Tuesdays with Riley: The #fb Sessions

This conversation actually happened two Thursdays ago, the night my Birds signed the infamous Mike Vick. It took a bunch of editing and still sounds like stream of consciousness. Such is having a conversation on Facebook chat, I guess.

I’ve decided to make this a feature for the next few weeks. Every Tuesday, I’ll post a Facebook conversation I had with the illustrious Shael Riley…

Shael Riley

… yeah, that guy. Well, enjoy the first installment… and away we go.

Yo, so let’s kick that interview for a few minutes before I start getting ready to go to sleep…


I’m drinking a Modelo and I regret buying it.

No good at all out of the can.

Sorry to hear that, let’s start with the topic du jour on Twitter and FB… Mike Vick, your thoughts?


I like your style.

I’m gonna embarrass myself by admitting I don’t know who that is.

Ha! We’ll just move on, then… who is Shael Riley?

Pfft. Some guy.

Some guy who’s Googling Mike Vick.

I don’t know, man.

That’s kind of pretty broad.

I’m a person like anyone else. That’s the only way I think I can encompass it linguistically.

I mean like musically…




You wanna know about my background in music?

Yeah. Nerdcore, yada yada… training, yada yada…

I started playing bass when I was 14, in an Alice and Chains cover band.

Did you snuff the rooster?

I came to, but he ain’t gonna die.

You know.

I ended up doing vocals too, cause I had the highest voice in the group.

So I wound up sticking with that.

Nice. How’d you end up in the Nerdcore scene?

Well, my highschool band had broken up long, long before that. I’d had a good five years being really heavy into the video game music remixing scene.

OverClocked Remix is the one that’s best known, but there were other communities I was just as much involved with. Jake “Virt” Kaufman ran a great site that, at the time, had a rivalry with Overclocked called VGmix.

Mustin’s had his video game music jazz/funk fusion cover band for the better part of a decade now, and he’s been running a forum at OneUpStudios.com for just about as long.

From 2000 to 2004 I was primarily into video game music, listening to it and arranging it.

I dig video game music and the like. Ever hear of Philly band Chromelodeon? They broke up, but they were very rad.

Oh, man. I was at a house party of theirs once when they were moving out and trashing the place. Walked right into two guys fighting in the kitchen. Took a stray vacuum cleaner hose to the face.

Yeah. I do know Chromelodeon.

Wow… that’s nutty. I used to do shows with them in Philly and the burbs… so back to the story of Shael…

A big step for the game music scene was getting together in person for the first time at a convention called MAGfest in 2002. Chromelodeon’s played there a few times, alongside a lot of other great game music bands.

Well, September 2008, Schaffer the Darklord asked me to open for him.

I’d heard Schaffer’s stuff and wanted to do it, but I hadn’t played live in almost two years. I wasn’t happy with playing acoustic guitar and singing over my pre-recorded, bit-poppy mp3s, so I’d stopped.

I told Schaffer I’d figure something out, and I wound up getting some friends who played instruments together to form the backing band I’d play a good dozen shows with that year.

We didn’t have a drummer, so my brother Devon, who was our bassist, suggested the idea of getting Josh, his roommate, to do drums with his Gameboy.

He’s a chiptune artist. I’d always liked chiptunes but felt they were inaccessible to me as a writer–to hard to work within the limitations; too hard to learn the bizarre, archaic-seeming software.

Cool. Chromelodeon used a Gameboy in their stuff, too.

Yeah. Dino from Chromelodeon uses the same software as Josh.

Anyway, the Gameboy worked out really well for the kind of music I was doing, and I re-used it in a stripped down tour of the midwest and southeast I did in March, this time with Ricky Henry running the Gameboy, using a combination of Josh’s backing tracks and his own.

So… you’d been performing with these guys and that’s where this new venture came from?

Yeah. I did that Spring tour with just Ricky and we really had a great time. We got to bullshitting about what kind of projects we could do with the Gameboy and somehow we got the idea of doing an album of all girl songs–cover songs–and releasing it subversively through torrent tracker sites, without telling anyone.

The idea was to see how long it took to get back to us, and then deny it as some kind of conceptual joke only the two of us would be in on.

That really has nothing to do with the Gameboy, but we wanted to hear chiptune covers of a bunch of girl songs.

