A Chat with Painted On (28.01.21)

Hailing from Queens, New York, Painted On is a dynamic duo pulling you into a swirl of ambient sound in each track they release. We spoke with the US-based pair about their debut EP cloud*chasers, phobias, future plans and more!

OSR: How did Painted On come about and how did you choose the name ‘Painted On’?

Painted On: We feel music, much like life, is comparable to a painting. The sum of a few or many strokes with or without intention. It is a collection of colours, thoughts and ideas melded together to make a whole. Sometimes serendipitous and sometimes calculated, the magic is in the combination of both. Oftentimes we as musicians get caught up in our strokes and how we see things. We don’t necessarily take the time to step back to see the holistic view.

The name Painted On came about as a metaphor to encapsulate how we began approaching this collaboration. We’ve been musical and life-partners for over a decade (and recently married), yet this is truly the first time we’re contributing our individual “strokes” to a project that represents us both equally and we felt that the embodiment of this work was perfectly personified in Painted On. We see the world similarly in that our experiences have defined who we are and what we bring to the table, for better or worse. We have made it a point to be uninhibited in this project incorporating the many, often contrasting influences, to the table.

OSR: What is the backstory to the EP cloud*chasers?

Painted On: The thought of a cloud*chaser is something very vivid and visual. A big intention with Painted On is to create music that sounds cinematic. What we mean by this is we wanted the songs to create an atmosphere and story so compelling that you can’t help but to visualise a scene or story playing out while listening.

This EP was mostly created during our quarantine in NYC during the beginning of the COVID pandemic. For most individuals, the most challenging time of our lives, and for us as musicians a dagger in an already heart-wrenching industry. We wrote this album from a dreamer’s perspective, knowing how hard things were going to be, though still committed to chasing this fleeting dream. We wanted to explore themes of contempt, empathy, compassion, ideology and depression, and lean into our art as a way to cope with such unprecedented times. We were and are so lucky to both have a passion for music and the means to create it in our home and with each other.

OSR: Which is your favourite track on the EP?

Painted On: This question is always so hard to answer. We feel like our favourites alternate from song to song. Currently, we’re both digging ‘S2CONDS’ a lot and feel like it has a really cool and unique vibe.

OSR: What was the writing and recording process like?

Painted On: Most of the songs were written pretty quickly in succession. Suffice to say, we had a lot to write about while cooped up in our apartment for three months. We have a home studio and a makeshift vocal booth which makes it easy for us to lay down ideas, and Anthony is a recording / mix engineer, so we self-produced and recorded the whole record at home in Queens (save for the acoustic drums on the album closer ‘Carousel’ tracked by Josh Bailey in his home studio in Jersey). We then shipped the final .wavs off to a friend and trusted mastering engineer Wil Farr to master the record.

OSR: Did you face any challenges during production?

Painted On: We’re both songwriters and sometimes we don’t like each other’s musical “strokes” ?. Hillary leans more into the pop-sensibilities and Anthony experiments more with dissonant or non-traditional chord forms or lyrics that might be a little darker. Knowing we come from fairly contrasting musical backgrounds forces us to compromise, whether it be lyrically or instrumentally, and ultimately we wound up with cloud*chasers!

OSR: If you could change one thing about the EP what would it be?

Painted On: We’re both very happy with the end project. We would love to have had the budget to run a PR campaign to expose it to more folks, but we really appreciate publications such as yourself and Spotify playlisters for helping us do so!

OSR: Do you have any phobias?

Hillary: Donald Trump. Needles, but I’m starting to get over that ever since an acupuncture session. And it’s not necessarily a phobia but I have a hard time with the sound of people chewing. ?

Anthony: I have a strange relationship with the thought of death. I’m not quite sure it’s a phobia per se, but it has certainly kept me up at odd hours of the night contemplating it.

OSR: What is your earliest memory?

Hillary: It’s hard to pinpoint just one, but probably either learning how to swing at my pre-school in Vermont or singing in my dad’s home studio – both around age 3?

Anthony: I have a hard time placing my earliest memory, but some of my fondest memories of my youth are spending days at my nana’s home with all of my cousins. We would play out in her yard, swim and have a blast.

OSR: How do you think Covid-19 will affect the music industry in the long-term?

Painted On: We’ve already noticed a big change, which is the live stream/broadcast aspect of music. We think it will offer a new facet of creativity, but ultimately the goal would be to get back to live music. There’s nothing quite like it and it’s very apparent in society that there is a big hole missing that live entertainment fills. To that point, maybe we’ll see some positives. More attendance at local shows, more support for musicians and their crowdfunding expeditions, and more appreciation for what it takes to be an artist.

OSR: Describe your music in one sentence.

Painted On: Cinematic indie songs with thoughtful lyrics and atmospheric textures.

OSR: Do you have any future plans?

Painted On: We look to continue writing and recording and when it seems appropriate potentially putting these songs together for a live performance. As cloud*chasers is our first collection of songs we look to continue to hone our sound and lean into the parts we think best fit us. We already have 4/5 new songs that we have begun demoing that are taking us into a cool new direction but keeping a lot of what we loved about this first release.

Thanks to Painted On for chatting with us! You can find more about Painted On on their official website, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and Spotify.

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