We just got back from our first day on the floor of E3, and it’s insane! There are tons of people, all ready to see the newest technology and games. We were lucky enough to catch a lot of new titles, as well as tech demos for all the company’s new hardware. So let’s dive in a bit, shall we? Let’s dive into the top five takeaways:
5: Spider Man is a Sony Exclusive
This may be unsurprising to those who are familiar with Sony’s hold on the Spider-Man franchise: you’ll notice the web slinger is noticeably absent from Avengers movies, and the series is twice rebooted by Sony studios in attempts to keep the series relevant. Yet for all the hype surrounding the most famous superhero of all time, the new game we saw at E3 is easily the most impressive entrance into the world of Peter Parker in years.
The game is similar to Arkam Asylum, a super hero sandbox where you can fight crime with more agility than Batman. Where as Arkam had a bulky fight style to fit the Batman build, Spider Man flies through the air with the greatest of ease. He shoots a web at an enemy, pulls him into the air, and slingshots him back into his group of goons, knocking them all unconscious. It’s incredible, and totally exhilarating.
This one will be a PlayStation exclusive, and perhaps a good reason to upgrade to the PlayStation 4 Pro. The draw distance and detail we saw in the tech demo was incredible, and will know doubt be benefitted by the extra processing power of the Pro.
4. God Of War: Kratos Has a Son
At the E3 Coliseum, several developers got to speak about the experience of making their respective titles. The day started off with the team responsible for the “God of War” series, a PlayStation heavy hitter. They were able to talk about one of the most exciting developments to the series: the addition of a son to carry on Kratos’s legacy. And you are able to command your son to help you in battle.
During the talk, the developers showed a video of the filming process between the actors who did the voices/motion capture for the game’s characters. It was an emotional experience, watching him pass on the paternal wisdom of a god of war, literally responsible for the senseless death of hundreds. Yet for all the tugging-on-heartstrings of the moment, it ends with a funny mock-boxing training session between Kratos and son. It was great to see that the actors are so tightly bound behind the scenes.
Also revealed is the fact that they are attempting to do the entire game with no cuts whatsoever. What this means is, you will never see the camera perspective change. It will always stay front and center on Kratos and son, with absolutely no cuts to a different scene, place, or dialogue. It’s all one continuous experience, like the final scene of “Children of Men.” The director described this as a daunting challenge. We can imagine it was.
3. VR Titles Are Still Scarce:
While the VR market has expanded significantly, with over a million units of the PlayStation VR being sold, there is still one noticeable problem: the lack of content. Though PSVR recently had a killer app in “Farpoint” (which we livecasted as soon as we picked it up), which included the PlayStation Aim controller. This controller acted as a full functioning virtual rifle for the game, and it was a dream to use. With this controller, they had truly changed the first person shooter game. It had been the dream of many to have a peripheral that could be used so functionally in VR, to fully immerse you in the experience. No more quick aims with a D pad: now you have 360 degree firing power!
Still, one thing that was noticeably absent at the show: a plethora of new titles to re-assure us that VR is indeed the future. Sure, there were some cool looking titles like “Bravo Point,” which looks to use the PSVR Aim controller in creative and more gritty ways. And Aim controller aside, there is a game called “The Inpatient” that is coming out, which looks to be fairly creepy. Well try to nab a demo of it tomorrow.
The point is, there were only about 5-10 new VR titles on the horizon that were ready to display at E3. While it’s relieving to see that Sony is taking their new toy seriously (and we’re glad we bought the PSVR above the others for this fact), it’d be nice to know that a $400 VR setup is going to get you your money’s worth.
2: Mario Odyssey is Out In October:
Nintendo had teased Mario Odyssey (along side with the Zelda title) back in January, but none of us knew when it would actually hit shelves. It was a cool and refreshing reboot of the series, where Mario hits the streets of the “real world” to try and find the princess once again. Who wouldn’t want to have Mario’s insane jumping abilities and sweet flying abilities in the middle of a metropolitan the size of the Big Apple?
We finally found out when the title will be dropping: October. While they’ve tried to promise a specific date, we wouldn’t be surprised if it got pushed back to November. As long as it comes out before Christmas, there are sure to be millions of kids ready to go on Mario’s latest adventure. We’re pretty sure they’ll hit that deadline.
