My First Comic!

December 21st, 2011 · 1 Comment · Jim Batt, Music



[wp_bandcamp_player type="album" id="269559766" size="grande" bg_color="#FFFFFF" link_color="#4285BB"]

Download it now. It is free (or pay what you want.) And it is really really really really good.

Collaborations unfold in surprising ways. I’ve always been interested in comics. When I was a teenager I wrote and drew several and if I ever dig them out of storage I will share them with you. My main character was called Super Vague, she was a punk goth bad ass who did, you know… stuff. I’ve read many comics and befriended several (very talented) comics makers though I don’t call myself a comics nerd because I don’t have a collection of my own or follow any comics or creators in particular. But last year Jim Batt pointed me towards The Secret Knots which is a really wonderful webcomic by Chilean author/artist named Juan Santapau.

In June I wrote to Juan. I told him how much I enjoyed his work and that if he ever needed music for a story he was working on I’d be happy to write something for his story. Juan thought that was pretty interesting and wrote me back the next day saying that he liked my album and we should stay in touch. Later that day he sent me the outline of the story which was to become “Music for Stray Days.”

When I originally contacted him I thought I might write some instrumental music, something that went along in the background. I never expected him to write a story about a song but I loved the story and set to work on the song right away. The challenge was to write something catchy, something that would get stuck the heads of an entire population. But also something beautiful, ethereal, and compelling. And catchy is not always all of those things.

I finished writing the song on September 16th and began the recording process a few weeks later. The guitar and voice tracks were laid down in October. I then asked Meredith Yayanos, a wonderful violin and theremin player (and editor of COILHOUSE Blog and Magazine) to add a violin part. Meredith added 17 violin parts! Creating a breathtaking symphony of strings that swell and break like a tide of sound.  She recorded her parts in New Zealand and sent the files through the magical internet.

I also put out the call for people to sing along to the chorus of a secret project and released a 15 second clip of the song for people to sing along to. 16 people sent their parts in.

Chorus voices by:

Alex Marteen, Andrea Kaplan, Carl Salbacka, Caroline “Dirty Carrie” Willis, Daryl Davis, Helen Perris, Holly Caldwell, Ian Gazzoti, Lisa Waters, Lisa Scrivner, Lizzie Westbrook, Myrrh Larsen, Nate Chambers, Serpa Sas, Viki Ostrovsky, and  Wayne Watrach.

As the song unfolded and I became involved and enraptured by the Occupy Wall Street movement I began to feel that the song, written one day before OWS began, was a wonderful soundtrack – not to the movement, but to the feeling of compassion and awakening that I was seeing in the world. This feeling ebbs and flows now in the difficult times, but I still feel hope.

In November I finished mixing and mastering the song as Juan was finishing up the final art for the comic.

I love this collaboration. Meredith did such a fantastic job making the song cinematic and extra magicalicious. Juan’s work is really inspiring, be sure to read his other stories:

The title to this blog is “My FIRST Webcomic” because now I want to make more. This is just the first. I love storytelling and I want to keep doing it with pictures and words and music and drawings and well, any way I can. Forever.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • alex.marteen

    wow, the song is really great and I find it so so funny to be a part of it in such an easy way :P thanks a lot Kim! be sure whenerver you feel like roaming by the mediterranea you have a roof in Barcelona!

    love :3