Interview: Jason Holstrom
Thu, 02 Aug 2007 15:16:25
You probably haven't heard of Jason Holstrom. Although he's a member of several of the Northwest music scene's most lauded bands, Holstrom has mainly remained in the background with a guitar strapped around his neck. But now the go-to guitarist is stepping into the limelight—or, rather, the light of a Hawaiian sunset.
On his first solo album, Thieves of Kailua, Hosltrom takes the listener on a sonic holiday with breezy indie rock-cum-island lullabies. We caught up with Holstrom to ask him about his inspirations, work ethic and the mechanics of playing a ukulele.
Did you intend to make a record that falls into a genre that doesn't really exist, at least not yet? Were you bored with the types of music you were playing at the time?
I wouldn't really say I get bored making music; it's always refreshing to take a break. I mean, while making the Thieves record, we were on tour with U.S.E. and that was very… we were really busy, so whenever I'd get home, at that time, we just wanted to put any kind of musical energy out from the band situation. So, for that reason, it is really helpful to have a variety of things to work on. I'd say it keeps you fresh.
How long did the album writing and recording take?
I think it took… 2 or 3 years, from when it began to when it was complete. But, there were some pretty big gaps in time when I wasn't exactly working on it, and there was time when I would work on it every day. So there definitely wasn't any kind of deadline, or any pressure to complete it—or to even make it in the first place—so it was a pretty leisurely pace. I actually really took my time on it.
I read this was inspired by a trip to Hawaii...
It was inspired by a trip to Hawaii with my girlfriend. That's definitely when the original, first burst of inspiration came.
This is your first solo effort, too.
Yeah, but I've always been making music. I've been doing it either with band members or by myself. This is the first time that I've ever decided to actually complete an album and put it out.
You recorded this album at your home studio, did you play everything on your own?
The studio at that point was pretty much my bedroom and a laptop. I pretty much recorded and played everything. Angela [his wife] sang on a few songs and my roommate, Ryan Richter, played guitar on one song, but other than that it was just me in my bedroom.
So, had you ever played a ukulele before this?
Yes. I got a ukulele, and about a year after that I was recording this. I picked it up pretty quickly.
There's 2 less strings, so that makes things nice...
Right! It's easy, it's light, it's portable and it's quiet. I love it.
On "Thieves of Kailua" you depict a robbery, did this actually happen to you?
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