Bucky kept coming down to buy cookies. He almost bought a
whole entire table, but you convinced him to stop. He needed to stay fit for
missions, even if his metabolism was as face as a race car. You would shy away
from his advances and them change the subject when he would try to ask you out.
You could never say yes.
You were in a happy relationship. Taylor, your boyfriend,
was the perfect gentleman. He opened doors, pulled out chairs, and kept his
hand on your lower back. He was absolutely amazing, and what you felt for Bucky
confused you. His 40’s charm along with his beautiful face made you question
everything, but you knew you were in love with Taylor. You guys even talked
Leaving the tower, you headed back to your shared apartment.
Taylor had been gone one business for his job all week and you missed him
terribly. That is probably the explanation for your misguided feelings. Right?
On this day in music history: May 15, 1981 - “Long Distance Voyager”, the tenth studio album by The Moody Blues is released. Produced by Pip Williams, it is recorded at Threshold Studios in West Hampstead, London and RAK Studios in St. John’s Wood, London from February 19, 1980 - Mid April 1981. The bands first new release since “Octave” nearly three years before, it is the first to introduce new keyboardist Patrick Moraz, replacing original founding member Mike Pinder. The project is The Moodies first to be recorded in their own studio (having purchased the old Decca Recording Studios in London) The album in part takes its title from the names of the spacecrafts launched by NASA in 1977, with some of the songs following a theme related to them. Spinning off three singles including “Gemini Dream” (#12 Pop), and “The Voice” (#15 Pop), it is a major critical and commercial success both in the US and the UK. Originally released on CD in 1986, it is remastered and reissued in 1997, with the single edit of “The Voice as a bonus track. It is also issued as an SHM-CD in Japan in 2008, and again in 2014 as a single layer SACD SHM-CD, packaged in a mini-LP gatefold sleeve. "Long Distance Voyager” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, peaking at number seven on the UK album chart, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
There’s almost no reason for me to talk about it since everyone and his grandmother has slammed this movie, including popular internet critics Jontron and The Nostalgia Critic.
It’s been called the worst animated movie of all time for it’s cheap, amateurish animation, it’s existence as a blatant advertisement for food products, and it’s terrible script that’s completely unsuited for it’s target audience.
It’s been ridiculed for being so terrible despite its $65 million budget and all star cast which included Charlie Sheen, Wayne Brady, Eva Longoria, Christopher Llyod, and Hillary Duff.
Well, not only am I a semi-literate idiot but I’m also a hideous liar because HERE IT IS!
While there’s nothing left of the film for what it is to talk about, there are some things to say in regard to what it could have been.
Having seen the movie and knowing full well what it’s like in all of the worst ways, seeing this trailer, holy shit! It’s like, night and day, its practically a completely different movie from the final product.
I’m seriously flabbergasted; there’s fluid character movement, facial animation, eye tracking and blinking, and things have texture to them.
I just– I can’t believe it! I absolutely can’t believe it that this is what the movie was originally going to be. The production studio, Threshold Entertainment are no slouches when it comes to animation; they’ve produced several 3D and 4D animations for theme park attractions as well as CG animated films for the likes of Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Lego.
Long ago they were even touted as “the next generation Pixar.”
Hard to believe, eh?
Now’s the time for the big question that I’m sure is on all of our minds. If you take away all of the drama of the theft of the movie’s files, the outrageous budget, the foolhardy determination of the director to finish the film, and the poor quality of the end product– would it have actually been a good movie?
I’m going to say most likely not.
If the script for the originally movie was anything like the finished product with it’s out of place sexual undertones, copious amounts of food puns, and poor pacing then it still wouldn’t have been a very good watch.
There’s also the fact that even if Threshold was a dynamite production team that could efficiently animate for cheap, the bulk of the movie’s budget was spent on paying the celebrity cast and licensing all the food mascots to be shown in the movie.
It makes you think that they weren’t interested in telling a good story, just in showing off that they got all these mascots just for the sake of having the mascots. Hell, the entire core concept of the movie is that a product can’t exist without its mascot, and if the mascot dies, the product dies. It’s not dependent on whether or not people spend their money on it. The human factor in a product’s existence is non-existent.
Ya know, that’s basically apart of the main plot of the movie Idiocracy.
The real kick in the ass of it is most of the owners of the mascots ended up backing out of the production due to all the delays, script changes, and problems the film faced after the theft.
