Matt’s Music Monday: A Song Called “Version”

Hello.  My name is Matthew Wayne Stillwell, but feel free to call me Matt, if you’d like.  It’s Monday, and that means to I get to snatch up The Object’s blog from Winston for a moment.

Just in case you don’t know, I record sounds.  Some of those sounds make the score for The Object.  Some are for projects with other people I collaborate with.  Some are used for personal ideas I have, such as albums.  And several are so off-the-wall or impractical that they never really see the light of day.

Each Monday, I’m going to share a recording that could have originated from any of these sources.  And, this Monday in particular, I’d like to share one called “Version”.

The idea for this piece of music was not originally mine.  A fellow musician presented the recording and idea to me.  The concept was intriguing:  He had created a piece of music with the intention of it being passed around, downloaded, and manipulated freely.  The goal was to allow people to take his version, and make their own version from it, essentially creating what would hopefully be an “evolving” recording.

And since I’m now sharing it here, feel free to download it, chop it up, record over it, mangle it, or whatever.  Anything goes.  Just be sure to pass it along somehow when you’re finished, so other people can work on their “version”.  Perhaps one day you’ll hear it somewhere, and it will be almost unrecognizable.

If you decide to make a “Version”, I’d love to hear it!







Matt’s Music Monday: Dirt in the Ground

English: Tom Waits during an interview in Buen...

English: Tom Waits during an interview in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yeah, it’s Tuesday, but we’ll pretend otherwise for a moment.  This is the first installment in a new series of posts.  Check the blog on Mondays to see the next installment.

To kick off MMM, our musician/composer Matthew Wayne Stillwell has shared a cover song he recorded entitled “Dirt in the Ground”, written by Tom Waits.

According to Matt, this song’s raw sound reflects the atmosphere of his upcoming album, which he is currently recording.

Check out Matt’s most recent album, Radio Friends at CDBaby.

If you like what you’re hearing follow Matt on Facebook.

Listen to “Dirt in the Ground” by Matthew Wayne Stillwell

Haven’t heard the original?

Christmas Recommendations–Music

English: This is a photograph of rapper Hopsin...

English: This is a photograph of rapper Hopsin in his basement recording studio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kylie and I put up a single run of Christmas lights across the front wall of our apartment.  We also bought and wrapped our first presents.  The holiday spirit haunts us early this year.  We even have a gingerbread candle burning on the table.

Thanksgiving is coming up in two days, and I don’t know if you participate in the Black Friday riots to kick off the nationwide pre-Christmas shopping spree, but we’re doing another free promotion for Book One on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.  If you know anyone with a Kindle, feel free to recommend it to them.

I’ve been drinking strawberry wine from the farmer’s market tonight, so I thought this would be a good time to give some recommendations for Christmas gifts.  I’m going to do this as much as possible until the year is over, with emphasis on things I’ve discovered this year.  Let’s start with music . . .

Two Recommended Albums

Up From Below by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros


I’ve discovered two new and exciting musicians this year, both up-and-comers, largely (or completely) independent, and completely different from one another.

The first is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, a folk, blues, rock, hippie band in no way represented by these genre tags.  Kylie and I saw them live with two friends at Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville a few months ago.  The only other band I’ve ever seen who delivers such a crisp performance while seamlessly changing tempo, improvising, jamming, etc., is the Dave Matthews Band.

The front man of the group, Alex Ebert, shares the stage with his wife, Jade Castrinos.  Wait, this is the internet.  I can just embed a YouTube video.  And I know what I’m going to pick.  Their David Letterman performance of “Man on Fire” from their newest album Here:

My other recommendation is Hopsin, a completely self-produced rapper who even makes his own music videos.  Hopsin raps in a way that makes you feel like he’s speaking to you directly.  He raps in conversation, in speeches.  It’s quite unique.  He also acknowledges what the music industry has done to rap music and seeks to have a positive influence on others through poignant and revealing parody.

Here is an example of what Hopsin is all about.  It’s called “The Ill Mind of Hopsin 5” and again, I warn you, this music contains explicit language and adult themes.  Please do not click play if you are one who is easily offended:

What do you think of these guys?

Pieces of Barry on a Coathanger

Contrary to what the title might imply, our beloved attorney Barry Schafer is not dead.  Strips of his flesh do not currently dangle from a coat hanger.  He’s alive and well and, as you know, about to unleash Hell upon the city of Louisville, if anyone is left alive for Book Two at all.  No, “Pieces of Barry” is an old short story.  Today I’m experiencing a little nostalgia after receiving a message from Matt saying he’d dug up some of the old recordings from the band we formed in high school and

uploaded one to Soundcloud.  That got me thinking about all the time I used to spend holed up in my attic-space bedroom cranking out short story after short story, only breaking to strap on a bass guitar and go make terrible noises with my friends, who were much better musicians than me.

Ceramic gun art by David Hellman

Recent work by David Hellman. Photo Copyright David Hellman, 2012.

Matt and I started a band in high school with our friend David Hellman, an amazing drummer who now has a master’s degree in ceramic arts.  We’ve all been friends for years.  In the summer of 2009, I rented a room from David for three weeks while I attended an advanced writing workshop at Western Kentucky University under the instruction of Pulitzer Prize-finalist Lee Martin.  A lot of Sailor Jerry’s rum bottles turned up empty during that time.

