The Making of ALIAS (Diamonds In The Rough)

indie-rock-production-musicBy Jeff “Skin” Wade (@SkinWade)

Recorded over several months in two different studios in two different states by a group of people that come from vastly different musical backgrounds – Alias is a true collaboration in every sense of the word.

It started with the production/songwriting tandem of Jersey Kid and Brave Helios, the alter-egos for two talented musicians who had been playing in alt-rock bands together in the Dallas area since the early 90s. Heavily ensconced in the thriving Deep Ellum music scene of twenty years ago, they started a hybrid spin-off group known as The Super Local Heroes and took on those heroic monikers as part of the vibe. It was fun, a lark, and a way to be “completely different performers” than they’d been in the past.

Skip ahead to now, nearly two decades later – their family lives and responsibilities have changed, and they’ve left the band days behind; living in different states, both working at studios during the day as their primary gigs.

They encountered a lot of different people at the studios from vastly different backgrounds. They settled into a routine of staying late whenever the opportunity presented itself and crafting songs in varied styles whenever folks at the studio wanted to stick around and create. It was a way to fine-tune their production and engineering skills while broadening their musical horizons. It was also a blast.

They began swapping music files with one another on different things they’d been working on, and each guy would find things to add or tweak to their good friends’ tracks. And because the backgrounds of the musicians they were working with were so diverse, they never knew what style of music was going to show up in their inbox. They strived to surprise their musical counterpart that knew the other so well.

That attitude spilled into the sessions they were recording, as well. How would it sound to push this metal guitarist into the role of R&B bass player? Or a rapper into a drummer? Or a country singer into a dance artist? It quickly turned into a Karaoke-styled exercise in songwriting. One night, pop rock à la Neon Trees; the next week, trippy, psych-pop akin to The Flaming Lips. A week later, some 1200 miles away, they’d take a run at 60s girl groups or modern folk rock.

The producers encouraged the artists and musicians to create musical aliases for themselves and to think creatively like an alter-ego. So Dawn Millennium and Moses Purée were born.

Before they knew it, their exercise in the craft of song-creating had yielded a nice compilation of contemporary gems – a beautiful collection of diamonds from the rough. With lyrical ideas ranging from love to hope to forging ahead, Alias unknowingly came together to represent pure, unbridled creation through music. Completely free of marketing and artistic direction, taking on an alias liberated these artists to make great songs they’d never imagined was a part of their musical identity.

Alias was unleashed…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeff "Skin" Wade and his partner 
Ruben Ayala are the production team that oversees and 
develops the Velocity Label for FirstCom. He's a full-
on music and basketball nerd and his family seems OK 
with tolerating him, which is nice.
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