Parts one, two, three and four.
So it’s come to this.
It was the EDM revolution. America remembered it could dance. How fitting that Dubstep had no identifiable dance. Good time to shake off the rust I suppose.
Working in the Pro Audio department of the Stupidly American music store, I was surrounded by a DJ and a grad of Pyramind. Between these two “colleagues” and being lambasted while jamming Bossa Nova with some old guys I heeded the Electronic call. I knew I wanted to release an album but that was too much work. Work sucks.
I took a Coursera course on The Beatles and discovered their strategic use of the EP format. When I realized I could get music out faster, but still not release random singles, I tacked on and finally released the first half of the Uncomfortable EP this year in spring. The second half should go out in December or January ’17. Being a one man band isn’t fun or easy though. Plus there’s all those synths to learn..
In the meantime I’ve been synthing it up with the 8 Bar Embryo series, going pro with my One True Path Acoustics brand and all the while trying not to go bankrupt.
26 years goes fast. (So does 5 parts of autobiography). I’m currently struggling to not compare myself to younger, more successful artists. The truth is, and it’s not an excuse, but I’m on a religious path. Long days of grinding it out are not appealing to me.
Music, for me, is a great way of expression, a brain workout, very rewarding and even a bit fun. I’ll be offering some things for sale soon and anything I can earn would be great. For now, the best thing is being able to do what I enjoy, sharing it with others and, hopefully, one day being able to make something that the world can appreciate as much as I do.
Parts one, two, and three.
So there I was. 2008. A MySpace girlfriend and a new name. Service weapon of choice: guitar and voice. MOS: Songwriter.
In 2009 I went to school for music. For three weeks. It was a tad shameful of an experience and I’ll leave it at that. Basically I didn’t want to be “just” a guitar player. I wanted moar.
Moar I got. Back in El Paso, and after I’d picked up my first audio interface, I started exploring the world of DAWs and Plug-ins. It was during these next two years I also studied up on small room acoustics, improved my singing and songwriting and released my first tracks (and picked up a little bjj). Kinda hated the El Paso though. I hadn’t lived two straight years anywhere since being kicked out of my house at 18. I was restless and wanted new opportunities. Hmm.. Where’s a wandering troubadour to go?
California. Again. More songs. More performances but this time it was different. I didn’t want to pay anyone to record me. I always loved production and dreamed of just releasing everything on my own. After debiting two more years from the Bank of Life I had a certificate from Berklee and a whole crapload of anxiety about what to do with it.
At this point it’s around 2013. For the past 12 years I’d been bouncing around trying to find due North. It wasn’t until working at a Sucky Ass music store and hearing some brostep that I knew where I was headed. Ah yes, those lovely wubs – as sweet as the violin’s siren so many years before. A sound, a signpost and the gateway to the future.
Continued in Part 5.
Part one and part two.
It started with MySpace. It always used to start with MySpace.
In the Army I met a girl. Late 2007 we moved into a roommate situation. I was preparing for a music school in Hollywood (deliberately not naming it). I’d pushed back my entrance for whatever reason (slacker). So, early 2008 I was considering what I’d publish my music as. The motto for the battalion I was in was “per ardua ad astra” which means something like “you’ll get to the stars if you suffer enough”. I’m also prone to random reads on Wikipedia so I took inspiration from the Sigma Six protocol. I don’t know what Sigma Six is all about but I think it’s something to do with managing improvement. It all sounded pretty Latin so I smooshed it together to get Hex Sigma Per Ardua which essentially meant “struggle to improve”. It was then shortened to Hex S.P.A. before just becoming what it is now. I’m afraid to know if it actually means something in Latin. Actually, it probably means swiss cheese fetishist. I could live with that.
At that time I was learning covers and writing originals on the good ole’ acoustic geetar. I was also in the very early stages of my learning to sing. I emphasize very early, as in, don’t you dare look for evidence. You’ve been warned.
Ugh, I’m trying to keep these posts under 250 words so in Part 4 I’ll ‘splain you from 2008 till now and how the EDM revolution ruined my life.
Continued from Part 1.
Failure is the shit out of which new fruit grows. I should start an orchard.
The band was falling apart. People were leaving, new lineups weren’t as solid and my musicianship needed work. A chance encounter during an altered state of mind was the first clue as to what my future would hold.
It was the first time I’d ever seen one in real life. The MPC 2000 was the mythical sampler that Hip Hop guys used. Being a Tool fan, it wasn’t on my short list of must-have-gear. The fact that those two guys could make an entire song with minimal drama was a revelation. I made sure to pick up an ASR-X Pro and started learning the craft. That’s when things got tricky.
Between my network falling apart and my over-inflated sense of entitlement (hey I played with the best guys) I decided to move to California. What followed was about three years of nebulous wandering, auditions, and lackluster performances then an additional two years of military service. I’d joined to get my education. So that brings us to a total of 10 years I was out-and-about trying to get my bearings straight. When they say time moves fast, they weren’t lying. Whoever “they” are.
In Part 3 I’ll explain how and why Hexspa itself started and maybe by the end of if you’ll care more.
Hexspa is death.
Actually, Hexspa is my life. In a sense Hexspa is death since I’ll probably be doing it until then. Hexspa is my musical activity. Music=life, life=death; Hexspa=death.
The seeds of Hexspa can be traced to my first years as a violin student beginning in second grade. A local orchestra came to Lincoln Elementary School in Brookfield, Il around 1989. The idea was that they had teamed up with Quinlan & Fabish Music Co. (both still around I’m surprised to learn) to blow our little minds (and earn some rentals) by introducing us to the glories of Classical music. I’d have to say they were quite successful.
That day they did a short ensemble demonstration followed by short solos by the various instruments. They must’ve played through the brass, woodwinds and other stringed instruments before they got to the violin. I tell you what, that sound has never rung out of my ears. Just like that parade of instruments I moved on from violin after two years to the obligatory recorder, snare drum and a brief DJ phase before getting exposed to Heavy Metal and switching to guitar. That was a critical moment.
Guitar and Metal led me to meeting dozens of other kids that played. Through that network I was able to play shows with a number of different bands and grow closer to the music I loved. It was during this time I realized that music was all I really wanted to do with my life. For better or for worse, though, a failed near-miss in impressing a Roadrunner Records-signed act led me back to the music production I’d initially admired.
To be continued..
Hexspa.com is live! It’s taken awhile but I hope to keep this site up permanently. Look forward to music, helpful how-tos and some offers for stuff you might want to buy to help keep me afloat.
In the meantime, click on the Social links to the right to see what I’m up to.