Song Dissection #9: Hearts For Bullets

One thing I always tend to do is name a release before I’ve written the title track for it.  I did it with all 3 releases where a word or phrase sticks in my head and I use it for the title of a CD without yet writing the song nor knowing what it will be about or how it will sound.

The phrase “Hearts For Bullets” came to me, and I knew it’s what this CD would be titled.  Origianally, I had these images in my head about war and the trading of hearts for bullets, or what the weight is equivalent to.. hearts vs. bullets, etc. but nothing was really developing out of that thought pattern beyond that.  The awesome thing about this title for the CD though, was that it lead to some incredible design work and cool guns & hearts crests, and logos that became the Ayria look and identity for this release.  It also tied in perfectly with the EP for this release “The Gun Song” which I have still to dissect, but this was a CD filled with guns, violence and love.. and pink!

The song “Hearts For Bullets” became more about some good old fashioned girl hate.  Not directed at anyone in particular, and if anything, a bit self-directed too (only a bit, I’m not that evil), so wrap your brain around THAT!  Have you ever seen a friend fall for someone so hard, and they can’t recognize that the object of their affection is just toying with them, because they know they can.  OR  known a girl (or boy), so angry that they’ve isolated themselves to a point where they have become somewhat of a monster capable of causing others around them that want to love them, to suffer by their actions without caring?  I’m not always inspired to write lyrics based on other music I’ve heard, but in this case, I did find some of my inspiration in a song called “Chinese Burn” by a 90’s band called Curve.  I loved them and would consider them an early influence for sure!  If you’ve never heard of them, please check them out.  The songs I’d recommend:  Crystal, Men Are From Mars, Chinese Burn & Doppleganger just to name only a few from this great band that created a unique style with a pretty wide sonic wall of sound compared to the more upbeat sparser style of my own music. Anyways, I like pimping other great bands, and like the song Chinese Burn, my own song talks about some pretty evil girl traits. Hearts For Bullets focuses on a  girl who will shut you up, demand you bow down, has no remorse, watches you hold your breath for fun, and enjoys seeing your suffering.  Though you want her, she can’t possibly love you back, she’s incapable and she just wants a reaction from you, she uses her heart for a bullet, to kill her target.. because she knows she can.

“What are the side effects when another heart it starts to defect with no warrenty?”

This is my favourite lyric in the song mainly because I like the imagery, and I think it’s harsh yet cute.

“I think we’ve met the enemy.  Conquest is on her mind today. She can’t help it.”

This lyric in the bridge sums everything all up perfectly before the song goes into it’s final, droning yet epic repetitions of the chorus and all my added “Ooohing” and “Ahhhh”ing.

Other Weird and Interesting Facts About the song “Hearts For Bullets”:

- It was the last song to be written, recorded and produced for the CD already titled “Hearts For Bullets” so I felt an added pressure for this title track to be good!

-  This song is 133 BPM, which is one BPM higher than “Six Seconds” @ 132 BPM although Six Seconds FEELS like a faster song to me. Am I crazy? Perhaps, but I think it’s mainly because Six Seconds is more aggressive.

- I’ve been told by a few fans that the synth melody reminds them of a remixed version of another 90’s song by a band called the Sneaker Pimps called “Spin Spin Sugar”.  It was unintentional but I did love the Sneaker Pimps Becoming X CD, and often my voice has been compared to their singer at the time.  Although, she only sang on one CD.

- The belting out of the chorus always reminds me of Pat Benetar, but I don’t know why. I think Pat Benetar could have sang this song well!  Ahhhh Pat. This is funny because on the limited edition of Hearts For Bullets there’s a cover of Pat Benetar’s “Invincible” and I only did that cover specifically because a dear friend in San Francisco asked me to cover that song for the anniversary of his long running club night “Death Guild” there.

- Off topic fact that’s related to cover songs:  I never even thought about attempting a cover song until my 3rd CD: Hearts For Bullets, and even then, they were only put on the special edition CD.  For this special edition, I covered Deftones: Change, Pat Benetar’s: Invincible, and to date, I’ve also covered Depeche Mode’s: In Your Room and worked on a U2 cover of: New Year’s Day with Aiboforcen that never got completed unfortunately.  I don’t have a problem with covers.  It’s a lot less work to sing what others have already written, I just didn’t want a cover song to be the reason my music got attention.  I preferred to rely on my own stuff to make a mark.  It’s been my opinion that bands that get popular only by the exposure of a cover song, never seem to last. That being said, with 50 original songs under my belt now just as Ayria, I feel free to have fun doing covers when the opportunity comes up!

- My live band members Mike, Jeff and Kevin, have ALL told me at some point that Hearts For Bullets is their favourite song from the CD, and the always request we play it live.  I don’t listen to them since I’m the boss and get to make up the set list ;) , So we’ve only played it on the 2009 Canadian tour, where Ayria was the headliner, a few times on the Project Pitchfork tour, and maybe one or two other headlining shows.. It’s not that I don’t like the song, it’s just not my favourite to fit into the live set and I have so many other songs from HFB that I love to play over this one (sorry!).  It’s clear I have too many songs!

- Oh and “HFB” is the abbreviation and code for Hearts For Bullets and I’ve used HFB in so many emails to band members when talking about sets, merch, etc. Much like MROTW has become the new name for “My Revenge On The World” since I hate typing it all out!

- One of my tricks to “hype” up a song is to layer a 4×4 beat with a sampled beat.  This song has this technique and you’ll hear in the chorus, this is the beat that comes in, it’s subtle but I love the effect. This was that underlying beat:  [podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/HFB-beat-tube-and-compression.wav[/podcast]

- This breakdown part where the vocals are just me going “Ahhhh,Ahhhhh, Ahhh, Ahhh” always reminds me of the lead guitar solo of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven.  Yep, I said it.  It was completely unintentional. Here is is, and here you can also hear the sampled beat in this breakdown I mentioned above.    [podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/HFB-Blog-Clip1.mp3[/podcast]

- There are some pretty heavy guitars on this song at the end played by and added in production by Seb Komor.  There were no guitars in the original demo and I thought they added a lot to the textures and depth of this song!  I love how rocking it all gets by the end of the song.

- I do some “ah ah ah ahaha ahhhh” before the second verse starts.  I had fun putting this in the song, I don’t know why. It’s just really fun to sing.

- I found this clip of the song we cut out of the final version before mastering, it’s never before been heard!  This was in the first verse, but Seb and I decided the song didn’t need this “bridge” type part in both verses as it slows down the flow of the song before the “No more girl next door” chanting part.  We decided it was effective enough happening just once in the second verse:    [podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/HFB-Blog-Clip2.mp3[/podcast]

That’s all I can think to share about this song, if you have any comments, questions or points I might have missed, let me know! For now,  I will reveal to you that once again, on my next upcoming release, I have titled it before recording the title track, and it wasn’t the last song to be recorded, but the upcoming CD will be titled: “Plastic Makes Perfect”.  More news to come soon on this I hope.  Otherwise, note that a mini-tour of the American East Coast is currently being booked with the first confirmed show on April 23rd in Philadelphia so far! If you are a promoter who wants a piece of the touring action, contact me asap! ;)

Have a wonderful start to 2011, and I hope to see everyone of you soon!  3 more song dissections to finish what I’ve started with Hearts For Bullets: The Gun Song, Six Seconds and My Poison. Then, possibly more!

Much love,
Jennifer

Previous Song Dissections:
1000 Transmissions
Bad List
Invisible
Analog Trash
Suck It Up
Insect Calm
Blue Alice
Girl On The Floor

If you’ve enjoyed reading this and wish to own this song and want to support me directly, please either check out my shop or purchase the mp3 of Hearts For Bullets from iTunes for a mere dollar:

Place your Christmas orders NOW!

Anyone who buys anything (over $10) on my web shop between Dec 1st – Dec 15th will get access to clips of 2 demo songs I’m working on for the upcoming CD for your feedback & enjoyment!  Shop for personally signed Ayria goodies & CDs for your loved ones or for yourself perhaps a new Ayria tie for that upcoming Christmas Party so you can look all respectable like? ;)  Help me move some stock outta here!

SHOP

Due to some fans contacting me saying they already own EVERYTHING in the shop (thanks guys!) but still want to support me, I’m including a donate button if you prefer this!  Any donations $5 or over (I still have to cover the PayPal fees) between now and Dec 15th will also get access to the demo clips!





Thanks again you guys!! <3
Jennifer

Song Dissection #8: Girl On The Floor

Ayria - Girl On The Floor Booklet Picture From Hearts For Bullets

Ayria - Girl On The Floor Booklet Picture From Hearts For Bullets

Can’t You See I’ve Lost The Motivation?

After quite a long hiatus, it seems fitting to me that I would want to continue with the song dissections this month with a very important song to me lyrically and containing one of the most important lyrics I feel I’ve ever written.  One year ago this fall I had the opportunity to do some European touring that would essentially take me away from home from October  to early January. To do this touring, I had to make the decision to give up the securities of my “real job”. I told myself it would be ok, and in order to focus on music, one sometimes has to make sacrifices.   So much has happened to me in the past year personally and professionally.  I’m quite proud of myself that I had the courage last fall to go for something that was so important to me.  I would recommend taking a risk to anyone.  You might fall down a few times along the way but that’s what makes life exhilarating, and the head rush when you stand up again is worth it all!  (There’s your motivational speech of the day!)

Girl on the Floor, is the ending track on the Hearts For Bullets CD and it took about 2 years to finish writing as I was never quite satisfied with the melodies and structure I had started with, but not wanting to abandon the song, I kept coming back to it and put it through several incarnations until I was happy with it. It was always had upbeat poppy styled music, but the lyrics went through many re-writes.   The end result is a deeply personal song about me, not really wanting to continue with Ayria or music at all believe it or not.  I keep mentioning this, but after my father passed away, I wasn’t able to write music for several months.  I went numb, tried to hold on to stability in my life any way I could and didn’t really think about Ayria. Long time friends and fans might remember this, but back in 2007, the week I was supposed to leave on tour for a U.S. leg with Combichrist with 3 starting shows in Florida, my dad passed away and I had to cancel the first 3 shows.  The only other time I’ve canceled a show was when we were snowed in at an airport in Russia and missed one of the 3 Russian tour dates..  that’s another awful story!  Anyway, I did join the tour the following week through the Southern States to L.A. but all I remember was being really numb.  I remember being in my bunk on the bus not thinking, not feeling, just playing shows and being social to distract myself.  Later that fall, I stopped writing songs, I dyed my hair back to it’s natural brown (GASP! I’m not a natural blonde!?) I focused on my day job & distanced myself from anything Ayria or music related.  It may seem strange that I’m sharing all of this with you now, I’m not the dramatic type.   I prefer to face and conquer my struggles internally. I’m opening up here, because it’s been 3 years, and I know some of you appreciate these song dissections, and my complete honesty, and knowing the dark corners where songs come from. To summarize it as best I can, Girl on the floor is a bit about my struggles with grief, but more so: My loss of appetite for what I was passionate about, thinking about giving up on music, feeling guilty about my life choices, my feelings of lack of self control over my life, feeling guilty about not giving enough to those around me & relationships that were important to me, and maybe guilt over apathy & selfishness.  There.

