Stellar Circuits Vocalist Ben Beddick Discusses the Bands New Album “Ways That Haunt”

Photo By: Brian Patrick Krahe

Ben Beddick is the vocalist for the North Carolina based rock group Stellar Circuits. The band is set to independently release their first full length album titled “Ways That Haunt” on November 9th. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Ben recently about the group’s formation, the creation of the new album and the bands upcoming tour.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us a little bit about your band Stellar Circuits?

Ben Beddick: The band has been together for about 3 or 4 years now. We were all friends and we started out initially playing covers. From there thing’s happened rather organically as we began to write our own material. Stellar Circuits is a band that I like to think has a sound that spans across multiple genres or styles. We all have lots of different influences and I think that comes across in our sound. We grew up on the west coast in the 90’s listening to bands like Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and the Deftones. That style of music certainly impacted us early on and I think you can hear those influences when you listen to us.

AL: What was it like be able to work on your first full-length release?

BB: It was a long process. We started writing this shortly after our EP came out in 2015. Even though it was a long process I think this was something that each us has always had as a goal. As much as we loved doing our first EP it was more of us getting our feet wet. Being able to write a full-length record was like creating a feature film. That’s how we looked at in the scope of the work. I think we all changed quite a bit during the process and when you work on something over the course of three years those changes are inevitable. I think we were able to hone in our individual crafts as well as being a band. The fact we were able to spend a good amount of time on this release played a big part in the end result. We didn’t have to feel rushed or pressured to get things done. It was all up to us.

AL: Are the tracks that make up “Ways That Haunt” all newly written songs or was there some material left over from the EP that you chose to include as well?

BB: With the exception of two tracks everything was newly written. Our drummer Tyler who joined the band about two years was a part of writing a

majority of the songs. The song “Fuller Dream” was one of the tracks we had written for the EP however, we chose not to include it for whatever reason. It was interesting to see how that song evolved over the course of time. We added quite a bit to it. I see that song as sort of a transition song for us from where we started to where we are now. The other older track “Nocturnal Visitor” was one that was around but never finished. We sort of had bits and pieces of it but nothing solid. To be able to finally finish that was really cool.

AL: How did your relationship with producer Jamie King come together?

BB: Jamie is also from Winston-Salem. This is where he did all his work with bands like Between the Buried and Me and The Contortionist. He is a hometown hero to fans of heavy music in the area. He actually mastered our EP and that helped us get our foot in the door. From then on we had our hearts set to work with him on our full-length. Jamie has an amazing track record and was super accommodating. It was like a dream for us to be working with him and getting to spend so much time with him I think helped us take the record to the next level.

AL: A lot of bands choose to release their records independently today. Can you tell us about your bands decision to do so?

BB: This was an area we were really unfamiliar with. Jamie was really helpful again because we could bounce ideas off of him and he could gauge his advice based off of other bands he had worked with. We had our hearts set on finding a label at the beginning to help us with and we talked to a few smaller labels but when it came down to it we had to look at what would be the most beneficial move for the bend. At this point in our career we are still doing basically everything ourselves including financing the projects. Unfortunately we were unable to come to terms with any of the labels we talked to. There was certainly no bad blood between any of us but things just didn’t work out. As a young band these things can be difficult to navigate but it was one of those things that just happened the way it was suppose to. We learned a lot and made some good connections. We of course are still interested in working with a label in an effort to get our music to as many people as possible but this time around the best choice was to release things independently.

AL: Are there any tour plans in place to help support the release when it comes out?

BB: We are very excited to go out on our first tour which kicks off on the same day as the album release November 9th. We have played a bunch of shows on the east coast but never much further than that. This time around we are hitting the road and going all over. After that we have a few things in the works for if not the end of 2018 for early 2019 that will take us further.

For more in on Stellar Circuits you can visit their official website here.

