Well, my friends, it has been a long 12 years for me, but some things must come to an end. No, not this account, and actually, not most of the things I already work with on Newgrounds. I'm not stopping everything I do on NG, but the thing I am mostly known for is soon coming to an end: making music. With that said, below I will list what I will be doing, won't be doing anymore, and the reasons why.
The short version of this is in my newest Talking Real podcast episode titled, "What Do I Want?", so if you don't care to read all this, check that out: https://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/800316
Basically, I realized recently why I've been so unhappy. In recent years, I've been facing my fears, learning what's causing my anxiety, and instead of burying my problems and running away like I always used to, I've been embracing myself and facing them. I've been getting to know myself to try and take care of myself and learn what makes me happy, what I want to do with my life.
I would always get mad about not feeling good enough, and always being labeled as a "one hit wonder", but a thought struck me, "if I loved music, wouldn't I be happy making it without this affecting me?" and that said it all. I realized then, music is not my passion, but a hobby I've enjoyed. However, I don't enjoy it as much anymore, and is coming to an end. I've actually done nearly everything I've wanted to do with my music, which is great.
However, I also realized I was trying to do things to please people, and mimic the things I enjoyed. I was obsessing over hobbies trying to turn them into passions for the attention, because I doubted myself as a person, hiding behind my creations, wanting that love and attention, wanting to be interesting enough to people, wanting to be somebody, when I felt like nothing and no one, without an identity.
So, with that said, this will be the last year of music. I WILL however be finishing the albums I started working on, so the next Piercing Lazer and Kid Projekt albums, will be my last. That will be my final work. In the meantime, I will be uploading songs I've never released publicly, after I finish them, and ones I've finished but were stuck in the vault. I'm going to give you guys some gifts.
It's been a long 12 years, a good ride, but I need to figure out what I'm truly passionate about, what I could lead my life with as a career, what I truly want to do, what would make ME happy, instead of me always trying to please people anymore. Music was fun for a while, but I'm ready to say I'm done after I finish these last efforts. It'll be great, I promise.
With that said, part of my gift is my very own Autobiography, well....audiobiography rather. I will also be recording these in a new podcast series by the years, simply titled, Reinvention: The Audiobiography of Real Faction. I'm going to have a lot of fun talking about the past 12 years, so probably what, like 12 episodes? Talking Real will still be a thing, but probably not for a while until after that.
So, really I'll still be uploading music for a good number of months until later this year. With that said, I'll still be running AIM and organizing NGADM and being a part of Pixel Day, so really nothing else I'm doing is changing. I just had to question what I wanted to do, now I know. Thanks for your support guys, but like I said, still ways to go before the music stops.
Below is the long version. And now, I give you...
Reinvention: The Audiobiography of Real Faction.
12 Years: Making Music
When I was 13, my best friend (and basically my brother, we grew up together), Jayson, inspired me to start making music. He played the guitar and introduced me to a lot of the bands I listen to today. So when he introduced me to Celldweller's debut album, I was inspired to also be a "one-man band".
Like any kid, I grew up trying a lot of different things to discover what I wanted to do in life. Baseball and soccer for the YMCA, BMX, gaming, writing, voice impressions, playing drums and piano, making stop-motion Lego films, making videos, and then I stumbled upon FL Studio thanks to a friend named Matt, at the time, had been one of my Halo 2 gaming buddies on Xbox live at the time. He told me about it over an early version of Skype (which was better than what it is now by the way, in 2005).
I finally managed to figure out how to use it (thanks to Jayson teaching me, sometimes he came over to make songs too) in 2006 when I was 14, and for months I practiced and experimented with many things. I made videos a lot back then, as some of you know JKTV, so the first song I made was the JKTV theme song, at the time for that season.
It wasn't until September of that year when I made a Newgrounds account. I had been going since 2003 for the animations, games, and music, under another account, but I felt I needed a different name as an artist. For years, I was so sick of the crap I heard on the radio, it all felt so fake, so lacking to me, always about the same things, all the industry-fueled pop music. It made me lean more torwards metal and rock.
So, I wanted to tell the world I was making "real" music, something from my heart and soul, something organic, and I wanted people to call me real because I felt like a lot of my life was a life and everything surrounding me, but I wanted to be myself. The second half of the name was simply because the whole thing was like a legal name to me, and real wouldn't be enough to define me. Faction, I actually didn't know it's popular meaning. To me, it was a cross between fact, and fiction. It complimented the first word, but also I loved writing fictional stories.
