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Two American musicians with multiple sclerosis, one in Texas and the other in New York, have made something amazing over the last year and a half. Their collaboration is even more remarkable because they have never even met in person.
By working together, yet remotely, they have produced what they describe as a conceptual album that “is about to change the game”.
Not only the music, but most of the animation and artwork were done by the two musicians with #multiplesclerosis. This clip was entirely made by these two indie artists.
Intrigued, I felt that we needed to know more. So, we had a remote chat!
Altered Carbons is Chris Cox, in Texas, and Bob “B-Cide” Cardillo, in New York. I’ll let their words tell their story.
Ian: Tell me a little about yourselves
B-Cide: I’m 37. Unfortunately, my personal life is not as fun as my music life. I’ve been social distancing way longer than anybody has been social distancing. Now people know how we feel.
Chris: I am 54. My personal life is about the same. Being immunosuppressed has kept me pretty isolated the last few years because of basic colds and germs. The social distancing has only heightened the steps in our household as a family. We were all used to most of it before everyone else was suggested to do the same.
Ian: And your musical lives?
B-Cide: I’ve been making and marketing my own brand of rap since I was in high school. I was on independent tours with a group named Project Born from Flint, MI. I was getting ready to promote my latest release, get my big push and then the MonSter hit me and I haven’t performed since.
Chris: I have been a musician for most of my life. Growing up playing in the Dallas music scene I was in a couple of bands that did fairly well. La La Land and Tin Henry were two of my most memorable bands. I also released a few solo CDs since MS hit me and I stopped touring with bands.
Ian: You both have MS. What types and when were you diagnosed?
B-Cide: RRMS in October 2011.
Chris: RRMS, March 15, 2006.
Ian: You have not met in person, so how did you ‘come together’ on this project?
B-Cide: I met Chris in a Facebook group for MS about five years ago or so. I saw he used to be in bands, had videos, etc…. I sent him a message, started talking to him and we kind of hit it off.
Chris: That’s exactly how I remember it. We even discussed working on some songs together in the future.
Ian: What inspired this project?
B-Cide: Chris had the idea, he sent me some skeletons of some strange music that he was making and I was going to supply him with some vocals for the background and things of that nature, then about a year after that we caught back up and started talking about it. Chris said he wanted to make a concept album, and he wanted to know if I was down to do something with him. Well we put together the very first song called “Out Of This Box” and it came out way better than our expectations so we started creating the story.
Chris: I originally thought about people being a product of their surroundings. Everything pretty much told to them by their parents. I wrote this song “Out Of This Box”. I sent it to Bob once and he did a few parts. I kind of put it away for a while and re-approached B about a concept album as the song started to turn into a bigger vision I had hoped to create.
Ian: How would you describe its genre?
B-Cide: It’s definitely a mix of music outlets, it reminds me of Pink Floyd meets Nine Inch Nails meets the Gorillaz.
Chris: I hate to throw a tag on it because it has so many genres mixed up in it. It’s something that I want everyone to put headphones on and turn the lights out for a hour and listen uninterrupted. It’s a story and total experience.
Ian: What have you each done or are doing for this project?
B-Cide: I’ve been programming a lot of drums on this album, I love the drums on the album. We also send each other ideas back-and-forth with a little bit of everything, I also have loops and such, it’s all a crazy process. I’ve mixed and mastered it all myself too, I’ve been mixing for over 15 years.
Chris: All guitars, bass guitar, a lot of keyboards and we both do vocals. B-Cide has the raspy voice and I have the crazy voices. It’s been a organized chaos of sending files of ideas and tracks back and forth. We are Altered Carbons start to finish. I have drawn a few things and a little animation and B has done a lot of video work as well. It’s basically all up to us from creation to promotion.
Ian: What particular difficulties has MS presented in carrying out this project? And how have you overcome them?
B-Cide: All kinds of difficulties, there were days when we both felt like crap, but then the thing that was cool is the fact that one day I would feel like crap and he would want to work on stuff and he would come up with a bunch of ideas, then he would feel like crap one day and I would end up coming up with a bunch of ideas and sending them to him. It was very strange, almost like the planets were aligned.
Chris: I agree and we both knew that if we didn’t hear from each other for a few days or more, one of us was having a particularly hard time with their MS in one way or another. Finally, things didn’t come to a grinding halt because the other one knew and picked up the ball and kept things moving. We were on the same page from day one. I have days where I can’t hold a guitar at all or speak properly. My hands and feet are numb and a lot of the other usual problems that you hear about MS. Everyday is a new experience and I just do what each day allows.
Ian: What plans do you have for more projects? And have you plans to meet in person?
B-Cide: I definitely think that we’re going to keep creating some music together, I know we’re trying to go gung ho on this album and promote it and show everyone that people with MS that have never met can make something like this. I’d definitely love to meet in person, I’m sure it will happen.
Chris: Absolutely, This is a concept album so I definitely want to do some songs that show a few other sides of us. Blending generations and throwing our style out there.
I think that it’s only a matter of time before we meet in person, although travel is on hold right now with the pandemic.
Ian: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say?
Chris: This album is an experience that you really need to take a break from whatever you are doing and turn the lights off, put the headphones on and close your eyes.
We hope to see the whole album as an animated movie. (B-Cide cuts in: If there are any animators with MS, we would love to talk to you.) We are trying to make that happen. There will be more music from Altered Carbons.
Most of all, we need your help spreading the word about Altered Carbons. You are our promotion team. Grassroots guerilla marketing and we need everyone’s help to share this with your friends.
B-Cide: However you get your music, make sure that you search for Altered Carbons and check out the new album “Out Of The Box”.
Please share this with anyone that knows what a battle MS is, let alone making what is sure to be a cult classic for the true lovers of experiencing music.
Stop listening and hear what is imaginable to have been executed in these conditions alone…
#MS #NewMusicAlert #groundbreaking #conceptual
Find Altered Carbons
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/altered-carbons/1484018811
You can also buy USB or CD versions of “Out Of The Box” HERE.
In the days of streaming and digital downloads, you can also buy a follow-along book created by us that follows the album. You can show your support by purchasing a physical representation of the booklet (10.75″ x 8.25″ 24 Pages) HERE.
And we have T-shirts, hats, hoodies, posters, prints, etc… available HERE.
Altered Carbons email: email@example.com, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlteredCarbons, Instagram: https://instagram.com/altered_carbons, Twitter: https://twitter.com/carbonsaltered.
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Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.
Centre not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control) Colour not color Diarrhoea not diarrhea Haematology not hematology Haematopoietic not hematopoietic
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.
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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.