United Dictators of Mars: The Music of Tom Mody & Jeffrey Harris







Mody Harris Band history


Mody Harris Band History


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Cover art for UDM album Althernate Dimension


United Dictators of Mars
Alternate Dimension
released 2011
No Shadow
Grand Canyon
October 44th
All Walks of Life
Messiah 2.0
Dream Day


Jeffrey Harris - voices Tom Mody - music

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At some point during the recording of "Questions for God" I wrote the acoustic song Towers to use on that album. Until certain segments of the QFG album I had never recorded playing acoustic before. There was a certain liberating feeling writing Towers because so much of my frustration in making the past two UDM albums was production and technology and not knowing how to get the final mixes to blend and be powerful. I also had been using some dated drum machines and they were not getting the results I wanted. Money was tighter as well and I didn't have the funds to just spend and update at will like I use to before I had kids. When Towers recorded so well I presented the idea to Jeff that maybe we could save that song for an all acoustic album. Jeff embraced the idea with much enthusiasm so Towers sat on the shelf for about 4 years until this album's release.

We began the rest of the album in January of 2009. I had figured this would give me some time to update my drum software and get other aspects of my production deficiancies in order and come back in a few years with something really heavy (which is still the plan). There would be no bass or drums on this album. I did use a lot of keys and synth sounds for atmosphere and a touch of melody but otherwise it's just acoustic guitar and Jeff's voice. I had actually bought my first acoustic guitar around 2003 and had some segments I would work on over the coming years but really the song that became Selfless was the only real full piece I had and Jeff even edited that for his lyrics. A number of little segments were made into songs and four other arrangements were converted heavy electric songs from our past bands. I had always intended to do an acoustic version of No Shadow from the 1991 Harbinger album "The Inevitable". The others just kind of came up over the course of writing. All Walks of Life and Grand Canyon were live staples in our bands for years and the heavy versions never made it to the studio so it was fun to give them a new life. Comatose which has been recorded on three other of our past band albums was one that I surprised Jeff with. I had always felt that he had never gave our other versions his best vocal peformance and I wanted to finally put that feeling to rest and I think we nailed it this time.

The overall intention was to try and write an album in a singer/songwriter style and in our own twisted way that is what we did but as stated, it is twisted. I wanted Jeff to have an opportunity to just sing from a natural clean place and it started out that way with Towers and Selfless and No Shadow but as we got going we just don't seem to be able to stay on the path and he began to expirment with voices and I twisted up some arrangements and sounds so it's more progressive singer/songwriter. By progressive I mean I'd never be able to sit in on an open mic night and play most of this stuff. This was an opportunity to just do something we'd never done and a few songs like H4AD are just not something we'd write again.

I had hoped to be a year and a half in production but it took three years, mostly due to Jeff's crazy schedule but it was a break well needed to prepare for a full heavy album and I can say I don't really care to pick up the acoustic for a long time. Because as musicians we don't come from this acoustic place I think it has a certain originality to it and I really like everything. Jeff and I had 2 disagreements. The first concerning my piano in Dream Day and the other about his vocal choices in October 44th. Both of which were compromised a bit but ultimately kept by each songs creator and I doubt either of us has any real complaints- but we'll see in the song liner notes.

Conceptually on the artwork I had been toying with this alter ego or alternate reality of ourselves. If we were on Star Trek in an alternate universe we'd be acoustic not electric... and I'd have hair. Anyway, this alternate "whatever" idea sat aroudn with me for a while in considering an album title and artwork. My sister bought me a shirt for Christmas which was the Davinci man holding a guitar and an idea poped into my head about an alternate dimension where Davinci was a Martian and made Martian Davinci art so that's how the album art came about.

Speaking of Christmas this will be the year I can finally give out one of our albums and know everyone can listen to it with some sense of appreciation because I expect future recordings to take on an extra level of intensity that may not be suitable for old people and little children.


Tom Mody
August 2011

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