3 Ways to taking care of your LED grow light

LED lights have become extremely popular in the recent years. Grow lights consist of artificial light that is designed in a unique way to support plant photosynthesis. It’s normally used by farmers to grow a variety of crops because they offer a light spectrum just like the sun. LED lights usually provide much needed energy and heat to crops. However, if not taken care of, grow lights could get damaged and lose their value. That’s why it is crucial to offer proper care and maintenance of your LED grow lights to ensure they continue offering proper service to your crops.

If you’re wondering how to grow crops using grow lights, check out ledgrowlightshq.com to get a wide assortment of insightful information about this issue. Remember to keep the appropriate distance between your plants and the grow lights to ensure they thrive.

Here are three ways to take care of your LED grow lights:

 

  • Clean the glass properly

 

A dirty glass will prevent light from penetrating and reaching your plants. Therefore, it would be a great idea to clean the glass regularly. It’s easy to forget about the dust and moisture that normally accumulates within the grow light. Ensure you clean the grow lights at least once every two months with an appropriate cleaner. This will guarantee that you get maximum light from the LED. Before you begin cleaning, unplug the light and use a soft cloth to remove dust and particles that might cause the glass to be scratched.

 

  • Ensure the fans are dusted

 

Grow light fans usually collect a lot of fibers, dust and particles when operating to cool the lights. These little particles should be removed using an efficient air spray duster similar to that used for electronics. Avoid disassembling the grow light when dusting the internal fan. After all, assembling it back together might prove to be a complicated affair. If you can’t clean the fan by yourself, it’s best to contact a professional to do this for you. Therefore, ensure your fans are dusted as often as possible.

 

  • Keep the grow lights away from water

 

Grow lights contain circuits that could short circuit when they come into contact with water. Therefore, it’s best to avoid water when operating them. In addition, it’s a terrible idea to place these lights in places that are filled with moisture. Power stabilizers help to reduce maintenance costs because they offer precise heat that enables your plants to grow. These stabilizers usually regulate voltage and wattage, thus reducing energy consumption and protecting your grow lights from damage that could result from power surges. Therefore, always ensure that your grow lights are kept far away from moisture.

A clean grow light will work very efficiently to ensure your crops grow well. Therefore, cleaning the glass regularly will ensure you don’t have to worry about stunted crop growth. Dusting your fans will keep your grow lights cool and functioning properly. Keep the LED light away from moisture.

4 Ways To Improve Your Video Game Skills

Games that are played on computers are very popular. These games are produced and introduced on a daily basis. Once you have the game of your choice, work on your skills so that you can enjoy playing the game.

The below guidelines of I want cheats website can help you to improve your gaming skills at the end of the day.

1. Be familiar with the controls that come with the video game

When you are playing these games, it may be prudent to understand as well as familiarize yourself with the controls. Know the functions of every key so that you can be a professional. It may be necessary to carry out an investigation before you start playing the game.

  • Investigate the controls – The controllers of every game function differently. It will be prudent to know how each of them work so that you can be good to go.
  • Change the settings of your game – You can adjust the sensitivity and brightness of your game through the settings. If you want to change the sound levels, going to the settings will be your way out.

2. Observe how other individuals play the game

You will not master how the game plays if you just dive into it. Consider guides online, who can give you directories you require to become a good player. Also, if you have friends, who are good at it, then you may consider observing them to get the insight as well as tips.

3. Keep on practicing the game

If you can practice the game often, then you will be able to perfect your skills. Taking more than a week before you play the game may rust out your skills. When practicing the games, make sure you consider the following.

  • Start with the single player approach – In case the game you have installed in your computer lacks the multiplayer options, then worry not. Starting with the single player is always the best way to improve your skills. Practice with the computer’s enemies before you move to other modes.
  • Play with the other individuals online – Once you gain the confidence of playing your game, ensure you find other people, who you may play online. This will help you to determine if your skills have improved or not. With time, you will master all the moves and tricks that will make you the expert.

4. Always be calm when playing the game

People believe that games are perfect stress relievers, but it is important to note that it may not be a good idea to play when you are stressed out, especially when you are aiming at becoming a professional. If you choose to play the game with stress, you may end up being disappointed. You may also have low self-esteem and have negative feelings at the end of the day. Take a break and save the energy for another day.

