Hello, I’m Sorry: Good noise

TEXT BY HAYDEN ELLER

PHOTO BY BRADY HARVEY

Seth Little, the singer/songwriter behind Hello, I’m Sorry, is enjoying his time here. Hailing from Enumclaw, Washington, and now attending Western, Little said this is a change he is thoroughly enjoying due in large part to our thriving art scene. “The music scene in Enumclaw is very limited, so coming up to Bellingham was very refreshing. It’s super supportive here, too – everyone out here is very kind and the environment feels like everyone genuinely wants what’s best for everyone else,” he said with a smile.

While Little has only been releasing songs under the name Hello, I’m Sorry since early 2015, the group has already begun to make a name for themselves,  apparent through their participation in the 2016 Sound Off Competition. With the growth of the band’s audience has come a slight upgrade in equipment. (“I only recently downloaded Logic. Benevolence was recorded entirely on Garageband,” Little said.) The largest shift, however, has been in how the live setting has affected Little’s writing process. “I think for some songs it (the live arrangement) works way better and I’ve ended up going back and tweaking the recordings around things we’ve done live,” he said.

The band’s other members  – Paul Alan Rhodes (drums), Alexander Heness (guitar) and Cameron Richardson (bass) – credit Little’s lighthearted approach as a main reason for the project’s overall positivity. “I’ve told these guys from the start, if you feel like something in a song could be changed or you want to try something differently, totally feel free too,” explained Little.

This attitude of a revising music after it’s been released should allow the band to continue to grow. “I like the idea of putting them out there, getting some feedback, and then tweaking them before releasing them digitally on things like Spotify and Itunes,” Little said.

While the recordings maintain the rawness of their lo-fi roots, Little has continued to find interesting ways to present his unique style of bedroom pop, recently incorporating the analog medium into his recording repertoire. “For some very specific instrumentation I’ll use the reel-to-reel, like “S’alright” is all on reel-to-reel,” he said.

The project may remind listeners of fellow Pacific Northwest artist Will Toledo (he writes/performs under the name Car Seat Headrest), who Little unsurprisingly credits as an influence. Toledo’s approach to recording vocals (using his car as a mobile recording studio) is something that Little has adopted verbatim, but credits the band’s maturation (specifically its DIY roots) as a guiding source of inspiration. “I just like the idea that he’s making these very self expressive/genuine songs, but he does that all on his own and it’s now grown into something bigger” he said.

Although he is quick to note his desire to work on a more fleshed out project soon (in the form of an EP), as well as incorporate new members/influences into the writing process, he does intend to keep most of the writing and recording responsibilities. “I definitely like the process of recording on my own right now, because I feel like I’m able to try a bunch of different things and if something doesn’t work out then I only wasted my time. But I do think that writing for the next one will be much more communal.”

While Little has recorded all the instrumentation on each Hello, I’m Sorry release, the other band members have had an indelible mark on the band’s progression. Central to this is Alexander Heness, the groups guitarist and a long-time friend of Little’s, who explained how he regularly receives short audio files containing ideas, compositions that Little is currently working through. “It’ll be like a 1:28 long, so I’ll listen to the whole thing and be like ‘Yeah it’s worth it’ – then a week later he’ll send me the completed song,” Heness said.

Above all else, Little has passion, drive, and love for creating art. “I wanna keep doing this as long as it’s fun – that’s the biggest thing for me, music is the biggest part of my life and it should continue to bring me joy and be fun,” he said.

And, at the end of the band’s conversation with this writer, they agreed to tour this summer. There it is Seth, Cam, Alexander, and Paul – now you’re committed.

LISTEN UP: Follow Hello, I’m Sorry’s the Facebook page for updates. Check out their new EP at helloimsorry.bandcamp.com/music. 

Published in the May 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine