Boston-based indie rock band Hallelujah the Hills just released a collection of b-sides, non-album tracks, and rarities entitled "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Trashcan." The great people at Redtail Collective, an artist space in downtown Boston, hosted us for a moon-lit performance from their roof which offers a view of the city that makes it seem more immense than it is.
We were joined by a flock of seagulls that didn't hold back in letting us know they weren't fond of sharing the rooftop space. But Ryan Walsh and the rest of the band barely ruffled a feather and gave us a fantastic acoustic performance under a blood-red supermoon.
We sat down with lead singer Ryan Walsh. Here are some highlights from our conversation, or listen to it in its entirety below.
On How He First Got Into Music
I received a grant to make a movie from my hometown, I'm from Dedham, Mass., not far from here. And they had a lawsuit with a cable company and the sum of money was decided [would go to] artists in Dedham to make art with Dedham residents. So I heard that and I made this film for about $1,000 and I was the first person to actually follow through with what they said they were going to do with the money. I was in very good favor.
So with some encouragement from several people, because I was just hobby-wise playing around with music, they said to ask for a bigger sum of money and make an album with the whole town. And I had never made an album, never recorded stuff really, and we received $10,000. I was holding a giant novelty check in the basement of the library and suddenly my friend Evan and I were going to Guitar Center with $4,000 in our pockets saying, "What do you need to be a band?"
On Getting Over Fear
The first time I recorded a bunch of songs, assembled them together and listened back to them by myself, I was quaking with fear that someone else would eventually hear it. And I think most of what a creative endeavor is is just murdering that feeling. Who cares if you're afraid that people are going to hear it? And you just do that everyday, just murder that fear until that lack of fear catches up with the hours you've put in and whatever kind of inherent creativity you have hopefully coalesces into something sizable.
Off The Record, an occasional series from WBUR, takes musicians out of the concert hall to perform at different spaces throughout Greater Boston.
This program aired on August 5, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.