notes I’d taken while we'd visited the USS Constellation in Baltimore Harbor. Neil Harvey was a real guy who been strapped to a cannon and blown to bits for cowardice. Some say he fell asleep on the dog watch and some say he hid when faced with battle against a French frigate in the late 1700's. I added a bit to his story. Keith Hanlon, the engineer at Musical (pictured right) handled the tracking which freed me up to just sing. Thanks Keith!
I don’t need to explain who George is, right? George Hondroulis is a drummer and illustrator who has been on the Columbus scene forever. He’s currently in Bush League Allstars, Fort Shame, Lydia Loveless, and Two-Cow Garage. He used to be in Earwig and Evil Queens and Our Flesh Party, and many other bands. He’s also Constantine’s brother and my bro-in-law. We consider George as more of an original member than a collaborator.
We overdubbed Lizard’s Black Sabbath-esque guitar for Neil Harvey back at Hear No Evil Sound.
You Play Adult with Bob Ray Starker
You Play Adult has a chill throwback Mal VU feel. We wanted a touch of Morphine vibe to fill out the sound of this song and Costa suggested Bob Ray Starker on saxophone. Bob is a singer, sax player, guitarist, illustrator, and long-time fixture in the Columbus scene. I’m told he’s been in like 70 bands and perhaps most dominantly Woah Nellie! and The Sovines. I didn’t live in Columbus for many of those years so pardon any simplification. Bob had this aged jazz-era sax that was a thing of beauty and he played his heart out. I was thrilled to meet this studio pro.
Emma Nation with Henning Nugel
Henning Nugel scored a wonderful album last year called Crow to the poetry of Joolz Denby, a rare wordsmith. A song from our album Literature was played on the same radio show possibly due to the book theme and Henning and I started a conversation. He’s a prolific composer whose work day centers around composing video game soundtracks. A trained pianist and multi-instrumentalist, Henning consistently learns new instruments and stays excited by sound. Wish this powerhouse lived much closer than Germany. For Emma Nation, he took my vocals and flew with it. Much to my delight, he wanted the lyrics to build the music which is how scoring works. I got to put my feet up for a lot of this one. It's that good.
Killed In Days with Tom Boyer
Killed In Days is a danceable song about angry men. I sequenced the drum part and the following vocal melody spilled from there. The hooks were in my head when I wrote the lyrics then landed right in line. It’s one of our first tracks where we funkify the bass, coloring it with noise, wobble, and distortion for a modern throwback sound. Then we turned to Sir Tom Boyer of GBS Records because we knew his experience in the feel-good band Oswald And The Herringbones would help us to up the groove without too much cheese (a mere hint of refined gouda). He made an excellent choice of adding sounds on the Juno-60 and Sequential Circuits Pro One. Tom Boyer is a longtime Columbus musician and audio engineer. He mixed the last Earwig album, Pause For The Jets, and mastered all but one of our tracks on the Literature album last year.
Mixing Chemicals with Lizard McGee
Lizard McGee re-envisioned Costa's guitar tracks on this one. What can you say about Lizard? His band Earwig has been a Columbus mainstay since the early 90’s. He writes the songs, sings, plays main guitar, promotes, and is a relentless performer. His sessions with After-Death Plan turn into rather fabulous overnight parties at the studio and we’re hoping the next one in the warmer months to come involve the fire pit and effigies of plutocrats.
Starlight with Jay Gasper
*interlude music while we figure out how to post a video here*
Starlight needed to have dreamy astral feel that conveyed great beauty over deep layers of darkness. We laid some violin and keys but it was not enough, perhaps because we are not free enough on those instruments. On several occasions, when writing a nontraditional song, I'd ask who has the ability to fly along with a nonlinear concept and I kept hearing the same name: Jay Gasper. "Gasp," I thought. "No, Gasper," said Costa. Jay plays with George in Lydia Loveless, Two Cow Garage, and Dead Nettles so he sent him the rough track and we confirmed the plan out front at a Two Cow Garage show. We're thrilled because his input was surprising and exceeded our hopes for the song.
Cover Art with Stephen Swartz
You can find info on Mr Swartz and the cover art here:
So there’s a peek at the collaborators on the upcoming album which is about to jet off to Anna Frick at Airshow Mastering! The sooner it’s done the sooner we can get back to creating. Making records is time-consuming and I don’t regret not doing fancy releases of the Mal VU material. Hopefully enough people buy our album that we can finance another After-Death Plan album while also having the eight Mal VU albums officially mastered and re-released.
Thanks for you!