It's out, everyone!!!
I'm so excited to share this with all of you.
Right now I'm tired and in bed, but I will edit this post in the near future to talk about the production of this beautiful thing. Until then, I hope you all enjoy it!
composer + artist • she/her • loves drums • advocate for emotional literacy in music • meep • EN/FR OK
Joined on 6/26/11
Posted by Troisnyx - November 13th, 2019
Remember this song?
As some of you may have seen on certain Discord servers, the second edit of the music video to At the Ends of the Earth is out. It is by no means finished, and on Friday, I'll be meeting our filmographer, Chris Davis, at Soundskills to go over any possible changes.
I'm well aware that from the time I posted this song and considered it done, it's been nearly a year. Hopefully we'll see its completion not long from now!
Meanwhile, have a little teaser. It feels like I'm dangling a carrot. I don't mean to.
Posted by Troisnyx - October 19th, 2019
Hey everyone! As promised (apologies that it took longer than usual), here is the long post update about various things over the last couple months, beginning, of course, with my most recent release on Newgrounds and Soundcloud.
I present to you all, Lead, kindly light (Sandon) ~ Troisnyx ver. Quavering voice be damned; I am glad that this was released on the day that it was, and that it was arranged, recorded, mixed and mastered in under two weeks. I wrote it to celebrate the writer of the words, John Henry Newman, being canonised -- that is to say, being made a saint -- on 13 October.
The source image, which is already in the public domain, is a portrait of St John Henry Newman in his younger years by George Richmond (1844).
It's not everyday that I do covers these days. With the fetters tightening over creators regarding copyright, what songs can be covered or remixed and what songs can't, it's naturally become harder for me to just pick anything and everything. I know that many people can tell me tales of early this decade, or last decade even, where we could cover anything we so wished without people chasing after us to slap us with a hefty million-dollar fine or a copyright strike.
So these days, covers are a rarity from me. I try to carefully choose which ones I do, and which ones I would like to secure the licence to in future. Lead, kindly light is in the public domain, which makes it easy, but it is also my favourite hymn of all time. I'd long felt myself in a situation where I'd been beaten about by the proverbial waves without knowing where I am on the waters, and just like in the hymn, the only thing I can sigh right now is the phrase, lead Thou me on.
September was a real doozy; SO MUCH has happened during that month.
To begin, I posted a thread on Twitter that early last month, Seán and I paid a visit to my old stomping grounds of London, Hatfield and St Albans (the latter two are in Hertfordshire). Piccies attached. I said I'd make my full feelings known so I highly recommend going through the Twitter thread before reading these next couple paragraphs. Or skipping this section out entirely if you're in a TL;DR mood, because I'm not about to re-post all the photos here. There are just too many.
Next thing I want to talk about is the fact that the band I'm in, The Just Numbers, had four gigs over last month and this month. Three were in Preston; one was in Chorley. Of the Preston gigs, one took place in a pub that has since closed.
I've linked the Facebook page in the above paragraph so if you'd like, you can get updates about the band and its exploits. For now, here's a piccie of us during the first gig of this stretch of four, at the Vinyl Tap in Preston.
Every gig has its peculiarities; this one was the first (and so far, only) gig where I used a house kit, bringing only my snare drum, medieval snare and cymbals.
We don't have any reliable means of securing footage from any of our gigs yet; all we know at this point is that at one of them -- not the Vinyl Tap one by the way -- the pub's owner had actually filmed us with a decent camera, and the sound came out decent as well. We hope to get some of the footage from him so that we can share it with you all. Please watch this space, and the Facebook page as well.
Finally, I want to break the silence over an image I sketched some time ago, which is this one:
I'll need to update the image description to reflect this, but up till the time of writing this post I'd opened up guesses as to what the subject matter behind the image could be. Now, I'd only told this to a few people. Those who did have a go at guessing guessed wrong, as I imagined would happen. ^_^'
Gather round, everyone, because this is extraordinary and I keep wanting to cry.
