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Friday, April 13, 2012

Tpenta Vanalten Music In Second Life Pandora Drezelan Reporting…

Pub With No Beer

I watched Tpenta Vanalten’s performance at a great little Australian hotel. ‘The Pub With No Beer’ and got to speak to him about his work and Second Life. Tpenta (Alan in RL) talks about his early days in Second Life and the beginning of his musical career:

‘I had my fifth rez day last December. I came to Second Life initially I think out of curiosity. I made a number of friends at a club called Odds & Ends. It didn't take me long to figure out that without Linden dollars it was going to be rough’

‘Odds & Ends had "dance pads" which let you "earn" Lindens but it really was a slow way to earn money. I hosted events at a club for a while before hearing about live music in Second Life.’

‘I remember very clearly the first time I played, just not quite when. It was probably about a year after I started.’

‘One of the highlight music events of the week used to be Freestar Bay. It would start around 7pm on Saturday evening and run 30 minutes sets of booked artists until midnight and then an open mic while there were folks who wanted to play.’

‘Autumnfoxx would be there for the whole event. Organizing the performers onto the stage, getting streams right etc for the whole time. I decided to have a go at the open mic. Rosedrop (Rusty) Rust brought me out to Pannies and let me test my setup on his stream before jumping up at FSB, but my first real gig in Second Life was at the open mic in Freestar Bay.’

‘I met Autumnfoxx originally at Odds & Ends and now she is my Second Life wife. Rusty is now one of my closest friends.’

Tpenta Vanalten

Tpenta tells us what goes into preparing for a performance:

‘I like to have some idea at least of what I'm going to play before I do. I also like to have a piece up to a certain standard before I perform it. It doesn't always work out that way.’

‘If I'm rushed, I'll sometimes make the set up as I go. I've generally got a good idea of the type of things I'm playing so it's not really that haphazard.’

‘At some gigs, if I know I'm with an audience I know well, I may pull in a piece that really isn't up to scratch yet to get some feedback and ideas on it.’

‘My current setup has come a very long way from how I started. My current setup is:

- Vocal Mike (Rode M3)

- Ambience Mike (Behringer C-1)

- Guitar (Tanglewood TSD-VS-E)

- Ukulele (Kala 8 string Tenor)

- Guitar effects chain

- Compressor

- RP150 digital effects unit

- Boss Delay

- Boss RC-2 looper

‘This all feeds into a mixer that has some built reverb and streams to a PC through a USB.’

‘I generally leave this all setup in my office with the instruments unplugged (to save the batteries in the pre-amps), but if I have to set it up from scratch it generally takes me about 20 minutes.’

‘I also keep a lyric book in front of me as there is very little more embarrassing than forgetting the lyrics to a song when you are playing it. Especially if the lyric is the first line to an original (yes I've done it).’

I asked Tpenta about his favorite styles of music and the venues he plays at:

‘I was a music student at high school and grew to have a great appreciation of a vast range of musical styles. Anything melodic is likely to catch my fancy.’

‘You were at my gig at Kameleonz tonight. You would have heard originals ranging from soft finger picked soulful through to the more rocky and the almost reggae.’

‘I often throw some blues into the mix as well as covers off stuff that I happen to like, which includes a lot of music by artists like Paul Kelly and Ian Moss.’

‘I have regular gigs at Pannies, B&Bs, the Frog and Toad and Nudist Paradise.’

‘I like to play at the Pocket when I can and folks like those at Kameleonz keep me in mind for if I'm around and they have someone who is unable to show. I once joked with them that I should call myself an Instant Performer.’

Managing real life and Second Life can be tough as Tpenta explains:

‘My real life actually limits the amount I can perform in Second Life as my day job, my family and a few other things keep me pretty busy.’

‘I'm generally only available late evenings/early mornings on Wednesday/Thursday and afternoon/evening/very early morning on Friday and Saturday. This unfortunately means that there are places that I would dearly love to play at but simply don't have the time zone overlap.’

‘One of the things that has stood out to me over my years as a performer is the community that is that of the musicians in Second Life. For the most part they are a wonderful caring and supportive group of folks. I have been fortunate enough to meet and jam with folks like the Lohners, Ohmy Kidd and Saraine Sands.’

‘I've become friends with Dexter Ihnen who lives only about 20 minutes from me. There are so many others that I would like to meet face to face and am certainly keeping an eye on an opportunity.’

‘That’s easier for folks in Australia, but my job does take me overseas too, so I'm also watching for those kind of opportunities.’

‘I would dearly love to meet my good friend Rusty in Portland. There was also a person with a very special relationship with Second Life musicians who I was really looking forward to meeting, but unfortunately we were all untimely robbed of Delinda Dyrssen while she was on her way out here. A very special person who I hope will never be forgotten.’

I would like to thank Tpenta for his great performance and for taking the time out to give us an insight into his musical career; he is certainly a busy man.

Alan Hargreaves


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