Like Krispy Cream and Pepsi Cola, Shadowgraphs formed just east of the Appalachian Mountains amongst the Longleaf Pines of North Carolina. Founded in 2014 by Wils Glade and Bryan Olsen, the two wrote, recorded, and released two full length albums by summer 2017.
While listening to these first records, it became clear that the two had shared a focused vision since the beginning. Their music is almost reminiscent of a Robert Beatty album cover, an alluring landscape where layers upon layers of warm and rich textures are waiting to be discovered beneath the surface.
Last year the duo released their third LP titled ‘Another Time’ and headed west on a 3,000 mile journey to Oregon. I caught up with founding member Wils Glade to talk about it all.
“Channel the past, become one with the present, and wink at the future.”
‘Return to Zero’ (2015)
Can you give me a little history on the formation of Shadowgraphs leading up to this release?
Bryan and I had a mutual friend named Blake who was moving to San Diego and before he left he was like “yall need to meet! you guys are like the same people and into the same things”. I remember when Bryan and I first started hanging out, we were excited that out of everyone we had met we were into the same type music.
For this first record you guys recorded and mixed everything in Bryan’s home studio. Was this a first for you both?
Yeah, it was real trial and error back then. I had never used tape/analog gear, but knew about mixing techniques from my previous band, and Bryan had never really spent too much time mixing, he was more about recording. So it was great for the both of us to learn from each other.
Would you say you guys were more interested in recording techniques at the time over playing the songs out live?
Yeah, actually Bryan was like “I’m too old for playing out” (this was 5 years ago lol) so it was just a recording project at first, but then people kept talking about wanting to see us live, so we eventually slipped into that by adding two members and then officially starting the band.
‘Venomous Blossoms’ (2017)
For this record you guys opted to have someone else do the mixing. What led to this change?
Well on RTZ, we recorded and mixed it ourselfs, but then paid a pretty penny to have it mastered somewhere fancy. The overall change in audio wasn’t that big of a difference from where we had it, other than making it louder, so we thought that the change in audio would be a greater difference in the mixing process. So we decided to give that a try.
How do you see that “extra ear” in the mixing process playing a role in the overall sound that you guys are trying to capture with your recordings?
It was probably the best thing we could have ever done. We were really excited with what Drew had done with the record and it kept us from getting into endless hours of mixing debates. He was really fast and we learned a lot from his process by just observing his workflow in the room with him.
The record release show for this album was the first time I had the pleasure of experiencing your live set. What was the process like for taking this songs from the studio and fleshing them out for a live show?
I think about half of the songs were songs we were playing live already, so we felt more confident with those after recording, but for the new ones there were a lot more things to consider. Like since there were a good amount of keys on the record, I started introducing keys to our live set. Then Bryan and I would figure out the best guitar parts for us to play live even if the other had initially written that part.
This album marked your first release with the label Golden Brown. Can you tell us a little about how this relationship came to be?
Yeah, we were actually about to put out VB by ourselves with a PR company called Parachute form Portland, OR, who had reached out to us. The head guy started pitching out the record and then said that he actually has a good friend with a label who would probably be really into the record and could put it out with a bigger PR budget and vinyl. That’s when we met Thom & Brooke Sunderland of Golden Brown Records.