Holiday Music/The Great Western States Split Premiere & Interview


 Having a full perspective of the recording process, Mike Hlady of Holiday Music and Jared Mann of The Great Western States have released a split together. Hlady has played in Magic Magic and Soft Fangs and was engineering records at Hanging Horse Studio in Norwood, Massachusetts before he moved to Austin, Texas. Mann has played in Twin Foxes and Willow, and engineers records at Distorted Forest in Providence, Rhode Island. When it comes to the little details of fleshing out a song, these two have it down pat. Before you check out the two tracks that Hlady and Mann have each written and recorded on their own, they have interviewed each other about their recording processes.



Mike Hlady (Holiday Music):  How do you usually start recording a song?

Jared Mann (The Great Western States):  If it’s my own song, drums always come first.  The same goes with others if we were tracking things individually.  However, with a band I prefer the sound of players playing together live.  When it’s right, it’s something magical and can’t be re-created.  The Great Western States is fun because it’s unlike any other project I have.  I try to go in with as little as possible and just record.  A lot of The Great Western is like a creative burst of energy.  It’s like throwing paint on a canvas and seeing what sticks/makes sense.    

MH:  Who would you say has influenced your writing process in 2016?

JM:  My friends’ music seems to get me the most excited and make me think differently.  Kal Marks’s new record really inspired some of the newer Twin Fox stuff.  John’s Soft Fangs record is great too.  I heard Ratigan again recently, I’d love to hear more music from Pat again.  I’ve also been listening to a lot of Pinback, Sparklehorse, Grandaddy, and Centro-matic. I love the layering that those bands pull off and the mixture of hi-fi and lo-fi in the same song.   

The Great Western States by Cindy Marszalkowski

MH:  What are some differences that people bring from session to session?

JM:  I’d say the biggest difference is experience based on past recording situations.  I think most people want to be comfortable in the studio, which is obviously important, but they maybe prone to only try what they’ve done it the past.  I always try to experiment a little, never dwell, but when someone steps outside their comfort zone sometimes amazing things happen.  Sometimes it doesn’t work too!  But creating a relationship with openness and willingness to try different things is the best way to allow unexpected greatness and amazing performances happen.   

MH:  Has owning a studio effected your music?

JM:  Yeah most definitely.  I’ve been able to make a lot more music, which makes me happy!  In 2017, I’ll have a lot of music coming out both personally and for other bands.  At the end of the day, I have a comfortable place where I can be creative, with good gear, and no clock ticking above my head.  That’s probably why I built it ultimately.  I love having as much time as I want to get something right, whether it’s mine or someone else’s project!  I hate being rushed and like working on things at any time of the day or night.  The studio is my freedom in that regard.  As a person, I have to create things to feel fulfilled and the studio gives that me that.  Hopefully it’s making my output better! 

MH:  The weather has effected me my whole life. Does it play a part emotionally when you write.

JM:  Yeah I definitely think so.  I have a huge infatuation with the summer in New England.  That’s probably why I never left.  I tend to take experiences from the warm days and spend the winter laying them down.  Rain and thunder storms are also a great creative time for me.    

MH:  Do YOU have any cool projects coming up or are there any up and coming folks you admire?

JM:  I’m probably most excited about the new Twin Foxes record.  I spent most of this past year recording it.  It’ll be out in 2017.  I’m really proud of that one.  A Willow full length is in the works, a full length for Great Western, and a fun project, Snot Rocket, I’m playing drums in has an EP coming out soon.  Twin Fox’s split with Darklands too.

In the studio, I’ve been tracking Derek Knox’s (Way Out) full length.  Excited about that, we’ve been getting some really cool sounds through tape manipulation.  Also wrapping up a new Sharpest EP, which is always rad.     

Some younger bands in Providence have me excited as well.  Food Court, Hairspray Queen, which I recently mixed got to mix and master.  Public Policy is a great band, killer tone and energy.



JM:  How do you go about constructing a song when you play mostly everything yourself?

MH:  It’s for the most part different and dependent on if I already have an idea in my head. Like anyone I like to try things, variety always keeps things fresh. Sometimes, or most of the time it’s playing guitar and singing along. Sometimes creating a base of the song through a keyboard or drum machine can move what you have in a different direction, or if nothings been recorded yet start it all together.

I like focusing different musical energies into songs. Just let it happen and it will be the way it was intended. Having others help guide a piece of music is much more powerful to me. It doesn’t tend to work out that way though.

JM:  Do you do demos for your own stuff or do you go into the first session trying to make it the final version?

MH:  Everything is a demo to me. Or at least I always have that mindset going into it. When the pressure is off you feel much more free to experiment and take your time. If I’m not demoing in protools then a good voice memo can always do the trick. Sometimes I’ll record a song 3 times. There are exceptions and you can always sort of feel a difference. Teaspoon of honey was done that way. We  wrote it together, then went into and recorded it right after.

JM:  What’s something you try to bring to every session when recording someone else?

MH:  Every session is different but I try to bring an unbiased opinion because I think it serves best. I have

Holiday Music by Sean Hagon

some creative thoughts and ideas to be thrown in, but it’s hard without seeing what works for the band. If it’s a band the intention is to have the bands record represent them. Like they played their set to the best of their ability and you are capturing it to the best of your ability. Bands have a undeniable energy which makes it a lot of fun to observe and feed into with ideas. If i’m recording a songwriter there is more room to stylistically vary the material. Solo artists can be fun to work with because if they don’t have a solidified image of what they want we can work together to make the music their own thing. I get to use the creative part of brain and sort of put them on a pedestal.

JM:  You’ve recently moved to Austin.  What brought you there?

MH:  Music is about collaboration to me. That’s how the best ideas are sparked and how the best results surface. With Holiday Music I’ve always wanted it to be a collaborative effort. Today is very weird time. People look inward when I’m trying to look outward. Two of my close friends decided to move there as well to write and play in a different environment. I was looking to do the same as creativity felt mildly stale. Collaboration seems to keep me going somehow. Our bassist, Conor and drummer, Brad who are both magical, live back in Massachusetts. They have collaborative projects going on right now too. They have such a talent and I do miss them, but with the internet being so connected it’s still easy to stay in touch. Sending ideas back and forth always works.

JM:  Any cool projects coming up?

MH:  Slowly but surely gathering the tracks for the newest Holiday Music album which will be released sometime next year. Magic Magic also recorded a new record which may be out in the near future. I have been working on an album with a longtime friend Alessi Laurent-Marke who is just a dream!  She is one of the most talented individuals I’ve worked with. There’s also been talk of mixing Gil de Ray’s new album.


Pre-order the split cassette at