Anyway, we’d been talking about Mortal Kombat a lot on that road trip.

I don’t know why. Whenever me and Ricky get together it comes up.

Well, that cover on your tape is a fave of mine, so I approve, obviously.

Glad you like it. Thanks again for the review.

So, I’ll stop ruining your flow, finish up the story of how this project came to be.

We were bullshitting about what band we’d credit the covers to, and during some riffing on Mortal Kombat themes, I came up with Double Ice Backfire. I always thought it was awesome how it said “DOUBLE ICE BACKFIRE” on the screen when Sub-Zero tried to freeze an already frozen opponent, in the SNES version.

We laughed about it the whole trip.

All of my musical projects were actually stalled at the time and I was pretty down about it.

The tour was great and I love playing, but I was stressed by the fact that I hadn’t written almost any music in a year, and The Grammar Club’s producer Adam! was AWOL, leaving me, the organizer of the group, really distressed.

I think that hunger for a creative project kind of got the sparks flying during that tour. By the end of it, the plan had changed from doing an album of covers with me on guitar and vox and Ricky on Gameboy, to doing a full album of originals under the name Shael Riley and The Double Ice Backfire, with my on guitar, vox, and Famitracker, and Ricky on drums.

I had barely even touched Famitracker at the time, but I was so pumped by the end of the tour that I went straight home and learned to use it.

Ha. I like the name of the band a lot. Thanks for some great background for my reader… let’s talk a bit about your favorite music and influences.

Weezer’s the biggest influence of Songs From The Pit, actually.

That’s not surprising. Sounds about right.

Yeah. We’d been listening to a lot of 90’s dance music and a lot of Weezer.

A little older grungy stuff too, and some more crunchy near-indie.

A lot of stuff nebulous to Weezer: The Rentals; Ozma; Rivers’s solo work.

I feel like we internalized it and spat it back out with a bunch of other stuff that was going on in our heads…

I can hear that. How about Ben Folds… I mean you keep getting compared to him…


We did listen to some Ben on that tour.

Me and Ricky love Way to Normal.

Good album, I love Ben.

More broadly, over a longer time frame than we were looking at, Ben Folds has been a bigger influence on my stuff than Weezer.

I can’t help but hear a lot of Ben in your stuff. Ok, so, let’s go in a different direction… you are Jewish right?

My mom is. I’m not religious.

Annnyway. I mean, I tell Jew jokes.

Oh, can you tell one?

Shit. I can’t think of any.

I guess I just laugh at Jew jokes.

Hmmmm… I am tired and still reeling over the Michael Vick signing (I’m a huge Eagles fan)… what else to talk about…

What happened with Mick Vick anyway?


He got signed by the Eagles… he was the player who got convicted of running a dog fighting ring 2 years ago.


People are all upset with the team and others are happy, etc.

That’s some scary shit.

I’ve been arguing with people on Facebook all night.


Well he was released from jail and the Eagles signed him and that’s causing the hub bub…

Do you have any pets?

No pets.

MSI is another influence. You know them?

You can hear it in “Publishing Rights”.

No, who is MSI?

Mindless Self Indulgence.

Oh, yeah, I know them. There was a song I liked, called “Golden I”.

Yeah. So, back to your question… I love dogs, despite not having any pets now.

I have 2 dogs, they are awesome…

I had beagle and a lab growing up.

I have a puggle and a lab, actually.

Aww. I miss my lab.

She was great.

The beagle was good too, though not the smartest.

They were both really sweet dogs.

Yeah, my puggle is a dumbass, but the lab is smart as hell. Love them both, of course.


Beagles are strange dogs.

So, I should probably wrap it up… have to be at work at 6:00… let’s do this in a few sessions. I’ll post this one as part one next week some time and we’ll do part two next week.

Our lab was a lot more personable than our beagle.

Oh. Yeah. That sounds good.



~ by thepaintedman on August 25, 2009.

3 Responses to “Tuesdays with Riley: The #fb Sessions”

  1. […] This post was Twitted by brookiellen […]

  2. […] link is being shared on Twitter right now. @thepaintedman said @shaelriley Check it yo! […]

  3. […] week’s Tuesday with Riley has been preempted by two days of mini-reviews that I am entitling “Shorties” (My […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: