For anyone who knows me I have been playing music and singing for the past 15 years; vocally I’ve tried everything from Musicals to choirs, choral to opera and in my later life (around 20 of age) I thought… why not metal, I mean I love it. The problem with something you love is that it’s a hard hard thing to let go of.
Two years ago – two amazing fuckin’ years – I started working with Shayne and Nelson to create the musical entity that is The Schoenberg Automaton (TSA). From the start we openly spoke of our intentions to not compromise musically, aesthetically or personally. We aren’t tough so we wouldn’t portray ourselves as that and so on. We wanted the TSA experience to be an honest and compelling one.
Over the course of that year we recruited Zimi (a long time friend and band mate of mine) to duties on bass and then rounded out guitars with Damo. These individuals helped create TSA as we know it. So the months rolled on and we recorded a debut EP that was probably more successful than any of us could have thought. This only strengthened our intentions to bring you an experience that we thought would be solely us. This all happened in 2010, a good good year.
2011 was equally as awesome for TSA.. We started with one of the best shows I’ve ever been a part of – Psycroptic at the Arthouse (just prior to its shutdown). The bands were amazing, the vibe was right and the night was epic.
Sadly this is where the problems started. In the following week I was unable to speak properly or even attempt vocals. This continued into the following week and the next. We had a few shows; I nearly suffocated myself performing them.
Something was wrong and it needed to be addressed. So I began seeing an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist) about my problems and I was diagnosed with a Supra Glottic Constriction. With a name like that I was hoping it was a Zangief finisher to an as yet untitled Street Fighter but sadly this was not the case. The constriction is brought on by vocal strain, in this case by performing with a severe chest infection. So the ENT recommended I visit a speech therapist/vocal coach to begin the slow and painful rehabilitation of my voice.
So began the 5months of speech therapy (expensive, expensive voice therapy). Without Patricia, my voice coach, I would not have even made it past July last year performing; and to have made it to now is an act of a god I choose not to acknowledge.
Within a few months of starting therapy, I had improved. I was feeling more confident and more positive with the situation. It’s at this point that I was informed I would need a full sinus reconstruction to improve the problems of my throat. So under the knife I went; my doctor got another mag for is his Porsche, and I was a fair wack healthier at the end of it all. But the constriction was still there. I thought about quitting shortly after this and spoke to the lads about the situation. We agreed that I should continue on vocals and complete the album.
We’ve now reached the stage of tracking the album and I tried – I fuckin’ tried. I went in tracked a set of vocals for Ultimate which were crushing as hell but I couldn’t swallow properly after it and the following day I again had trouble talking or even making noises. It’s become very obvious now that I cannot perform to the standards I have set for myself anymore or the standards that I feel a vocalist for TSA needs to meet. I can’t play more than two or three shows over a two or three day stretch as I physically suffer from it (can’t talk, trouble swallowing, inability to sleep properly due to difficulty breathing and in the worst case coughing up blood).
So after seven years, three bands, and a plethora of amazing shows I must take a step back for a well needed break from the live metal scene.
But I will still be performing the TSA shows up until the end of March. These shows will probably be the last outburst of musical aggression I create for sometime and I would love it if everyone could take part. If you can make it to a show come say hi and bye and whatever else. Hell, you might want to smack me in the nuts for quitting; that’s your choice.
I will still be around doing the TSA video stuff and helping with any and all bands that want video/media content for their projects. I might even start playing guitar again and see if that takes me anywhere. But I will continue to dedicate as much of my life to metal as I can. I just can’t do it the same way I used to.
Thank you, all of you, for your time, your chats, your patience and your honesty. Without that I would simply have been a curled up ball of fail around June last year.
The Schoenberg Automaton are simply shuffling the gears and I’ll just be placed in a position to calibrate them. The album is still happening and the boys and I are currently hunting for my replacement. You will still see TSA bring a full length this year and I look forward to the day when it does happen.