Effortless Records WELCOME

New site is still under construction... here's the link to the old site
while content is still being moved over...

Things are happening
posted: 2018-05-15
No Pic

It might not seem like it from the site updates- but things are happening.

+Major studio upgrades still in progress
+2 bands in the studio

With any luck - we should have a new release or 2 by the end of this year. It will be the first release in 8 years. We don't like to push ourselves too much.

Brief Golden Age | The Maple City
posted: 2018-05-15
No Pic

Check out the debut album Brief Golden Age by our friends 'The Maple City'.

While we didn't have a hand in this album, we sure like it - and hope to contribute in some role in the future. 'The Album' as a media is not dead, and this project is proof - from the song writing and performances to the way the tracks flow to the art work - The Maple City has released something special and long lasting.

Brief Golden Age | The Maple City on Band Camp

Observatory on BandCamp
posted: 2018-02-18
No Pic
At long last, things are moving. Seven years after it's release - Observatory's Secrets of Memory Man is up on Band Camp.


New Site, New Studio, New signs of trying
posted: 2018-01-18
No Pic
Why do this? What's the point? Does anyone care?

As a fake record label, which is to say - this has only ever been a method in which to archive projects myself and my friends are involved with - the history of Effortless Records can be divided into some fairly sad chunks and also - to borrow words from Maple City's latest album - a few occurances of a 'Brief Golden Age'.

Pre-Effortless Records was a timeframe in which I was getting out of highschool and began working - to get money - to live and buy music gear, so I could still play in my band. Days turned to weeks and years, and everybody kind of scattered to live their own lives - which isn't a timeline I had figured on, but that's what happens. So I decided - I'll buy recording gear, people will come and go to play music with. The point for me has always been to make records. Nobody remembers being at a show accurately - they just don't. You can remember being at a show - but you're brain fills in most of the experience. A record is the end all be all. I remember in my first band making the argument that jamming wasn't as productive as just recording. The bits we do have recorded, we have forever. Even while you're jamming - if you come across a hook, or a lyric, or even one of those times in which everything just works - if you didn't record it - it might as well have never happened.

So I jumped in the rabbit hole of home recording. I didn't know what a preamp was, and thought it was weird that you would need one... there's a microphone, there's my computer - how could it be anymore complicated than that? And I learned. I chased fidelity in small, often incorrect steps - and in retrospect, made all the mistakes possible in terms of purchasing 'ok gear' and upgrading it later. These days I am of the mind that you are better off buying one $1000 piece of gear a year, rather than 12 $100 pieces of gear. The irony of any of it - is once I get close to being able to record something that sounds modern radio quality, I'm usually looking for ways back to lo-fi. My theory is you can distort a hifi recording, but can't do much in terms of going the other way - so aim as high and possible, and you'll be left with a clean recording you can process to sound more lo-fi later in the artistic realm of the process.

Decades have gone by. My own songs and albums have always been half-assed. I pick at stuff over years. Then I'll have a week or so where I decide to toss whatever's been done in a collection and call it an album. It's mismatched, not written or performed to it's potential. But yet - I get to keep what I've done, good or bad. If it's my own stuff, or other bands I have been privileged to get to work with - the primary goal has been achieved - after work and weekend 'home' musicians got together, wrote songs, recorded songs, arranged and presented them - on our own terms, by ourselves and for ourselves. I like what we've done. I think most the people involved like what we've done. And that's it - that's all that matters - to me that's the point.

If I we're to slap a lazy label on a 'Chatham' sound - given the number of bands there have been and averaged them into a common theme - you would end up with a Korn / Metallica / Tool / Nickelback cover band. Chatham has had it's brilliant and underappreciated indie bands, it's coffee shop solo artists, blues bands, rappers and some pretty creative outlier's that usually come and go. But if you don't sound like Korn or Tool or Metallica in this city - your band is not good and you have failed, as that IS music, here. That's our scene boiled down. You either sound like Creed, or you're wrong.

And that's not us. All of our bands here, I'm happy to note - take lineage from the classics. We are for the most part - roots level guitar, bass and drum bands, usually trying to sound like the 60's and 70's and 90's. Songs come first and tribal tattoos, muscle cars and hairspray are not even on the radar. I think we do the best we can. So while we will always be the misfits, and will never fit in in this city - it all spells mission accomplished to me. I like the demos, the 4-track tapes, the rough sessions not the 1 million dollar sounding attempt to be a local watered down version of Godsmack, complete with Red Bull sponsorship. People are into that - to each their own, and I know anything less spells failure here in Chatham - but this is not our target market by a long shot. Besides, I think today's (insert hard rock in your face band from now, let's say - Buckcherry) - are going to look like Ratt and The Scorpions etc. tomorrow. It's a genre preference I suppose - but you don't really hear of anyone snickering at Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd or dismissing them as a dated, laughable novelty decades later. At the end of the day - they are all just songs, entertainment - something to enjoy, but I do get trolls stopping by to let me know why I suck - and why my music is wrong because it's not Creed. I thought it was all just 'songs' but apparently it's also a competition where you can have wrong or right music, lol. Nah, it's just songs.

