Don't be fucking snobs.
I've heard people making threads and things like these where they bitch about animators not wanting to work for free, like this, which is completely justified given the amount of time, effort etc. goes into animation.
Trouble is, you fuckers never account for when idea guys are far more than idea guys, giving you precious music, artwork, VA and writing for this sort of thing. I have had people say to me that they're not willing to pay diddly squat to anyone who comes up with ALL THESE OTHER THINGS, just because they're animators and therefore have to get all the profit because otherwise nothing justifies working with an animator. I have had this experience multiple times over the five-plus years that I have been on Newgrounds.
Yes, because if you're a musician, or a visual artist approaching an animator to work together for any reason (read: NOT MERELY AN IDEA GUY), your craft will still be considered as diddly squat by animators. Fact. I've been through this many times before and I cannot begin to tell you how heartbreaking it is.
When @matt-likes-swords released Epic Battle Fantasy 3 and was on the way to releasing EBF4, there were a number of us who sat together and did a massive collaboration, a tribute to what started on NG and grew into a really accomplished series of games in our eyes. Guess what: the musicians and the artists were all game for it. The animators? "Oh give us fucking money." I remember even collecting together an entire playlist of songs from the failed EBF collaboration, all of which never got used. Many of the songs have since been deleted, which meant I could only find five out of all the songs that had been submitted. Yeah, nice of you lot to piss on people's hard work there.
Um, I've got news for you: musicians, artists, voice actors and writers deserve their fair wages as well. If they're coming to work with you, they too are hoping to earn something as much as you are. Cut them some fucking slack. Just because you spend the longest time on your craft, doesn't make our craft any less worthy of payment, recognition or acknowledgment than yours. We spend our time actually working our arses off just as much as you do.
In fact, we say the same things to other people as well, we roast those who want completely free gigs unless they really cannot provide for one reason or another, but sometimes artistic camaraderie takes over. Not always, but sometimes. This never happens with animators unless it's something huge like the NG 20th Anniversary Collab. In all my experience across the Art, Audio, Writing and Animation forums, I've noticed that those doing art, audio and writing are more willing to accept people's sincerity on face value. Animation, however? Money, money, money, all the fucking time. Most animators I've come across have assumed that everyone has worked out the logistics of crowdfunding, the making of Patreons, or even just the means of working out record labels when even those people are struggling. I know animators need to put food on the table, but so do the rest of us, mate.
Don't get me wrong; you're justified in asking that, because it is, after all, the most time-consuming craft. Oh wait, actually, the same could be said for music, duh! Lots of effort and lots of patience goes into one minute, never mind thirty seconds of the bloody stuff. I hear people on the Audio forum complaining every so often that musicians etc. are treated like shit all of the time; in my mind, the biggest example of this is when you're trying to just do something fun with someone creative for any reason whatsoever, only for them to treat your craft as mere nothing and ask you to pay up just because you're somehow dealing with a bigger fish, HOW and WHY exactly?!
So, to ask for moolah, and to never be relenting to those who are sincere in offering their own talent to actually boost yours?
You know what? Just to protest, I'd be happy to actually get more musicians, artists etc. to REJECT your bid for making artwork, finding music, getting writers, if you should ever come across those forums again. Perhaps some of us should even say "oh, you animators are just nothing more than idea guys." Maybe that'll make you feel what it's like to be in our shoes for once.
Animators and programmers get the brunt of the attention on Newgrounds because well, their media is far more visual, and a darn sight more interactive than musicians and other visual artists. But if you aren't musicians and visual artists yourselves, you wouldn't get far without musicians and visual artists. So if they come up to work with you, and they're struggling, don't fucking dismiss them. You'll only alienate them.
I mean, for my part, apart from something I really have love for, I don't contribute to games and animation. If my craft is going to be pooh-poohed on by some supposedly bigger fish, then what's the fucking point?
To begin, I have reached 600 fans. Actually, a bit more, but meeeeep!
I really want to thank all of you who have followed me, and who still are. You guys are awesome. I never imagined getting this much support at all. Just...... thank you.
The timing couldn't be better, too. Some two Mondays ago, I released what I believe to be my best piece yet -- namely, Mio/Homura EXTEND ver. I would embed the Newgrounds player onto this post ordinarily, but it's having embed issues. So, for this post, content yourselves with the link and the Soundcloud embed below.
In previous posts I'd gone over the context of the piece, mentioning the demons I was trying to exorcise with the making of Mio/Homura... I am pleased to say that all the resentment I felt prior to the release of this piece of music is now gone. It all just melted away. ^_^ I am in bliss over this piece.
