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In this episode, Carl King announces his new song: “I Hate This Song!” Then he gives us 3 film reviews, addresses The Problems With Creativity & Social Media, shares 3 Favorite Travis Orbin Drum Videos, and names Via Mardot as Musical Artist of the Week!
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I’m Carl King, the temporary host of the Carl King Podcast, where I talk about music, filmmaking, and general creativity stuff.
Quick shout-out to my music endorsements: Vienna Symphonic Library, Fractal Audio, Ernie Ball Strings, Toontrack, and Millennia Media. All 5 companies who make amazing musical gear that I love to use.
Now let’s get ready to get ready to get started.
NEW PATREON SONG: I HATE THIS SONG
I wanna jump right into an ANNOUNCEMENT. Carl King actually wrote and released a new song this weekend, exclusively for my Patreon Patrons. It’s called… I Hate This Song, and here… is a 30-second clip of it.
To hear the whole song, just join my Patreon account for $1 a month. BUT, to get the high-resolution WAV download, and also ALTERNATE MIXES, join for $5 a month. Aha! That’s the Carl King Conspiracy at work.
Back when I first started my Patreon account, I intended to write and record and upload an exclusive song every month, only available through Patreon. Last week I started considering that again. Is that something I want to do? I would think some of my music people would be into it. Well, Friday I spent the whole day writing and recording I Hate This Song.
By the way you’ve probably noticed… it’s got truly embarrassing cover art, that I want to apologize for. As you can see it’s a photo of me with my shirt off… and my hair in this particular moment was a slovenly mess. It looks totally unprofessional. It wasn’t my fault, but I was actually not ready when the photographer snapped the picture. A lot of you have written in, but I promise you, I’m still trying to work things out with the label to get them to change the cover art. I know a lot of fans are disappointed, because that’s just not who I am. Let’s just say there might be a lawsuit in the works.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the song, and I’ll try to get a new one up on Patreon every month. Hopefully with more flattering cover art. As I said before, I have a whole list of new song ideas in Evernote, and this was just one of the many I could grab off the list and knock out.
Before we finish this segment, I’m contractually obligated in perpetuity throughout the universe to thank my $50 a month Patrons. Both Chewbode and Hank Howard III. People who have been listening every week know that we have a BIDDING WAR taking place over there, between those two. And this week, Chewbode has taken the lead again. $50 and THREE PENNIES. It’s what we in the business call a Patreon Penny Race. Folks, or Peeps as John Cooper calls his Christian podcast listeners… this is getting OUT. OF. CONTROL. We can declare at this time, Chewbode is Carl King’s best friend again, but there’s no telling what might happen by next episode.
Let’s do a CARL KING THE HUMAN UPDATE.
CARL KING THE HUMAN UPDATE
I’m over here at my Los Angeles studio, Plosive Central. It’s the late afternoon, the sun is blasting through my windows. 91 Degrees F.
And this week, Carl King is thankfully feeling pretty healthy. I’ve mostly recovered from COVID.
Some of you may know the only physical activity I participate in, other than stacking up hundreds of hard drives, is cycling. Bi-cycling. And by that I mean… I put on those tight spandex outfits and ride one of those super light bicycles with skinny tires, with my butt way up in the air. I’ve got cool gloves and a helmet, and those shoes that clip into the pedals. My usual rides are 20-30 miles at most. This summer it’s nice and hot out, so I hope to be getting in some good rides again soon.
I haven’t done a Film Reviews segment in a while, and Michael C. Stone, Drummer, has made a request. So let’s start off with that. This week I’ve got 3 of them.
FILM REVIEWS x 3
1 – Hellboy (2019)
Starring David Harbour and Milla Jovovich. Directed by Neil Marshall.
If this movie is what you’re looking for, then this is the movie for you. No question about it.
Hellboy 2019 starts with a lot of backstory, and what filmmaking experts call Narration. For instance, as we watch it with our eyes, the narrator says: “Arthur severed the Blood Queens head.” Play-by-play. He literally describes everything that is happening right there on the screen. This goes on for 3 minutes. And it was all cut together like a YouTube video for some reason. Must be a thing kids are into.