I drew a crappy logo that was basically supposed to represent soundwaves. Over the next two years I would make literally hundreds of crappy generic experimental breakbeat loops, and Liquid Drum & Bass loops, due to my inspiration from video game soundtracks like Bomberman 64, Bomberman Hero, and Kirby 64. Game soundtracks heavily inspired a lot of my music in the early days.
I would burn CDs and give them to my friends, and back when I used to be religious and go to church, I'd bring my huge CD player stereo carrying it around to show them my newest tracks on a weekly basis, they loved it. When I heard of YouTube through MySpace in 2006 back when it was underground, I started uploading videos and songs under jktvman (until it got hacked and suspended in 2008).
Also, one of the first genres I made was also Hip-Hop. In highschool, I was inspired to become a rapper. People said I was good at freestyling, and it was fun. I made beats, and I would hand out CDs of that too in highschool. I friggin drew "Trixsta" (my at the time rapper name) on the sleeve of my grey hoodie...and I still have the damn thing haha. People liked what I had to offer, but I never pursued it seriously for most of my life, was just for fun.
Back then I just considered making music a fun hobby, but then came 2008. But let's rewind a little before we get to that part.
2007: Piercing Lazer is Born
Back in the beautiful days of scene kid trends, and MySpace, I somehow made friends out of state on the site, and to this day, I still miss customizing my page with a music player and custom backgrounds. One of those friends was Dustin Dean. He was one of my very first penpals on MySpace, and eventually he showed interest in wanting to learn FL Studio (known as FruityLoops Studio 5 or 6 at the time before it got abbreviated, yes that's what it stands for), so I taught him.
Eventually, we decided to collaborate, and that was one of my very first collaborations, if not THE first. We formed Piercing Lazer, the project known for Simple Sight, the big hit. I came up with the name because I wanted to stand out, and make it something akin to a hair metal band name, something funny yet fierce, so my teenage mind thought, "What's the most powerful, unstoppable force? A piercing laser! But, I'll replace the s with a z because everything sounds cooler with a z!" So....yeah haha. I'm pretty sure inspiration came from Homestar Runner's Limozeen. I watched Homestar Runner a lot back then, went to the site every week.
In 2007, we released the first album (I have the remastered version on my BandCamp if you're curious). I was 15, my voice kinda sucked at singing, but I was in choir at the time in highschool, so I was learning. We would pass songs back and forth through AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) I believe. I can't remember if we did it another way or not. Back then, sending files like that to someone else was NOT as easy as today. I want to say maybe we used file sharing sites or email.
The logo, as you can see on the debut album on my BandCamp page, is a crappily designed logo with laser beams. Jayson and I sometimes made Star Wars fan films (horrible looking ones) with this image editing software that was designed to let you put lightsaber beams on your sword for cool effect, and it was free, so I decided to use that on the album cover. Yes, Star Wars inspired the album cover.
We made a whopping 18 friggin songs (though some he didn't work on), and so I wanted to pass the album around in highschool. I had like 4 or 5 friends sell the album for $5 in the hallways of the school, I told them any money they made off it they could keep. I got a decent reception, believe it or not, I think we sold at least 20 copies or so. My friend had a CD cover printer or what not, so he made copies of the CDs with the album art on it.
I actually showed my sophomore Chemistry teacher, and he absolutely loved it, especially the last song, "Risen From the Deep" (which I later remade for the 2016 EP, The Other Side EP). I started getting more inspiration from bands, artists, including those on Newgrounds. I actually listed in my 10th anniversary newsposts back in 2016 who inspired me specifically.
2008: Breaking Out
I was 16, and my depression was getting much worse. I felt like I hated most of the people I came in contact with, or was really just scared of them, and being homeschooled most of my life plus having Autism (Asbergers Syndrome specifically) made it wayyyy worse, way harder. I had some serious anger issues, I held grudges and didn't like to be teased, I was sensitive and insecure.
I wanted my life to have meaning, I felt like a nobody. I didn't feel like I had much of an identity, or that my life had much substance. I was bored, sad, and didn't know what to do. There were few people I trusted. However, a handful of things that happened that year changed my life, and @TomFulp was one of them.