1. 4K is Finally Getting Supported…. But Does It Still Matter?
The number one take away is that many game companies seem to be taking 4K resolution extremely seriously. The TVs with this kind of processing power have been around for years, and yet no video game systems have fully supported it. Why is that? One simple reason: 4K resolution in gaming requires an amount of processing power developers just hadn’t hit yet. To even do it right, you had to invest in insanely expensive graphics cards like the NVidia GTX Titan X, which retailed at over $1k.
The technology has finally come along to support this bump in resolution and properly give it to the masses: Microsoft announced the Xbox One X, which has 12 GB of VRam (same as the Titan X) and more processing power than any gaming machine on the market. They’re all in on 4K gaming. In the PC world, NVidia has released an “affordable” option for 4K gaming: the GTX 1080ti, which boasts framerates similar to the Titan X. Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro may not be as powerful as the Xbox One X, but it’s still boasting 4K and increased frame rates as well.
It took a long time. (Editor’s Note: I’ve had my 4K TV for 3 years now.) But it seems, at long last, we’re ready to game past 1080ppi. To some, this may be just a “meh” reaction to the hopes of new technology greater than a resolution we’ve supposedly had for a while. But for some, it’s a sigh of relief that our investment in a high-definition television or monitor is sound.
That’s all for day one! Tomorrow, we’re going to try out some of the new gaming hardware, as well as some hands on of Destiny 2, Mario Odyssey, and the new PSVR titles. Check in as we update regularly on our Facebook Live feed!
As the E3 Expo approaches and the doors prepare to open to the industry (and lucky members of the general public), there has been a lot of hype over what will be shown at this year’s show. Will it be a new launch title that is the talk of the show, or new hardware? A new peripheral that you have to own? What will drive the industry in the coming days? We will find out very soon.
In the meantime, we have learned quite a bit about some of the games that will be showcased at the expo. Developers have been eager to show off launch trailers for their newest products, and several games have already been shown to the world before the show.
We thought this would be a great opportunity to share of the most exciting titles at the expo to prepare you for our week of coverage. So here are some titles you’ll want to keep your eyes on in the coming days!
SEA OF THIEVES (Xbox/PC)
Remember Rare, the company behind such Nintendo hits at Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye, and more infamously Conquer’s Bad Fur Day? It appears the developers are now on team Microsoft and are developing a game that will make every annoying emo kid in your class’s dreams come true: a full blown, cartoon style “pirate simulator” called “Sea of Thieves.”
Now keep in mind, this isn’t like “Somalia: The Simulator.” This isn’t a dark, seedy underbelly of pirating. This is colorful, full of buried treasure, and protected by pirate skeletons who rise from the sand to attack. You can even fire yourself out of your ship’s cannon toward islands you find, and of course it’s multiplayer so you and your friends can go on adventures out at the high sea together. It’s truly a sandbox of pirate adventures, no pun intended.
STATE OF DECAY 2 (Xbox/PC)
State of Decay was a small-time hit, mostly due to its small budget and the studio responsible for it being of similar size (that is, small.) But the idea resonated with lots of gamers: not only do you survive hordes of zombies, but you also are responsible for foraging in a post-apocalyptic landscape for food and gear. State of Decay 2 intends to take this even further: in the sequel, with much better funding and a bigger team behind it, you will be able to not only build a base to survive, but grow that base. This includes growing food, finding supplies, making sure your fellow survivors are comfortable, and so on. It’s not just a fun romp in an open environment: it’s a constant test of survival in an open and unforgiving world. Leaving your refuge means putting yourself and your team in danger. Why wouldn’t you want a zombie game that focuses on the horrors of the world around you and not just the creatures trying to eat your face?
FINAL FANTASY 7 REMAKE (PS4)
Once upon a time (that time being 1997) Squaresoft was a relatively small game developer who had only really had success in the Japanese markets. They developed some of the most legendary RPGs known, including Chrono Trigger, Mario RPG, and Final Fantasy. This genre is commonly known as JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games). They focus on stories, character building, and cinematics to tell a complex tale. For many of us, Final Fantasy VII was the first delving into a fully developed JRPG. And it was a great example of the genre, too.
