8: When You Sing the Word Condom on a Cruise Ship with Emily McVicker and Chris Jordan - Wilde Musicians Podcast


EMILY MCVICKER & CHRIS JORDAN OF OCTOMALIEN

Singer-Songwriter & Live Looping Band | Seattle, WA
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify

When you sing the word “condom” on a cruise ship, heads will turn. Emily McVicker and Chris Jordan met as performing musicians on a cruise ship and they now perform as a live looping band (Octomalien) in the Seattle scene. Join us for this comfy episode as we sit crisscross on their living room floor surrounded by instruments and talk about cruise ship life, songwriting at 4am, the benefits of studying competitive piano performance, and how to write catchy songs about baby mermaids and condoms.
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BEST QUOTES

"People hardly pay enough in money and they don't pay in love at all." - Emily McVicker

"It would always get people's heads to turn when you sing the word condom." - Emily McVicker

"Any kind of old structure of doing music doesn't work now. It's really up to the artists to be artistic about how to break themselves to their audience or how they want to be seen or how they want to be performing on their own terms." - Emily McVicker

"In a song, you only need to show your perspective and it can be really difficult to know what that is when you can be aware of the other points of view." - Emily McVicker

"The specific is universal. Instead of writing something general that you think will releate to everybody, it's actually contrary. If you write something that is very very specific, that's actually more universal than the general statement." - Emily McVicker

"Look at me, I am awesome. Sometimes his confidence in himself, it weirdly empowers the people around him. I need to realize that if I'm being negative or doubting myself I might not  realize it but it might make other people around me feel that way." -- Emily McVicker re: her brother who is a good fan for people.

"There is a template. I know there is a universal language in music and I'm just trying to figure out how I can make it obvious without saying anything."  -- Chris Jordan

Emily McVicker & Chris Jordan of Octomalien - Wilde Musicians Podcast - Photography by Chamonix Films - Nov 2018-1_WEB.jpg

ADVICE FOR MY PAST SELF

"Don't compare yourself to other people because even now if I try to audition for the same roles that everybody else is doing, it isn't as fulfilling to me as creating my own stuff. I'm confident in my own abilities now way more than I was back then even though my own abilities haven't changed that much. I know how to apply them now and it's not by copying other people." -- Emily McVicker

"Record everything that you do from the beginning. My struggle was that we didn't have the equipment. We had the equipment but it was as 'take out your phone and record it', you know? So all of my performances, they're pretty much gone and that sucks because that could have least given me CDs or something I could use in order to market myself." -- Chris Jordan


QUESTION FOR OTHER MUSICIANS

"I don't want to hear other musicians talk. I just want to hear what they do. I would love to see musicians that are more giving to the community. There are so many talented musicians that are like 'look at me', 'look what I've made' and feel like people should want to listen to them and I'd be more interested in seeing how they creatively serve the community or what they do for other musicians, whether that's something as basic as sharing videos or saying 'I'm going to a show, who wants to come to this with me?'. I think we could do a better job for each other of helping bring community and supporting morally but that also brings the whole herd of people." -- Emily McVicker

Emily McVicker & Chris Jordan of Octomalien - Wilde Musicians Podcast - Photography by Chamonix Films - Nov 2018-19_WEB.jpg
Emily McVicker & Chris Jordan of Octomalien - Wilde Musicians Podcast - Photography by Chamonix Films - Nov 2018-5_WEB.jpg
Emily McVicker & Chris Jordan of Octomalien - Wilde Musicians Podcast - Photography by Chamonix Films - Nov 2018-40_WEB.jpg
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FOLLOW EMILY MCVICKER & CHRIS JORDAN OF OCTOMALIEN

Singer-Songwriter & Live Looping Band | Seattle, WA
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify

Recorded: November 15, 2018
Location: Emily’s house in North Seattle
Episode Released: March 06, 2019



TRANCRIPT

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0-10 MINUTES

Cha tries to explain how she's blending acoustic folk and EDM production and how the two styles compliment and build on each other.

Marketing Ideas
Organize your own events that bring together artist who are creating similar or sharing similar experiences to you. You can make yourself the center of the event and rotate different artists through to feature everyone.