One of my best friends, Megan, at the time, changed my life, helped me start to see I cared about people and wanted to help them, brought a lot of good out in me. I transferred schools that year due to how bad things got, but eventually she found me and we kept in contact. In April, during Spring Break week for the schools here, my song, Clearing the Sky, was featured in one of the spots on the Audio Portal for the weekly Top 5 audio (back then NG got WAY more traffic, thousands looked at that page, I want to say it hit 10,000 plays in a week, maybe more).
I was overjoyed, that week I was sad and didn't go to church one night due to my depression, I thought I didn't matter to anyone there, wondered if anyone would miss me, and this youth leader named Darren called and told me about his struggle with suicide as a teen. I cried, and I felt the compassion, it was very inspirational, that dude cared about me. I knew him a decent amount at the time, nice dude.
Anyway, the same week, after I saw my song get the Top 5, I was shocked, and amazed. It wasn't too long after when Tom Fulp (I believe it was him from the team?) sent me an email, asking me if The Behemoth team could use Simple Sight for "one of the last boss fights". I gladly said yes, and he sent me a contract to print out. My parents had to sign, and since Real Faction was getting attention, I wanted Piercing Lazer to get attention. Simple Sight was from the 2nd album I hadn't finished yet, but it came out later that year, titled Parallel Universe (I'm remastering that to release this year for the 10th anniversary).
Little did I know, there was actually a contest on newgrounds (no idea how I missed that) to compose music for the game specifically. My song was one of, if not THE only song, hand-picked outside of the contest to feature in the game that WASN'T composed for it. Weird, huh? But, hey, I'm definitely not complaining, I was thrilled. I played the crap out of that game on my Xbox 360 for months until I got burned out. Red Knight was my guy, still is, on my current playthrough of the game on my YouTube channel.
My friends for a while were poking at me about the song, and Jayson one day said, "Hey, guess what I got as my ringtone!", held up his phone with a grin, and played...you guessed it, my song. I was like "but wait, how did it get on an mp3 ringtone website?" and I wasn't too pleased about it, considering I wasn't credited on there, but I eventually got over it. I made a nice yearly royalties check for some years.
So yeah, Tom changed my life. This site did. However, I feel the mistake I made, was feeling my identity, feeling my worth, was in my music, rather than myself as a person, so I hid behind my work. That year overall was an amazing year, I won my first contest ever in anything, because I won the 2008 Madness Day Audio Contest, Hank's Return won 1st place.
2008-2010: The Hacker/Battle for the Net, First Album
However, 2008 was eventually a dark year. Because of the attention my song got, it lured in a stalker/hacker. Who I thought was a friend who was a fan of the song, was actually the hacker I had to end up fighting against for 2 years. Imagine one night on AIM (again, AOL Instant Messenger), an instant-messaging program, talking to your programmer friend, and he asks you, "hey, I'm working on a game, want to test it out for me", then you say yes and download the file and open it. You think nothing happens, he says it might be glitching. So, you think nothing of it and continue your night.
Now, imagine this. All of a sudden, the next day, you're working on your computer, and all of a sudden, your computer just shuts down, out of the blue. You restart it, and nearly all of your programs, and files, the HUNDREDS of songs you made, the video files of JKTV, all gone. You sit there in shock, shaking, tears forming in your eyes, devastated by it all. Somehow, AOL Instant Messenger is one of the remaining programs. You open it, and a random user messages you that you don't recognize. They claim to be a government agent doing a test.
Now, being as gullible and naive as I was, also open-minded, I wasn't sure what to make of it, but I believed it. Little did I realize, that this piece of shit, was the "friend" who sent me the program. Not only that, but he said he would help me fight the hacker, and I stupidly gave him remote access to my router. What ended up happening next over the next two years is too long to explain, but I'll narrow down the damages.
Eventually, I found out soon after, that he went on my newgrounds account and deleted nearly all of the songs from 2006-2008, the only ones that he couldnt delete were in submissions. That's why a lot of my old work will never be seen. Just when I was rising in popularity, eventually I got locked out, he changed the password. I had to made RealityVictim, a different newgrounds account, uploading on that.
Eventually, I started to see my Myspace account dirtied up with porn, and newgrounds forums being made with explicit photoshopped images of me (not originally, just he threw like sex toys and dicks in there). He even posted my street address, phone number, Megan's email adress and yahoo messenger account (i eventually switched to that after AIM), the works. It was a living hell, very traumatic.
Down the road, the bastard started wiping more hard drives, and corrupting them with a virus. I had to buy new hard drives, but eventually I had to disconnect from the internet, making 5-minute sessions then unplugging, so I got out more and watched a lot of TV for the next 2 years. If I left it on overnight, I would see my computer wiped. I had to start backing up my information to data CDs, so every time he wiped it, I could start where I left off. You can imagine I had a lot of CDs backed up. I made a lot of music offline.
He managed to steal $1000 from my parents, basically. He stole money from us. He posted porn on my accounts, he posed as me and verbally attacked my friends harassing them trying to ruin my relationships, he exposed a 12-year old girl (a friend's sister) to porn. Eventually, he stopped. But, the "friend" after being away so long, not talking to me, came back in an email and said a different last name, he slipped up thinking I wouldn't remember. I tracked his IP to Charlotte, North Carolina. I made a video on youtube stating I caught him, and if he would leave me alone, I wouldn't out his location, so he left me alone. I felt that was fair, even though I wish I could jail him.
In 2008 (or 2009, I forget), I managed to make songs for my first album, Party Enhancers. That's a bit of a rare gem, but some of the songs I believe are still on here. I'll end up reuploading some of those. I collabed with my friend JaylinSapphire on a song or two, and he made the album cover. The hacker called the album Penis Enhancers. As messed up as the situation was, as much as I wish I could put him in jail to this day, I'll admit, that was actually pretty clever and funny.
Offline, in the summer of 2009, I managed to make a nifty cover of Sandstorm that my friends loved. It was the first song, for what I considered my first official public album, even though it was technically the second. I called it Beatilicious, because I considered myself to be a "human music factory" with as fast as I pumped out music, I pumped out a LOT of music.
I wanted to mix the words ear candy with industrial factory, and that was my inspiration for the sound, and album art, what I told the artist RedWingX. Down the road, @FrozenFire actually asked to use my song in an awesome song called Symphonic Tower Defense. It was an original idea, I'd never seen anything like it. Rhythm/Tower Defense game hybrid. It's fantastic, go play it. Eventually, I asked a friend to help me get my account back, then I returned, but a lot of people knew I was hacked, so my rise to fame was no more. I had to start over.
In December 2008, I got to meet my half brothers on my mom's side, Dennis and Jacob. It was great, I talk to them every now and then.
2009-2011: The Third Piercing Lazer Release That Never Was
What really caused the hiatus of Piercing Lazer for a number of years was two things. Mostly, due to losing songs I had started writing in 2009 for the third record over and over again. It was going to be really different. Part of it was experimental and more light-hearted indie rock, believe it or not, but some of it was more aggressive like the second album, but I was going in a screamo direction....yeah.
It was going to be called Observation;Exploration, an experimental EP that was more poetic with the lyrics, when I experimented more with symbolism with my writing. Some of the songs are actually still on the MySpace page, and I want to find a way to rip them off to release them here. There was Insects, Ghost Eyes, Benedict Arnold Had a Daughter, Alien From Earth, and a couple others I can't remember. I actually have one or two of those still.
That's some of the unreleased stuff (technically) that I want to put out, that stuff is like from 2010, and 2011, and I think one from 2009. I was listening to a lot of Sky Eats Airplane back then, used to be my favorite band. After that record got scrapped, somewhere around 2011, I started working with a concept album with a guitar player, until that fell through. It was going to have Chapters as the titles. Eventually this would later become the concept for the Real Faction album, The Box Vol. 1: Dark City in 2014. It wasn't quite Piercing Lazer to me.
Oh yeah, in 2009, I got to meet my biological mother, Amanda. That was really nice. I shaved my head bald for the first time, it was funny because my adoptive mom freaked out (I was adopted).
Somewhere around 2012 or 2013, I tried to get Dustin back into the project and my friend Garrett on guitar, but Dustin got busy with his bands and that fell through. Eventually I just gave up on Piercing Lazer, thought it was done for good. I believe in 2012 I started running a Necromancer Theme cover contest, that's when I started making contests, and lived in my dads house for a bit from 2011-2013, that was a living hell I don't even want to get into.
So, in 2010, I started working on my second album, Exoticland. Originally, it started out as a joke. When I made the terrible first song, "I'm Mad", a parody of all the terrible pop noise on the radio, a friend told me it was great. I laughed. But, then I thought, "what if I started rapping over my electronic songs", and the concept was born. That, plus I wanted to challenge myself. Most of the synths in most of the songs, are ONLY x3 Oscillator in FL Studio, to get 8-bit sounds.
