Sounds of the Season
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas with the annual Christmas Album from Blackwatch Records. We chatted with co-owner Jarod Evans about the compilation holiday album.
One record studio has been releasing a Christmas album every year for the past eight years featuring local artists. This year, the album is called “Sounds of the Season,” and it’s sure to be one of the funkiest Christmas albums you hear this year.
Norman-based Blackwatch Studios has been working on this project since 2010.
“We’ve loved making these every year,” said Jarod Evans, co-owner of Blackwatch Studios. “It’s such a fun, familiar thing to come back to once a year.”
The Ballad of Blackwatch
Each year, Blackwatch works with Fowler Volkswagen to bring in local musicians and some out-of-town artists to create a unique holiday album.
“Jonathan Fowler has always been such a great champion of the arts in general around here and always very generous in supporting artists and sponsoring cool events. He had this idea a decade ago and wanted to put some of our favorite local artists in the studio and have them write original Christmas music, press one thousand vinyl every year, and give them away for free, so it was kind of his brainchild, and he pulled us into it.”
“I’m always looking for fun projects and cool people to collaborate with,” Evans said.
Evans and co-owner Chad Copelin started recording music in the early 2000s and have recently branched out to working on music videos and graphic design. Evans said he’s willing to work on anything creative.
Behind the Music
The first step in the process is recruiting artists, which Evans and Copelin work on throughout the year. Then they make a list, start emailing people and getting everything set up. Once the lineup comes together, they book sessions, the artists come in and record the songs, Evans and Copelin mix the songs and send them off to be mastered. They also work on artwork and promotional content.
“Fowler gives us creative license in pretty much every aspect of the project,” Evans said.
He said there’s a collaborative spirit about the album, and often bands work together on tracks. Evans said sometimes, if they decide they need more songs, they’ll just call up some musicians.
“it’s kind of this
One thing that rings true for most Blackwatch albums is a sort of vintage sound, and they have a unique process to achieve that sound.
“We always put it through just a little bit of a psychedelic and vintage lens and run the records through tape,” Evans said. “We do most of the production in pro tools and digital, and then, at the end, we audition a few different tape machines to give it sort of a classic old-school aesthetic. So, even if it’s a more modern-sounding production, we try to glaze it over with some satration with something from the past.”
Evans said this album the process of creating is always has a way of putting him in the Christmas spirit and appreciating the tradition behind creating something once a year with artists.
“I’ve realized in my adult life that I’ve abandoned traditions that I grew up with, not consciously or intentionally, but a lot of traditional aspects of my life sort of faded away a little bit, so I like Christmas and especially this project because it’s like it’s fun to have this familiar project to come back to every year,” Evans said.
He said his favorite part about the project is working with people who are willing to be creative and experimental in the studio.
“When everything feels right is when the people that I’m collaborating with are driven with some sort of conviction for where they want to go but also maintain sort of a no rules mentality and are open to unconventional methods to get there,” Evans said. “That blend of focus and experimentation is probably what I’m most attracted to.”
“Sounds of the Season” is available on vinyl and also streaming on Spotify. Blackwatch Studios is also responsible for two huge albums that came out this past year – “Bad Behavior” by Broncho and “Everyone’s Invited” by Sports.