Tuneage Tutelage - New Music Monday....Shawn Farley

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Welcome back to Day 2 of JAMAICA & TUNEAGE TUTELAGE - NEW MUSIC...

OK folks - a little competition to keep y'all interested...

HEY - tell your friends about the 5 days of NEW MUSIC - September 8, 9, 10, 14 & 15.

Someone will win a CD each day (to be announced when I return) - what is better than coming to hear some new music, liking it, and then getting the CD sent to you...BAM!

Here is the contest - To the blogger that refers the most people here over the next week, you will have first choice of about 20 CDs I have plus you can opt to have me burn a CD from my personal collection- including all the bootleg concert music.

They have to come, leave a comment that makes sense and relates to the post (even if it is I like them or I hate them), leave your name in the comment so you get credit, and they must vote in the poll. I can tell who does what - believe me I can...

Come on - Pimp the New Music this week...what can it cost ya? A few friends????

Welcome to The Couch, Mr. Shawn Farley. His influences run through Van Halen, Rob Crow, Frank Zappa, Nine Inch Nails, Mike Patton and The Beatles.

This picture is on his PR page, so it tells you he has a love for the mop-tops...

Mr. Farley is doing something I have not heard of being done before. When you think about it, in this digital age, I am surprised I have not heard someone doing it already.

Farley, a Seattle boy has self-produced six CDs since 2001, both solo works and also with his trio, Half Zaftig.

From his bio we learn:
His new project, which he’s calling 5240 (correctly pronounced “fitty-two fawty” in Bostonese) is the first one where Shawn is literally doing everything, from writing the songs, to performing all of the instruments and vocals, to engineering and mixing the final results. “I’ve always worked in ‘real’ studios before, with ‘real’ engineers,” Farley admits. “But with a weekly Deadline Beast to feed, there’s almost no time for anyone else to be involved. I’ve got fifty-two songs to get out this year, so there’s a real need for speed. I’m doing everything on a laptop in my Seattle apartment. Thank you, Technology Gods.”

The seed of the idea that has become 5240 was planted in 2007, as Farley labored over the first full-length release of his Seattle trio, Half Zaftig. “Finishing Life Like Luster took a very long time,” says Farley. “Indie budgets being what they are, it had already taken us 18 months to track the album, and then we spent four months mixing, and then the record was mastered a couple of times before I was finally ready to let it go.”

“Spending that much time, focused on every little stupid nuance, starts to really sap your will to live,” Farley laughs. “It started feeling very far away from what got us all involved in music in the first place – that thrill of that first playback of something brand-new. I wanted to see if there was a way to capture that moment, and release that into the world.”

5240 is Shawn Farley’s solution. He began releasing the new songs on the first Monday in January 2009, with a new single and video by Half Zaftig, “Help Is On The Way.” Fans of Half Zaftig and Shawn’s previous solo work were excited, but skeptical. Could Farley really keep up such a frantic release schedule? Wouldn’t the quality of the work suffer?

Wander over to www.shawnfarley.com next Monday morning and judge for yourself.

Mr. Farley was kind enough to respond to our interview questions:
How long have you been playing and what was your first instrument?
I have been a guitarist now for nearly 25 years. My first instrument was piano, I took lessons when I was 9 or 10 or so, but ended up quitting because my teacher wouldn't let me try to learn songs I liked. I started with guitar a few years later.

What's the song you're most proud of writing?
What, you want me to choose between all of my little babies? ;-)
I've written quite a few tunes now, and heck, by the end of the 5240 project I'm doing this year, I'll have added 52 more tracks to the canon. If I had to choose one tune I love best it would probably be "Inscrutable You", from the Life Like Luster album I did with my Seattle trio Half Zaftig in 2007 (http://bit.ly/10WfHb). I think of all the songs I've done, that's the one that still shocks me that it ever even happened.

