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







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Cover art for UDM album Smash Hits

United Dictators of Mars
Smash Hits
released 2002
Place in Time
Last on Earth
Voice of the Past
Frame of Mind
Dog Water
Miracle Man
Goatman (hidden track)


Jeffrey Harris - voices Tom Mody - music

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As the first CD under the UDM revelation, it may seem odd to name it "Smash Hits". In truth this CD is a collection of songs which never got to be finished or needed a fresh make-over. It can honestly be attested that they were written between 811 AD & 2002AD.

I love the CD cover, there's just something comical about this space ship crashing into an ancient Roman structure. Just a couple of bumbling aliens! I'm rather proud of it because I wasn't using photoshop at the time- just some low end knock-off. Despite not having the phtotoshop layers to work with, I managed to piece the main objects together and actually created all the debris falling from the top of the structure. I was going for that 70's "greatest hits" type titling which purposely contrasts to the cover image style. The album title "Smash Hits" is actually just a play on words reference to the ship hitting the structure despite some reviewers taking it too literal as a reference to the song quality.

I think people get off balance with the name United Dictators of Mars. That definitely was my intention because there is an element of fun in just making music as opposed to the seriousness of trying to get signed. The album has it's lighter moments which makes us seem not so serious about where our style lies. Jeff and I do take our music very seriously but this was really just a feeling out project and we let any whimsy suffice. I think the aggression of our next album will deflect properly from our name. The first 5 songs I'm actually quite happy with. Particularly giving "Last On Earth" and "Voice of the Past" some proper due. The last 3 songs probably hurt the album as a whole. Some of it from a recording quality and in the case of "Miracle Man" we struggled to freshen up an old song.

As a whole the CD has a subtle techno element that sets it apart from our other projects. The guitars are set back just a bit in the mix. Some of that comes from years of struggling to get Jeff's vocals out front with inferior equipment and now having this new digital medium (and time) to mix him right. But more true would be the fact that I had a lack of experience with the technology as a whole. Again, this was really just a test demo run of old material and it was not our intention to let so many years slip by before getting a follow up album out that would certainly be more representative of our true style. Still it was a pleasure to have an abundance of time and proper technology to work a full length album and the results were unique to Jeff and my musical partnership. Results I'm very satisfied with.


Tom Mody

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