Thursday, May 31, 2007


Songs are the heart of music, and songwriting style can easily fall into two types. The serious songwriter/musician will usually focus on the skill of playing and craft of writing. (Basically, it takes years of skill and dedication to approach music in this way.) The DIY songwriter usually just grabs an idea and runs with it. It doesn't matter if you don't have a great voice, great skill on a particular instrument or the best recording equipment. You just roll with it.

My affinity with indie music and indie culture stems from the equality of this approach. In many ways, anyone can do it, if you have the drive. Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) said he prefers music made by non-musicians over real musicians. If you take a close look at indie rock, you'll see what he means. The approach can really go all the way from Talking Heads and The Ramones, to Pavement, to The Bicycles. If it's done right, it always rocks.

So, putting stuff together for Egger gave me a chance to put my money where my mouth is. I recorded a lot of stuff on my own, and then brought some of that into the studio to record with the guys. The process of doing end-to-end demos on my own was a really great experience, and it really gives you a chance to find interesting ideas that you never would find any other way. It is basically the exact flipside of the same cool discovery process you get when you write and record as a band, and the group creates things you never could. Throw the DIY approach on top of everything, and you end up getting stuff like this:

Egger - Street Fighter Demo

This is the last demo that I did for the album, where I played and sang everything. It is always so cool to see where you can go with this kind of thing. Rough around the edges, but I love the spirit.

Even better is when you get a chance to go into a studio with that same demo and record with a bunch of hot shots to get a final result like this:

Egger - Street Fighter - 2005

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Welcome to Eggybeats

It's the spring of 2007 in Toronto. I'm gearing up to do some more recording and it occurred to me that a blog would be the most sensible way to present what I call Egger. Egger is basically me (Dave Ullrich) writing, recording and releasing music. Although I used to play drums in The Inbreds in the 90's, and now I run the online store/label Zunior, Egger is definitely more of a hobby. I got to thinking how it might make a lot more sense to present this stuff in a narrative context as opposed to a 'big bang' in, record in isolation, produce a CD, play live, get press. Where I'm at now in my life, a simple ongoing story will probably be more interesting to you. So, my goal with this site is present the back story on Egger and try and tell an good story over time.

So, before I go back and start from the start, here are a few Egger facts:

- the first Egger album is called Force Majeure
- it was released on the Zunior label in 2005
- the primary players on the album were Paul Linklater, Doug Freisen and Don Kerr
- you can check it out here
- we made just one video for "Pixels", directed by Scott Cudmore

The concept for Egger really hit me in March 2005. Mike O'Neill and I had just played a triumphant show in Toronto at Lee's Palace. Although we had not played together in almost seven years, Tyler Clark Burke asked us and it just seemed right. Dave Bookman pumped up the event and the place was totally packed. It was basically the biggest Inbreds gig we'd ever played in Toronto. Given all the crappy shows we'd done for years, it was pretty cool. Anyway, the thing was great, people were so great and we had fun.

Of course, after all the props, cheers and compliments, it was still just Mike and I stuffed into a taxi at the end of the night, freezing cold, hauling our own gear. Pretty hilarious, really. On that ride home I really got it in my head that a) The Inbreds are/were an awesome thing b) The past is the past c) This amazing 'final show' was not an excuse to try to resurrect The Inbreds but an excuse to finally attempt to do my own thing. Given that I didn't write songs in The Inbreds, and I was thirty-five years old at this point, it wouldn't be that easy. Still, the time was right.

So, over the previous few years I had been starting to amass some cool gear that I'd always wanted to have, but couldn't afford. Grown-up toys basically. One of the first things I picked up was a classic Rhodes from Paul's Boutique. I don't really know how to play piano, but those who have ever touched a Rhodes know that it can basically play itself. They sound like everything great about music from Al Green to Radiohead to The Local Rabbits. Timeless.

The first riff I ever started working on was this one:

Egger - Rhodes Demo

I recorded the track directly into my computer layered over a drum sample. After the guitar, I pretty much left it as is for a few months. It's when I came back to it later that the feeling of early Genesis hit me. Odd yes, but I thought it had a weird Phil Collins thing going on. I've always liked this demo, and I thought you might like to hear it.

This song eventually turned into the first song on Force Majeure called Just Cause You Can. The track is basically my manifesto of yuppie restraint:

Egger - Just Cause You Can - 2005