I am still reeling from the excitement that I felt over this when I released this. I think I'll get back to producing new songs when I am ready. Part of the excitement doesn't yet die down because there's still the music video for Mio/Homura to be recorded, and we're getting bits together. We've found the clothes and shoes to be used, we've found makeup artists who are trying on that facepaint idea of mine as I speak, we've found the location to film this. There still needs to be leatherwork done on my drum strap and beaters, for comfort and historical accuracy. So, that's a thing. Watch this space.
So, for those of you who are interested in the music I make, I've set up a Discord chat. If you'd like to join it, feel free to access it here.
I will try to access it once a week, say, Saturday evening unless things arise on any particular Saturday evening. Anyway, let me know in the comments section below if you consider joining, and I'll be sure to keep people informed to the best of my ability.
20 May marked three years since Seán and I got engaged. I am just so grateful that he is in my life. He's supported me an awful lot, and I've come a decent way in healing the mental and psychological scars, in large part, thanks to him. I love him. <3
In fact, you see I spoke of Mio/Homura above: he was the one who persuaded me and begged me to remake it. I was determined to just give it up altogether, but he pleaded with me. "Don't abandon it, please," I kept hearing him say.
We celebrated that anniversary in simplicity, really. We went to town, had lunch at the Harris Museum, and just generally appreciated each other's company and meepy meep. We don't like extravagance all that much, so it did us fine. The most important thing that day is that we had each other.
It may not seem like much, but I've started work on what I hope will be an NG skin, commemorating the Audio Portal and its artists.
So far, I have @ZStriefel (not in shot), @hania (not in shot), @Waterflame, @Phyrnna, @Xtrullor, @NekoMika, myself, @RealFaction, @EvilRaccoon and @Bosa. This is evidently not enough; I'd like more representation of the Audio Portal and the avatars musicians use. So, if anyone would like to come forward with information about current and past NG musicians' visual representations, please do so in the comments section below. I would really appreciate that. And granted, it'll take me a while, but the more people the better, because I'd like to put forth to everyone the immense diversity of the Audio Portal.
I think the only person I can think of whose actual face I can use is @etherealwinds, but I haven't drawn him yet. Not sure if he wants me to use another image though. Meep.
EDIT: New design.
I STRONGLY recommend that you listen to all 7 minutes and 20 seconds of this thing because one side of this piece cannot exist without the other.
As you may probably have gathered from listening, I poured my entire self -- joys, sorrows, fears, dreams, hopes, into this thing, just as I did five years ago when this piece originally came out. I sang, beat the drum and the tambourine, sequenced the rest of the instruments and mixed as I went along.
I'm just happy that it's done. So happy. The demons associated with this piece and the years that followed have been exorcised. I am pleasantly tired. Yesterday, I went upstairs to take an afternoon nap -- I wound up sleeping for the rest of the evening / night. I was that tired.
Meanwhile, I am at Soundskills, the place I volunteer at twice weekly, and also the place where I will eventually be recording the music video for Mio/Homura. At 14:30 today some friends and I are gonna draw up more detailed plans for it than just the concept shots. Now that this piece of music is done, it can finally be listened to while we think up what angles work. I'm really so happy...
Can I say I've hit my full musical potential yet, though? No, not really. There's still more to come. I cannot be complacent now, or ever, for that matter. And it's a sobering thought. The triumphal nature of Mio/Homura is not the end of my musical journey. I think it's only really just begun.
It has been hard, while this one particular song is nearing completion, to think of a description or to even broach the subject without going on about the hurt I felt, and still feel, and why. Put it this way, I am the type who WILL go on and on about an injustice done to me until it has been righted. I always have had this tendency since I was a child. This is something I will not stop doing now.
The full, extended version of this track, at its peak, will be released on Monday 15 May 2017.
Yes, it has been hard to mention the title Mio/Homura without bringing to mind the bastards who decided to tear me down (I will not be mentioning names, you all fucking know who you are). But the circle will now be complete: in addition to Mio/Homura being extended, there will also be a music video. Complete with green screen. And face and body paint. That will be arranged by friends at Soundskills. Considering the wonderful job they did with Asperges Me, I'm counting on them to give people the shock of their lives when they see the video for Mio/Homura. The ugly duckling is turning into a swan.
But before I go onto what led me to write Mio/Homura in the first place, I'm going to go back further still. To my childhood, in fact.
Those of you who know me or who have read my past posts and interviews will know about the abuse I suffered under my parents, and under the state where I grew up. Those of you who do not, I tried to go over it a little bit in a post titled GRAFT, some months back.
I want to add something to all this.
As children, many of us may not know what we are capable of, but we're more than happy to try. We're more than happy to say "I want to be an astronaut" or "I want to be a musician" or "I want to be a hero" -- we nearly never settle for mediocrity. Some of us, while we are still children, have that ability to believe that we're capable of so much, and are capable of rendering everyone around us silent with what we do. And so it is with me.