When the actual movie part of the movie starts, it’s full of expository dialogue. No thought or experience goes unspoken. Everything is stated, out loud. Sometimes, that’s just what you need, especially if you need a movie that does that.
It becomes obvious that the people in Hellboy’s universe like to state facts at each other. The dialogue is a lot of “I want this. The dog is brown.” And it’s walls of dialogue. Everyone talks. All the time. Some believe movies are largely a visual art but the makers of Hellboy 2019 said, no sir. No ma’am.
Hellboy 2019 is not a movie about characters experiencing things, which the audience could then experience through empathy, or mirror neurons. Instead, it’s imaginary people standing around, or running around, reciting FACTS. Later on in the movie, there are some monks who took a vow of silence. And even they write loud dialogue on handheld chalk boards.
Hellboy himself makes a lot of dry jokes, and I get what the writers were going for. By comparison there’s a Netflix movie called The Grey Man. I found Goslings’ dry jokes, or witty comments to land better. I don’t know the origin of that sort of thing but you can find dang good ones in The Big Sleep from 1945.
In that film, a woman meets with a detective, played by Humphrey Bogart. When he shows up, sweaty, she says:
“My, you’re a mess aren’t you?”
He responds: ”I’m not very tall, either. Next time I’ll come on stilts, wear a white tie, and carry a tennis racket.”
The woman doesn’t react to his bizarre statement and the conversation just continues.
Now I have no idea what he’s talking about, but both versions of The Big Sleep are full of witty detective comments like that. If anyone listening knows the original source of that style of dialogue, let me know. It might have been from the books of Raymond Chandler, which the film was based on. You can find that kind of stuff all over Bruce Willis movies, too. It’s become a necessary ingredient to anything with a lot of action. You know, like Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansen having a clever conversation in the middle of a battle against aliens. There’s probably a term for it. Maybe Deadpan Snarker.
In this reboot, Hellboy is played by David Harbour, and you may know him as the police chief from Stranger Things. I was skeptical that Ron Perlman could ever be replaced with another actor. I thought, Ron Perlman is so perfect as Hellboy you can’t mess with it. But David Harbour did a great job. I thought he had more of a Lebowski take on the character, coincidentally. He almost resembled a beat up, sweaty metal musician. The character makeup was definitely well-executed. No complains there.
Another notable actor was Troy James, I had to look that up. He’s the contortionist who performed the body acting of Baba Yaga. Now that was pretty wild. It’s another one of those situations where it’s hard to cast anyone else as that character. You gotta have just the right person with that wild contortionist talent to do that. And also, consider it was a male playing a female, totally convincing. Baba Yaga and her hut were cool imagery. Wish we had spent more time there.
As far as the plot, this is another movie about the end of the world. These days, the stakes always have to be the end of the world.
About 20 minutes in, we get another voiceover-narrated exposition scene. Whenever I see this sort of thing, a red flag goes off. In general I think movies should stay “in the here and now” of the narrative. And that if you have to spend so much time with back-story, maybe you made the wrong movie. But if you love being taken out of the moment and seeing other times and places, this is the movie for you.
At some point, there was a Nazi character, who had big red and blue 3D glasses. That was a cool character design. I didn’t catch the significance of the character. And I honestly don’t remember what Nazis had to do with the story. But hey, Nazis were in there. For sure. I saw them.
As the movie went on, I kept thinking, man why is there so much narration? Do I accidentally have the Audio Description turned on? Ever watched movie with audio description? That’s an experience. Then again, everything is an experience, except for the occasional non-experience.
The makers of this movie didn’t let the scenes breathe for a moment. You know, let us be there. Take it in. Let us feel some suspense, rather than being told what’s happening.
I made a note here that at 22 minutes in, we’re still caught up in the backstory. That’s a pretty significant amount of backstory. When I see something like that, I think, maybe we’re making the wrong movie.
That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a non-linear narrative. It just wasn’t working for me here. Maybe I was watching the movie backwards.