@Jaxxy got me into 8-bit chiptune music more than I already was, but when I started getting into Game Jams when that became a thing, and we made the game Dravalanche (that's still in my submissions, I made all the music for that and helped with the game ideas), she got me into making chiptune music.
Smilecythe made the album cover, can't remember his newgrounds name sadly. Part of me likes some of the songs, but I want to say that was one of my weakest albums, as cool as some of the songs were, as cringy as some of them were. It was way different than the sounds I was known for, something totally different.
Around this time, @Fierra (at the time, known as DJ-BrixX or something), gave ne sine very helpful advice along with @Phyrnna over the years on how to improve my mixing and different methods to use in FL Studio, which also heavily influenced the album's sound, it affected how it was made.
2012-2013: Art-Inspired Music, Planet Pulse, Contests Basically
I believe it was 2012 when I first got my trademark persona with the creepy grin, that face everyone knows, that I recently got new artwork of. It was by @SplendidDevil, and the new one is a tribute to his interpretation of me with that persona.
This was during my 8-month fight with Asthmatic Bronchitis. How I survived it all was beyond me, I could hardly breathe. I couldn't go up and down stairs without gasping for air, I had to learn to breathe under low oxygen, it was terrifying. I started experimenting with music inspired by artwork. I made a song called Retro Specs inspired by artwork by @MagicalNekoLenLen, also inspired by Daft Punk. I also made a chiptune piece inspired by artwork by @Deathink.
One of my good friends, @Phyrnna, who since 2008, was giving me pointers, had the idea of making a contest out of it, and boom, the Art-Inspired Music Contest was born. We both judged the contest. @TomFulp loved the idea when I talked to him about it, every once in a while we talked via messages, ever since 2008. The contest was front-paged, and had a way bigger turnout than I expected, and the music that came out of it was some of the best music I've ever heard, same goes for every year. It was to be an annual tradition for years to come.
In 2012, I was working on yet another album (titled Planet Pulse, named by my friend Tom who did the art), as every year I tried to pump out at least one. Eventually I pumped out multiple albums in a year. I think it was the first time I got someone to sing on my music, it was @VGSongbird, and I featured a friend of mine at the time by sampling something from our Skype conversation in Cananada. I wanted to try Electro-House, and experiment with many different styles, sounding spacey. Due to my Asthmatic Bronchitis, I made a song called Sedatephobia, which is the fear of silence.
I believe it was around this time, if not a little before, I started messaging @Back-From-Purgatory, who became a great inspiration to my music, and a great friend to me. I entered a contest, he was one of the judges, and I thought he was interesting, so I started talking to him. There was a couple years we didn't talk (my fault), but now we are again. I won't get into that, but over the years I wrote a handful of songs inspired by Purgy.
Also, I started working with @Saminat @Schulles and @deathink on a tribute game of The Thing (the 1980's movie), and it was really looking promising, I was making music for it, and I believe sound effects? I also helped with the ideas for the game, and man...it's a shame we didn't get to complete it. But, I did release the soundtrack on my Bandcamp, at a later year. It was a chiptune soundtrack, never had a chiptune album before until then. Carried into early 2013 until it was cancelled.
In January of 2013, I moved into my current home, I live alone. It got really lonely, got to me sometimes, made my anxiety worse I would say. It's a nice place though, at least no more parential fighting, I'd rather have that. But, we have a good relationship. Though, for reasons, I keep my distance from them.
My friend Tom (whose name on here I totally forget), made the artwork for Planet Pulse. I made a contest for the album art for the deluxe edition of Planet Pulse, getting a decent chunk of entries. @O-Tone was the winner, his art rocks, and so did the album cover he drew. The album had reimagined covers of some of the songs, and a couple new songs. I ended up asking him to do the artwork for my next album.
I should also mention, the same year, I had some weird dreams, and made a small EP called Echoes in My Sleep, which was a very experimental effort, and took a couple songs from a couple years or so prior. I don't really know what you call it, but it was experimental for sure.
I also ended up experimenting with ambient music for the first time that year, was making a soundtrack for @VOEC 's "Fischer", another cancelled game. I ended up uploading the soundtrack to my BandCamp for free a later year.
Also, random, but it was either 2013 or 2014 I started doing work for Soul Jump. Look it up on youtube, it's an animated show my friend Tom has been working on with animation and writing. I was doing music for it for years. I made a handful of songs for them, but I left in 2017 after I stopped doing commissions. Speaking of...
Read Part 2 here: https://realfaction.newgrounds.com/news/post/1010653