"I remember feeling all sorts of things and not really knowing what to expect. At first I was almost too nervous to share my ideas. However, I soon realized that really any creative contribution was going to be appreciated and used in one way or another. Everyone took their time to open up on a personal and musical level within these few days, which made the final product so much more intimate and special. It was an amazing experience to completely be submerged in a musical environment and process. Eventually you feel so creatively at peace that all you want to do is share it with the world."
- Marie Elodie
Before Hummingbird Tapes became the project it is now, it was simply an excuse for us to go on vacation with our friends while being productive through our collective passion of creating music. The second Isolation, Soaked, happened organically without the intention of documenting our process. Given we were on vacation, we had invited non-musicians to the Isolation. Though it was exciting to share this journey with everyone, it removed us from the musical bonding and had an influence on the music. This drew light on how having non-musicians in the space affects the sound. It helped us realize that Isolations are a creative bonding experience and should be limited to the creators. The experiment of Soaked helped us pioneer the process of Isolations. The final outcome sparked an idea which turned into the concept of Isolations by Hummingbird Tapes.
Our travels started with our arrival to Mexico City after a red-eye flight from Boston in May of 2017.
Before reaching our musical destination, San Miguel de Allende, we travelled to Oaxaca, Mexico, to collect inspiration. Flying into Puerto Escondido, we passed over one of Mexico’s most biodiverse mountain chains, La Sierra Madre del Sur.
Our first stop was to explore the tranquil beaches of Mazunte. The remote town is located just an hour South of Puerto Escondido, where we arrived by plane. We had to take a bus, then a taxi, and finally walked the final stretch to arrive to our accommodation. Mazunte has just under a thousand inhabitants, but is commonly visited thanks to its surfable waves, The Mexican Turtle Center, good food and kind hospitality.
Here is an Instax of a man enjoying a morning view of Mazunte.
“Isolation was an awesome creative experience. It was a time where I could really explore and express my musical ideas, and also learn more about the amazing people that participated. The setting and atmosphere really made it kind of a spiritual journey that I don’t think would have been possible anywhere else. Being able to wake up and be intensely involved in music all day was a great way to stimulate myself creatively. I’m really proud of what we managed to create."
- Mat Lui
The first song to be written and recorded within the first few days of the Soaked Isolation was a song titled “Golden”. Up until this point, “Golden” had the strongest similarity to a traditional pop song, which was a first for some of the participants of Soaked. The lyrics behind “Golden” were written by Marie Elodie before the Isolation. During our first jam she pulled out the lyrics to sing along to. We liked it so much we used it for the final song.
Nurturing this watermelon baby is Fabian. Since his last Isolation, Dusk Stays, he moved to Mexico where he launched his Synth-Pop band Cherry Blossom Season with their debut single “Teen Villany”. As the producer, Fabian developed his skills as a mixing and mastering engineer for Soaked and the previous Isolation Dusk Stays.
In the reflection of the mirror is our friend Diego. After his last Isolation, Dusk Stays, he has spent time exploring his vocal capabilities. He performed the "Lord of the Rings Symphony", as a vocalist, in front of Howard Shore at Boston Symphony Hall. Diego has also played piano for recording sessions and shows for artists like Paulina Parga and Jorge Calvet. Lastly, he has spent most of his time writing and producing demos for his personal projects.
Cozied up on that couch is Marie Elodie. Coming from the quaint town of Innsbruck in the alps of Austria, she is one of our newcomers to this week's Isolation. She started her songwriting practice at the age of twelve. During the very Isolation of Soaked she released her first single, “Polluted of the Loving Ones”. At the time she had completed her half-way mark at Berklee, where she dove into her interest of music production.
The second song to be written during this Isolation was “Tides”. It started off with some of the participants playing around with musical equipment that we brought. The song gives the listener a feeling of immersing themselves into a floating world of timelessness due to its heavy use in synthesizers and dreamy lyrical content. The song was inspired by the previous week, which we spent in Oaxaca "bathing in rays and tasting the sunlit".
Here’s the captured essence of Michael’s sickly image during this Isolation. Since his last Isolation, Dusk Stays, he pursued his interest in vocal performance. One of the highlights of his year was a performance of the “Lord of the Rings Symphony” in the Boston Symphony Hall before its composer Howard Shore. He also dove into his love for Songwriting and Production at the time.
The last and final song that was written for the Soaked EP is titled “Ripples”. The song originally started as a long instrumental jam. Eventually vocals and a melodic hook were added. "Ripples" provides a variety of elements that represent each participant of the Isolation. The song was inspired by a therapeutic and curative night-swim in the Manialtepec Lagoon – one of the few places in the world you can see bioluminescent plankton.
On the left playing the Bolsa Bass, is Mat. He is an electric bass player from the port city of Hong Kong, China. Mat is an experienced session musician, comfortable in many styles and genres. Some of his previous appearances as a session musician featured him performing at venues like the LA Ace Theater and events like the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. He has a passion for collaboration and pushing the boundaries of jazz in electronic music.
"With Soaked we had a group almost twice as big as Dusk Stays. It was definitely strange to be back in the same place with more people. Apart from Marie Elodie and Mat, we were sharing the house with friends that weren’t involved in the music making. The excitement was truly there, and jams quickly turned into solid musical ideas. I could feel a tension in the house; diverse emotions were strong and blooming, and sickness had gotten hold of Michael. All in all we managed to create the three tracks within 5 days. I think it's really interesting how you can clearly perceive the tensions and anxiousness in the music. Despite the circumstances, it shows that Isolations are truly representative of the environment and the individuals at that point in time."
- Diego Valencia
This is our acoustic version of “Golden"! We performed and recorded it a few weeks after releasing Soaked.
“Before Soaked, we didn’t even know Hummingbird Tapes was a thing. We simply felt the success, excitement and comfort from Dusk Stays. We wanted to recreate it with more friends. A mistake of ours that week was to overstep our comfort by welcoming friends outside of the musical experience to be present for it. Although their presence was appreciated, it brought distractions with them and drifted the experience away from bonding through musical collaboration. As a result of this, you can see how everyone’s mood, and feelings were portrayed in the music: with tension and anxiety. Regardless, much remained the same. We still allowed ourselves to surrender to our creativity, jam, and let those ideas turn into washy songs that were true to a sense of lack of equilibrium during the trip."
- Michael Beckhart
An electric bass player from the port city of Hong Kong, China. Mat is an experienced session musician, comfortable in many styles and genres. Before his first Isolation, Soaked, he performed at venues like the LA Ace Theater and events like the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. He has a passion for collaboration and pushing the boundaries of jazz in electronic music.
After his first Isolation, Dusk Stays, Diego spent time exploring his vocal capabilities. He formed part of the Lord of the Rings Symphony Choir and performed in front of Howard Shore at Boston Symphony Hall. Diego has also played the piano for recording sessions and performances for artists like Paulina Parga and Jorge Calvet. Lastly, he spent the most time on writing and producing demos for his personal projects.
Coming from the quaint town of Innsbruck in the alps of Austria is one of our newcomers to this weeks Isolation. She started her songwriting practice at the age of twelve. During the very Isolation of Soaked she released her first single, “Polluted of the Loving Ones”. At the time she had completed her half-way mark at Berklee, where she dove into her interest in music production.
Since his last Isolation, Dusk Stays, he pursued his interest in vocal performance. One of the highlights of his year was a performance of the “Lord of the Rings Symphony” in Boston Symphony Hall before its composer, Howard Shore. He also dove into his love for Songwriting and Production at the time producing demos for his personal projects.