Fun with Make Up, Contest, & Keepsakes

By popular request from a bunch of you guys… ok, mostly gals, here’s a make up demonstration of me doing my favourite go to look of pink & purple eyes, and red lips.  I’ve listed the products in the demo video as I apply them but I’ve also listed them for you below.  Again, I do this just for you guys as it feels very strange doing my makeup on camera and talking about it!  I’m no makeup artist! ;)

SKIN
- MAC Studio Fix Fluid foundation

EYES:
- MAC Silver Fog Pigment (brow highlight)
- Make Up Forever Neon Pink eye shadow (all over)
- MAC Violet pigment (lash lining)
- Make Up Forever Violet pigment (matte – creases and outer corners)
- MAC liquid eye liner in Boot Black
- Maybelline Great Lash Blackest Black Mascara
- MAC eye pencil in Coffee (for brows shading)
- MAC eye pencil in Ebony (for lower inside rim lining)
- Glitter Liner (some drugstore brand- inner corners of eyes) I usually recommend Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal Line

CHEEKS
- MAC blush in Pinch O Peach

LIPS
- MAC Del Rio (this is my absolute favourite & my signature colour since Ayria started!)
- MAC Rebel (in this look I’ve layered 2 colours, to get a bit more pinky lips)

FINISHING TOUCHES
- MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder (sets everything and stops my sweaty face from shining too much while on stage)

CONTEST:

I want to see your version of an Ayria inspired look! Either this one, or others, or your own beautiful creation (you don’t have to use your fingers!) submit final pictures, a video demo (you guys can probably teach this stuff better than I can!), whatever you like, but you have to post a link to it here, on ayria.com or post photos or videos on the Ayria Facebook page, so that I see your entry!  Please note, you don’t have to look like me girls and boys! It’s about the use of bright colours like pink & purple! Maybe I’ll get inspiration from your looks!  Deadline is March 31st, after which I’ll choose a winner to get the below Ayria prize pack:

1 – violet sample sized pigment
1 – magenta sample sized pigment
1 – pink glitter sample sized
1 -  of my jelly bracelets and two of my hair bow clips!
1 – personally signed small poster (as shown)

KEEPSAKES:  Everyone else, if you want to have your own piece from my makeup collection without entering the contest, if you donate any amount over $15 (or over $20 outside the U.S. and Canada as I need to cover all shipping & the cost of the supplies) I’ll send you a sample sized jar (this is the size I bring on tours & from my  own experience, it lasts forever!) of either my pink or purple pigments as pictured below (your choice – just include a note to me) If you want both, donations over $25 worldwide will get both pink & purple samples, and $30 or over get all 4 colours including the silver & pink glitter  (again, worldwide shipping is included) plus any one that donates, I’ll include a jelly bracelet & personalized signed note to you too!  (The make up is all from my personal collection, I’ve divided it into jars from a larger (unused) container! I have too much of these specific colours right now.  This is meant as a keepsake from me and will only be available until my own supplies run low)





I want to let you know that by doing this, I’m trying to come up with creative ways beyond selling music to get your much appreciated support. Any profit made from this will be going towards covering some very high tour expenses I have, in order to make these upcoming U.S. shows happen this March & April

Much love,
Jennifer

2 Hours left to bid on my dress! Memorabilia on eBay

Last week I decided I needed to both clear some room in my closet and make some extra money!  I put up for auction, the red dress I wore and featured in the photo shoot of the “Debris” CD (2003) The auction ends in 2 hours so there’s still a bit of time to bid, but I warn you, there’s currently a bidding war in progress.  This has inspired me to auction off some other goodies that I’ve had requests for, like the big star ring.. we’ll see, I’ll go digging through my stuff so watch for more eBay auctions of Ayria memorabilia!

**Link to the Red Dress eBay Auction**

Listen to a new song! Ayria featured on Corporate Soldiers Track

A New Song for your audio pleasure!! Last year, I collaborated with Jersey band: Corporate Soldiers on the track “Give It To You”.  It’s a sexy, fun, electro clubby song and here it is in it’s entirety for you to listen to!

**   LINK TO STREAM SONG **

Enjoy the track, leave feedback, spread the word and support the band:

Buy the song on iTunes
Join Corporate Soldiers on Facebook

And since I’m excited over the new gallery of pictures I’ve been getting back from Jeff Turner, I thought I’d share this photo too of me ;)

Ayria

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:   

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- 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.     

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- 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:     

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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:

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:

Song Dissection #7: Blue Alice

Photo Credit: LostFish

Clip of the Blue Alice:
 

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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:

 

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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:

 

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2 Chorus Synths that layer together for a thick sound:

 

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Finally the Bridge Synth “solo”!

 

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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:

Song Dissection #6: Insect Calm

From the CD: Hearts For Bullets
Music, lyrics & vocals: Jennifer Parkin
Production, mixing, mastering: Sebastian Komor
Hearts for Bullets (cover)

Lyrics:

I’m withered inside. I’ve never wanted something so blindly.
How does one comprehend dissatisfaction with the unknown.
I’ve been bound too long to this confining shell, like a tiny hell that can’t calm this wrestless mind.
My blood pulses, fuels desire.

I’ve left all behind. These winds have changed and there is no way back.
Why can’t you see this all will fall, this microcosm is not eternal.
My thirst will not subside. I’d rather face the storm and get ripped open wide.
Then my insect eyes will see this wretched world for all it hides.

Insect Calm.
My limbs are numb.
Resistance gone, I’m shedding skin.
To feed and breathe in.

Insect Calm
The fear is gone.
Itching and feeling with my new skin
Inhale this world in.

The Dissection

So the surprise for this week’s song dissection is that I made a little video to change it up a bit! The video doesn’t get as detailed as the write ups can though, so it’s a bit more brief than other dissections but, it includes the visual element of me in my appartment, and some impromtu live singing by me just for you!  I’m sorry for the quality of the built in MacBook camera, but it’s the best I can do for now so please be kind with your comments, and enjoy!

AYRIA – Song Dissection #6 – INSECT CALM from Ayria on Vimeo.

One additional thing that I didn’t have time to touch on in the video was this amazing and very old and very rough clip I found that was the original idea for the song Insect Calm.  This audio clip is from back in the days when I was working on the Flicker CD.  I sometimes start loops with a vocal idea but have no idea where to take them, so they sit on the “idea shelf”.  You can tell this one is a rough idea since the vocals aren’t really cohesive between the layers and I was in the brainstorming phase.  This idea loop sat there for several years until I revisited it while writing Hearts For Bullets.  This demo clip comes accross sounding pretty gothy with the reverbed synths and vocals, and from here, it was obviously re-worked into a full demo, that  was more bass and percussion driven, glitchier and sparser, before being passed to Seb for his never less than amazing production.

 

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I’ll try and come up with more surprises for next week.  There are 2 songs that I know people are specifically waiting for and I’m getting excited to dissect them! This week was a bit crazy for me, having just returned from Montreal but I was glad I could pull this video together in time for today for you guys! ♥ I know the video is brief and doesn’t get into too much detail, so if you want me to answer further questions on the lyrics or concept behind this song, post it here and I’ll reply!

xoxo
Jenn

If you’re a new reader, make sure you check out previous week’s Song Dissections:

1000 Transmissions
Bad List
Invisible
Analog Trash
Suck It Up

Song Dissection #4: Analog Trash

Analog Trash - Header

From the CD: Hearts For Bullets
Music, lyrics & vocals: Jennifer Parkin
Production, mixing, mastering: Sebastian Komor

Lyrics:

I’ve got a secret
I’ve been watching you
I know you’re damaged
But I still want you
You’re analog trash
When life is digital
But I prefer you
I think you’re beautiful

Pull back realign
We are flawed by design
Unplug just for fun
Stop before we hurt someone
Standard Uniform
Corporate life has gone too far
Excess Commodity
I want you just for me

This little secret
Gives me something to do
My new obsession
To be like you
You’re analog trash
When life is digital
But I prefer this
unreplicatable

Come On, It’s not what you think
Come On, Just come away with me
Come On, There’s so much more to this
Come On, That life you will not miss

The Dissection:
I will make a big statement in saying this is my favourite song off of the “Hearts For Bullets” CD. Although, choosing a favourite song is like choosing a favourite amongst your children I’d assume. I personally felt that this song achieved a light, sexy, fun feeling while still having some darker, grittier elements to it. It combined so many influences and elements of electro that I love, that it became my favourite, but again, that changes monthly depending on my mood. ;)

For me, the word analog makes me specifically think of analog synthesizers! Analog synths have qualities that can’t quite be replicated by digital, and lyrically, this song takes the traits of any analog device, and uses these traits to describe an individual, mainly in the line repeated in the verses: “you’re analog trash, when life is digital. But I prefer this, unreplicatable”.

Here’s a cute picture I found online of “Analog Trash”:
analog trash pic
photo credit: “Analog Retirement” form busted tees

I knew from the beginning I wanted to call this song “Analog Trash”. The biggest decision I had regarding this song was the spelling of the title! In Canada and the UK, it’s actually spelled “Analogue” but I thought the American spelling for “Analog” looked slicker so I, for a moment, abandoned my Canadian roots and went with the Americanization of the word! It’s funny because I was playing a show in Manchester, UK, in December 2009 where I found out that they named their regular club night after my song. The night is called “Analogue Trash” and it made me feel guilty seeing the spelling like that ;)

THE VOCALS: I was so very happy with the vocals of this song. The melodies were simple, sweet and fun. When I sing this song, it actually feels light and sexy to do so. I also felt the vocals had a sophistication and maturity that maybe I hadn’t experimented with in the past, especially how the chorus vocals seem to swell and drag from one phrasing to the next if that makes sense? I love diversity. It’s the key to who I am and what I do. I really hate writing the same song over and over, so I TRY my best not to. Let me tell you though, Its getting tougher after 3 releases.

THE LYRICS: I admit, it’s a bit of a mash of ideas and ends up being kind of abstract, especially in the chorus where each line is more of a statement and could stand on it’s own rather than tell a story. The verses are sung as a secret love song that comes off a bit stalker-esque “I’ve been watching you”. There are some lyrics relating back to the analog vs. digital concept. Being “flawed by design” is a trait of analog that I’ve related to individuals as well. My statement on how our corporate lives and craving for commodity hinders our relationships and life balance. Personally, I was feeling overworked at the time, things were out of whack, and I was trying to find balance while I was working on a career, doing music, and still trying to have a life somehow. I think having the life suffered the most. I wanted my world to “Unplug, just for fun” and I wanted to convince the world around me there had to be more to all this. Again, they are not all completely straightforward lyrics, but they seemed to all flow nicely together while capturing what I was feeling at the time: The bridge just lets loose with: “Come on, just come away with me, come on, there’s so much more to this, Come on, that life you will not miss”.

Here’s another lyric brainstorming mess of purple! This was the messiest song brainstorming I think I’ve ever done so naturally, I wanted to share it! The funny thing is, if you follow the numbers, it’s how the first verse turned out (except for number one happening twice… Ah, beautiful creative chaos!) If you can follow this at all, you should get a prize:

Purple Mess of Lyrics for Analog Trash

Purple Mess of Lyrics for Analog Trash

THE MUSIC & PRODUCTION:
The music and melodies came to me fairly easily which is not always the case as you’ve seen in a few of the previous dissections where I’ve discussed how some songs need demo after demo, drafted 10 times until it feels right. This song started so simple with just two synth lines going through my analog pattern sequencers in Reason software, a lead and a bass, and what you may notice in this song, is that the bass melody actually never changes through the entire song, maybe not a great song structure trait on my part, but for this song, it really works. To change it up, other synth layers and different percussion come in so the verse and chorus sound different. I wanted the song to stay fairly sparsely programmed, acheiving an overall 80′s-electro feel to it. Here’s my first demo loop of the music that started with the lead and bass synth and introduced a few other layers this loop is the brainstorming so I could start writing and structuring the song from here.

 

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My producer, Seb, said this was one of his favourites off the album (between this, and the title track “Hearts For Bullets”). I thought “Analog Trash” turned out so slick. All of the elements pop out at you since there’s not a lot of clutter with only a few layers of music going on at any one time. Also, this song sounds amazing on a dance floor! Pointing out my three favourite contributions by Seb to this song in production: the lead synth that comes in at the one minute mark sounds so gritty, draggy, and added so much to the song, this song also had some of the most amazingly clear vocal production I’ve heard on my voice (listen to it in head phones, the chorus is pure ear candy!), and lastly, the percussion, specifically, those beautiful snares! I’m a total snare freak!! Our biggest heated discussions during production on this whole CD were the snares. I love really loud snares that are short explosive bursts that just punch you in the face. If you listen to this entire CD, you might (NOW) notice how loud and clear the snares are on almost every song… or maybe it’s just me. I think I actually drove Seb crazy with how picky I was. No matter what volume he was going to put the snare, he did it a few DB louder to not have to hear me complain ;)

This clip is for you guys who wanted me to continue sharing the raw vocals, the first clip is the first verse and chorus. Notice there are 2 layers of vocals that come in for the chorus? Those are 2 different vocal recordings which, when layered together create a true “natural chorus” effect. It’s used in a lot of Ayria songs as it ends up sounding so sweet! You’re more likely to have imperfections when doing a chorus this way, when the vocals aren’t sung exactly the same, which they can’t possibly be, but I tend to like some of the little imperfections. It gives it character.. unreplicatable.

 

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This second clip is the same vocals in the final produced version of the song:

 

Can't play embedded media? Click here!

I wanted to share two of my favourite videos of us playing this song live that I’ve come accross:

First it at The Knitting Factory in Los Angeles on October 13, 2008. The crowd was so energetic in true L.A. style! I was blown away at the crowd’s reaction in this clip because, I have to point out, Hearts for Bullets had JUST been released, out less than a month, but it seems like it’s an old crowd favourite! The sound quality, as for most of the live videos, isn’t the best, and I get kind of out of breath, but it’s still cool to see. The very end of this video, someone screams so loud and long. It’s ridiculous and I love when crowds are having this much fun (thanks to twistedgraven who posted this video!)

This is November 29, 2008 in the Outback Lodge in Charlottesville, VA. A small and intimate show with a fun crowd. I love it!

(Thanks CompTechMike for posting the video!)

If you don’t own this song, don’t let the guilt consume you! Spend that dollar on iTunes! Or visit my web shop where I personally sign and send you stuff:

I had to start numbering the dissections so that new readers know how far we’ve come and so I can keep track! I’m working on something special for the week of the the 6th dissection which will mean we are pretty much at the half way point in dissecting “Hearts For Bullets”. I also think next week’s dissection will be presented really differently! I found a gem in my archives to share that’s never been seen before, plus I want to shake things up. Some people have asked about possibly continuing on and dissecting a few songs from “Flicker” and “Debris” this is a possibility since I’m having a lot of fun working on these but I won’t promise anything at this point. I have a feeling the next few months are going to get pretty busy with the upcoming U.S. tour and I want to do some tour blogging from the road too!

Have a great weekend! I’ll be celebrating my Birthday this Sunday and I want to ask you for a present: I’d love for you to please share my music with some one who hasn’t yet heard it, or post a link to my web site, or facebook users, please click that little “share” button down on the bottom left corner of the Ayria page. That gift from you, helping to spread my music, would be so much appreciated by me! I promise to post pictures of my disgustingly pink fairytopia cake next week ;)
xoxo
Jenn

Previous Song Dissections:
1000 Transmissions
Bad List
Invisible

Ayria Style: Meet “Head”

Head

Meet "Head"

This is my giant travelling make up case I’ve named “Head” only it’s not pronounced “head”, you have to say it like Mike Myers’ Scottish Father in the movie “So I Married An Axe Murderer” and pronounce it “Heed!” and usually yell it out! This case contains everything that makes up my head for an Ayria show such as my make up, and hair accessories. Head has had all kinds of  touring adventures. He’s been to Montreal for the Kinetik Festival, he’s driven across Canada, he’s seen the entire U.S.A., been on a tour bus with VNV Nation, and he always gets to hang out backstage. He couldn’t come to Europe last fall unfortunately, I think I’d need to get him a passport or something ;) We had on ongoing joke that I had an actual head inside the case, that already had full hair and makeup that I simply could screw on and replace with my own head for the shows. Creepy, but  funny.

I bought this case for myself last year for my birthday and I know it’s a bit excessive, since there are a lot of things in there I don’t even end up using, but it can hold absolutely everything I need on tour, and it’s great for storage of everything here at home. When I can bring head on the road, I do. It really just depends on how we are travelling and for how long we’ll be away. This is an item you’d only get to see  backstage, so here are some photos of Head in all his colourful, glittering glory:

Ayria's Head #3

Ayria's Head - Travel Make Up Case

Ayria's Head - Face & Hair Bows!

Ayria's Head - Face & Hair Bows!

Ayria's Head - Eyes!

Ayria's Head - Eyes!

Ayria's Head - Travel Make Up Case

Ayria's Head - Travel Make Up Case

Here’s a few pics I could find of Head on the road, here are some backstage shots of Head in New York City (yes, the Ayria dressing room was pink!):

Head in NYC

Head in NYC

Here’s head and I goofing around backstage in Washington D.C.

Jenn & Head hanging out backstage in Washington D.C.

Jenn & Head hanging out backstage in Washington D.C.

And finally, here’s Head and I in Salt Lake City, UT.  I’m obviously looking for Head, who’s hiding near the back.

Jenn & Head in Utah

Jenn & Head in Utah

The weird thing is, I also have a teddy bear named “head” (pronounced the same way) who lives on my bed and has a head too big for his body to ever be able to sit up right! I love plushies with disproportionately large noggins. Here’s my other Head who stays at home while I tour:

Other Head

Other Head

Anyways, hope you enjoyed this silliness!  I thought I’d ease into some make up stuff by first introducing you to make up case Head, the keeper all things colourful needed for a big sparkling head.

Much love ♥
Jennifer