I’m finally able to start releasing some new Hollow Arch music, and I can’t tell you how good it feels!
I started work on what would become Hollow Arch well over a year ago. At the time, I’d gone through a kind of tough period where I was coming to grips with accepting the idea that I might not be able to pull off turning this music thing into something that could actually pay the bills.
I’d been the driving force in band after band that were all pretty good in their own right, but struggled to find a large enough audience to sustain them – either because we weren’t quite good enough, or the style of music we played just didn’t resonate with enough people at the time, or because of my shortcomings as a marketer and promoter.
I’d worked incredibly hard to create training courses that were successful in that a lot of students took them and seemed to get a lot out of them. But I just hadn’t found a lane in which to run that I felt like I could realistically turn into something that would produce enough revenue to replace my day job.
As someone who always believed that you could will the changes you wanted in your life to happen, this was hard to accept. When it really hit me, I went into a funk for a while.
And then I gave up, and I quite trying.
Creatively, this turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened to me.
After that, instead of asking myself, “What do I like to do that others might like and might be marketable?”, I started asking “What do I want to make, regardless if anyone ever hears it, likes it, or would want to buy it?”
I’d had old song idea snippets saved from phone recordings that I would revisit every now and then, so I picked through them again to see what I liked, and what I felt could be crafted into something I would like to hear.
I’d become a fan of downtempo electronic music, so I thought I would enjoy trying to transform these ideas that originated on guitar into synth-based electronic track. So that’s what I started doing.
And it was fun!! I was forced to learn a ton of new stuff, which always fires me up, and I was able to explore new sounds with no self-imposed limits. It felt freeing.
Along the way, a strange thing happened. I started to have this urge to pick up the electric guitar, the instrument that made me love music in the first place.
I don’t know if this was based in an urge to get back to that initial feeling of fascination that made me want to learn how to make music, or what. But I took a break from electronic music and started playing electric guitar more – and realizing how much I missed it.
When I did get back around to the electronic music I had in development, I realized it was missing something. It had cool atmosphere and put me in the mood I’d hoped it would, but the songs didn’t have a strong melody line to anchor me as a listener.
Which was cool, if I wanted to make more of an ambient thing. But I thought I’d try putting melodies over the songs to make them less ambient and turn them into songs that engrossed me as a listener a little more.
Since I’d been playing guitar more, I tried playing over some of the tunes, and I discovered that it was really, really fun. It felt effortless on some tunes, and electric guitar tones melded well with the synth-based beds I’d created.
So the direction became instrumental music that blended electronic music with solo rock-ish electric guitar. This was a little different from most solo electric guitar instrumental music, which I also love, but is usually built on a foundation of live band music.
As I thought about an elevator pitch to communicate this sort of weird hybrid, I settled on electronica + guitar = Guitronica.
One humbling aspect of this pivot was that it brought me face to face with my limitations as a guitar player. And though I’d started learning and practicing actively again, I realized that it also going to mean I had a lot of guitar playing to do!
For the sake of diversity and making the songs the best they could be, I asked all the incredible guitar players I know if they’d be willing to contribute their talents. My musical brother Chad was immediately game, as I’ve come to appreciate and count on from him, and you’ll hear his incredible work on this first tune, called “Parachute”.
Scott Dicksheid, another stellar guitar talent, will be featured on the next release.
Both of these guys just blow me away when I hear them, and I think you’ll hear why.
So here it is! Thanks for listening!