David and Matt were and still are serious musicians.  I was only in the band to pluck away a simple bass line.  I was writing my first novel at the time and wasn’t serious about playing music.  Still, we had a lot of fun.

This is the song Matt uploaded to Soundcloud.  It’s called “A Crash Downstairs” and is purely instrumental.  Remember, we were just kids.  Haha.

But our collaborative efforts didn’t stop with tape-recording our underdeveloped songs on my back deck or at night in the daycare David’s mom owned and operated.

Matt and I also wrote a short story together in high school, taking turns writing exactly one page apiece, sometimes leaving a sentence unfinished, until one of us brought it to conclusion.

stack of short stories by Winston Emerson

Stack of old stories.

“Pieces of Barry” told the tale of a man whose wife cheated on him with an attorney named Barry, who also turned out to be an alien.

When we started to develop the idea for The Object, I had no recollection of this link: that two projects Matt and I worked on together, ten years apart from one another, share a character named Barry, an attorney.

Now I’m sitting here in front of a stack of short stories six inches thick.  It’s been quite a while since I looked through them all.  Maybe I should go through them, find one I’m not ashamed to let people read, and post it on here by taking photos of every page.

Want to read a story I wrote in high school?  Let me know and I’ll start rooting through them.  I may even pick a few, give you a synopsis, and let you vote on which one you want to see.

An Interview with The Object’s Musical Composer, Matthew Wayne Stillwell

Matthew Wayne Stillwell is a writer of nearly all genres of music, including some that have no names.  When not composing scores for episodes of The Object, Matthew works on his own albums.  Radio Friends, his latest work, is now available at most online retailers, and we’ve managed to pull him away from his soundboard long enough to talk to us:

1) Tell us a little about yourself and your music.

There’s really not much to say about me personally- I’m not very interesting. But, I’ve always had a fascination with sound and music. That fascination really started some time in the early 90’s, when my parents would let me tinker with their boom box. It had a cassette player, a record button, a built-in microphone, and it ran on batteries. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9. I’d wander around with that thing for hours, recording noises and, occasionally, stuff off the radio, including commercials and static. I remember figuring out how to get it to record with the tape tray partially open, and I’d deliberately stick a pencil in there to get the tape to drag while it was recording. Just to see what I could get it to sound like.

2) What inspired the name of the album?

Sarcasm, kind of. Every track on Radio Friends is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike something you’d hear on the radio. Pick a person at random sometime, and ask them what they think of the radio. Most will have something negative to say about it. So, “radio friendly” doesn’t necessarily make a “radio friend”, if that makes sense.

3) Name some of your favorite musicians and tell us why they’re important to you.

Originality and/or sincerity are the most important artistic factors, in my opinion. If you’re doing that, you’re probably going to catch my interest. Of course, both of those factors are very subjective, just like music itself. That being said, I listen to a lot of different musicians, in a lot of different styles. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for me to pick a few favorites. I don’t mention it often, but I sometimes even go a while without actively listening to music at all, especially when I’m working on new ideas.

If I could, I’d like to say this to anyone who may be reading: If you’re not already, please open your mind and ears to some of the more “obscure” music out there. Local and independent musicians need all the support they can get. After you do some digging, you might just be pleasantly surprised by some of the music you find. And, if you like what you hear, let them know you’re listening.

4) Do you work with other musicians or go it alone?

Sometimes I record with or for other people. And, if I know I’m welcome, I’ve been known to show up for a jam session. I enjoy jamming, especially if things are just made up on-the-spot.

But, musically-speaking, I’m fairly reclusive most of the time. Project 10 and Radio Friends was just me. If I’m working on something I have a definite direction for, and can do by myself, I’d rather not muddy it up by getting other people involved.

5) What’s it like composing music for The Object?

It’s a blast! Although I’m working with two other people, I essentially have complete creative freedom, because each of us contributes in a different medium. I really like seeing how the story, artwork, and music come together each episode- our artistic styles seem to work really well together, for some reason.

The process I go through for each episode’s recording varies, depending on what the particular episode is about, but I try to stick with certain tones and sounds. There’s definitely a theme going on.

6) What’s your favorite track on Radio Friends? What one song would you suggest for first-time listeners?

Predictably, I’m going to say I like every track on here equally! It’s also really difficult to suggest a track for other people, because all of the tracks are quite different from each other. Maybe people will leave feedback about their favorite tracks off the album…

7) What upcoming projects do you have in the works?

Of course, there’s always The Object, but, beyond that, I’m working on an EP right now. It’s completely a capella, although there aren’t any lyrics, really- just vocal sounds like beatboxing and humming. I’m also letting myself edit and alter the vocal takes however I want. A lot of it doesn’t even sound like a voice at all. If I decide to make it publicly available, I imagine more than a few people are going to find it very strange to listen to.

I’ve also been brainstorming ideas for the next album. If everything goes as expected, it’s going to be drastically different from anything I’ve ever done. I’ll probably have to get some other people involved. I’m hoping to combine tonal qualities from decades ago- everything from the 40’s to the 70’s- together to make something fresh sounding. Hopefully, it’ll prove interesting.


You can listen to samples of Radio Friends and buy the album at CDBaby or Emusic.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @StillwellMusic