I thought some of the musical choices were weird. The score was by Benjamin Wallfisch. There’s a scene where some characters go out on a hunt in the wilderness, on horseback. And suddenly SKA music is playing? I don’t know how THAT artistic choice was made. But then again, ska music can really erupt anywhere at anytime. It can’t be trusted.
In another scene, there was a moment of heavy metal music. And that kinda jumped out at me as maybe inappropriate for the score. Distracted me. Why am I hearing heavy metal music suddenly? I don’t think of heavy metal music as idiomatic to film scoring, that’s for sure. Took me out of the moment.
Just to be sure I wasn’t crazy, I looked up the score on Apple Music and sure enough, I was crazy. It’s FULL of heavy industrial metal. Screeching, distorted, electronic insanity. The kind of thing that gives me a panic attack. Looking further, I learned Benjamin Wallfisch worked on Bladerunner 2049, It, Hidden Figures, Shazam, Batman Vs. Superman — kinda crazy that I had never heard of him. Factoid on Wikipedia says his films have made over 2.5 BILLION in worldwide box office receipts.
So hey, who am I to complain?
Here’s one thing in this movie I thought was really cool. There’s a scene where Hellboy is fighting GIANTS. And I was kinda blown away by the animation and character designs. Never seen medieval giants fighting like that. So many grotesque features, and so many bad decisions made by the giants. Definitely showed their low intelligence. I thought the scene really worked. Striking cinematography, too. The camera exaggerated their features and movement. She of the shots are continuous, meaning there were not many changes of camera angles and edits — the camera flows around the characters, pushing in and out on the action. Such a well-done scene. I could have watched a whole movie about Hellboy and the Giants.
Another strong-point of this movie was the fight choreography. The fight scenes were what I’d call “properly messy.” In the real world, fighting isn’t such a clean, acrobatic dance. People grab each other, struggle, get tired, trip over things. There were some cool moments of that here. But not as many as you would see in Daredevil on Netflix. Now those fights were brutal.
I give this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars. A bit better than average for my personal tastes.
2 – JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION (2022)
Up next is Jurassic World Dominion 2022, starring Star Lord and Bryce Dallas Howard. Directed by Colin Trevorrow. He was one of the writers on Rise of Skywalker.
Now, I was never into the original Jurassic Park. It’s fine, and I have nothing against it. I would say it was a good movie. No complaints. It’s hard to go wrong with a classic by Steven Spielberg and John Williams.
But from what I hear someone really messed up the Jurassic franchise, especially with this latest movie. It’s gotten a lot of bad reviews, and after watching it, I can understand why.
This seems to be a movie about a group of Humans — who have faster reflexes and are able to outrun clumsy reptilian predators. I didn’t catch the name, were they called Apocalypt-a-raptors? Something like that. All I know is they’re miniature T-rexes that have poor reflexes. So poor that the humans can simply jump out of the way and the predators will slam into a wall like Wile E Coyote. They’ll always bonk their head and act confused.
Somehow my cat has better reflexes than these ferocious killers.
In this movie, there’s a LOT of characters. Boy. It makes it complicated, hard to follow, hard to focus. And not in a good way. I might like my music to be complicated, but maybe not my movies. I only need a few people to watch. 3, 5. That’s enough for me. But every scene, they started another story thread. Why?
This movie brought back a bunch of original cast members, playing their original parts. My wife notices things like this: they were wearing their original clothing from the old movies, which was a coincidence? What are the odds of that? Then again, I always dress the same. In 20 years it’s likely I’d still be wearing this shirt. Or at least one that looks exactly like it.
Here’s a real problem: part of the way through the movie, Star Lord gets on a motorcycle. It think it was a dirt bike? Any time I see a character get on a motorcycle I let out a GROAN because I know I’m in for 15-20 minutes of stupid motorcycle stuff.
So he takes off riding the dirt bike at a HIGH SPEED down a narrow alley.
There’s a series of shots where he’s spending a LONG TIME looking behind him at the Apocalyptaraptors chasing him. Like, too many shots in a row.
