Friday, July 31, 2009

CHAD MACro Photography!

While I was practicing my guitar melody for City Lights, Chad earned himself a spot on the contributing photographers list when he snagged up my camera and applied his signature macro shooting style to some captures of me in the studio. Here are some of his photos.

Photography by Chad Macomber

Back in the studio!!!

How have I not crashed yet while making these video updates. haha

"I'm Not Gonna Chug The Beer"

I have said it before but I'll say it again - it'd be awesome to have someone record our humorous mishaps in a more candid way so moments like this don't happen. haha Attempts to capture something funny never seem to be successful when you're looking for them.

"This Is Kinda a Dumb Video..."

City Lights Practice Run

"Alright...I'm Ready To Do This."

Damn straight, buddy.

"All We Need Is Reassurance"

Stand took a little bit of finagling to get right with its many guitar effect changes, slide operation and crazy note solo work but through some punches, separate track recording and another beer, Mr. Macomber nailed it all and it is simply beautiful! I am "reassured" that this song will be great.

Chad is a musical genius. (yes dude, I admit it. haha)

Candid Camera gone WRONG!

Chad really has nailed his City Lights lead guitar part and it brings the song to life in a big way. Don't mind the messed up solo part, he got it down in later takes and it's great! ***WARNING SPOILER***

(and whoever set up this camera didn't stabilize it that well.....who could THAT be!!?)

July 23rd Stand & City Lights Work

Mr. Macomber came back to the studio on July 23rd to work on his guitar parts for Stand and City Lights. Once again he plowed right through his sections with ease and confidence, leaving a little bit of room for some "improvisation" with City Lights and space for me to overdub my own guitar melody that I have had in mind for the song. Very cool to combine ideas and I'm happy to say that it worked out nicely!

Here are some photos of the night. Of course, I managed to spill beer VERY close to Dave's console. Eeek!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back In The Practice Space!

On Monday the 20th I reunited with Marcin and Cullen at the practice space to go over Cullen's drum parts for Stand and Circles. Cullen is out on tour now with his band Kuuluuko and will be returning at the end of the month and we will be getting started on the final songs he has to drum on. He is pretty set for Stand as we played it a lot for the show but Circles, Passing Into August and Do What You Can are all songs he has yet to get down solid. He will though and it will be greatness.

Here are the photos from Monday's practice taken by my girlfriend, Melissa. Her artistic touch has graced this project in a number of visual ways including posters, potential album art and blog photos.

Hi Dunc! Hey Marcin!

The Return of the Baby Xylophone!!!

...Trying Your Best to Write Them Down on Paper...

" they're still clear inside your head, please try not to forget...."

Well we DID forget the piano notes to Bicycle on the Ice that Marcin wrote a few months ago. haha But alas they were written down this time around. ;)

Here is he trying to figure out what he created a few months ago by listening to the demo we recorded at his place in Newton. It didn't take long for him to relearn his parts and get them down on paper and in the song. Cheers!


Dave and Marcin are taking the wheel on Bicycle on the Ice piano parts and I am in awe at how pretty things are starting to sound. Here is a clip of the beginning stages of piano development orchestrated by Dave himself. Sounding great. ***SPOILER ALERT***

July 7th Recording Session

After our successful debut as Carnival Hero in Marblehead on July 4th, we once again hit the studio this time revisiting the song that kicked off this entire project-Bicycle on the Ice. Here are some photos of Marcin and Dave working their piano magic for the song. It's sounding really beautiful. (I apologize for the silly cross eyed photos. We can't ALWAYS be serious, after all :))

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Not really music related but I have to share this amazing news. It looks as if they have developed a drug that haults the production of Familial Amyloidosis, the disease that killed my mom, aunt and many other family members throughout the years and that my sister and I both have inherited. Hello, Amy....goodBYE, Amy? :) It's lookin' so...

(thank you to my friend Jill Currier for finding this article today)

Update on no updates!

I apologize that it has been a week and no updates have been made to the blog! I do have a couple of sessions worth of stuff to put up and will do so by the end of the week. Tomorrow, Chad is going into the studio to record his parts for City Lights and Stand and then he'll be all done until we do the live version of Hello, Amy! So that will be another batch of photos and video to put up.

Lots coming! Thank you for your patience :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The City Lights Shimmer!

Last night Dave and I looked over our list of "to-dos" and decided that a lot of it took much more mental power than either of us possessed in those late hours. Dave is battling a heavy cold and so we kinda took it easy. He did however have enough creative power to come up with a great idea. Basically we're at a stage where I have been doubling up my acoustic guitar parts to make the songs more full. Turns out we did it for Horizons way back already but still had to do it with City Lights. So last night we attacked that song with a different approach. Instead of just by using my acoustic Breedlove again to double the tracks, Dave pulled out one of his electric guitars and we miked that guitar without plugging it in. Miking just the strings created a nice "shimmering" effect to the song while filling it up just enough. It sounds great.

