September 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
September 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
(Pt 4 of a mini-musical-autobiography)
After the Connecticut trip in late July, I went home to Eugene for a week in late August. On the plane I had a very ‘out there psychedelic experience’. It’s worth noting, that the Denver airport has an ‘electric-buzz’ to it only detectable in a heightened sense of awareness. I do NOT recommend ingesting psychedelics before taking a plane flight, as the altitude difference in and of itself can cause very strange physical sensations and it might not even be healthy for the heart or other internal organs. I was very interested in experimenting on myself back then, and must make clear these are not circumstances and practices common to psychedelic use. Peter Gabriel’s “Mercy Street” played in my head clear as day at 30K feet. I didn’t need a CD player or headphones. It was just….there. I arose out of my meditative state, realizing I wasn’t actually listening to the CD. The player was off and away, I only thought I had fell half a sleep with headphones on. Music has it’s own consciousness…it is always there. My legs were buzzing in Denver, like walking across an electric field of some sort. Again, I don’t recommend trying the kinds of things I was doing at this stage in the game. My motto at this time during my life, was ‘try everything once except hard drugs’ (ie: no heroin please).
When I returned to Boston from Eugene in late August, I was to start a part-time school schedule as well as continue my two part-time jobs. This was to make enough room for the band to accomplish all it could. But things really started to change for me in early September, both musically and otherwise. On nights off, I started to spend my time in the North End of Boston, usually tripping. And then 9/11 happened. I remember trying my hardest to read the paper at Dello’s Cafe in the North End, by the Cemetery there. Dello’s Cafe by the Old North Church was right out of a Marlon Brando movie. And in the North End there were these wonderful gardens, and a park in that area. I used to take my CD player, and completely disconnect from the world. I wasn’t so out of it yet that I couldn’t function day to day. Things were still okay and I had fun in classes and studied. I think back to some of those magical moments listening to music alone in the gardens of the North End. The fall wind would whip up, take the leaves and deposit them 25 feet away. I would relax on a park bench, quite a like a homeless person, totally content away from my daily responsibilities and relationships. I used to walk over to the Constitution ship, and take the T boat back to the hotel on the wharf. You could still smoke in hotels back then. But the gardens and the Bjork album that had just came out, Vespertine, these two things were absolutely meant to go together. And even though my life was getting more and more out of control, this was my reaction- to just ‘leave’. And when you do that enough, people start to notice. And when they don’t approve, they take action.
I made a number of comments to my bandmates and writing partner, as well as playing some new material to them I was working on. Truth be told, it was the beginnings of Her Heart’s Army, from the later Echo Us debut. I radiate I was already played by the band, but Matt did not understand Her Heart’s at all. At that point I knew it was over, the beginning of being over at least. All I could think about was reconnecting with my mate, drinking coffee and the North End rendezvous. And that is what I did, until I was unavailable enough that people started to really notice.
I missed meetings, but I never missed a rehearsal until the very end. One rehearsal I was obviously high, and that was nearly the end of it. I apologized, but it got me nowhere. I could play most of Echo Us’ material at that point while high, because compared to what I was playing before with Greyhaven, it was very simple music. But people pick up on the ‘vibe’ when it’s strong and a number of us within the group were opposed to all kinds of drug use (it was our one disagreement earlier on). Kai had introduced me to Vespertine, and that was the vibe I was after musically speaking, but I did not know exactly at that point exactly what I wanted. Musically, I had drifted off into new waters and that always takes time to develop. But the psychedelic use had gone to far, much to far- I already had troubles with depression and anxiety since 11 or 12 years old, and my mind simply could not handle what I was throwing at it. The effects started to wear, so I drank more, and more…I had never had an issue with alcohol per say- but I was nearing about a pint of vodka a night. That went on from late 2001 until early 2003, with ample breaks because of the intervening circumstances that followed in late 2001.
On November 4th, 2001 I was admitted, ‘involuntarily’ to Massachusetts General Hospital’s Blake 11 mental ward. Earlier that week I had lost complete contact with everyone. I was letting myself out of the house through the front window. All I know is I had one discussion with my writing partner earlier the week before, which ended in my cackling laughter. I don’t remember exactly what it was about, but I do know it revolved around both the music path, as well as presentation of the group. We were kind of like a supergroup of 21 and 22 year olds- 4 very strong personalities. I thought the whole thing had become delusional, and I was right to an extent, but I was as delusional about myself. I knew I was right about my own musical desires however, and I needed to follow them.
