In the midst of all this <waves arms around>, I went and did a thing. Maybe because I didn’t know what else to do. If the zeitgeist feels apocalyptic, shouting into the void with music that is political, emotional, and personal seems not wholly inappropriate.
I’m a Gen Xer, raised on Classic Rock and New Wave ’80s synth pop. Empires Fall… reflects that musically. I respect that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m not here to tell anybody that the noise I make is any better than the noise they like to listen to. But who knows? Maybe you’ll find something that reaches you:
- End Times is a love song to my wife.
- Burn It Down is about the slide from activism to anarchy.
- Didn’t Mean a Thing gives my (unshared) perspective on a relationship.
- Everyone is about the destruction of language and culture.
- Things Fall Apart cribs Yeats to talk about unrequited love.
- Gotta Unplug might sound ironic coming from a computer guy.
- Look to This Day was my father’s final message.
- Freedom to Choose is pop song questioning how I got so lucky.
- Orphaned deals with the aftermath of parental loss.
- Generation Z: I’m not sure we’ve given them the tools for the tasks at hand.
- Mother Earth doesn’t require a Gaian conception of Earth to understand our stewardship of the planet is failing.
- I wrote One People for humanity.
Writing and recording songs is a passion of mine, and I’ve done it all my adult life. That said, I have no illusions of success—I’m not quitting my day job as Apple consultant to embark on a quixotic journey toward rock and roll stardom. This is just something fun, and perhaps a few things I create might be meaningful to more than just myself.
How this album came about is something of a technological marvel. I used Apple’s GarageBand to record the tracks. I have a Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) audio interface, a small Alesis keyboard, and Blue microphone. All the basic tracks and lead vocals were recorded using this fairly inexpensive setup. A lot of what I did is technologically available to anyone with a Mac. (Of course as I’m fond of saying, I have a better music studio than The Beatles ever did; all I’m missing is the talent.)
Covid represented a stumbling block. The collaborative magic of music happens when human beings make noise together. For a long stretch, it felt unsafe just leaving the house, let alone going and meeting new musicians and asking them to play with me. But we live in an age of technological magic.
Using a website called Fiverr (they facilitate more than just music—seriously check it out), I hired incredible musicians from around the world to help me:
- My drummer, Brendan Kuntz, hails from Ithaca, New York. He’s played drums for more than 20 years. He plays drums the way I would play drums if I could play drums (which I decidedly cannot). He made every song better.
- The magnificent guitar solos on End Times and Mother Earth came from Tom Frances, a guitar teacher in London, England.
- The bass guitar that rocks its way through End Times is played by Damjan “Stryfer” Kapor from Serbia.
- The horn section and solo on Freedom to Choose is Josué Garcia Garcia from Barcelona, Spain. While I arranged the horn section, the solo is all him, and it’s brilliant.
- The backing vocals (and lead chorus vocals) on Gotta Unplug are from the great pop vocalist Erisse of Argentina.
- One People‘s choir and gospel singer, Rossana Laquale, was recorded by Walter Nuzzo from MUB Recording Studio in Italy. Collectively they made the song’s coda what it was meant to be.
- My dear friend in Los Angeles, Garr Montalbano—an exceptional musician in his own right—not only gave me invaluable feedback on the demos, he also designed the album cover and the Noisy Primates logo.
- The whole shebang was mixed and mastered in Italy by Francesco Petrelli whose expertise improved every track.
As I say, we live an age of technological magic. I hope you find something here you like.
The 12-song album is available on Bandcamp right now for $8. The lead single, End Times, is available for free. We make more money when you buy songs on Bandcamp, but if you prefer Apple Music, Amazon Music, or some other source, that’s cool with us. (Note that streaming services like Spotify pay artists almost nothing, so we’re not super keen on those.) Nonetheless, whatever works for you is what we’re in favor of.
- Listen to all the songs for free and buy any of them you like: Noisy Primates on Bandcamp
- Noisy Primates merchandise (like t-shirts and posters) can be found on our online store
- The music video for End Times, our first single, is up on Vimeo and the NoisyPrimates.com website
Thank you for your interest! (Tell your friends!)