The past ten years

Before I start putting out content, I’d like to introduce myself.

My name is Seth. My musical journey really started when I met AJ Hirsch. I remember I was skateboarding over at a friends house when his next door neighbor walked out with a guitar case in his hands. I had recently gotten a first act guitar, and was WAY too stoked to talk to this guy. He pulled out his white fender strat and played a few chords. I was absolutely floored. We quickly became friends, and spent the next couple years learning AC/DC covers and watching School of Rock too many times to count. I definitely started as the ‘friend of the musicians’ who played bass, but I held my own.

Next came the metalcore days. Ah, highschool. This is when I really learned about playing shows, building a fan base, and how to sell tshirts (Hint: Copyright Infringement helps! Thanks, Pikachu!) I also played a lot in church band, which really honed my skills with notes other than 1 and 0. Most importantly, this was the time when I really got into recording my own music. BurnDown recorded our first demo in a storage unit with a man named Matt McClellan. He’s kind’ve a big deal now, and I’m really excited to have worked with him. I remember seeing him use drumagog, and I’d never heard of anything like that. The world of recording and recording technology really caught my eye, and I tinkered with some really awful free daws on underpowered laptops for a while.

This next part is going to date me, but after playing a show with a band called ‘The Unsung’, I connected with a man named Toby Rose to make ‘A Wretch Like Me’ a myspace layout. When I went to his house to discuss it, he showed my some music he was working on, and I was completely blown away by his seemingly endless bank of ideas and sound quality. I went out on a limb and asked if I could try to sing on one, and The product was (too this day) one of my favorite tracks.

Eventually, I started recording some local bands for (significantly) less than minimum wage. What I lacked in funds, I gained in experience. Not just recording and mixing experience, but learning how to work with people to get their best work out. Trust me, this is a skill that takes a LOT of work to hone. I’ll drop an extremely poorly edited video of the first recording session I ever did. The quality of the mix was no better.

After recording Nowhere Left to Run with Toby, he talked about creating a pop rock band. At the same time, a wretch like me was talking about pivoting a pop-punk band due to just being overwhelmingly bored with our current setlist. The timing lined up, and Toby joined up as a guitar player and producer. Tricks that I learned from Toby still drive a lot of the production I do now. Working on the first Lost on Lemans EP definitely was the most important part of my music journey so far. I think he even dropped me in as co-producer in the booklet, which was pretty dang cool of him.

Lost on Lemans was the most surreal time of my life. I’d played a lot of shows before Lemans, but having a crowd of 100 kids sing my lyrics back to me was just unbelievably cool. I know that I’ll probably never experience that again, but I’m so thankful to have been able to. There’s a really low quality picture of me getting off stage after a show at gallery, and I think it’s the most genuinely happy I’ve ever been. Peep the gray and yellow flannel. Anyways, this is getting more sappy than I wanted. Point is, Lemans was really cool. I learned a lot.

Lemans ended so everybody could go to college/military. It was a great ride, but after investing 3.5k into our second EP, we realized that the hype was dead and we weren’t making any progress. Our out of town shows became expensive and never really amounted to anything. Nothing came close to the local shows that we played at gallery (which was now closed). Playing the plug house was nice, but even 50 kids watching a show looked like nobody since it was so open, and we definitely weren’t getting 50 people turning out anymore. I’d taken a year and a half off of College to work on my music production career. I rented out a room in the plug house, recorded bands basically every day, and realized that though I had a passion for music, it wasn’t something I wanted to pursue as a career. It seemed to be just like being in a band, where talent mattered, but not nearly as much as luck. I just realized I wanted a more stable life, so I went back to school for Computer Science.


A couple years of living in apartments later, I realized that I missed making music. After talking to my buddy Will (drummer, Lost on Lemans), we decided to get together and refocus on making music. His project, Cherokee, had been recording with me since the beginning, and I decided to jump in the band. We rebranded, and now are known as Opt Out. Because we write so well together, we knew that we wanted to work on more than just the hardcore band, which brings us to now.

Swelter Sounds is just the umbrella ‘corporation’ to all of my musical endeavors. I plan on using this as a platform to start bands, document my experiences, and share some of my experience with new engineers/producers. I have a passion for recording and technology, and I truly believe that we are in the golden age of home recording. I look up to people like Steven Slate and Fabrice Gabriel who are continually pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished with next to no expensive gear. I also have an incredible amount of respect for Joey Sturgis, who completely turned the recording game upside down at the professional level. I wonder how many people told him you can’t use pod farm on a Gold record. I’m sure he’s laughing his way to the bank now. All this to say, welcome to Swelter Sounds, and let’s get into some recording!

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