Friday the 2nd, I had locked myself in my room completely. I missed work for the first time, and then woke up still very out of it on Saturday morning. We were scheduled for a studio session Saturday, to record the song “Who Loves You”. I called Mike, who I hadn’t talked to for about a week, and mentioned that I needed him to pick up the van, that I’d had a rough night, but I was still coming to the session. He got irate with me on the phone. Apparently after that he called his father, who was a psychiatrist incidentally; he told him about my behavior and they all started to take action. The rest is very murky and perhaps embarrassing, because I had no idea what was going on. I thought things were still okay if a bit tense between myself and the guys- I’d had a bad week and needed to recuperate- that was the way I saw it. My bandmates and house partners made the situation out to be so dire that family had to be flown out from the west coast and the police were to be called in, presumably in case I got rough on my trip to the hospital. I was sitting on the porch when they all finally showed up, paddy wagon, police cars and all. My ‘ex’ in the distance down the street. What was funny is although despondent, they were apparently awaiting someone who was ‘dangerous to themselves or others’, but I was silent, if shocked that they were all there. The guys in the band all carried knives because of where we lived (which I still think is pretty stupid looking back), but they told the cops I had weapons, implying I was lival to use them. No knife was ever found, but I never trashed mine, so I am not sure how that happened. These guys proceeded, once I was in the hospital to take out restraining orders against me, so there was no way I could’ve continued school at that time. Later on, while back in Oregon I was accused of breaking into the old house in Southie and stealing musical equipment, which was obviously an oversight, as those guys didn’t even realize that I wasn’t in Boston and then enrolled for one term at the University of Oregon. What was funny in all this is that in court they proved nothing, except that we’d lived together and had some disagreements and were worried about my ‘disorganized’ behavior, as it was put in court. I still respect them for not making anything up. I have no idea why they were as terrified as they were, and I don’t think they knew either.
I spent 2 weeks in the inpatient mental ward, which is essentially a glorified prison. They ran every test and practice they could, from speaking and personality tests all the way to rorschach diagrams. I was close to having ECT done, but they couldn’t find a big enough excuse, and thus just stuck me on anti-psychotic medication while I still was coming down off a massive binge of psychedelics and alcohol. The docs had no clue, so I often did my best to mess with them at first, telling jokes, engaging in everything from extreme sarcasm all the way to despondency. They couldn’t diagnose me, just like my former social workers and psychologist in Eugene years earlier. First it was ‘psychosis’, then it was bi-polar, and then ‘depression’ (which they couldn’t really prove was systemic or long lasting). The chief psych on staff was ironically named, “Dr. Matthews” (no joke); I also was forced to meet with a forensics investigator who was extremely nasty, so nasty I blacked out what actually went on with his interview. I think he thought there was somehow a criminal element to all this, but I think that was just his own way of interviewing ‘suspects’. He found out nothing new interrogating me or doing any fact checking with others. I had a lawyer, had to go to court in Southie over the restraining orders. My parents and aunt didn’t really think I was doing that bad after a week, and I got a release from my former psychologist in Eugene, OR a week later, but they still insisted on keeping me in the hospital longer, and since I’d signed papers under spurious circumstances there was nothing I could do except play their games and fake my way out. My parents began to cheer me on for this- because obviously even though I was very depressed and had a ‘mental breakdown’, I was not exactly mental hospital material. The man next to me got electroshock treatment almost daily, which I was terrified of. I had to prove that I was not a ‘threat to myself or others’ by their definition, which meant ‘perfect’ behavior, participating in anything they deemed necessary. Later on, when I returned to Berklee and told a close friend about the details of all this, they said: “In Europe, how we handle those situation’s is out behind the back of the pub”. It was a partial joke with a bit of truth mixed in, but my situation with the psychiatric establishment worsened a great deal, no matter my real life problems. When you look back at the history of many of the mental hospitals in this country you’ll understand more of what I mean. They are experimentation programs for social engineering, and it’s proved in decades past that universities such as McGill in Montreal worked directly with the CIA and other government entities. (Velasquez)
During any alone time in the hospital I was busy writing lyrics, going over songs in my head and formulating things. After the term at the University of Oregon doing my remaining general education credits I got cleared to return to Berklee in summer of 2002. It was decided, since my former ‘friends’ were not in school anymore as students, that the restraining orders were not a big enough concern for the administrators there, so I was allowed back in. I was still friends with Kai, and we became even better friends during this period, him helping me with bass tracks, meeting new friends of his and more. I still obviously had issues, but I was grateful for the friends I had. I remember one point going to the counseling center at school to meet with my school social worker, and one of the guys with a restraining order comes in to the office. A friend was there and ushered me around the corner. I literally hid in a hallway corner because there was no way to leave, because there were possible consequences for breaking the restraining order. All this cat and mouse was kind of like a French drama or something. I watched a lot of French movies during 2002.
