Garrett N.
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Garrett N.

Aspen, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2000 | SELF

Aspen, Colorado, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2000
Solo Rock Electronic

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"Interview on Last Day Deaf"

What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.

I recall first starting to compose music around 1995, on a 4 track tape deck. I look back on my efforts to get into recording studios, and the gatekeepers who deemed my music worthy or not- I found out eventually that most of these people were egomaniacs with an inflated sense of self-importance. So I had no choice but to learn to do these things myself. After playing in several bands in the Austin, TX area, I finally released my first solo album, “Instrumentals & Oddities”, released in 2008. By this time, the new digital paradigm of online based music licensing was just beginning, and most of the album found its way onto cable T.V., advertising, and independent films. I then set my sights on doing an album that would stand out compositionally, and with its production values. This became my latest release, “Let’s Get Surreal”.

Provide us with some info about your latest release…

It’s been about 10 years since I released my first album, “Instrumentals and Oddities”, and there was a feeling building up in me that I needed to release something new, when I started this project in the fall of 2013. I remember listening to a James Horner interview about the “Wrath of Khan” soundtrack, where he mentioned that to bring things into focus, he decided to come up with a few main themes and motifs, providing variations on each theme. This hugely inspired me, and was the creative spark that led to my latest LP release, “Let’s Get Surreal”. Compared to my first album, this one is a bit more synth heavy, even though it still has a lot of guitar and bass on it. Most of the main riffs, lead lines, and synth basses are played on an ARP Odyssey, one of my prized possessions. The record is also drenched in Mellotron. I presented the album like a resume’ of what I’m capable of, and that includes engineering and production. It’s been a major learning experience along the way, and I’m really proud of it.

Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?

Throughout “Let’s Get Surreal”, you’ll often hear a crescendo Mellotron swell leading into a huge chord; that’s totally down to a Genesis influence for sure. In the track “Bak1”, you’ll hear a minimal arrangement that slowly adds concentric layers of instrumentation to the mix, a la Pink Floyd; other Floyd influences are all over the album in the cross fades between soundscapes, and in experimental sound collages. You’ll also hear a funk influence throughout the album on things like “Bak3”, “Avant”, and the tail end of the Overture. Another influence would film composer Lalo Schifrin. Non musically, I’m hugely inspired by Steve Wozniak, sticking to his guns during the early days of Apple. The DIY approach, the obsession and personal sacrifice involved in not giving up your autonomy even if you don’t have a dollar to your name, when you truly believe in what you’re doing.

In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?

I like to assemble music in a progressive manner. Each track flows into the next seamlessly if one lets it play continuously. In this way, the album is presented like a guided tour of what I do. I also wanted to do a great job engineering, and strive for the polished production values of the late ‘70s soft rock period, while presenting compositions that are edgy, psychedelic, and progressive. I practically worship engineers like Alan Parsons and Hugh Padgham. I’m an analog freak, use an Allen & Heath analog mixing desk and tube preamps, so the record has a fat, analog outboard sound to it, sort of like a Stereolab record.

Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…

Albums: Genesis “Wind and Wuthering”, Pink Floyd “Atom Heart Mother”, and maybe Duran Duran “Rio”.

Books: Carlos Casteneda’s “Journey to Ixtlan”, the poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Geoff Emerick’s “Here, There, & Everywhere”.

Films: Fantastic Planet” (1973), “Flash Gordon” (1980), and Disney’s “The Black Hole” (1979).

press1

Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?

I will say that lately, I’ve been really getting off on the recording side of things, and confess that by the end of this project I enjoyed the production, editing, and engineering side of things as much as the composition and performance! I’m such a perfectionist and often stay up all night trying to get things right, in a very obsessive way. Recordings are like canvasses or films, and these statements will be around long after I’m gone.

Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?

I have often set up mics and equipment in the most unlikely of places. I’ve been living up in Alaska off and on for many years, and on a foggy October day a young lady friend of mine who lived in an old historic cabin let me record her vintage Hammond C-3 organ, when she left town for a few days. Strange noises and phenomena have been observed there, and it’s sort of implied that the place is haunted. Later that night, a sudden gust of wind suddenly slammed the back door shut, and I started to feel a presence, as if I was being watched. Just as I felt a chill, looking down at the hair standing up on my arms, I began to hear weird noises, pops, and random notes playing out of that organ… As if whoever was haunting that cabin was using it to communicate from the other side! This is the organ you hear on “The Eternal Laugh”. At any rate, I have a feeling that the ghost approved !

Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?

“Saddam/Espace” is something I’m proud of, and is highly influenced by early Pink Floyd. I remember hearing an old Floyd bootleg from ‘72, where they played the Lord’s Prayer, looped back onto itself, until it was an abstract jumble of words, somehow making an existential statement- brilliant. That’s the approach I wanted to take a step further with this piece, in this case using George W. Bush speeches. This took me days of meticulous work, which I obsessed over. The second half of the track is an electronic soundscape, a la BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?

I’m looking to get more involved in film/T.V. soundtracks. You won’t find me playing cover songs in a bar every Friday night for the rest of eternity! However, releasing albums will always be a passion of mine, for art’s sake. That’s why I still insist on releasing CDs, and hopefully vinyl in the near future- the overall presentation makes a statement. As far as I’m concerned, the licensing aspect can be used to “bankroll” the albums or even tours in the future.

Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…

Who produced this album, and who are the personnel?

I did everything. The composition, all of the instrumentation, the engineering, editing, and production. Even the album artwork. - Last Day Deaf


"Review on Progarchy"

Webster’s Dictionary defines “surreal” as an adjective meaning “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream.” In other words, something so bizarre that it shouldn’t be real, yet it is. This may be the most accurate name for an album I’ve ever encountered.

Composer, musician, engineer, and producer Garrett N. has a background making music for commercials, films, and documentaries, in addition to a few of his own progressive albums. That background helps explain the non-traditional nature of this album. Garrett performed all the music on the album, displaying wide musical talents. He also sings on the few tracks that have lyrics.

Let’s Get Surreal is extremely synth-heavy in a Pink Floyd sort of way. I’d say Floyd is the biggest rock/psychedelic influence here, and at times it works very well. The first four tracks in particular are quite strong in this regard. There is a sci-fi cinematic feel to some of the synths sounds too, in a sort of 1950s alien sci-fi movie way. With that said, the slightly distorted acoustic guitar on “The Eternal Laugh” is a welcome addition. The next track, “Quiet,” features what sounds like extremely distorted electric guitar… maybe too distorted. Definitely a gritty sound. The blending of different types of synths, drums, and guitars manages to work, however. The bit of flute on “Scorpio/Ramos” is nice, although the song could have used a lot more of it.

Garrett appears to making a bit of a political statement on a few tracks, particularly on “Saddam/Espace.” This song has a remix of former US President George W. Bush giving a speech about Saddam Hussein and all that mess. It is an interesting reworking of the speech, with blurred repetition of Bush saying “terror” playing through the background. The album was recorded between 2013-2017, so this track seems like it is 10-15 years past when it should have been released. That particular moment has past, making this song lose a lot of its punch.

At an hour and thirteen minutes in length, the album kind of drags a bit because a lot of it sounds the same. There are a few songs that could have had a few minutes trimmed out. The album is at its best when other instruments are mixed in with the synths, rather than the lengthy sections that are only synthesizers.

Ultimately, this album sounds more like a tv show soundtrack than it does a rock album. It is mostly instrumental, with synths dominating the instruments being used. As such, it doesn’t sound like a typical instrumental prog album. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it does feel like we are missing a piece of the puzzle. “Let’s Get Surreal” won’t be for everyone, but those into the more psychedelic side of prog should appreciate it. - Progarchy


"Garrett N. – Instrumentals And Oddities, 2008"

Amidst the snowy slopes and frozen ropes of Aspen Colorado flourishes instrumental artist/composer Garrett N. Drawing on influences ranging from composer Lalo Schiffrin to early Pink Floyd to George Benson, Garrett N. manages to never repeat himself in a musical world built on Ambient sounds and punctuated rhythms. His debut album, Instrumentals and Oddities is fourteen tracks of music to relax and explore to.

Eorche 2 leads off the set with distorted guitars and a bass melody against the backdrop of a slow, steady beat. Entrancing and dark; this is the perfect mood setter for the album. Masterpiece is as musically obtuse as Pink Floyd ever was, and is very much in the spirit of recordings such as Umma Gumma. Billie J. is one of the stronger tracks here as well; built on a Drum N Bass base with a sonic wash of keyboards, live electric guitar and various effects. AquaCave is perhaps one of the most prescient representations of motion in music you’ll find. You can actually envision yourself drifting down through water like a tendril.

4567 Down! Is intriguing. The song hints at structure while moving through deep and murky soft-core Industrial waters. Cloaked confused me a little on first listen, as I thought Garrett N. was using a dulcimer for a few minutes, but it sounds like a very unique picking style on standard guitar. Lateprod1 is a danceable song that sounds like it should be on the soundtrack of a Tim Burton movie. Garrett N. pulls out a wonderful jazz/funk/electro hybrid on The Thought Had Crossed My Mind. This one has real commercial/club potential. The album closes out with Cheap Unleaded, an odd spoken word/noise track that is in the essence of some of Pink Floyd’s weirder stuff.

Garrett N. mixes old and new sounds on Instrumentals and Oddities to come up with a sound and style that is distinctly his own. You’ll hear the occasional nod to Pink Floyd here, as well as a few pieces that are more cinematic in scope, but in general Garrett N. is writing for himself. The result is a wonderful electronic patois that will keep you coming back for more. Instrumentals And Oddities is a must listen for an aspiring electronic musician or fan. Even folks who don’t normally take to the electronic side of the staff will find much to like here.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Garrett N. through his GarageBand profile. You can purchase a copy of Instrumentals and Oddities at www.cdbaby.com/cd/garrettn2. You can also access Garrett N’s music through outlets such as Amazon.com or iTunes. - Wildy's World


Discography

IP#: 00493.84.57.04 (BMI).

Albums: Instrumentals and Oddities (2008), Let's Get Surreal (2018)

"Explode", Fantom Films (2007). Written by Jackie Clark.

https://www.fantompublishing.co.uk/ 

Oxygen: THE CASE OF: CAYLEE ANTHONY. ep: "Aftermath", "Burden of Proof", "Finding Caylee", "Undetermined Means", "31 Days Later".

NRK channel Norway: PULS. Ep: Kirurgisk heleften

NRK channel Norway: Bye & Ronning. 

VH1: LEAVE IT TO STEVIE. Ep: "Get Out".

Commercial: Whole foods (2012) 

Commercial: Pfiser pet health (2012) 

History Channel: ALONE. ep: "Flare Up", "Thicker than Water", "Redemption".

Olympic Channel: KID'S CALL. 

Olympic Channel: GROUPIES.

Science Channel: SECRETS OF THE UNDERGROUND. ep: "Mystery of the Serpent Mound", "Rocky mountain Monsters".

Space: INNER SPACE. Ep: SP770822, SP990927

The Learning Channel: SISTERHOOD. ep: "Thou Shalt not Cross a First Lady". 

Biography Channel: MY LITTLE TERROR. ep: 2. 

Discovery Channel: MOONSHINERS series. ep: "Cannonball run", "Countdown to the shine", "Moonshiner's Farewell". 

Discovery Channel: FRENEMIES: Loyalty Turned Lethal. ep: "Bullied to Death", "Shattered Bonds", "Holy Murder", "Roommate's Revenge", "Three's a Crowd". 

Animal Planet: UNEARTHED. ep: "Devil's Roots", "Frozen Wasteland".

PRS UK: UNEARTHED: ep: "End of the Line".

National Geographic Explorer: GOLDFATHERS. ep: "Race for Gold", "Get Rich or Die Mining".  

National Geographic Explorer: BRAIN GAMES. ep: "Illusion Confusion"

Discovery Channel: HOMICIDE HUNTER: Lt. Joe Kenda. ep: "I now Pronounce you Dead", "Shot through the Heart". 

NBC: Dateline NBC: (6/8/12, 9/16/12, 10/14/12, 7/27/14). 

CMTV: MY BIG REDNECK VACATION ep: 301

Oxygen: SNAPPED: KILLER COUPLES ep: "Sarah Edmondson & Ben Darras", "Amanda Logue & Jason Andrews", "Tina Lega & Darnell Smith".

Bravo: PRINCESSES LONG ISLAND ep: "Elephant in the Vinyard".

TNT: 72 HOURS ep: 103.

Comedy Central: GUY CODE: ep. 206, ep. 309

FOX: ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP ep: UFC Road to the Octogon 12, UFC 182 JONES VS CORMIER.

H2: VICE ESSENTIALS: ep: Bare Knuckle.

MTV & MTV2: 

America's Best Dance Crew: ep. 501. 

True Life: "I can No Longer Afford my Lifestyle". 

Made: ep. "Rapper" 

Teen Cribs: ep. 206 

Photos

Bio

Garrett N. is a solo artist, musician, composer and producer. 

Personnel: Garrett N: guitars, keyboards, percussion, bass, orchestrations.

IP#: 00493.84.57.04 (BMI).

Band Members