Now, anyone who has driven through an alley knows how many obstacles there are. Dumpsters, people loading things, stacks of boxes. Probably even cars parked there or coming towards you from the opposite direction.
There he is speeding along in an alley, not looking where he’s going. AT ALL. You know, for DRAMATIC EFFECT.
He’s traveling at, I don’t know, 50 mph? Has anyone listening ever ridden a dirt bike?
I noticed throughout this movie, no matter what, whether he’s running or riding a dirt bike, or driving a car, he’s always going just the right speed so the apocalyptaraptors are snapping at him but can’t get him. It’s like a mechanical rabbit on a dog racing track.
So in that dirt bike thing, here’s the other problem. The apocalyptaraptors can KEEP UP with his dirt bike? It’s going what I assume is 70 or 80mph. He’s hauling ass, trying to get on PLANE that’s taking off. And seriously, the plane’s wheels are already off the ground. All the while, Apocalyptaraptors are snapping at his heels. At the last moment, he is able to SPEED UP MORE he drives up the ramp in the back of the plane. And guess what? The Apocalyptaraptor is able to jump in after him.
How fast do planes go when they are taking off? How fast do you think? Hundreds of miles per hour? For that type of plane, it’s maybe 120 mph, according to Google. Dirt bikes can go maybe 85 or 90 at the most? I would expect that at their top speed a dirt bike would be too hard to control, especially while being chased by killer dinosaurs.
Add to all this, I don’t know what sort of wind difficulties you’d experience, speeding on a dirt bike behind a plane taking off.
For me, this biggest implausibility here is this: how can an Apocalyptaraptor RUN on TWO LEGS at like 120 mph? That’s nearly twice as fast as a cheetah, who has the benefit of aerodynamics, crazy physiology, and FOUR legs. That’s just silly. There’s no way a two-legged dinosaur can catch a plane taking off.
Anyway, this movie was so captivating, I got distracted about halfway through and started brushing my cats. There’s this thing called a FURMINATOR. They love it. Ever used one of those on a cat or dog? I can’t tell who enjoys it more, me or them. This isn’t an ad, by the way. I wish it were. Because I could definitely endorse them.
My point is, since I got distracted, I don’t know how the movie ends. I’m assuming it wraps up with the humans just barely outrunning clumsy reptilian predators. Maybe Star Lord jumps out of the way and all the dinosaurs run off a cliff. Actually, didn’t that happen in the last movie, or am I imagining it?
I gotta give this one 2 out of 5 stars. It was bad, but not awful bad. On Letterboxed, I’ve only given 2 movies anything less than 2 stars. One of them was Brightburn, which got 1 Star. And I gave Disney’s Cruella a HALF of a star for some reason. I’ll need to possibly re-evaluate.
3 – BLACK BEAR (2022)
Next up is Black Bear from 2022. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbot (who I kinda thought was Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) and Sarah Gadon. Written and Directed by Lawrence Michael Levine.
This is what might be called a more Art Film, or an Independent Film, maybe even a film for grown-ups. I heard about this one from Mark Borchardt, so I put it on my watch list.
Right off the bat, here’s what I love: it’s focused on 3 people in a single location. It could have been a theater play. Subtle. Slow. That’s what I like to see. It’s tense. The characters think about things. And because of that, we can get inside them. They don’t talk constantly and describe what they see.
Not to spoil anything, but part of the way through the movie, there’s this surreal switcheroo that you’d never see coming. It’s one of those, whoa, wait a minute, I how is THIS now happening. But you have to see it for yourself. The second half of the movie is mega dramatic, and by that I mean the drama and tension between the characters. It’s realistic and it’s a mess.
I did not understand the overall story of this movie, but I DID understand the impressionistic, emotional meaning of it. I enjoyed watching it, and my attention never wandered. The whole thing made me curious.
I have to say my tastes are evolving as I get older, and as I watch more films recommended by Mark Borchardt. 10 years ago, I was a straight-up Marvel fan. Now I’m easily bored by action movies.