Also when I returned I found out there were faculty meetings about me, but literally almost no one outside of these meetings seemed to know what happened other than maybe 4-5 people. All this speculation again encouraged the anxiety, because I didn’t know who knew what, and I couldn’t ask. It was like living in a created psychodrama. Back in school, later in fall of 2002 I went through quite a bit, but managed to get a B+ average despite my troubles. I also explored some different facets of music during this time, mostly minimalism and creating soundscape material. I could not perform- one of the major things that happened was a complete cutoff from live performances that lasted over 10 years, but I was still integrating a lot of new material into what would become the first full-length Echo Us album.
Echo Us was apparently my baby, because I was given almost all the material that had anything to do with Echo Us back to me from the guys during the hospital stay (they left it at the Southie house for family to pick up). All I can say, is thank you to them for that. I’ve always felt I’ve kept my music moving forward, re-inventing myself, and it was always the point to shake people up and encourage them to think differently. I awake in 2014 and feel very much alone in this, even more so now a days perhaps. Even though I’ve become happier in a sense, I know that I’ll probably never really feel I truly ‘fit in’. It’s a different thing than being the nerd in glasses in 3rd grade- I never really was that kind of outcast. I didn’t fit the cliché I guess, but I’ve spent my life alone and am not ashamed to say so. It was something I can’t really describe, and music is the only real connection to the outer world, through most of my life.
There are many unique elements to what I experienced over the course of this 2-year period. The entire experience felt like I was ‘opening a portal’ through which my energies would flow in later years. I still do not ‘thank’ the psychiatric establishment for how any of this was handled, even though I’ve had to do my own ‘soul-searching’ throughout the proceeding years. What really pains me, is that people of all socio-economic, racial, and cultural backgrounds are being subjugated to ‘casual drugging’ by general practitioners and psychiatrists, when there is absolutely no need except in the most extreme circumstances of mental illness. The psychiatric establishment’s power in our culture is due to other social and economic control factors, starting at the family level and running all the way up to the highest levels of government and policy makers. It’s a systemic problem, and not simply a problem of the individual. It’s been my experience that people who have undergone a lot of psychotherapy have within themselves a sixth-sense, and are actually seeing the world and it’s control-structure for what it really is.
The key to overcoming mental illness, by and large, and in my experience is to come to terms with the depth of the world and it’s many cultural prerogatives, because they are just that- things that society considers a ‘norm’ or ‘right’, even if they infringe on natural rights. I think we are able to move to a crossroads with acceptance of all people, and for the troublesome one’s we must learn to work with them before we incarcerate, drug, or do any kind of psychological babysitting.
It is possible to find happiness, in my opinion, by not simply being a victim to the control structure, but by working within it for change. First of all, we do need to understand the problems inherent in our culture, and finding out what those things are can be a long and dark road. The more one knows about it however, the more one can guard against its negative effects, from which the ‘victim hood’ flows.
