Jonathan D. Haskell describes his brand new project:
Seven Saturdays began during the FIRS sessions with Daniel Farris in East Los Angeles. I began working with Mr. Farris (engineer/producer) in December, 2007 in a small, smoke-filled room just east of the LA River where East LA meets Boyle Heights. And what began as one song (‘New Hope In Soft Light’), ended up a year later as a full-length record.
After spending night after night, week after week in the studio with Daniel, I began to get really restless and decided to record a second full-length record in my apartment on my days off. Daniel had turned me on to some really great music in the studio and had inspired me so much, I had to take advantage of all these new ideas. But this time, I wanted limitations.
The way I approached the FIRS record was such that I didn’t want to stop recording until I had literally exhausted every melody and harmony I could imagine. I generally tend to keep each part minimal so that there is always space available for a complimenting melody line to weave in. This naturally led to each song requiring multiple ProTools sessions to accommodate all the intertwining instruments. Needless to say, it took a while to get it all together into one cohesive sound. Everything was so incredibly delicate and to this day I’m amazed that Daniel was able to mix everything together as brilliantly as he did. But the record took what I would consider forever so when beginning work on the Seven Saturdays project, I imposed the following restrictions on myself:
Firstly, Each song would have to be written & recorded in one sitting on seven consecutive Saturdays. Also, I would have to play and record everything myself. And most importantly of all, each song would not be over-thought to a point of confusion. One song a day. Seven consecutive Saturdays. Simple as that.
Initially Seven Saturdays was my side project, to be kept completely separate from my intricate baby – FIRS. I intended on doing a FOUR SEASONS COLLECTION of this kind of ambient music, titling each record “Winter,” “Spring,” “Summer,” and “Fall,” respectively. But as I wrapped the Seven Saturdays “Winter” record with Chris Roach mixing the songs at Black Satellite in Hollywood, Daniel and I were putting the finishing touches on the FIRS record downtown at about the same time.
So instead of sitting down to knock out another Saturdays record, I turned my attention back to FIRS and back to creating the best live show possible and the whole promotional cycle that is sort of mandatory to be heard.
At that point, it quickly became evident to us all that my instrumental Rhodes/drums project (FIRS) and my ambient soundscape project (Seven Saturdays) should not be kept separate and rather should be combined into one like-minded spirit. At that point, Firs became Seven Saturdays and the first self-titled EP was born.
What the critics are saying:
“Firs is worth not missing in the future…Dntel is an obvious reference point from the mix of organic instruments and programmed swirls, but the seasick strings and sad little Rhodes piano lurking about hint at Sigur Rós. The dub-step-ish remix by Larvae on the B-side is even better, inverting the payoff to something noirish and hard-bitten.” -August Brown, Los Angeles Times
“So I arrive back in L.A. today thirsting to catch up on all the sounds that have been sent me, and I immediately happen on this song by Jonathan D. Haskell, who makes music as Firs. Talk about air-conditioning for the soul. This instrumental piece is the title track from Firs’ “New Hope in Soft Light” 10-inch vinyl single (lovely packaging, too). It’s gripping and cinematic, recalling Air’s best moments.Haskell says his music is inspired by his love/hate relationship with his native Los Angeles, and hearing this I guess I’m curious about what the hate side sounds like. His collaborators include a lot of familiar names and connections – Morgan Kibby (M83), Mike Garson (David Bowie/Smashing Pumpkins), Eric Heywood (the Pretenders) and Lester Nuby (Verbena).” -Kevin Bronson, Buzzbands LA
“Anyone with noirish tendencies has to drink a lot of scotch, whether his tires screech on the Hollywood Hills or his feet splash in cold puddles under street lamps in Edinburgh-the second landscape Haskell evokes in this piece of music. Haskell enlisted a tiny army of musicians to carry out a slow ebb-and-flow cinematic composition about the tight grip he says L.A. has on his soul.”- Daiana Feuer, LA Record
“Conceived during a walk on the streets of Edinburgh, Firs’ “New Hope In Soft Light” recounts the more delicate moments of Air or Sigur Rós. Melancholy piano, soft violin and ambient flourishes gently build up to an arrangement that brings to mind two of Jonathan D. Haskell’s inspirations for the track: Mullholland Drive and malt scotch. ” – Abe Ahn, Evil Monito
Oct. 28 Los Angeles, CA Bordello