Picked to Click 2012: #8. Observer Drift
Photo by B Fresh Photography
Listeners might be surprised to learn that Observer Drift's expansive sonic experiments were all crafted by just one 20-year-old guy named Collin Ward. The polished nature of Ward's electro-pop album Corridors, recorded in a Bloomington basement, belies the young age and relative inexperience of its creator.
According to Ward, he's had musical leanings since beginning piano lessons at the age of seven, but didn't begin writing his own original material until he was 14 or 15. But in the years since, he's really honed his artistic vision, with the admitted help of modern conveniences. "Recording on a laptop and utilizing a lot of electronic instruments has really played a part in my approach," he says. "The recording software I use makes it possible to distort a guitar recording in a way that you wouldn't even be able to tell what instrument it is."
And while the textures and tones of the album blend together effortlessly, the recording process was a long one for Ward, who spent eight months poring over the songs that would make up Corridors, not knowing it was truly finished until right before he shared it with the music world. "Three nights before I uploaded it to Bandcamp, I listened to it all the way through without interruption for the first time. When I listened to them individually, I would have more concerns, but as a whole when I listened to it, each song seemed to complement the next and had a good flow throughout the entire listen. So once I finished listening, that's when I decided it was done."
Observer Drift performed at the Entry in August, but playing more live shows in the future isn't high on Ward's priority list. "I can admit that performing live is not my strongest ability," he says. "I almost feel embarrassed playing songs that I simply wrote at home in my free time. I feel like they really aren't good enough to be given stage time. I would possibly do other shows here and there, but regarding touring or playing out in attempts to establish a reputable name in live music ... that's not a huge concern of mine."
Ward's been writing some new acoustic-based material, in an effort to get less digital, but the songs already in his arsenal have captured the attention of music fans not only in Minnesota and the U.S., but Europe and South America as well, which Ward is still trying to grasp. But rest assured he's not letting this growing interest in his songs go to his head. "I feel like if I attempted to take music too seriously, I would lose what I have right now. I love the fact that people can find it without [my] having to market it or promote the life out of it. I write it, I record it, and I upload it. The rest is really up to whomever chooses to listen to it and who they share it with."
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