It’s been a long journey. So much has happened from the moment I conceived “Wish Upon a Blackstar” to now. It feels like a lifetime ago that I even began the process of writing demos for the album and now I finally have a proverbial light at the end of this Godforsaken tunnel.
Jump into the time machine with me for a few minutes: I create my first Celldweller demo in my New York cellar studio in January of 1999. A few years later, I land a major record deal, complete with a huge advance of $ that helped pay off tens of thousands of dollars in debt I put myself into just for the shot at making music my full time gig. The 9/11 catastrophe hits, our economy tanks and the label pulls the plug on their whole deal. They dissolve the label but were kind enough to let me know that I needed to pay them back all the $ they had advanced. The joke’s on me, I’m the lucky one. So I jump headfirst back into being completely broke and trying to figure out how to assemble the pieces I have into some sort of album that I would release independently. This sets my course to a studio in Detroit, owned by my friend, Grant Mohrman. Fortunately he accepted payment in Taco Bell bc that was all I could afford to pay.
2003 the Debut Celldweller disc drops. I spend the next 2 years touring on and off, make a music video for Switchback, cover “Tragedy” by the Bee Gees, collaborated with Styles of Beyond on my track “Shapeshifter” and somewhere in there actually relocated my whole life from New York to Detroit. (Why, you ask? That’s a whole different book I’ll have to write someday.) I bought my first house and set up my studio in a glorified bedroom. This is where I conceived the idea of starting a company “FiXT” with my only employee at the time, Jimmy Rhodes. We dreamt of FiXT being a clothing line and after a year of hitting brick wall after brick wall, it became clear to me that what we knew best was music. I decided we would make this a record label so I could release Celldweller content on it along with my brother’s project, Level.
The story would take too long to type and most of you only really care about one thing: “When the eff is “Wish Upon a Blackstar” going to be released?!?! I’ll get to that, just give me a few more hours. Where was I? Oh, building FiXT as a company, working on Celldweller material for what would be my next album and even sleeping every now and then. During all this, I had built a pretty good track record in the film, tv & video game world. As a completely independent artist, I rose from certain financial and career death, began building my empire, paid off hundreds of thousands of dollars of “failed record label” debt previously mentioned and decided it was time for an upgrade. I bought my next house, and spent the first 2 years in a bedroom studio while my dream studio was being built.
Blue Stahli - Antisleep Vol. 01
During this time I happened across an artist by the name of Bret who had a project called Blue Stahli. Well to be more honest, he barged his way into my studio soon after he relocated to Detroit from Arizona in hopes of being my studio assistant. (That is also another story that will fill an entire book unto itself.) So now the 2 of us are working out of bedroom studios, waiting for my new facility to be built. Here’s a little known piece of trivia for you: I wrote, recorded and mixed the entire “Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head Vol. 01” album in that studio bedroom and mixed the entire thing in headphones. I mean, I DID have my $90,000 SSL console in there, but still... At the same time in a bedroom studio down the hall, Bret had finished his first ever full length Blue Stahli CD “Antisleep Vol 01” intended for use in Film, TV & video games. He then began writing for his first full length artist disc. My hallway was very busy at that time, because I was running up and down it checking in on Bret while producing his tracks, running to another room to fish Stutter (my adopted studio cat) out of the toilet and then back to my studio so I could get some music written.
So many other things happened during this time, but it’s all a bit of a blur so I can’t really recall the order. I remember getting hit up by a few artists I liked to do official remixes for them (Pendulum, BT) and one of my nearest and dearest friends Criss Angel approached me to co-write & co-produce the theme song for his A&E TV Show “Mindfreak” and as of this moment I have 12 or so songs in his Las Vegas show “Believe” at the Luxor. I was approached to write the theme song to a widely popular zombie-slaying video game “Dead Rising 2” where I got to collab with Ogre of Skinny Puppy (I was a BIG SP fan back in the day.) I went out to LA to see a screening of “The Hills Have Eyes” bc they used my Blue Stahli remix of “Own Little World” in the end title. I got to hang with Wes Craven too, which was a bonus for me. Oh, and I guess I also was fitting some time in here and there writing dozens and dozens of demos for what I was still conceiving to be “Wish Upon a Blackstar.”