LYRIC DISSECTION:

So this dissection is more about the story and the lyrics rather than the music production, because that’s what I want to talk about, just some of the lyrics that stand out to me personally:

“Mirror Mirror on the wall, I’m just a girl with no self-control”

It was true, and sometimes I still feel like I have no self-control in certain situations.  Some days I eat too much, I drink too much, I make bad decisions and when I wrote that lyric I felt like a broken girl facing my inner demons.  Occasionally, I get caught up in things people have said or written about me online that isn’t very positive or constructive. I’d like to believe my skin is thick, and it really has become thicker with time, but occasionally something will get under my skin.   The lyric “you don’t know the real me but you get a glimpse so you paint a picture.  So vivid, but just so wrong” addresses that, as everyone can relate to being misjudged or feeling that no one knows the real them.

“I just want to leave the situation
I don’t want to reach this destination
Can’t you see I’ve lost the motivation”

I still get weird chills singing the chorus of this song live, as it represents the desperate part of me that lost the drive to do what I once loved.

“You ask what I want, it’s complicated, the truth is I don’t know.”

I think that’s fairly straightforward. Pretending things are so complicated, and maybe they are, but in my case, saying that things are complicated helps to hide the truth that I just don’t know the answers or that I felt lost.

“It’s not enough to be there sometimes”: I felt like I was giving myself to some areas of my life, and some people but not fully.  I felt stretched pretty thin, and wasn’t able to give any one thing, the best of me. It’s also based in a bit of regret of not spending enough time with my dad I guess.

“I’m too tired to fake the strength behind this lie.”

When it came to doing music and Ayria, I felt like I couldn’t even fake it even, which is why I left it alone and didn’t try and write. Sometimes when you’re going through tough times, it’s not always the best idea to dive into what you love.  In my specific case, giving myself distance was the best thing so I could continue doing it and appreciate it more.

The bridge of this song was the most powerful part of this song for me musically and lyrically. It really gave it an epic feeling.  Seb’s (Komor – my producer for any new readers of this blog) addition of piano chords in the production of this song, was totally awe-inspiring.  My demo version DID have a break down but had simpler synth strings, I felt the piano layers he added a delicateness and sadness to a fairly upbeat song and helped my favourite lyrical part stand out:

“And now I sit here all alone and bored
My head is filled with, advice I once ignored”:

The clichéd saying that all you’ve ever needed has been right here in front of you.  Well, this was my take on that realization of being so wrapped up in your self, your guilt, your insecurities, or only looking to the future, that you ignored all the advice that you should have taken.

Bringing me to my favourite lyrics EVER:

“All you get from this moment, is all you gave to your past
and all you’ll get from this moment, is what you gave to your past”

Simple.  But it’s my favourite.  Is what I’m doing now, affecting what I will be in the future? Have I even cared enough or has it all just slipped by? I hope it made others think about what they are giving to their now and how it will affect them in the future. There’s so much backstabbing, pettiness, bitching, self-pity, whining and complaining out there.  If that’s your contribution to your now.. then I’m wondering what you feel you’re so deserving of? What have you done in your life, or worked hard at that brings you to this moment and what you’ll get out of it, because previous inputs = currently outputs.  I’m over explaining it but but it made me think about my own life and actions. This lyric just continually sticks with me.

“I’m turning to the next one, we laugh for a moment.
I’m crying on the bathroom floor because nothing is the same”

This is absolute truth.  One day I did end up just crying on the bathroom floor feeling that my life was out of control, and that I was losing grip on the things and especially some of the people in my life that were really important that I hadn’t realized I had taken for granted.  That was a turning point for me to pick myself back up off the floor and change some things and start moving on.

I’m of course in a better place now, my passion and motivation obviously returned and keeps me going.  These emotions I write about were the extreme ones that covered about a year’s worth of experiences! Songs are my outlets,  and I know we all go through these periods of our lives so I’ve always known this song was relatable to alot of you. It’s strange but I think a bigger fear for me is that one day I WON’T feel these extreme emotions from time to time.  These crazy intense overwhelming emotions that force me to face myself and think about my life, then what would I write about? Heh. So, this was a pretty emotional dissection.  But this is a pretty emotional song about things that are important to me. I didn’t touch much on the music and programming,  but only because I felt this song was so important to me lyrically. I’ll try and do more music talk on future dissections.  This is actually the song I get the most comments from fans saying it helped them through a tough time (next to “Invisible” from HFB & “Lovely Day” from the Flicker CD) & that means more than anything for me to hear.

Weird Tidbits about the song structure:

- If you’ve listened to this song, you’ll notice the first and second verses start with the same lyrical idea:  “Mirror Mirror on the wall..” but that the melodies and the rhythm of the vocals are completely different in each verse?  It’s kind of a mistake, I couldn’t decide between how the first verse flowed and the second.  When it came time to finish the song, I couldn’t decide so I left the verses different, hoping the lyrical link of the first line would make it ok.
- The song is often confusing to members of my family since it’s so boppy and pop like sounding, but the lyrics are so sad. I think it’s funny that they can’t understand it.  I say to them “it’s what I do!  I like upbeat dance music, but I can’t help but write about sad themes!!” ;P

BLOOPER REEL:

Despite the serious nature and theme of this song to me personally, for some reason I had the giggles, while recording this song. I blame it on the fact that I hadn’t practiced the song enough before recording (you’ll hear I mess up the chorus a lot which is now second nature to me!) This song’s been surrounded by deliriousness… even one of the many working versions sent back and forth between Seb and I during production, one version he had titled “Girl On the Floor looking for her slurpie but can’t find the vodka” So here’s a blooper take of me recording the chorus layer for the song. I can’t believe I’m sharing this with you since I sound TERRIBLE (This is clearly not the final takes used! ;)  You can hear Joe Byer of v01d in the background, whose studio I used to record vocals for this CD (before I got my own studio set up).

