Hair Envelope

Hair Envelope

 Seattle, Washington, USA

Hair Envelope is a band in Seattle that plays dance driven electro-rock music infused with horns and the occasional plunge into electronic circus jazz. They are an up-and-coming band with an EP Release and many local and national shows under their belt with some of Seattle's hottest bands.


Hair Envelope is a band local to Seattle that plays dance driven electro-rock music infused with horns and the occasional plunge into electronic circus jazz. The band released its first EP "Shareholders Spring Report 2008" two years ago and has toured the West Coast a number of times since then. In the last couple years the band has had the opportunity to play with some of the hottest bands in Seattle and has been featured in a number of blogs, radio plays, and will have their music this Spring on the Sundance Channel. The band's philosophy is one centered around building community and exciting participatory moments for the audience. They celebrate shows with friends and giving back to the world around them through fun music and shared experience.

The story of Hair Envelope began in a crumbling warehouse in south Seattle. Hair Envelope mastermind and chaos-facilitator Matt McDowell was spending a very cold winter in his concrete castle, intending to produce a stop-motion space epic the likes of which had never been seen before. He had plans drawn up for paper mache asteroids, balsa wood rocketships, and innumerable other handmade constructions.

But rather than staying focused on storyboard sketches, shot lists, and production schedules, he continually found himself sitting at the piano in the main room. Matt says, "I would sit out there and play for hours and come up with the most ridiculous balladry about trucker messiahs and flamenco singers." Accumulating a rapidly-growing collection of songs and recording as he went along, his favorite distraction was quickly becoming a project in its own right.

Matt recruited vocalist Jacqueline Suskin, and together, drawing on their varied collaborations in the noise and experimental music community, Hair Envelope organized a series of strange yet well-received shows with the likes of Douglas Ferguson, Big Spiders Back, A Story Of Rats, Le Systeme Solaire, Alan Fried, Million Brazillians, Emperor Norton's Cabal, and Tim Curry Bear.

In a few short months, Hair Envelope had already put together a successful west coast tour and independently released two recordings: a vinyl split-single with the Seattle noise-folk band Maldek, and a CD-EP plus digital download release entitled "Shareholders Report Spring 2008."

Joking that they had planned to make a dance album in the style of La Bouche, Matt explains how "Shareholders" was envisioned as a faux-corporate identity for the band. "Sitting in the van on the way to Reno, we joked about sending our friends a Hair Envelope shareholders' report...Triple bottom lines, fun vs. expenditures, gas money vs. dancefloors rocked..." Several months later, after marathon sessions in a south Seattle staircase factory, Hair Envelope emerged with "Shareholders." Packaged in homemade cloth manila envelopes made of recycled thrift store t-shirts and incorporating the band's wildest stylistic contortions to date, the EP is a charming pastiche of free jazz horns, atari programming, cartoon musical interludes, and high energy dance music.

Explaining what Hair Envelope means for him, Matt says "These days it's an incredible thing to have all these tools at your disposal: you can make a movie on your laptop in an afternoon, you can record an album and release it on the internet for nothing. But with all these options, and the ability to put them into use so quickly, it's easy to get distracted and let your ideas run away from you. So for me the focus has shifted toward community: let's make something that everyone can participate in, something that makes people laugh and dance and have a good time. The whole idea of Hair Envelope has been a series of stagey tricks to sidestep our egos and keep the focus on having a good time. Now we can cut loose and be a part of the fun."

Hair Envelope's live show is not a press-play affair: they have begun to earn a reputation for their unhinged live performances. "When we first started playing more legit venues instead of house shows I was nervous about crossing the line with some door guy or bartender or something. But most people tend to get what we're doing, that we're all about having a good time." The recent addition of live drummer Billy Hoover has kicked up the energy even further -- and supplied some desperately needed trumpet interludes.

"We're really excited about the response to the new EP. I get random emails all the time from people in places I've never been telling us how much they like our music. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where things take us in the next year."


EP Shareholder's Report Spring 2008