Stretching Out the Year
We began 2022 with a goal to release our second cassette based on our Betamax Video Club live shows. After finishing the production, mixing, mastering, and completing the album art, we were ready to go. Then it became apparent that so much of the work we've poured into it would get lost in the shuffle if we released it all at once.
Each track really sets a mood for us, whether it's driving through the American West; exploring the desert, sea, open land; and paying homage to 80s B-movies and sci-fi shows. We wanted to let each idea loose.
We also have a lot of photos and video footage we wanted to integrate with each piece of music. Down the road, we could collect it all as Betamax Video Club Vol. 2 as our second cassette release.
Setting up the year, we released "Gary Manslaughter" in February, followed by "Kobol" in March, and "80s to 90s Marmora" in July 2022. There will be more to come through the end of this year and into 2023.
A Soundtrack for Road Trips Out West
First up in February, "Gary Manslaughter" was built on a retro-80s cinematic theme inspired by scenes across a western desert. We used vintage analog synthesizers along with current sounds and production techniques. There’s a bit of wordplay in the title, “Gary Manslaughter,” as an homage to retrowave.
The music video was compiled from clips of our West Coast gigs and road trips produced by Seannie Cameras (Sean O'Grady).
The Mountains of Kobol
Following up on the "Gary Manslaughter" experience, “Kobol” takes that western road trip vibe to an airy space with soaring, melodic, analog synths and punchy rhythms of the 707 drum machine. At the time of release, our duo's creative process crossed over to both East and West Coasts of the U.S. from Washington, D.C. to Portland, Oregon.
Inspired by a promising world in Battlestar Galactica, the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah, Virginia are standing in for the mountains of Kobol in our music video. Enjoy the timelapse from Eric's front yard. ;)
Slowing Down the Drive from the 80s to the 90s
The third track we've released this year starts with a space disco vibe and transitions into chillout electronica.
The transition from “80s to 90s” came from a rehearsal session when we jammed on top of the 80s space disco themes then somehow ended up in 90s electronica with pads and metallic synth melodies. The name “Marmora” came from a covert, rebel sect in the Netflix Voltron series, which was an interesting take on divisions within the dominant alien culture in the series. In a way, our music serves as a soundtrack inspired by shows from our youth revamped from 80s nostalgia into modern classics with more nuance.
The video is a timelapse of a rainy road trip to a synthwave show in Seattle (feat. Betamaxx, Parallels, Kaarin Zoe Lee, and YES Music Productions), some live footage from Betamax Video Club, and scenic backroads to the Columbia River Gorge along the Washington state side of the river.
New Life Out West
Since moving to the Portland metro area in the Pacific Northwest, life has felt more balanced at a more sustainable pace. When I was younger, big cities were so inspiring and dynamic, and I'm grateful for all the opportunities they opened up. I'm thankful for all the people I've met from around the world, across different industries, and the life experiences we shared. However, I had to rethink the rat race many times over, then figure out what I could deal with and at what cost.
If you do have the means to relocate and find a better fit for your life and frame of mind, it's well worth it. There's always an adjustment period and no place is perfect. But it helps to figure out what matters and where you would rather be.
Positives So Far in the Pacific Northwest
- The road trip was perfect. Driving through the northern states from one Washington to the other (DC to WA), there's so much wide-open natural beauty from South Dakota to Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. I didn't hit any traffic for about 1,700 miles between from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Spokane, Washington.
- The Columbia River Gorge provides. So many small towns, scenic viewpoints, waterfalls, and hiking trails are spread out over both sides of the river. There's a scenic hiking spot every few miles, so I can decompress in nature after a quick drive. With all the inspiring road trips along the Washington and Oregon sides of the river, I've been able to get a lot of footage for upcoming music videos.
Some of my reels around the Pacific Northwest:
- The city thins out quickly. So much stress in big cities comes down to the crush of people all hitting the same spots at the same time. Portland has the benefits of a big city but scales down quickly once you go past the city limits. There's far less sprawl than other bigger cities. Getting around town or all the way to the coast feels much easier out here. The constant buzz of pressure throughout the day isn't there anymore and it makes a big difference overall.
- The weather stays cool. Most people are deterred by the gray skies and frequent drizzle for 8 months of the year, but I'm good with it. The rain is a steady drizzle - not a sideways hurricane or thunderstorm that wrecks your home. Winters are very mild compared to many regions, and summers stay relatively cool. Summers are near perfect, really. Even when the temperature heats up above 90F, it does so for the afternoon then cools down to the 60s after sunset.
- People have been cool so far. Whether it's at a bar, restaurant, music venue, a store, or on a hike, people have been friendly and laid back. There are far fewer suits, even downtown. It's a slower pace with a more casual attitude here (less aggressively type-A). It's a noticeably different mentality than certain places.
- Things are a bit more reasonable. Cost of living is relative, and what's affordable to some can be increasingly difficult for others. However, compared to much of the East Coast and other West Coast big cities, it's significantly less of a rat race around Portland.
All three tracks were written and performed by Eric Garwood and Jonathan Lim, arranged and mixed by Jonathan Lim, and mastered by Scott Radke.
Listen and catch live streams on multiple platforms: https://linktr.ee/jlim23rd
Support us on Bandcamp: https://velocity128.bandcamp.com