Squaresoft clearly has fond memories of the game, as well. That’s why they were inspired to re-make the classic. It will have a new battle system, fully upgraded graphics, new voice acting and cut scenes… and, apparently, will still stay true to the original source material. This may be a heck of an accomplishment, so we’ll see how successful they are!
Sadly, the game is released in episodic content. So let’s cross our fingers that Square has enough motivation to finish what they’ve begun, or just leave a half-completed series to the fans after they get bored of their nostalgia product. High hopes!
Spiderman as an IP has been very problematic: Marvel studios has to fight to have their own character in their films because Sony owns the rights to our favorite web slinger. This is why Spiderman games, movies, etc. seem particularly special: you know there was an epic legal briefing before each release.
The new Spiderman game for Playstation 4 is going to try and capture all the most thrilling elements to the web slinger’s experience: from climbing walls, to shooting webs and flying across NYC. From fighting enemies on the ground to jumping from car to car and properly ejected the bad guys. This game looks to incorporate all the best elements from the films and comics, and it will no doubt be a thrill to play!
SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY (Nintendo Switch)
Super Mario Brothers. Possibly the most recognized video game IP of all time, and one that has evolved dramatically throughout the years. From the first 2D side scroller for NES to Mario’s first fully 3D romp in Super Mario 64, we have seen the platform genre grow substantially under this Italian plumber. Now that Nintendo has released their new console, the Switch, they are ready to take the Mario franchise a step further. What will this include? Ridiculously populated worlds, for one: the mushroom kingdom is mostly gone, and instead you are thrown into the “real world.” And the real world is FULL of residences and enemies alike. Also, the draw distance is much better: entire towns are rendered right before your eyes. It gives you a limitless sense of possibilities, which is great when your main character is a knack for high jumps!
How will it take advantage of the Switch hardware? It will be portable, for one (as Switch has advertised for a lot of its titles.) It also will have multiplayer, which is a dream come true since being hinted at as early as the rumored Mario 64 2 was fabled to have it. Imagine, not only being able to play with friends online at home, but also being able to grab your Switch and take it to that friend’s house. It’s a true testament to what Nintendo has going with the hardware.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 (MULTI)
The wild west of Grand Theft Auto, the original is largely considered the greatest western game of all time. And how could it have gone wrong? Take the Grand Theft Auto engine and replace cars with horses, cities with vast wilderness, and small towns with lots of problems. The story, a tale of a lawman put under pressure from the vast federal government, is a time piece as riveting as it is entertaining.
Now, with the new Red Dead Redemption title around the corner, it gives us all sorts of new questions to ponder: where will the story go? Will there be more than simple graphic upgrades? How open will the world be, and how many towns will it cover? Technology has gone a long way since the original, and we’re all interested in seeing what they’re able to do to make the old west more appropriate for modern gaming. How ironic!
GOD OF WAR (PS4)
Sony’s classic franchise, “God of War”, follows the Greek god of war Kratos as he fights like hell to secure his place in the heavenly realms. The previous titles were quite epic, to say the least: one boss fight is Zeus himself shunning you from the heavens to the underworld. You often fight enemies several feet tall, and they’re all from Greek mythology. It’s a true Oddessy, in every sense of the word.
The new God of War will take advantage of the Playstation 4 HD’s hardware, which is to say it will have 4K capability. We imagine the draw scale for these epic moments that define the series will lend itself to some truly jaw-dropping moments. Kratos’s battles will be larger than ever, and it finally has the processing power to make it happen!
STAR WARS: BATTLE FRONT 2 (MULTI)
The title on everyone’s mind, the latest Star Wars title from fabled studio DICE. It seems not that long ago that the original reboot for the Battlefront series had come out, and to be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment. It was devoid of levels, characters, blasters, vehicles, etc. Even by the end of the season pass players found themselves with only token gestures to improve the core gameplay. Many felt cheated.
The new Battlefront looks to be a huge improvement for many reasons: it includes many more “heros” to play as, including ones from the prequel trilogy. You can finally duke it out with Darth Maul, or fight against a clone army battle. The vehicle collection has been vastly expanded upon, and it becomes much more critical for ground fighters to check the skies for threats.