Macklemore

Really successful marketing always involve people.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift invited fans over to her house for a private listening party to listen to her CD. Include people in what you're doing to get them excited and involved.

Emily explains how she serendipidously hosted an open mic night: sponsorship, finding artists to perform, networking for artists, paying venues in artworks, building respect

Emily was a Part-Time Character Artists before she became a musician.

"People hardly pay enough in money and they don't pay in love at all." - Emily McVicker

After months of posting and promoting, her consistency ensured she was in the back of people's minds so they would randomly show up.

When Emily was new in town, she made friends, networked and found business opportunities by offering to help the other musicians she met along the way with whatever they needed.

10-20 MINUTES

"You can create a job and you can accomplish it. It's just going to take a lot of work." - Emily McVicker

Cha explains how she started the Wilde Musicians podcast and how she is using it as a networking and marketing tool; scheduling meetings, stock piling episodes, patience to not share everything right away and not burning out so you can release your creations stress-free.

"I'd rather feel eager and impatient than stressed and rushed...There's something really powerful about already having the content done and then going to market it." - Cha Wilde

Emily studied musical theater, auditioned in New York, a cappalella group at Hershey Park, voice acting, and became a "jukebox" on a cruise ship.

Hershey Park

On the cruise ship she played with amazing people and felt like she was always improving. The first songs she wrote were comedy on the ukelele.

"It would always get people's heads to turn when you sing the word condom." - Emily McVicker

'Baby Mermaid' was Emily's first catchy song that she chose to record because people found it funny.

"When I initially drew the baby mermaid logo it was originally holdinng a condom. I didn't think people would wear that on their T-shirt so I omitted the condom." - Emily McVicker (19:50)

20-30 MINUTES

Emily started her music show with live painting on stage while Chris Jordan played piano.

Conor Byrne Pub
5th Ave Theater
Phantom of the Opera

Over the year, Emily learned different styles of singing so she could adapt to different bands. Especially, on the cruise ship, she was performing many genres; disco, motown, classic rock, beat boxing, a capella etc... She would listen to the original recordings of the songs she was learning so she could evolve her voice.

Juno (keyboard)

Emily beat boxes for us. If you want to learn how to beat box, choose a song (like Lauren Hill's) and sing along and practice in the car.

Lauren Hill

"The good thing about looping is if it doesn't feel good, you know right away."
"(If you want to learn how to beat box) do it. Make the sounds. Just like any music, you have to listen to someone you want to be like....that will help you keep the tempo and then you can be more creative with it." - Emily McVicker

Scott Cruz
❤ New Feelings Time (Comedy Group)

The naming of their band "Octamalian": octopuse; a two person band has 8 limbs and all 8 limbs are involved used for instruments. Chris is the alien and Emily is the chamelion.

30-40 MINUTES

[Enter Chris Jordon]

Octamalian went on tour this year (2017) down the West Coast; performed 2-3 times a week anywhere from Octoberfest to the airport.

Performing at Octoberfest was crazy and exhausting because they were performing from 10pm-1am and had to perform for all the late-night rowdy people. They took a lot of requests for people.

Emily sings in a wedding band sometimes.

[Chris] Started playing music when I was 3 in church. Started with piano and then added guitar and violin in high school. Piano is his main instrument and did his undergrad in "Piano Performance" at Oberlin. After university he got into snowboarding and taught salsa dancing lessons to make money. Then he worked in Las Vegas and LA before taking a job as a band director on the cruise ship where he met Emily McVicker.

Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Chris shares what it's like to study piano at such a high level, how he benefited and when he knew he did not want to be a classical musician; masterclasses, repetoir, fine tuning technique, practice time, acute ears listening to you, performing in a room full of doctorates analyzing your dynamics and articulation, learning to assess yourself and the opinions of judges.

