in which i chat with netherfriends

so, i’m sure most of you music loving peeps remember sufjan stevens bold proclamation a few years back on how he was going to record an album for each state in the US – but, after the releases of michigan and illinois, the concept stalled with stevens claiming, “I have no qualms about admitting it was a promotional gimmick.” the idea may be kaput with stevens, but another artist has recently taken up the mantle, tweaking the concept so that it’s more of a 50 songs, 50 states project (rather than producing 50 albums worth of content). this is still a rather lofty and heady challenge for any artist, and so far, psychadelic-pop musician netherfriends is doing a great job of it.

netherfriends has been on the road continuously since april 2010 and writing and recording as he tours with many songs are recorded in the houses that he stays in. he’s in the home stretch of the tour, having just announced that hawaii will be his last stop in april, making the tour a year long experience. a blog has been erected, keeping track of his progress (go HERE to check it out – there are also updates HERE).

despite being crazy busy, touring the entire country and writing a song per state, netherfriends has also recently released an improv drone album of relaxing mood music entitled alap. a departure from his normal sound, alap consists of seven songs named after the days of the week. best yet, it’s offered for free on netherfriends’ bandcamp site.

check out wednesday:

shawn rosenblatt, the man behind netherfriends, was kind enough to answer some questions for me about his current projects:

have you met heather: what inspired you to create the 50 songs, 50 states project?

shawn rosenblatt: I got tired of just touring and needed to do something creative. I call it killing 2 birds with one stone. Recording a song and playing a
show in each state in one year is keeping me sane on the road.

hymh: any interesting stories to share from your travels so far that may make it to future songs?

shawn: I will just give you some themes of the songs based off of experiences:
Seeing the Northern lights, living with a hooker, a Best Western hotel bathroom, and almost getting in a fight, leaving a girlfriend of 5 years to pursue touring full-time, going to a Waffle House for the first time, getting free mushrooms, and many many other odd themes.

hymh: your latest EP, alap, is very different from what you normally record. do you see yourself doing more of this type of improv music in the future?

shawn: Yes, I guess when I start go a little crazy again from working on the
50 states songs. I will do another improv release. I think Alap is coming out on my friend’s cassette label, but it seems to be taking a little too long…

thanks, shawn!

check out the videos for two songs off of last year’s barry and sherry: bret easton ellis novel and lead you through the misty fog of milwaukee ave. – love the use of stop motion:

Bret Easton Ellis Novel from Shawn Rosenblatt on Vimeo.

i really dig the following song (lead you through the misty fog of milwaukee ave.) – be warned, it only does the first two minutes of a five minute + song…

Barry and Sherry Preview from Shawn Rosenblatt on Vimeo.

go HERE to download alap, netherfriends’ free improv EP. go HERE to buy barry and sherry. stay tuned for the release of his 50 states, 50 songs album!

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