But the most talked about element has to be the single player campaign, which was missing from the original Battlefront series. Without a story mode to round out the online combat, the original was missing a huge piece to the Star Wars puzzle: a great narrative that fans could enjoy. Finally, we are given that: a tale of a female Imperial officer who leads troops against the rebellion. Will she stay, or will she find that the Rebel’s cause is just? It’s sure to be a groundbreaking experience, and one that is long overdue.
That’s all for now. Our coverage of the show starts tomorrow at noon, so tune in right here on Crimson Media Entertainment for on-the-floor broadcasts of this year’s biggest gaming show!
KAITLYN GOLD. When you hear this name, the first thing that should strike you is the boldness of the gold standard it implies.
And yes, Kaitlyn and her band “The Orphan Age” have a golden line-up of talent. From the steady drumming of Zak Nash (played nicely in the pocket along with bass player Jordon Lawson) to the groovy lead riffs of guitarist Aaron Cruz, the group is a solid act. There is no weak link to the group, and thus the gold standard is already established.
But this act is fronted by a leading lady with a hell of a voice. Once her lyrics set in, another truth becomes clear: the real gold comes from the content of singer Kaitlyn Gold’s heart and character. It’s a cumulative effect with the rest of the group, but there is no missing her artist director of the project.
It’s all in her timbre of singing and the darkness in her lyrics that sets this group apart. Kaitlyn’s voice, soothing and low, expresses a mourning that clearly stems straight from the depths of her soul. Each word, a story in its own, tells a larger tale of heartbreak and solitude. The podcast interview was very telling into the motives of her lyrics, a place of darkness and beauty. (Editor’s Note: Interview is below.)
But for this band, it’s not all bleak: the dark tone is a thing of beauty, a sparkle of light that shines in the blackest of situations. Even when their songs seem hopeless, hope still shines. Her single, “Buried Alive”, is a perfect symbol of all that the band does right. It’s sad, yet upbeat. It’s catchy, yet honest and real. Every word of it feels carefully placed, vivid and impossible not to let capture your mind’s eye.
What you realize in listening to this dark yet energetic act is that there is more than meets the eye. Inside this grim tale is a silver lining, a diamond in that coal. Or, in this case, a glitter the dark that turned to gold.
Watch the exclusive interview and performance with Kaitlyn and her band below.
Last week on Crimson Media Radio (May 28th, 2017) Sleeve had the pleasure of speaking with Jimmy Trigger of the Triggerman Podcast. Jimmy has fronted several bands such as “We Are The Riot” and is working on a new project, “A Trigger Within.” A fellow podcaster and musician, he seemed an obvious choice as a guest for our program.
We highly recommend checking out his show. Here are a few reasons why:
Jimmy’s podcast, “The Triggerman Podcast” is different in it’s format than this one: Jimmy talks to several people from various walks of life in order to delve into topics that interest him. This may include music, sure. But the guests have ranged from ex-pastors to fetish porn stars. His goal, as stated, is to learn as much about life as he can during his short time here. And if he can document most of it before he’s gone, more power!
This summer, Jimmy will be hitting the road with his girlfriend, Ashley Costello (New Years Day), to cover Warped Tour and promote his new band. His podcast will be aired from the road, which makes it a truly excellent place to get updates on what summer’s hottest festival. Plus, there’s never a dull moment on this show anyway. We highly recommend it.
To learn more about the Triggerman Podcast and Jimmy’s current projects, check out the full interview below:
Yesterday in the “Twittersphere,” noted intellectual Sam Harris tweeted some distressing news:
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) May 8, 2017
What does this ominous tweet mean, exactly? Those of you familiar with Amazon are probably also familiar with their ads on some of your favorite blogs or websites. Amazon uses what are known as “cookies” to remember items you’ve shopped for before, and then when you visit a website that has the Amazon ad bar it will populate some of the items you’ve been looking at. This is called “affirmation” in the marketing biz: reminding you constantly about the things you’ve contemplated buying, thus re-affirming it’s importance in your mind. Creepy, right?
