March 17, 2014

The Semeron Job

Behold! A Semeron original film! “The Semeron Job”.

See what the critics are raving about! Rated PG-13 for some language, action, mature subject matter.

 

 

Posted by in Adam, Band Blog, Jeff, Jesse, JR, Nick, Uncategorized and tagged as

March 14, 2014

Hey bands, put down that backing track!

A treatise on backing tracks

 If you are in a rock band, and you’re playing to backing tracks while playing live… you’re doing it wrong. Way wrong.

This may ruffle some feathers, but this has bothered me for some time now, and is becoming disturbingly more common in the local scene.  If you’ve been to a live show recently, I’m sure you’ve heard it, whether you’re aware of it or not.  How are there 3 sets of vocals coming through, and only one guys singing?  I heard a melodic guitar part, but the guitarists are just playing power chords?  Wha?

How and why did this trend start?  When I hear a backing being played on stage, I immediately think two things: one, this band is not capable (or unwilling to put in the effort) of playing their own music live, two, this song must really stink.

Good songs should be able to stand on their own, without all the studio fluff.  If it can’t, and you really need that harmony part, or that dub-step backing beat, FIGURE OUT HOW TO PLAY IT!  Recompose, add another player, do something…anything.

Backing tracks also kill the spontaneity of a live performance; the best part about music!  I love watching live shows because you never know what’s going to happen.  Will the band screw up?  Will they add something interesting?  Turn that favorite metal song of yours into a soft ballad, pump up that acoustic interlude into something skull crushing?
No no no!

The moment you hit play on that backing track, you’re locked in.  There’s no deviation, there’s no surprises.  I’ve got a better idea, how about you guys just stand on stage and just let the album play from your iPod.  If you’re looking for perfection, it won’t get any more perfect than the studio album right?  Just stand on stage while we, the fans, watch, and listen to those 80 layers of pristine guitar tone with 5 double-double tracked and auto-tuned vocals.

The best musical moments occur when something random happens.  Something that showcases the talent of the musicians on stage, highlighting their ability to adapt and you know…make music.  Music is intended to relay feelings and ideas to the listener and when it becomes mechanical, it just looks so phony and plastic.

“But our music is so complex and layered, all those tracks add to the dynamic!” Go listen to some live Queen performances and get back to me.  Those guys adapted all their songs to sound amazing live (and flawless to boot).

As a fan though, I don’t need perfection; I just want a little effort.

So to answer my first question, who did this trend start?  I don’t know, I’m sure there’s a complex answer there somewhere; about the corporatization of modern music, short attention span of listeners, etc. etc

Meh, the short answer?  I blame Linkin Park.

JR

Posted by in Band Blog, JR and tagged as

March 21, 2013

Make sure the power is on…

By JR (guitar)

The first Semeron gig was in the summer of 2008 at the Varsity Theater, and I had no idea what I was doing.

The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime

Semeron was my first band, and other than playing the alto saxophone in middle school, I had zero experience playing an instrument in front of people. There were a million things going through my head the day of the gig but my biggest fear was that my gear would stop working on stage. “What if my amp craps out, should I bring a backup amp, what about a backup to the backup?”

For hours I sat and thought about disaster contingency plans; what to do in case of a broken guitar string, what if I hit the wrong chords, or solo in the wrong key. But as they say, you can’t plan for stupid.

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March 15, 2013

Ask A Semeron – Volume 1

Semeron is a band of the people.  We’re no different than any of you.  Except that we’re extremely talented and handsome.  Handsomeness and talent aside, we’re no different than any of you.  We want to prove it to you, so ask us any question, go ahead.  Hit us up on Facebook and Twitter and providing we can find the time out of our busy schedules (*lie), we just may throw up a post answering them. Off we go!

SEMERON – WHAT WAS THE FIRST SONG YOU LEARNED HOW TO PLAY?

Answers after the jump!

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Posted by in Adam, Band Blog, Jeff, Jesse, JR, Nick and tagged as , , , , , ,

February 11, 2013

Music in Haiti

Music has a way of getting into your soul. We can study songs, pick apart riffs and tracks, try to define what we like and don’t like, but when we are right in the middle of a song, a good one, it has a way of just reaching up inside of us and moving our hearts.

I was in Northwest Haiti in the beginning of January, helping out at a special needs orphanage called the Miriam Center. Just before lunchtime every day, a blind man was lead in by his son. He sat down in front of a whole crowd of kids with special needs, picked up his guitar and played and sang to them. Each time he played, the whole room changed. Like flicking on a switch, energy flowed over everybody. The right rhythm with a simple song pulled everyone together and made us all that much more happy because of it. This is the incredible thing about experiencing music together; it’s like a little bit more life is poured out into the air and we all share in it.

I know this sounds a little sappy or existential, but if you have ever been at a show and you and everyone around you have just been grabbed hold of by a song, then you know what I am talking about.

Music has a way of getting into your soul. I am grateful to all those amazing kids at the Miriam Center in Northwest Haiti for reminding me of what makes music so precious.

Adam

Posted by in Adam, Band Blog and tagged as , , ,