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July 9th, 2008 Amy Mccullough | Music Stories
 

Hush Records, In The Artists’ (Extended) Words

     
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HUSH RECORDS ARTISTS (L-R): Laura Gibson, Nick Jaina and Super XX Man’s Scott Garred.
The following anecdotes, testimonials and proclamations of love are the thoughts of Hush Records artists on the label and its creator, Chad Crouch. Read WW's story on Hush's ten-year anniversary here.

Scott Garred, Super XX Man:
From our arriving in Portland in 2002, Michelle [Garred, also of Super XX Man] and I met Chad, along with other Hushsters, at a "Hot Cocoa Night" at Meow Meow hosted by Jeff London. It was so warm and cozy that it prompted my brain to remember every detail of the night. I met Ben from Kind of Like Spitting, Jeff and Chad that night. For some reason I remember them having fun over my playing a minor IV chord in a major-key song. It was a real musician-nerd moment of, "Wow, he really did play that chord!" I thought what a silly thing to get excited about. Anyway, I asked Chad to release my albums from Vol. VI on, and it was to my delight that he said yes by the time Vol. X rolled off the tape machine. To this day I have been in awe of his industry. He plays it off like it's just a hobby or something. The truth is, Chad, with [his wife] Sheryl's support obviously, is truly a gifted Renaissance Man in the modern age. He's crafty, sincere, squeaky in his speak, and one hell of a friend to me and the Super XX Man fold. The ten candles will burn brightly for Hush when they are lit.

Super XX Man's "With You," from Volume XI: A Better Place
[audio:http://localcut.wweek.com/mp3/With You.mp3]

Ali Wesley, Super XX Man:
I remember the first time I saw/heard anything about Hush...it was a little show at the Know on Alberta Street [in 2003]. It was also the first time I heard Super XX Man and Blanket Music (Chad's project). I was pretty new to Portland and to the indie music scene and I remember being completely stuck to my chair in amazement. I had never heard music so simple and so innocent and so beautiful...when I heard that the two bands were associated with Hush I thought, what a perfect name for a label for this music. Music that leaves a little space, so the listener has to add a part of themselves. Lyrics that may talk about seemingly simple ideas but create a depth of feeling that surprises you every time. I remember hearing Super XX Man's "Garage Apartment" that night and it made me cry. I thought to myself, why am I crying as Scott Garred is simply singing a phone number over and over? That's what I love about Hush and Hush music. It's sneaky like that.

The fan-made Claymation video for Super XX Man's "Collecting Rocks," from X (That's Wesley singing the girl part.)

Ali Wesley's "The World I Adore," from All Things (My Two Fish) (her own self-released effort)
[audio:http://localcut.wweek.com/mp3/theworldiadore.mp3]

Dave Depper, Norfolk & Western, Graves, Blanket Music, Loch Lomond, White Hinterland, etc.:
I'll probably have other anecdotes to share, but paramount to those is my own personal experience with Chad and Hush. Simply put, I owe Chad a debt of gratitude that I can never hope to repay. I wouldn't be writing this email, nor playing in any of the bands I currently play in, nor playing the bass guitar at all, had I not happened to meet Chad in the most random way possible. Five years ago, I'd just moved to Portland and didn't know anybody except my roommate (who I'd gone to college with). I'd been searching in vain for months for people to play music with, and after countless dead ends I resigned myself to recording a solo album in my bedroom. Deciding that I wanted a vintage keyboard as part of my arsenal, I scoured Craigslist until I found an ad for a Farfisa Compact organ. I met up with the ridiculously nice fellow at his painting studio, and after writing a check for $275, he inquired as to whether or not I played the bass guitar, as his band was looking for a new bass player. I had realized by this point who this guy was, and as a big Norfolk & Western and Decemberists fan, I was mildly freaking out. I lied and answered in the affirmative. Chad gave me a copy of the latest Blanket Music album and I learned the basslines by playing along on my electric guitar. Audition day rolled around and I borrowed my roommate's bass amp, and, taking a leap of faith, bought a bass guitar off Craigslist, picking up the bass on my way to Chad's house. I got the gig and three months later we were recording Cultural Norms at Type Foundry, with Adam Selzer engineering. Adam said that he liked my bass playing and mentioned that he might be giving me a phone call in the future. And the rest, as they say, is history. Thanks, Chad.