So that tells you how far I’ve come in appreciating pretentious cinema.
I give Black Bear 5 out of 5 stars on Letterboxd. Exactly the kind of thing I like these days.
By the way, if you’re on Letterboxd, look me up. My user name is CarlKingdom. And If you have more films, or movies, you want me to watch and review on the podcast, send me an email. email@example.com.
UGIS ESSAY RESPONSE / CREATIVITY AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Here’s a special segment. I have an illustrator friend named Ugis Berzins. He’s done some art commissions for me in the past, and I did a Twitch Interview with him a while ago. If you happen to have one of my Patreon stickers, he’s the guy who drew it. With real ink and paper, and all that.
I support Ugis on Patreon, and this past week he made a post called “Instagram: The Way Of The DooDoo.”
In it, he shares his frustration with social media. I identify with much of what he said, so I want to publicly respond. I thought it would make a perfect segment on the Carl King podcast. Because we all know I need more segmentation. I don’t want anyone getting too comfortable around here, especially with how uncomfortable I feel.
Warning, there’s going to be some cuss words coming up. Expletives.
Ugis begins his post with
“I had to delete Instagram off my phone.”
He continues this rant on why Instagram sucks, by actually pointing out the positives:
“Instagram was the first time I had some notion of how many people liked my art. Before that, I posted on DeviantArt and Tumblr, and there was no real way to tell if anyone saw it or liked it or if anyone got the joke.”
“On Instagram it was crazy, people who liked my stuff would find me, or people would repost my stuff, and more people would find me, and there were more weirdos with a specific type of humor than I thought. So in a way I would cater to that a bit, but it helped me at least make stuff. I know it sounds weird, and yes obviously I didn’t write the great American comic, but at least I didn’t take like months off from drawing. Before I went back to school in 2011 there were many years I didn’t draw at all, cause I didn’t know what the point was, who was this for, none of my ideas were mainstream. I didn’t want to draw fan art, at least not in the way that got everyone hot and bothered on DeviantArt.”
So as you can see, Ugis FOUND an audience on Instagram. It encouraged him to keep going. I checked and he’s coming up on 10,000 followers soon. He’s got ten times the audience I have there.
He goes on to explain that because of all the attention, he made a mini comic, got it published by Quarterpress, and designed a bunch of creative posters, pins, shirts, and “a fuckton of stickers.” He was collaborating and participating in art shows.
“All of it cause I was doing something instead of nothing.”
But his inspiring story takes a dark turn, as he says:
“Point is, that’s not how Instagram works anymore, it’s very much just a clusterfuckle of ads and suggested posts from people who you don’t follow and unless you’re making REELS they won’t show your shit to anyone unless you pay them.”
Ugis says he can’t “bring himself to create more shit for that company.”
He points out the difficulty of reaching or expanding his audience, since he DEPENDS on Instagram:
“I don’t know how to find people. I don’t have a backup, except to just continue to make shit somehow without losing all motivation. I know people do YouTube shit, but I don’t like video. I look like a turd and people generally have to be either aesthetically pleasing or have a personality or voice or charisma or something. I’m not interested in building up my persona. Also what the fuck would I do there, post tiny workshops on how to eat hotdogs or something? If anyone has any idea how to navigate this fresh hell end times world, let me know.”
Okay, challenge accepted. I can’t solve all these problems, but here’s my response.
1 – Ugis, I totally get deleting Instagram off your phone. I’ve done this many times. But Instagram is smarter than I am. A few months later, there it is again.
2 – I had a strikingly similar experience as you with both Facebook, but also MYSPACE back in the day. Though social media I was able to find an audience for the first time. I used Myspace to literally sell tens of thousands of dollars of CDs and shirts out of my bedroom, back in 2005. It changed my life for a while. I was able to quit my job and kinda live off that. I had a second wave of attention maybe 10 years ago on Facebook, where my silly posts would easily get 50 or a hundred comments, which seemed like a lot. That would lead to selling stuff in my shop. I was making several hundred a month, at least. Even though I couldn’t live off it, it was at least something.
