Low Volts sophomore record is about to be unleashed on the world. We invite you to be a fly on the wall as we catch up with Tim Lowman, the brain behind the old-fashioned rock n roll sound that is Low Volts. Join us as we find out about his newest record OH MY STARS, his partnership with a local craft beer giant and much more.
If a one man army, armed with his trusty guitar and a kick drum, ever decided to wage war on stages and sound systems everywhere, Tim Lowman could be a 4-Star General. Tim Lowman is the brain behind the one-man musical force known as Low Volts, and he is about to unleash his second assault in record form with OH MY STARS.
Listening to Low Volts just once – whether it be live or on record – will make you understand why Low Volts won Best New Artist and Best Blues Album at the San Diego Music Awards in 2011, and was nominated for Best Song in 2012 with his track, “Blame It On The Break Up”. Low Volts is the real deal. Sliding and stomping true old-fashioned style rock n roll for lucky listeners far and wide. His debut record, Twist Shake Grind Break has received high praise from critics and fans alike, and tracks were used in an episode of the hit Showtime show, Weeds. Giving him the opportunity to create a partnership with San Diego craft beer legend Stone Brewing Co. You can hear the sinister sounds of Low Volts now in the background of their promotional videos, describing each new beer as it is released. What a perfect pairing!
In Lowman’s sophomore release, OH MY STARS, he keeps the music thumping harder than ever before, producing a classic rock n roll sound from era’s past. A sound that seems to come about as natural as breathing for Mr. Lowman. While utilizing minimal conventional instruments, he creates a wall of sound transcending all generations of rock n roll. “There are no conventional instruments like snare drum, cymbals or bass on the record but you wouldn’t really notice unless I told you,” Lowman says. “I try to create a ‘timeless’ sound when I write and record songs. I often say my sound is kinda like 1955 meets 2055.” He continues, “I like to stay clear of musical trends and just write what comes naturally.” Lowman recorded the guitar, vocals and kick drum live in studio to preserve the raw feeling for which Low Volts is known.
Any one who ever said, “They don’t write them like they used to” never bought a Low Volts record. OH MY STARS could be the soundtrack behind any gritty film from the Golden Age of movies. The beat of the kick drum, the dark sinister slide guitar and the lyrics filled with so much depth, feeling and heart will make you feel like you are part of a time that existed long before most of us were even born. On the track “Can’t Deny”, Lowman creates a fun danceable love song, which cruises along in the styling of Chuck Berry with an old Motown touch. Partnered with a 1968 drum machine, his vocal styling pairs perfectly with the beautifully strummed classic guitar, accompanied by a whimsical whistle solo. The opening track “Shake In The Knees”, Lowman says, was the most difficult of all to pull off. “It’s a very difficult track to play live as I’m rapid-fire down-strumming slide-guitar. So I actually booked an entire studio day just for that track alone.” Says Lowman. A thumping barn-burner of a track, which encompasses the very essence that is Low Volts, sets the pace for the rest of the record. Lowman stomps and strums along, all the while singing about a cat somewhere who makes him shake in the knees. OH MY STARS as a whole, is guaranteed to have fans new and old shaking in the knees for a very long time.
Do not miss the record release show December 21st at the Casbah San Diego. Low Volts will be celebrating the new record in perfect fashion – an end of the world celebration party at the Casbah San Diego December 21st. Presale tickets are now available and come with a free, signed copy of the CD.
Check out our brand new interview with Tim Lowman of Low Volts right below!
What was the approach to writing your new record, OH MY STARS, compared to your previous record?
I’m still very proud of the sound and quality of the debut record so I didn’t want to change much as far as the recording process goes. I recorded the vocals, guitar and kick drum live, all at the same time to keep the vibe raw and real. After the I captured the magic takes, I went in with subtle overdubs like hand claps, garbage cans, chains, tambourines and shakers. There are no conventional instruments like snare drum, cymbals or bass on the record but you wouldn’t really notice unless I told you. Mike Butler really knows my vision and direction so I had him produce, engineer and mix the record just like the first. We recorded during a full blue moon at Lost Ark Studio.
