Category Archives: The Senseless

The Gear Used on ‘The Buried Life’

I get asked about guitar tone occasionally and it’s one of those topics that every metal band has to give an opinion on at some point. I thought I’d cover it here as my setup rarely changes, and I’d go over some thoughts about getting a guitar sound as I suspect mine’s a bit different from most players.

OK, dry technical stuff first. I play a West 6-string guitar. West is a manufacturer in Adelaide, Australia who I had never heard of before and have failed to find again. I replaced the EMG pickups with Seymour Duncans (god knows which ones, this happened nearly 20 years ago). The guitar itself is very heavy in terms of weight, with large fret spacing. The strings are those super-heavy Zakk Wylde ones with nothing smaller than .69 gauge for the E-string (or what is normally the E-string….I tune to A concert pitch). I run into a POD-XT and use the ‘Big Bottom’ tone, and record that into Cubase SX on an old HP laptop from 2007. Soundcard? No idea.

And that’s it.

I look at other guitarist’s setups and they totally mystify me. The have double-tube this and reamp that and mounted racks full of all sorts of shit, and nine times out of ten I can’t hear a difference between them and someone running a basic board into an amp and using their ears. I’m no gear junkie. To me that takes away precious time that can be spent actually playing your instrument and precious money that could be spent recording albums and having a life.

I was wanting specific things from my tone on ‘The Buried Life’. I wanted the power and thickness of Bolt Thrower, enough responsiveness and crunch to be able to play at high speeds without the sound getting lost, that ‘infinite’ sound you get from fast picking without mid frequencies getting in the way (such as the intro to Decide’s “Sacrificial Suicide”), and enough clarity so I didn’t sound like a garage band. The ‘Big Bottom’ tone gave all of that. Normally the tone totally has a gigantic arseload of bottom-end, but I thought of it as handing the mixer a large block of marble for them to chisel the album sound from. It seems to work better letting them reduce the bass to an acceptable level instead of having to insert it at their end.

My setup on ‘The Floating World’ was a bit different. I was using an ESP guitar with EMG pickups and crafted my own tone on the POD-XT. I thought this was the more ‘professional’ thing to do. I was happy with the tone on that album but it felt light and bright and playful, whereas I wanted something thicker and darker with ‘The Buried Life’, hence the change-up.

Here’s the philosophy which guides why I approach my guitar setup like I do:

  • It gives the best sound for the lowest price. You can definitely get a better guitar sound on an album using something other than Line 6 gear, but then you start talking tens of thousands of dollars. What you hear on ‘The Buried Life’ is me bashing away for a under a thousand bucks in my lounge room. The next stop to getting a better sound is grabbing a Colin Richardson, some great expensive gear, and booking studio time. That is a financial abyss to cross and quite frankly, death metal will not pay enough to make that break even
  • No octave guitars or seven strings. People have pointed out that it would be the natural step for me seeing as though I tune to A, but they just have a vastly different sound to them than the 6 string. And I don’t think octave guitars handle speed well. Think of Portal tearing it up on their guitars and what a ruckus that creates. Not all of us can play like Tosin Abasi.
  • The focus is on playing not becoming a gear-obsessive. No gear can hide an unimaginative riff or a poor performance. A good well-practiced musician can make any gear they play on sound unique. Some people are like “spend your time on both practice AND gear”, but I’m a man of many hobbies. Find the gear that gets you 90% of the way there, and stick with it

And here’s some of my tricks for getting a guitar sound. Again, this is all non-technical, and there are plenty of articles from beardy hipster producer types talking specific frequencies and rack mounted analogue tube-driven whatever. Fuck that. Shortcuts!

  • If you use distorted bass, use the same distortion as the guitars. It doubles the overall power immediately, and the bass will still be present in the mix as a separate instrument. I used a cheapo BC Rich on ‘The Buried Life’, using the exact same settings as the guitar. Any time you shadow a riff an octave up it’s like a third guitar comes into play. It also seems to allow melody to shine through even with a horrid ugly thug tone, as opposed to something like Morbid Angel’s “Kingdoms Disdained” where any melody or tone gets eaten up
  • When crafting an album (particularly all by yourself), start with the guitar sound first and work everything else around it. Sometimes you can come up with a great tone and try and integrate it into existing band setups, and the guitar just disappears. Working it the other way around is more successful
  • Perfecting your playing and performance will always beat a subpar performance even with the best tone
  • Some people change strings daily when recording. I’ll use the one set over the space of a month. Nobody needs that much clarity or spankiness.
  • When trying to decide on your tone, jump back and forth between your tone and others. Ears rapidly become used to sounds, and what you come to think of as sharp and powerful may actually be tinny or muddy when compared to other sounds
  • I’ve never experienced success with reamped guitars. I know some people do, but I don’t. It just doesn’t come across as exact or responsive as a performance ‘in-tone’ and doesn’t handle speed. Again, some people swear by it so by all means give it a try, but if you find after a few hours of experimenting that it flat-out sucks in comparison to just going through a POD, rest assured you’re not the only one
  • Have something of an idea what sound you’re after before going hunting for tones. Worst recorded guitars I’ve heard are from guys who used whatever or copied their favourite band, then just left it vaguely in the hands of the mixer. These were guys with guitar and equipment collections, using $10 grand famous mixers.
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What I did in 2016