"You don't necessarily want to take everyone's advice and honestly you get over everyone's advice and you're like, honestly, I like the way I play it and a lot of people like the way I play it and I don't really care the way you think I should play it. So then there starts to become that divide there where you assess yourself and your own musicianship." -- Chris Jordan

"Having a classical base, basically throws a million notes at you right off the bat, so I'm really good at organizing a lot of notes. That's the first thing they taught me. So organizing things with the looper or the keyboard, it comes a little easier for me because of that background. I know what to listen for and I hear the mistakes unfortunately that people scale across. Well, there's a difference between good performances and great performances and poor performances." - Chris Jordan

40-50 MINUTES

Emily's songwriting skills and fanbase. Chris has the musical skills. They meet in the middle to create.

Emily usually brings an song idea to Chris and they develop it together. They'll sit a piano together and flesh out the song.

25 Years (not yet released)

Chris has attempted songwriting and wrote down lots of ideas in his mid-20's but unfortunately his journals were stolen. He hasn't attempted to start over.

"It's kinda hard for me to express in words what I really want to say, you know?...I know people are okay with people just putting out anything and we're watching a video that's about songwriting and stuff like that too but I'm more into the music aspect and clearing that up... So that's my internal struggle right now, figuring out what I want to say and how to put it into words and just being clear about it and making sure it doesn't sound like anything else." -- Chris Jordan

"Any kind of old structure of doing music doesn't work now. It's really up to the artists to be artistic about how to break themselves to their audience or how they want to be seen or how they want to be performing on their own terms." - Emily McVicker

"I started playing guitar a couple months ago...just having different sounds to play with has changed my approach and given different feeling. It's been inspiring and fun." - Emily McVicker

Emily would like to turn more books into songs and give herself a break from writing about her own feelings.

Cha shares journaling and expressing through words verses sounds; how to utilize minimalism and silence when communicating, bringing yoga teaching techniques into music.

50-60 MINUTES

Emily "gets out of her own way" when she is tired and creates late at night. Sometimes you don't need to be literal, you can just describe something.

"The 4am Mystery" TED Talk

"In a song, you only need to show your perspective and it can be really difficult to know what that is when you can be aware of the other points of view." - Emily McVicker

"The specific is universal. Instead of writing something general that you think will releate to everybody, it's actually contrary. If you write something that is very very specific, that's actually more universal than the general statement." - Emily McVicker

❤ Cha talks about her encouragement blog.

"Look at me, I am awesome. Sometimes his confidence in himself, it weirdly empowers the people around him. I need to realize that if I'm being negative or doubting myself I might not  realize it but it might make other people around me feel that way." -- Emily McVicker re: her brother who is a good fan for people.

Cha talks about her husband's positive attitude, tells the story of how he helped her get into music by inviting her to perform with him, how their lives now revolve around games and music and how she's experimenting with composing film scores.

West Side

You need systems and techniques if you're creating songs on a deadline and you don't have the luxury of writing whenever inspiration strikes randomly.

60-70 MINUTES

When collaborating with another artist, make sure you get on the same page before you start creating. You can "take each other's temperature" to understand what you're both focusing on and hoping to get out of it.

Emily approaches songwriting as telling a story with beginning, middle and end.

After years of arranging bands and large pieces of music, Chris is new to songwriting and he is getting into it by sitting down and contemplating one word, color or feeling at a time.

"There is a template. I know there is a universal language in music and I'm just trying to figure out how I can make it obvious without saying anything."  -- Chris Jordan

Cha shares her idea for creating music inspired by chakras, colors, frequencies, and creating a concert environment that sets the right tone and intentionally guides people on a journey through physical human experiences. Cha's new music has been most impactful when listened to sitting down with surround sound, in SUVs during joyrides or during yoga classes. She is also organizing her produced tracks with color-coding that matches chakra colors.

Bass Canyon

70-80 MINUTES

Living on a cruise ship, inspired music that was far too serene for people to want to listen to.
There's never a silence moment on a cruise ship; there's party music everywhere, people are talking, skids are scream. You might not experience quiet for 6 months. The quiet time you would get would be at 4am and even then the ship would be creaking, the engine would be loud and there would be a mysterious BOOM like a torpedo hit the boat, the waves.

The movement of the ship can cause performers to lose balance on stage or equipment to fall over. Some singers would get off the stage to be safe.


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