Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Manasota Project

The Manasota Project is my new web series that documents the creation of a band to support the 180g vinyl release of Manasota S/T by performing on Youtube. This is a playlist, so be sure to watch all the episodes!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Thinking of Distance - Justin Robert (VHS-c Video)

Recorded in 2006 the drums were actually recorded at Stage III at Florida Studio Theatre while I was doing Hedwig and The Angry Inch. I showed up early one day and put a single sm57 mic on stage using my old Zoom PS04 Palmtop Studio Multitrack Digital Recorder. This was a very early model of a device like this and was a bit of an odd unit. It used smart media cards and was 20 bit, but only recorded up to 31.25kHz, which gave the drums a kinda dingy cool sound.
The guitar was a squire stratocaster going through an Epiphone 5 watt class A Tube amplifier, bass was direct and keys all VSTs. Completed the rest of the song in cubase then made the video a few months ago in Greenpoint.

Here's the final vid of my Tama Hairline Blue Bop kit. This time I just show more of the canister throne, my hi hat stand, heads and complete setup.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tama Imperialstar Bop Kit Unboxing Part 2

Part two of my unboxing and some playing of the Tama Imperialstar Bop kit. I show some of my stands, cymbals and forget to mention the heads I'm using, which are Remo Vintage As on the toms and snare and a vintage emperor on the resonant side of the kick and the stock Tama batter.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Evans Hydraulic drum heads on concert toms review

I've been playing a concert tom drum kit for the past several years (since 2009 or so) It's a cheap kit originally. A made in Taiwan Pearl knock off with Luan shells that I literally sawed the bottoms of the far too deep rack toms and refinished the whole kit in a rich walnut oil stain. I then had the shells bearing edges re-cut by none other than Bill Detamore of Pork Pie Percussion.

It has been my main kit for several years, it survived being submerged in water, not once, but twice. Once during hurricane Sandy when my rehearsal space was flooded, and another time when I was in a service elevator in Bushwick that malfunctioned and plunged into a watery basement (this is another story entirely)!

Anyway, since I've been using concert toms, I've tried many different heads on the toms to see which ones I thought worked the best. I've used everything from remo black dots, to attack single ply coated, pinstripes, coated emperors and ambassadors, and finally just yesterday, Evans Hydraulics. It now is obvious to me why this particular head was so damn popular in the 1970s. Since the 70s were the age of the concert tom, it makes sense that a head that works so wonderfully on them would be widely used.

I had tried Hydraulics years ago but it was in an inappropriate setting, on regular drums poorly tuned that weren't mine at a party. My impression of them then was pretty horrible and I just always written them off as being too dead and thick. But concert toms are a totally different animal. When I first started using them, I tried black dots (CS heads) they sounded nice, but after touring in a band again, I didn't want to spend so much money on heads, so I started using the Attack single ply coated, which sounded nice but wasn't very durable. I then tried coated pinstripes which sounded absolutely horrible. They were a weird, boingy sounding head that just didn't work at all on my drums. It's odd that a pinstripe is another oil filled head similar to a hydraulic, but the sound was drastically different. The Pinstripes actually had more high overtones than the single ply Attack heads, which was pretty crazy.

I wanted to re-head my toms and I was almost going to buy some black dots again, because up until now they were the best I'd tried on this kit. But I thought I'd try something different and remembered reading several places that the Hydraulics were good on concert toms, so I thought I'd give them one more chance. Plus they seemed to be a bit cheaper than black dots and more readily in stock.

It turns out that all the things that make Evans Hydraulics a horrible choice for toms with resonant heads are the exact things that make them great for concert toms. Like, being insanely thick, having a ludicrous amount of oil sandwiched between the two layers, and a complete lack of high overtones, all work amazingly well as soon as you take the bottom head out of the picture.

I first put them on and noticed how quickly they seemed to set and tune, much quicker than any Remo I've used. The thick blue oil filled layers gave a nice medium sustain, but much warmer than any other head I've put on a concert tom. High dissonant overtones are just gone. The floor tom especially was troublesome with other heads, but with the hydraulic it sounds nearly perfect with a warm sustain, clear note projection, and the sharp attack of a concert tom. There is also a much needed added bass presence to these heads, which is something that can seem lacking in concert toms.

I think the Evans blue hydraulic may be the perfect head for concert tom drums and will be what I use from this point forward on the toms. Its got me a bit curious about trying one on the kick too!

Friday, September 25, 2015

We did it! You guys are amazing! The new Manasota album will be coming to 180g Vinyl!

I am super thrilled to announce that my new project, Manasota's self titled LP will officially be coming to vinyl! My Kickstarter campaign for the album to be pressed to 180g vinyl has reached it's goal!

I am actually quite amazed. I didn't really expect so much support for this project, but I am so happy that it happened!

So what is next? Well, the campaign still has a few more days, and once it finishes Kickstarter will take their cut and give me the rest. After that I'll send the masters, artwork and deposit to the record plant to start the process, then we just wait. Vinyl can be a bit of a lengthy process, so it will take 12 to 16 weeks to complete.

If you want to make sure you'll get one of the albums, there's still time to pre-order, just go to the kickstarter page here and select a reward. Backers also have exclusive access to one more song that has only been made public for them.

Also be sure to subscribe to the Manasota soundcloud which is embedded below!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


If you were channel surfing in the late 80s you may have stumbled across this band that sounded almost exactly like Frame

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fireant, 10 years later

It has now been 10 years since I completed my first solo CD "fireant". There's still very limited copies left of the original pressing (under 20) so if you want to get your hands on a great CD, with beautiful artwork by Nathaniel Price, now is the time. 

