I look at the whole writing process as being in two parts. First I had to do what I called “syncing”. This is where I sectioned off the parts of the films, figured out tempos, counts, and figured out how the 12 tone system was going to be applied. This also included marking down specific actions, where accents should be placed, assigning musical themes to characters and scenes, where the music should be dramatic, etc.. This actually took a lot longer than the writing of the music itself. Once all of the ‘syncing’ was done, then came part two where I just took the note configurations given to me by the 12 tone groupings, and started making real music. But I’d say that the whole thing took about 2 years to write and record. I record here at my home in Texas, Alex records on his laptop at his home in Florida, and Hannes with into WoodShed Studios with V. Santura in Germany and knocked out the drums. All of the tracks were then sent here where I put it all together. After ‘Machinations’ was recorded my main focus was trying to get Watchtower’s ‘Mathematics’ album completed, and I lost another year and a half farting around with that. After realizing that it wasn’t going to happen, the next Blotted Science then became my priority.
2. Did you wrote all the music by yourself or were Alex and Hannes involved in some way?
Since I had to do all of the syncing, it left very little room for variation as far as “song” construction and arrangement goes. Alex got in on some of the writing for ‘Ingesting Blattaria’, and spiced things up here and there on all of the songs, but things were rather restricted because all of the music had to match the videos. I even had to tailor my solos to what was onscreen rather than just playing whatever I wanted. Hannes did a bunch of spicing up of my stock programmed drums parts, and even captured quite a few of the “actions” that happened in the pieces. Looking back on it now, I’m thinking we should have done some kind of split CD, where one half of it was scored, and the other half tied in the same amount of material but in some other conceptual ways. I guess similar to how I wrote my solo CD ‘Solitarily Speaking…’ where it was based on capturing word phrases with music. Alex and I had lots of ideas floating around that were not based on any films, mainly a centipede piece, which was going to be based on 10s, but we didn’t focus on it. I think I was being hardheaded and just wanted the whole thing to be scored, but we are learning now the drawbacks of having an EP vs. a full CD. Having said that, I couldn’t be any happier with how the EP turned out.
3. “Vermicular…” has an amazing intro with some extra cool acoustic stuff, any chance of an acoustic project in the near future?
Hm, not sure, but I’ve always been into filmscoring so I don’t know, maybe I’ll get an idea to do something else where some evil acoustic stuff is called for. And yeah, ‘Vermicular’ needed that acoustic stuff because there is a hot chick in a bathtub onscreen, and that’s what I tried to capture.
4. Any plans about touring? Is Europe a possibilty?
Nope, no plans at all. That’s the HUGE drag about Blotted Science. I think we put out some really killer material, and that’s pretty much where it ends. It would be great to do some shows and take Blotted Science to the stage, but with Alex’s and Hannes’ main band schedules it’s just so hard to find times that match up. Plus, since Blotted Science is self-released, all expenses would come out of my pocket. We’d also have to find another guitarist to help me handle multiple guitar parts. And rehearsals would cost a fortune since Hannes lives in Germany. The bottom line is Blotted Science was set up as a long distance recording project, and unfortunately, that’s likely where it’s going to stay. The cool thing for all the guitarheads is my next project is doing an instructional DVD playing and explaining all of what went into the writing and gtr playing of the EP.
5. What was your purpose in doing this new EP? Pushing the limit even more far after “Machinations”? And, most of all, which is your artistic objective in doing music?
I think we just wanted to do something different, and honestly, what other bands have scored movies as accurately and detailed as we have on this EP? Following up ‘Machinations’ with another scientific concept was very important, I think we did that and then some. Even the last track “A Sting Operation” is scored to a film that was shot in a laboratory. I’m not saying that this is the greatest music ever written in the history of metal at all, but I think this EP and its concept will stand on its own as being innovative in the metal field, and hopefully open up a few things. We’ve received some rather favorable reviews on the EP so far, so we’re hoping that continues. I’ve scored quite a few things in the past, but none of them have been as extreme as this. I’ve always wanted to see songs like ‘Oh No, Mr Kitty”, ‘A Morning With Squeakie’, and ‘Sex With Squeakie’ onscreen somehow. Those songs were written with specific animation in mind, down to backgrounds and movements, so maybe one of those days.
6. You’ve already had a long career in the music biz, which is the driving force that still inspires and moves you in creating cool stuff like Blotted Science?
I think musically, what drives me is putting out material that is timeless and stands on its own as being far different from what other people/bands are doing. But to be honest, I’m kinda tired of being in the same place for so long doing these wacky long distance recordings/projects. I haven’t been in a real band in so long that I’ve forgotten what it was like. Having said that, I’ve written and recorded some pretty cool music, I think, but once it’s released, that’s it. End of story. It would be nice to get into a real band, and/or do some things for myself like start doing clinics, filmscores, or something else other than doing these recording only projects with writers and players who I’ve never played with live in person. It’s a very cool thing to do, but a change would be nice. I think being in that kind of situation would give me a bit of drive. I still get that drive of course working with Alex and Hannes, but it’s not the kind of camaraderie that would happen if we were in the same place writing, rehearsing, putting things together or playing together.
7. Can you sort out, reflecting on your years as a musician, the highest and the lowest point in your career?
Of course the lowest point in my musical life was when I was unable to play in the early 90’s because of my hand problems. But that all has been long forgotten. In some ways I’m a better guitarist/write because of it, but the main thing is I was in an upcoming band (WatchTower) and because of my hand problems it came at a time that pretty much killed the band. I did everything I could to get on track, but couldn’t play for nearly 3 years, and during this time I think the band drifted apart too much to recover. When we tried to pick up, I was in a different musical place and started Spastic Ink with my brother.
I think any highlights are when I come out with something that is very innovative and am recognized for it. Of course playing onstage is a great thing, but those times are gone pretty quick. Something that you’ve worked on for years and finally gets to people and stays with them forever is a very cool thing. The things that I’ve done that totally hit the nail on the head for me are my solo CD ‘Solitarily Speaking…’, and the new Blotted Science EP, just because they stand on their own as far as concept and structure.
8. Aside from the q&a, where can we find some official merchandise of BS? I’ve got all of the Eclectic Electric CDs at ronjarzombek.com, and we have quite a few distributors (also found at ronjarzombek.com). And we just signed a deal with Basick Records who will handle the EP European distribution. Australia may come soon. For the new ‘Animation’ t-shirts go to indiemerch.com. They did an incredible job with the design, and look totally bitchin!.. The only bad thing I can say about the shirt is if there is a bug crawling on it, you won’t know it.