WARNING: Blooper Take has excessive use of the F-bomb by Jenn  (sorry! You guys know I can be a potty mouth!)

[podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/Girl-On-The-Floor-BLOOPERS.mp3[/podcast]

how all that emotion & subsequent silliness came out after final production, here’s a clip of the bridge into the chorus:

[podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/Girl-On-The-Floor-Bridge-Chorus.mp3[/podcast]

Knowing my current musical journey, If you’ve enjoyed reading this dissection and enjoy this song, or want to hear it in it’s entirety, please consider supporting me directly by purchasing the full CD from my web shop (I’ll sign it to you!) or just the song from iTunes.   In case you didn’t know, I also launched a new line of awesome merchandise with Toronto’s own clothing designers: Plastik Wrap this past summer such as Ayria ties, garter pockets, gloves, plus new T-shirts, etc.  And please buy your Christmas presents soon too so I can send you your Christmas Present!! ☺

New music is on its way! Only a few more songs to record for my upcoming CD out sometime in 2011 and I can’t wait to share it with you! ;)
Much Love
<3
Jenn

My Question To You: Have you ever lost the motivation to pursue what you love?  How did you get back on track and find yourself and find motivation again?  I’m just curious about others experiences.

Previous Song Dissections:
1000 Transmissions
Bad List
Invisible
Analog Trash
Suck It Up
Insect Calm
Blue Alice

New Merchandise Available – 2010 Tour Merch

I’m happy to announce that the 2010 Tour merchandise is now available online.  Please note, this merch will also be available at our upcoming shows too! Check out the Plastik Wrap Items!  This was a new collaboration to bring you guys some very unique items that you don’t see on every merch table and you may have seen me wearing the gloves on stage during the last tour! Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to get professional pictures of ALL the items as of yet (ties, bicep armbands, and hot pants) but I didn’t want that to delay me offering these items to you so I apologize that the photos for these items aren’t the best but  new pictures will come soon!

VISIT THE SHOP FOR ALL ITEMS

Your feedback is appreciated!  I’d love to know what you guys think of the items and what you’d like to see in the future!
Much love,
Jennifer

Tour Blog #3, Pics & Post Tour Wrap Up

Project Pitchfork & Ayria (yep, that's Mike making a special appearance in PP)

Ok, so I failed miserably at posting regular blogs for the rest of this tour, but hopefully, you guys were following along on my Ayria (FB/Twitter/MySpace status updates – yeah, they are all connected so I only have to post once! Thank God for that! ;) ) Because I was posting short updates as much as I could. Also, Peter from Project Pitchfork was posting almost daily video reports that got funnier and funnier as the tour went on and we were all becoming one crazy tour family. If you didn’t see them on his channel the Fork Force, it’s Tour Report # 1 through 25 and is a pretty honest showing of how being on the road is. Not much glamour, long drives, but exciting nights and great shows.

Ok so, after Washington, we had a few van (aka “Donkey”) adventures and mishaps but we made it to all the shows. A bit late (sorry Richmond for loading in at 10:00 PM, but thanks to all the helpers that got us set up in no time at all! That was when the battery and alternator went and we were stuck at the mechanics for a few hours) but anyways, we made it through and instead of trying to remember every city, I’m going to go over the highlights of the second half of the tour:

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SECOND HALF (CITY BY CITY):
• Richmond – had a swing in the backstage! Yep. Lots of fun came of that
• Nashville – small show, smallest on the whole tour actually, but met some amazing fans, had a swank backstage and enjoyed the intimate show. Thanks to Tammy for baking the world’s BEST brownies! We all enjoyed them for the next few days (ok, mostly Kevin and I.. but we were the biggest sugar freaks!)
• Tulsa – Amazing crowd! This is my third time playing in Tulsa and it keeps getting better and better. Which is what’s supposed to happen I guess ;) Thanks to David 950 and crew, Suzi (Slick V 4 life) and everyone involved in that night. This was Peter’s birthday (tour report #15) and we came out onstage to bring him cake and sing Happy Birthday. He said no one had done that for him before!
• Dallas – Ah, Dallas! Possibly one of our biggest shows on the tour. The Church is such a cool venue, the backstage is bright pink, Kami & Krystal of K2 productions treated us so great, what can I say. This is the city I got the MOST pictures taken with fans. There was a Jenn line-up! (I’m blushing thinking about it). The awesome thing about Texas shows is, 1) Fans are absolutely insane and energetic, never reserved and 2) Fans follow you from city to city to go to all the shows. Seems to be a very supportive scene in Texas. Just my observations, but this is why we play 3-4 shows in this one state. That, and the fact that this state is HUGE!  I <3 Texas!
• Texas continued: Austin & San Antonio were amazing shows too. Thanks to Alan & Diana & Klifford, and others (?) for following to all 3 shows! I got to eat at Koriente, my favourite little Asian Fusion restaurant a block away from the Elysium venue.
• Texas part 3 – Ate soooo much amazing Mexican food! Guacamole bowls the size of my head and loved it so much! One thing Canada does not have, and it’s great Mexican food (we have mostly everything else, I’m not knocking the T.Dot) but I love indulging in Mexican when I’m in Texas!
• Phoenix – Club Mardi Gras was a great little venue decorated all with Christmas lights! (My favourite. you should see my apartment!) Too bad the AC was being difficult. I always tell people that Phoenix is the hottest place on this planet that I’ve ever experienced. Every time I’m there, it continues to live up to this reputation! Still, had a blast, met amazing people after the show. Also, I want to apologize to our sound technician, the amazing Axxl, for bringing him to that BBQ styled restaurant, “Coopers BBQ – It’s what’s for dinner” also known as the house of murder. Axxl was the only vegetarian on tour and this little place we decided to eat at not only had nothing but MEAT, but it also had all the taxidermied heads of the animals on the wall as well as all the killing tools used as instruments of death. It was so creepy once we actually looked around… but delicious… sorry to the veggies out there! ;) (as seen in video report number 18)
• L.A. – Always a highlight on a tour! Played an outdoor show at Bar Sinister and had fun. Thanks to John & Trish and all involved in this show. By the way, Bar Sinister has the most amazing deep fried mac and cheese & nachos! I know, sounds horrible, but it’s really, really good… especially at 2:00 AM when you are starving!! Also, the Break Up (a Seattle band) joined us from L.A. onwards for the last 4 shows. Check them out! They are fabulous! ;)
• San Fran – Ahhhh, I feel like this is somehow my city. I have claimed it and made it my own, ok? Thanks to: David King (fishing buddies 4 life!), Peter (noisescape TV), Melanie Blau, Eric G., Devon, umm… plus so many more who I’m forgetting but it’s always amazing to see you guys and you always show me a great time. Thanks to all the fans that were there & who were able to tune into the live web cast (anyone? Let me know how it looked. Remember, it’s never a great representation of how a show actually sounds or looked since the mix comes right from the board (usually) and sounds weird.
• San Francisco continued: Had my ONLY sushi dinner of the tour here at Sushi Groove. Mmmmmm (sushi of course being my favourite food)
• Seattle – Mikey’s hometown!! Another place that feels like home to me, as it’s where the first ever Ayria show took place and where Ayria kind of started… Stayed with my friend Michael & roomies, got to see Shaun F. (my Debris partner in crime), my friend Amy, and so many faces I hadn’t seen for far too long!
• Portland- Yeah, I know, back down south to Portland, but that’s just how the routing works sometimes! This was our FINAL show of the month long tour and we couldn’t have chosen a better spot to end it off. The energy of the crowd was crazy fun; my “Portland Crew” brought me an Ayria cake!!! (Picture below) yeah, that’s right, a CAKE!!!! It was so delicious. I think the word had spread about how people had brought me treats and that I love cake/cupcakes/baked goodness. And so they wanted to blow us all away with the ULTIMATE BAKED GOODS!! Much love to you guys for making us feel so special that night! Thanks to Derek, I love how getting coffee has become our tradition!
• Post Tour – We dropped everyone off at the Portland airport but I went back with Mike and Sarah to chill in Seattle for one extra day before my flight home. On the Tuesday, Sarah and I went shopping on Broadway on the Tuesday, as well as tried out a delicious place called cupcake Royale! The “Holly Hobby’s Dance Party” cup cake was the best! Then we went back because I needed time to sort out merch, repack my suitcase(s) and chill for an early morning flight home. Since being back, I always spend the first 2 days resting and getting over the sheer exhaustion of travelling and doing shows constantly. Your body reaches this level of constant adrenaline while you’re on tour that gets you through it, then when it’s done, you have no control but to crash… hard. But I’m back to normal now! Looking ahead to new music & plans.

FUN TOUR FACTS:

• Longest drive from one show to the next: San Antonio to Phoenix – took us 19 hours.
• Most popular American restaurants we ate at for Breakfast on this tour: IHOP, Denny’s and the classic American diners that we could find
• Most popular American restaurants we ate at for Dinner on this tour: APPLEBEES!! I had never been to one before; their sizzling shrimp stir-fry thing was yummy! This place was guaranteed to be playing the World Cup Football games so for the German’s sake; it was imperative we ate here
• Number of times people brought me cupcakes, cakes, brownies, etc: 5
• Pounds gained on this tour: 5! Not bad for eating everything listed above!
• Drink of the tour: Vodka Cranberry! Apparently Cranberry juice is not that common or popular in Germany so they wanted to have it when they could! I wasn’t complaining!
• Number of times Mike got “naked” on tour: 3 Dallas (on a weird dare by Peter), Austin (what is it with Texas & naked), San Francisco (but he was wearing a flesh coloured thong.. uh-huh ;) Video evidence on Report #17
• Number of packs of gum Kevin went through… I’d say at least 25. That boy is addicted to chewing gum!
• First tour EVER that I did NOT get sick or catch a virus of any kind! YAY! Maybe it was all the nutrients I was getting from IHOP, Denny’s, Applebee’s, cranberry juice, and the cupcakes!? I’ll never know.
• Hotel chain we always stayed at: Best Westerns
• Number of times I saw Peter sleeping in the van: ZERO! That man is a machine! He was always working on his tour report videos during the drive
• Number of times I slept in the van: every chance I got! I had the entire back bench to myself, complete with pillows, blankets and we dubbed it “The Girlie Parlour”
• Number of times Donkey had trouble and we ended up at a garage: at least 4. But that was part of the whole adventure!
• My Tour Nickname: “The Queen”, Kevin’s: “Wolfgang hans helmut”, the van’s: “Donkey”
• My Second tour in a row where I’ve celebrated both Canada Day, and The 4th of July (aka “America Day”) in the US! <3
• Funniest Tour video that I’m not in video #22 Titled “The Jenn Files” look for the riveting conclusion in  video #23, yeah, our videos started having real plot develop!!  Hahaha!

Here are some pictures from the second half of the tour, mainly from our last show due to me being horrible at remembering to take pictures until it’s the end!  So here were the ones I had, although many of you have been posting awesome ones on the Ayria FB page (thanks!!)