Those of you who have been following my musical exploits will know that I've only played the drum kit for two years. I'd always had a fondness for percussion, and I began keeping the beat with the bodhrán in 2012 before slowly moving to other drums, in large part aided by my Seán. I'd always felt small because I'd been self-taught on percussion, and I was just a small fry who had been denied chances through my childhood and adolescence, mainly because of abusive parents who beat me within an inch of my life for wanting to play drums, among other things. There have been other abusive people at play too, but they don't deserve the time of day.
So I'd found it hard to believe -- even if I knew my friends and people in audiences were speaking the truth -- that they enjoyed my drumming and found it "amazing." I kept crying, thinking that this was somehow not true because I'd already been told to the face by my father that I'd never be a drummer worth a damn, to the tune of belt beatings. I thought I had to be faking it.
All this changed when, by a miracle wrought through my loved ones including Seán, I was given the opportunity to take formal training on drums in mid-September.
Within the second lesson I was informed that, notwithstanding stamina and four-way limb coordination, I am being prepared for Grade 8 -- the highest examinable level of any musical instrument under most exam boards.
I couldn't believe my ears, but this came from my tutor's lips and I just didn't know how to take it. I was so overjoyed. I cried. For the first time I finally believed in what I felt capable of. Every practice, every rehearsal was going to be fuelled with faith and self-belief, as much of it as I could inject on any given day.
Never, EVER tell yourself that it is too late. I was told this a gazillion times, in large part by people who sought to deprive me of chances to achieve things. I am 28 now. I truly started the drum kit at 26; any playing that I did prior was just once in a blue moon, an approximation of things from an unknowing fool. And to have been given this piece of news after just two years of playing makes me feel validated, and vindicated. We normally associate that kind of achievement with prodigious kids who'd been lucky enough to have funds injected into their passion. The fact that I, a person who is legally not allowed to work, a practical social pariah, was given this chance and given this earth-shattering piece of news -- now this is something that I will cherish forever. And fret not: your day will come too. I mean it with all the weight I can give to these words.
No one may choose to listen to you because of your age, but you have it in you to innovate, to scream and smash down the doors and prove your detractors wrong, to provide the musical testimony that nobody wants, the kind that everyone sorely needs. And it may happen in your twenties, or thirties, or forties, or later. It doesn't matter. Age belies circumstances, things that a person fought through, tooth and nail, to get that chance to be able to do the thing that represents their innermost heart. I have greater respect for someone who fought to do this, than for someone who started young and was lucky enough to do something. By that same vein, I don't deserve any recognition simply because I was lucky enough to have started the piano young. (And besides, many of us who started young can often let it go to our heads; I know I've been there.)
It's how sensitive we are to others' desires and sufferings, and how much we've come through that counts -- and I hope that when the time comes for me to do so, I can be sensitive to others' struggles and help them up and show them the worth that they truly have, as musicians and as persons.
These people are warriors. They will tell great musical stories with the things they do, the likes of which will be longed after for many years after their deaths. And that is why I drew a woman clad in armour, pounding a concert bass drum with the number 8 taking a significant space behind it.
Posted by Troisnyx - October 9th, 2019
First, a piece that I'd been teasing on both my Twitter and Discord for a while. If you haven't been kept in the loop either due to inactivity, or because you're not on the server or on Twitter, fret not: this piece will be out before Sunday.
Here, I'll just leave this teaser so you all might figure out what or who it is.
Second, I said that I'd make a post about the trip to London that Seán and I took in September, and a post about performances I've had with The Just Numbers. That's coming soon, but first things first: I have music to work on. ;-)
But when that post comes out, it'll be a really long one. I'll get to talk about the new piece of music, the London trip, the band, and I'll probably be mentioning a couple other stories. Please watch this space.
Posted by Troisnyx - August 22nd, 2019
This post is for those of you who feel new to this site, who want to get your music in games other than Geometry Dash, or films or animation shorts, and are struggling because nobody would listen to a new musician on the site. I am writing to tell you that I empathise with all of you, and I am writing this as a means of hopefully exorcising this demon forever. I hope that, if you've felt similar to me, you can share what you feel in the comments section below and we might find a way to turn things around together.
I am not going to name any names because I don't think this concerns them -- though perhaps, they may have their own stories to tell if they should ever see this post, and perhaps they may be forthcoming about their experience. This post is uniquely about my experience, my thoughts and feelings, the processes that went into these thoughts, and feelings, and tracks. I doubt that this post alone will resolve things, personally; however, I still think that it's about high time I wrote this and made it all known.
