My Friend Of Insomnia 

I can’t sleep. It’s almost 2 in the morning and my eyes are wide open. Unfortunately, this isn’t something new. I find myself struggling with the awkward, stubborn Insomnia more than usual. I probably should go to sleep, lay in bed and give into the cliché of counting sheep, or listen to my Ipod or read. Reading always puts me to sleep, but I haven’t been in a reading mood in a while.

I’m just sitting here.

My dark red chair feels comfy at this time in the morning, more comfy than usual. I find myself sitting in it, listening to HIM’s cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper” and searching for a picture for the next project I have in art class. Coincidentally, I’ve chosen a picture of HIM lead, Ville Valo. I thought I would stand out as far as pictures went, not to mention that the picture is beautiful. But that is for another day…

I feel like my mind is easily wandering this morning, more than any other time it wanders. I’m thinking about an array of different things at once. A doctor’s appointment I have today at 3 o’clock this afternoon and a paper for my Senior Seminar class due tomorrow (Friday). It’s almost finished, and my plans of completing it today just didn’t happen. I should work on it now, but I’m not in the right frame of mind to write something for school. I honestly can’t think of school right now, it’s just not what’s important at this time of the morning. In another 6 hours of course, but not now. What’s important now, is that I’m gently swooning to the ever-changing music on my Dell. Right now being “Mute” by Blaqk Audio, in 3 minutes or more being something else. My inability to listen to one song for too long has set in. It’s now “Warmness On The Soul” by Avenged Sevenfold. Strangely, this song is longer than the last, but it’s definitely more soothing. I think that in the battle of techno-electronica beats and pianos/old-school breakdowns, the latter is always the unlikely champion. Especially at this time of morning.

I’ve listened to the same song 3 times already, trying to convince myself to go to sleep. Give into the skillfully played piano, old-school sounding guitar solo and strange beauty of M. Shadows’s voice in the early days of their career. I’m pretty sure the play count has been upped to about seven or eight by now. Okay, the play count is probably higher, but I’m honestly not counting.

Before I descending into my room (literally), I was watching the shows Man vs. Wild and Monsters Inside Me. The episode of Monsters was a case of déjà vu from the beginning of the school year because it was the exact same episode I’d seen the first time I watched it. I watched it anyway, and it still creeped me out. The thought of a parasite living inside someone is disgustingly stomach-churning. I hadn’t seen the episode of Wild, although I think my dad did. Not too sure. I love how in the beginning of the show it’s Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls. Curious to see if Bear was actually his name, I looked it up. No. Bear isn’t his real name. His name is actually Edward. That would’ve been pretty interesting if Bear was indeed his real name.

“Warmness On The Soul” passed by faster than it did all the other times it played, and I’m missing it. I could play it, but I’m too lazy. And tired. I’m feeling myself give into the sleepiness that I didn’t think I had in me, or maybe it’s because HIM is playing again. I find the latter to be the unlikely cause and the tiredness the more likely. It would make sense if I got some sleep. I would be able to focus and my mind wouldn’t be yelling at me every time I try to close my eyes. It would make a lot of sense if I got some sleep.

Right now, at nearly 4 o’clock in the morning on this Thursday, I’m listening to “Razorblade Kiss” by HIM and strongly considering going to bed. I might just let my mind wander, taking in Ville’s amazing voice, thinking too many thoughts.

I’m still sitting in my dark red chair, going on my second listening of “Razorblade Kiss”, regretting that I’m actually on my second listen. I know I’ll regret it a couple hours from now, but at least I can say that it was Ville’s voice that helped put me to sleep.

Insomnia is like chain-smoking. It doesn’t benefit you.

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The Intensity Of A Side-Project Or Two

Whether people like it or not, music is ever-changing. Nowadays, it’s not the same as it was when the band(s) first started. Bands are changing. They’re taking risks, taking chances. Experimenting with sounds that are out of their comfort zones.