People play games so that they may have a good experience of their lifetime. Putting that aside, if you decide to take part in the game, ensure you aim at improving your skills. If you make mistakes, take them positive and come up with a way of improving them. As long as you consider these tips, you will surely succeed.

Ultra-modern Ways to Finance the Trip of a Lifetime

Photo by Vincent Versluis on Unsplash

In 2017, Americans spent a whopping 702.5 billion dollars on domestic and inbound leisure travel, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council website. That’s not even counting what Americans spent on international travel during the same year. Clearly, plenty of Americans do want to expand their horizons by exploring new places. If you’re interested in taking the trip of a lifetime, but wonder how to handle the cost, you’ll appreciate this quick guide. It’s loaded with information about the latest options in travel financing. Once you’ve learned about travel reward points credit cards, “fly now and pay later” personal loans and crowd-funding, you’ll be ready to choose the financing option that is right for you.

Use a travel reward points credit card

Switching to a credit card that offers travel reward points will be smart, according to Thepointsguy.com. This financing strategy will help you to cover at least part of the cost of your journey via accrued travel reward points. When shopping around for a credit card that offers travel reward points, compare the cash value of perks offered. Some cards offer only “air miles”, while others offer air miles, plus access to airline lounges and extra bonuses for higher tiers of spending. Look at what you’ll receive when you spend the minimum and go from there. Use this type of credit card for all purchases and pay off the balance monthly, as you rack up valuable travel reward points.

Discover “fly now and pay later” personal loans

Personal loans which allow borrowers to fly now and pay later are available to consumers, even if consumers have sub-par credit, according to www.crediful.com. A personal loan may be used to fund any type of purchase, including a “dream trip”. Forbes.comreports that personal loans are growing in popularity more than any other types of loans. To get a great deal on a loan that allows you to travel and pay for the trip up to five years later, shop around for the lowest interest rate from a reputable lender. As a bonus, it’s possible to improve a mediocre or poor credit score by taking out a personal loan and paying it back right on time.

Crowd-fund your next travel adventure

If you’re not bashful about asking other people for money, you may want to hit up friends, family, work colleagues and the Internet at large through a crowd-funding initiative. Some people feel more comfortable with this cutting-edge travel financing strategy than others. To do it right, choose a popular crowd-funding platform, research the destination that you have in mind and put together a budget for the trip. It’s smart to come up with a “purpose” for the journey. Look for an emotional reason why you want to go on that trip, which other people will relate to. Then, share your crowd-funding initiative via social media. You’ll need to market the initiative to get results.

Start planning your ultimate adventure

Travel provides proven psychological benefits, by boosting cognition and reactivating reward circuits within the brain, according to Psychologytoday.com. If you feel more alive and more content while you’re exploring new places, it’s because the novelty of travel is having a positive impact on the way that your brain functions. To access stimulating travel for a lower price, choose a travel rewards credit card, a personal loan or crowd-funding. Then, prepare to enrich your life as you enjoy the ultimate adventure.

Blu-ray Review “A Million Ways to Die in the West”

Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Run Time: 116 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“Ted” is a very funny film and a real tough act to follow for Seth MacFarlane. “A Million Ways to Die in the West” tries its best and really succeeds. The film is also a Western, so right off the bat, that is a really hard act to sell. The film is funny as hell and also extremely raunchy. My only issue is that it is falls into the category of running about 30 minutes too long. It features an amazing cast including Seth MacFarlane himself along with Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman and Neil Patrick Harris. Honestly, I enjoyed the second viewing is more enjoyable. I recommend this for some great laughs.

Official Premise: Seth MacFarlane directs, produces, co-writes and plays the role of the cowardly sheep farmer Albert in A Million Ways to Die in the West. After Albert backs out of a gunfight, his fickle girlfriend leaves him for another man. When a mysterious and beautiful woman rides into town, she helps him find his courage and they begin to fall in love. But when her husband, a notorious outlaw, arrives seeking revenge, the farmer must put his newfound courage to the test.