Talking with a good friend on Discord brought all these memories up.
2012 has not exactly been a good year for me creatively, or at least, I don't consider it such. Not only did I have the trauma of this game, but also the first release of Mio/Homura to deal with. The latter, however, got exorcised in 2017 when I finally gave people what for with this track.
As for the former, I thought I'd let it go.
Well, evidently, I haven't, if I've felt the need to write a whole fucking post about it.
Back in the days of Flash gaming on Newgrounds, there used to be game jams hosted by Newgrounds proper, and they'd have themes and all sorts to them. You got into teams and created short games within a short amount of time -- if I recall correctly, Newgrounds Game Jam 7, which is the specific one I'm talking about, took place in the summer of 2012 and participants had one week to form teams, come up with a game and assets and all sorts based on the given theme. Game Jam 7 had us all working on a Core Mechanics Diagram; you can find the archive of all entries here.
Having one's music in a film or a game was still very much in the common consciousness of every Newgrounds musician back then; I'd been on Newgrounds for a year now and I wanted to immerse myself in what was going on on the site. One of the ways to do it, I surmised, would be to take part in this game jam. I'd written various instrumental pieces of music meant for video games; I believed I could do the same here.
Like any other musician eager to participate, I put my name and availability down in the NG Newspost that was made. For the Newgrounds Game Jams, that NG Newspost entry served also as the classifieds; people looked for missing team members -- primarily artists or musicians -- and formed teams by sending people PMs.
I remember feeling very, very disheartened because...
Well, if you're a new user on Newgrounds who knows that you have something to give that others haven't, how do you prove it? You could have people listen to your stuff, but most wouldn't. They see the signup date and think, "oh this person must be a fucking noob." As I mentioned in my Grounds Patrol interview, the whole "there are no girls on the internet" culture was so strong that I would likely have been assumed to be a he, and a fucking noob.
Eventually, I was on the verge of giving up but then the programmer of what would become the game, Dropping Loads in a Cave, decided to give me a chance. The painful thing to note, however, is that with game jams, it's the luck of the draw as to whether you'll get a decent team on your side; every programmer who has taken part in these knows this all too well. But if a programmer thinks it's bad, oho... for an artist or a musician, it's a hell of a lot worse.
Dropping Loads would be my first ever game on Newgrounds. And the thing about game jams, and games in general, is that the primary quality on which a game is judged is not its art, or its music, or its feel, or its story. It's how the game itself is. I think that's fair enough; that's the whole point of quality control over games on Newgrounds, the whole Under Judgment system, and the various competitions for game developers. Now, Dropping Loads had no bugs. It was one of a select few games in that entire competition that had no bugs. The programming was excellent. But to many who played it, it felt middling at best.
And you see, as a musician, it's a fucking kick in the teeth.
Because if it's your first ever title, you're bound to pour all your love into the soundtrack for it. You're bound to want to make it the best it can ever be. You hope, you hope that the music that you make might positively influence the quality of the game. But everything apart from that is completely out of your control. And the fact that I had to practically beg for someone to finally give me a chance at scoring a track makes it even worse. I felt very bitter then, and I feel bitter now, for the exact same reasons.
You always, always remember your first time doing anything. Your first gig. Your first crush. Your first love. Your first job. Your first house. And, in this case, your first game.
Having looked back at it, and knowing what I had to go through only for very few people, if anyone, to care in the end, I'm tempted. I'm tempted to take EVERY SINGLE LAST ONE of these tracks and fucking delete them and never have them seen again. You always remember your first game score, and I will always remember mine, because of how bitter and upset the experience has made me feel, not just then but also over the years.
But I can't. Because apart from the game, this soundtrack as it exists on Bandcamp and Newgrounds is the only record that I even made any of these tracks, and the only record that on my first game title ever, I was able to deliver.
Here, I even mouse-drew an image for myself on MS Paint and PowerPoint back in the day just because if no one else could be proud of that fact, I thought I needed to be.
But who am I kidding? What does it matter if I was able to deliver or not?