( ) Juan Camilo Velasquez, September 6, 2012. MK-ULTRAViolence [University Newspaper]. Retrieved from http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2012/09/mk-ultraviolence/
Album Pre-Orders For II:XII, A Priori Memoriae- Street dates: 15 Sep (UK), 19 Sep (Europe), 7 Oct. (USA)
September 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
Online pre-orders for II:XII, A Priori Memoriae are available everywhere- US release is OCT 7th, and orders will be available at http://www.echous.net after that time. For now, the best way is to preorder the album from a jungle river nearest you :0)
For the October issue of Germany’s Eclipsed! Magazine, Echo Us will feature an alternate arrangement of a track from A Priori Memoriae on the compilation CD in the magazine- The cut is also featured within the album’s promo trailer, while not being on the pressed album ( http://youtu.be/9F9SVcwuQQw ). Fans are encouraged to spot the alternate arrangement by Sept 28th, and those who email Echo Us (email@example.com) with the name of the track will receive the two non-album cuts from A Priori Memoriae in the digital format of their choice.
Amazon.co.uk (15 Sep)
Amazon.de (19 Sep)
Amazon.com (7 Oct)
Echo Us’ II:XII, A Priori Memoriae is coming out through Dust On The Tracks and SPV on 15 Sep (UK), 19 Sep (Europe) and 7 Oct (US). The album has been described as pure return to the “concept albums that dominated the progressive rock of the 1970s- The album is one the best progressive rock albums of the century. Such a production made up of wonderful melodies, clever dramaturgy and compelling dynamics, is something that even the top of the class Mike Oldfield was not able to achieve through decades of work, including after his album ‘Ommadawn’.”
August 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
1). It’s the end of the trilogy, but Echo Us has 4 albums.
In 2012-2013 two albums were created as a follow-up to Tomorrow Will Tell The Story, the first was A Priori, and the second is an as-yet future album that combines unreleased material from the sessions that grew Tomorrow Will Tell The Story, as well as new compositions. The first Echo Us album (2005) was not considered as part of the trilogy concept.
2). The only compositional consideration was ‘flow’.
A Priori presented itself as a stream-of-consciousness, and primarily as an instrumental album. The lyrics incorporated into the album were not an afterthought, but were written differently than Tomorrow Will Tell The Story. There is more repetition of lyrical themes as well as focused counterpoint than on previous albums- melodies themselves were re-used and inverted more than ever- appearing across the entire instrumental / orchestral spectrum of all tracks.
3). Its composition was almost aborted after the first 2 minutes of exordium were written, and picked up 3 months later.
At first it seemed like a project conceived of for a later date, and it also begged for resorting to instrumental bravado, which previous albums avoided.
Oboist Christina Fitzgerald, Flautist Chris Smith, and others again joined up for the recording sessions for A Priori. The album was not recorded to a ‘click’ track, and was very much performed ‘live’ in the studio much more than previous albums.
5). It was written on a number of borrowed acoustic instruments – harmonium, acoustic/ele guitar, glockenspiel, fog horn etc.
There were more real acoustic instruments played all over A Priori, as opposed to just the Celtic harp, strings and drums of previous albums. A Priori hardly has anything resembling a drum kit, which was intentional.
6). It was mixed ‘outside the box’ and inside the box at the same time (for gear junkheads).
Various plug-ins, softsynths/samplers were used within Logic Pro, and then outputted to a DA7 (Ramsa) desk for mixing in outboard synthesizers and reverbs, bass guitar compression and more. This approach has defined the sound of Echo Us’ latest releases, going against the trends of software and plug-in heavy synthesizer productions.
‘Nightlight’ modulates in and around 5 different key centers, and was very difficult to compose, as well as perform live because of the harp pedaling required.
8). Upon its completion, its author was kicked out of his studio by decree of the Portland Fire Department.
This is true- All tenants were asked to leave the multi-office space where Ethan had his studio from 2005-2007, as well as 2009-2013. The landlord was asked to renovate to current codes after 15 years of having business space in the building. Since the building was a converted Victorian house on the wrong block, it was ordered by the city to be turned back into solely residential space. Echo Us vacated in July of 2013 and hasn’t had a proper studio space since.
Actually, Tomorrow Will Tell The Story was written partially in response, or at least in sway with the idea in the new-age movement that the year 2012 would bring a change in consciousness around the globe. It’s still hard to say whether anything actually happened, but A Priori lives on with its own intent, and could be interpreted in a multitude of ways.
