CHESTER ENDERSBY GWAZDA
Despite only now preparing to release his debut album, Baltimore-based Chester Endersby Gwazda may well have already touched your ear-holes in one way or another. The 28-year-old spend his formative years travelling America, producing records and making friends, stamping his mark on albums from Dan Deacon, Future Islands and Cloud Nothings. But stepping into the spotlight with his vibrant 8-track Shrouds made perfect sense.
“Like many people who work behind the mixing desk, I started out as a musician”, he tells us. “When I was in bands as a teenager, it was always about making tapes. I was never a great musician, but I loved the recording process, and I loved writing. I started working with other bands mainly because I couldn’t write my own songs fast enough, but I was always writing and recording my own stuff between other projects, slowly. Shroud came about because I finally hit my stride as a songwriter.” Set for release via Upset the Rhythm on July 29th, it’s an engrossing 17-odd minutes, symptomatic of an individual with a million ideas, a great deal of technical knowledge and a seemingly boundless scope of influence. At times it forms a polyrhythmic soup, where headily percussive tracking collide with richly harmonised vocal lines, make acquaintance then skitter off in intangible directions. But songcraft still stays very much in the foreground, particularly on the lovely Sun Burner. It sits comfortably alongside the best in eccentric, textured pop music for which his hometown has become so celebrated, and Chester is quick to acknowledge that fertile scene, and its influence on him as an artist in his own right.
“The first tour I ever went on was in 2005 with Dan Deacon and my band Nuclear Power Pants, and about a week of it was with Art Lord, the band that would eventually become Future Islands” he recalls. “That’s when I learned what being in a touring band was all about. It set my course. Two years later I hit the road again, this time as a producer, recording music with bands up and down the East Coast. That wouldn’t have happened without Dan Deacon or Future Islands. I think we’re all growing together. Recording records and touring are both collaborative, and those involved share in the lessons that they bring.”
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