Today I am able to do many things which very many people in 2011, 2012, 2013 have pooh-poohed me over. I have to acknowledge how far I've come. In my last newspost I mentioned that while I had previously thought that the definitive version of Mio/Homura was my magnum opus, I've since composed something that completely blew that piece out of the water, simply because I believed I could. And if ARM Circle, my doujin circle, is ever thinking of making games -- think along the lines of RPG Maker stuff, or visual novels -- I'd happily oblige, and I know that that door is open.
It's not something I would actively pursue, but then I ask myself some blistering questions:
Because you may not think much about experiences such as this now, but I'm sure some of you will relate to me when I say that anything that has made you doubt your self-worth, anything that has dealt a crushing blow to anyone's belief in your abilities and skills, is traumatic. I've written enough in past newsposts about similar things dealt to me by people around me, especially those closest to home.
With the impending death of Flash and everyone's desperation to move onto other development platforms, many beautiful game ideas have been relegated to the ash-heap. Bet many of you will also relate to that too. Some of us hold out the hope that an indie gaming spring might happen again, and so we play the long game... or like to think that we are.
As musicians, we help with immersion. We help someone feel well at home in anything for which the music is played. If it's a game, we help them get into the game. If it's a visual novel, we help them feel the story. If it's an album or a live performance, we try to give listeners the experience of their lives. I don't doubt that every musician on NG is acutely aware of this fact. So, for a musician to be disbelieved and then forgotten when they're doing their damnedest to be heard is an insult to their very purpose, I think.
And the biggest kick in the teeth is: when that happens, it doesn't fucking matter whether a musician can deliver or not. IT. FUCKING. DOESN'T. And it serves no one any good to just pretend that this sort of thing doesn't happen, that this sort of trauma doesn't occur.
Posted by Troisnyx - July 11th, 2019
Never in my wildest dreams, last year, did I ever imagine that I'd go from this... to this. Seán has strengthened me. ARM Circle has changed me. My friends have given me hope. And for all this and more, I am eternally grateful. Deo gratias. Thank you all.
I'd been scared during the run-up to the results because, in my mind, so many of the tracks were strong contenders for the top spots. I think it shows how far we've come in this competition, since its inception.
To me, back in 2017, the remake of MioHomu was what I considered my magnum opus. I was so proud of it that I never thought I'd surpass it. Finishing this made me feel that I'd surpassed MioHomu, and even if I didn't place, I'd at least draw comfort from having baffled myself and proven myself wrong.
Thanks for all the support and votes of confidence you've given me. All of you. Thank you.
I want to talk about a fair few different settings.
The first picture was at an open mic at The Ferret, a pub in Preston known for its music scene, during the Preston Jazz Festival that took place over the course of a month. The image is a month old, and here, I posed for a photo with my favourite drum before playing a couple numbers with my friend and bandmate Greg Slater, out of our band The Just Numbers. I also had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Aziz Ibrahim, out of Simply Red and the Stone Roses, to name a few. I drummed to his guitar.
The second image was during intermission time, shortly before we at The Just Numbers were to start playing again. I don't take good photos.
The third was at Soundskills; I'd periodically shared images from there but this took place in the middle of a jam.
The fourth, the most recent one, was of me reprising organ duty. After six years of not having played the organ at nearly any Mass, I now do this on a regular basis. This was at a Confirmation, with the bishop of Lancaster in attendance.
Now why am I sharing these disparate images, you ask? This is a cross-section of my life these days. While I still am constrained, due to circumstances on which I won't elaborate, to do things strictly nonprofit, I still insist on playing with and for people, and it often brings me joy, helps lift up my soul, and keeps my head out of otherwise dark places. The people listening to and singing with me seem to derive joy from it, and I'm glad about that.
Composition still hasn't taken a back seat, as there are ideas coursing through my veins, but I do a little less of it just to be sure I'm not tired from it all. Stormfall took a lot out of me and I still feel like I'm trying to recover. But even with all this, I want to — I shall — keep pressing on.
Posted by Troisnyx - May 29th, 2019
Hey everyone. I mentioned in my last newspost that on 29 May, I would be joined by some friends to film a music video for At the Ends of the Earth. Now that filming has finished and it has gone on to editing stage, I'd like to share some thoughts and piccies.