Many of the synth washes and pads come from two very warm, but digital synthesizers- the Korg Wavestation (ex) and Roland JD990. The amount of acoustic instruments used in the recording probably contribute to its warm character, but more than anything, what gives the album its ‘feel’ is the very free-flowing way it was put together and performed in the studio.
August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
With Brian, Nick, Matt and I as Greyhaven in summer of 2000, something occurred to me on a musical level, but the energy behind the ‘occurrence’ hadn’t had its time and chance to fully develop. Up until that time, all my work with Greyhaven had started with harmony- chordal ideas, sound-creation and atmospheres. The ‘song’ material, in my eyes was an afterthought almost- the vocals had to fit the music, instead of being written first. That’s not to say the melodies weren’t ever memorable- quite the opposite, they just did not have the kind of pop-panache that I had desired- the kind of direct approach that immediately make’s emotional light bulbs go off in one’s mind.
To write a simple melody, with an effective, direct message (even with a bit of a pastoral or nebulous quality) one has to be comfortable in one’s own skin, while at the same time experiencing deep emotions and transmitting them. For us at the time, it was also all about finding ‘success’ as writers, and as a group. We attended music conferences, considered moving New York, did demos and pitched to A/R at large labels like Sony, as well as music publishers. It was a strange thing to do for me- entering the ‘pop music’ world was a completely new thing.
Fall of 2000 Matt and I auditioned two or three drummers, finally settling on Matt’s friend Michael Vandyne. Mike was, although personally distant from me, incredible even then at what he did- He was primarily a metal drummer, but had great rock and pop feel. For some out there may know later on he formed ‘Arsis’ with another friend of his, James Malone, who I vaguely knew from school. After this came Kai Kurasawa on Warr Guitar and bass, and then our lineup was basically complete. The idea from the beginning was to take Matt off lead vocals and have him just focus on keys and backing vocals. If we would’ve gotten a superb frontman I am still convinced this early incarnation of Echo Us would’ve climbed fairly high under better circumstances. The music fit well into the electronica scene at the time, although less aggressive than popular acts like Gravity Kills for example. I still had a great amount of influence on the arrangements however, even if I didn’t pen the song (Matt and I wrote 50/50, but often I elaborated his arrangements, particularly writing bridges). There was a slightly ‘progressive’ element to the group, but it was night and day from what I did before.
Things changed as we started gigging- slowly but steadily. In May we all moved in together, save for Kai, and this was one of those typical stories of band cohabitating, up to a certain point. It was the bottom floor and basement of a townhouse in Southie. It was cheap for Boston, and that was the excuse really, so I went along with it. I liked the place, but grew to hate the neighborhood. In addition, I’d felt roped into the situation, because we were out of time with the realtors. The phones kept cutting out and there was a power outage. We had like 3-5 days to settle on something. The trouble was, I’d just basically broke things off with a girlfriend, an on and off again relationship of a couple of years. And she lived right down the street a mile or so from this new place in Southie. Things were fine for awhile, we basically remained friendly, she drove me home at times to avoid the subway, and all in all things were okay for quite a few months. But it was very very strange on another level. Boston’s a big place- I remember being in the realtor’s jeep driving around and Mike saying “yep, think we gotta do this one” and I obliged, while still thinking fuck it’s not a good idea.
The band was starting to do well, having open rehearsals and an early gig at Boston’s best music-dive-bar. We brought in maybe 40-50 people that first show. We were second amongst 3 other bands and as soon as we were on stage, there were lots of heads, and as soon as we were done the place cleared out, which made us feel pretty okay. The next show, I believe was at a place called the Linwood. It was right around the corner from where I’d lived just before moving to Southie- It was on Peterborough Street, or close to there. The power went out, right inside the first song. It was a black out due to summer weather I suppose. Blackouts were a common theme with the 2000-2001 Echo Us. Another band, Freezepop, the headliner never even showed. This was the night that I felt a change. Matt was having difficulty holding it together, because we had put a lot into this second show. I took the reigns and talked to the crowd. Went for a walk and loaded up. Not a big deal, but the entire evening permeated an ‘eerie’ feeling. We were about to play an amazing set as well, I could feel it. And then….nothing.
