[U-D-R] - Cantonment
12 years of complications - the story of Cantonment
This album has been a work in progress for a long time now. I began to work on [U-D-R]'s 3rd full length album in 1999. The working title for that album was "Version 4." The band had undergone some changes that year. I was starting to step back from the lead role on vocals and stage presence. I was happy with the way things were progressing at that point, however the momentum had started to die down.
I put together the biggest stage show I had ever done, 7 performers during the climax of the show. [U-D-R] had gone from a 2 man act to a full blown performance group. Things went well enough, but there were some disappointments. I had recorded the show and after hearing it, I decided that I needed to be off stage entirely and focus more on being a sound engineer and less an artist.
In 2000, I started a day job working with another Tucson area DJ. We speculated on ideas of starting an online radio station, starting a band and ultimately opening a nightclub. It all went about in nearly that order. We got almost everything ready to go for the online radio show, but we moved on to working on our own band (a side project for me). That band which was to be called "encode," had accumulated 14+ instrumental tracks written by myself and former a [U-D-R] keyboardist. We started working on laying down vocals, then the club interrupted.
Through most of 2002 we struggled to open Asylum Nightclub in Tucson, AZ. Myself and two other DJ's had been bouncing from place to place trying to keep the industrial scene alive in southern Arizona. We had found the opportunity to open a club of our own and spent most of our energy achieving that goal. It was truly a great thing while it lasted.
In 2003, I found myself out of work and trying to make ends meet wasn't going well. I opted to join the US Army, I still think I should have joined the Air Force. Regardless, I shipped out in May, leaving everything I knew behind for the first time in my life. Which of course, was the first uncontrollable speed bump I'd encountered in my musical hobby. I went through Basic at Ft. Benning right in the middle of summer, which was no fun, let me tell you. Headed off to Ft. Eustis in August. I graduated top of my class in November and was promptly sent off to Germany.
Ah Germany. One of two places I'd always wanted to go in my life. The first thing I discovered there, is that you have to look long and hard to find any trace of an industrial scene within 50km of an Army base. I found that with the Americans, came hip-hop, country and sports bars. I was a little disappointed to say the least. I did find a handful of clubs around Frankfurt, Mannheim and Mainz. They were a ways out of my way though so I didn't get out much. I had also found out the day I arrived, that my unit was deployed and I'd soon be joining them.
Off to Iraq I went. The deployment was almost over and I made it back to Germany for a few weeks and wrote Song for the Dead and State of Oppression. However the day after I got back, they told us the deployment was extended and I should pack by bags. I did acquire a laptop in early 2004 and was able to tinker with a few songs in Apple's GarageBand during the second half of the deployment.
I envisioned the next album to be called "Prometheus." I made up some album art and started working on music again in September 2004. I had a lot of false starts as well as having quite a few mostly complete instrumental tracks waiting on vocals. In November 2004, I probably did the worst thing I've ever done in my life. I bought some game called World of Warcraft.
In early 2005, I was afforded a unique opportunity in the Army. I got a special duty assignment (for 2 years) as a sound engineer. I had to go in and do a 30 day trial / interview, which initially my shyness nearly blew it for me. But I showed I knew what I was doing, I was a hard worker and I didn't complain when we had to work late. How could I complain about working late when I was doing what I wanted to do for a living. I did get the job and from April 2005 to May 2007, I spent my time surrounded by musicians, vocalists and 3 truckloads of studio and live sound equipment. Unfortunately, I also spent most of my free time playing WoW.
In 2007, my time in Germany was up. I was sent to Ft. Drum, pretty much the worst place I can think of living. It was in the middle of nowhere in up-state NY, hot and windy all summer and cold and snowing all winter. I tried to get back into writing music, but I still perpetuated my warcraft habit. Eventually, I could no longer tolerate Ft. Drum and reenlisted to move to Ft. Lewis (Seattle being the other place in the world I'd always wanted to live).
I arrived at Ft. Lewis in February 2008. Just like Germany, my unit was deployed and they were itching to send me to Iraq again. I headed off to war. It was a short tour, just 5 months. When I got home, I did a few pretty good instrumental songs. I was still playing warcraft to pass the time though, so not much came of it. I had met my wife shortly before I left 5 months earlier. When I got back, we started dating. This lead me to getting to know a lot more people in Seattle. After my lease was up I moved to Seattle with her. Finally, in the middle of a real city with a real scene, I was trying to find my place again.
I worked on music on and off for the next 6 months or so. All these little periods of trying to get back into things is precisely why I have 20 or so incomplete tracks I could be finishing up. I received orders for Korea in April of 2010, with a report date of August. I was displeased to say the least. I was finally happy with just about everything in my life (except for living 54 miles form work, though that gave me a lot of time to listen to music, mine and others). So I ended up in Korea, with a month or so with nothing but my laptop and clothes. I played a lot of WoW and drank too much.
I ran into someone outside the barracks wearing a VNV nation hoodie. I of course walked up and said, "hi, you're my new friend." Turned out that not only did we groove on the same music. He was also a musician about to release his first EP. After talking with him a bit, I realized how horrible I was at networking on the whole and still am. I was determined to push another [U-D-R] release. Back to the basics, just me against the proverbial world.
I had no way to record vocals, so I ran into the problem of having to rework or finish songs that already had decent vocals recorded. I picked through what I had and some of what I always wanted to touch up and rerelease. It was a bit of a stumble at first. I hadn't tried to write music in essentially 4 years. I hadn't mastered anything in 3 years. I had no studio save for a laptop and some decent monitor headphones. I got underway none the less. I started out with revamping the website, updating information, pushing "demos" of the songs to be reworked and started into trying to make the best of what I had.
After 4 months of trial and error and re-honing my skills, Cantonment has finally surfaced from the miasma of 6 years of relationships, military and gaming. I settled on the name "Cantonment" early on, as a way of saying that it is music I made while in the Army. Though that is only partially true, some of the songs are from as early as 1999. They are none the less much more than what they were then. I'm looking towards the future again. When I look around me, there's still a lot of unreleased material I want to revisit. So I'm torn between doing another Cantonment like release or going full on new material with a few treasured artifacts popping back up.
I'm going to be out of the Army in December of 2011 and headed back to school to get a degree in Audio Design Technology. I've not played warcraft for more than about 3 hours in the last 3 months, so that obstacle is gone from my life. Time to get back to writing music, enjoying life and getting back to Seattle! That's about it for the story of Cantonment. If you've read this far, thanks and I hope you enjoy the music I have made for you.