The budget for this video was relatively shoestring. Above was the props bag, which doesn't really give away much, doesn't it?
In this bag were a pack of 100 tealights, and small glass tealight holders, put in a hair products box because we couldn't find anything else to contain them. Besides those, there were two brass candlesticks, an old lantern, and two actual candles (which were old and fragile by the time we got them). The other things we needed to bring with us could not fit in this bag, but we already had them -- a desk lamp for concentrated warm light, a couple lighters, and my harp.
Soundskills had its own material to contribute -- this video was actually filmed at Soundskills proper -- and so it helped alleviate any concerns about what the recording space would look like.
Seán preparing the candles for today's session. There were plenty of tealights to spare, but only 18 tealight holders and one lantern.
The backdrop being set up. The faux fur rug on the ground, the music equipment box over which it was draped, and the black drapes were all Soundskills' own. We would turn off the lights after this was done.
The candles being lit and the lighting being set up.
Someone didn't know how to handle the HDR on my phone (which is fair enough; it's not straightforward) -- but these were filming tests, before the actual lights in the room were turned off.
Shot from recording. Only a bit of ambient light, from the entrance, was let in. By this point the spotlights in the recording room had been turned off.
I sang and played my harp. We expected filming to take as long as it did for Mio/Homu back when it was done (that one took upwards of four hours) -- full filming for At the Ends of the Earth took only an hour and a half. This was aided in large part by the fact that there wasn't much movement. I was sat in place, playing my harp, in a rather solemn and dark setting.
It may have been a relatively short recording session, but it was beautiful. It felt beautiful to all of us. Doing this -- filming, and being filmed -- was fun. I awaited the recording day with muted excitement, rather than the boisterous excitement I had over the last video, because I'd been feeling ill and finding myself in a lot of physical pain. Well, if I ever did fall mid-filming (which, thankfully, I didn't), I figured I'd have several pairs of hands to help me back up.
My Seán had to leave early because he was needed elsewhere, but he was there with me for the first hour or so. The rest of the crew, comprised of friends from Soundskills, stayed to help. For two of them, it was their first time ever being behind the scenes in the production of a music video of any kind.
I am in the midst of handwriting title and credits cards right now, and I will be sending those to editing as soon as they are complete. I hope to be able to share the end result with all of you soon!
Tagging, for interest, the people who inspired the song, and who had a hand in the production of this song, or the production of this music video.
On a side note, I didn't realise just how bushy my hair looked from behind. I love long hair, I really do -- I was hoping it'd fall in one direction, and not in this weird broom shape that it's taking. But oh well, I've had the patience to grow it to that extent; I'll take what I can get. ^_^'
There were people who did come and go, and see what the fuss was all about -- an entire area of Soundskills was blocked off to them, after all. They soon figured out that a music project of some kind was being done.
I know that I made mistakes in my harp playing on occasion, and there were times that I wanted to burst out giggling, but otherwise, it went very smoothly. I thoroughly enjoyed today, and I'm grateful that this opportunity has even presented itself. Grateful to the people who helped make this happen.
Posted by Troisnyx - April 8th, 2019
Remember my most recent song, At the Ends of the Earth? Hold that thought for a few moments.
I'd come up with three different storyboards over the last month, and handed them over to the person who filmed my previous music video. Two have been deemed feasible -- the third, which would have been for another song previously released on here, would be beyond our means to realise at this point in time. But the one that we can immediately do -- and when I say "immediately," I really mean "some time over the next few weeks, likely in May, might be postponed if we don't have enough volunteers" -- is that of At the Ends of the Earth.
So yes, it's a go. We don't have a set date, but our all-volunteer team (myself included) at least has a few weeks to gather together anyone whose skills we might need, and anything we need. I'll certainly keep you all posted on that front, and if there are any makeup tests or the like, I might post those on my YouTube channel. Let's wait and see.
EDIT 29.04.2019: We have a date for the recording of the music video to At the Ends of the Earth as of today; the morning of 29 May 2019!
We're blacking out / shuttering the place where we're recording said video to plunge it in total darkness before breaking out candles, torches, desk lamps, spotlights... We have a month to prepare. We have a date to look forward to!!! I'll keep you all posted, maybe a bit on here, but also certainly on Twitter, and we might talk about it on Discord as well.
Posted by Troisnyx - March 22nd, 2019
Yesterday, in the mid-afternoon, I released a new song called At the Ends of the Earth. I want to talk a bit about this song, as is the tradition I keep here on NG when I talk about songs that are particularly close to my heart.
I mentioned the game in dev hell, Song of the Firefly, in the description of the song above, and while I wait in hope for the day that it comes to life -- which might be a long time from now -- I want to talk about the feelings behind this.
At the Ends of the Earth was meant as many things.
When @ShockblastDeluxe suggested we do a "four producers, one sample" in the vein of Andrew Huang, I wondered if there wasn't something I could let four of us bring back to life. I dug through my audio submissions and found the teaser to At the Ends of the Earth. While the others were planning to distort and remix it and make something new, I took this opportunity to bring this song to life at last. But the only lyrics I had were "day, and night, and day, and night, and" on a loop.
I sat down to writing lyrics on several occasions; I even took the opportunity to do that while I was outdoors and had some time to myself. This song needed to be something that hit hard and hit home, and I picked the thing that hit hard and hit home that I should have mustered lyrics for a long time ago: the love of my fiancé, Seán.
So, in addition to what is seen at face value (which, to my recollection, is literally the premise for Song of the Firefly), it has a second, 'hidden' meaning of sorts. And that hidden meaning is to do with Seán pulling me back from the brink on multiple occasions, calling on me to trust and hope for the future with the same kind of trust that burns within his heart, knowing what is filling both his heart and mine with so much pain.
My voice wavered. My heart broke. I played the harp the best I'd ever played thus far -- and I do not consider myself a good harpist. But everything I did, I did with all the sorrow within me, and then some.
Many people gave me prompts on mixing, including @etelik and a number of other NG peeps, as well as a couple people from The Mixer's Alliance (a Discord server geared towards mixing, and aimed primarily at chorus battle groups on YouTube and the like).
I was fortunate, and am grateful, to have been given the help from both @JessieYun and @siteml with regards to the piano. Both of them, in their own capacity, took the MIDI of my piano and turned my soundfont-Steinway into a nice, pedalled Bösendorfer.
A while back I did the cover art for this, with the hopes that it would also become the soundtrack album for SOTF; it is now the cover art for all SOTF-related or -intended tracks.
In the months to come, I hope to be able to get some visuals. I have an idea for a live-action music video for At the Ends of the Earth -- I just hope that it is feasible, and that we can take the necessary precautions for any risks that will inevitably present themselves while filming. If this idea is feasible, I will post the progress.
Anyway: I feel that with this song, I've bared my soul. Maybe not as much as I would like, but some have told me that it is different from my past works. Unexpected, even. I still want the courage to bare my soul even more with my music.
For now, however, I hope you all enjoy this song. Thank you for taking the time to read, and to listen.
Posted by Troisnyx - February 15th, 2019
A few of you have asked, during the contest period, if the stems would still be made available. I had a quick check-in with @Phyrnna and we've agreed that, yes, they'll be made available. We look forward to hearing what you do with them!
They can be found in the first few posts of mine that I have made in the contest's submission thread.
Those of you who participated, I thank you for a job well done. I hope, most of all, that you had fun. For many, this will have been your first contest. Please keep writing music -- you'll all only get better!
I want to make a quick update about the NGAP Audio Drama.
As it stands, the music is 95 percent done. One song still needs assembling. All the other tracks have been composed.
The main voice acting is completely done. Those who have volunteered to do background voices and things are doing what they can. Our main FX artist has fallen under hard times lately, so it's taking a fair bit longer than hoped.
We've been able to taste the end for quite a while now; I hope that we can deliver the finalised audio drama to you all sooner rather than later.
Aside from that, I have been taking to composing a couple new things, and remaking a fair few of my earliest piano pieces, the ones I'd submitted here. I wouldn't remake them without reason; I can see them being used for something already. There's loads of stuff in the works, loads. If anything, I think I might need some time to untangle it all.
How have you all been?