As things progressed on into fall, we started curating shows at more dance-music friendly clubs down in Boston’s city center, as well as the Cambridge goth club Manray (which never happened because in those days Manray would not book bands- we bothered them incessantly though, ironically a few years later they started hosting live music). This goth and snazzy dance club route looked like a great move, but the first show was a disaster- very poor sound planning and setup at a place called An Tain. I think we played half a set there. It was really an Irish bar suggested by a girl helping us with some managerial duties. Someone told us it was hip I guess, and we believed them. There were a number of other shows being scheduled- One at Berklee in November and a few others we were looking at.
In mid summer I’d also went to my friend’s place in Connecticut again and did a massive load of psychedelics. Something had changed too since the beginning of 2001- I was tripping alone on occasion. Before I was too terrified to try it without a partner, but often, maybe once every month and a half when I had time, I’d do it whether I was with my tripping partner or alone. Also, over Christmas of 2000, while spending time with family in Eugene I was doing a lot of this, but at lower levels. I was already convinced at one point lying in bed that I was completely insane, and was seeing another entity within myself. I took a breather upon returning to Boston in January. I saw the girl I’d known so well, haphazardly on the street. It had just snowed, ironically, as it was as if she’d changed a great deal over the break. My focus was on school and the band though, so I put it aside, but that meeting on the street was a foreshadowing to me of the energy that came to permeate all of 2001, and carry on into 2002 and longer. It was the same energy that brought us all 9/11, and everything that year. Some will call me crazy to state as such, but it’s just something I knew, and still know, after all these years. Some in the conspiracy world call it mind control, some consider it a psychic awakening and reckoning. Whatever it is, it’s regarding forces human beings can only understand on an intuitive and non-linguistic level.
In the real, I let someone run a great deal of my life for 2 years- I let this person influence me so much. I was told all kinds of things, and felt I was being coerced on many levels- to feel ‘up’ and ‘down’ back to back. Bipolar. Crazy-making. Essentially mind games, with coded messages and sayings that I’d respond to automatically, without any thought or foresight. Her and I were very much kids together, in a love-hate relationship. It’s the same way bad parenting works, except it’s young adult to young adult. My head was very messed around when it came to the emotional side of things. I was told my former bandmates “were not like me” and a hundred other cryptic messages and sayings- about sex, about other ‘people’, about [her] childhood abuse, and many things probably not fit for public consumption. In the present, I was told who was fucking whom, and received the most blunt reply yet “You pissed? Good!”. On one hand, I felt sad for her, and on the other hand, I inherited a wasp’s nest of energy. And that’s a potent combination. I was young, very naive, and fell in love, and at that time was okay with being verbally abused and strung around, and likewise returned favor. There was a sincere, soul-matey kind of feeling to our relations early on, but what 2001 triggered in me, along with drug use and the winding, ‘circumstantial’ circumstances that pursued, was something I’d never imagined (in case it’s not obvious…story continues!).
August 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
The one thing I can say about my late teen years is that during this period music immediately put landscapes into my mind. I could drift off into meditative, ‘psychic’ hallucinatory states just due to music alone (in high school I hadn’t discovered psychedelic drugs yet). But the one thing I took home from all of this, is that music MUST implant images within the mind. It is my feeling, and this is not just me getting older, it is my feeling that we are loosing that ability as a culture and masse-mind. We are loosing it, due to so many forces. When the internet was in its infancy still…94-95 I was looking up all kinds of information on my favorite groups at the time, especially Rush. I think I read the entire Rush homepage a few times. Being an early-adopter makes the world look ubsurdly strange these days, where we are all online, some of us obsessively so. We are so drawn to video that we’ve been desensitized to audio, and I believe it’s very dangerous. I am not the type that looks to return to a previous time or reject technological progress, but I recognize when were doing the wrong things with it. We should all be making use of audio and music as wholesomely as we did in the 1990′s and earlier. Our present path, to me began sometime after the new millennium. I can’t and won’t get into my theories why here, it’s just a feeling I’ve had because of world events, as well as events in my own life.