And of course, that capability and that refusal to settle for mediocrity will only get pissed on by bastards who don't care about us, or our futures. In my case, it was my parents, the state I grew up, and people around me. My parents did so by beating me up until there were scars and bruises, tearing up my original sheet music, yelling at me, hurling all sorts of insults against me, threatening me with death, nearly making good these death threats at various points in time, and refusing to fund any further study in music that I so yearned to pursue -- I was only an accessory to show off to the neighbours' parents, "oh, look how my daughter does this and this and this." The state where I grew up did this by denying job, education and welfare opportunities to minorities like myself, and by repressing the slightest dissent by taking people away in the night to be imprisoned, tortured, interrogated, even killed. People around me did this by ganging up with my parents in calling me useless, denying that I should even be listened to because I was a child and apparently didn't know better about where my place was supposed to be in the world. I was meant to be "seen and not heard."
In fact, I think the only people who even actually supported me, saw me for who I was, were men and women of the church -- and the people associated with them, the few friends I even had. But I couldn't even hope to claim sanctuary in a church or a monastery or anything of the sort because I only knew that my parents, or other people at my parents' behest, would drag me out for more rounds of abuse. No authorities would be willing to help me, and the people who did cherish me were powerless in that way. There was an unspoken rule that you always had to go to your parents, and you were always taken back there. Mental illness was never spoken about where I grew up. No one would suspect abuse. It was always the child's fault if a child ever ran away from home.
Fast forward to 2012; I had been in Britain for getting on two years and I was at university. I had only heard about the Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch for the first time that year, and so, believing in my musical ability, I decided to take part. I had no knowledge of mixing whatsoever. I had only used FL Studio 9, or 10 as it later became, for a year, knowing only the music theory side of things. There were only 32 people allowed to compete in the individual knockout round stages, as opposed to the 64 that we now have. I don't know how many people auditioned for the NGADM that year, but I was one of the 32 who would make it.
You accept, as a participant of the NGADM, that when circumstances get too much to handle -- and yes, they can often be out of your control -- there are only two options: find the time to make the music, or bow out. I accepted them from day one, and being a student at the time, did my best to handle whatever I could control. I had just begun my Legal Practice Course at the time, surprise, surprise, as a follow-up from having been press-ganged by my hateful family to do law because I was basically threatened with death. The idea was that I would have enough time to wrestle getting my accommodation, papers and beginning stages of the course under way while working on songs.
And I have never forgotten it for the last five years.
After the NGADM of that year, my musical capacity increased by leaps and bounds, in ways people never imagined. Frankly, I couldn't have imagined it either. I bought my first bodhrán, an 18-inch, entry-level, factory piece with a really thick, sanded skin so there were no hairs on it. I struggled with it, but after a year, the movement became second nature to me. I wound up playing it an awful lot. It became my favourite drum.
But the whole instrument learning thing wasn't just going to stop there, oh no. In between then and now, I have picked up the bass guitar, tin whistle and harp. I also became a bit more confident of my drumming, and the medieval long drum I have now has superseded the bodhrán as my favourite drum. Doesn't mean I can't enjoy them both, though. I became even more interested in liturgical and period music as the years passed, but still also maintained the feel of a jazz player (or a rocker, take your pick), where it becomes sensual.
In retrospect, I have done more to surpass the idea put into me by those bastards that I have bitten off more than I could chew, just by the instruments I've picked. And yet, it fucking hurts far more than it needs to. You know why?
Because the people who bullied me over Mio/Homura acted just like my parents. They acted just the same, in that they felt they had all the bearing and they could be the judges as to what kind of ambitions I should have over my music, and so they could piss on them as much as they wanted. Some of them probably did intend to hurt like that.
And let me tell you, after that track, it's never been the same again. I've been even more volatile. Even more suicidal. Doubting my ability as a musician, because when I wrote Mio/Homura, I wanted it to be about how far I could dream.
Well you know what? This ends now. Fuck you. FUCK YOU ALL.
Clutterfunk cannot be remade, but this one can. I came up with that piece in the two weeks assigned to me during a round of the 2012 Audio Deathmatch. I dared to dream and to aim high when no one else did. It didn't matter to me that I didn't have the capability to match it, at least I HAD dreams -- and they were far better than what anyone there could have come up with that year. I had to grovel in shame because people thought that I was being a sore loser over the 2012 Audio Deathmatch. You know what? I was railing against all the abuse thrown at me. And apparently, that wasn't allowed. FUCK YOU ALL, I say. I hope that when Monday comes, the lot of you who bullied me will be rolling about in as much emotional pain as I had been made to endure over the initial release of this piece.
Yesterday at the open mic at the nearby pub, the Wellington, I had one member of the audience (incidentally, also one of the performers of that night) tell me, "I want to see you in five years and actually pay for tickets to see you."
I only hope.
In the meantime.............
