Doadars Uncle

It is with great pleasure that I can bring you and interview with Doadars Uncle!  Doug (aka Doadars Uncle) has been on MacJams since around February of 2005 and he has an impressive catalog of songs which can be found at:  Doadars Uncle.

Let’s start with a little bit about yourself.  Give as much information as you feel comfortable giving:

I’m a cartographer/graphic designer/large format print tech/company vice president.  I live in Madison, Wisconsin in the U.S.  I’m a U-11 soccer coach, artist and enjoy a bit of writing.  My best time of the day is on our big comfy chair staring out the window in the morning, sipping espresso.  I like to stay below the radar, but want to be seen for my accomplishments.  Odd.  I like to hold on loosely to my truths with the expectation that I may need to reassess things.  I have a cat… she is getting better.  (she doesn’t like people)


How did you come up with the user name  Doadars Uncle?  Does it have any special significance?

Ahhh yes.  When my older daughter was young (really little), Doadar was what she would call my nephew, Jonah. It’s actually pronounced: dough-dar.  (actually it’s pronounced Joh-nuh)  Be that as it may, I tried to talk him into using Doadar for his band name a few years ago.  I guess he thought it not sophisticated enough.  I don’t remember what he picked, but it wasn’t nearly as warm.  Just as many call me Doug, which suits me best!  This is my first and only online community, I’ll answer to a few things!

Tell us about your musical background.  Did you study music?  If so tell us about your experience.

I guess, like many, music has always been something I can really soak my mind in.  That is, it’s been a really close part of my life and has a deep affect on me personally.  Through stages of my life, I’ve sought avenues to express myself through music, with satisfaction and success.  This doesn’t mean I’m all that good to the world.  I have gotten to the point were I can have any type of day, get home and pick up my guitar, put my feet on the coffee table and become soothed.

I have always treasured music.  Our family would take long cross country trips in the car.  Song went with us.  Very early, I felt self conscious about my voice and didn’t sing very loudly.  It was nice just to contribute.

During my late elementary school years, a neighborhood kid sat with his trombone on his front steps.  I ran to see what it was.  I’d never seen or heard anything so beautiful.  I wanted to play trombone!  What fun!

I played through high school, with great success until it was stolen from the band room when I was a senior in high school.  In the instrument case I kept my band letter, pins and awards.  I always hoped that someone was able to make wonderful music with that thing…

Before that tragic event, I was in the Boys restroom during one of the school dances.  A friend of mine introduced me to a friend of his who played guitar.  He said he was getting a band together.  I jumped to the occasion and asked if I could join.  I would play guitar!  I said I knew a drummer.  He said he knew a bass player.  It was solid.  That week I bought my first guitar and practiced the three chords I needed!  Rock!

We didn’t play for long.  We had a few gigs but never motivated.  I loved the stage experience and the groupies!  Oh, let’s see… Beatles, REO, Ted Nugent, Doobie Bros, Bowie, etc…

I dove underground with my personal music.  I never really became good with my guitar, but always wanted to.  I was alone with substance abuse issues for years.  Friendships were transient.  Depression.  But through it all I had my guitar.  I had to sell my electric to pay rent.  I bought an acoustic for about fifteen bucks.  I called it “My Scrub.”  It would hold a tune for about ten minutes.  Sometimes I would play it out of tune for extended periods.  Whatever.  And the days were long.  Sometimes when all else was wrong, I would shut off the lights and sit in the dark with my guitar and marinate in peaceful music, lullabies for my life.

I guess I can play well enough to get feeling across.  Hey, that’s good for strummers like myself!

In my late twenties, I pulled myself out of it and left town to a small college in southwestern Wisconsin.  There I met Marily.  We were good together!  She even bought me an electric guitar!  She knew things ’cause she came from a singing family!  We married and moved to Madison.

We both worked at traditional careers.  I was a cartographer and she was a engineering drafter.  I still played a bit.

Marily was transitioning jobs when we decided to set up our own mapping company.  We worked out of our home for several years before signing on with a new business parter.  We then moved into large format printing to diversify our company as a supplement and safety net.  Suddenly, I was a designer/cartographer.  All is good.

One of my brothers-in-law runs a recording studio.  (I don’t know why I don’t consult with him on my stuff.  I guess I like to learn the hard way!)  He told me about ProTools Free!  Oh yes, Free.  It was a very nice program for me.  In fact, I miss a lot of aspects of that program.

At last there was an acceptable way for me to play with myself! 😉  (musically)  Unfortunately, PT Free didn’t upgrade to OS X.  I had to find a replacement.

The trick was to find an inexpensive alternative.  As a small business owner, I am not a rich man… yet!  I purchased an early version of iLife and started to play.  I still felt spoiled by ProTools, especially when it came to editing control over segments.  But I was back on the road of music production.  As I learned more about plugins, I stumbled on MacJams.

Up ’till then, I had never completely written any of my own songs.  So I was a bit daunted by being a contributer at MJ.  It had been a few years since I could afford to buy any music.  MacJams was a gold mine of songs.  I went on a downloading spree.  Even today, I listen to more MacJams artists than I do disc, radio or internet.

I decided to take the plunge.  February 2nd, 2005, I signed on to MacJams.  I decided I would test myself and use the community to further my music education.  I was impressed by the extreme range of talent and fairly certain I would be accepted somewhere in there.

And there, good folks, is how I am here!


Tell us how you go about creating music.

I create music through urges.  My life is busy.  Spare time is minimal.  Then I remember MJ and tune in the forums.  I may comment for a while then after a few days start visiting music pages.  It’s the act of commenting on music that encourages me to write.  I think it’s because I’m thinking more deeply about tunes’ structures and meanings.

