Last Year, Part Three

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Andrew Weathers, composer, collaborator extraordinaire, & label head over at Full Spectrum, turned in:

Weathers performing in Lynchburg VA, November 2018 (PC: Nathan McGlothlin)

#1 – Hudson Valley, NY

The land is its own entity, people are places; how does a place you’ve never lived become a home; we see a glow in the forest, I wash my face in the river and feel my own self alive; to be with friends and not feel the crush of capital is rare and cherished.

#2 – Littlefield, TX

It takes at least two years for a place to be a home, and we’re not there yet; we’re learning and building slowly, the only way to do it; vision is necessary to see it, not everybody has vision; one day we’ll have a kitchen again; the sheet rock in my life.

#3 – Arches National Park (Moab), UT

Wake up before sunrise to avoid the incredible heat that sets in by 9 am; you understand water more; you understand fear more; you understand what this earth can do to us; you understand better the rapidly deteriorating climate brought on by the greed of wealthy white men; sleep on a mountain top to stay cool.

#4 – Saguaro National Park (Tuscon), AZ

The sweet smell of a rotting saguaro in the heat; the cicada brood that makes more interesting music than every fool with a $10k synthesizer; the wash looks just like the trail; two miles in 100 degree heat is not what you think it is.

#5 – Oakland, CA

A home I have left, but remains close; the powerful resistance to colonization by Tech and fake-cultured suburbanites continues to be a beacon; I still dream about the cool air from the bay; I still can feel the weight of a burrito from El Metate in my hands; I miss my friends and I am grateful that we have the work to do together.

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Last Year, Part Two

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Allen Bergendahl, studio nerd & all around great guy, turned in:

Bergendahl: Music Recordist, Taco Lover, Thumb Wrestler

#1 – Friends, though…

Years ago, I met Nathan McGlothlin while recording his band at the time. We made few records together, but we slowly drifted apart – as you do. I was so excited to hear from him in late 2017 and we started laying the groundwork for a few projects we would be working on together in 2018. One of those projects was HSAL #44. I didn’t really know what to expect, but let me tell you, the bands he enlisted were incredible! L.A.Dies, Overlook Hotel, Good Dog Nigel, TLVS, and Quick On My Feet showed up and showed us how it is done! Super fast, super fun sessions with great people! Working with an old friend to make new music with new friends is such a delight for me. I will have the pleasure to work with some of these artists again in 2019 and I can not wait!

#2 – That one band, though…

Sungazer is a band that I have worked closely with in years past and this year saw us get a little closer. Marc Adams plays bass in the band and has a studio setup in his basement and they have been working on overdubs for a new record and for some solo material from the band members. This fall we began a weekly work night at Marc’s studio to make progress on any of our various projects. It is time set aside to get into the hairy details of songwriting and recording. The work sessions are primarily Marc and Matt and let me tell you, it is humbling to look inside the process of such talented musicians. I feel like you learn a lot when trying to keep up with very talented people, I know I am.

#3 – That space, though…

I began doing a lot of overdub and mix work at Kevin Cornell’s studio and we really hit it off. We started off by working on songs for his band Glass Twin and it snowballed from there. He had built a great studio, but needed some outside input. I was very happy to lend a hand to further outfit the studio and add my vision to the space and the workflow. We’re not done yet, but we are building a space that will be practical and feel like home for any artist that walks through the door.

#4 – That project, though…

Another friendship that was rekindled was with Joshua Britton and his project Psalmships. He sent me some demos of some new songs he was working on and asked if I wanted to help bring them to life. We had worked together on a previous record and I knew we worked well together, so it was an easy “yes“. We talked a lot about influences and the direction we would like the record to go. Joshua writes songs that emote in a big way, so we tried to bring that passion and size to the new recordings. We did a long weekend tracking what would be the basic tracks for *most* of the record and followed up a while later for overdubs and some rough mixes. I even got to play on it a bit!

#5 – That mutual respect, though…

I am not sure exactly how much work we did in 2018, but LJ from V.E. (Various Eggs) is a frequent collaborator and an even more frequent lunch date. We seem to have some session going at all times. In 2018 we saw the release of several singles, a video, and recording some solo piano work that will appear on new releases in 2019. I think I may be only engineer he’s worked with since he moved to Richmond and I like that. He is always a helpful ear for bouncing ideas off of and at this point we seem to speak the same language. LJ is another artist whose songwriting I am privy to all the details of how it is made and he has a deliberate and economical way that he shapes and directs songs. It’s fascinating.