“A Million Ways to Die in the West” comes in a great Blu-ray from Universal. The 1080p transfer in 2.40:1 looks amazing. The location outdoor shots are gorgeous and totally unexpected from this film. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is also great and delivers well on Joel McNeely, perfectly themed Western score. The special features are nothing special. There are commentary tracks on both cuts with Director/Producer/Co-Writer Seth MacFarlane, Co-Writers and Executive Producers Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild and Star Charlize Theron. This is worth checking out if you enjoyed the film.

There is an Alternate Opening and Alternate Ending, along with about 10 minutes of Deleted / Extended / Alternate Scenes and a Gag Reel.  There is a basic EPK making of look with “Once Upon a Time, in a Different West” with package’s EPK, with some fun behind the scenes footage and interviews. The Blu-ray also includes an Extended cut of the film which runs about 2 hours and 15 minutes but honestly, it is way too long. I love comedies but they honestly need to be around 90 minutes.

Film Review #2 “A Million Ways to Die in the West”

Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson
Directed By: Seth MacFarlane
Rated: R
Running Time: 116 minutes
Universal Pictures

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

There are actually some lofty expectations for “A Million Ways to Die in the West”. Weird, right? Two summers ago Seth MacFarlane put out the comedy sleeper hit, “Ted”. It combined his “Family Guy” style of random, filthy humor with the likeable personas of Mila Kunis and Mark Wahlberg coping with the next step of their relationship. Once again MacFarlane throws everything and the kitchen sink from his bag of humor in the hopes of pulling a throaty laugh from his audience and for the most part he succeeds. “A Million Ways to Die in the West” also stirs up a worthy farce of Western movies.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and hail the second coming of “Blazing Saddles”. MacFarlane is the lead, which deters him from drawing some of the biggest laughs in the movie. As Albert, a spineless sheep farmer, he does have some very good quips, but the supporting cast padding is what makes “A Million Ways to Die in the West” a comedy gem. Friends of Albert, Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) and Ruth (Sarah Silverman), are a Christian couple who are waiting until marriage to make love; which is constantly complicated by the fact that Ruth is a prostitute with customers who continuously find more unique ways and inopportune times to tell her to get upstairs and bang them. Louise (Amanda Seyfried) is Albert’s ex-girlfriend who is the butt of jokes, but is now dating the master of mustaches, Foy (Neil Patrick Harris). NPH is an absolute pleasure in every scene, selling every moment more than anyone else in this movie.

Then there’s the warm and beautiful Anna (Theron). A smart, quick trigger gal who finds her way into Albert’s slice of hell town called Old Stump. Upon meeting and slowly falling for each other, she fails to mention to Albert that her husband, Clinch (Neeson), is one of the most dangerous and deadly outlaws in the west that has a sadistic code of ethics when choosing who to kill. Anna and Albert complement each other with their smartass remarks and craving to be with someone who appreciates them for who they are. MacFarlane and Theron sport some decent on-screen chemistry which probably comes as a shock for the thousands who were up in arms over MacFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” at the 2013 Oscars.

The characters in this movie have an odd, child-like approach to plenty of crudeness which makes it all the more humorous and ridiculous. Comedic scenarios feature a combination of sight gags, one-liners and a visually gross punctuation. Also slip in the unnecessary violent death to further accent the title of the movie. With such a palette of absurd and juvenile humor, there’s something for everyone in this rapid fire executions of jokes, at least anyone who isn’t afraid of a little inappropriate, sexual and racial provocation. Some of my more favorite scenes feature a hyper violent bar fight and the interactions between Albert and his aging father who speaks his emotions through expletive hyperboles.

While “Ted” was a perfect blend, cast-wise, “A Million Ways to Die in the West” feels incomplete. The lengthy running time starts to show as we continue to wait for the climactic showdown between Albert and Clinch. Also I can’t quite heap on the same amount of praise to MacFarlane that everyone else got. He isn’t admirable enough to be the improbable hero. He has a low level of smugness that ruins the high octane levels of every-guy so we don’t quite see him as amiable. NPH would have been miles better in the lead role and it’s a puzzle as to why no one pointed this out to MacFarlane when the script was being read. Regardless, “A Million Ways to Die in the West” is the comedy to beat so far this summer.

