Born in the Appalachian mountains of Eastern Tennessee, Mountain Soundsystems's founder has been driven by two things from the earlist of ages, nature and music. Nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smokey Mountains his childhood was spent exploring Appalachia's lush landscapes and listening to music. This primarily came from the family's vinyl collection, an eclectic collection of classical greats, Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Brahms, Mozart, Shubert, Lizst, and various 60s rock stables, The Rolling Stones and the Doors notably. Around this time he also started study with the piano, which unknown to him would turn into a lifelong puerusit. Ironically, at first the piano, and notably practice was much more of a labor than leisure, and preferred highly to listen. This would be the case all the way until late teenhood as it were. During this time too, he picked up several more instruments, the saxaphone primarily, in addition to dabbling in guiltar, horns, and percussion.
During this time of growth, the seeds for his own composition and musical asperations were turely planted. His own musical tastes started with punk rock with an emphasis on the late 70s British artists and the 80s American Hardcore scenes. While the musical influences may not be appartent in his current music, the DIY ethos that characterized the music and its surrounding culture still is the driving force behind the vision for Mountain Soundsystems. These years though were consumed with skateboarding, zines, graffiti, and underground shows. Enough canont be said about what a massive influce the skate culture had on his musical tastes, something that many miss to associate with it. The artists he was exposed to through the magazines and videos became a comprehensive dive into every type of music that was outisde what would have been in the mainstream. 70s art rock to 90s hip hop, the tastes of the people that were able to perform at the highest levels of skating were truly a huge gift. Similarly, his tastes in visual art came from this period as well from the rough styles found in DIY to the refined modernism and pop sensibility of the purveying artistic movements in artists such as Barry Mcgee, Ed Templeton, Mark Gonzales, Mike Mills, Banksy, Peggy Honeywell, and many, others.
His first several music projects started during this time as well. While lacking in the guitar chops, or a guitar for that matter, he turned instead to exploring synthesizers in order to create music of his own. This was a long process, and the music from this time likely will not see the light of day. It can only really be discribed as Gary Numan, meets Suicide (an iconic 70s punk duo), meets electronic noise rock. Starting with exploring only a Yama Portasound and Casio Sk-1 (still in his posession) he then got a microKorg and began a fascination with aural textures and electronic synthesis. Its conjecture with physics and math made it an especially intriguing concept, being able to drive composition with these novel approaches.
This is where the next stage of Mountain Soundsystem's journey really takes shape, college. It was here where the fruits of his practice began to take shape, he was fortunate enough to be able to attend school on a music scholarship, in jazz. While having zero experience here, the classical training he'd recieved was enough for the director to take a chance, something that was perhaps not the best decision from their perspective. Jazz came incredibly default at first, and its concepts and tonal voices were something for which he was ill prepared and unaccustomed. A major gratitute is given to his teach there, a former bandmate of a member of the Funkadelic before they had even formed. He was able to open the mind to how to explore improvisation and how to listen and experience jazz. While his skills while at school remained rather rudimentary, these lessons have lived with him still, and he has become an accomplished jazz performer and teacher outside of this project, Mountain Soundsystems.
Outside of school, this period also was filled with a much different genre and tone. Here he cultivated his songwriting and ear for compositions with several bands, notably an indie rock supergroup and a psychedelic rock trio created with his friends and musical associates. He also would fill in for other bands in the area and would perform sporadically at local shows or house parties. Though none of his own bands at the time ever left the practice room, these recordings are still cherished and spawned the start of what is now an all encompassing fasciation with audio engineering and production. If it weren't for a close friend giving him a bootleg copy of a popular music production suite, Mountain Soundsystems might never have came to be. It would be a long time however before anything noteworthy would come of it.
After, there was a long period where he never performed and rarely practiced. Time here was mostly spent on the road, either on friends couches, working music festivals, or being out in the woods. While these times were lean, they certainly were the most impressionable, his only possessions being a backpack and acoustic guitar. This transient life offered the ability to begin working to help support the industry, as a security guard for music festivals. Some of the most fanstic opportunities came from here. As fate would have it, it offered a way to experience the production side of music festivals first hand during their set up, their opportation, and also mingle backstage during the show. It is a blessing for all the amazing arists, people, and fans he was able to meet during this time. These experiences were once in a lifetime and as always, are fleeting.
This time also provided a sense of being able to help the community with first hand providing harm reduction. Though never busting anyone, he was able to assist with people have drug crises, injury, or personal issues. Regretably too, while the festivals scenes is one of such positivity, occassionally violence breaks out and is something that there is an obligation to help contain as a fan. He first became exposed to the rave scene and PLUR culture right before leaving for school, and though loving late night underground raves and techno, he never expected it to have the influence it did. While working these festivals he was also able to coordinate with harm reduction groups and others there to help people safely enjoy their free experssion of their bodies and minds. Beyond just music festivals, he was able to become in touch with deeper communities that have remained obviscated to many such as regional burns or the national gatherings. All of which had a resounding feeling of ' Welcome Home'.
All of these things distilled and consolidated for many years, until finally the realization was made that being able to contribute to these artistic collectives and community as a whole was what he had been seeking to do all of this time, and that he was uniquely positioned to do so through music. This launched a journey around the United States, Mexico, and Canada. A roadtrip seasons long, seeing the nature. It was obvious too that each place offered such fresh perspective, but he knew one thing... That wherever he ended up, there had to be mountains.
From Appleatchia to the Rockies to the Sierra Nevadas and back again, he searched for a new home to launch this projects and nuture its humble beginnings. Once he passed over the Cascade ranges in Northern Washington, Seattle became the home base to launch what would become Mountain Soundsystems. There is something about the Pacific Northwest, beyond just the visually dazzeling mountain peaks. There is this mindstate that nature brings out here, a huge expanse feeling as though it is outside of time itsself. The Olympic Pennensula across Cascadia, the Central Basin to Okanogan Highlands to its Volcanic Peaks. Washington and every inch of the Pacific northwest was a fantastic and inspirational mystery. Every day was a beutiful one to gaze out at Rainier.
In 2016, after moving to Seattle, he launched the first music project which would later become Mountain Soundsystems in late 2019. While in Seattle, he became immersed in the local music scene, through local shows and gigs of his own and began navigating the dense, and somewhat inaccessible, network of Seattle's music scene. It was through here that once again he found himself festival life and the renegade rave scenes as though the thread had never been cut through all of these places. It was then that he began curing shows and bills throughout the Pacific Northwest while developing his sound. In 2019, Mountain Soundsystems was formed and relsed its first single early the following year followed by shows. It has now reached a point where Mountain Soundsystems is able to take the live electronic music and event curation nationwide as he expands in the exploration and expression of the form.
Mountain Soundsystems has been featured in international magazines, numerous playlists and blogs, played festivals, and performed throughout the Pacific Northwest and country. He is hopeful to continue to expand these live experience audio visual productions to help elevate and expand people's copiousness and tastes for event experiences and music. Thank you to everyone who has listened to this music and helped on my creative journey. My only hope is to be able to give this back tenfold to a community that has provided so much.
Mountain Soundsystems Ecosystem
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