I am happy to announce that my Los Angeles-based rock band, BONSAI BOULEVARD
(www.bonsaiboulevard.com), has just released 2 new albums!
There are many ways of recording music now that we have the technology to edit and produce tracks with various effects. But back in the day, long before I was born, this technology was not available and artists had to record live with limited tracks on analog machines.
Down & Out, Downtown Los Angeles
In these two new EPs, 《IV》and《CELADON》, we chose to hearken back to those days so the albums are recorded live from Bedrock Studios in Los Angeles.《IV》explores the raw side of sentimentality while 《CELADON》 brings a taste of alternative rock from American 90’s music, both with intertwining vocal harmonies and a grooving rhythm section. I listen and hear how our sound has evolved over time, and I think back to how the band got started…
It’s the dream for many American kids to play in a rock band, but it wasn’t mine. I stumbled upon meeting the guys - Cameron, Adam, and Serge - through a TV Director who wanted us to play for the intro of a new show. When I met them, I didn’t say much… just played music. I started off in the band playing guitar, but soon enough, they pushed me to play cello like a lead guitarist. Coming from a classical background, I was totally uncomfortable with playing amplified cello let alone soloing. Plus, there was no information online at the time on how to play cello with effects pedals so it took a lot of experimentation to find the right sound. I would even bring staff paper to “write” my solo, but then Serge, our drummer, took away my paper and said, “Don’t write. Just feel.” Mostly I just felt like hiding, but over time I realized that I no longer had to search for the notes, I just had to grab them.
Although we are a rock band, I like to think our attitude is more like a jazz band — we have learned to jam with each other, listening and allowing each person to come in and out of their lane, creating subtle ebbs and flows to the way the music builds and releases. We know that in any performance, we have each other’s backs. It has become less about playing the “right part,” but more about creating a great sound together in the moment. I’ve performed alongside many amazingly skilled musicians, but having a group of talented people playing the right notes together is not enough to make a good band. It takes chemistry.
We have played together now for almost 10 years. I look back and see how precious and lucky we have been to have this band, especially as most bands in LA rarely last over a year. And while it wasn’t necessarily my childhood dream to be in a rock band, I have realized that the growth, maturity, and friendship we have formed together was the dream I was looking for.
I look forward to seeing Serge, Cameron, Adam, as well as our new friend/guitarist Thomas, as we prepare for our upcoming tour in China this fall!