I’ve had the third Senseless album written since the start of 2015. It was recorded, mixed, and mastered by April 2016. For the three or four of you paying attention, you’ll notice that this album has not been released. I feel that this requires an explanation. In fact, the entire wretched year requires an explanation.

Lets start back in 2015. I was working in Adelaide, South Australia as a mainframe computer operator. We were migrating massive amounts of work from expensive-as-fuck Sydney down to cheap-as-chips Adelaide, and saving huge amounts for our company on labour costs. I was salivating at the idea of what my bonus would be like or indeed being paid any bonus at all. At the very least a pay rise would be coming our way. Among all this corporate goal-kicking I managed to take two weeks out during August to go to the Gold Coast to record my new Senseless album. The plan was to stay with Luke from Berzerker, crash in his flat, mix the album in four days or so, master it in another day, and go visit my parents who live only three hours drive away.

It was a good plan. Naturally, things didn’t work out. I had recorded everything except the vocals and demoed everything up before I arrived. There was one factor I hadn’t accounted for though: Luke was totally over music.He had no interest in it at all. In fact, his experiences with Berzerker were so traumatic that trying to force him to sit in front of his computer to get even the arrangements in place was like trying to put a cat in a bath. He just had too many bad associations with recording music and his body treated the producer chair like the electric chair. After a full week, only three or four songs were mixed.

I went to visit my parents, and cut that short to return to the Gold Coast and try and finish things off. Same problems happened though and when I left the album still wasn’t mixed. Even worse, some mysterious random things had happened to the existing tracks and fucked up their arrangements. I left five pages of mixing notes and headed back to Adelaide.

Come the start of 2016, there was still no album and I let Luke go as a producer. Soon after that, work notified us that there to be no pay rises or bonuses that year. I was like, fuck everything. I had no idea who to use as a mixer for my album or what to do about work. This was the fourth year in a row that pay rises and bonuses had been either minimal or cancelled. Additionally because of the new workload we had brought onboard, taking holidays was banned indefinitely. I decided to right at least one wrong and return to my parents to give them a proper visit. I figured that if someone got pissed about me taking a holiday, I could at least fly back in a few hours or so. I also arranged to end my trip in Melbourne, catching up with my old friends and going to White Night, an all-nighter citywide event of arts and festivity.

Things kind of came together pretty quick in February. I spoke to Leon from Mithras to see if he was interested in doing the album mixing (he did The Floating World, the second Senseless release). He couldn’t, but he recommended an excellent producer who could: an unknown dude called Adam who plays for a Swedish band called Murdryck. I contacted him and he mixed a track to perfection almost overnight. Without any further ado, I hired him and he got straight to work. Around that time, I was also contacted by an Italian metalhead who had just moved to Melbourne and wanted to buy a Berzerker hoodie. I didn’t have a hoodie for sale, but offered to take her to White Night with me and my friends. She accepted.

I went to White Night, had a great time, and got along well with my new Italian friend. I was woken up at 10am the next day by a phone call from another mate who wanted me to go party with him. I jokingly upbraided him for waking me up and demanded he make amends. “Uhhhhhhhh…..want a job?” he replied. He ran an IT support company that was requiring someone to come in, shore up the helpdesk, and help refine procedures. Starting pay would be $5k more than what I was currently earning, to be increased another $10k after 6 months. I totally agreed. In the next few days I went and interviewed formally for the job, then went on a few dates with the Italian girl. When I returned to Adelaide I gave my notice at work, and prepared to move to Melbourne in a month’s time for a new job, new house, and new girlfriend.

The month prep leading up to the move was complicated by one thing: I had to re-record all my vocals for the Senseless album. I ended up doing the majority of them in one whopper seven hour session in a tape room out the back of a data centre, which was the only place I could scream my head off without people calling the police or knocking on the door. My ‘vocal booth’ was as MacGuyvered as it gets: recording on a Shure SM57 mic into a POD XT then a laptop balanced on some cardboard boxes. The mic was wedged into a tape rack and held into place with bubble wrap. By the end of the session I had all the vocals I needed but had traded them for my ability to speak. All the files were sent to Adam in Sweden who started mixing them into the songs.

