Where are you from and what brought you to the Central Coast?
I am originally from Salinas, and moved to the Central Coast to study graphic communication at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After college, I was lucky enough to find full-time jobs in SLO doing web development, start a couple bands, and join up with The Sauce Pot!
How long have you been making music? Which instrument did you start with, and what inspired you to become a multi-instrumentalist?
I have been making music since I was in high school. I learned to play the guitar first when I was around 11 years old, and later learned the drums once we got a drum set for the family. My brothers and I would jam together as a “family band” and trade off instruments for different songs. So this definitely got me comfortable playing guitar, drums, and bass.
How long have you been working in Logic Pro? What do you like about it, and what do you dislike about it?
I’ve been using Logic Pro for over 10 years, and honestly there’s not much I dislike about it. I started off using GarageBand, so Logic kind of just builds on that by having way more capabilities, but also maintaining the same user-friendliness. And that’s why I like Logic so much—it’s so easy to piece together songs. It’s incredibly important to me to have a tool that simplifies the technical aspects of recording during those moments of creativity.
When writing songs do you start with the guitar riffs? What is the usual progression of developing a song?
I always start off with a guitar riff, but as soon I write one, I’ve already got the drums in mind. So I’ll write out simple drums in MIDI next, using samples from Toontrack’s Easy Drummer, then write any variations of riffs and beats that stem from that first riff. Once I’ve got a basic structure of a song, I’ll experiment with lead guitars, solos, ambient keys, effects, etc. And when I’m happy with how the song goes, I’ll record myself playing the drums on my Roland e-kit, and then meticulously edit all that MIDI so everything is aligned and mishits are cleaned up. It can be a lot of work to edit all that MIDI, but it makes it sound more humanized, and to me, it’s important to capture the creativity that can only happen when recording a live performance.
How long have you been using the Axe Fx and how do you utilize it in your productions? How do you go about getting your tones and layers?
I’ve had my Axe-Fx II since 2012, and I swear by it! I use it to get awesome tones for guitar and bass, and I also use it as my recording interface, allowing me to mix and re-amp guitars super easily. To get tones, I might start with a preset, but then tweak the pedal or cab settings to better fit my style. I’ve also used the tone-matching feature, which is a lot of fun to experiment with. My layers are pretty simple: two rhythm guitar tracks panned 100% left/right, a track of low-end bass guitar, and then another track of bass re-amped with the rhythm guitar tone. I find that helps glue things together, as well as give the bass the extra growl and definition.
How does writing songs for a Medda project differ from a band situation?
Medda is a solo project, so I have complete creative freedom. However, while I might have great ideas for what to do with a song, I may not always be able to execute those ideas. That’s definitely the benefit of a band situation, where everyone can be specialists at their own instrument. It’s hard to be a specialist at everything, so there can definitely be some self-doubt when writing for Medda. It’s a balance of challenging myself while also trying to be as creative as I can without spreading myself too thin. In those cases where vision exceeds skill, I’ve collaborated with many guest musicians, including Björn “Speed” Strid, Robby Hardin, Kevin Strong, Mattias IA Eklundh, Bears Among Men, and Ralph Lee.
What bands have you been a part of?
When I was in high school, I was in a post-hardcore band called Astoria, and after that formed a melodic death metal band called Wintersfear. I currently play drums in a psychedelic rock band called Hemisphere, and am currently forming two new metal bands… more details on those to come!
How did the collaborations come about for the new EP entitled “Fission”?
On the song, “Fission,” the collaboration with Björn Strid actually came about because of his bands not being able to play shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Björn made himself available to do guest vocals, and I just so happened to be working on a song that needed vocals. The guitar solo was played by Robby Hardin, who I’ve been playing music with since high school. He’s been an honorary member of Medda because he’s written so many solos on Medda songs.
With “Nail Biter,” I knew this song had to have both screaming and clean vocals, and it just so happened that there’s a Central Coast band called Bears Among Men whose vocalists, Jose Sanchez and Kyle Foster, make up that perfect blend. I absolutely knew they were the perfect fit for this song, and man did they come through!
“Cognitive Dissonance” was actually a song I recorded about six years ago with Ralph Lee, of Altercation. I didn’t really know what to do with the song at the time, because I was focusing on writing instrumental music for Medda, and Ralph and I were both not playing in bands. But the song was liked so much by my friends and family, that it inspired me to continue working on more songs with vocals. It was just a matter of finding the right vocalists. The solo from the Swedish guitar virtuoso himself, Mattias IA Eklundh, happened on a whim. I just sent him an email one day, and by the next day he had the solo recorded for me. Coolest guy ever.
How do collaborations affect the songwriting process? Any examples from the new EP?
The collaborations affected the songwriting process only in that, while writing a song, I would say “ok, this part would sound good with vocals on it,” or “this riff is going to have a guitar solo over it.” So I would get the songs as close to done as possible, doing as much as I can with them, so that the last step of the process is to work with the guest artists.
You’ve made some free downloadable content from the new EP. Can you tell us about that, and any plans for future downloadable content?
There is a guitar tab pack for “Fission” available, which includes backtrack stems for recording your own guitar parts over, and an Axe-Fx II preset for the guitar tone used on the EP. The idea is to make it easy for guitar players to learn the song and make their own covers of it. There are currently two other remix packs available also, which include stems from older Medda songs. And I definitely plan to make more downloadable content available in the future!
What plans do you have, if any, for your next musical project?
I definitely have some new music projects in the works. I’m playing drums in two new metal bands, and I will possibly have some more Medda singles and/or videos coming out in the future.
How are you involved with the Sauce Pot Studios, and what services do you offer?
I do mainly graphic design and web development for The Sauce Pot. I design things like logos, fliers, album art, and merch, and I designed a developed a website template that makes it easy for bands and music producers to launch a full website quickly and easily.
Are you interested in producing other peoples metal or non-metal projects?
Yes! I mix all of my own Medda music, and have done a couple small projects here and there, but I’m definitely looking for some more experience working with other artists to grow as a mixing engineer.
Do you have any goals going into 2021?
2021 should see some new releases from the other projects I’m working on. And if venues open back up, I hope to be playing some shows!