Wish Upon A Blackstar Chapter 01 of 05
Ugh. I guess I should talk about that for a minute, huh? Yeah, I decided to approach this album completely differently than any other work I’d done previously. Grant Mohrman (co-producer ) and I brainstormed the process of how to make this monstrosity of an album, and we decided to try doing a few things differently – I would write demos AND we would track my vocals before doing anything else. Now this was completely ass-backwards to the way I am used to doing things. I generally start a musical idea and I keep revising and reworking it until it becomes something I like. The entire Celldweller debut album was written this way. I ALWAYS tracked vocals last. Partly because I wanted the music to inspire my vocal performance and partly because I haaaate cutting vocals. The idea this time around was the music would have to work with my voice instead of forcing my voice over the top of 180 tracks of audio. This made me uncomfortable which is why I agreed to do it. Then to top it all off, I knew I did NOT want to wait until the album was done to release music because I knew it would not be a quick process. This is where the idea of releasing the album in Chapters was born. That evolved into not just releasing 2 songs at a time in chapters but also including lots of my demos of the 2 songs in that particular Chapter (so you could hear how I started with my terrible demo and ended up at the final song.) Then I decided to make even more work for myself by coming up with the idea to do a commentary over the demos in addition. I love the audio commentaries on DVD’s when the director or actors talk over the movie as it plays. So I felt that for those fans who cared this would give them a true insight to how things developed behind the scenes.
Speaking of fans…I read my Facebook and Twitter comments – I lurk. I see the supportive comments and the jealously hateful ones too. When all is said and done, it doesn’t matter. For those faithful who know me, you already know I make my music for only 3 people in the whole world: me, myself and I. So those that complain about “dubstep” or “metal” or “drum and bass” or “whogivesashit” - I don’t care. Never have. I love what I do and do what I love and am REALLY thankful that so many of you get it and are hanging out with me during this musical expedition. Haters gonna hate and they’ll come and go – so what. The world is a BIG place and there is plenty of other music for haters to love. Bye!!
Most of you have been following the progress since the release of Chapter 01 in 2009. I’m so glad so many of you have joined me for the ride. It’s kinda like riding a turtle – slow and really uncomfortable, but you never have to worry about falling off and getting hurt.
Where was i… oh, the album. Well during all this “finish Wish Upon a Blackstar” nonsense, growing my company FiXT by leaps and bounds & attempting to have any semblance of a personal life too, I also made a major shift – I decided to tour again. Vowed I never would, but a lot changed in my head and it took years to stew and develop. I decided I was done with the rock thing. Rock bands are boring as shit and I couldn’t care less about playing stinky dive bars where the only challenge is which lead singer of which band could scream the loudest. That was a big reason I bailed on touring. But when a late night convo with Bret (Blue Stahli) sparked the concept of me scrapping the idea of a band and just doing a DJ set, that was the beginning of the end.
Over the course of a year, I started plotting, devising, conceptualizing and because I can’t do anything simply, it went from just me and a laptop to me and a laptop and vocal mic, then added a guitar, then I’d play some live keys and eventually some live drums. Before I knew it I had created a one man live performance and not a simple DJ set. I’m a musician, a producer. I couldn’t just hit play on a laptop and let it roll so I just let the idea grow naturally. Eventually I decided I didn’t want to do this as a one man show and asked Bret to join “Celldweller Live.” I knew it would be a good thing bc we’re like minded – no drinking, no drugs – all music and passion and occasionally making out with a cute girl at a show. I knew as a label owner who now owned Bret’s ass for the rest of his creative life (he signed his soul over to me, FYI) I knew it would also be good for his career as Blue Stahli bc we could get his name and face in front of people who didn’t know who he was yet. Plus we make an awesome comedy duo onstage. (Ask someone who has seen our live music & stand up comedy act.) It has been extra cool to be able to play not only all over the US (including SXSW & Dragon*Con) but places like Russia, Brazil & Japan (a childhood dream fulfilled. I think someday I’ll move to Japan and begin my hunt for Godzilla.)
Putting together the touring version of a new show stopped all my work on “Wish Upon a Blackstar” dead for many months. All the music for the show had to be reproduced – EVERY song redone, remixed, reconfigured. I also recruited my dear friend Chuck Wheeler and his company Acme Pixel Movers to shoot custom video footage for a 75 minute live show that would be completely synchronized to the live audio. Not random drug-induced eye-candy, but performance based footage of live drums, vocals and conceptual footage relating to each song. So although this all took many months out of my creative life, you’ll all reap the fruits of this labor when the Celldweller Live DVD/BluRay gets dropped on your head March 27th, 2012. Wait, what?!?!
Where was I again? I keep getting side-tracked. Right, global warming. No, and it wasn’t the mating habits of the African tree frog either… The new album! That was it. I made a pretty confident statement that 2011 was ‘The Year of the Blackstar.” I mistakenly had been looking at the Mayan calendar and it turns out that 2012 is the year of the Blackstar. The Blackstar comes, the world ends – didn’t you see that movie with John Cusack??? I can’t and won’t get into all the why’s and wherefore’s, but there are very specific reasons why the album release will carry into early 2012. The good news is that I am about to write a brand new song from scratch to include on the album – that puts the album at 15 tracks now! You’ll get lots of bang for your buck, especially if you download it illegally. It’s a real bargain.
Also, I announced a few days ago that I will be releasing a full length CD of electronic based tracks that you have and will be hearing in my DJ set entitled “The Complete Cellout.” There are some killer tracks on here, believe me you AND there is a new “Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head Vol 02” release – both dropping in the next few weeks. In addition, I have my first ever exclusive Celldweller tee going in Hot Topic stores very soon (online & in physical stores, so it’s available world-wide.)
I am a bit of a skeptic & a pessimist. Yep, I know it’s hard to believe but it’s true. So sometimes I have to be reminded about how much I’ve actually accomplished by the good people around me bc all I seem to focus on is what I have yet to accomplish, setting new goals or busting my ass to reach the ones I’ve already set for myself. Things have changed radically over the last few years, starting with a crew of 4 (Me, Myself, I and Tyler Bacon, my long standing friend & manager ) then to my first employee (Jimmy Rhodes who most of you know if you’re at all active on any of my social media sites or the FiXT Store) and now seeing FiXT as a successful record label, remix community & full-blown online store with over 40,000 tracks, band merch etc and growing. We’ve got a sizable team including our own PR, distribution, art department, order fulfillment, retail team, web coders, human resources & accounting. That doesn’t even include the Celldweller side of things, like tour managers and studio assistants. Really I’m typing all this out more for me than for you. It’s good to take the advice of great employees and friends and take stock of a lot of hard work over a lot of time and put things into perspective. Maybe this will also help some of you understand why I don’t make an album in a week. (The ones who don’t want to understand will just hide behind their keyboards and post some ignorant comment on facebook that I’m sure the rest of you will help set straight! ☺)
There are more things I could announce or recap, but the grand finale is really the answer to the question you’ve all been asking, “When is “Wish Upon a Blackstar” coming out?!?!?” The same exact day the full Live DVD/BluRay and a whole string of brand new merch drops – March 27th, 2012.
Thanks to those who are in it with me for the long haul and I believe that you will find the album was worth the wait. There’s much more music ahead and even more updates that I can’t announce yet, so keep checking back in on Facebook & Twitter! I hope to see many of you on the road in 2012.