And then this thing people call an Algorithm came along and took it all away. I went from all that daily attention, to honestly: ZERO. If I post something on my Carl King Facebook PAGE, which has 4,500 followers right now, it will get zero likes, zero comments. No one will see it. I have to PAY Facebook for my posts to be visible in anyone’s feed.
Now when that first happened, I got pretty upset. That audience I built up over many years, instantly GONE. It was like Facebook had canceled my world tour. They may as well have deleted my account, but they knew what I would resort to. Like an addict, I started PAYING to make my page’s posts visible. It felt like my only option.
From time to time I still run ads for things I’m doing, if the attention is important enough to me. Like when I’m doing a Kickstarter or have a major release. In a way, it seems fair. Facebook is a business and I’m a business, so it makes sense I should pay them. Right now I’m running an ad so my followers will see that I have this podcast. It’s getting some clicks, for sure.
3 – I think we are in a dark time in social media. Not sure if you have heard of Cal Newport — he’s my favorite podcaster and author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Deep Work, and Digital Minimalism. He distinguishes between Social Media and The Social Internet. He has a lot to say about the problems of monolithic, monopolistic companies like Facebook, and why he believes they will soon fail.
To be replaced with smaller communities. Will that happen? I don’t know, but it makes sense. I’m hoping that the current form of social media might just be a step that gets us from one place to another. Maybe the next phase of it will be better. Maybe not.
Have you ever noticed this weird thing? No one seems to like social media. I don’t know a single person who actually loves it, personally. It’s more like, man, I know it’s awful. I hate it but I have to use it to promote myself. I know someone with over a million followers who says exactly that. And they complain about the AI feed as much as I do.
I regularly, and as recent as a couple of months ago, strongly consider deleting all of my social media accounts. I think I’ve completely deleted and then recreated my personal Facebook 2 or 3 times now.
It reminds me of this concept called the Abilene Paradox. Where a family of people all get in a car and agree to go on a trip to a place called Abilene. They’re like, “Hey, that sounds like a great idea!” But you know, individually, none of them actually want to go there. It ends up being a horrible experience, they hate it, and at the end of the day they all wonder why they went.
Maybe in 10 years we’ll all look back and wonder why we had social media accounts at all. Maybe that’s why there’s no social media in the utopian future world of Star Trek.
4 – I agree with you about the business scam of creating free content for social media companies to profit from. They’re making money off our need for attention, or desire for an audience. I understand wanting to stop doing it, just on the principle. Because those companies are getting paid and we aren’t. Even their janitors are getting paid more than us. It was a brilliant move, but how long can these companies sustain it, if they’re destroying the thing they need? Creative people need to make a living. And if they can’t make a living off their art, they’ll stop doing it. Or at least create a lot less. I’m sure there are people like you and I who give up, every day, because they don’t feel appreciated, thanks to being down-ranked.
So here’s my philosophy. I try to avoid posting anything that doesn’t somehow point back to one of my creations. If you look at my Instagram page it looks like it’s all ads for my stuff, which is kind of funny. But I intentionally avoid photos of me, or my food, or my pets. Maybe every 50 posts or so, one will slip through. 4 months ago there was a photo of me on a bike. Before that, it had been about a year.
So that’s how I’m using Instagram. And it DOES at least get seen by some people. At this point, every little bit helps.
5 – You have possibly heard of Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans. It’s this theory that if a creator can find 1,000 supporters to spend $100 a year on their creations, they can make a GOOD living off their art. I mean, $100 would be a lot, but half that might be more realistic. For a long time, it was actually rare for someone to achieve that, but thanks to sites like Patreon it’s becoming more possible and common.
I don’t know how many eyeballs need to see your art to find the 1,000 true fans, but it seems like it can be done.
