Band and DIY Record Label • 2014 to Present
Aside from my 'real job', I am also the lead singer-songwriter and rhythm guitar in a moderately successful & critically-acclaimed indie power pop band called Telethon! We've made four full length LPs and an EP in a little over five years of being a band. Partly out of necessity and partly for fun, I founded a record label called Halloween Records with my bandmates to put out our own music and, nowadays, other peoples' music, too.
In addition to writing/singing/playing the music, I've handled almost all of the art direction, layout design, package & merch design, project management, video creation, social media, illustration, graphic design, packing, shipping, ordering, customer service, and much more for each and every one of our releases so far (examples in the gallery at the bottom of the page). It has taught me holistic end-to-end product design and how an idea becomes reality in both the digital space and the physical space. Making & releasing records is, in many ways, an exercise in Experience Design, Project Management, Storytelling, PR, and Customer Engagement.
When I started a scrappy little DIY band in late 2014, did I expect to ever put it on this portfolio site? Nope! But, as it turns out, I'm very proud of how far we've come and this stuff belongs here just as much as any other design project I've worked on.
Telethon's latest album, 2019's 'Hard Pop' is the album I think we're all the proudest of. It's still pretty fresh, but making it was a crazy & fun creative process the likes of which I'd not encountered before.
To put it concisely, I blew the whole thing up and started anew about one month before recording. Painting myself into that corner and working my way out by constraint and necessity was intense, but also invigorating. In personal pursuits like this, I think that sort of creative stress can lead to some of the best results.
These are a few of Telethon's records...
"The Grand Spontanean"
Telethon's 2017 album "The Grand Spontanean" is a 90 minute, 30 track, five act rock opera about modern technology, relationships, mental health, and the apocalypse. It took a ton of effort to write, rehearse, organize, record, and eventually release. I handled most of it -- including the deluxe CD and Vinyl release, which included a 46-page Playbill I designed and had printed.
People liked it! It made a number of year-end 'Best Of' lists and really moved the needle for us as a band. Pitchfork called it "tuneful and stupefyingly ambitious", the Shepherd Express called it a "magnum opus" and compared it to Ulysses and Berlin Alexanderplatz... huh?!?!?
Telethon's 2018 EP "Modern Abrasive" is a little 22-minute record of power pop character studies.
I wrote each song from the perspective of a different unnamed person. In these songs, I tried to find universality in the specifics while maintaining a sense of mystery.
We also recorded this one entirely in-house, as opposed to at a professional music studio. This was not only free (huzzah!), but it was also educative.
Here is a very detailed and exceptionally kind review of the album from a music writer who really 'got what we were going for', so to speak.