Blanket Music, "Hips," from Move
[audio:http://localcut.wweek.com/mp3/http://www.pdxbands.com/mp3s/blanketmusic_Hips.mp3]

Graves, "Evil Stacking," from Seldom Slumber
[audio:http://localcut.wweek.com/mp3/evilstacking.mp3]

Laura Gibson:
More than anything, Hush has given me a sense of community, or rather, helped me realize how much I need community in making music.... So many of the artists on Hush have impacted me, not only because they have inspired the music I make, and have challenged me to be a better artist, but because their songs have helped me navigate the last two years of my life, and have reminded me that for whatever intangible reason, I need music in my life.... There are so many challenges involved in this path of making music, and so much insecurity and self-doubt that can creep into what you are doing. And as thankful as I am to be making music, half the time, I am wondering what the hell I am doing. But every time I see Loch Lomond or Nick Jaina play, and it's so beautiful and sometimes brings me to tears, and the question of why I am making music is overwhelmed by the simple understanding that I need music in my life...and it's in those moments when I've had to drive 12 hours for a show, or played for a room full of loud drunk people, when I start to doubt the path I've chosen, that I think of my friends' music, and hope that maybe my songs could impact other people as much as their music has impacted me. Oh, and I guess it's just a lot more fun with friends. Oh...and Chad Crouch is one of the most amazing and inspiring people I have ever met....

An example of how intertwined the Hush community is: Dave Depper (Loch Lomond and Norfolk & Western) and Raúl Pastor (Rauelsson) just left after having brunch with me and my roommate Laurel [Simmons] (who plays in Loch Lomond), and now Casey Dienel is pulling up so we could go over the harmonies she is singing on my next record. After Casey and I finish, I am hoping to drop into Type Foundry studio, where Adam Selzer (Norfolk & Western) is recording the next Nick Jaina record (I'm hoping Nick will let me play tambourine, or maybe sing)...and while I am there, I am hoping to touch base with Scott Magee (Nick Jaina and Loch Lomond) so we can work out a time for him to come play clarinet on my record....

My path to Hush Records first began when a friend loaned me Norfolk & Western's Dusk in Cold Parlours record. I would consider that record one of the 10 records that have most influenced the music I make, and it was the first Hush release that I heard. When I began recording my first record, I timidly emailed Adam, to see if he might be able to record my songs. Part way through recording Adam and Rachel [Blumberg, Norfolk & Wester, M. Ward] suggested I send my music to Chad at Hush. Within the first few minutes of talking to Chad, I felt at home, and knew that if I was going to work with a label, I wanted to work with someone like this.

Laura Gibson's "All the Pretty Horses," from her Six White Horses EP
[audio:http://localcut.wweek.com/mp3/prettyhorses.mp3]

Shelley Short:
I can say that Chad and Sheryl are amazing people, with really cute kittens. Hush is a super super great, and supportive label. There are so many wonderful artists and people that are a part of it. I am happy to be in the Hush family.

Shelley Short's "How Grand," from Water for the Day
[audio:http://localcut.wweek.com/mp3/howgrand.mp3]

Nick Jaina:
I moved from New Orleans to Portland in 2001 with the intention of being a part of a music scene that was less tied to a traditional past and was creating new music that anyone could be a part of. I soon discovered the Hush Records website, and on there was a song by the Decemberists called "Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect." It was exactly the kind of smart and elegant song I was expecting to find in a city that I mainly knew as having a large bookstore. It was the first definition of Portland music for me.

Nick Jaina's "Maryanne," from Wool
[audio:http://localcut.wweek.com/mp3/Maryanne.mp3]

Loch Lomond:
We've always been huge fans of Hush Records. For years we've seen Hush put out incredible music; we've been envious from the get-go. To be associated with such great artists was a huge goal of ours. The artists/albums that were the most inspiring for us were Kaitlyn Ni Donovan's Songs for Three Days, Corrina Repp's It's Only the Future, Norfolk & Western's A Gilded Age, Kind of Like Spitting (everything Ben touches is gold), and Flash Hawk Parlor Ensemble (I freaked out over the Pseudosix cover Chris Funk did on their record). Those were the ones that really motivated us to get to know Chad and work hard to impress him. It's so flattering for our band to tour and record under Hush Records. Chad seems to be really meticulous about who he chooses to sign; we really respect that about him. I know folks can expect him to find more great music to that hasn't been exposed yet. He's got good taste...