I am always impressed with Dave's ideas!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

R.I.P. The Message for the Week

My thoughts go out to my friends at The Message for the Week who lost their jobs at the paper due to an announcement by the owner to stop publication last week. I feel fortunate to have gotten my music story into one of the last issues and I thank Bob Smith and Joe Milliken for their work on getting that ready for me both in print and online.

These guys are super talented and I know that whatever they end up doing next will be great and they'll be happy.

Thanks again guys for all your help!

T-Shirt Design Poll

In the next month or so, I'm going to present a number of different ideas for T-shirt designs that I would like you all to help vote on for the best 2 or 3 that I would use for merchandise. Some concepts brewing are of course a sketchy looking bicycle on the front, a tree with a person next to it (see banner graphic...) and some other lyric based art ideas.

Keep an eye out for my concept art soon!

Passing into August soon....

August 1st is just around the corner and it's my goal to release yet another song on this day. Yep, you guessed it: Passing into August!

I wrote this song back in 2003 on or around August 1st after coming up with the concept at a Springfield, VT gas station during the exact transition from July to August. My long time friend Mike Rossi was in the car and I remember having that feeling that we both would have been going back to school in Sarasota, FL that month had we not just graduated. I actually remember yelling up to him - "Hey Mike! We're passing into August!" The song is very much about moving on from close bonds and relationships with people but still doing your best to hold those ties together. As time goes on, it gets harder and harder to do so and I think it's a natural, yet sad process we all must go through.

In two weeks I hope to release some form of the song to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of when I went to school and formed so many of the bonds I still have today. Passing Into August was written in honor of these people...and for those I have lost touch with.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tweet Tweet!

Oh goodness, I have done the unthinkable (for those of you who know me know that this could be interesting):

Yes, I have signed up for Twitter. Now keep in mind this will ONLY be used for What To Keep & Let Go updates and I do not plan on announcing when I'm spreading ketchup on my burger or taking off my socks or anything. This is simply just to keep you all a little more informed on the progress of the album recording as it's happening.

....unless I get obsessed and it gets out of hand. haha no way.

Follow me!

Official Website Rough Concept

I am gearing up to really start advertising this project with a new website, posters, t-shirts, handouts, etc. Here is the first concept of the official website that I'm planning for. It will feature a music player on the main page as well as links for News, Bios, Lyrics, Shows, etc.

As always you will be informed of the progress of the site and other forms of promotion.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

So Lucky.. have such amazing talent behind this project. Thank you again guys.

The Interview (Because I think it's coming offline soon)

Dylan Duncan – Music And Creativity In Dealing With Life And Loss
Story by Robert F. Smith, Editor, photos courtesy of Dylan Duncan Tuesday, June 30, 2009 9:24 AM

Over the past few years I’ve had a chance to meet and get to know a group of remarkably creative young men and women who grew up in the Chester/Ludlow area. I don’t know if it’s in the water, but these kids have grown into seriously talented young adults who play music, have bands, write songs, record CDs, make films, write soundtracks, draw and paint.

Though most of them have moved out of the area, we’re already in the process of creating Local Musician’s Showcase features on several of them to update the area on what they are accomplishing, and this is the first.

I met Dylan Duncan several years ago when he made a film on haunted sites in Vermont, which I did a feature on, and shortly after that he joined The Message as a graphic designer for a year or so before moving to the Boston area and work as a production artist.

In addition to graphic design, Dylan is also an illustrator, artist, cartoonist, singer, songwriter and musician.

Dylan and I have been e-mailing back and forth for a few weeks now in order to put this Showcase piece together, and his comments will be in italics.

Dylan is in the process of writing and recording a CD, What to Keep & What to Let Go, to be released later this year, and we wanted to get the word out. The first single, “Ask You,” was released in May on the 12th anniversary of his mother’s death. It will be the final song on the CD.

Dylan, 29, has recently found out that he has the same disease that killed his mother, grandmother and aunt, Familial Amyloidosis.

Dylan dedicated the album to his mother, and explained why.

Dylan: It is definitely dedicated to my mom, I think, because it was mostly my experiences with her illness and death that helped fuel my creativity and that need to "share my story".

A lot of the songs on the album deal with change and growth without a special guidance like a mother, taking people into ones life that can help fill that void and make you grow and see life the way you need or would want to.

On the flip side of that, the album deals with the decisions to keep things away that negatively influence you; What To Keep & Let Go being the name of the album, my songs deal really with my life between 2003 and today, a period I think that really started defining who I am.