1998 till early 2001 all went fairly smoothly for me. There was a lot of energy to burn, a lot of fun times, and good success happening for the band, mostly in Germany. We were the pick of the month in Empire Magazine, scored very high reviews in Rock Hard and Heavy Odor Was? two of the biggest rock magazines in Germany, and I did a number of interviews by phone. We played a festival and with the beginnings of Echo Us in 2000 I got to gig a lot more. A number of people (I can’t remember who) had criticized the label Greyhaven signed to (Angular Records) as being too small, but we still had very good press, so we saw the label, as small as they were as doing their job. Angular had a number of bands besides us go onto much success, although only now can I see this in hindsight. We got paid, not much, because moving 1000 units or thereabouts of a debut album doesn’t really pay then or now, but 1k is good for a debut (absolutely excellent now a days). We were gaining fans, a lot of feedback and critical success. I also incidentally found myself in conflict with a number of detractors, most of them online, and a few I met in person. I viewed those disagreements as part of the process of hollowing out my own niche. I had very strong opinions, and still do, but at that age I had little tact when I spoke my mind. Neither did the people I was sparring with. In general though, I got along with most, whether in school or outside it with the band and was very happy for the first time in my life.
Greyhaven’s performance at the Powermad Festival in Summer of 2000, and my first real rendevous with a long-term on and off again girlfriend of 2 years were the highlights of the period, although I had slowly started to slip into some amount of habituos formations and went on a number of serious psychedelic bender’s with a then-friend of mine. We would go to Connecticut, his family was a from a very well-to-do area there. Once we even tripped two days in a row, with other things on top of it, and at the same time I am writing email interviews on the computer for the release that long weekend. The trips themselves were mostly good, except at one point I smoked weed and nearly broke my brain. I’d felt- like I lifted off into a completely different dimension. In those days my dealings with psychedelics were infrequent, a few times per year, and since there was not a big writing cycle going on with the band, it wasn’t having much effect on my creative output, good or bad. It was just this new thing, and I’d gotten used to it quickly, mostly because it took me back to those out of body experiences I’d had as a child. Psychedelics, initially helped me reconnect with myself. I flew from my friend’s home in Connecticut, back to the boy hood house I’d been born into in Salem, Oregon. We called it the “step house”.
When I returned to Boston the festival was coming up soon, and we had to get ready. There was already a sense in the band that two camps had developed. Just back in March or April, I had requested that Mathew Cahoon become our live keyboardist, and it proved to be an interesting gig for Matt, so it seemed. It also was the beginning of an interesting relationship in which I both grew as a songwriter, and began to crash at being myself, being human.
July 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
I wanted to actually speak up about this, and hopefully in as nice a tone as possible, even though the subject frustrates me slightly.
Over the years many journalists, reviewers, even random posters on web boards I’ve been directed to, bloggers, you name it- especially those from outside predominantly English-speaking country’s mistake the name “Echo Us” to be, or mean: “Echo U.S.” – Another common misspelling is “Echos US”. Essentially, this spells out “Echo United States”. bah! (see my further extrapolation about miscommunications below).
I hope I can clear up that “Us” simply means “We” in the case of Echo Us (and without getting into grammar-nazi clarifications here, it’s like saying in a sentence “Arthur will echo us in his findings and research”. Echo Us, in the context of the music created under its banner, refers to a ‘metaphysical circle of consciousness’, and can really become whatever the listener wants it to be, or sees within it.
I came up with the name in 1999. I was not trying to differentiate the name from any other groups calling themselves “Echo” from other countries (of which there are probably many). Echo Us is the only “Echo Us” operating in a musical context. Also, I never meant to call this project ‘Echo’. It is called Echo Us.
This will sound even more ridiculous, but I also don’t want anyone to get the idea that the name has ANY political connotation at all. The language barrier, however presents a situation where this can, and I believe HAS happened on occasion. The last thing I’d ever want is anyone thinking this name is some kind of a political statement by me or anyone associated with the project. Believe me, I won’t burden the blog or anywhere else on the web with my political leanings, but they definitely are not in support of anything my country stands for these days.
Thought this needed to be said after 10+ years- email infoATechous.net if you’ve got further thoughts for me to consider on why this misunderstanding persists- Would love to hear it!