It's been more than a year since the release of The Helio Sequence's last record, and once again the buoyant pop duo are finding inspiration in the endless possibilities of a blank canvas.
With the last record, the shimmering Portland-based rockers found themselves embracing a new creative process. Rather than meticulously laboring over every little detail, Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel started living in the moment. The pair just played what came to them, followed where the music's momentum took them, and emerged with their sixth full-length record.
Summers and Weikel have invested more than 15 years into their musical partnership and career. Time equals experience, plus their successes have allowed them to amass a collection of toys and tools—the kind of instruments, gear and space that enables them to create professional records on their own. Yet a professional environment isn't always the ideal place to incite fresh creativity.
"I know it sounds weird to say but I've been really excited about recording demos on my phone this time around," Summers says. "There's something about the portability, limitation and casualness of recording to the phone that really opens up my creativity. I don't have the pressure of making a 'final copy,'" and "the low quality makes me see songs differently—more as a work in progress, with the understanding that they will be changed over time. In this way, the feeling of open possibilities is inspiring."
This organic, free-flowing mentality is liberating and makes The Helio Sequence the perfect act to close Base Camp Studio's fourth annual Painting Marathon, "a two-day event celebrating community art in Bend," according to founder Darlene Becker. Taking place at Crow's Feet Commons starting on Friday, October 7, the art-centric event aims to bring "people together through the shared process of art making," Becker explains. "People watching the art being created live have expressed feeling part of it, and the artists report feeling inspired by the energy of the spectators, asking questions and getting involved, in their own way, in the process."
On night one, October 7, five local artists will kick off the marathon at 3pm by painting on five large canvases over a six-hour period. A kids event beginning at 4pm allows hundreds of youth to participate in a free art activity. "This year, we will also have collaborative art stations to really get people actively engaged in the art making," Becker says.
Night two, on Saturday, October 8 will celebrate the transformation of blank canvas to works of art with a performance from The Helio Sequence, which is also a fundraiser for the nonprofit's expanding art and art therapy programs, as well as its goal of creating a physical community art space.
While The Helio Sequence will continue to paint broad strokes across their evolving sonic canvas as they work on their next record, so too can the community in Bend participate in creating and supporting local community and art.
Saturday, Oct. 8, 7-10pm
Crow's Feet Commons,
875 NW Brooks St., Bend
"Carnival of Creativity"
Friday, Oct. 7, 3-9pm, Kids event 4-7pm
Saturday, Oct. 8, 7-10pm
These days, there's a freshness to the jammy, jazzy bluegrass of Leftover Salmon