Anyway, the point is that the “Amazon Affiliate Program” is how the company finds websites to advertise on. If you’ve ever clicked on a product featured on your favorite podcast’s website, that click leads to a small amount of money paid to the content creator who put up the ad. This is how a lot of content creators stay in business: they use affiliate programs with shopping sites to make small amounts of money that add up. This is what fuels the business, in a lot of ways.
There are several ways to “monetize” (AKA start making revenue on) your content as a YouTuber, Blogger, or Podcaster. YouTube has a monetization feature which pays you for every “engagement” with an ad (an engagement being a certain amount of time the viewer watches an ad rather than clicking passed it.) Several companies also advertise on podcasts through “plugs”, where the host mentions a product on their show and if the listener enters the show’s promotional code upon purchase the show gets a cut of the sale.
Let’s also not forget all the advertising and sharing required to successfully promote your product on social media. There is a vast network of monetization on the web, if you know where to find it.
This all sounds great, right? A real future on the web for people who are creative and ready to make as much content as they can and make some decent money in the process, it seems. So is there any problem?
This is where Sam Harris’ tweet comes into play: let’s not forget for a second that while these platforms are creator driven, they’re also owned by large companies who can shut you down for almost no reason at all.
Lately, several streams of monetization have dried up because of arbitrary reasoning, reasoning of which the companies have been having trouble explaining themselves. It doesn’t seem to be connected to hateful or abusive content: Sam Harris’ podcast is mostly about intellectual topics like religion, philosophy, and neuroscience. Yet Amazon deemed it not worthy of being an affiliate with.
Roaming Millennial, another popular YouTuber, has made several videos about a variety of cultural and political topics. Her channel is hardly what anyone would consider offensive. Yet many of her videos have been demonetized completely, and there doesn’t seem to be consistent reasoning why YouTube deemed her content not worthy of advertisers.
Let’s take another, slightly more offensive example. Steven Crowder runs the “Louder with Crowder” podcast and his show covers several controversial subjects in the news. Crowder has not been one to shy away from politically incorrect topics like gender fluidity and the ridiculousness of the modern college campus (please, Steven, tell us how you really feel.) Yet the topic that got several of his show’s episodes demonetized was a criticism of another YouTube “news show” (term used loosely), “The Young Turks.” Crowder even claimed YouTube was showing favoritism toward The Young Turks, demonetizing its critics and boosting TYT videos to the front page even when they were consistently down voted.
But why, one might ask? What incredulous and unprovoked blow to decency’s face did they blow that warranted a financial slap on the wrist? The point originally was to make advertisers happy: some premium brands weren’t happy to find out their commercials were played along videos that praised the holocaust or broadcasted klan rallies. So they intervened in the process, asking that YouTube be more selective. This has most certainly happened on various platforms, including Amazon, where advertisers are concerned for their brand’s reputable name. It’s almost understandable, except for the sad fact that the red line they draw in the sand isn’t clear at all. The list of community standards grows every day, and sometimes companies impose nonexistent ones just because they can. All to make those darn soda companies happy.
The point is, it’s becoming hard to know exactly what it is that will make these large companies suddenly unplug your cash flow: is it a criticism of other cultures or barbaric religious practices, as is the case with Sam Harris? Is it an insensitivity toward delicate issues by speaking about them frankly, as is the case with Roaming Millennial? Or is it that your show might even threaten the preferred champion of the platform, as it is with Louder with Crowder? These ponderings all lead to two very uncomfortable questions: is the only way to make money through affiliate programs or monetized videos by playing the game their way? And, if so, how will that affect the creative spirit of the community when they learn that they can’t express themselves freely?
These are serious questions that need to be addressed soon if the platforms want long-term health. Though the advertisers do help pay the bills, they wouldn’t have anything to advertise on if it weren’t for the content creators. If they start losing touch with the fact that these platforms are created by the users, they’ll be playing those soda commercials to an audience of none. But at least those people will have the right opinions. Right?
There isn’t a good answer to avoiding this from happening to you right now. All you can really do at the end of the day is be authentically you, and not let the threat of autocratic shutdown spoil your creative spirit. If you are saying something important, people will support you. It doesn’t have to be through ads or affiliate programs: Steven Crowder started what’s called the “Mug Club” to bypass demonetization issues, where users can pay an annual fee for daily content and get a sweet coffee mug in the process!
Indeed, it seems premium content is the future when it comes to keeping your revenue lines safe. Without it, you could just get your money cut off for no clear reason, and then you’re left with nothing! So when starting off in your creative career, try to have a long term strategy that involves a subscription based system.
Most importantly, create without fear! You run the show, not YouTube or Amazon. If these companies feel they need to impose an arbitrary purity test to their revenue streams, they may find out that there are a whole lot of people who don’t conform perfectly to their standards. Nor do they need to be: we’re not all drones in a Seattle warehouse. We’re humans, imperfect and occasionally brash. Don’t tame yourself for fear of retribution. Do you, whoever that is, to its fullest potential.
A question received here at Crimson Media often is the following: how do you do a great live broadcast? After all, the modern marketing world revolves around web streaming now. People are moving on to the web in record numbers, and so are brands and bands a like. With Facebook currently sitting at (insert number) the users are there, and a lot of them would most likely love to hear your music and watch your videos.
At Crimson Media Entertainment we have had a DIY attitude about learning how to broadcast. In the beginning, we didn’t know anything about webcasting, video capture software, or audio setups for live casts. But after several months of practice and research, a format became clear. You just need the right software and a bit of hardware to go live.
Today we decided to share a bit of wisdom to help you understand some of the basics of broadcasting on the web. Hopefully, you’ll have a better idea of how to get started and, as mentioned, DIY!
Let’s get started:
1. Capture Softeware: The first thing you’re going to need is capture software, because without it you’ll never be able to have a medium to get your data live. This is a bit different from Facebook live, which relies on your phone’s camera and microphone as a capture devices. However, you can do a lot better with software from Ustream or Livestream, two companies that offer software to both broadcast live and switch between video and audio capture devices. So if you’re pulling up videos or tracks, it will be as seamless as clicking on the video you want to play and having it take up the broadcast. In Facebook Live, this is much more difficult. So try out Ustream if you want Mac/PC or Livestream if you’re a PC user, and try their free demos. They are definitely worth learning about.
2: Upload Speeds: Broadcasting requires a lot of upload bandwidth. A lot of people find this out the hard way, because they try to broadcast and then their stream gets dropped in the middle. It’s a nightmare for the live streamer. What we recommend you do before you ever do you first broadcast is, test your internet speed. The link there will let you test your web speed. But keep in mind that while your download speed is important, your upload speed is what defines the quality of your broadcast. Most people have really bad upload speeds. Ours used to be 1.09mbps. To do even low-quality broadcasts, you need at least a solid 2.5mbps. And if you want to do 1080pi resolution, you’ll need upward of 6-7mbps. You absolutely must test your internet speeds before broadcast, and if it’s too low you need to contact your web provider and ask them what the fastest upload speed they offer is.
3. Capture Devices: In layman’ terms, capture devices are the cameras and microphones you use to do your broadcast. In capture software, each device is represented as a box in the interface. When you click on it, it goes live. For a visual, see the below image:
Also, when you set up capture devices to each of the cameras you also need to select an audio source. On Ustream, you can set up audio devices for each camera and usually you can centralize all the audio sources on a single audio capture device. For example, any audio interface that connects to your computer with a USB/Thunderbolt cable. It will read as a potential capture device, and you can connect several microphones into it at once. All your guests, instruments, and any other source of audio you need.
4. Buy a Channel: You can’t simply upload to your Facebook page or YouTube channel with programs like Ustream, you need a channel to broadcast through. Usually, it’s a monthly fee for this service. But it’s a great once, because you can broadcast 24/7 and have lots of upload storage for your videos. If you’re a big company, you can even buy plans with multiple channels. If you’re a big company, you can give a channel to all your shows! It’s a great system, and even if you only have one channel it will be a huge resource. Plus, it gives you optimization options for uploading and downloading, so even if your fans don’t have the connection you do the channel will change the broadcast to whatever speed works for their browser.
5. Set Upload Quality: Upload quality is a big issue, because as mentioned your upload speed will vary. If you want HD, it will have to be 6-7mbps. But, you don’t have to HD broadcast. If you want to cap out your Upload trade to a more traditional broadcast quality (720ppi for example.) Be sure to set up your speed on your channel for an appropriate rate, one that your web provider can handle. Also, test out your uploads before you ever broadcast! We cannot stress this enough: if you ever have a live stream, and it goes a down in the middle of a show, you will freak. Hard. Don’t do this untested!