Last Year, Part One

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Melody Ouellette, songwriter/vocalist, & guitar player for L.A.Dies, turned in:

Ouellette performing with L.A.Dies (PC: Nick Scheetz)

#1 – ” Thirst ” by Mary Oliver

This was the first book I’ve read of Mary Oliver‘s, and it’s still my favorite.  The connection she makes between nature, humanity, and spirituality in this collection of poems is something that has really stuck with me throughout this year, keeping me mindful and reverent of the beauty in the world around us.

#2 – March 9th @ The Spot On Kirk, w/ Dover & The Elevators, Def.GRLS

I was really nervous to play this show.  We had just come back from tour with Dover and I think we were all pretty sad to see it end.  It’s easy to get caught up in the anxiety of showing a crowd of people something you made, but it ended up being one of the biggest turn outs we’ve had.  I remember looking into the crowd and feeling proud that we had made music that resonated with people–all the work we had put into L.A. Dies felt worth it.  We had shared a connection with people and made so many friends that regardless of where we would go with the band, we had made it to that point and I was proud of us.

#3First Time Recording In Studio

We recorded in a studio for the first time this year.  Going into it we were all apprehensive because we had only ever recorded at home. We were nervous to put ourselves in the vulnerable position of entrusting our idea with people we barely knew, as well as to put our project, and its production, in someone else’s hands. But after eight hours and a trip to Chipotle, all those anxieties subsided, and the music and new friendships we left with that day could not have been recreated without the collaboration and openness of other creative minds.

#4Tennis

Even though I moved in with three my closest friends earlier this year, we’ve all been so caught up with working and keeping up with our families that we’re rarely all home at the same time–when we are, I try to convince everyone to play tennis with me. We’re so busy trying to be productive and accomplish whatever task is next on our list, that the time we have for doing things simply because we enjoy them is (increasingly) limited. When we’re playing tennis, all we can do is play tennis, together, present in the moment.

#52018 Mid-term Elections

This was the first year I was really excited to vote.  I felt more informed and connected to this election than I ever have.  Regardless of the stress in the current political climate, as I’m sure everyone, no matter how they see things, has been worn out by our seemingly unending cultural divisions, seeing the voter turn out and the diversity of candidates inspired a hope that we were headed in the right direction.

Last Year, Part Four (Nathan McGlothlin)

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Nathan McGlothlin, HSAL founder & part of both TLVS & honeybrandy, turned in:

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#1 – St. Basil The Great, “On The Holy Spirit: After spending a year reading through an orthodox daily planner, I decided to dig deeper into works written by the people who were influential as Christianity (in various strands) came into its own. As I read, I was continually fascinated by two things: 1) the logic that 4th century men used to explain the supernatural & 2) how much of the grammatical structure I had attributed to “English” was alive, well, & utilized by the learned in late antiquity.

#2 – Mr. Robot (Season Two)”: There was quite a bit of engaging television released this year (“Stranger Things”, “Westworld”), but I found myself especially drawn to the continuation of this story. Even more so than the inaugural season, I was enamored with the way sounds & music were woven into the storytelling. Without giving too much away, the use of “story within a story” over the season’s arch may have been the best I’ve seen. Oh, & the episode where the lead character’s mind melds his world with an alternate universe based on the USA Network of the early-to-mid 90’s was fantastic.

#3 – Battle Trance, “Blade Of Love (New Amsterdam/NNA Tapes): My connection with this album was unique in that I purchased the LP via pre-order, but saw the quartet perform it live before hearing the recorded version. Hyperbole aside, the live performance was something my soul needed. It was this incredible moment of release. Times that felt like directionless wandering were suddenly important because of their beauty in their moment. When I was able to spin the record for the first time & realize that everything I heard in the live setting was orchestrated to be that way, I was all the more impressed. It didn’t surprise me in the least to see this record show up on top of year-end lists.

