The end of summer and festival season is near, and we have several new releases in the fall waiting for you. First of all, we are proud to announce that going forward our new releases and past catalog will now be distributed by Sony Music's The Orchard, bringing extensive support from their internal resources and worldwide reach. Also, in this issue we have several new playlists that feature Diversion Records artists as well as Blume Hinges' new video for "Duvel" that was filmed on the streets of Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Pilsen neighborhoods in Chicago. Finally, we have a thoughtful interview with Andrew Gavin Williams of the indie-folk/pop duo Fellow Hollow on their past and the state of production of their new album they are currently recording. Thank you again for supporting Diversion Records and all of our artists.
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Diversion Records Now Distributed by Sony Music's The Orchard
We are excited to announce that Diversion Records has added Sony Music's The Orchard as our exclusive distributor. As the distributor, The Orchard will represent Diversion Records across all territories for our past and future music releases through their established network of international distribution.
The Orchard brings over twenty years of support and resources to independent music labels, film, and television. Diversion Records president Scott Simon states, "Through our distribution agreement with The Orchard we will achieve a wider presence and greater resources that will benefit our artists. We look forward to partnership that enhances our ability to support artists and develop new talent in the US and international regions"
Playlists Featuring Artists
A spacey, drifting walk through the streets of Chicago.
Andrew Gavin Williams of Fellow Hollow
How do you as a group come together to write and create your first album?
I had moved to a duplex in Merion Village and had just put together a small studio in an empty bedroom. One night around Christmas, Luke called me out of the blue and said he had a few guitar songs. He asked if I’d help finish them -- write the words, sing them, and record the tracks. Luke and I had been friends for years and we played in another band together. Until that point I knew him as a drummer and accordion player, or filling in the cracks with auxiliary percussion. He’s a thoughtful and typically soft spoken guy. When I first heard him play the guitar, it blew me away. We started recording early that spring and continued for about two years. Luke would come over Wednesday evenings with something to lay down; sometimes there’d be whole new songs, or we’d redo a song we’d already done because he found a new tuning he preferred. Or the key wasn’t right. He experimented with a lot of unusual tunings, many of which he made up. Throughout the week I would compose lyrics and record drafts of vocal parts, sipping whiskey. I wrote a lot of lyrics at work in the morning. Coffee for writing, whiskey for singing. We had a shared dropbox that I updated almost daily for those two years with new iterations of the tracks. Sometimes what I added vocally would spark a change in structure altogether. We were finding our process. At the two year mark we reached a jumping point where we could consider either a) releasing what was there, or b) trudging on towards a full-length. We decided to release the six that were finished and shelf the rest for later. I mixed the tracks at my house, and sent it off for mastering. Emma Kindall did the artwork. She had heard every version of every song from day one and didn’t need any prompting from Luke or me on what the artwork should be. We released the EP in October of 2016.
How is putting this new album different from the previous?
This time around we are intentionally making a full-length which means there is inherently more space to work with. We are going to involve drums, piano, and synthesizer more often. The songwriting toolbox has billowed out. I’ll be composing more songs from scratch as well. In that sense it’ll be an expansion of the same world -- more layers, perhaps stranger arrangements, but the same spirit. We will be tracking it at my house again, but a different house.
How do you balance your inspirations and influences in a musical group?
I think the reason Luke and I have the musical chemistry we do is our core of shared influences. Before we ever wrote music as Fellow Hollow we would take road trips to see bands. Most recently Luke has been listening to Leif Vollebekk and I’ve been listening to Perfume Genius. Our inspirations are sonically complementary. We like the moody, croony shit.
How did you decide you had musical chemistry?
Just from playing music together before, really. It is an easy thing to determine once you play with someone.
What’s the process? Instrumental first or writing?
Luke and I both tend to write whole songs instrumentally before coming up with a melody scheme. There may be one or two instances where I couldn’t shake a melody and that’s what sparked a song, but it’s almost always instrumental first. The most satisfying part for me is constructing strings of words, whole stanzas, that mirror the tone of the instrumental song. I also keep a myriad of notebooks and word documents of lyrics. There’s an endless pool of words and phrases kept in those places that I use as prompts. I sometimes use words/prompts from others. The lyrics in “Wake” for example are mostly a reworked piece of prose by Julia Kindall:
We had a silver television. Dad bought us scooters, before we left town. Green wheels, and red wheels.
"Take your pick." He said.
Mom woke me up once, to tell me about the planes in New York, and how some things fall down. I saw her being the Easter Bunny, once. Cried on the stairs and thanked her for my eggs in the morning. Whispers.
We had a silver television. Propped on the car so that we could watch movies, when we moved. Fly away Home, was our favorite. And I remember mama driving with one hand backwards fast forwarding the part where the mama dies. But the eggs hatched, and I remember that. Emma loved the Tomboy girls. Overalls, and a reason for her to feel like she was alright. She could be the explorer and the spy and the ponytail. Because that's who she was, that's who she was.
Emma hid in the basement. Keeping her period and her journals and her big brain all to herself. She had so many pencils. And I was asleep on mamas chest in the bedroom. She would touch my arm and we would talk about our wrists and our noses. One in the same we would say, while Emma was brilliance in the basement. And sometimes Emma would come upstairs and Mamas dreams would come true, and we would watch a movie. All try to get to know one another, again. Fly away home. And mama would fast forward the part where the mama dies. It hurt her too much. And the eggs would hatch, and Emma would wide eye at the the girl on the swing, and I would look up from mamas chest, to see that she had already fallen asleep.
And perhaps I was the only one who had noticed that she was already gone.
Already gone. Already gone. Already gone.
Interview by Lilly Wellen
BIO: Lily Wellen is a freelance journalist and graduate of Marquette University's Diederich College of Communication. She currently writes for Chirp Radio, OnMilwaukee, Chicago Music Guide and Diversion Records.