What's your favorite iPod track this week?
Hmmm. This week the iPod fare has been skewing kind of heavy. Probably something off the latest album by Gojira. But I have a playlist full of songs from all of Rob Crow's projects (Pinback, Heavy Vegetable, Goblin Cock, solo albums, Team Sleep, etc.) and it is never long out of my rotation. Rob Crow is my hero.

If you could craft an all-star band, who would play in it?
Wow, that's tough. My bandmates in the aforementioned trio Half Zaftig are already everything I ever wanted in a rhythm section, so it would be hard to persuade me to play with other players - BUT both Pete Johnston and Lizzy Daymont (HZ's other members besides me) play multiple instruments, so maybe I could have my buddy Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Keneally, Dethklok) play bass sometimes.

Mike Keneally is probably the perfect band member to ever have (Frank Zappa sure thought highly of him), since he can play ANYTHING that's possible on guitar and keys, and he can SING anything as well - but Mike is such a gigantic talent that he really has no business doing anything other than leading his own groups. And my friend Rick Musallam, who plays guitar in Keneally's band would be a joy to play with. Every note choice is a perfect gem. So, sounds like I'd be interested in combining my band with Keneally's band and calling it good. Oh, and, duh - Rob Crow on vocals. That would be an embarrassment of riches. And then get Matt Mahaffey to produce us in the studio. Oh my god, can somebody please make that happen?

What do you think is the most alarming media story in the last few months?
I can't understand the constant media fascination with Michael Jackson following his death, when we have a fiscal meltdown to try and come back from. That and the rampant lying and fear-mongering surrounding the health care debate. The realities of the situation are scary enough, it would be nice if we didn't distract from what really needs doing with lies and distortions.

Do you support any specific charities and how do you give back as an artist?
I support some local charities for disadvantaged/foster kids in Seattle.

What is the most adventurous food you've ever eaten?
I don't go for adventurous with food - I'm a "food is fuel" kinda guy. The last thing I need is a "surprise" in the culinary department. When I'm hungry I reach for reliable stuff where I know what the caloric and nutritional impacts are gonna be on me. Boring, I know.

What's your favorite website to get music information or news?
I find there's no one really reliable source for music news anymore. I kind of tend to pick things up from the "aggregate cloud", from the people I follow on the Twitter feed, to various blog in my RSS reader (AV Club, Lefsetz, Dubber).

Thank you Sir...my guests and I appreciate your time...

I am interested to hear more of the results from 5240.

These three are very different. "Lakewater" brings forth the Zappa influences with the rhythm and chord changes and harmony vocals in a different cadence than the lead vocals. I enjoyed this a great deal.

"Busy Girl" is a 90's English pop tune. Go on, make your comparisons to a dozen bands from that era...but I still found myself chair dancing as it played.

Finally, "Help Is On The Way" shows you Mr. Farley's Seattle grunge side. I liked all three.

Were they strong enough, individually? As I listen I believe "Lakewater" is and maybe "Help...", but to know these were all written, recorded, mixed in 7 days and then, the fact they come from the same artist, yet are so different from each other, tells me I want to hear more of this...

I want to head over to his site and listen through the first 35 weeks of music.

Mr. Farley has promised to burn a CD of 25-26 5240 songs to send to me and in turn, I will honor one of you with it.

"Lakewater" "Help Is On The Way" and "Busy Girl"... tell us what you think in comments and by clicking on one of the choices in the poll...

4 Of Your Sparks

  1. katherine. Says:
  2. The music was a bit "mechanical" for me...and there were too many background sound effects and comments. Decent melody...not sure doing it all on his own on his laptop is the best way to go

    However ...The lyrics were excellent...and the interview was intelligent and well thought out.

  3. Dianne Says:
  4. Gee, I wonder what you're doing right now

  5. Starrlight Says:
  6. Anyone who names Mike Patton as an influence is all right by me. Although it was more 80's New Wave than 90's Brit Pop for me ;)

  7. Travis Says:
  8. Sorry, I didn't care for this music.


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