Interview No. 19
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest is another wonderful singer that comes to us from the Newgrounds Audio Portal. He has covered the songs Hallelujah, Mad World, as well as Somewhere Out There in which he did a duet with LadyArsenic. He is one of the most dedicated artists on Newgrounds and you can find more of his original music through iTunes. He is none other than Caleb Harvey also known as @Cayler.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: Frankly I don't remember how I found it, but I do remember being fascinated by flash animations back in the summer of '05 so I may have stumbled across it while searching for flash stuff online. Although I wasn't working with flash yet back when I joined, I had done some music at that time and decided to join to put it in the audio portal. I had terrible music software though and didn't take those first few songs and my account on NG very seriously because of it. I've considered taking them down since.
Q: Your first submission to the Audio Portal was a song entitled Rain Storms - LOZ Ocar of Time which was a remix of the Song of Storms from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Why did you decide to remix this song and why did you decide to add your own segment into it?
A: Throughout my younger days, I spent a lot of time playing memorable video game songs on my mom's piano. Around the time that I started making some music on my computer, I had been playing the Song of Storms on the piano and added that original part just to spice things up for my fingers while I played. So when I made the version on my computer, I added in that little part I came up with just to keep it from sounding too simple and repetitive.
Q: Your next song would be Gerudo Valley-LOZ Ocar of Time which was a remix of Gerudo Valley from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You stated...
I made this one for a friend who wanted to iceskate to this song for a performance.
Is this statement true and whether it is or isn't could you tell us why you made this song this way?
A: This statement is true. In 2004 I was listening to a few OCremixes and heard Gerudo Valley. That friend of mine was at my house at the time and said she loved that song and wished she could ice skate to it because at that time she used to ice skate competitively and ice skaters always choose the song they skate to. I didn't decide to remake it when she said that, but later when I was thinking of something to make on my computer I thought about what she said and decided to make it for her. Back then I wasn't planning on posting my songs anywhere so it didn't really matter how much I changed them because I didn't expect anyone to hear them and give negative feedback so I felt really free to make it however I wanted. Nowadays if I remake something, I consider people who might get annoyed if I add something really different that wasn't originally in the song. Also I may just be getting too old to be original anymore. lol
Q: Musical Castle Oedo shows more about you than the songs before it. This song is not only happy and upbeat, but from the sound of it I'm gonna bank on you having a lot of fun making it. Did you have fun making it? And could you tell us the process of making this?
A: Funny story about this one. One of my fav games of all time is Mystical Ninja 64 and mainly cause I love the Music and the Japanese setting. While I was playing it back then, I heard a song that I wanted to make a remix to, but somehow when I started working on it, I had the wrong song in my head and the one I made wasn't the one I originally intended to. Lol The one that I actually intended to make was this one, but the one I ended up making was still a great upbeat song, which is why I managed to get them mixed up. I'm sure I enjoyed it, but it was so long ago that I barely remember doing it. I was 16 when I made it and I'm 22 now.
Q: FF7 World Theme Excerpt is probably the best of your remixes. What are the proper steps an Audio Artist must take to ensure that they make a remix sound very close to the original, but still be original on its own?
A: I guess the best way to do that would be to follow practically all of the original melody without changing anything, but beef up the overall song in the way that you want to hear it performed. So in the case of this song, I just played the main melody with a piano by itself during most of it and threw in all the strings that would fit once the song reached its most emotional state. But when I recorded this, I was feeling sorta sentimental and didn't want to get technical with it, so I'm sure that had I been really trying to make something beautiful on purpose, it would have ended up too full. So I guess I can't give an exact formula for remix success, only that feeling is important.
Q: Cayler Performs Suteki Da Ne is the first time we hear you sing. I have interviewed singers here on Newgrounds in the past including hania and JAZZA. Tell me why did you decide to sing this song in this language and was it hard to record?
A: Back then it was kinda hard to record because I still had such a small arsenal of musical equipment. Also because I had much less practice at it so my voice was really weak. I had been briefly studying Japanese for about four years prior to singing that song, so the pronunciation wasn't so difficult even though it did ultimately sound pretty bad. Lol That project was so underqualified by my current standards that I wouldn't post it now. Only back then my standards weren't as high.
Q: ~Laces~ by Cayler is a very interesting Blues song. You stated that it was about a Facebook picture comment. Could you please elaborate this witty and funny song for all of us here?
A: I actually made that song by skipping my classes. I made the comment on facebook on someone's photo (the comment was the first verse of that song) just to make a humorous statement. Right after that, I imagined what the melody would be like if it was an actual song and walked over to my keyboard and played it. I didn't want to stop building on it so I skipped my classes to add verses and more music and before I knew it that song was done. Every verse in that song besides the first one was completely random and had no background story whatsoever.
Q: ~Never The Same~ by Cayler is a very interesting song. Could you tell me if there is a deeper meaning within it or is just the poetry of the shooting star that was gifted with a brighter tail than others?
A: Actually this question refers to the song "Fall" so I'll cover both. "Never the Same" was first written as a journal to vent about a real relationship situation I dealt with, and later converted to song. "Fall" was simply a poetic way of expressing the lessons I was learning in life at that time.
Q: We come to one of my personal favorites by you entitled ~All The Music~ by Caleb. This song would also be redone to make All the Music. A very happy and upbeat rock song that is wonderful to the ears. Where did the lyrics come for this song in our terminology though where did you get your inspiration for this song and how did you make it?