Tell us a little about your music setup both software and hardware.

I like to consider myself “Budget Master.”  I figured out early on that I could not plug a mic or instrument right into my Mac.  Why would it be that easy?!?  But I realized that while duping old cassette tapes onto cd that I could use the tape deck as my interface.  It was perfect!  I have two channels in.  I can adjust the levels coming out of the deck.  And I didn’t have to buy anything.  Some say, “well, you can get an adequate interface for fifty bucks…”  To that I say, “Ok, give me fifty!”  I’m actually very pleased with my system.  I use an old condenser mic that I gave myself as a gift for my second or third attempt to quit smoking fifteen or so years ago.  (I eventually quit, whew!)  I have an old Fender acoustic and an Ibanez electric.  They are comfortable to me… homey.  I run Garageband 3 and midiKeys.  midiKeys is a little more responsive than the GB built in keyboard thing… and it’s free!!!

I’m curious about your tape deck interface… That sounds kind of interesting…  Can you describe the hook up in more detail?

My low tech answer is an Optimus SCT-86 Stereo Cassette Tape Deck.  It’s from Radio Shack and about as stripped down and low end as things get.  Recording with stone knives and bear skins, in a matter of speaking!  It has two quarter inch inputs on the back.  I send the line out to my Mac, and there ya have it!
Found this image online:  (nice dramatic angle, no?)


How do you mix/master your music?  What do you listen for?

You know I appreciate the skills it takes to master music, but I don’t know if I can nail down any specific process.  It’s not like I’m starting fresh every time.  But I’m challenged to remember all the good advice these musicians and techs have given me over the years.  I should make a list!  But once in a great while, I’ll look at comments on previous songs or go into the forums to seek gems of music production.

Do you have any hints to give newbies on composing, recording and publishing their music?

My advice to newbies is simple.  Get involved!  Get to know people through their music.  Visit and give input on other people’s music.  It might just help you define yours!

What are your musical aspirations?

“I’m no Star
But my heart is
burning bright”

Just a line from one of my tunes.  I’m in this fully for the betterment of the world through creativity!  I think there are a lot of people in this world that can benefit by just being together (online or otherwise) and having a creative outlet.

I have had some coffee house type performances since joining MacJams.  I really love it!  But I don’t think I’m up for fame and fortune, on so many levels… well maybe fortune.  🙂

I lead a middle high school guitar club.  Seven of us.  There is a really wide range of talent and experience there.  We’ve been meeting for several weeks and I’ve really noted some great improvement as a group.  My goal is to be able to strengthen hands enough to get beyond faking chords.  (I’m all for faking chords… with an end)  And hopefully, like myself, will have a friend in their guitars as they move through life!

Tell us about your musical inspirations?

Do I make a list?  (ha-ha)  It’s tough to pick a small number of inspirations because there are so many.  There are songs of artists I don’t even like, mostly because the relate to fond and significant parts of my life.  I’m not sure that I try to consciously use any of my favorite artist styles to shape my songs.  They probably come out on their own.  Many who have compared my tunes to other artists give clues to my influences.  Then again, I get references to artists I’d never heard of, too.  That is interesting to me!

Do you think that the age of the internet and digital music has helped you with respect to creating music?  If so why?

Digital music production is great!  I never dreamed I would be able to generate anything that I would consider energizing or beautiful all by myself in such short periods!  Before that, I experimented with running multiple tape decks through a board.  This was years and years ago.  The image quality was poor, at best.

Tell us your thoughts on MacJams.  Are there anythings you would like to see done differently?

I don’t know how MacJams is run.  I guess I’m still pretty excited about an overhauled and operational site!  😉

Are there any MacJams secrets that you would like to share?  Like how to get along, find artists, chat window short cuts?

Hey!  I like to click the -little note- next to the “Who’s Online” list to pick songs.  It seems a little more random than some methods.  That doesn’t help people like me, who tend to stay invisible… fly on the wall.  I also listen to tunes of those who comment on my stuff.  That’s part of a whole exchange ideas thing that I like to promote.

Any final comments that you would like to add?

Hey, it’s just nice to talk and talk, ya know what I’m saying!

Could you please provide the artist names for a few MacJams artists that you would recommend to a newcomer?

Who does one pick?
And so on…

Could you please select and provide the MacJams link to three of your tunes that you’d like to ask readers to listen to?

“We Offered Them Leases” is Track 6 of davisamerica‘s musical epic,  BigFinish (click BigFinish, it’s worth a listen).  I’m proud to be part of such a huge and amazing project.  The other two are acoustic.

We Offered Them Leases
Truth (revised)

5 Responses to “Doadars Uncle”

  1. Drakonis Says:

    Woohoo Doug! Great interview, good to know you better. Dang, I was just going to write a trombone part for you too. They are really cool sounding instruments, I use them often for a rich brass sound. Thank you for helping with the BigFinish project, that is amazing!

  2. feter Says:

    You are the man Doug !!! thnx alot for the great reading !

  3. outtaorbit Says:

    I loved leases, great stuff.
    It is so cool to learn about you and all the interviews leave me thinking about all of us…….
    great to meet you!

  4. Doug Crews-Nelson Says:

    I know I’m not a high power member. But it’s even better knowing that there’s a place for me at Mac Jams!


  5. davisamerica Says:

    Doug this was great. I am a big fan of your work. Your posts are an instant listen for me. Your work on BigFinish was amazing and I do believe it was a major key in making the project work. REALLY glad I got to know you and …. you do indeed ROCK !

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