Songwriter Larry Hess Discusses New Project Calotype

posted December 4, 2012

Songwriter Larry Hess Discusses New Project Calotype

Many music fans may already know singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and remixer Larry Hess from previous projects such as the instrumental collective The Feud and noise pop outfit Hunters, Run!.   He's used the Calotype label in the past for various remixing projects but after  Hunters, Run! went on hiatus in 2011, he was already writing new material that fit the tag perfectly.

Much like the calotype or talbotype photogenic drawing process, Hess is offering a more sensitive use of the medium with his new project.  He released a five song ep called “Coastal Preferences” last summer and plans to release new material as early as January 2013.

“I was infatuated with recording before I ever learned how to play any instruments and I think that aspect still informs much of my music.  I guess the singer-songwriter and electronic elements are the most prevalent in the Calotype project but to me, it's mostly about experimenting with different sounds and instruments,” says Hess.

Larry grew up in NYC’s outer boroughs; where in the early 90’s, he joined the ranks of the “4 track revolution” with his first solo project Radio Nine. That approach to recording traces a permanent marker line on everything he makes.  He maintains his experimental, punk and lo-fi aesthetic with Calotype while adding elements of folk, Americana and electronica.

“I'm equally infatuated with the clear, crisp quality of 1960's and 70's singer-songwriter records. In my mind what I'm doing is some sort of modern version of that by using more topical and distinct lyrical themes and mixing up electronic and organic sounds,” comments Hess. 

Hess wrote half of “Coastal Preferences” in NYC and the other half in San Francisco. He recorded the drums at Two Tiger studio in Williamsburg but that space wasn't quiet enough to do the acoustics and all of the softer vocals he was experimenting with at that time.  He ultimately solicited the help of Alby Cohen (Kyp Malone, Talib Kweli) at Rough Magic in Greenpoint. 

“He's great at getting very clean sounds and has some really amazing mics. I then mixed the whole thing at home. It was actually a really quick process even through there were so many spaces and studios involved. I think I wrote, recorded and mixed the entire thing in about three months.  It took three years to make the last Hunters, Run! record, so this seemed like light speed to me,” he continues.

Hess wrote, arranged, produced and played every instrument on “Coastal Preferences.” He recorded at Two Tiger Studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Rough Magic in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “Coastal Preferences” is released through Manhattan-based songwriter outpost 27 Productions.