Lucky for the movie though I think a grand total of about 8 mascots stuck with it to the end. Good on them… I guess.
That about sums up the whole thing. We had a movie by a promising animation team that sought to capture hearts the same way Toy Story did but an act of theft sent it all crumbling down.
We can speculate all we want about the quality of the movie if it hadn’t been stolen but we’ll probably never know what it was actually like.
Finally I gotta ask, what the hell even is an Xobite?
An Interview with Michael Keire of Threshold Studio
Michael Keire is a music producer and engineer from Hamilton, Ontario and the owner of Threshold Studio. I first met Michael through Dark Mean and The Rest (almost simultaneously at the Dark Mean CD release show). Since then most of the indie bands in Hamilton that I’ve interviewed or featured have worked with or are working with Michael.
During my first studio visit almost a year ago I got to experience the environment that bands record in at Threshold. It is a warm place completely open to the sharing of ideas and the realization of goals. After recording work was done (with Amber Edgar and Greg Preston), we enthusiastically blasted Ghostface Killah for half an hour on the studio equipment.
Growing up listening to rap, hip hop and constantly skateboarding created a strong sense of DIY ideals and a healthy resistance to conformity. Pair that with an interest in drumming and the stage was set for Michael to discover recording and the creative structures inherent. Now he is a confident and dedicated producer who has combined systems and communication to help bands generate the sounds they are looking for.
In the past we’ve spoken about Hamilton as well. His insight and honesty about the positives and negatives with regards to music and making it in our hometown were refreshing. Granted, there are some very exciting things happening in the Hamilton music scene but there are also some realities that must be realized, although some are keen to simply look past them. While we didn’t get into these topics in our most recent conversation, his comprehension of the Hamilton music scene and our discussion of it have helped me see things in an interesting and more informed manner and I thank him for that.
In a recent visit to the studio we talked about Threshold as his workshop, some of the bands he is working with and the state of indie music in Hamilton.
To start with, tell me a bit about the idea behind your studio and how it developed.
MK: Over time I’ve been working on streamlining the process and working more and more on what people are coming for. When I started the Vibewrangler thing it was very much a catchall and, you know, ‘it needs to be this, and it needs to be this’ and it was a shotgun approach whereas this space is very focus on me mixing records and making records with indie bands.
And how long have you had Threshold now?
MK: It’s been about two years.
And do you think that up until a few months ago, when you started to streamline the process, it was a flux between you offering something specific and bands wanting something specific? Obviously it is cooperative but how does that first connection happen with the bands you work with?
MK: Yeah, it is always cooperative. I’m not like, a Nashville guy that has a signature sound and that is the only way it is going to be done. There is a sonic thing that I do but I’m not picking up a guitar and saying ‘this is the way it is going to be done.’ Aesthetically I do have a few signature things I do but I don’t there is something specific where bands come to me because they need something done but I think they come to me because they’ve heard something I’ve done that they liked and they are confident that I’ll be able to work with them to achieve something they’ll be happy with. I think it’s a general confidence that the working environment I provide will produce something that the band will be happy with.
Every time I’ve been around the studio while you’re working with someone it seems like a very open and comfortable atmosphere. I think the quality of the work is going to come out of the experience of working with you.
MK: I hope so. I like to think of it as me as joining the band. It is like, ‘ok you guys are a band but to make a record you need a new member that knows how to bring everything together and make sure the arrangements are working right to make a cool record.’
Can you elaborate a bit on working with different styles of music? Under the umbrella of indie music there is rock and alternative and electronic and mixtures of all of those. How does the actual style of music affect your approach?
MK: There are two types of records that I find myself making. If I use two young bands, like The Dirty Nil and New Hands, and the reason I mention those two bands are different maybe from what you’d assume. When I do a record like the one with The Dirty Nil its like a picture of three guys rocking the fuck out. A band like New Hands and their record have a lot of elements and layers and that requires a lot of development. It’s more impressionistic. In terms of how the pieces work it’s like a painting. So with one I just have to make it sound bad ass and make sure everyone is in the right spirit and I capture the vibe, whereas with New Hands we’re bringing the tracks in and we’re talking about what makes sense and tossing around a lot of ideas and we’re building it as we go.
Do you prefer one to the other?
MK: I’m so glad I can do both…it’s refreshing.
You’d don’t get bored of it right?
