Hi, VENTS. Well, like everyone, it’s been a mixed bag of vigilance, sadness and uncertainty. As the numbers of dead and infected climb, we’re all getting a sense of the enormity of this situation. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering at this very trying time. It’s so strange that the best thing we can do at the moment is nothing. It kind of makes you feel powerless.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Safe at Home”?
Well, it began life as a plea for people to take a break from the rat-race, but as this new pandemic reality dawned on us, it took on a brand-new meaning. There’s so much in it that can apply to what we’re experiencing now. The bottom line is that being with those you care about is what will help us through these dark times.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Nothing specific, initially. It was one of 65 songs I began this summer, finished in the fall and planned to record in the winter. Around 95% of the time, I write the music first and the lyrics afterwards. After working through the arrangement, the tune will start throwing words and phrases at you. That’s where the inspiration and intuition enter into the process. For this one, I kept hearing “safe at home with those we love,” which caps off each chorus. And everything else pretty much fell into place after that. My engineer, Ryan Leyva, provides the great backing vocals at the end. Those add another, sweeter dimension to the track. It’s always a great experience to bring these tunes into the world, because they often turn out better than you expect.
Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
Yes! It’s being made right now and will be out soon. It’s going to show that not only are people staying in place, making the best of the situation and looking forward to the future, but also family pets, mice and microscopic animals are doing the same. And once we’re done inside, the outside world will be waiting for us. I’m pretty excited about it.
How was the writing and recording process?
Well, this was the first of six albums I was to record this year. I got four done before the Washington State lockdown order was issued. Of course, writing and recording are two separate things. I’ve found that if you’re writing a lot of music, it’s best to have all your songs more or less at the same stage of completion at the same time. Of course, some tunes get finished quickly and need nothing and others lag behind and demand extra care. But most should be coming into existence together.
The album was a lot of fun. I love recording. I always have a good time. This particular album, The WOW and the POW! vol. 1 (https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-wow-and-the-pow-vol-1/1508936956), took four and a half days to finish. Electronic albums go quickly. And it was just me and an engineer in a fairly large studio, so we had a lot of fun making it and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.
What role does Seattle play in your music?
My first album was about Seattle. I recorded it back in 2011. It was called – get ready for this – Greater Seattle, and it’s a collection of songs about Seattle’s neighborhoods and suburbs. I made it as a sort of peace offering to a city that I don’t fit into very well. Since then, Seattle hasn’t really paid any attention to me. And I’m happy to return the favor. The thing I like most about this city is its crappy weather. When it’s all rainy and gloomy, I’m super-productive. Last August, it rained a lot. That’s when I began to finalize this year’s albums in really significant ways. Thank you, rain!
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
You bet it does. At this point, The WOW and the POW! vol. 1 is out; another single to follow soon. In June, I’m releasing another electronic album, Basically Blue, vol. 1. Then later in the summer, I’ve got an ambient vocal album called Out of Place slated for release. And lastly for 2020, there’s Album 21 that features string arrangements on nearly every track. In 2021, I’ll be releasing the second volumes of The WOW and the POW! and Basically Blue.
What else is happening next in Longboat’s world?
Well, after the lockdown is over and it’s sensible to venture out, I have two more albums to finish. I’m really looking forward to getting back to the studio to wrap things up. Right before the hiatus, we had a session with a small string orchestra for Album 21. The results were really impressive and I’m eager to wade through what we’ve got. It seems like forever ago.
In the meantime, I’ve started up a podcast about Longboat’s music, called – wait for it, because it’s totally surprising – The Great Longboat Podcast (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-great-longboat-podcast/id1504543603). Each episode, I spotlight a different song, getting into its inspiration, production and ephemeral details or I talk about the realities of making music in the 21st century. Or sometimes I just rant about things and try not to say “um” too much. But there’s always a Longboat song in the middle of things.