Release Date: Friday, Dec 16th, 2011
Pre-Order Special: $10.00 (Reg $12.00)
Digital Download Available on Dec 16th
CD Ships by or on Dec 16th
Tracklist & Times:
01. The Complete Cellout 0:41
02. Goodbye (Klayton's 2012 Mix) (Remastered) 4:58
03. Eon (Drivepilot Remix) 4:11
04. Own Little World (Klayton's We Will Never Die Mix) (Remastered) 4:38
05. Louder Than Words (Bare Remix) 3:20
06. Frozen (Celldweller vs Blue Stahli) (Remastered) 5:03
07. I Can't Wait (Josh Money Remix) 4:14
08. Birthright (Birthwrong Remix by Blue Stahli) (Remastered) 2:30
09. The Best It's Gonna Get vs. Tainted (Remastered) 6:06
10. Shapeshifter (Blue Stahli Remix) 4:00
11. The Best It's Gonna Get (J Scott G & Joman Remix) 6:13
12. So Long Sentiment (Toksin's Anhedonia Mix) 6:08
"I'm excited to finally present "The Complete Cellout vol. 01". Most of the of the tracks on here that aren't remixes from other artists are versions of my songs I completely reworked from the ground up for the Celldweller 2010/2011 Live Show. I've put a ton of time into remixing and reproduction but I'm not the only one who put a lot of time and effort into making this disc into something you could bang your head or shake your booty to. Drivepilot, Bare, Blue Stahli, J Scott G, Joman, Josh Money & Toksin lent their skills and turned this disc from being "pretty good" to being "totally badass." Hope you enjoy it as much as we all enjoyed making it." [Klayton]
Celldweller - Goodbye (Klayton's 2012 Mix) - Buy Now!
Celldweller - So Long Sentiment Remixes (CD or MP3)
Originally a creeping rock juggernaut, Celldweller's original track "Goodbye" was first morphed into a blisteringly aggressive DnB mix, and has now finally reached it's full potential as a brutal yet eloquent serving of dubstep, drumstep and rock. Rapid metal-influenced drums set the pace as painstakingly designed synths and ruthless, frenzied guitar riffs shred the very flesh from your bones. - Dubstep.net
The remix you did of Asking Alexandria’s “A Lesson Never Learned” is astoundingly original. How serious of a connection do you feel heavy metal/death metal can have to electronic music?
Celldweller: To me there is a glaringly blatant connection between modern metal & electronic music. I would not have said this 5 years ago, but modern metal is being created so similarly to electronic music (technologically) and the energy of a mean electro or dubstep track can match the energy of a metal track, hands down. It's always made sense in my head. Remixing bands like Asking Alexandria & Motionless in White is a completely natural extension of how I hear music in my head. I'm so glad to see the connection is starting to resonate with the masses.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW
Celldweller's track "Earth Scraper" from the upcoming release Soundtrack For The Voices In My Head Vol. 02, Chapter 02 was recently featured in a new trailer for the film Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.
Celldweller is one of the only producers ive ever heard that has successfully mashed these two genres (Metal & Dubstep) together in such an epic way. - Stereocraftmusic.com
"A brutal and highly technical mash of Metallica's "Disposable Hero's" and Black Sabbath's "War Pigs", Celldweller has ruthlessly forged a fantastic and metal-infused dubstep banger tainted with unholy guitar riffs and haunting, glitchy, and highly-nostalgic melodic work. When accompanied by a growling and slightly robotic lead synth capable of shredding the very fabric of reality, nothing can stand in the way of this fierce Celldweller Mash-Up." - Dubstep.net
The Klayton Digital Bobblehead is out now for everyone who participated in the Celldweller Halloween Groupee Charity Event to support Feed Them With Music and donate over 8,000 Meals to the Hungry!
To get your Digital Bobblehead, log in to your account at http://groupees.net/
Asking Alexandria - Stepped Up & Scratched CD feat. Remix by Celldweller
Klayton's remix for UK metalcore act Asking Alexandria hit #7 iTunes Electronic Single and is featured on the #1 Electronic Album "Stepped Up And Scratched."
"Louder Than Words" Remixes CD