So scene wise - we're not going to 'make it', which is good news. We are our own thing. But why catalog in such detail, crediting some people I have not seen in 20 years? I know it's mental, but I can't go forward without knowing everything behind me is well curated. If I record a new song today - then what? To me it needs to be included in a system, otherwise there is no point. That might not make any sense to you - but this site is as detailed as possible as it presents a history of what we have done - good bad or otherwise, to allow us to move forward. The site has albums I'm not proud of, (my own stuff) - that should have been worked on further - but I'm going to put the history here as it is for better or worse. It may reference people we barely know - but if they we're part of something, they we're part of something.

So in moving forward now - I know I've done nothing here in 7 years - no recording, almost no jamming in our various groups - but I want to make records again. ''The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now''. Pretty much keep on as we have for the most part - knowing it's just for us - there's really no wrong or right. If we like something that's the point. If we can put out a couple of records per year that we like, I'm happy with that.

Preview Secrets of Memory Man
posted: 2011-11-14
No Pic
Here's a preview of Observatory's "Secrets of Memory Man"
Thanks to Chatham Music Archive...

Download Secrets of Memory Man for Free
posted: 2011-06-22
No Pic
028 - Observatory - Secrets of Memory Man

Click here to Download

CD's available upon request - email me at

posted: 2010-11-28
No Pic
GAY/ WHITE SUEDE 7'' - Now available
from Pleasence Records.

Doc Brown and the Flux Capacitors....
posted: 2010-11-21

"Silver Veins" - an Observatory Pre-Production Demo
posted: 2010-11-21

Summer Days
posted: 2010-08-15
Not much to report. The Studio is busy, despite many technical glitches. 2 weeks ago the main data drive blew. (The one with ALL the recordings on it). Through luck and minor technical wizardry, I was able to save everything. Fast forward a week after that, during a mastering session with Hey! Death?, Cam and myself watched helplessly as the other drive followed suit. That one - could not be saved.
Luckily, no recordings were lost. Just time. Lots of time was lost. We were able to borrow Kyle's rig from ITA Studio 2, which saved the Gay's 3 day recording session. Yay!
Recent studio visitors include Gay, Hey! Death?, Observatory, The Exotic Pets, and The BluIgloos. So much recording - still with nothing being close to a release. I know it's only rock and roll - but I like it.
I think this summer has been pretty shitty.

Observatory vs. Mod Cloth!
posted: 2010-08-03

Astral Grenades was selected to be in the background of this Mod Cloth promo video!!!

Just about all moved in
posted: 2010-05-24
Almost all moved into the new space. Effortless Records has relocated again, for a 4th, and hopefully for a long while - final time. New studio space is pretty decent - no control room, but a good amount of room. Look here soon for new news, and the unveiling of the new studio name.

Another re-location
posted: 2010-04-05
We've had a few noise issues with some neighbors that limits when we can and can't play and record music, so I've bought a house that should remedy most of that. The new studio space will be bigger and better than ever.
Hoping to have the new studio up and running for June 2010.
Please check back for updates.

Leavin' on a Jet Plane
posted: 2008-11-21

ITA Studio will be out of commission until roughly the 3rd week in December. My board's gone to Chicago to be Frankenstein'd into a Monster by Black Lion Audio. If you haven't already, head on over to this link and check out Captain Zap's EX album. It's a free download, and the good Captain would love the company.

Effortless may yet see a few more releases out before years end. With little more than a month to go, it's going to be pretty close on a few projects. What's up with the Compilation you ask? It's the monkey on my back that just won't die. We're basically sitting at, a few more songs need to finish up in the studio, and then get mastered, and then we're ready to go. The buck stops here, in that, the delay's currently are all my fault. Once my board comes back from Chicago, I'll be back at it again, full steam ahead.

Sam Roberts Autograph to Observatory
posted: 2008-11-03
No Pic

Some older videos...
posted: 2008-03-04

Eric Welton Interview
posted: 2008-01-01

Eric Welton Interview
Jan 2008 / Interviewed by Matt

Eric Welton fans rejoice! I had the privilege of interviewing Eric via Internet, and asked him to answer as many or as few questions as he wanted. He answered them all. Eric and I talk about his album "ZigZag", which is now a few years old, about home recording, playing live, and the "good old days" which I am technically too young to remember. Of course some of the questions, as always are the generic "What's your favorite Color" stuff - oh wait, I forgot to ask that....

Matt: Eric - How long have you been playing music for?

Eric: My parents gave me an acoustic guitar for Christmas one year, sometime before i was ten. my old man would take me to lessons every week, but i think i was too young. in grade school i signed up for lessons with Chris Rupert, he taught me the basics.

Matt: What was the first song you learned to play?

Eric: Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" was the first. I learned it on guitar and harmonica. That gave me the confidence and desire to learn more...

Matt: You can do an uncanny impersonation of Neil Young - do you still perform Neil Young songs?