#4 – Todd Webb, “Basic Forms: In mid-October, honeybrandy was invited to play Webb’s gallery opening (this made sense b/c Webb’s “Oahu” project shared a split cassette with us earlier in the year). Having been a fan of his work for a while, I felt like I had an idea of what to expect. When we arrived at the gallery (“Thank You” in Norfolk VA), there was an immediate invitation to engage the art. Todd had prints of original drawings & was asking attendees to color them using pieces from the old-school 64-crayon Crayola box. He had comics that were begging to be thumbed through. He had over a dozen original drawings with different motivational or life-affirming statements. He uploaded twelve different color-coded audio files to an Instagram account & invited attendees to create their own mix of sounds by connecting their phones to a mixer & playing different files. A wonderful experience!

#5 – Tracking the honeybrandy record at BIG EGO: In November, Joey, Joanna & I made the trip out west to work with Chris Schlarb on what we hoped would become the first full length for honeybrandy. It was wonderful to step away from everyday life & focus on this project & southern California proved to be the PERFECT setting. Schlarb had arranged for some world class additions to the session – Phillip Greenlief on reeds & Kris Tiner on trumpet. We thought to ourselves “If we come away from the weekend with enough material for a full-length, we’ll call it a success”. After a day of tracking & a day of mixing, we headed back east with nearly two hours of spacey ambient jazz. 2017 will be a wild ride as we figure out how to share this one with you all!

Last Year, Part Three (Andrew Horton)

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Andrew Horton, social media provocateur & young hierophant, turned in:

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#1Sound of Ceres’ live show: I loved their record on Joyful Noise, but now Jacob Graham (the Creatures of Yes, Cascading Slopes) has created a completely amazing DIY live show with lasers, fog, and more. It’s like a band brought Epcot with them on tour, even if they’re playing in a storefront space. Best live show I’ve seen in years.

#2The Makenoise 0-Coast synthesizer: I’ve been a fan of their modules for years, but this is the culmination – a small, affordable, cute desktop box that can turn on a dime and take you to entirely new sound worlds. It’s a brilliant design that does more than many full modular systems and it sounds amazing.

#3The Norfolk, VA music scene: I moved here after a long time in Chicago, where in big city style everyone is in constant competition and would rather balkanize scenes into increasingly fragmented camps. It’s amazing to see how everyone acts like they’re in it together; we just want something cool to do. People come out for shows and support each other. Bills are never not diverse. The future of music is local and provincial; flee the doomed megalopolis!

#4Health: Do everything in your power to take care of yourself and have healthcare. Beg, borrow, steal. I had a surprise incident this year that left me with $6,000+ in debt and a shaky sense of my own mortality and that’s with good insurance and a safety net. For your health!

#5Big Sur, CA: I can’t even put into words how special this place is. It’s primordial. It’s overcrowded with tourists but it’s also as alone as you can get in the Conus at the same time. One of the most legitimately magical places I’ve been.

Last Year, Part Two (James Tritten)

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what James Tritten, the “dude” half of Raleigh’s Band & The Beat, turned in:

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#1 – Saturday, January 30, 2016: The first inspiration that comes to mind technically did not take place in 2015.  However, the basis of what took place revolved around the date: Saturday, January 30, 2016.  And frankly, what came out of the events leading up to that specific date are so important to me and my wife, Tracy, it deserves to be included on this 2016 list.  On November 22, 2015, I reached out to Nathan McGlothlin about scheduling a performance for Band & The Beat in Lynchburg VA for that date in 2016: January 30.  While the concert technically never happened, fast forward one year later and what I can tell you is this… I am so thankful for having reached out to Harding Street Assembly Lab, because Tracy and I now have a beautiful, new friendship with two amazing people: Joanna and Nathan McGlothlin.  It is one of the many examples, and things that I do not take for granted, about what keeps me going, working in the music industry.  Many of our closest friendships are with people like Joanna and Nathan, spread out all across the USA, from similar encounters.  Thank you both, Joanna and Nathan, for your continuous support, but more importantly, your love and friendship.

#2 – Tuesday, August 2, 2016: This is the day that Tracy and I lost one of our most favorite people, Renee (REE-nee) Olson.  She was 101 years young, and lived in Tucson AZ.  We had been friends with Renee since 2006. She had such a tremendous influence on our lives, from the very first day we met her. She told us her ‘secret’ – everyone that lives to be near one hundred years of age has a ‘secret;’ something that keeps them going / keeps them young – was raw garlic and her beverage-of-choice: Vodka Lemondrops.   Renee Olson had more style in her lil’ pinkie than all of Hollywood combined.  We used to play poker with her (nearly) every Saturday night; for quarters, but it was still damn fun.  I’ll never forget that time she pulled out a (B.B.) gun.  We will simply never forget Renee, and everything she taught us.  We love you, and miss (the heck out of) you, Renee Olson.

