State of Hero Falls, October 2020

Last month I talked a little about my motivations around HF and how things felt a little off. Getting Blythe’s track done and starting on the next song is good for me, but I’ve also started to look at why I have not gotten the reception I had hoped for. I think Kat’s observation that “finding an audience for original music is hard” is true, but I also am starting to think I have not given my potential audience enough information to get emotionally invested. I know the relationships between the characters; I am making a certain amount up as I go, but I do have some connections that I take for granted that the audience has not made…because I have not given them enough information to make them.

Part of the fun of this for me was giving people a puzzle to solve — listen to the songs, seem if you can figure out what’s going on with just a few clues. Those clues are too vague; there’s not enough revealed to make anybody care about who these people are, who they love and hate, and what they have done or might do. The only thing I’ve said about the backstory is here and it’s admittedly super light on details.

So, that’s pretty easy to solve. I am going to start a section of the site where I offer character bios. I have these all written on my end as part of the development and songwriting process, so they are easy enough for me to share, in full or in part. Basically, I guess I need to start building a wiki for Hero Falls so there are points of reference for the characters, the history, the timeline of events, and the city itself. I know the names of businesses and which characters live in which neighborhoods and all kinds of fun stuff that might make the place more real for listeners, in the way that it’s becoming real to me. It would also give me more opportunities to post on social media, announcing there’s a new page of backstory posted.

Oh, yes — social media. I talk about HF on my own Twitter account, but I had the idea to talk about it in-universe from @hero_falls on both Twitter and Instagram. I had been writing as the city’s social media interns for a full year before releasing any music, thinking “wow, people will be so impressed!” They were not — nobody noticed! So I’m dropping that schtick and I’m going to use those channels as standard promotional avenues, announcing new songs and info and whatnot. Every YouTube video I’ve made points to them, so I think making them less creative and more informative is probably a good idea. I can always revisit it later if people get invested.

So. I have never set up a wiki before, but I guess learning how (or if it’s even the right way to go about this) is the first step. Then, cut and paste! 🙂

Song: “Happy Family” (Feat. Blythe Renay)

First, I hate children.

Second, I wanted to work with Blythe Renay since the earliest days of this project. I’d actually asked her to take a crack at “Another Hero Falls” first, but I wound up going with Moorea’s take. But at that point, I realized, okay, I need to write a song specifically for Blythe. Something that matches her voice, her delivery, her ability to be sweet and nasty at the same time. Little did I know she would be immortalized as GenIVIV in Borderlands 3 shortly thereafter — now she’s gamer famous! But she agreed to work with me anyway, and for that I am extremely grateful. She’s kinda one of my favorite people in the world.

The result is a story of a Karen. I started thinking, as I often do, about kidnappings, and if there was a case where someone would do that from a position of mercy. Like, Karen here is selfish — she wants a kid, her henpecked husband has issues delivering the payload, and she’s looking for other ways to grow their family. But then she looks around at all these parents who seem to hate their kids — ignoring them, neglecting them, just looking exhausted and like they realize they have made a terrible mistake that wrecked their lives. So…why not solve both problems at the same time? Frank’s work at the Epicenter gave him access to mind-wipe device from a canceled project, so, you know…what you don’t remember can’t hurt you. Just rearrange the pieces on the game board and everybody wins. That’s Karen logic for you.

“Happy Family” (feat. Blythe Renay)
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