Hey Look! Another shout out from the forthcoming Bible Pilot Ep that I mixed. Scroll to the middle.
Piloting the piano keys with Seattle’s Bible Pilot; press photo courtesy of the band.
Introducing Seattle’s Bible Pilot, spear-headed by Ethan Hamlin who presents the premiere of “Whyland”, taken from his forthcoming Get Human EP. Following up 2014’s debut An Enormous City EP, Hamlin draws inspirations from a German vacation where he found himself fascinated by seeing the words get human spray-painted on an old section of the Berlin Wall that lead to recording a six song cycle made a in a Puyallup storage space, recorded & mixed by Scott Colburn.
Ethan’s eccentric approaches as Bible Pilot are the culmination of experiences from his Rochester, NY upbringing that also saw him playing around various groups in the DC/VA regions before focusing on his own audio explorations, and performances involving wonky president masks. “Whyland” is a journey to a land of questions, where inquires and experiences are flung into a relative free play blender of electronic effects and rhythmic organ progressions. “Whyland” is what happens when you enter the organ-grinder-fun-house that spirals into strange halls of mirrors that brings about existential angst and inner unrest in the same way that the distorted mirrors alter our own perceived reflection. This is a trip into a theme park that flies it’s own freak flag while taking you along through a subterranean dark-ride of chills & thrills. Join us after the following debut, for our interview with Bible Pilot’s Ethan Hamlin.
Alright….first things have to be addressed first; what’s with the freaky presidential masks? They’re kinda freaking us out here, ha ha.
Did you know that President Obama skipped Nancy Reagan’s funeral earlier this year? There’s a divide in our nation that genuinely pains me, and it seems more acrid than ever. I have become obsessed with trying to understand different kinds of people, to figure out what motivates a Bernie Sanders voter versus a Donald Trump voter. Everybody is convinced they are righteous and the other is evil. Can it be that simple? I’m sure it’s not. Sorry for the indirect answer.
From Enormous City to the humanist constraints & concerns on Get Human. Ethan, we heard you got the title from something you saw painted on an abandoned block of the former Berlin Wall. Can you describe to us the human synthesis that is at work here on your new EP?
Around central Berlin, there’s a permanent art exhibit called the East Side Gallery. It’s a mile-long chunk of the original Berlin Wall covered with over one hundred paintings from individual artists, each illustrating what the wall coming down meant to them. A little over four years ago, I visited this spot and it had a tremendous impact on me. What an incredible triumph of art and politics and freedom! There was one section of the wall where an artist had painted the phrase “GET HUMAN”, which was particularly striking. It’s phrased like a command, but begs several questions…What is human? How you “get human”? Why would you want to “get human” in the first place? Those questions percolated for years before becoming the songs you hear on the EP.
As an aside, I have trawled the internet for details on the artist but to this day I cannot figure out who painted those words. If you’re reading this and know the deal, hit me up!
Describe how the title Bible Pilot became the suited moniker for you two.
Those words sound lovely together, don’t they? They’re both double syllables, there’s the leading rhyme between Bi- and Pi-… A lot of people hear the name and assume it’s a religious reference, which is not surprising. That’s our fault for using a word as loaded as “bible”, but it’s intended to be lower-case. We’re interested in understanding and deconstructing an individual or society’s worldview (ie. their bible) and the things that drive and inform that worldview (ie. their pilot). Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Give us all the gear talk/nerd talk deets on the making of your new single “Whyland”.
Truthfully I’m not much of a gear-head. In fact, I don’t think I’ve bought any new equipment at all in the last three years? It distracts me from the critical components of music-making: songwriting, melody, rhythm, structure, etc. All the guitar you hear on this album was performed on my first (and to date, only) electric guitar, a Fender Stratocaster I bought with my father at the House of Guitars back home in Rochester.
That said, the synthesizer sounds you hear on this record were all recorded with my Moog Sub Phatty, which I absolutely adore. I couldn’t make an unpleasant sound on that thing if I tried!
Other fellow Seattle acts you all love? There are always so many great groups and artists up there.
I appreciate how Macklemore grappled with race politics in a sincere and vulnerable way on White Privilege II, and it’s a shame that he got so much shit for that song—at least in the blogs I read. He’s the only white rapper at that level who has addressed his racial privilege so directly. Just because Macklemore isn’t cool doesn’t mean everything he does is wrong, you know? Also, “Thrift Shop” had absolutely the greatest opening line of any rap song in 2012. It’s really too bad that Macklemore’s music isn’t very good. I’d like it a lot if it were very good.
Spring & summer agenda for Bible Pilot?
We have no touring plans at the moment, instead focusing on recording and creating new music. Maybe videos too, we’ve already got one in the can for a Get Human track. There doesn’t seem to be much money in music outside of shows, but we like to create things and performance is a completely different, logically unrelated pursuit.
We’re well into writing on the third EP, which will hopefully be out this year? That’ll dominate our spring and summer I think.
Given your aforementioned fondness for presidential visages; what big election night plans do you all have?
Voter turnout is notoriously low in the United States. In 2014, we had the lowest percentage of voters for a midterm election since World War II. We live in a country full of people who are too busy with their jobs to participate in our democracy. This is why election days should absolutely be a national holiday. But, they’re not, so we’ll be at work.
Bible Pilot’s Get Human EP will be available June 17 via Bandcamp.