OH MY STARS has a very natural classic, old fashioned sound to the whole record. How are you able to create this feel and sound on the record, and have it sound so natural and not seem forced?
I try to create a ‘timeless’ sound when I write and record songs. I often say my sound is kinda like 1955 meets 2055. Something familiar from the past but with elements from an era in the future you’ve never heard before. I like to stay clear of musical trends and just write what comes naturally. Again, recording live really helps to capture the true essence of the performance. You can hear the strings of the electric guitar bleed into the vocal mic and the room sounds bleeding into all the mics gives it a natural depth as well.
What would you say is your favorite track or tracks from OH MY STARS?
I think the opening track Shake in the Knees is my favorite on this record. I introduced a new band member in the form of a 1968 analog drum machine on this track that adds a cool element to the sound. It’s a very difficult track to play live as I’m rapid-fire down-strumming slide-guitar so I actually booked an entire studio day just for that track alone. I’m not sure if it was the energy of the full Blue Moon or just being well rehearsed but I nailed it on the first take! The garbage cans sound radical too!
When did the process begin for creating the new record?
Pretty much right after the debut release I was writing new songs. Once I felt like I had plenty of solid songs, I checked the calendar for the next blue moon and booked studio time. Fortunately the owner of Lost Ark Studio, Paul Cavanaugh, was gracious enough to switch up his scheduling to fit me in during the full moon back in August! I’m extra creative and energetic during full moons so I like to schedule recording time during them. Recording both albums during actual blue moons was just a little bonus voodoo power!
What were some of the feelings and emotions that you wanted to put out on OH MY STARS?
I really wanted a bit more of an early rock n’ roll vibe on this one. There’s still plenty of the extra low tuned, sludgy slide-guitar from the first record but I just naturally kinda crept into a more upbeat feel on Oh My Stars. If you play both records together on shuffle they fit perfectly together. I like diversity when I listen to records so there’s dirty-blues numbers, balls out rocking numbers and intimate songs as well. A lil’ something for everyone.
How did your partnership with Stone Brewing Co. come to be? Can you give us some details on the partnership?
I got a song placed on season 8 episode 3 of Weeds and they also work with Stone Brewing. Whenever they are drinking beer in a scene it’s usually Stone! Chris Richards who does music placement thought we’d be a match made in heaven and he was right! The founders of Stone believe that if you have to advertise, your product isn’t good enough. Which is absolutely true! The only marketing they really do are online videos that essentially detail all the craftsmanship that goes into all of their amazing brews. While they describe the latest concept they are working on, you can usually hear the swampy tones of Low Volts tracks in the background. Essentially, they get free music and I get free beer!
With the naturally classic style and sound to Low Volts releases, we think it would be perfect for a vinyl release. Have you considered releasing the records on vinyl and if so, when can we expect to see those?
I actually wanted to release OH MY STARS exclusively on vinyl with a digital download card but I’m completely self-financed and I couldn’t scrape up enough bread for the initial release. Once I sell through some discs I’ll will definitely be putting both records on vinyl. For the debut record I wanted to put drops of my own blood in the actual transparent red vinyl but again couldn’t afford the process. The Flaming Lips have been talking about doing that now so I’ll have to come up with something crazier! The CD’s came out amazing and will be available on Dec 21st at The Casbah in San Diego. We’re throwing a huge end of the world party with performances from Grand Tarantula, Restavrant, Dirty Sirens and yours truly! Sector 9 Skateboards will be doing huge giveaways and are providing an ‘End of the World’ mayan-themed photo booth too! If you get tix in advance at www.casbahmusic.com you will receive a signed copy of the CD at the party. Do it to it!!
Once Oh My Stars is released, what can we expect from Low Volts?
I’m looking to tour pretty heavily and I’ve already started working on songs for the next record so we shall see!
Finish This Sentence… OH MY STARS is…
…gonna KNOCK YER SOCKS OFF!!!