Model Photographer
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Model Photographer

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Model Photographer (June Records, 2007)

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“When I was young and discovering music, I wanted to believe my favorite songs were about real experiences,” says Model Photographer’s Alex Rose. “Since I began writing songs, I have always wanted them to feel like that.”
With their debut album, Model Photographer accomplish this. It is an album of honest and direct songs that give the listener a glimpse into the internal world of a musician entering his mid-twenties.
“Most of the songs were written right before or after I moved from Albuquerque to Seattle,” says Rose. “I was thinking about the future a lot, but I often felt unable to escape the past.”
Much like the contradictory conditions during which they were written, the songs themselves display a certain duality: they are both expansive and intimate, bold and delicate, detached and eager. Rose’s bittersweet vocals and fuzzy guitars blend dreamily with the propulsion of John Bagley’s bass, Westin Glass’ drums and the occasional keyboard overdub.
After a year of meticulously recording parts in the studio, at home and in the practice space, the incomplete album was put on hold in 2006. Model Photographer had became a side project by default. Rose found himself busier than ever playing guitar with Heather Duby and keyboards with Minus the Bear (he had previously been their live sound engineer and helped record Menos El Oso). This laid the groundwork for becoming a full-time band member, co-writing and performing on Planet of Ice (Suicide Squeeze). Meanwhile, Glass had formed The Reformation to showcase his songwriting and was touring as a drummer for Say Hi To Your Mom.
Finally deciding to work around their respective schedules, Model Photographer was completed in late 2007. Due to their unique circumstances, desiring to bypass the traditional promotion game, the band initially posted the album for free on their website to let word of mouth spread. Thanks to New Mexico’s June Records, it is now seeing its first proper release on compact disc.
Rose and Glass first collaborated musically in the Albuquerque indie-pop band Mistletoe. Rose had been playing drums but switched to guitar when Glass joined. They toured the country several times, performed at SXSW and shared the stage with many of their musical heroes, including The Breeders, The Shins, Superdrag, Pedro The Lion and Carissa’s Wierd.
“The band started to develop a bigger, more rock sound as we became a tighter live band and started touring a lot,” says Rose. “That was really fun, but I also wanted to do something smaller.”
As Mistletoe evolved into heavier and more epic territory, Rose began writing intimate and concise pop songs to document his personal experiences. “I usually walk around with songs in my head that don’t exist yet.” said Rose. “I finally started capturing a handful of them around this time.”
Since Rose had never fronted a band before, he decided to join forces with Glass, who was also beginning to write songs on his own. The two shared front-man duties in a project called The Bum Out Patrol. One person would sing and play guitar while the other played drums and vice versa. In their brief existence they performed shows with Enon, The Decemberists, Limbeck and The Frogs.
Towards the end of three years in Albuquerque, Rose had two thriving bands and had become a sought-after recording engineer, making records with many of his favorite local bands. Despite this success and the admittedly charming southwest locale, there remained a growing desire to escape the home state for the greener pastures of the Pacific Northwest.
Relocating to Seattle in early 2004, Rose began mixing live sound, pursuing bands to record, and playing music with fellow NM expatriates. Continuing to write songs in the vein of The Bum Out Patrol, he tested the waters for his solo material by performing at open mic nights, where friends and strangers witnessed early versions of “We Stayed Home,” “Cassette Tape” and “Don’t Be A Moper.”
Deciding to take the plunge, he booked his first solo acoustic show at the prestigious Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles on June 17, 2004 and received a mention in the LA Times. The experience was encouraging, and more shows were booked in Seattle and New Mexico.
The solo sets began to evolve when Glass also relocated to Seattle and began to play drums at the shows. It was only natural that they would decide to form an actual band again, and the two found bassist John Bagley. The first Model Photographer show occurred in March of 2005. The band subsequently received airplay of a two-song demo on Seattle's KEXP and the station featured the song “Before You Drive Away” (a song that was originally written for The Bum Out Patrol) on the “Music That Matters" podcast.
Currently, Rose and Glass continue to tour with Minus the Bear and Say Hi, respectively. The duo plan to develop a new batch of songs that Rose has written and will record for a new release in 2008.