So, I don't know if I've told anyone this, but Easter (and the days leading up to it) tend to be the most tiring, but also most fruitful days of the year, in many ways. Easter actually is my favourite celebration in the entire year, for those who have wondered.
There was the annual last-minute practice in time for Saturday night. Not sharing the video this time because I think past years' videos should show exactly what I was practising. But outside of that, there is so much euphoria I get from Easter Vigil, and the actual Easter Sunday, that it overpowers any other joy I've had up to that point. It feels to me like the surest celebration of light banishing darkness, like the wonderful things I had never imagined before could actually come true.
One day, somewhere in the future, I would love to make an Easter album. There is so much inspiration I can draw from, and there is so much to share with all of you, which I suppose I will do, in the months or years ahead when recording begins. There will likely be an extended version of Sound of Creation if this album ever happens.
Outside of the liturgical celebrations and the immense amounts of drumming, what have I been doing?
Well, I have been practising drawing digitally... again. I have been trying to pick up what I seemed to have lost touch on. So I've just been doing things in my own time. Those of you who know what this image is, you will be able to guess what I have been practising on.
I need to concentrate on making as much of these scenes as I can.
Aside from that, my birthday fell on Wednesday, and I had the most wonderful surprise on that day. I normally go volunteering at Soundskills, a creative place / studio thing at Brookfield, one of Preston's suburbs. On Wednesdays, it's samba drumming over there. Halfway through this particular session, my fiancé Seán and all my friends gathered together and brought a chocolate cake marked "MEEP DAY" and sang Happy Birthday. <3 It was so lovely. I hold it very fondly in my heart even now. It's the best birthday I've had to date, just for how people came together that day. It wasn't a show of pomp, or how big a party I could throw. It was just a surprise made by friends.
So. This was the other of two birthday presents I got this year. I feel advanced now. <3 I already use a good number of sticks in this bag -- the mallets and cloth beaters and a few of the sticks are mine. But this thing came with even more sticks and brushes. A lot of them were size 2B. I was not going to pass them up. A friend of Seán's and mine described it as looking like "an archer's quiver" when it was zipped up.
You be the judge, people.
Presenting The Refugee's Song, something I began work on back in August of last year and finished yesterday, just before my 26th birthday. In addition to the link, I've included a frame in a possible lyrics video. One of the birthday gifts I got was a graphics tablet, so I decided to get some practice by doodling on PowerPoint slides.
If there is a game, however small, that I have scored, I always get intrigued to see playthroughs of that game. However, Ley Lines is the game I keep coming back to, because it was my first Steam release ever. It sorta drew a line in my journey, where previously I had been known for small game jams and collaboration-type things on NG. Now, I know it feels like a small step on an insanely long journey, and I know that I'm yet to write for an award-winning game or anything like that... but ZOMGIHAVESOMETHINGTOPUTONMYRESUMEDAAAAAAH.
And naturally, because it is my biggest title at the time of writing, there are far more playthroughs for this game than for any other thing I have scored to date, and I always get intrigued to see what people think when they play. More importantly, to me as a musician, I always wonder what they think about what they hear.
So, I did a search through the crevices of YouTube and finally gathered together this playlist of playthroughs to date. I'm going to cherish this, and probably make this the only game of mine to have an entire playlist of walkthroughs dedicated to it. If you'd like, you can watch it in your own time, or just listen for the commentary (which is what I tend to do).
And inside my heart, I hope I did an alright job with the music.
The funeral took place on Saturday (25 March) in the morning. It was a beautiful day. Seán's mum was buried in one of his family graves, at Fernyhalgh. Both family graves are full now, so he'll need a new one...
That is what the graveyard at Fernyhalgh looks like (or, the best shots we could find of it).
I thought I would write this to thank all of you who have been supporting us in small ways and in great.
My fiancé, Seán, gave me some very bad news on Friday at 4:00 in the morning or thereabouts. His mother, Margaret, succumbed to the two cancers that she had had, when the night was darkest, just before dawn on 10 March 2017.
As a background, we first knew of the cancers back in September of 2014, but for a year and a half, no one told us that the cancers were both Stage 4, and therefore terminal. Even if the truth were harder to swallow, I would have preferred that than not to have been told anything.
Then about mid-last month or so (or is it early last month?), Margaret found it difficult to eat or drink. The nurses and the doctor who were sent to her raised red flags that she was on her last legs, and she was sent to the nearest St Catherine's Hospice for the terminally ill. While we knew she would be well taken care of, we also knew that the end was going to come soon.
Seán has now lost both parents, and I have lost the one person whom I could have called my mother. She would have wanted to see us marry and bring grandchildren to the family. We would have loved for her to be their grandmother, but that's not to be.
It is presumed that her funeral would be one, maybe two weeks from now. I don't know. Everything is just a blur and we are weary. Seán and I now only have each other, and we are doing our best to stay as strong as we can. Prayers and thoughts if you please.