Film Review “A Million Ways to Die in the West”

Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, Liam Neeson
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 116 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Seth MacFarlane is easily one of the best comedic minds in the business right now. He has taken over the animation world with his shows “Family Guy” and “American Dad” and recently crossed over into film with the huge summer hit “Ted”. “Ted” was a great film that had a heart and yet was still extremely raunchy and also very funny. “A Million Ways to Die in the West” really had some big expectation shoes to fill. Fans are going to be looking for more of what “Ted” delivered and in my eyes it delivers that and more. When I saw the trailer for “A Million Ways to Die in the West”, I just knew I was going to love it. One of the problems I had with the film was that it shows quite a bit of its key jokes in the trailer. There is still much more fun to be had but I would imagine that people that haven’t seen many of the trailers will enjoy this a bit more. Nonetheless, I was hollering out loud for this film and I wasn’t alone either, if people compare this to “Ted”, they are going to be disappointed because they are two very different films but if you look as a stand alone you will have a blast watching “A Million Ways to Die in the West”.

Our story takes place in a small Frontier town called Old Stump in the year 1882. We meet Albert Stark (Seth MacFarlane), who is a sheep farmer that loses his beautiful girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) due to not having enough courage to face a gun duel. While Albert tries to win her back he ends up meeting a newcomer to the town named Anna (Charlize Theron) and the two hit it off. She helps Albert discovers his missing confidence and courage. After spending time with each other they seem to develop feeling for each other but Anna doesn’t let Albert in on the fact that she is the wife to the infamous outlaw Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson). When Clinch arrives in the town, he is looking to call out the man that wooed his wife and it is up to Albert to stand up to him.

I think we have to blame Judd Apatow for running the comedy genre since I feel that he set the path for 2+ hour comedies. I feel that all comedies work best when short and to the punchline. 90 minutes, tops, is what a comedy should be. This film nears the two hour mark and could have easily been trimmed to be much tighter. “Ted” was the same way as well, the film was great in a whole but there were certain parts that dragged major ass, same happens here. You got to give it to MacFarlane though because this is his first film with him in the spotlight, in the leading role, and not hiding behind a voice role. I felt that he really nailed it. He turned out to be a great leading man. I thought he still had great comedic timing and really nailed his jokes. I hope he plans to act more in the future for sure. Charlize Theron was also a nice surprise, I haven’t been a huge fan of her recently but this film really gives her a chance to let loose and have some fun and her performance benefits from it. I like to think that every role can’t be a Oscar winner.

To be completely honest, the rest of the supporting cast including Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman and Liam Neeson are really just background in the film and don’t contribute anything major to the film. NPH is always a riot an,d of course, he sings and dances in this film. I still can’t get that mustache song out of my head. There are also a handful of super quick cameos throughout the film including Alex Borstein, Ralph Garman, Gilbert Gottfried, Ewan McGregor, Ryan Reynolds, John Michael Higgins, Jamie Foxx and Bill Maher. So see if you can catch them on the screen because they are there and gone before you know it. Great Scott, I almost forgot keep an eye out for the great Christopher Lloyd, who pops in for a great cameo as well.

When it comes to Western films, they are a honestly just a hard genre to pull off. People usually don’t come out in droves to see film’s like this but MacFarlance has the balls to try and essentially nail it. I couldn’t help but compare “A Million Ways to Die in the West” to the classic Mel Brooks film “Blazing Saddles”. That film is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year and I remember the first time that my father watched it with me. This film reminded me a lot of what that film and what it would have been like if it was made today. This is raunchy, racist, over-the-top and generally offensive. There plenty of foul language, fart jokes and animals getting knocked over. I would be curious to hear Mel Brooks’ comments on the film as well. The locations where this film was shot were also absolutely amazing. Having this be a comedy, you don’t expect amazing visuals but this one really caught my eye and delivered a nice view of the Frontier. This might not be the best comedy ever but I definitely laughed more than not and definitely will be recommending this film!