Eric: I'm not trying to impersonate, really, I just try to honor whomever I may cover. I do still play some Neil, my favorite right now is Captain Kennedy.

Matt: What was the first "show off" riff you learned how to play on guitar? i.e.: Smoke on the Water / Johnny B. Good, etc.

Eric: I'm proud to say I haven't got a single lick or riff in me...I'm a rhythm player through and through.

Matt: If you could bring 1 cassette tape to a deserted island, with 10 songs on it that you'd be stuck listening to for 30 years...

Eric: Wow... The Band's "Tears of Rage". The Band of Horses' "Wicked Gil". Beatles' "Don't Let me Down." "Thirteen" from Ben Kweller. "Its All over Now, Baby Blue" from Dylan. "Early Morning Rain" from Lightfoot. Zappa's "Take Your Clothes off When You Dance." Kings of Leon's "Velvet Snow". "Candle Song Three" from Mojave 3. The Kinks' "20th Century Man. Neil Young's "Time Fades Away". "Salvador Sanchez" from Sun Kil Moon.

Matt: Awesome. So your family got you into music?

Eric: My family made me get into music - there was always music playing in our house - good music too, The Band, Dylan, Beatles...

Matt: I love all those acts. What or who else are your influences?

Eric: Life is a big influence, that may be a vague answer, but I mean, sometimes life does things to you and the only way for me to relate with it or deal with it is to zone out with a guitar in my hands. People in general are an influence - the good things they do and the stupid things they do - do something stupid near me and you just may end up in a song.

Matt: Ever get writers block? If so - what's the cure?

Eric: I always have writer's block - every tune i've written has just come to me when it needed to - I don't force it, I just keep playing, keep exorcising..

Matt: How do you write songs?

Eric: With a guitar in my hands or sitting at the keys...I fool around with chords until something comes, then I mumble over top of that until the mumbles become words.

Matt: Wow - that's exactly how I do it. Is it true you are relative of one of the Square Root members ?

Eric: Po's father and my mother are cousins.. my Grandma is his Aunt - our Grandma's are sisters. But he is really my brother, I love him and he is very close to Nadia and I.

Matt: Were you around during the hallowed Aberdeen days? (I ask, cause I wasn't - too young).

Eric: Loved and miss the Ab - those were the days. For most of my friends it was The Ab that provided our first bar experience - getting in under age was not an issue. Square Root was practically born there and those are good memories - when they were just a three piece instrumental band - that was great - those are their roots, mine too. The band I was in in high school "The Venus Pigeons" played a great gig there, opening for Ray Whaling's band. We played our own tunes as well as some Hip covers - we got the crowd to their feet and it was all a great experience.

Matt: Did the Venus Pigeons write or record any original material ?

Eric: Yes... that's when i fell in love with recording. our main guitarist knew how to use a four track and he taught the rest of us. we made a couple four-track demo tapes. then later on we went into the studio. Steve Eyres, from Frank's Music Center, used to work out of his house. we recorded five or so tunes with him, great sound quality on those tunes.

Matt: Could you describe your current home studio setup?

Eric: Ok - for financial reasons my setup is computer based. I'm using a PC with four gigabytes of RAM and a Quad-Core processor for speed. I have an M-Audio Delta 1010LT sound card for inputs. I have a small mixer plugged into that card. My monitor speakers are M-Audio BX5's. The software I use is Cakewalk's Sonar 6 - Producer's Edition and I use Reason 4 for MIDI applications. Sonar is completely transferable to Protools and I have just found it easier to use, I have found no reason to need Protools as of yet. I use basically one microphone - an Apex 420 large diaphragm condenser microphone that I picked up used at Frank's Music Center. I plug it into an ART Pre MP - its a tube preamp and it provides analogue warmth in my otherwise cold digital setup. I use an old set of Pearl drums, a Roland keyboard for MIDI triggers, a Fender Jazz Master and my acoustics are Seagulls and Epiphone's.

Matt: What model of acoustic guitars do you play ?

Eric: I have an early Seagull called a Minstrel. Another more common Seagull, the S-6, an Epiphone as well as an Alvarez RD-20.

Matt: You get some great sounds and production from the privacy of your own home. Care to share some of your secrets with other home recording enthusiasts, namely - me?

Eric: Just find the time, sit down and do it. Do a lot of reading on the process. I have found a lot of my success comes from accidents, trial and error. If I didn't sit up until 5 a.m. tweaking shit then I wouldn't ever find these sounds. Start with a good microphone and good monitoring speakers, without these elements achieving a somewhat "pro" sound can be hard.

Matt: Can you remember any particular piece of gear, or guitar that you've sold or lost, and now hate yourself because of it?

Eric: Yes, I've traded gear for other gear over the years... I miss my Hondo Telecaster copy... I miss my Gibson Les Paul Junior.

Matt: I've got a Les Paul in my past as well - I kick myself about it all the time for letting it go. I love the Synth in your song "Again", by chance can you remember what the patch was an emulation of ?

Eric: Thanks very much... I use quite a bit of MiniMonsta from G-Force - everyone should have that software.