Will ship anywhere in the world and includes a free digital version of flac/mp3/aac. Follow this link to check it out

Monday, August 10, 2015

Moai is now Manasota

I've decided to rename my Moai project to Manasota. If you have followed my work you will recall an album I made under the Justin Robert name in 2006 called Manasota. This new project isn't exactly like that album, but I think thematically I am in a similar state of mind. Ocean, islands, remote beaches, sandy places, ocean breezes are all things that come to mind to me when I'm working on this project.

The name Manasota is the name of a small Key off the west coast of Florida where I spent a lot of time in 2005-2007. I found it to be very peaceful and healing place and I made a personal connection with it. Since I do have a personal connection with Manasota Key and I've never actually been to Easter Island, it just feels more appropriate. I've also started to notice several other artists named Moai, so that just added to the positive reasons to change it.

I'm also already on my 5th song in this project using real drums, real bass, real acoustic guitars and mostly limiting myself to two soft synths, the Digital Synsations UVI and now very hard to find Mellosound (mellotron emulator). I've still only shared two tracks though and am going to keep all the new ones private until I finish the release.

Anyway, if you haven't checked it out yet you can do so here

You can check out the Justin Robert LP "Manasota" here

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I've started to work on a new project that is a bit different than all of my previous material. I've gone a different direction on these new tracks which is why I'm using a new moniker, "Moai".

I'm taking a break from so much programming that was going on in Demonic Sweaters and even the last few Justin Robert albums. All of the Moai stuff is being made with more live instruments like acoustic guitar and drums, bass guitar, and a couple synths. I going for a mellow sense of space, easiness, and a touch of melancholy.

The sound is sorta krautrock inspired with a tad of 90s indie and post rock. I have a new soundcloud page there too, so please subscribe

smile emoticon ‪#‎postrock‬ ‪#‎krautrock‬‪#‎indierock‬ ‪#‎instrumental‬ ‪#‎homerecording‬ ‪#‎brooklyn‬ ‪#‎nyc‬ ‪#‎acoustic‬

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Moai - Moai and Jellyfish

Here's a preview track of a release coming soon to Anthill Recordings. Very mellow instrumental spacey rock. Dig it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

SIGHTINGS | The UFO Report | based on the TV series | 1995 | VHS rip

Just found this amazing VHS rip of a "Sightings" UFO special from 1995. Enjoy.

#ufo #alien #sightings #vhs

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Akai MPD 24 Finger Drumming - Panaphonix - Vaporphonics #6

Continuing with the vaporphonics with the 6th installment of this series. This one is also made from Samples from Sato's Rainsong, but is a completely different direction than the last one.

Played live using Ableton Live Intro with a drum rack and MPD24
Like, comment, and subscribe if you dig

Monday, June 15, 2015

VHS Vaporphonics - Sato Remix

Akai MPD24 figerdrumming with Ableton Live Intro using a single drum rack played in real-time. #13 of Geeky Gigs, this one is a reconstruction of Sato's "Rainsong". hear the original here
Subscribe and like and listen to demonic sweaters on your interwebs.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Akai MPD24 Fingerdrumming - Tandy Teng Vaporphonics - Geeky Gigs #12



The latest installment of Geeky Gigs # 12! This one features the incredible voice of Teresa Teng all performed live using Ableton Live Lite and an Akai MPD24.

Thanks for watching! Like and subscribe!

MVC-022S (4)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Busking in New York City

Lately I've been hitting the Subways with my homemade mini kit. Busking in NYC is something I've always seen others do, but never did it myself until recently. I'm still learning the ropes, but so far it has been a fun experience.

I decided to go with only an acoustic drum setup since not having amplification increases the amount of places you can play legally.

This is the rig that I came up with. At first I was considering making a small kick drum, but size and difficulties of stabilization made me change my mind and go with a standing bass drum that I actually hit with my stick. I used an old Ludwig Rocker 13" tom and removed the bottom head, then attached a tiny 8" concert tom with three long wing bolts. I used dry erasers and gaff tape to pad between the toms. 

On the top of the 8" tom I cut some plastic zip ties and taped them to the side of the head to create a snare-like sound. This worked surprisingly well and the snare has quite a pop when cranked up tight and hit with a rimshot. 

The bass drum was muffled with duck tape and gaff tape, and it has quite a surdo quality. What you see in the middle are two stainless steel chinese cookware lids sandwiched together to make a hi-hat like instrument, to the right of that are agogo bells, then on the left a cowbell and one of my Brazilian tamborims

last but not least is a wooden spoon and a small shaker taped to some old running shoes. I wedge the jam block under the leg of the snare stand I'm using to support the set and use the two foot noise makers to keep a steady time while I play my patterns over top. 

Most of the beats I've been experimenting with are Samba based, since this setup sorta lends itself to that style, but also have been working in some more experimental patterns as well. Overall this setup is making me think way outside the box as how to play the drums, since my right foot is no longer the kick, but I have to think about how to make a bass sound using my hands. 

The people have been very responsive and have had many photos taken, video and people talk to me. I still want to make it a little more unique somehow though in the near future. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Batucada LP in the works!

A few years ago I started working on a project of all batucada drumming songs. I wasn't able to complete enough for a full LP, so the tracks got put on my album, Coruja.

I've recently been thinking how much I'd like to do this again, but this time really complete a full album in the style of "Batucada Fantastica" by Luciano Perrone, I started digging through the old recordings I made and found a few that I had never finished and already completed one for the album.

Once I get the whole thing done I'll  post it on Bandcamp and it'll be streaming on all the major services. For now you can check out my first track completed off the up and coming LP.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

back online!

Hey all my readers, I'm back up and running here. I never really went away, but my energies were focused on other sites. But there's some things I feel like only belong here, so I did some cleanup on the site and little by little will be being updated.

Feel free to click around and and explore!