6. Post the Video Player to your Social Media: Make sure you post your channel on every website that follows your page! It’s as easy as copy and pasting it into the wall, and the player becomes available to everyone on your Facebook or Twitter. From there, you can view how many fans are tuning in and even set up live chat features for it!
With this basic guide you should have all the starting blocks needed to get started. Remember, broadcast is an imperfect art. It’s never going to be as good as a recording or a film project. It’s less controlled, but that’s what’s fun about it. It’s like a live concert, shot out to the entire world at the same time. It’s a mirrracle of science!
Have you ever heard the phrase “why would they even go there?” As in, why would someone even think the thought that they though, and then presumably put it on paper. Why do people talk about controversial subjects in art when they know that clearly someone will be hurt in the process?
And here is the crux of the art game: the fact that art, and music by extension, can be dangerous. That the thoughts that occupy your head can actually threaten the safety of someone else. This is not an arguement to go out and offended everyone simply or the sake of. But what it is to say is: don’t feel ashamed of the things you think, and don’t be afraid to express them. There’s always a greatful audience.
Let’s take a look at some historical context. When Chuck Berry first started his rock and roll tour across the United States, it was a much different landscape (notably, a more segregated one.) Chuck had the best sound, no doubt, and people all across the country were in love with the sound. Sadly, they weren’t pleased to find he had a darker complexion than White America was looking for, and so he had to change who he was to play the venues they frequented. (They even had to make posters that lightened up his complexion.) His very existence threatened theirs, because he was a talented musician who put their own country stars to shame with hits like Maybalene.
Should Chuck Berry had stopped playing simply because he threatened certain audiences?
Let’s look at a more recent example: in 1997, Senator Joe Lieberman called rock and roll sensation Marilyn Manson “the sickest group to ever be put out by a mainstream record company.” There isn’t a lot of need for context about what exactly he meant by this: he was saying they are too sick to even be allowed to publish their music. Think of the children!
And in the now, there are several groups (musicians and otherwise) who are considered too “triggering” for college campuses. Entire op-eds are written about what artists really mean when they write controversial songs. If it doesn’t fit society’s narrative, it’s considered dangerous. It’s considered hate speech, in some cases. Even journalists who have no political dog in the fight are labeled as hate speech based on what topics they decide to pursue. That’s nothing to say of the many performers who can’t go to college campuses because they “threaten the safety” of the community.
Art has, and never will be, safe. Art is there to challenge, to provoke, and to inspire. If you are pissing people off with your version of the truth, it’s probably at the very, VERY least a very interesting point of view. This is not a call to needlessly offend, but instead a call to remain pure in your artistic integrity even in the face of adversity. If you started tone-policing yourself, how can you ever be true in your dealings?
Tone policing is the death of good art. For the sake of good music everywhere, let people indulge in what’s true to them. Let’s not paint artists as moral criminals. After all, it’s just art. Ideas are only as powerful as you let them become.
In last week’s episode of Crimson Media Radio, we discovered that Patrick Carrico’s drummer was leaving the group to hunt ghosts. This is a noble aspiration, chasing out the supernatural. But hell, it’s nothing we’d be able to bring ourselves to do it. Sleeve may be a Halloween buff and horror maze aficionado, but faced with a real ghost he may scream and run in a rather embarrassing manner.
Fortunately, there are other heroic ghost busters in our midst: a group of upbeat ska fanatics from Rancho Cucamonga called The Short Necked Giraffes. They have strapped on their suits (and ghost blasters) and are ready to make the neighborhood a safer place. Who ya gunna call? Short Necked Giraffes!
Check out their amazing music video for Ghostbusters’ theme song below. It’s a real scream. (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.)
This week on Crimson Media Radio (which, if you haven’t added on Facebook, what is wrong with you?) we finally had the bandwidth to do our first fully live event from the studio. We used this opportunity to play all the music that has been submitted to us, and also to go over topics we’ve discussed and skits we’ve played in the past. If you’re new to Crimson Media and are wondering what it’s all about, we highly suggest watching the recap so you can get a sense of what the show is all about.