Matt: Your track "whatever you want" reminds me a little of SROM. They are probably an influence ?

Eric: No kidding? Thats the first time I've heard that... They are an influence because I am a huge fan, but I could never sit down and try to write something the way Po writes. I can't get out of my own head the way he does and am simply not capable of the melodies that he comes up with. But we all do our own thing...

Matt: Was your album mastered in any way?

Eric: Not really, unfortunately. Its a very necessary step, makes listening much more pleasurable.

Matt: Are you a fan of MP3? What's your take on the whole i-tunes, buy 1 song at a time, situation?

Eric: MP3's are great - unless you own Warner Brothers Records. They are a great way to get your music out there - music is all about sharing and until now there hasn't been an easier way. The only issue here is that the music industry has yet to learn how to embrace it, but it will come. That being said, nothing tops the sound quality of thick vinyl on a decent sound system and I feel I have to have both - I need my MP3 player but I listen to my record player as well.
I use iTunes but I haven't purchased anything from it - I can understand why corporations and musicians who have become corporations do not like the 'new wave' - they stand to make less money. But once the adjustment has been made, years from now, it will all work out. Maybe just because you play guitar doesn't have to mean you are a millionaire - is that so bad? Or maybe they can still make millions by touring and selling screen printed underwear.

Matt: Ha ha. I've already got the Eric Welton briefs! Are you seeking a Record Label deal?

Eric: I've never been taken that seriously, so I guess I haven't taken it seriously. My good buddy Pat Robitaille, an extremely talented and accomplished musician, has been offered many times but he decided to stay independent. If I had the choice and opportunity, I believe I'd take that path too.

Matt: Is Eric Welton your birth name, or stage name ?

Eric: Its my name, dude. There may have been confusion when I had my step-father's name tacked on to it for a few years but I am and always have been Eric Welton.
Matt: Somewhere along the line I got real confused about your name! But confused is what I do best. (laughs) Are you currently working on new material? What are your future release plans?

Eric: Its all in my head right now...I am currently working a day job too much to let it out but that is all about to change and I am about to jump full force back into it. Besides my own recordings I have plans to record three different Windsor acts as well as Prophet Limbo from Chatham.
Matt: It is very hard to believe that "another day" isn't some kind of mega-hit in the indie scene. Have you done much in the way of promotion ?

Eric: Thanks again. I haven't promoted it at all, but I do play it every single time I play out there...

Matt: What was your first on-stage live experience like?

Eric: Besides the high school band thing, my first solo performance was at Bauhaus, a cafe at the location that later became Beatniks. I was scared. I was shit.

Matt: Could ever for see a time in which you'd have a backing band - sort of like a Bob Dylan / The Band 1965-1966 arrangement, with you as the front man?

Eric: I would love to have a backing band - I need a backing band, but no one will back me. In all this time I've had a couple of interested parties but they weren't really interested in playing my stuff, they just wanted to play together, and then after some time it would just fall apart...
Matt: You and Nadia sing very naturally together - did she have prior experience in music, or was this something you had to get her started in?

Eric: The first time I noticed Nadia was when we were both on stage at The Parkview's Open Mic. A few of us were on stage all singing along to some song and all I could here was this loud voice behind me - very clear and confident. From that day on we started to play together. It is a struggle though because neither of us are trained so sometimes it may take some work to find the right voice.

Matt: How many times have you played CJAM ?

Eric: Twice - what a thrill - too bad he doesn't have live guests anymore. What a great station though, 91.5FM they play my records a lot, enough to have me chart on college radio a couple of times. I don't think its in Chatham yet but if you are in Windsor area, dial in - I once heard a DJ play six Square Root tunes in a row.
Matt: What made you pack up and move down Windsor way?

Eric: What makes people stay in Chatham? It was a great move - best decision I've made for myself but also because of school and work for both Nadia and I. There are so many transplanted Chathamites here, its funny. And I let them make fun of me for being from Chatham because I figure its fair since we Chathamites pick on Tillbury's Tillbillies.

Matt: Haha - I pick on Wallaceburg. How do you feel about Chatham Kent's music scene right now? People tend to have mixed feelings about it.

Eric: I'm a little disconnected from it lately. As ever, I feel there is great potential in Chatham and many interesting things could happen. I just wish there was a proper venue, owned by proper music loving people. A large part of Chatham's music culture died when they tore down the Parkview, and went up in flames when Beatniks burned. If someone would just open a good venue I think we'd see more action in Chatham.

Matt: What could be better about Chatham Kent's music scene?

Eric: Perhaps if everybody stuck together and worked together on projects and shows - like, there should be something going on every month where a few local acts got together and put on a show, it would give something to the up-and-comers to look forward to and practice for, and give the local veterans something to do locally, instead of always having to leave town to get a decent gig.

Matt: On CJAM you mentioned you played with My Soft Frequencies, and The Darns, and of course you've played with Square Root - what other big acts have you bumped into during your travels?

Eric: I enjoy playing with a Windsor local group called MICHOU, everyone should check them out. Yellow Wood slays me. Pat Robitaille.
Matt: Care to plug some upcoming shows?

Eric: I hope to be traveling to Toronto with the Root to play a show with Fleece Elves in March... or April. Joining MICHOU at Milk Bar in Windsor in March. I hope to be sharing the stage with the super Tara Watts...

Matt: What links can I relay to the readers to find more out about your CD's and projects? ie: Myspace, etc.

Eric: and you can hear some of the work I've done with Prophet Limbo here:

Matt: Is 'Dog' still in print for people to purchase - and where can people buy it from ?
Its on the first full length "ziGZag" as well as a remixed version on the EP "an ep".

Matt: Oh man - I thought Dog was the name of the album, as well as the opening track title. I feel like Larry King - I didn't do good research. (laughs) Sorry, but I gotta do another generic question... What one sentence best describes your outlook on life.

Eric: Its going to turn out better than I can imagine.

Matt: I also loved the Beatniks scene - but I think I only caught the tail end, or last few years of it. Any idea when it opened?

Eric: hmmm... I think it was only opened for 3-5 years before it burned to the ground... I still think a lot about that place, I really miss being there - we were all robbed when that place was taken away...

Matt: If I win the lottery - and open Beatniks 2, will you come in as one of the house acts and/or out-of-control bar tenders ?

Eric: You'll have to bounce me out to keep me away.

Matt: Haha. Excellent.

Eric: Thanks again Matt!

Demo Kid - Shawn Beaulieu Interview
posted: 2007-01-01
No Pic
released 2007 / Interviewed by Matt
Shawn Beaulieu is a veteran in the Chatham Music scene, and somewhat of a central figure, that ties several people and bands together. Example? Shawn was in Janet Theory and Foster Child, is good friends with local musician and studio owner Bob Hiltz, played his first gig with Po from Square Root, was playing gigs back in the legendary "Aberdeen days", has played at Corn Stock and runs the Official Online Chatham Music Scene Archive. Central figure? Yep.

The CD "Demo Kid" instantly raises the bar for local music. If these are "demo's" then what would you call the music I've been producing over the last 3 years? Answer? "Not-even-demo-quality". Seriously - these songs are produced and recorded extremely well considering they were all put together within the privacy of Shawn's house.

The Last Day of Summer starts the party off strong, and the Foo-fighter-esque "To Die For" keeps things moving along very nicely. Other's don't agree with me, but I think the verse for track 3 sounds Trent Reznor like, and the chorus sounds as if Ric Ocasek took over from there. I can't review the album properly without a mention of track #17 'Would you love me if' - as it's lyrics are the new standard for beautiful poetry in these modern times. lol.

Track 24 takes us out of the album, with a song called "Mom and Pop stores", which is about Chatham's always declining economy, and the "Big Box store" issues in general. Weezer wishes they could still write songs this good.

I was thankfully able to take up some of Shawn's time, (in which he probably would have been writing and recorded MORE SONGS) to interview him about his past, this CD, and the future :

Matt: How long have you been playing music for?

Shawn: Roughly 17 years. But played air guitar for 3 years prior to that.

Matt: What was the first song you learned to play on guitar?

Shawn: Living after midnight by Judas Priest. My neighbour showed me it. It was the first time I discovered the power chord.

Matt: What was the first "show off" riff you learned how to play on guitar? ie: Smoke on the Water.

Shawn: I was not into solos and stuff, but I guess it was the first time I could 'Two hand Tap'. I could play the first 4 riffs of the Eddie Van Halen eruption guitar solo. That was enough to make this 13 year old (at the time) feel pretty good. lol

Matt: Throughout the many bands you've been with, you were always the Demo Kid, and never the front man... are you going to take some of these songs on tour, as the main player?

Shawn: No intentions of that. I was the lead singer/guitar player in my first bands (Foster Child) but it is not for me. I like writing for fun, it's in my blood to deep. I would like to put together a band that totally fits my vision, but being in a small town, there is not many guys to choose from to make or share a common vision. I don't want to be the
main guy stage wise. I don't have the charisma for that.

Matt: Got to ask you some more of the generic questions - What made you get into music?

Shawn: Musicians were all around the family so I fell into it. The real kicker was being 9 or 10 and seeing Quiet Riot/Motley Crue videos, having a blast playing. You just got to do that. Almost everyone would love to, it's too much fun.

Matt: Your mother is rumoured to have been in a touring Country band, can you tell us anything about that?

Shawn: I don't know much about it. I have pictures of her on the road singing in bands and sometimes playing bass. She sang all the time when I was a kid. She rocks.

Matt: Yeah, I always thought it was pretty cool that she used to play bass. I mentioned your new album, cause I figured she might have heard about it, but she hadn't. I told her "Guys don't usualy tell their mom's when the release an album" LOL. What and/or who are your influences?

Shawn: Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Dayglo Abortions, Early D.R.I., C.O.C., The Police, Ben Folds, 80's metal/punk/ hardcore.

Matt: Why does you CD insert reference "Fruity Loops" but then on the back it references "Acid 2.0" (I am not familiar with these programs)

Shawn: Acid 2.o is what I actually use to record the tracks on to the computer. It is the multi Channel recorder. Fruity Loops is what I use strictly to program drum beats and loops etc, that then get mixed in with the song using Acid 2.0

Matt: Were you around during the hallowed Aberdeen days? (I ask, cause I wasn't - too young).

Shawn: I turned 19 around the year or two before it closed. We played there allot juring that time. We thought it was pretty cool that they would pay us decent money to play covers that we loved to play. That place had no rules so it was cool for bands.

Matt: How do you feel about Chatham Kent's music scene right now? People tend to have mixed feelings about it.

Shawn: It is fine. I support the bands so I am happy. The scene is the same as it was when I was playing every weekend a few years back. It is really up to the bands to make it good. People want to be entertained. If your band is boring, no one is gonna go see ya. Thats the reality. If your not willing to entertain, than stay in your basement and be the elitist "too cool for anybody' band and don't complain about the scene. If your gonna play live, entertain the Put your ego in a bag and realize your playing for people, not just to feed your ego ideals.

Matt: What could be better about Chatham Kent's music scene?

Shawn: I don't think much about it. I think it is fine. It is all relative to population. If we had more people, we would have a bigger pot of good musicians, and musicians that could find people to form a band that is fitting to their styles & interests. We are a small city, but people will come see you.

Matt: At what point did you decided the many demo's you had saved over the years would make for a good release ?

Shawn: I decided the same day to release the demo kid CD the same day I started printing them up. lol My plan was simple. Unlike the band demos I have done, this release was not a promoted release other than to friends in my home town. I have about 100 songs I never released before. I felt I should just pick 80 minutes worth and put it out there for friends to hopefully enjoy. I have been putting out CDs every 2 years since I was 16. This was a year with no band release, so I said fuck it, I will just release home demos. I like the songs, just with a new family on the go, there was no time for jamming with buds.

Matt: These songs are great! How is it that you are not signed yet? Are you going to send this CD out to labels?

Shawn: I am not looking to get signed. I am raising my family & write songs because I love too do that. Other than word of mouth, I don't promote my music outside of Chatham. Getting signed is not a goal. I don't know what to say other than I love to write songs and if people like them than that’s great. I don't care about making MONEY OR TOURING, etc. I just write & love it.

Matt: You get some great sounds and production from the privacy of your own home. Care to share some of your secrets with other home recording enthusiasts?

Shawn: Keep it simple. My studio is the simplest & cheapest set up ever. Avoid all the toys. If you have an idea, you should be able to turn on and record all the instruments and vocals in less than 10 minutes.

Vocals - direct to computer - I just add compression using Cool Edit

Guitars - this demo was recorded using a pocket size Marshall amp that hooks onto your belt loop and uses a 9volt
battery. Newer tracks sounds created using my GT-6 effects processor plugged into a mixer head (for a little extra
treble) then into the computer.

Bass - direct into computer. Some tracks run through my GT6 Boss processor for compression.

Drums - older tracks are just programmed with fruity loops/

new tracks are recorded with the Alesis DM5 electronic Kit which every drummer should own as a practice kit!!!!

Matt: I've used the Alesis DM5. (My brother Kyle has that kit right now) Do you use the preset kits?

Shawn: I don't use any preset kits. I combined my fav sounds into 1 kit and stick with that.

Matt: Are you a fan of MP3? What's your take on the whole i-tunes, buy 1 song at a time, situation?

Shawn: I am an Mp3 whore. I have yet to buy music from the internet though. I am for it. There are too many good bands to buy everyones CDs, so buying a song at a time seems fair. A world without Mp3's is simply a world where I would only get to listen to what the radio plays & never discover allot of music.

Matt: Ever get writers block? If so - what's the cure?

Shawn: Writers block happens all the time, there is no cure. It just comes & goes. Last year I didn't write a single song till the Christmas Holidays, where I wrote 14 songs in 2 weeks. Going to a good inspiring concert is a good motive for writing though.

Matt: What was your first on-stage live experience like?

Shawn: You heard about the butterflies in the stomach... fucking true. lol It was a high. It was a grade 8 talent show performing Strutter (KISS) with Bryan Caddotte, (Po from Square Root Of Margaret as the drummer) scary but so cool.

Matt: How do you write songs?

Shawn: Usually I write a guitar melody first, then throw some chords over it. Then record me mumbling words to create a melody. Then I go back and write real lyrics mimicking the melody I pre recorded.

Matt: What are your plans now that you've sort of cleared out your collection of demo's. Write more demo's ?

Shawn: Exactly. Releasing these demos allows me to clear my head and begin a fresh session of new ideas, It kind of breaks the rut now that all these mixed up ideas are released. record record record

Matt: Didn't you tour in some pretty major events when you were in Janet Theory? Care to share any stories from that?

Shawn: Ya, we did allot of big things but we were all amazingly good friends. We were never about ego or saying we did this & that. It was the real deal. Real people doing something too fun & we thanked everyone all the time for making our band life incredible. A few nods were,Doing Warped Tour a few years in a row, Budweiser commercial auditions in TO (that was strange), clothing companies giving you free clothes, just everything was great. Allot of the stories just can't be told.... sorry... I pledged the silence. LOL

Matt: Is there a Janet Theory re-union on the horizon?

Shawn: No plans. We had a blast & then it comes to an end. No regrets. If in the future we are all interested in doing the same things again, then why not, but right now, we are all doing what we like. I love all the guys, but we as musicians, it is very friggin rare you can get 5 guys to enjoy making a certain music for a very long time, it is not normal. Maybe ACDC, or the Rolling Stones, but that is 1 in a million.

Matt: For our technical readers, care to describe your studio setup?

Basic. lol

A computer.

Acid 2.o for actual recording. ( Early version but more than does it's job)

Fruity Loops - for all loops and click tracks.

Boss GT-6 effects processor - guitar sound.

Peavey 6 channel head - mixer head for extra equalizers.

DM5 electronic drum kit - record without any volume while the kids sleep. lol

Bass & vocals direct to computer. use cool edit program for compression.

Matt: Was this album mastered in any way?

Shawn: No. This is a demo how demos should be... A demonstration means the idea captured before the band fine tunes the song or even gets to produce it into a prefect idea!

Matt: Can you remember any particular piece of gear, or guitar that you've sold or lost, and now hate yourself because of it?

Shawn: Our band room was broken into before & a 12 string my Dad gave me was taken. I miss that thing.

Matt: Sorry, but I gotta do another generic question... What one sentence best describes your outlook on life.

Shawn: If you're raised with a good set of morals & explore what you are meant to become, then shit will all fall together, don't worry.

Matt: Got any good Corn-stock stories?

Shawn: Ha ha ha!!!

We played so many events like that it just blows my mind how lucky we were. I remember that girl climbing the lighting rig & stripping. I remember girls getting naked for the band all over. I remember girls chasing us around trying to get different band members in the corn fields to do the ditty. It sounds funny, but it was pretty crazy when I think back. I am not saying that all the guys did crazy shit all the time, but crazy shit was always there waiting for ya if you wanted it. I remember walking around Cornstalk & signing peoples bodies, It was nuts. I got sick juring the KISS cover band. Acid was a drug used by

Matt: How many Kilometers and/or Miles would you say you've put on touring? (How far away have you gone?)

Shawn: We never did too much. It was always weekends. Montreal, to Mid west USA

Matt: In many of the Janet Theory touring pictures, there are always many wild and crazy female fan's present, climbing all over yourself and the band members. This must have been very annoying - what should be done to control this problem ?

Shawn: Funny Mathew. No comment. lol. It is a moment. Seeing bands live is fun, & it is always when people are drinking & having fun. There is no problem unless you are married or dating... I always had a girlfriend & I never cheated ever. It was fun to hang out. It's rock & roll, nothing more. Those who cheat, they do get caught.. & well.. it's their fault for being stupid.

Matt: Do your kids know that Dad is a local rock icon?

Shawn: My Kids love music. I spend allot of my time with my children musically getting them to sing & improvise lyrics while I play a riff. They love it. Icon is pretty steep, thanks man, but the kids do get the connection that Music is just something they feel. it is cool to see something like that naturally in them. My goal is for my kids to become
great people that peeople want to insprie to be. To love life for what life is really about... family, sharing, fun & just being nice... god dammit... lol

Matt: Well I don't think "local rock icon" says quite enough. Thanks for the great album, and the great interview.

You can pick the Demo Kid CD up from Frank's Music (Downtown Chatham) for $5.

Observatory Review by
posted: 2005-12-20
Mathew Workman takes 9 years to do everything. Finally he spent 9 years on something interesting and worthwhile....FINALLY. It's may make your eyes and ears bleed, and you'll surely only listen to it after killing a kitten........but goddam is it good.


Experience the Thinking Captain's Dementia Press
posted: 2004-09-01
No Pic
9 / 2004 Sky-Indian Weekly
Not so long ago, an often overlooked album was released entitled "Experience the Thinking Captain's Dementia" featuring a mysterious lo-fi underground group called Captain Zapoleon and the Blue Milkstars. The album swirled and dripped with toy noise makers and acoustic hum, the sound of bare steel on bare metal, and spacey echo's of space echoes, and then disappeared as quickly as it appeared. It is a great surprise to find it is to be re-released, re-mastered, re-titled, re-sequenced, and another track to be added.
Captain Zapoleon is of course Craig Robinson, who is currently studying Philosophy in Belgium and making music in the cafe's and clubs there at night. Despite a busy schedule, I was able to get a quick word from him via email.

Craig, my questions are few and simple...
1. The reasons for a re-release of this album are obvious, but why change the album's name ?
By the time of the album's re-release, I just felt that the old title didn't suit the mood of the album. A title with the word dementia in it emphasizes something like insanity too much. I don't think that the album is about that so much as it is about some of the rough and confusing times I had in my late teens. This album was my way of dealing with the troubles I encountered in relationships and religion. So I think that a title like "Heartaches and Heartbreaks" cuts straight to the heart of the matter.
2. The new track added to the album is really great, is that an Eric's trip influence ?
Maybe I was influenced by those guys indirectly. Eric's Trip is cool. But, when I put together "The Angelus Sings", I was listening to a lot of Matt Workman's solo stuff. He wrote this really interesting song called "We Should Run". Originally, I was just trying to create something like that with the backwards lyrics, but my song ended up sounding nothing like Matt's. Actually there is another version of this song that has female vocals on it, but I scrapped that one because it was too weird.
3. Lastly, what now? Any new Captain Zap releases in the works ?
Most definitely! There is already enough new material for another album. Right now it is a matter of finding enough time to record it all. It is also a matter of getting all the Bluemilkstars together at once to record.

Jon Show, SurrealSpiel Inc. c/o Sky Indian Weekly

posted: 2003-01-01
Effortless Records
is an independent Indie Pop/Rock record label, located in South Western Ontario, Canada. Started by a group of friends in 2003, Effortless has been slowly, but steadily working on securing a talented and diverse group of bands from the South Western Ontario region, while at the same time, developing a studio space and production area in which to produce and record music, as well as manufacture the physical product, being CD's.
Our goal has always been simple: To produce the kind of music we as fans would enjoy listening to. Most of us here are fans of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, The Beach Boys, Elvis, and more modern groups such as Square Root of Margaret, Bong Water, Apples in Stereo, Guided by Voices, Ween, Belle and Sebastian.
Having the word 'Effortless' in our company name is to be taken mostly tongue-in-cheek, as the reality is, running a studio, producing music, and trying to keep the quality of the art at a high standard actually requires much effort. Having said all that, we still strive to remain in the DIY realm of Indie music."You've gotta always remember the name of the game is 'What does it sound like?'…I don't care if you got 90 tracks…what does it sound like, baby?"—Ray Charles

Pseudo Star in the Paper
posted: 1998-12-01
No Pic
photo by: Cynthia Lockrey
A local band from the Dresden area is busy working on releasing it's debut album. Craig Robinson, Charlie Miller, Matt Workman and Steve Bellan make up the group titled pseudo star. Robinson provides guitar, bass and vocals. Miller plays the bass and piano. Guitar, vocals, harmonica and drums are all played by Workman, and Bellan provides drums, vocals and guitar.

Pseudo Star began in Feb. 1997, on a day when school was cancelled due to snow. A bunch of musicians ended up at Craig Robinson's house and Pseudo Star began from there, throwing together "the best of the best." Though they've been through a variety of drummers, three of the four members have been there from the start.

So what does Pseudo Star mean? A fake star. The name is to "make fun of people who aren't real stars." - people who don't write their own music and don't really care about the music. An example they mentioned a few times was Celine Dion. The band has a wide variety of influences including such groups as the Beatles, Sonic Youth, Pink Floyd, Square Root Of Margaret, smashing Pumpkins, Sloan, Led Zeppelin, Blink 182 and David Bowie.

Pseudo Star has played in such events as Lambton-Kent Composite School's ArtsFest, Wallaceburg's Groundstock, in Meme's Pantry, in the Dresden Arena and in the Gazebo across from the Knechtel store. The group claims that they would like "more support from Dresden." Meme's Pantry has been very generous with giving them time and space to play, and they would like to thank Vanessa for that. "If you ever need good food go to Meme's." said Miller.

Lately, the group has been in the studio recording their first CD. The CD is to be called "Sunday With The Empty..." They have been recording at the House Of Bleen Studio in Chatham. All 10 tracks on the CD are originals by the group. The producer of the CD is Square Root Of Margaret's bass player, Dennis. They hope to have the CD out in April and have been thinking of producing t-shirts and stickers.

When asked how they describe themselves, Charlie Miller said that he thinks of them as a "love child between Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Sloan, and Weezer." When questioned about the reasons they began to play music, Miller said it was "for the women." Robinson claims "my mom made me," and Matt said "it's cheaper than hockey."

February 13 is the date of Bellan's Stag and Doe which will feature the music of Pseudo Star. The group has also been booked for 1999's Groundstock which will be held in Wallaceburg, March 12. This is a very exclusive event, with only two local bands, Pseudo Star from Dresden and Grounded from Wallaceburg, the rest being from larger cities such as Toronto and Windsor. Groundstock raises money to donate to a different charity each year. Pseudo Star also hopes to play at this year's ArtsFest at LKCS.

The band is also working on a side project producing a demo for the Dresden area band Merge. Robinson also plays in a band named Ruptured Spleen. One time while playing a gig Bellan said to Workman "hey, rock 'n' roll," and that has been Pseudo Star's motto ever since. Workman says the band can "entertain any crowd," and will play at any event.

By Bethany McIntyre

Pseudo Star sticker signed by Chris Murphy from Sloan
posted: 1998-01-01
No Pic
A Pseudo Star sticker signed by Chris Murphy from Sloan.