:

Thanks to Mike and Kevin for being live members of Ayria on this tour.  You guys were awesome & I had so much fun with you both! Thanks to  Project Pitchfork (Peter, Jurgen, Achim & Axxl) for inviting us to be part of this tour! We love them, miss them and had a wonderful time with them. We will actually get to reunite as we are both booked to play INFEST this August on the same night as them in the UK! Complete coincidence!
Thank YOU guys! Thanks to everyone that bought tickets, came to the shows, bought merch, said hi to us, took pics, danced your butts off, brought gifts (very unexpected), promoted the shows, told your friends to go, and overall, supported events in your city therefore, supporting our ability to continue touring like this! I love you all and appreciate everything I’ve been able to do. It’s always a musician’s dream to be able to get out there and connect with the people who enjoy your music. I love meeting you all and hearing your stories about how a song has affected you, empowered you, got you through your tough times because it reminds me of why I do this, why I sacrifice almost everything else in my normal life to keep doing this. God knows it is NOT for the money so please, stay with me. Xox

If you were at any of the shows, please post here! I’d love to know, and to hear your memories & stories!
Sincerely,
Jennifer

Here’s the very last video report from Portland, OR, everyone saying goodbye at the airport:

Tour Blog #2 – Pittsburgh, Rochester, Philly, Washington

Here’s me rocking one of the new shirts:

IMG_2578

Ok, so I’m in a blur right now. We are at show 4 of doing 6 shows in a row this week.  It’s exhausting, but we carry on, just as excited for each show as the next!  I haven’t blogged in a bit but it’s been pretty busy when we get into our hotel at 3:00 am and have to get up by 11:00 am to drive to the next city.  The best time I have to write, is in the van while everyone is either zoned out, sleeping, listening to music, etc.  We didn’t have our AC working in the van until Washington, D.C. and we were in heat wave temperatures, so needless to say, trying to write was not my top priority the past few days.  But now, we are back to normal, the van is an icebox and we are all happy campers once again and enjoying our East coast leg of this tour!

We’ve played some amazing shows in this East leg so far!  Instead of trying to write about each individual show, and before things really blur together, I’ve come up with  a kind of “best of” list below where I highlight some of the cool things that have happened in each city so far.  Honestly, every city has been incredible, and I’m probably forgetting stuff already (sorry if I do), but here’s what’s been going on so far:

City that…

Had the most merch sold to: Minneapolis (thank you Minneapolis!  Selling merch is truly our bread and butter while touring so we thank you guys for buying stuff)
Best After party: Milwaukee (club anything! Thanks Gary & crew.. yeah, for my hangover!)
Best sound: Milwaukee (a personal high for me at least)
City that brought along pink guns as props for The Gun Song: Chicago & Philadelphia. It’s becoming a thing!
City where I got the best presents from (not expected of course, just cute) 3 way tie:
- Pittsburgh (cupcakes from my girl Borris), homemade armband with a “J” on it (thanks Jennifer)
- Rochester (cupcakes from Shawn & a necklace from Sarah)
- Chicago (a black and white striped corset from TheArtifixer.com that I later wore in Washington, D.C., plus a signed copy of the Deftone’s White Pony CD, thanks David!)
Best home cooked catering backstage: Rochester (Thanks Steve’s wife Kimberly for the amazing veggie lasagna!)
Yummiest “spread”: Philadelphia (cherries, strawberries, hummus, and chocolate cake. Thanks to Patrick’s ladies!!
Craziest, most intense audience: Chicago & Philadelphia.. so far, but all shows have been amazing in their own way! I love looking out in the crowd and seeing so many familiar faces  singing along with me & dancing and new people enjoying the show.
Best Mosh Pit during our set: Washington, D.C. (ok, the ONLY mosh pit, but still…deserved a shout out
Best duet: Pittsburgh where I had Jim Semonik come on stage and sing “Blue Alice” with me!
Warmest Stage: Chicago (my face melted off halfway through the set, but it’s all rock and roll baby!
Most embarrassing thing that’s happened to us on stage: nothing…YET! Stay tuned! Bwahaha  ;)

Next city: New York tonight at the Southpaw in Brooklyn!  I wonder what title NY will take and will some of these change as we do more shows? ;)

Much love you guys!
Jennifer

Remember to subcribe to “TheForkForce” You Tube Chanel to get pretty much DAILY video tour updates from the road:

More pictures:

How many band members does it take to stare at an engine trying to figure out if they can fix the air conditioning ;)

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IMG_2575Kevin aka “Wolfgang Hans Helmut” setting up the merch

IMG_2548Mike and Kevin at breakfest.  Mike’s face pretty much sums it all up

IMG_2565Cupcakes in Pittsburgh!! Mmmm…

IMG_2569Me, doing a handheld shot.. somewhere ;)

IMG_2574More merch set up… so.. much.. pink ;)

US Tour Blog #1 – Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago

Ayria and Project Pitchfork on the Road:
June 15th – 20th Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago

Jenn in Minneapolis, June 15th 2010

Jenn in Minneapolis, June 15th 2010

That’s me with the Minneapolis sky line behind me.  I flew into Minneapolis on Tuesday, June 15th and met up with my new keyboardist for this tour Kevin, a nice Irish boy from Atlanta who is aparently second cousins with Collin Farell.. but we’ve decide to call him Wolfgang Hans-Hemut as Peter from Project Pitchfork thought he needed a German name for this tour to fit in more (Oh how I love breaking in the new guy!).  We made our way to the hotel and waited for everyone to arrive from various parts of the world.  Mike drove up to the hotel a few hours later with our van and trailer, he’d made the trip all the way from Seattle. A few hours after that, the guys from Project Pitchfork (headliner band, members: Peter, Achim, Jurgen, Axxle) all arrived from Germany  (Hamburg and Berlin). Our kickoff show was in Minneapolis, MN the following night and that show did not disappoint!  The crowd brought all of their energy that night and danced until the last song had been played.  I got to meet a lot of new people as well as greet familiar faces who I’d seen at so many of our shows before.  Apparently, my gay fanbase tells me that “Lady Gaga is out, and Ayria is in!” which made me laugh pretty hard. They also thank me for adding Kevin the keyboardist as some eye candy to the show ;)  It was a great show to start this month long tour and to get me back in the mindset of being on the road.  Besides a spontaneous 3 show stint with VNV Nation back in March (which was amazingly fun but brief), I haven’t actually toured since I got home in January after the month and a half long tour with the Cruxshadows.  Switching gears back into touring mode.