A: The very first bit of inspiration for this song came from a drum rhythm I heard. I came home from college one day and started playing my keyboard just for fun, exploring its various pre-made melodies and stuff when I came across a drum pattern that seemed to be asking me to add music and words to it. I had absolutely no intention of writing a song at that moment, I just heard that beat, got inspired, and made the song. Life's inspirational moments can come at any moment so you just have to be ready to go with them when they call. Many of my songs have been instantaneously inspired by a different drum beat actually.
Q: When I interviewed JAZZA we talked about his cover of the song "Mad World." Then we come to your cover Mad World -Cayler. When I asked JAZZA why he covered Mad World he responded saying...
When I love a song I learn it, as simple as that. When I learn it well enough I enjoy recording it, and if I like the result I'll share it.
Would you agree with him or disagree with him? And whatever your answer tell us why in your own words.
A: Absolutely agree. That's how I became musically developed throughout my life, primarily by figuring out how to play songs I liked on a piano. I nowadays try to focus on original pieces just for productivity's sake, but there're always songs by other people that I can't resist covering. I've got to say though that I didn't decide to learn Mad World before covering it, I just heard it somewhere and liked it and knew that if I covered it, the result would be good if I wanted it to be, so I did it. So maybe with advancement in skill it no longer becomes a matter of wanting to try something, but instead a matter of making sure you'll succeed, if that makes any sense.
Q: LadyArsenic is a wonderful singer, one of the best here on Newgrounds. I call her "The Lady" even though she would rather be called by her name Mandi. You two collaborated on a song entitled -+[Somewhere Out There-Duet]+-. You're collaboration with her gives a beautiful performance, could you please tell me how this duet came to be and the process in making it?
A: Well she and I briefly came into contact after she posted a comment on one of my covers (I believe it was Hallelujah) and then I listened to her music and thought she had a great voice and wanted to collaborate with her. But interestingly enough I never sent her a request to do so, instead she sent me one first, to which I obviously agreed. We then talked about what we should do, whether it should be an original or a cover. She told me that Somewhere Out There had significant meaning to her family and if possible she would like to cover that one, so I agreed and began working on the background music. We discussed who would sing which part and what key it should be in and then she sent me her vocals, to which I added mine and the background music I made, and voila. The song was done. It was a very smooth process and we have talked about doing another duet but lately I've been to busy with school to follow up. But maybe someday you will hear another one from us.
Q: If someone asked me what your best song was so they could listen to you I would tell them Never Ending Story. Could you tell us all why you decided to do this song and how difficult was it to sing in Korean?
A: I am currently living with a Korean roommate whose family often comes to visit so I'm heavily exposed to the Korean language. I've wanted to study and learn it, but I've never had the time to do it myself and no way to take an official class. So I only know a few words and phrases and basic grammar, but when I heard my roommate playing this song on his computer, I decided it would be good for me to cover a Korean song to help learn a little bit of Korean. I completely made the background music from scratch and had help with the lyrics from my roommate. I want to do a lot more foreign language songs, but I simply don't have the time to do the things I really want anymore.
Q: You entered in a Chinese Contest at your college at one point and gave us the song Cayler Performs YueGuangAiRen. You are a man of many tongues, tell me how difficult was it to sing in Chinese and is it similar to sing in Korean?
A: I have studied Chinese, Korean, and Japanese and let me tell you those three languages are very different from each other. There are a small few similarities here and there because of the historical relations between the countries based on proximity, but the core of each language is vastly different. I've been exposed to the Chinese language for quite a few years now so the pronunciation isn't so difficult for me. My main problem with speaking Chinese is that I often use the wrong tones, which are nullified in music so there's no problem there.
Q: When it comes to music, what programs and/or instruments do you use to make your music with and what is usually the basic process you go about in making a song?
A: As of right now, I'm using a Juno-G Keyboard as a control surface, Reason 4.0 for the sound bank, and Logic Pro for the vocal recording and mastering. I'm in the process of transferring off of Reason to use Logic's sound bank but I haven't had much practice at it yet. I use a Blue Snowball mic for my vocals, and my computer is a Mac. However, there have been many other things used throughout my history of posting to Newgrounds. These include Magix Music Maker, Fostex 8trk recorder, my clarinet and violin, Mixcraft, and behringer mics. Usually I write a small segment of music first, starting with chords and adding complementing melody, then think up some lyrics which give the song a purpose and try to build from there intertwining the lyrics and melody, although sometimes they are made completely apart from each other like in "Never the Same" where I wrote the music in 2005 and the lyrics in 2006 and put them together in 2007.
Q: Your music tells stories. This is no secret, but are all these stories personal or not? In other words, where does the inspiration for all of your music as a whole come from?
A: My parent were both musicians in high school, my mother played piano and sang the national anthem, and my father played guitar in a rock band that toured the state. But after they got married, they focused on family and life and lost the music. But when I was a young child, I was singing almost as soon as I was talking and my mother always told me that I was a great singer and someday I would be famous and take care of her. When I was 4, they got divorced and I didn't see my mother much after that so music for me is what I've always had to remind me of her.
Q: What can we expect from Cayler in the near future?
A: Well I always have something in the works just waiting to be finished, but last year I bought a service from Tune Core that allows me to submit one full album to iTunes with a deadline of mid 2010, so I have bound myself to that deadline by the money I spent and I will see an album through to the end by mid 2010. That means I will be putting out as much as I can in the near future. I will even be having artistic photoshoots and making music videos, so if you're a fan of my past work then stay tuned!!
Cayler is a wonderful singer. A marvel of poetic genius at times with a story to tell everytime you listen to his music. He is a joy to the eardrums especially with what we have in terms of commercial modern music in today's time. He is also an inspiration to those who make music, play music, and sing as well.