Two good examples of this, in my opinion, are AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget in the side-project Blaqk Audio, and Aiden’s frontman Wil Francis with his solo project, William Control.

Blaqk Audio’s sound is just amazing. I know I probably use the word ‘amazing’ a lot when I’m talking about music, but this truly is. The synths that were ever-so-present on AFI’s record Decemberunderground, take center stage on Blaqk’s debut CexCells, an electronic-rock tour de force. Despite the fact that the music is in a totally different direction than what AFI fans are used to, the lyrics are still incredible. The lyrics that are wrapped around every song aren’t the AFI poetry one would usually look to; they’re so much more than that. It’s a side of Havok and Puget that you’ve never seen until now.

Once again, I’ll be totally honest, I didn’t know about Blaqk Audio until I read the article in October’s issue of Revolver. The same article that made me excited for Crash Love. I’d heard the song “Stiff Kittens” once, but honestly never knew who it was. After listening to all of CexCells, I fell in love. My favorites are “Stiff Kittens”, “Bitter For Sweet”, “Cities Of Night”, “Where Would You Like Them Left?”, and “The Love Letter”. I know that I also say that I fall in love when I listen to music a lot, too, and it’s true. There’s a possibility that I’d been potentially heartbroken if I didn’t have music.I think a little piece of everyone would kind of not be there. Music fills a void, whether you know it or not.

JadeListening to Blaqk Audio, then going back and listening to AFI, or going the other way around, it’s just crazy to think that some musicians are multi-talented. Davey’s vocals sound even more amazing than usual, and Jade shows that he is indeed talented in the synth department. One minute, Davey’s voice can go from seductively deep to high-pitched, which became his trademark in AFI, vocals only he himself can pull off. Yes, I know that most musicians are probably multi-talented, but not many musicians can pull off going into a completely different genre and making something beautiful. It takes some talent to make awesome music in one genre, go off into another for a little bit, and emerge with something unique and refreshing. In my opinion, Davey and Jade have that kind of talent. It takes guts to take risks, especially in music, and they’re not afraid to do just that.

It seems like most people are quick to compare Wil Francis’s solo project, William Control, to Blaqk Audio without hesitation. While they may be similar in some ways, they’re not at all the same. Sure, there might be some inspiration with the synths and electronica-like beats, but his debut, Hate Culture, has something about it that’s more brutal and intense.

William ControlThe lyrics Aiden are famous for are taken on by a whole new narrative. Granted, it’s still Francis singing, but it seems like an entire new entity. Every song just seems to be enveloped in contempt, violence, and suggestiveness, while still dripping with trademark raw, severe emotion. It’s the Aiden frontman in a whole new light, one that people may love or hate.

I had no idea about William Control until I read an article about Aiden and their newest release Knives, in the August issue of Revolver. In the beginning of the article, it’d mentioned what it was like for the frontman to record vocals for Hate Culture, and how it compared to recording them for Knives. When listening to the vocals on Knives and then hearing Francis’s voice on Hate Culture, it’s pretty crystal clear that his voice sounds different. Nothing in the extreme category, but noticeably having a deeper edge. An edge that’s all his own, an edge he definitely uses to his advantage.

For me, it didn’t take very long to like, and eventually (for the millionth time!) fall in love with William Control. I’d first seen the video for “Beautiful Loser” on a link from Aiden’s website, and found myself surprised and speechless. In a good way. After listening to all of that Hate Culture had to offer, I found myself developing favorites. Among these are, “Beautiful Loser”, “Razor’s Edge”, “Cemetery”, Strangers” and “Tranquilize”.

Like Davey Havok and Jade Puget in Blaqk Audio, Wil Francis is definitely multi-talented. Anyone who can go from being in a band that takes chances, potentially loses fans because of it, and then goes into a different genre than what they’re used to, while being able to make it all their own is multi-talented in my book. It also doesn’t hurt that he can play a mean guitar. That can never hurt.

It takes a hell of a lot of guts and confidence to take risks and be different. Blaqk Audio and William Control do exactly that.