There was tragedy, realization, sadness and hope all wrapped into a good solid chunk of time. Moving from Vermont to Boston really helped bring the album to life, having dealt with relationship issues, disease, fear of getting close to people and ultimately becoming a much stronger person in the end. The things I learned from my mom and the person I became because of her life and death are very prominent in the themes of the album. And so she is entirely a part of it.

RFS: Who played with you on the CD?

Dylan: My good friends Marcin Kuc, Cullen Corley, Chad Macomber and our very own Brendon Thomas of Chester are all providing their musical talents on the record, helping to bring these songs to the emotional level they truly need.

When the album is complete, it will hopefully be available digitally on iTunes and on the official site as well as in hard copy at shows and performances for now. I will be playing out more when the album is further along.

RFS: How did you first become interested in playing?

Dylan: I first had an interest in music and playing guitar in my first year of college when I was mesmerized by the sound of the acoustic guitar my friend Chad Macomber was playing across the hall. He'd play songs like “Tears in Heaven” or “One” by U2. Definitely a guy heavily influenced by this band and so I learned a lot of those songs to start. "Desire" was actually one of the first tunes that helped me to learn quick transitions from one chord to another. Great exercise and really seemed to pave the way to more complicating songs and ultimately my own material.

I learned on a cheap Epiphone acoustic guitar that I got from Sam Ash music down in Sarasota, FL. I now play on a Breedlove and Ovation Celebrity Roundback. I am gearing up to learn piano for my next album project. I play a mean egg shaker too. I have been playing guitar, singing and songwriting for a little under 10 years now. Definitely a sidestep from an illustration and design focus (which I do now still).

RFS: What are your musical influences?

Dylan: Let's see, they range from such singer songwriters as Mat Kearney and Ryan Adams, bands like U2, Death Cab for Cutie and classic groups like the Beatles and I absolutely love Tracy Chapman and could probably listen all day to anything that goes well with red tail lights and rain drops. Chill music like Iron & Wine and William Fitzsimmons is always good. The music I grew up listening to is quite embarrassing! I think my first CD was the Free Willy soundtrack because I loved that Michael Jackson track on there. I was big into Lynyrd Skynyrd and Barenaked Ladies live albums for a while too.

My current album is a mixed bag of soft acoustic tunes and pop rock stuff. Next time around I want it to spill right out as if there was no plan.

RFS: How do you go about writing a song?

Dylan: I used to find that coming up with a great acoustic chord arrangement was the best way for me to get a song going; mumbling lyrics that wouldn't be final over this and then later writing out what I really wanted to say.

The problem I found with that was trying too hard to find words that fit the phonetics of what I did in my mumbling. You can miss out on a lot that you're wanting to say when you're trying to make a lyric sound a certain way instead of it just existing as is.

So I now write lyrics first and then put the music around them. It's much more real that way.

RFS: Will you be performing up this way anytime soon?

Dylan: I definitely want to try make my way up to Vermont to start playing around on my home turf. I have a goal someday to try and drive all around New England and the East Coast promoting not only my songs but reaching out to people about my disease. I have a song called "Hello, Amy" and it talks about my meeting & accepting of this sickness within myself and it's my hope to create the "Hello, Amy" Tour and talk about the disease while playing my music.

RFS: How has the experience of writing and recording this emotionally powerful CD affected you?

The thing I'm finding so interesting is how my life in this last year has really taken on the themes of these songs that I wrote years ago. I really am finding that I am having to learn really what to keep and what to let go in my life. It's fascinating to see it all happening around me and I really do believe that at the conclusion of the album I will have answered my very own question.

You can find some demo tracks of the album being recorded at

The albums progress can be seen here and is updated quite frequently with photos, clips and thoughts at

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stu-Stu Studio!

Sorry Phil Collins, bad play on words. haha

But we're back in the studio tonight with a new schedule and heavy ambition to finish up the record! I hope to get most or all of the music recorded in July and put down the vocals and finishing touches in August. I'd like to set aside September and part of October for mixing and mastering as well as CD duplication and promotion with a final release date sometime in November.

That's the plan! We'll see how it goes!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Carnival Hero Saves The Day! (And keeps the rain away)

With sun shinin and people smilin, our show at the Marblehead Festival of the Arts on the 4th of July was a huge success (with a few technical mishaps but who cares!) Carnival Hero made people laugh, sing along, clap and ask for more as we rocked out to great cover songs like Jackson 5's I want You Back and The Proclaimers I Wanna Be (5oo Miles) as well as some originals and pop makeovers like Beyonce's All The Single Ladies. Great time had by all and we'll hopefully be playing again real soon!

Check out some photos of the event.