MK: I wouldn’t say bored as much as I’d say worn out by it. If you’re constantly making really heavy rock records it wears on you. If you’re constantly setting up stacks and these blasting guitars it wears on you. This way, I get to keep things fresh.
Do you have to embrace the vibe of the band you’re working with in order to get the most out of a session? Take The Dirty Nil for example. Just from seeing them play they seem absolutely relentless with their energy and party vibe, which is rad, but in the studio how does that factor in?
MK: Yeah, I like embracing the vibe (laughing). I remember when we went to the liquor store before I recorded with The Dirty Nil and I got two beers and they all looked at me like ‘No.’
(laughs) I keep hearing so many good things about them. Unfortunately that rooftop show I saw them play was plagued with technical difficulties but their singer Luke just came down into the crowd with a beer and just started singing, it was fucking awesome.
MK: That’s them man, you’re going to hear a lot of good things from them I think. They are doing some cool stuff.
So, are you originally from Hamilton?
MK: Well, I lived in Aldershot but yeah, I’ve lived in Hamilton my whole life.
And have you ever thought of leaving Hamilton to do what you’re doing?
MK: Oh, I’d love to but I don’t think I’d necessarily be leaving Hamilton but I’d love to work in other places.
Would it be under the Threshold Studios name?
MK: Well the thing is, the only reason I even gave Threshold a name was because it was easier for people to understand what it is. But this is the place I make records. Every once and a while someone comes in to mix something but this is my workshop first and foremost. It is a home base but one thing I’d like to see happen is to travel and work out of other studios and countries. It’s definitely a dream.
It seems like every band I meet up with or talk to are working with you. Do you think it is just something about how tight the scene is or word of mouth or what do you think it is that attributes to how busy you are?
MK: See, I think the thing is that most of the bands you talk to are indie bands and those are the bands I primarily work with. There are other studios in the city that are busy but I guess my name does come up a lot with indie rock. I think indie rock is the most vibrant scene right now.
It seems like that indie “family” have this fine balance between pushing their own personal bands while trying to help other indie bands out. There’s like a core group of five to ten bands that play a bunch of shows together and they all seem pretty tight. What do you think?
MK: Yeah, it is a good scene. That tight knit indie thing that Hamilton has right now isn’t necessarily how it has always been here. At one time there was a sort of crabs in a bucket vibe where there was a lot of nay-saying and if one band sort of elevated it self others would try to just drag them back down. There’s a much more positive vibe now because people are thinking bigger. They don’t see Hamilton as a be all and end all.
A lot of bands have mentioned it as a great home base.
MK: Yeah, it’s affordable, the music scene is in its history and there are a fuck load of people who play! It’s interesting because when you go to a show, especially in indie rock, the crowd is comprised of so many other players. I think that is one thing that IS hard about Hamilton. Most of the crowds at indie shows are in other bands whereas if you go to a city like Toronto there are so many people just walking around at night willing to pop in and out of a place and check out a band. On the other hand it’s pretty cool to have that big city/small town feeling in Hamilton.
And it probably is a good place for a band to build confidence and get motivated to explore cities like Toronto and see what they can generate there. Do you think the scene will ever get saturated in Hamilton?
MK: I don’t think it will because I think there is a lot of growth, in every respect. If you get more bands, you’ll get more clubs and more studios and it will naturally grow. That’s if it keeps going this way. It seems like it will.
It doesn’t seem like it is going too fast and that everything is just granted to them.
MK: Right. People still have to work hard. It keeps it honest and things that you have to work hard for have a real foundation. Things that come easy don’t. If you aren’t really grinding it out and building relationships than a project is just like a flash in a pan type thing.
And you played drums a bit didn’t you?
MK: Yeah I played drums but not really. To be honest every time I played drums in a band it was strictly to get in a record, just so I could be in that space. It was always about me trying to get the guys together so I could set up mikes and record it.
That’s a really interesting motivation for someone playing music or an instrument. Usually it’s about writing songs and playing shows and releasing materials but for you it was always about the process of recording.
MK: Yeah and it is to the point now where I’m so critical of it, that when I get behind a kit and I’m not playing exactly what I want to hear I just get discouraged and fed up of it. And when I listen to music now I’m always in the process of it.
Tell me a little bit about your process. I don’t consider myself to be well learned in the processes that go into making a great sound or record and I’ve always been interested in that aspect of recording.