Loch Lomond's "Song in 3/4," from Paper the Walls
[audio:http://localcut.wweek.com/mp3/songin34.mp3]

Ben Barnett:
I have known Chad for like ten years. We met through a mutual friend (either Mike Johnson or Jeff London...uh, yeah, it's been ten years, Jesus). We first worked together in the loft of his art gallery (Tank) on a project called Less. A weekend long project recording the songs of Chad, Jeff, Mike and myself. It was released as CD-R and is now out of print. It stands in my mind as one of the purest musical experiences I have ever had. Chad is just a good human being. His attitude about music from day one has always been to not only get his own art across honestly but as well to help others do the same. I tried a lot of dumb shit in Kind of Like Spitting and he always stood by my judgment. He supported every genre I fucked with, every style or whim I tried to adapt, always with the warmest smile and gentlest encouragement. Chad Crouch has always had my back—musically, artistically and emotionally. When my fiancee and I were splitting up he held our hands (literally; he sat between us, faces full of tears and grief, and kept us from spinning entirely out of control. He spoke softly and showed neither of us a preference). Then he gave me a job and helped me adapt to a life alone. He never turned his back on me and never gave up hope that someday I would do him and Sheryl proud. He put up with the worst I had, and I am motivated and inspired by the idea of giving him my best. I don't have much family I still talk to and Chad has been a brother to me. He always made sure I felt a part of the Hush family. He knew I was terribly insecure and always felt disconnected from other musicians in my scene, and he made sure to get me into situations that socialized my musicianship thus giving me the opportunity to play with some amazing people. Every Hush event was a hit just because the people were always so quality that got involved.

It all comes flooding back, listening to Jeff's rough mixes and hearing Corrina's fuzzy four track demo's. I heard Portland in those songs. I still do. The Chad Crouch album "love songs" [The Love/Love Translation] never leaving my boom box. I made love to that record. I feel in love with that record on. I remember the Mass sessions (Hush x-mas album) mostly being recorded in the basement of the house I lived in at 39th and Grant. The Hush x-mas party when I got super drunk with a stuffed monkey named Neil and stumbled out to the porch and drunkenly scribbled the lyrics to a song called "Blue Period."

Chad has a great outside jump shot, Chad is an amazing skate boarder, Chad rode his bike across the country and didn't sleep in a hotel once! Chad is one of the most incredible artists...Christ, have you seen his paintings? He is an adult in all the best ways while still retaining a sense of wonder and vision. It's like this: To spend time with Chad is a lesson in grace and intellect. I moved to Seattle and his presence being further away from my life is something I can feel. Chad has done so many wonderful things for so many people it's hard to pick one vs. the other. The guy is just rad. I am beyond lucky to have him in my life and I will continue to be motivated by the idea of giving him my best. Chad is dependable, honest, wise and I adore him. I love you, Chad.

Kind of Like Spitting's "Aubergine" (solo acoustic), originally from In the Red
[audio:http://localcut.wweek.com/mp3/aubergine.mp3]

Adam Selzer, Norfolk & Western, Type Foundry Studio:
Sometimes there's a man who, well, he's the man for his time and place—and that's Chad Crouch in Portland. If I'm ever feeling downcast or indolent and need a source of motivation, Chad is the person to turn to. His dedication to his friends and his own endeavors is truly inspiring. From recording an entire disc covering his friends' songs (half of Blanket Music's double CD The Love/Love Translation) to his prolific alter-ego Podington Bear who over the last year and a half podcasted 156 songs, Chad's diligence and altruistic nature make him the person we shall all tip our proverbial hats to as his label turns 10 years old this year. I have been lucky enough to be involved with the recording of more Hush releases than for any other label (I started my studio about the same time Chad launched Hush) and feel honored to have had this symbiotic relationship over the last decade. He has been a great friend first and foremost and his dedication to the Portland music community has been astounding. Running a label is obviously a labor of love—a lot of hard work goes financially unrewarded, but when Chad decides to release a record, he never merely gives it a cursory effort. He has shown so many of us new music that would have otherwise gone unreleased or destined to remain in stacked cardboard boxes in closets all over this town. The Portland music community is a better place because of Chad Crouch. I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that.

Also, this...If you're a great songwriter from Spain and you happen to land in Portland for a spell while doing medical research at OHSU, Chad Crouch will find you and release your record. Just ask Raúl Pastor Medal who recently released a double EP on Hush under the name Rauelsson. I don't love these songs just because I love my new friend Raúl—they are truly beautiful songs and though I have no idea what he's saying (all lyrics in Spanish) I'm sure it's something cool because he is one cool Spaniard. Real original stuff!

Norfolk & Western's "The New Rise Of Labor," from The Unsung Colony
[audio:http://localcut.wweek.com/mp3/newriseoflabor.mp3]

 
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