There’s a website called Graphtreon that analyzes and keeps track of how much people are making on Patreon. You can sort it by categories like Podcasts, comics, music. https://graphtreon.com
Jon Schnepp used to tell me that he intentionally promoted his own name really big in the end credits of Metalocalypse. I think it was the first thing you’d see when the theme music came on. It was his hope that if just TEN PERCENT of the Metalocalypse audience would follow him or buy one of his films or comic books, he’d be set. Maybe it was 1%. I don’t remember. But I think you get what I mean.
I believe your art is so good and unique, that if you can get somehow get it in front of 100,000 or a million people, you’re going to do well. It’s all speculative until it happens, but all you need is one person to see a single Ugis drawing and give you the right gig. These things do happen.
6 – Related to that, I’m focusing more energy on reaching my audience OUTSIDE of social media. Specifically, outside of the algorithm. That’s one of my major motivations to make this podcast. If someone subscribes to my show, they get it every week. There’s no algorithm hiding me.
Two other ways I directly reach my audience: my email list (which anyone can join from my website), and DISCORD. And I have to say Discord is a pretty impressive piece of technology.
7 – I try to remember that as a creative person, anything that makes me overthink or get discouraged or get blocked is a bad thing. We have to keep showing up and outputting at 100%. We have to outlast this stupid technology and stupid period of time we’re in. I worry sometimes about the behavior modification effects. Is the Meta company tricking me into making things that their robots will like? It’s likely. But I also realize my occasional desire to QUIT is a similar form of behavior modification. Reward and punishment.
I really do hope more people that want to support what we do will subscribe to our Patreons. It’s really easy and such a direct way to reward our work. I support 8 creators there right now, including you.
So Ugis, I say: Ignore the algorithm and do your thing. Keep posting your stuff, wherever you want, in whatever form you can. It’s how I found you.
Most importantly: Keep going as if things are going to get better.
Now everyone go and check out Ugis Berzins, or whatever his name is this week.
3 FAVORITE TRAVIS ORBIN DRUM VIDEOS
Who here has heard of Travis Orbin? Maybe you heard him drumming all over my Grand Architects of the Universe album. He played the majority of the drums on that big-ass 45-minute piece of music called Hero’s Ship Or Minimum of One Planet Must Explode In First Act.
Travis has dedicated his life to two things, working out, and impossible drumming.
He’s a one-of-a-kind drummer, for his ability to transcribe and perform extreme odd-tuplets and crazy time signatures. For what he does, he’s a the top of the food chain. Anything I give him, he can play.
He has a YouTube channel with nearly 400 videos, some of them covers, lots of Travis Orbin originals, and zillions of sessions he’s done for other artists. All in his home studio.
Here are 3 that stand out to me. I’ll add links in the show notes.
1 – Strapping Young Lad / Shitstorm
The video won’t embed, so watch it on YouTube.
This one is a straight-up impressive death metal blast-beat nightmare. You can see how technical and aggressive Travis is. All those wild floor tom fills, the sustained double bass patterns, the perfect machine gun snare. But this is just the warmup.
2 – Mike Keneally / Egg Zooming
The original drummer on Mike Keneally’s Egg Zooming was Mike Mangini, and he claimed it was the most difficult piece of music he ever tracked. 6.5 minutes of outlandishness. Travis just had to go and knock it out. No problem. You can hear all the nutty polyrhythms, staggered syncopations, and odd tuplets following the quirky Keneally guitar melodies.
3 – Dr. Zoltan / Join The War On Fun! + Upptäckten Av Ancient Alien Obviation Ruler Kit
And last but not least I had to throw in one of my own tracks Travis played on. I hired him to do a couple of Dr. Zoltan songs from my Why I Am So Wise, Why I Am So Clever, And Why I Write Such Good Songs. I never thought any drummer would be able to play those parts. Why even try? But it seemed to be no problem for Travis. He transcribed the entire thing and killed it, like it was just another day behind the kit.
Go and watch Travis on YouTube. He’s pretty unbelievable.
Let’s do a new segment called Cooperstuffstuff.
Some of you may know from a previous episode of the Carl King Podcast that I’m a big fan of SKILLET. Yeah, the Christian Nu Metal Glam Band. As I’ve said before, I’m highly amused by their absurd personas, nonsensical stage shows, and I also love their songs like Awake & Alive.