I arrived on March 31st, moved straight into my flat, started work on April 1st, and had the girlfriend stay that evening. Damn right I was making up for lost time. I discovered that the flat required a bit of work. Despite sending people around to check it out for me at inspection, they had missed bedroom lights and internet sockets not working, shower handles not attached, and the toilet flush broken. I complained to the agency and in true Melbourne Real Estate Agent style, they shrugged and went “good luck fixing it”. In the meantime, Adam started sending me back album mixes which I would download at work, listen to at home, then provide notes on the next day.

The job turned out to be rather crazy. The company was a small outfit that serviced a bunch of customers but also had one great big gorilla of a corporate customer, who paid just over half the revenue but demanded all of our time. It became apparent I had parachuted into a total bushfire. I set to work trying to help out wherever I could. It didn’t take long for work time to start leaking into evenings and a bit of weekends. I worked hard, kept providing my mixing notes for the album, and moved the Italian girlfriend in with me.

A few months into the job and I was getting pretty exhausted. I had transitioned from a relatively easy career with lots of time off to an all-hands-on-deck IT company. Melbourne car traffic had increased exponentially since I had last lived in the town and my commute could sometimes take up to two hours. I became pretty sick a few times including a spectacular occasion where I got an abscess on my ribs. I also was having trouble talking: I had damaged my voice in the seven hour vocal session in March and developed vocal nodules. I saw a throat specialist and after performing an endoscopy he commented “it has been a long time since I’ve seen anything like this”. He recommended speech therapy with the possibility of surgery in the future.

My friend at the company who had hired me was pretty erratic, battling some significant inner demons with KFC and vodka as his sword and shield, and every day it was a dice-roll whether he’d turn up. Additionally, his younger brother who was the company manager was requiring some holiday time. With some preparation, the brother went off on holidays for two weeks. Customers decided to spring their most fiendish requests on us during that absence and it was a fortnight of total shitfighting. We managed to pull through though and against the odds, the company was still standing when the younger brother returned.

Then we had a week that I am going to remember for a long, long time:

On the Monday, I pulled the plug on a data retrieval job gone wrong and put us on the hook for a few thousand dollars.

On the Wednesday, we lost our biggest customer.

On the Friday, my friend – the one who had hired me for the company – died of heart failure.

There is so much more detail to all this – calling absent company workers to let them know what had happened, the heartbreaking grief of the brother, sending everyone home and manning the phones until close of business, watching my mate get buried and crying so hard I could barely drive – but it’s just too much of a bummer. The next month was a process of trying to help keep the company running with my friend gone and his brother grieving. And somewhere in misty centre, the new album was mixed and mastered. I was proud of it, it sounded great, but it wasn’t the time to release a bunch of death metal.

Two months later, there was a company meeting where it was revealed that the money was about to run out. I gave my notice and resigned later that week, right near the end of August. I had plenty of savings, and was looking forward to getting some sleep and finally putting the album out. I put some job feelers out into the marketplace to give it a bit of a tickle – thinking that it would take me at least a month to find work – and astonished myself by landing a job immediately.

Three days later, I was starting work at a cloud computing company. They needed a little bit of documentation done for a new helpdesk they were launching. I was looking forward to some relaxing typing and research but it turned out they had different plans. Within two days of starting I was notified that I was actually the project manager. I was required to create technical service exclusion documents for everything the helpdesk did within two weeks, including crazy shit like Office 365 and Sharepoint migrations, write up all the how-to documents so even simpletons could understand how to do the work, and then create the helpdesk from scratch to go live within a month. In brief, this was a ridiculous amount of work.

I did it, but not without some cost. After a week of working and researching around the clock, I started getting anxious. REALLY anxious. I didn’t have a desk at this place and would bring my own laptop to work on and would try and find a spare surface to sit at, and start the day by nearly blacking out with anxiety. I’d have to focus on breathing for about five minutes just to get started. I’d usually sit in the area of an existing helpdesk where people would have loud arguments each day and occasionally shed a tear. I had been assigned technical assistance for the work but that was a contractor who I had doubts about having done migrations before, and he only stuck around for a few days. The anxiety also had an existential aspect to it. I was realizing that my long-awaited return to Melbourne had happened five years too late. The cost of property and living had risen astronomically, and all I had to look forward to the rest of my life was living in small tiny dogbox apartments, saving scraps. After another week the panic was so bad that I hit up a doctor and got some medication for it.

The goalposts seemed to shift outwards almost on a daily basis. I went from documenting, to project management, to creating a helpdesk, to then getting a bollocking because it hadn’t been fully automated upon inception. The final straw to me was when I asked how soon could we start interviewing people for the helpdesk especially as it ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The company was like, we’re not hiring anyone yet – we want to see how many people actually require this helpdesk first. I was like, well who’s going to take the calls for it then? And they were like, you.

That’s all I needed to hear. I gave my notice, handed them the completed project, integrated it with their existing helpdesk, and left. By then my nodules were so bad I could barely talk. I went to a Halloween party and after twenty minutes of talking in a crowd, no sound would come out of my mouth no matter what. Vocal therapy wasn’t working. Doctors were saying that I’d require surgery to fix the nodules and that I wouldn’t be able to sing again. I forgot about trying to find work and booked some weeks off in Tasmania. I traveled there with the girlfriend. We hired a rental car at Hobart Airport from a dude who used to be part of the whole Norwegian Black Metal scene back in the day. He told us a funny story about getting interviewed by the police long-distance on the phone after Euronymous’ death. We drove to remote places and got caught in blizzards and played Incantation nonstop on the car stereo. I returned to Melbourne and did some contracting work then headed to Europe for December.

I ate pork in Spain. I stayed with my girlfriend’s family in Rome, where they attempted to kill me with love and good food. I stayed in medieval mountaintop towns in Tuscany. I saw Gojira blow everyone off the stage in Bologna. I became sick with flu, traveled to friends in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, and drove through amazing mountain passes. Now I am back in Australia in my dingy little rundown flat. My girlfriend is still in Italy until February. I have no fulltime job. My voice is slowly returning. I have been able to speak again over the last few weeks. And now, finally, it seems like a good time to release the album.

‘The Buried Life’ release date will be March 1st 2017.

*postscript: It’s funny what perspective does to you. This could so easily have been the story instead: I get various friends to do me favours. Then I move back to the city I’ve been moaning about wanting to return to after scoring a nice leaving package from my job. I easily get an apartment in a city where spare rentals are tight, meet a girl worthy of a full article all on her own, then get showered with job opportunities, before spending the last three months of the year holidaying. My family is alive and healthy and well, and I’ve even had a new niece arrive. 

If this year reads like a tragedy, then that tragedy is that I lost the ability to appreciate all of this.

The Senseless ‘The Floating World’ media roundup, April 2012

Sales for the new album: nearing 1/3rd of the way to my required goal for pressing physical CDs (figures not yet received from Amazon). EVERYONE wants CDs, that has definitely been made clear. I hereby commit to pressing them by the end of the year.

Reviews: Metal As Fuck, 1 user review on Amazon
Interviews: Lurker, Uberrock
Media: Mention on SMNnews, ‘Amazing Pain’ played on PlanetMetal 28th feb

In Our Hearts (the floating world)
Walk – unmixed version (the floating world)
The Senseless rehearsal video with Leon Macey and Sam
Vacation (In the Realm of the Senseless)
Happy Ever After (In The Realm of the Senseless)
After Happy Ever (In The Realm of the Senseless)

Buy From: CDBaby, Amazon, I-tunes, facebook

Usual Sites: LastFMmyspace, encyclopaedia metallum, metalstorm

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Thanks list from “In the Realm of the Senseless”

I was just cleaning up my old website today which contains the thankyou list from the first album. I thought I’d better sling it in here, so there’s a record of it somewhere in the universe. Also it’s kinda funny to see the names that crop up, and how sometimes things have changed in the last five years. I’ll be doing another thankyou list for ‘The Floating World’. It will be much shorter.


I have decided to part with tradition and not have the usual massive death-metal thankyou list in the liner notes of my CD. This is for all sorts of reasons. I don’t want a booklet in the CD, just a cover insert with the bare goods in there – should save on printing costs. Besides, I ran out of money buying photos for the artwork. And I’ve always found the whole thanks list thing a bit awkward, like dudes were parading how many names they can drop. I know that’s not the case! – it’s just how it feels sometimes. There’s only one way I reckon I could justify it in my case and that is if I actually explained WHY people are on my thanks list…and by god, mine are there for a bloody good reason!
So, decision’s made – instead of a booklet thanks list, there’s a link pointing to this page. Everyone on the list’s role in the production of this CD is outlined, and you may gather some insight into why bands have so many names to thank in their liner notes. Did they bring beer to the recording? Loan money? Write music? Here’s where you find out.
In no particular order:

Luke Kenny – aka Berzerker… Apart from producing and mixing this, he actually encouraged me to get off my arse and record the CD and push it to the public. People ask if Luke is pissed with me for recording my own CD instead of keeping all my effort to Berzerker. Are you kidding? If I went into all the ways Luke helped me record this stuff, we’d have an essay here. It could all be summed up with a chef metaphor – if Luke’s Gordon Ramsay, then I’m Marcus Wareing. I think only Tony from madman will get that, but anyway.

Marcus Hankey/Grant Cummin – when these flatmates told me years ago “why do you sit around here all day playing guitar? Why don’t you join a band?” they probably had the ulterior motive of getting me to grind elsewhere. In any case, those words were all it took to put me on the long road to here

Russ Russell – the realest man in metal…., Russ mastered the CD. By rights, one would ordinarily have to swim through a sea of caviar, champagne, and minders to even speak to the likes of him. He’s recorded Napalm Death and Dimmu, for god’s sake. On the contrary, when I bumped into him on tour he not only happily agreed to master the CD for me, he invited me around for the mastering and treated me to dinner at the table with him and his awesome family. A gem of a dude.

Manami Shima – it is traditional to thank your girlfriend in the liner notes of the CD. “This CD is called Death By Blood by the Graveshitters, I would like to thank my sweetie pie for her love and support”. But Manami’s contribution is a bit more concrete than that. I never had a name for this project, and when Anticulture offered to licence it, I suddenly needed one. I had no idea what to call it. Manami came up with the name The Senseless, so thank her. Plus she did a top job of keeping my sanity in check leading up to the recording, no small task. Cheers, babe.

Craig – I don’t even know his last name. All I know is I borrowed a guitar off him two years ago which I used for practice for the rerecording and he hasn’t asked for it back yet. I suck

Ol Drake from EVILE – he did the last solo in Promise…the one that actually sounds like a real solo, instead of my unco widdling. I bullied him into it by relentlessly pursuing him online and over the phone, and finally managed to extract the needed solo out of him two days before my plane left for the recording in Australia.

Matt Wilcock – my fellow Berzerkerer. He helped me with the recording of the rhythm guitar tracks back in 2004 by working the desk and offered much helpful advice (“That sounds gay. Learn to solo. There is no place for acoustic parts in metal. You suck” etc). He also performed a tapping part on Crippled Trash when he lost patience with my primitive and feeble efforts at playing the part myself. When it comes to recording, Matt knows the deal. He didn’t even blink when Luke and I called him from Melbourne in a mild panic on the 2nd or 3rd day of recording as he was waking up in London, trying to find out if he still had said rhythm guitar tracks two years later on a hard drive at his parent’s house in Australia. He did, lucky us.

Charles Provost of Anticulture Europe Office and HIM Media  – this is the dude directly responsible for signing the project. I was trying to send some CDs through to french band Happy Face who he managed, and one of them was the demo for this project. Charles got his hands on it, liked it, and before I knew what was happening had Anticulture records offering me a licencing deal. Without Charles it’s a sure thing this recording would not have been released and without his promo push I’d have nowhere near the coverage in Europe I have now

Steev Anticulture – took a chance where all other labels feared to take a chance. A one man powerhouse.

Conor – worked for Earache. He asked me at a show about the project when it had only been available online, and encouraged me to send it through to them. Earache knocked it back but that was enough encouragement for me to keeping sending the demo to all and sundry. I bumped into him online only but a week or two ago and it now seems he is working for Plastichead distribution, so he’ll be looking after all the electronic distribution for the Senseless CD. I’ve offered to set myself on fire if it will help his sales. He’s currently considering the offer.

Leon Macey of Mithras, Zero Tolerance magazine – provided me with a little bit of sample assistance, and much industry and legal advice. For a bloke who runs his own magazine, plays for a famed band, shreds guitar like Azagthoth, and drums over 300bpm, he sure is humble and helpful. And when I was stuck for someone to master a demo so it could make an appearance on a magazine cover last year, Leon came through and ripped me up a mastering job in a matter of days. Legend.

Gareth Holmes – when I left Australia, I left my computer with my buddy Gareth and barely took any backups of the music I’d made with me. Suddenly when I was required to rerecord the album, the shit hit the fan. I trawled through all my backups and found half the drum tracks, half the solos, and half the samples. Gareth has lost count of the amount of times I called or sent a panicked email asking if he could run a full computer search for some random .fla file. He came through with the goods, and even managed to change a few of the file formats to suit my ever-changing purposes. Come to think of it, I pulled him off a holiday to do this, twice.

William McCulloch – so, the recording of the album had nearly finished except for the final track ‘After Happy Ever’. I had got kick samples mailed from Luke. Gareth had found me my missing drum tracks. Now all I had to do was pull a hundred samples off a CD for the cubase song which I had created years back. Only problem, the CD was fucked and there was no way my computer was reading it. Matt Wilcock’s solution would have been, well, the song’s fucking gay anyway, leave it off the CD. My solution was to take the CD to Willy McCulloch for some data recovery. The CD seriously couldn’t have been any more screwed than if I had skatedboarded down the road on top of it. When Willy saw the CD, he winced and went ‘jesus, Sam’, like I’d brought him a jar of herpes. He managed to recover every single file except one.

Rob and Mike from Woodslap – have lent me basses and amps respectively

Jamie Hooper – from Fingercuff productions. He shot and edited the filmclip for Vacation and pulled off our multimillion dollar effects on a £0 budget. He also suffered the indignity of having me reject the first edit of the video, then worked through a bout of tonsilitis to finish it on deadline to my ever shifting satisfaction.

Tom Cordery – my double for the video, a buddy from work. When he heard I was recording a video he was immediately like “Oooh! Can I be in it? Pick me! Pick me!”. I don’t think he seriously thought I would until I called him the day before shooting, demanding that he drive across town to be my body double. As things turned out, couldn’t have done it without him.

Simon – loaned me a red BC rich Warlock guitar for the filmclip. It is occurring to me about now that perhaps I should buy some musical instruments of my own

Caroline Jones – I’d never owned a PC before and one day she just gave me one. Just like that! There is no way any of this stuff would have even made it to demo form if that had never happened. It was a pentium 3 with about 100mb of memory spare, but it was enough to write and record ‘After Happy Ever’ and a bunch of other songs on. I had no interest in computers or plans to buy a PC. Talk about a gift from the gods.

Ryan – drummer for the european Berzerker tour. I was going to buy one of those dumb boss 8 track things with a built-in drum machine cause I was desperate to somehow record my own stuff. Ryan was like, “why don’t you just buy a PC? You can record on those, and do much more than you could ever do with a 8 track”. Quite a seed you planted there, Ryan.

James DaCosta – this guy writes better than almost everyone I know. In year 8 at high school, he spontaneously wrote some piece on my folder. It was the adolescent angst thing done except in a knowing cynical adult voice with more brilliant lines per paragraph than anything I’ve seen anywhere else. I reminded him about it when coming up with lyrics for the album. He said “What?” I quoted a few lines for him and he rewrote a decent version of it for the song ‘Promise’.

Kevin – took all the promo shots, indoors and outdoors, and did a damn fine job. I owe you either money or a website dude, contact me.

Rabi – from Fluidzone. He was the first link in my epic expedition trying to get the covershot for the CD. I had a copy of Riptide magazine from the early 90s with the most brutal wipeout ever on the cover, and I wanted that shot. I didn’t care what it took, and thank god for that cause it took a lot. I didn’t have any contacts for Riptide so I found Rabi’s details online. He looked like someone who knew shit in the Australian bodyboarding industry. I asked him if he had contact details for Riptide. He did and immediately passed them on, no fuss, helpful as could be.

Nick, editor for Riptide magazine – next on my mission to find the photographer. I swarmed him with emails asking for details for Who Shot That Wipeout Picture, and didn’t get a response for months. One month before the artwork deadline (when I was contemplating running down to Bournemouth Beach and taking a photo myself), he replied – and was more helpful than I ever could have hoped. Not only was he able to give me all the details for the photographer who had shot that cover, but he said he had another photographer who had shot a near-identical snap and he gave me those details too. That ended up saving my skin.

John Bilderback – John was the first photographer I chased, and the one who had provided the Riptide cover. Although I didn’t end up using his photo, his correspondence was full of a gracious aloha spirit that – considering he’s a top world-travelling surf photographer – was totally humbling. I couldn’t go with his picture because…

Ted Grambeau – was the alternative photographer Nick Riptide suggested and the one I ended up using. Ted took a while getting back to me, and when I saw the sample of the shot Nick had told me about, my jaw dropped. It was the same surfer, from the same wave, on the same day John had taken HIS photo. Same angle and everything. I analysed the wave – foam was the same on it, little jutting bits of wave were poking out the same. Only the lighting, framing, and the angle of the doomed surfer differ. It must have been snapped like .03 of a second after John took his shot. This is from a day’s surf somewhere in the early 1990’s. I have no idea as to the odds, but they’d be pretty ridiculous.  Ted’s price was lower than John’s so I ended up running with him. The licence for the pic ‘frogman’ just arrived today, and there’s some substance smeared on the envelope. It looks a little like blood. Ted is another travel-the-world surf-photographer-pirate like John, and it was an honour to correspond with both.

Brock Lewin – a mate of mine from Oz who took the peaceful pier shot from the back of the CD. Fortunately this photo did not entail anywhere near the amount of drama getting the covershot did.

James Caygill – well, y’know, I’ve got my design degree, I could have done all the artwork myself. Except I didn’t have the time. That, and James is like a thousand times more talented than myself. He did the layouts for the CD and ran with my images to do up the awesome business cards, stickers, and merch for the project. Dude, the business cards look AWESOME.

Rich – got me my first copies of fruity loops and cubase, tools which I still use to this day

Bill Hicks – this isn’t the bit of the thanks list where I start naming every influence under the sun. I reference the great comedian because I used quotes of his in two sets of the lyrics, You Are Nothing (I quote a couple of lines from his ‘marketing’ speech) and No Bomb Is Big Enough (the ‘freebird’ show where he starts screaming at the audience). Anyone who has ever performed for an audience will relate to some of the things he said to his.

Tony Robbins – while listening to powertalk it suddenly struck me how insane Tony would sound completely taken out of context. I recorded myself screaming a line of his “Nooo! NOOO! EXPRESS HOW YOU REALLY FEEL! LET IT OUT THERE! YEAH, YEAH YEAH!!” and with some studio trickery managed to get it sounding like the giant himself.

Jim Cardiac Arrest and Jesse – two buddies who have been fully supportive of the senseless right from the get-go. If these two dudes were my only audience that would be enough to do another three CDs.

John Flower – my buddy who taught me how to play guitar. Everything you hear on the CD is a reflection of the sense of timing, melody, and rhythm he imparted to me. It’s one of the great injustices of the world that he doesn’t have a CD of his own

Troy’s House of Music, Melbourne – these guys set up both my bass and guitar in A standard tuning and did a brilliant job of it. I didn’t realise what a great job they did until I tried using other people. When technicians hear what I want them to do with my guitar these days they usually look at me like I’ve dragged a dead body into their shop.

Adam Sagir – five years ago we fled the Gorbals in Glasgow, denied both prostitutes and crack. Now you pimp my hot metal to the UK, my English promotions Superfly. Cheers.

Machinochrist – cheers for the brilliant mashup which features on the e-card and website. I can’t believe you did something that awesome in less than three days

That’s it for the thanks. There may be additions to this list.


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The Senseless ‘The Floating World’ lyrics

I am an optimist. It does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
Sir Winston Churchill, 1874-1965


Is a wake-up call
A call to arms
Get on the floor

Caveat Emptor
(We’re) going where no band
Has gone before


In Our Hearts

“You know the thing about chaos? It’s fair.”
The Joker

To move me
All I need is a kick in the ass
And my tongue and my teeth are
To my whims

Hold fire
I propose
A sum of equals greater than our parts
If we’re gone tomorrow
I swear I’ll leave us something
In our hearts


Amazing Pain

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it”
Robin Williams

Amazing pain
How sweet the grind
Destroy a wretch like me
I’ve lost
Everything I ever found
And crawl back to the sea

I have no home anymore
I’ve lost sight of the shore
I do this for me
I do this for me
Brothers, I ask
what will I do for me?

Just another weak man
Trying to learn to be strong
No rhyme or reason
Not in this song
Senseless thoughts
I can’t be right, won’t be wrong
And brothers I ask what I will do for me

Floating on a mile of quiddity
Hands on deck
If I’m washed ashore
I have but one wish
Make it somewhere I ain’t been before

I’m going too fast
Too many voices
I do this for me
Not you
Have I ever
Told you


Death to Metal

Discontent is the first necessity of progress”
Thomas Edison

Let’s kill this party we started
Shrieking as real as a chick in cheap porn
Sweden and Florida should have your fucking royalties
Give them death

Death to metal

Two hundred riffs do not a song make
Watching these stoners live the cliché
I’m praying you dickholes ignore my band
We still blow you pricks away

Death to metal
There’s nothing you can do
There’s nothing you can say
I refuse
These silly games
Broken children
Stupid names

Don’t tell me about your pain
Entertain me, or fuck off
I’d kill and eat our heroes
But I like my meat fresh

Tin roof rusty!

you made the best songs ever
pulled giants from thin air
the underground hurdled by
zeitgeist with mascara and a haircut

these accolades should be yours
the fakes have passed off as their own
the great revolution that never was
now obscurity calls, stigma, and shame


Walk! Not bloody likely, I am going in a taxi”
George Bernard Shaw

Were you there when the world caught fire?
When the smoke and the ash
covered everything we owned

The sky bright red, and the sun bled
With the shirt on my back
And a stereo in my hand
I walked

In a burning rain,
in the ash and pain
I was sure I’d lost everything
Three hours later
with the fire put out and the smoke cleared
Three hours
of freedom like I’d never known
With the shirt on my back
And my feet bare
I walked


Be yourself
Searing, honest
Leading a singular life
We have
Past the mere need to survive
Be bold
Hand in hand with divinity
Laughter, ecstasy
The undraping of mystery

