Sometime round about four years ago I went down to the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle to see my friend Anthony Disparte open up a show for the fantastic Kye Alfred Hillig. I picked up Anthony’s album, The Best Looking Horse in the Glue Factory and was really struck by how it sounded and how the songs felt. The production was clean, atmospheric, and the harmonies and vocals seemed to illustrate what I guess is called “indie pop” to a T (I’m actually re-visiting the album as I type). It was my soundtrack for weeks, and in the depths of my black heart some inspiration I hadn’t had in years began to awaken.
There was one particular song on his album I couldn’t stop listening to and it still kills me to this day – ridiculously catchy and heartfelt. It was that track in particular that kicked my ass and I thought, “If Anthony can do this, I can too. Imma make a pop album, dammit…and the best one I can possibly make!” (OK, I probably didn’t think in exactly in that vernacular, but it illustrates the feeling).
I had purchased a used Macbook Pro when I thought I was going to learn iOS development (wups, didn’t do that), and Logic Pro 9 was cheap. I got a MIDI controller, some borrowed preamps, microphones and a Strat. Between 2013 and 2015 I hit a few bumps and worked them into some partly-fact-partly-fiction pop songs which I began programming and recording on my own, with a bit of help from Terry Mattson. I was inspired to do a cover of my favorite Cure song, Charlotte Sometimes, and my friend Hope Simpson of destined-to-be-huge Ever So Android sang ridiculously beautiful backup vocals for me. As I finished the songs, I asked the talented Don Farwell to mix and co-produced them for me, which we did at a rate of about one every couple months over the course of a year and a half (give or take). Then Levi Seitz mastered the album for me. And then…
TOTAL VICTORY AND REJOICING ENSUED I DID NOTHING WITH IT. It sat on a hard drive collecting dust (do hard drives collect dust?) for an entire year.
See, here’s the thing. As an indie artist with a career-type day job (which pretty much describes me and many musicians I guess), it is ridiculously easy to fall into this context of apathy. No one will care. Art is stupid. What’s the point? Hell, how can you even call yourself an artist? WTF is lutefisk? And then it occurred to me: if I created this mental tape loop and it isn’t real, then I can un-create it. Nuke it. Forget the words to that song, so to speak. And what is the point, indeed? Perhaps “the point” is made up too, and it doesn’t deserve an answer. Whether that makes any sense or not, getting ignorant and deciding to stop listening to the voices snapped me out of the haze and one day I simply got off the proverbial couch.
So hmm…what do you do with an album? I thought, “I guess I need some photos.” So I called my friend Steve Rydgren and asked him to help me out with that. Then I called my friend Brinn Cody O’Dwyer and asked if he would film some video footage for me along with Chad Hanson, and Pete Reichert was kind enough to lend me his company‘s office building for a few days before they moved in – and I had a location for the photo shoot and the video shoot.
Last month my buddy Mike Lucero called me and said he was setting up a show with Ken Stringfellow (REM, Posies, Big Star) and would I like to be involved.
Well, let me think about that… YES. With the fuse lit, and a goal date for a release, I finished the artwork, and ordered some CDs with download cards. Brinn gave me a few Final Cut Pro lessons, and I finished editing the video up at the top of this post.
As any indie musician will tell you, it’s quite a ride seriously pursuing music while also having a “regular life”, but it’s so worth doing. And hey, Anthony – thanks, man. I’m sure you had no idea.
I hope you enjoy my debut offering, and I’ll see you at the show next week!
PS: In addition to my Hemlock Pop set, I’ll also be playing guitar and singing backups for Ken Stringfellow, which I’m beyond excited about.
- You can purchase “Crushing On What Might Be” from OrangePants Records now!
- The album release show is Friday, July 21st at The High Dive in Seattle with Ken Stringfellow and The Breaking. Physical CDs including download cards will be available at the show.
- You can preview the album on the Music page, yes, on this very site.
- It will be soon be available from all the usual places (iTunes, Amazon MP3, Google Play, Spotify, etc). I’ll announce when the album hits the digital stores.
- CDs will also be available via CD Baby soon here…