I’ve been taking a bit of a break from my solo work lately, and have put out a new record with my band Subways on the Sun. Check out The Honeymoon Stagecoach on iTunes or your just about any other online music store starting today!
Author Archives: Lars Katz
I recently shot four acoustic videos with my string quartet. Have a look and let me know what you think.
Head over to my YouTube channel to watch the rest of them: http://www.youtube.com/larskatz
Words truly cannot describe what it was like for me to hear real string players playing my music last night.
When something takes so much time to come to fruition, you almost automatically convince yourself that it will never happen. I released The Veil almost three years ago and started writing the music two years before that. Honestly, it took me some time to start believing that I hadn’t just released a record that was completely unplayable. Reworking the string parts into quartet arrangements, producing sheet music, and finding able and willing players took a generous amount of time as well. But last night, I sat in my studio listening to four incredibly talented string players tuning to the A that I had just given them from my acoustic guitar, and thought, “this is really happening.”
What followed was a two-hour run-through of the entire record, start to finish. It quite simply blew my mind. Listening to four people add their own musicality, feeling, and embellishments to the music that I have poured my heart and soul into for so many years was breathtaking. I’ve been trying to recall what my expectations for the night were, but I can’t seem to find them. Maybe I just didn’t let myself have any. But for a first run-through it was nearly flawless. It feels show-ready after just one rehearsal and that is so much more than I could have hoped for.
I forced myself to sit down and write this this morning because since last night I have been quite speechless, allowing myself to enjoy one of my life’s highest peaks and forgetting momentarily that there are valleys out there. But I knew I would enjoy writing about the experience and sharing it with you all, so with that I offer a heartfelt thank you to Maren Haynes, Jenn Glenn, Emily Shih, and Dustin Peskuric for an unforgettable evening, and set off to start looking for venues to book shows.
The video game project is going very well. I’ve been getting emails with some of the early character animations and I just can’t stop watching them with a big grin on my face! I’ll see if I can get permission to share some of them here at some point.
I’ve been keeping myself busy composing lots of music for the game and I’m really happy with how it’s turning out so far. It’s such a different experience than making a rock record. I’ll have to write about it in more detail some time. Suffice it to say, I’m having a blast and staying continually inspired.
After composing a handful of pieces, I started realizing that the soundtrack really needed a core theme in order to be memorable. I’d been leaning toward more ambient ethereal pieces in hopes of a high re-listen value (nothing’s worse than hearing the same 4 bars over and over while you spend hours stuck on a level). Still, I felt something was missing. Every game soundtrack that I love has some kind of main theme associated with it.
So I tried to write one. I kept adding layers to it over a few days, and was pretty surprised by how cool the end product turned out. So I thought I’d share it with you. It’s in the player below. Still just a rough mix, but pretty listenable I think. It will probably be used as some kind of battle theme. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Those of you who have been asking about live shows will be happy to hear that I finally have a string quartet lined up and am ready to start rehearsals for some upcoming local shows. At first I will be performing with just the quartet, with myself on acoustic guitar and vocals. I’ll then add the full band (drums, bass, keyboards) to the mix after the first few shows.
It was a lot of work rearranging the string parts on The Veil for quartet, but I am very pleased with how everything turned out. I will be sure to document the rest of the process well, and will post some videos of rehearsals and performances as they occur. I’m looking forward to sharing this music in person with you all soon!
I’m excited to announce that I have been asked to compose the music for an upcoming as-yet-unnamed RPG for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The initial stages of storyboarding and game development have already begun and I have to say that I’m super impressed with the vision and ambition of the developers. Many of you know that it has been a dream of mine to compose music for film and video games, and that I have a real soft spot in my heart for RPG soundtracks (nerd alert), so I was very quick to say yes to this project.
I don’t have a lot of details about the game just yet, but stay tuned for updates as things develop!
Just a quick note to let you know that my side project, Subways on the Sun, has a new demo available for your listening pleasure. It was recorded at my studio, Wide Asleep Music, and mastered by the same brilliant folks at Olympic View Studios that mastered The Veil. Check it out if you have a spare moment: www.subwaysonthesun.com
I was up late last night watching a documentary that caught my interest. Somebody interviewed contemporary philosophers and gave them ten minutes or so to explain one of their ideas.
Now, I loved studying philosophy in college, but I haven’t read a lick of it since I graduated (unless watching The Matrix counts). I thought the documentary might get me back into the swing of things, but the result was not quite what I expected: I realized that I may have fallen out of love with philosophy (or, at least with a great deal of it).
My personal study of philosophy can be described as a four-year-long desperate clutching-onto of the idea that God exists. I think I’ve always known that if that idea got away from me I’d be done for. My belief that God exists is what gets me out of bed every day, motivates me to be kind to others, take care of myself, and contribute to society. Without my belief in God, I’m certain that I couldn’t find a meaningful purpose in doing any of those things…so I simply wouldn’t do them.
So what was my problem with the documentary? Well, it seems that a great deal of contemporary philosophy is just altogether done with God. Because faith is required to believe in God, and faith is (arguably) non-rational, God doesn’t get to play. So what was the documentary about? It basically amounted to philosopher after philosopher appealing to some kind universal existential reason for getting out of bed every day, being kind to others, taking care of ourselves, and contributing to society.
This just baffles me. If there truly is no God, no existence beyond this life, there is simply 0 reason to think that doing one thing rather than another actually matters in the grand scheme of things! How is it possible to live without belief in God? I know that it is — I’ve seen others do it. I just simply don’t understand it.
Philosophical inquiry is a means to an end. In my life, it is has served its purpose well: it has cemented many of my treasured beliefs and has kicked the ass of many of my beliefs that deserved it. It continues to serve as excellent lyrical inspiration. But I can’t seem to truly re-engage with philosophy. It seems that my battle now is with faith. In retrospect, it probably always has been.
Maybe XKCD has it right.