MK: Well the first thing I do with a band is track everything on tape. It captures tones and sounds so much more realistically than a computer. It strips the limitations of doing everything on a computer.
Interesting. So you’ve established something that allows you to mesh some old and new ideas?
MK: Right. By using both analog and digital I’ve developed a method for myself that allows me to capture some terrific sound then be able to handle it and control it very effectively.
And what about the process of having a band in the studio? Aside from learning the personalities of the people you are working with describe how you go about working with bands that maybe have never been in the studio before as opposed to people who’ve recorded previously.
MK: If I’m recording a full record with a band the beginning is always the longest bit but it is also the most important. It is about doing my due diligence and gaining trust from the band. Opening up a clear communication let’s them know that I’m not interested in muscling my own ideas into their work, but I want to get to a point where ideas are shared freely. It’s also about finding a common bulls-eye for the project and getting everyone to aim for it.
You almost have to develop a language with the band.
MK: Right and you have to be observant of group dynamics.
From an outsider looking in it seems to work incredibly well. The hard work you’ve put in building relationships with these bands (The Dirty Nil, New Hands, The Rest, Dark Mean, Greg Preston etc) has led to them coming back to you on numerous projects and it seems almost family-like. I guess the last thing I wanted to mention is that I think it is so cool to see you at all of the shows. I don’t know if other producers are like that but I’ve seen you countless times at shows for the bands you’ve worked with and that support is noticeable.
MK: Thanks. It’s hard because when I got to a live show with these guys I hear things I want to do with the music but it is different now because all of that control is out of my hand. When they sound amazing, live, it is really special. The show The Rest recently played at The Baltimore House is one that sticks out. They sounded absolutely incredible that night.
Thanks again Mike and I look forward to getting into the studio soon to see some bands at work.
can you write a part 2 to the dancing with the stars prompt???
It’s with a nervous breathe in that she pauses on the threshold of the dance studio, dance bag slung over her shoulder.
Enzo was nice enough to give them some forewarning as to what dance styles they’ll be doing ahead of time. The first week had been tango, the second the jive, the third the samba. With three of the most technically difficult dances out of the way, and the crop of contestants weeded out, she was almost relieved to be able to focus on some of the more visually stunning style of dances.
This week was the paso doble. While it wasn’t something she necessarily specialised in, she still had technical training in that particular style, and enjoyed choreographing routines to it.
The Paso Doble originated in Spain, supposed to mimic the aggressive movements of a bullfighter and a bull. It’s the ultimate battle of the sexes, and it’s dramatic and it’s intense and the footwork alone is insane.
In fact, maybe she was wrong, and this was the dance that was going to knock her and Klaus out of the running. She already had a few ideas of what they could run through, but she needed to know that Klaus would be able to keep up with exactly what she had in mind for him.
Klaus had very quickly turned into the bane of her existence in the best possible way. Their chemistry was insane, and they’d scored the highest with their tango in the first week of the competition, setting a record along the way. Since then they’d gone from strength to strength.
Klaus had been the perfect partner. He already kept himself in fairly good physical condition thanks to the amount of time he spent on the road playing music, so that was already a plus in his favour. He could easily complete the lifts that she demanded of him, and he didn’t whinge and complain when something got too hard.
The quiet intensity he had when he was trying to get a section of a routine down was fascinating to watch. She wondered if he was like that with his music as well.
She also wondered if he was aware of just how much she was attracted to him. Making their dance routines as sensual as possible was part of the ball game, but she couldn’t help but get flustered by their proximity sometimes, the hot stage lights on the actual dancefloor not exactly helping her case. Klaus didn’t seem to care, he was willing to go along with whatever she had planned.
Katherine had told her to just sleep with him and get over it, move on, but she wanted to keep things professional with Klaus. Best case scenario was that she still had at least 8 weeks in his company if they managed to progress through to the grand final (and hopefully win), and she did not want that awkward small talk that always happened after falling into bed with each other.
With another deep breath she finally gathers her courage and steps into the studio. Klaus’ gaze zeroes in on her right away, and she’s surprised to see him sitting up against the wall with a guitar in his lap and a pad by his side.
“Hello sweetheart.” He calls, fingers tapping against the hollow wood.
She approaches him carefully, not sure if she’s interrupted something.
“Are you ready to practice, or do you need more time to write?” She replies with a quick smile, dropping her dance bag next to the iPod dock.