The next day, we had off due to a last minute cancellation in Champaign, IL which was disappointing, since last time we were there, I recall was quite fun!  We ended up in a city called Mauston, WI and had our first official tour family dinner in a typical American diner where everything came smothered in cheese.  The second show was Milwaukee.  We played at the Miramar Theatre and this show, has so far been my absolute favourite of the tour.  Some nights, a band is lucky enough to have everything click and that night, for me it did.  The sound was totally flawless, the energy of the crowd was insane, and I just felt the show went off so perfectly for me personally. Then the after party at club anything, where I fear I’m starting to get a bit of a party girl reputation there (haha)  but we had a lot of fun and want to thank everyone that came out and supported both bands in Milwaukee.

Chicago! What can I say about Chicago.  It’s always amazing to play there.  We played at a venue called the Abbey and I have a bit of a story about that place since it reminds me of the first time I’d ever been to Chicago.  Back on my very first tour ever with Razed In Black and Glis, we were booked to play a show there but they had already booked a local act to play that show, and therefore Ayria wasnt’ given a slot since we were ‘unknown’ then, so I just hung out that night and didn’t get to play.  I think of our crowd reaction there last night reminds me how far I’ve come since then! I really hope someone got footage of “The Gun Song”  and posts it.  A girl in the front row brought a pink toy gun and busted it out for that song and handed it to me!  I was actually going to bring my blinged up gun from the “Hearts For Bullets” cover on this tour, but didn’t want to risk travelling with it through homeland security as I’ve had problems even with bringing a “bullet belt” in the past.  Thank you Chicago, despite a few sound issues and the venue being a million degrees (my face was melting off through the set), we had such a fun night! We recommend the fish and chips dinner at the Abbey Pub!  I would have loved to have gone to the after party at Neo, but we were pretty tired that night,  so we chose to get some rest at the hotel.

I’ve written this post while in the van, driving to Pittsburgh.  We’ve been fortunate to stop for full breakfasts at amazing little dinners almost every day so far.. Project Pitchfork guys are amazingly cool, I can’t understand a word they are saying when they go into “German Mode”, this tour is being dominated by the latest scores of the World Cup games, but it’s all good and we are already all bonding and becoming the dysfunctional tour family that always happens on the road when you’re forced to share confined spaces, all meals, and long drives.

I’ll see some of you soon I hope!? Lots more shows to go!
Much love from the road (currently Sandusky, Ohio)
Jennifer

Thanks to: Plastik Wrap for the stage clothing & merch collaboration. We spent several weeks planning out the new line for this tour and I know they worked well into the nights the week before I left, I also want to thank Neko Hair Designs for my new dreads! (they actually blend perfectly with my own colours and hair length), and Cinched Tight Corsets for the cute pink skull corset.. more pics will be featured of all these awesome collaborators and supporters.  I’ve been given more gifts along the road from other awesome and talented designers that I’ll be wearing and promoting too and  I can’t thank you guys enough!

Here’s a video filmed in Chicago yesterday morning before we left:

Ayria & Project Pitchfork – Tour 2001 Video #1

Ayria and Project Pitchfork on the Road: June 15th — 20th Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago. This video has been posted to go along with the tour blog write up posted on www.ayria.com check back for updates. Some times videos and other entries will have photos!! ;)
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Song Dissection #7: Blue Alice

Photo Credit: LostFish

Clip of the Blue Alice:
[podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/ayriaheartsforbulletstrack08.mp3[/podcast]

Interesting Tid Bits about this song

1. This is the song that got me an “explicit” warning for the Hearts For Bullets CD since it has swearing in it.  I thought this was a GOOD use of the “F” bomb.

2. This song was a collaboration and is the only song on Hearts For Bullets that I didn’t do the majority of programming and writing for.

3. I occasionally get tagged as “rap” on some sites. I think it’s because of this song, and The Gun Song.  Despite the fact that I hate when people try and categorize my genre of music, I DID think it was very entertaining to be called a rapper!

4. The tempo of this song is 101 BPM.  Which is such an awesome speed that’s rarely done these days.  This tempo used to be more common in Industrial (think Nitzer Ebb’s Belief album and NIN songs) but with club music that’s taken over, DJ’s and/or artists seem to think that if a song goes under 130 BPM, they might explode… or something.

5. The original working title for this song was “I look better from the floor”.

6. The lyrics for this song were inspired by a movie I saw and it was NOT Alice In Wonderland

7. This was the very last of all songs to be finished in production for Hearts For Bullets around mid June 2008.  After which, I had a glass of red wine to celebrate!

The Dissection:

This song is a collaboration between me and my amazing friend Jeremy Pfohl who happens to run Storming The Base in Toronto.  I actually love collaborating with other people. Some amazing vocal ideas have come out of collaborations since I’m free to concentrate just on the vocals which has always been my number one passion. Jeremy had started writing this loop that eventually became the first verse of “Blue Alice”.  He played it for me, and I thought the synths were just amazing, and it had such a cool groove and such a rawness to it, that I asked him to pass the loop on to me so I could play around with ideas since he tends to just start loops just for fun.  I then recorded vocals over top of it, that ended up staying in the sonng as the first verse.  I had started chanting about fairy tales through a distortion effect, and he loved it so we decided to develop it further and complete it as a full song.