Only seven to go
Dance you Jezebel you
Let them fall

it was love, if love was sin
ten thousand lions scream their praise
I burn with hallelujahs
unto to my absolute last,



A Good Old Fashioned Head-Kicking

In violence we forget who we are”
Mary McCarthy

Seeking the violence
the fire in my gut is persistent
Seeking the violence
my face gives to fists a resistance

Scrub my eyes, strike me blind, whisper anything in my ear
Turn me off like a broken toy
Take my mind, take my soul, drop my body down a hole
Get me out of here

I’m the piece of the puzzle that ain’t right and I’m aiming for the front door
I need to get in a fight and I’m not coming back
Until I
Get my
Ass kicked

He said we’re going to hell
I said it’s the journey not the destination
The only light we see
Is behind the eyes when we get hit
I plan to bash my head against this wall until I see god
I’d feel panic if I could
But I can’t
Guess I’ll settle for manic

I need my ass kicked
I need a lobotomy
I need a hug
But really I need my fucking head kicked

 White Flag

Exit, pursued by a bear”
William Shakespeare (stage direction in “the winter’s tale”)

When the siren sounds
And the doors are closed
Worked into the ground
And its time to go

With a golden watch
With a farewell show
I surrender
Heal my soul

When the siren sounds
And the curtains draw closed
And you know that you’ve travelled
As far as you can go

Sweep away the mandala
Put the bass back in the bag
Embrace the tabula rasa
And raise a white flag

When I’ve finally reached the end
a new horizon
my future shining black is all I see
I will raise the flag of surrender
and rejoice in my victory

Blow me away
my existence
No consolation
You’ll understand
One day to be erased
By god’s hand

all I make
is standing with my back to the sun,
tracing my shadow in the sand

to embrace tomorrow
you got to say goodbye to today
listen closely to the sea
it says the same things I would say
know your reasons
they’re singing inside the back of your head
let them free

All I make
Is standing with my back to the sun
Tracing my shadow in the sand
One day to be erased
By god’s hand


Far From Over

My centre gives way
My right is pushed back
Surrounded by enemies, so I attack
We’re far from over
We’re taking what’s ours
I’m taking the eyes of the first one to blink
I’m taking us all way over the brink
We’re taking over and won’t be
The first ones to fall

The news of my death is exaggerated
You and me are now going nowhere cause
We’re far from over
Forever I’ll be your very own curse
I’m reaching up high to drag you back down
If you think you’re safe I’ll still be around
We’re on a path from which we
Will never return


Let Me Sleep

 “I’m not asleep… but that doesn’t mean I’m awake”
~Author Unknown

I’m tired
I stopped caring years ago
Even rocks look like pillows
Operating on broken code
A screen of alerts
Eyes too dead to read
When I stare in the abyss
I see my alarm clock
Staring back at me

I tried so hard
To swing the fates my way
Cruel morpheus denies me
We got things in common, you might say
Nothing matters
Let me dive beyond my depth
And in the dark, disappear
I’m tired
Let me sleep

I’m tired
I’m so tired
All I need
Is air to breathe

I know that I could
Reach for the stars, and I would
Try, but for some rest
It’s all I need
Time and time and time (and time) again
my peace shattered

my brain
is off the hook
Like a great doctor
I too had a dream
then I woke up
and remembered
I was late for work

This new day’s dawning now
It’s someone else’s day
I’m yawning , I’ve had enough
I’m tired, so tired
Let me sleep

Let me sleep

No more games….no more walking…boring….No fun – for anybody…You are getting greedy. Act your old age. Relax – this won’t hurt


The Floating World

“The best thing in the world is to live above it”

I was thinking about you the other day
I had worked another night, seen another dawn
And I
wanted to say we had some good times
we had some fun
And we thought
these days would last forever

Flavour bursts inside my mouth
I remember the sunny day
the beer was cold, the sun was gold,
the sky was filled with temples
I still remember everything
how I tried so hard to say
even though we had places to go
these days would last forever
The people I’ve met
The places I’ve been
The stuff I’ve done
The things I’ve seen

If time’s one great loop
Not linear, like our senses
then I feel it’s safe to say
these days will last forever

We float here
When you’re here
You’ll float too

Crazy though it seems
I have a peculiar notion
We float above the world
Rotating slow motion
If you hold it in your hand
Will you drop it?
Put down your fist
Come on in, the water’s warm
I’m telling you
We won’t be missed


references: I quote directly or indirectly from the following sources –

B52’s “Love Shack”
The Gorillaz book
Tom Robbins “Skinny Legs and All”
Ferdinand Foch
Mark Twain
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Paul Beatty “The White Boy Shuffle”
Hunter S.Thompson “Football Season Is Over”
Stephen King “IT”

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