Klaus carefully places his guitar into a case and flips the lid closed. The pad gets stuffed into his satchel, and he turns to hand her the coffee that he’d been hiding from her.
“You are a godsend Klaus Mikaelson.”
She watches as his lips curl into a smile, and she tips back the cup towards her mouth.
“Out of all the names that have been bestowed on me over the years, I’ve yet to hear Godsend.” Klaus’ grin is playful as he gets to his feet suddenly, towering above her as always.
“So what fresh form of torture do you have in store for me this week sweetheart?”
She just rolls her eyes, turning to throw her coffee cup in the trash.
“Well since you asked….”
She was going to officially murder whichever genius in wardrobe thought it would be a great idea to put Klaus in a black top that outlines basically everything.
He may as well dance shirtless for the whole routine instead of half of it like they’d planned.
It was far too late to protest now, and although Klaus did look slightly uncomfortable with how unforgiving the fabric was (not that he had anything to worry about on that front), he just gave her a curt nod, ever the professional.
The show as always, must go on after all.
Right on cue, the voiceover introduces them, and Klaus offers her his hand as they step out onto the floor.
Their routine is a slightly different interpretation to tradition, and it’s either going to go over well with the judges, or it’s going to get panned.
She really wanted to have fun with this routine this week. Their game of cat and mouse across the floor involves a lot of close holds, aggressive footwork, and complicated lifts.
If they’re even one beat out of time, the entire routine falls apart.
The music starts, and she falls into the routine almost automatically, slipping into that zone where she just gets it done.
Klaus trails a hand around her waist, and she spins into the circle of his arms before he flings her away from his body, catching up with her on the next three beats.
He’s absolutely nailing it, and her movements grow more daring as she slips behind him, hands gripping the fabric of his shirt and praying to every god above that it will rip as it’s supposed to, as the wardrobe department promises it does.
The shirt rips, and the audience goes nuts at the sight of Klaus’ chest on full display, glistening with sweat as he catches her around the wrist and pulls her into him, hands skating all over her as they dance sinously around each other.
They finish their routine forehead to forehead, and Klaus is staring at her like he’s suddenly seeing her for the first time, his eyes ducking down her body oh so briefly, taking in the way her leg is still hitched around his hip.
They separate, turning to face the judges table. It’s Bonnie Bennett, world famous choreographer that leans forward with a neutral smile on her face.
“Guys…” She pauses, more for dramatic effect than anything else. “That was absolutely insane.”
She can’t stop the grin from creeping across her face.
Taking off her heavy stage makeup had sort of become a ritual for her. She genuinely enjoyed wiping away the foundation and the lip stick and the heavy handed lines of eyeliner that made her eyes pop in the bright lighting.
She felt like it was returning to some form of normality before she had to come back for rehearsals again tomorrow.
She’s just wiping away the last of her mascara when someone raps on the door of the dressing room before twisting the knob.
The other dancers were long gone, and she can’t help but be a little nervous at the intrusion, fingers twitching towards her phone just in case.
Klaus pokes his head around the door, and she relaxes instantly.
“Hey great work tonight. You absolutely nailed that lift, I didn’t get a chance to tell you before.” She begins with a wan smile as Klaus closes the door gently behind him.
“Well it’s all thanks to you of course love. You’re the one that choreographs routines that make me look good each and every week. I can hardly wait to see what you come up with next.”
“Well you know me, I’m just full of surprises.” She attempts to joke, but the tension that suddenly crackles between them barely leaves any room for jesting.
“Yes you are.” Klaus pronounces softly as he steps closer to her. She lets him.
Klaus pauses, eyes sweeping over her, taking in the old shirt and pair of tights she’d changed into for the drive home.
“I like seeing you like this. I feel like I’m seeing the real you.” Klaus comments lightly, hand brushing down her arm oh so gently.
She wants to resist him, wants to push him away and tell him exactly why this is so not a good idea.
Instead she curls her hands in the fabric of his henley, tugging him down to her level so she can press her lips against his.
Klaus reciprocates in kind, hands slipping through her hair as he deepens their embrace, even as she wraps an arm around his neck to keep him close to her.
It’s a mutual decision for them to break apart, and Klaus has a genuine smile on his face when he blinks down at her, before he’s bending down once more to kiss her gently on the cheek.
“I would love to take you home sweetheart, but I’m beat and I need to sleep. But at least let me walk you to your car.”
She only hesitates for a moment before she reaches out and takes his proffered hand.