Hotel Neon delivers this stunning ambient mix full of classic cuts from some of the genre’s biggest names. This mix is built around a brand new Hotel Neon song entitled “Cold Suns.” We’ve covered the trio a bit over the years, and are honored to debut this new song, a previously unreleased collaboration with Matt Kidd of Slow Meadow, mastered by Taylor Deupree. You can find “Cold Suns (feat. Slow Meadow)” on Bandcamp, Spotify, or Soundcloud. The trio released its 3rd full-length studio album, Context, through Fluid Audio in May of last year, followed by more US touring with site favorites including Lowercase Noises and Christopher Tignor. “The music is never in a hurry to go anywhere…,” Richard Allen wrote of their eponymous debut. “The sorrow comes and goes in waves, occasionally replaced by hints of light, like the sun struggling to be seen through the clouds.” Much the same applies to this mix. Enjoy. (Joseph Sannicandro)
Listen/download at SoundCloud
Introduce yourself, please.
Steven: My name is Steven and I play guitar, synths and help out in the production/arrangement of Hotel Neon. My day job is that of a graphic designer, which is a nice perk being able to create a lot of our materials. I got into the music mainly through discovering bands like Hammock, Stars of the Lid, etc. Growing up I was always very into soundtracks or I’d focus more on cool sounds in the background behind the vocals. Discovering bands that were actually making music similar to how a person would score a film was a springboard to where I am now musically. I like all genres of music but tend to gravitate solely to the ambient style when I play or write.
Andrew: My name is Andrew Tasselmyer. I work a rather mundane 9-5 job in business process management for a large telecom company to pay the bills, but along with Mike and Steven, I spend most of my time thinking about our project called Hotel Neon – my “real job.” My musical pursuits started when I picked up bass guitar in middle school after hearing the Ramones’ self-titled debut. From there I played in a series of jazz, funk, and rock bands through high school, finally reaching the point of my current taste in minimalism, field recording, and ambient music when a music history professor introduced me to the Stockhausens, Saties, and Cages of the world in college. My mind was blown wide open and I dove down a rabbit hole I’ve never been able to climb out of.
Mike: I’m Mike Tasselmyer. I got into music the same way a lot of young kids do – just trying to find my voice. I loved the sense of freedom it offered and I never looked back. Ambient music came along when I was going through a lot of personal growth and change in college. I was drawn to its abstract, avant-garde qualities – no rules, no overt messaging, just a blank canvas of sound for artist and audience to interact. By day, I’m a writer for a marketing/brand management agency. I’m lucky in that I can honestly say it’s not a drag. Writing challenges my creative thinking in a different way than music, but the two are complementary. And on a broader level, I think it helps lend perspective to what we do as Hotel Neon. Music is a fundamental part of who I am, but it’s not my whole life or the only thing I’m passionate about. So I’m thankful to have more than one outlet for my creativity.
Where are you based? Anything you want to share about your local scene? Labels, artists, etc that make it what it is that maybe our readers haven’t heard about?
Steven: Up until about a year and a half ago I was based in Philadelphia which is where I met Andrew and Mike. I’m now in southwest Ohio which has slightly complicated our writing but we’ve figured out ways around the distance. There is not much to be said for an “ambient scene” where I am which can be very isolating but it hasn’t slowed me down. In fact, it may have somewhat challenged me more to seek out opportunities to play, tour and present this type of music to people that may not even know they like it.
Andrew: As Steven alluded to, we are geographically spread but I am presently living in Philadelphia, PA – this is where Hotel Neon really took off for us, so it’s the de facto home base. There’s a long history of innovative space/ambient music being shared here through the Echoes and Star’s End radio broadcasts on WXPN-FM, the Gatherings Concert Series, and DJs/personalities who care about spreading this music like King Britt, John Diliberto, and Chuck Van Zyl. Hotel Neon owes a lot of its growth and development to the people in this scene.
Mike: I live in Baltimore. In many ways it’s a city defined by everything it’s not… it can’t compete with the glamour of nearby D.C. or the energy and influence of Philly and NYC to the north, but the “underdog” mentality means less ego and a general willingness to embrace and support weird art. We don’t play a lot here anymore, but Andrew and I grew up here and the atmosphere inspires a lot of what we create.
Growing up in NY, I have fond memories of the underground scenes in both Philly and Baltimore. So, can you tell us more about the mix?
Andrew: The theme of this mix is “Cold Suns,” referring to the opening track – a new one from us. We collaborated on a song with our friend Matthew Kidd of Slow Meadow back in July 2016, shortly after the release of our 2nd album Remnants. It sat on the shelf for quite some time (for reasons unknown), but recently we’ve been working again with Matt on mixing a lot of new music, and the timing felt right to dust it off and introduce it to the world properly.
“Cold Suns” implies a mix of bleakness and optimism. To my ear, many of the tracks sound like they’re reaching for a bit of sunlight in the bitter cold. Lots of organic elements like strings, voice, and acoustic instruments mixed with tape saturation and other distorting elements.
The mix was sequenced and prepared in Logic, and we took the liberty of injecting some noise and drones extracted from heavily manipulated Philadelphia AM radio signals to assist in some of the transitions between tracks.
Anything coming up on the horizon you want to plug?
Andrew: In mid-February we’ll be at Black Knoll Studio in New York mastering a brand new 90-minute album with Rafael Anton Irrisari. We also have another 90 minutes of additional material that’s nearly finished as a sort of follow-up or companion disc to it…right now, we’re assessing how best to release all this new music in a clean, cohesive way, including label, formats, etc.
Aside from releasing newly recorded music, we’ll return to playing live performances this Spring and Summer with plenty of tour dates to come. After covering the West Coast and Midwest the last two years, we’re sticking a little closer to home this time and targeting mostly the East Coast, potentially reaching into eastern Canada as well. Hope to announce all this soon.
Lots of one-off collaborations are in the works as well, including some tracks with Andy Othling of Lowercase Noises and some other projects we can hopefully share soon.
It will be a fun year!
1. “Cold Suns (feat. Slow Meadow)” by Hotel Neon
2. “Music for Twin Peaks Episode #30, Pt. 1” by Stars of the Lid
3. “The Primary Menstruum or Mother-liquid” by *AR (Autumn Richardson & Richard Skelton)
4. “Rivers” by Taylor Deupree & Marcus Fischer
5. “The Royally Fucked” by Kyle Bobby Dunn
6. “Distant Misgivings” by Celer
7. “Vanishing Procession” by Braeydyn Jae
8. “Vesterhavet 3” by Tobias Hellkvist
9. “Escaping the Memory” by Willamette
10. “Dark River” by Chihei Hatakeyama
11. “Compound, echo” by Benoît Pioulard
12. “Howl” by Jonsi & Alex