#3 – Friday, September 23, 2016: The day Gus died.  Well, he did not really die.  But, in regards to Band & The Beat, and Gus being our trusty 1987 Volvo 240 DL Wagon that was being used as our tour vehicle… he died, Friday, September 23, 2016.  We were scheduled to play a show on that date in Richmond VA with our friend Anousheh, and her friends Way, Shape, Or Form at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.  Tracy and I both were really looking forward to the show, and seeing Anousheh again.  Unfortunately, Gus was not able to make the trek between Raleigh and Richmond, and since this was not the first time Gus left us stranded with our travels, we had to officially retire him from his touring responsibilities.  I too had to retire my own dreams sailing Gus through the concrete rivers of America, and face reality that were going to need something a bit more reliable (and modern).  Now we have a monthly reminder (at least for the next six years, unless we can pay it off faster) that some things are not worth taking a gamble on; sometimes it is best to just play it smart (I did not want to say “safe,” but that too).

#4 – Friday, October 14, 2016: “Ahhhh,” the official release date for the Band & The Beat cassette tape with Harding Street Assembly Lab.  For me, this day is a reminder that someone else, other than my wife or family, believed / believes in what I’m doing.  Someone else was / is passionate about something that I personally created, and wanted to share it with the world / with others.  This is another thing that keeps me going, especially with making music; support.  You can’t do it without the support of others, and it is a great thing to feel when it is there, and genuine / from the heart. Those little pink cassette tapes came out lookin’ pretty sweet.  For the fifty people that own them, I hope they are enjoying the music.  We are hoping to write a lot more music in 2017, for Band & The Beat and Tracy Shedd, so maybe that little pink cassette tape will get a few brothers and sisters soon.

#5 – Friday, October 21 and Friday, November 11, 2016: I have been happily married to my best friend for 16 years.  I love my life with my wife, and it makes me very happy to see others share a similar bond. So, when I have an opportunity to witness others in love make their own lifelong commitment to one another, it reminds me how very special my life is with Tracy and keeps me focused on nurturing our own marriage.  This year presented two such special occasions: the wedding of our friends Tina and Charlie Banks in October, and Andrea and Chad Irwin in November.  At the Bank’s wedding, the minister not only had Tina and Charlie read their wedding vows, but he had vows for the family and friends in the audience to read aloud as well, holding all of us accountable to provide nothing by positive support and influence toward the newly married couple.  It was the first (and only, to date) time that I had witnessed something like that at a wedding, and I have to say I thought it was a pretty powerful and important thing to do.  As family, or friends, we should all be held accountable for looking out for each other.  That’s what we are supposed to do for each other.  I appreciate that Tina and Charlie asked that of all of their family and friends, and I’ll be sure to live up to my end of the bargain, for them, Andrea and Chad, and everyone else that I care about.

Last Year, Part One (Benjamin Mauch)

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Benjamin Mauch, whose “Golden Bay Garden” rates as one of our fave releases from 2016, turned in:

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#1 – Jeremy Bible, “Music For Black Holes (self-released): When I found out that this album was coming out, I immediately placed an order for the physical copy, and was not disappointed. Long form drone that is beautiful and dark in the best ways possible.

#2 – Bibliotheca: I also immediately placed an order for this when it was showcased on Kickstarter, but it was over two years ago when I did. Following the development and production of this project has been fun, and the final product (a Bible with a reworked translation that is void of chapters/ verses and is meant to be read like a book) is perfect.

#3 – Kevin Drumm, “Artificial Organ (self-released): A surprising release from a prolific artist. Listening to a new work by Kevin Drumm is like inviting a ghost to stay in your room for a while; it’s initially disturbing, but after chatting and listening, the ghost tells you things that would have never been revealed otherwise.

#4 – Andy Stott, “Too Many Voices (Modern Love): Andy Stott has made me appreciate techno, albeit the experimental kind. “Too Many Voices” is brimming with interesting textures that make it worthy of many repeated listens, especially while driving in the city at night.

#5 – Eluvium, “False Readings On (Temporary Residence Ltd): This is by far the most beautiful and heart wrenching album Matthew Cooper has released. It’s gorgeous.