Splavender coming in hot with Hallucinations and Hospitalizations to kick-off 2017. I spoke with singer/producer Danny Ellis about the local indie/surf group’s latest release:
Can you please describe in detail one of your latest hallucinations and/or a resulting hospitalization(s)?
Hate to break it to you, but the title is not necessarily autobiographical. Both involve being disoriented in an unfamiliar place or state of mind. Lyrically, this is a vulnerable collection of songs and the title just seemed right. I’ve always been into horticulture and recently when I was showing Anthony a poisonous plant called Bella Donna, upon googling it I came upon a page called hallucinations and hospitalizations. Basically that middle ground between “tripping” and dying is kind of analogous to music or happiness or something. I have no idea if any of this is making sense so let’s move on.
You have some very rich sonic textures and awesome hooks on this latest part 1 of 2 release. How was your approach and process for Hallucinations and Hospitalizations the same or different than Shoreline Dilemma and why are you releasing it in 2 parts?
Songwriting can be sort of torturous, but I usually write riffs and words in batches and piece them together. That’s why this ep is in 2 parts, just based off the time the songs were written and even the recording style. This release was done at my house just like our first album “Shoreline Dilemma” and part 2 was recorded at Rarefied Recording (shoutout Roy) and mixed/some overdubs at my house. But as far as songwriting goes, my main tool is voice memos. my phone never has storage, I haven’t been able to take a photo for months.
You have surrounded yourself with a group of very talented musicians. How did y’all meet?
I use to skate with Anthony back in like 6th grade and we’d jam a little bit but mostly just hang because of mutual friends. Anthony and I are both from the same middle and high school and still live walking distance from each other in east county. I met Grant at a house show that my old band Real Things Are Good was playing and ended up renting a room at his house for a year or so. He went to some Coronado art high school with Andre and Oscar who are basically just an inseparable mind bending sonic duo (shoutout Citrus and Big Bloom) and we just started practicing songs I had stored in pro tools folders and went from there. It was all very un-forced.
The artwork for Hallucinations and Hospitalizations is utterly awe-inspiring.Who is the artist and what was his inspiration for the acid/trip minor nod to the Rolling Stones?
Aren Fikes is a good friend we play backgammon together and drink sour beer. I haven’t once thought of the Rolling Stones logo until now, so thanks for ruining that for me. But I told him I wanted something concise and sort of one-dimensional to contrast with artwork we’ve had in the past which is crazy elaborate and collage-like (shoutout Andrew McGranahan). Even though Aren doesn’t play music he is one of the biggest fans and connoisseurs of music I know, and is great at turning sound into visuals. He is constantly painting and “arting” so go check out his insta page or something.
The trip/jam sequence on “Chrome Addict” is like…fuckin EPIC! I hear a 3-way lovechild of sorts between Tame Impala/Steely Dan/Rush. Please tell me how this song and section came about?
Thanks man, that’s a song where Oscar brought the basic outline and chords and I kind of wanted to do like a Stephen Malkmus type soaring melody once I heard it. That’s one of the only songs I’ve ever written without using the studio as a tool to hear my melodies back. You’re probably right tho, I think we’ve all listened to Aja one too many times, resulting in weird passages like you mentioned. I have a hard time focusing on anything for too long and I think that’s portrayed in the songs and structure.
Splavender has been relatively quiet in the local scene over the past couple months. Please tell me there will be a sexy release show or festival on the horizon?
Ya we have, right now I’m focused on practicing and getting better with my instrument and trying to write songs without any pressure of recording or performing them so it’s more organic. Anthony just graduated from SDSU and the other 3 are killing it with their other projects so I’ve been writing and finishing recordings like these to get off my chest. I want to start playing outside of SD more and step outside my comfort zone a little. A new set is in the works for our next shows, which should be very soon. Hoping to release some 7″ of these EPs, but you got one thing right Craig, whatever we do, it’ll be sexy.