All our future episodes will be live as well, so stay tuned for future live episodes of the podcast. The guests featured on this month’s podcast are a true testament to the talent of the music world in today’s landscape, so stay tuned for great stuff!
Watch the full episode below:
The genre of pop punk has stood the test of time, stemming from several 90s acts: MXPX, NOFX, The Ataris, Pennywise, and many more were definitive to the high school experience of many (Editor’s Note: Myself included.) The tracks being put out in that era by record labels like Epitaph and Drive Thru Records were fueling huge summer festivals like Warped Tour. The genre was perfect for the youthful, the passionate, the hopelessly romantic. That was perfectly represented in many’s high school experience.
And yet many grew up to still love and embrace the genre well into adulthood. It was a great mystery how that genre could have the staying power that it does, one that seems to be made up by youthful optimism.
Then you put on From Zero 2 Hero and you remember all the reasons that you loved the aforementioned bands to begin with. You instantly smell the shredded grass and overpriced hot dogs of Warped Tour spilling through the speakers of your choice as you progress through each track of their debut album, “Heroic Tendencies.” With its catchy guitar licks, solid drumming, and a vocal delivery that has gone far and beyond the norms of the genre, that sense of nostalgia takes you back to those teenage years. You start to wonder: “why did I ever give that up?”
We gave the entire album a listen, and it’s not just good: it’s god damn great. There isn’t a track that feels like filler, it all completely the experience. A heroic experience, one that doesn’t stick to one formula. The one-two beats of the drums that defines the genre’s groove is there, but so are the hardcore double kicks and the precise placement of the cymbal hits. The bass doesn’t deviate from this rhythm section, it drives the tracks and gives the guitars the freedom to wail.
And wail they do: the tracks are driven by a very exciting guitar section, one that isn’t afraid to break it down or shred it up. For the live show art, it is a crucial set-up to excite the crowd. What’s surprising is how well it translates to a record. You really get the sense that you’re in the middle of the Chain Reaction in downtown Anaheim. It’s an in-the-pit feel, loud and brash. The backing vocals of “Dragonface” Clay are reminiscent of bands like Autumn to Ashes and Atreyu. And when you combine his rhythm section with the energetic leads of Ruben Crash, you get the blend of sounds that makes this punk blend work.
Of course, we need a vocal and lyrical section that is relatable and dynamic. This is where lead singer Enzo Fuentes shines: this guy screams, he sings, and if you have the pleasure of seeing them live he does all of this while jumping around the stage with insane amounts of energy. The concept of Zero 2 Hero is most closely captured in his words: the lyrics embody empowerment, and overcoming all odds to save the day. The subject matter, from failed relationships to betrayal, is belted to perfection.
It’s a rare kind of album that combines the extremes of melodic and screamo so liberally, and yet retain its own feel without compromising it’s virtues. You can’t deny the energy, the feel, the message, and the sound. From the chugging main riff of the title track “Heroic Tendencies” to the circle pit energy of “Villain” you never lose the driving ideas and feelings of the group. When it finally wraps up with the final acoustic ballad, you have been on a certified journey back to the 1990’s. The hard part, it seems, is coming back from that golden era back to real life when the record is over.
It’s a rare thing to have this blast-to-the-past feel in music, one that doesn’t feel cheesy, forced, or manipulative. This isn’t a cheesy “I Heart the Punk 90’s.” This is a full blown time capsule straight to the best parts of the genre, from the late 20th / early 21st century and on. You suddenly remember bands like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, and Silverstein. You remember the how cool it was the hear harmonized guitars and a drum beat for a mosh pit. It’s hard to find this in the now, at least done as well as is done in “Heroic Tendencies.” To that end, it is an important listen in 2017. It proves the genre still has staying power. Let’s hope they have much more material to keep it field for years to come!
Their debut album, “Heroic Tendencies,” will be available from Awfully Good Records on April 20th. It can be purchased on iTunes, and you can pre-order it now. Having heard the whole thing, we can say with confidence that if you have any interest in pop punk at any point in your life, then you will most certainly be thrilled with the contents of the record.If you’d like a preview of the album, here’s a great video to get your started. Check out their debut video “Villain.”