The Chorus

Writing the chorus came next but we found it really difficult to transition into something big and powerful.  Both the music and the vocals in our first draft, neither of us liked completely. The first draft of the song, I had kept chanting in the chorus but it really needed some vocal melody to change the chorus completely.  Then one day, the “Hey You Black and Blue” came to me and it was a line that instantly stuck in my head and forced Jeremy to program percussion around that new idea. It’s like everything clicked once a powerful chorus was created.

The Bridge

Jeremy  ended up working on a bridge “synth solo” that comes in after the lyrics: “Little Pig Little Pig Put Her Down!” that  he was having so much fun with, it would have gone on for another 5 minutes if it were up to him.  But me, usually forgetting to take a pause in a song to STOP singing for a bit, found the synths leading a nice refreshing break and change.  And that synth solo part is so ridiculously sick! Seb enhanced it in production by adding breaks, and adding really amazing percussion in that part and in the chorus.  Here is the bridge synth solo in all it’s glory:

[podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/Ayria-BlueAlice-Bridge-produced.mp3[/podcast]This week  I’m changing things up again, instead of isolating the raw vocals, I wanted to isolate the raw synths before production so you can admire their sick beauty and what they added to this song:

Here’s the Verse Synth:

[podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/Verse-Synth-Solo.mp3[/podcast]2 Chorus Synths that layer together for a thick sound:

[podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/Chorus-Synth-Solo-1.mp3[/podcast] [podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/Chorus-Synth-Solo-2.mp3[/podcast]Finally the Bridge Synth “solo”!

[podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/Bridge-Sick-Synth.mp3[/podcast]

The Lyrics:  This Is One F*cked Up Fairy Tale..

The song is whimsical with dark fairy tale concepts running throughout in a sick and twisted, somewhat modernized way.  Here are the lyrics:

I hope I’m dreaming because this can’t be awake
I hope I’m dead just for my sake
Who knew all this would come from a dirty gun
Son of a Bitch who thought he was a cowboy
The mad hatter Bashes your face again
Look into his eyes to see where evil lives
Bullet through window and down the rabbit hole
This is one f*cked up fairy tale

Hey You! Black and blue
Watch out, you’ll end up like Alice
Hey You! Black and blue
Watch out, don’t end up like Alice

You’ll get what’s coming, you and your children
The wicked witch has OD’ed on pills again
And the Dragon, lights up a cigarette
He’s blowing smoke right into your face again
It’s off with her head
Her snakes are seething
The big bad wolf is rabid and teething
Bullets through windows and down the rabbit hole
This is one f*cked up fairy tale

Little Pig little pig put her down
Slapped around choked and drown

I was inspired to start writing the lyrics to this song after watching a movie called “Running Scared” directed by Wayne Kramer. It’s not uncommon that a book, an article, a show, the news, or a movie sparks my mind to start writing lyrics. It doesn’t mean the whole song is completely about this movie, it just started my imagination down this dark fairy tale lyrical path.  This movie is a bloody, violent, cowboy, mob, fairy tale with a pretty gruesome UV lit hockey torture scene like no one has done before! It had all of these characters throughout the story that were modernized version of classic Grimm Fairy Tale characters. I debated explaining here which parts specifically from this movie I used in my lyrics, but if you’re that interested, you can just watch the film yourself and try and figure it all out. I’m not saying it’s the best movie ever, it’s quite over the top, a strange plot and violent, but you might enjoy that ;)

Don’t End Up Like Alice: The rest of the lyrics, I took from other favourite childhood stories, like Alice In Wonderland of course, which became the premise of the chorus and tied the whole song together, matching the tone of the verses by portraying a bit of a battered Alice who ends up black and blue and slapped around. I was already writting these dark lyrics, so there was no turning back and I created this image of an abused Alice that you have to be careful not to end up like.  A bit unnerving, but striking.

I recently purchased this Alice in Wonderland book and was thrilled with the illustrations in this version done by Camille Rose Garcia.  They are so wonderfully creepy!

Alice In Wonderland Cover

The Little Pig reference was obviously a nod to the childhood nursery rhymes only mutilated to be about the pigs being nasty masochists, beating and choking Alice.  The “Off with her head, Snakes are seething” is a reference to Greek Mythology’s Medusa, but also tying it in with the Queen Of Hearts from Alice In Wonderland, linking the fabled beheading of Medusa with the Red Queen’s constant cry of ‘off with their heads!”.   Medusa is one of my favourite “villains” in stories.. although, arguably, not a villain at all, but that’s another discussion..

I also really liked the anachronistic images of the characters.  Like the wicked witch overdosing on pills. Taking a fantasy character and giving her more modern qualities.  Same with the image of the dragon, except in his case, he’s also a creature not a person, so having those modern qualities is even stranger.  Instead of breathing fire, he takes a drag of a cigarette and blows the smoke into your face.  Almost more insulting since you know he can breath fire, but is instead taunting you.  And that being both anachronistic and anthropomorphic (yes, I looked that word up, I learned something from this blog too!) was interesting to me.

To end the disscetion, I like sharing interesting youtube videos I stumble accross!  This one is a slide show created by fearandloathinggirl,  it uses a lot of Alice Pictures that I’ve never seen before!

Have a great week! I’m not going to post a new dissection this Friday and we’ll see how crazy things get, but this might be the last one before the upcoming tour. I will instead be tour blogging from the road! The Song Dissections will resume when I’m back of course! In the meantime, tell me what your favourite fairy tale, fairytale related movie, or childhood fable is?

xo
Jenn

Previous Song Dissections:
1000 Transmissions
Bad List
Invisible
Analog Trash
Suck It Up
Insect Calm

If you’ve enjoyed reading this and wish to own this song and want to support me directly, please either check out my shop (I personally ship & sign anything you want), or you can purchase the mp3 of Blue Alice from iTunes for a mere dollar: