VC In 2016

We have been on a pretty long hiatus from the Holidays and with Tim being super busy at work for the month of January, but worry not as we still have plenty of plans for 2016. Among them being that we’ve landed a mega kick-ass gig that we are incredibly excited about and will be providing more info for soon. We also plan on recording more songs from our Hero album. We plan on recording these throughout the year while we also work on some new songs and trying some new concepts for our sound. John has also been hard at work setting the foundations for a Victim Cache JRPG that is in the works. It will follow the story of our Hero album and include some of our current music, as well as some pure chiptune and videogame songs exclusive to the RPG.

And, of course, we will be continually looking for additional gigs throughout the year in addition to the big one! Exciting times ahead for Victim Cache!

Recording Experimentation

We have been having a great time playing live shows! Lately though we have been pondering doing some studio-style recordings of some of our songs. We are not yet ready to tackle recording a full album – we’re not finished writing all the songs, for one. But we would like to try our hand at recording a few of our songs just the same. Maybe as singles or for an EP.

Doing so will give us a taste of a few challenges we didn’t have on our first album. Recording our chip-synths hasn’t changed much, but everything else has an acoustic and open-mic element which is both exciting and daunting at the same time. For this go-around, we decided to try a few approaches:

First, doing a live-style direct to stereo recording off our mixer. This would be much like a live show but with some modifications to our setup (we could use condenser mics, for instance). It’ll capture the best essence of the band, though it also means the result will be the most raw. It does open up the possibility to do a full analog recording while keeping things affordable, however.

Second, doing more like a “Live Studio” recording wherein we still play together live, but multitrack the recording, instead of the two-track approach noted above. This would be a digital recording (we can’t afford a multitrack analog setup or studio time right now). That’s a bit less fun, but will still capture much of the essence while giving us some room to work on some post production aspects.

The third is doing the cheatiest modern approach we can which is to track each instrument directly and do a lot of digital post-processing, mixing/mastering. It’ll likely sound the most professional, but also the most sterile and boring. I’ll go on record as being not a fan of this approach and, in fact, I don’t think any of us really are. It’s also somewhat cumbersome to track instruments this way and it captures really none of the band as the band. Far too many recordings are done this way these days. But, for completeness, it’s something we are looking at.

After all, the end result is meant to be a pleasing set of sounds that have a bit more quality than just a straight live show. Regardless, whichever method we choose now will likely shape how we approach the full album in the future. It gives us tangibles to work towards in terms of equipment we may need to procure, etc. Granted, if we somehow could amass the funds to record the album in a real studio (preferably using a tape-based method), we totally would. But keeping within the current realm of possibilities, the above is what we are looking to try.

Worry not – all this is in addition to our continued writing of songs and live shows. We have no live shows on the docket at the moment, but hope to have something put together for a show here soon!

-Tim

Cassette Culture

Hero Underground On Cassette

I didn’t understand it quite at first. In fact, I still don’t think I have it fully figured out. But cassettes are making a bit of a comeback these days. I call it the “poor man’s analog.” Cassettes are cheap to make, durable, and actually sound pretty damn good with a good deck. They are aiming for making music something more than just an under-appreciated modern commodity. I initially wrote them off as the next hipster thing. And that may be the case still, actually, but it won’t stop us from trying it anyway.

If you have been keeping up with our Facebook page, you know we have been playing around with the idea of doing some limited releases on cassette. Things like demos, live shows, practices, among other things. Some of that stuff we may release digitally, but some we may not, or at least do so in very limited capacity.

Why? A few reasons, but mostly we wanted something fun to give away at live shows that was more fun than just a download code or a CD. A CD is arguably more irrelevant than cassette because, as a digital format, it is superior perhaps to an MP3, but inferior to the high quality options we can provide via Bandcamp and other means. Most folks rip ’em to MP3s and stow them away anyway.

A cassette? Well, it does have an obvious analog sound and, it, unlike a CD, is something you basically have to listen to from start to finish. Given that our next album is set to a story-driven landscape, that is something we really like. It is rather unique too, especially if we put limited release content on it, and is rather inexpensive to make.

Obviously, we want our fans to be able to listen to our music in as many ways as possible. Our future digital and vinyl release plans haven’t changed. We have simply added more avenues for content that our more devoted fans might appreciate as both a unique collectable and a different musical experience. If it is even remotely successful, we may start offering our official albums on tape too.

In fact, I noticed recently that our latest Chipsurf single, Space Hatchet (which we hope to release later this week), actually sounds better when bouncing out to chrome tape and back. As a result, we thought about creating a special edition of Chipsurf Pipeline on tape that includes that song. Tape-haters will still be able to grab Space Hatchet as a single in the usual places, though. If we think we can recoup at least some costs, we may look at professional duplication too, though for now, we’re are mostly doing these types of things “DIY style.”

Our next album, likewise, I hope to be able to record to reel-to-reel if we can make that at all possible. That means vinyl, and if we decide to, cassette, releases will be fully analog. I find that highly cool and also a bit ironic (given the lo-fi digital synths we use).

As a listener, I have been exploring the whole cassette culture thing and not only have I found some neat music, the culture has also been both friendly and rewarding. It is not for everyone but, hey, if you have a tape deck that still works, or can find one easily, it might be worth giving it a go.

The Quest for a Mixer

For the past few months now we have been working towards live shows. This remains our new goal around our next album, which will be somewhat of a departure from the first in a few respects (but will still be full of chiptune goodness). At this point, we have about half the songs done we want to use for our first shows. And we are now at the point where we want to start simulating a real live show during practice.

Turns out, it takes more than we anticipated to get things going, but one of the things holding us back the most is a mixer. Seems like every mixer we look at in the same price range is missing one important feature. So we have had to set our sights a bit higher in terms of needs. Currently, our favorite pick seems to be a used Allen and Health MixWizard 16:2. It’s got enough inputs, has on-board effects, but most importantly, has a healthy amount of SEND/AUX buses.

We plan on using in-ear monitors rather than floor wedges. In this way we can get custom mixes of what we want to hear without having to make it crazy loud or worry about feedback and all that. That requires more AUX buses which has been the major limiting factor in our mixer choice. Worry not, though, we’ll get there! We’re taking our time to make sure we get the best mixer we can for our needs. At this stage it’s an inconvenience but isn’t changing our timeline to being able to do shows by much, if anything.

We are still plugging away (hence the lack of regular blog posts, or so we’ll say) with hopes to be ready for shows this year. Not sure when this year, but we’ll be letting everyone know when that time does finally draw near whenever it is.

Also here’s to a Happy 2013! We made it, Mayans!

We were in the paper!

This last Wednesday, the Bandera Bulletin gave us a featured article on the front-page of the paper! That was huge for us and a massive thanks to James and Jessica and everyone over at the Bulletin that made that happen! For those that are unable to grab a paper copy, the article is now available online. For the curious, Bandera, TX is Tim’s home-town that he still visits from time to time and which is often know as “The Cowboy Capital of the World” and a pretty nice place to go when you want a change of pace. Of note, our friends from Fifty Dollar Dynasty are also from Bandera and went to High School with Tim.