Well, over the past week I discovered John Cooper, their lead singer, has his own one-man PODCAST. Called COOPERSTUFF. I immediately subscribed.
He starts out every episode urging people to “invest a little bit of their money into gold” and gives a discount code to use for an investment company. Or he finds a way to cleverly segue right into it. He sneaks up on you. You can feel his beard tickling the back of your neck.
My laughing at his persona turned to… maybe I’d call it SHOCK? I had no idea what I was getting into here.
That dude is, and I don’t think he’d disagree, a Christian Extremist. Not only that, he READS physical books. He posted a photo on his instagram of all the books he read in 2021. 35 of them. Listeners, how many books did you read in 2021? I’m gonna guess I read maybe a dozen?
His mountain of books are centered on what I’d describe as militant christianity and anger about liberals. And I noticed another theme: many of the books have a RED color. It makes me think of the rivers of blood from the Republican convention, in, what was that, 2016?
Anyway, throughout his show, Cooper uses the words Evil and Demonic quite a bit. At some point he said he even believes Victoria’s Secret in the mall is pornography, and that it upsets him to see it.
It’s all pretty intense content, and it seems he’s trying to push Christians further to the right. One of his recent episodes is about The Culture of Death, which is ironic considering the logo for his podcast is a skull. With a dapper John Cooper haircut and gentleman beard, of course.
And Eric Alexander Moore pointed this out to me. Every episode of the show ends with a sample of John Cooper screaming this.
Listeners, what do you hear him screaming there? Listen again.
I think he’s saying “Cooperstuff.”
But does it sound like he’s screaming… “KILL MYSELF?”
Is that creepy or what?
It’s because of things like this… I can’t help but wonder if this entire Skillet / John Cooper thing is a Neil Hamburger / Andy Kaufman… persona prank.
After listening to a few episodes, I couldn’t help it. I started wearing eyeliner and platform shoes. My wife wonders what the heck is going on. I told her it’s just research for my Christian nu metal album.
By the way, thank you to Eric Alexander Moore for coming up with the recursive segment name of cooperstuffstuff.
MUSICAL ARTIST OF THE WEEK
I want to end this episode of the Carl King podcast with a Musical Artist of the Week. There’s a musician who goes by the name Via Mardot. Or Via Mar-doh. I don’t know how to pronounce it. It might be Italian or something. Fra-jee-lay, I think they say.
Anyway, Via Mardo. Or Dot. Someone shared her music with me on Instagram, and I’m blown away with the orchestration work that sounds like something off a Secret Chiefs 3 album. I sent it to Trey, thinking he might want to hear it. But who knows if he did.
Via Mardot is a multi-instrumentalist out of Detroit. You won’t believe this. She plays: baritone guitar, cello, various orchestral percussion like tubular bells, now who the heck has tubular bells? Keyboard, violin AND viola, accordion, some sort of autoharp, I think? And THEREMIN. And if you’ve ever tried to play a theremin, you know how impossible those things are. But she plays it flawlessly. Perfectly intonated. It’s all very artsy.
In some of her videos, she actually plays a saw with a bow, and manages to actually play meaningful melodies on it. No clue how she does it. And of course, she sings too.
She composes this retro, spaghetti western sounding material with a spooky European old-timey vibe with creepy reverbs and dark chord changes. It’s legit stuff, and I recommend you give it a listen. She’s got lot of clips on Instagram. User name is viamardot, spells v-i-a-m-a-r-d-o-t. I’ll have a link in the show notes.
I predict she will soon be… kind of a big deal. I’m expect SOMEONE out there is going to give her a big opportunity, and we’ll all be hearing about her.
Parallels by Via Mardot
That’s it for this episode of the Carl King Podcast, I am covered in sweat, and next time I’ll come on stilts, wear a white tie, and carry a tennis racket. Thanks again to Chewbode and Hank Howard III, and remember To support this podcast head over to Patreon.com/carlking. I’ll see you there.