Friday, June 27, 2014

Theremin Works

I first learned about the wondrous instrument known as the theremin through the film, "Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey". The sheer weirdness of the instrument, as well as the tale behind the man that invented it, captured my imagination and made me very curious. The year was 2002, and I had lived in Los Angeles for just over a year when my 30th birthday came around. My ex-girlfriend surprised me with a hell of a present; she got me a theremin on eBay. I dove right in and starting making strange sounds with it, adding tons of effects and zoning out on its peculiar frequencies.
By that time I was also getting involved in local experimental music and comedy performances. My theremin came in handy. I had a noise band with Sandor, future drummer of Harassor, that was called Urethra Franklin (we later changed the name to Democrisy), and a solo experimental project called Attakkr. I also performed with our comedy/musician friend Brently.

I think hearing the theremin has an interesting effect on people, naturally drawing them in. There's just something about the sound it makes that is oddly alien and familiar at the same time. It seemed that everybody wanted my theremin in their act...I was even invited to be on the Ellen Degeneres Halloween episode (was it 2005? 2006?) with my theremin, and I was in a skit with Ellen where she tried to play it.
Anyways, as time went on my theremin, which was a cheaper model, started to have technical issues like shorting out, and I also didn't want to be pigeonholed as the "theremin guy", so I started backing off from using it, and it wound up in my closet for many years.
Recently, my friend Brian in the Louisville, Kentucky sludge metal band Stonecutters, asked me to record a brief intro for one of their upcoming songs. I dug the old theremin out and dusted it off. It still had the same technical issues but I was able to make it work. I added some reverb, echo, and tremolo and started zoning out again like the old days. I had so much fun recording the intro for Brian that I just kept going until I had enough material for an EP.
That's the story behind our new release, JAMES BROWN III "Solo Theremin Works". Stream and download it below, and look for the cassette edition coming soon.
Thanks for listening!