Southern California singer/songwriter David Ottestad’s music project The Workday Release is debuting “Say A Lot With Light,” the lead single off of the forthcoming full-length album ‘Like The Light Of Stars.’
Entirely written and produced by Ottestad himself, ‘Like The Light Of Stars’ will be released on April 16 via Enci Records.
Of the new track, Ottestad says, “Say A Lot With Light” felt like a strong introduction for the sound of the whole album. The production is minimalistic but still feels full. The instrumentation is modern but timeless. The mix is polished but still feels organic. Lyrically, it’s a love song about not settling for someone just because it’s convenient or less scary than being alone. The chorus of the song says, “I’ve been waiting on someone who’s truly one million to one so I can say it, and say a lot with light”. I really liked the lyrical concept of speaking with light. To me, it represents this feeling of peace that comes with being with the right person.”
‘Like The Light Of Stars’ Track Listing:
1. Say A Lot With Light
3. I Do
4. The Future
5. Hospital Grounds
6. Going Up In Flames
7. Every Voice I Hear Is Mine
9. Keep Out The Wolves
11. Six Feet From Defeat
About The Workday Release:
The Workday Release, the brainchild of Orange County, California songwriter/producer David Ottestad, will release a new album titled “Like the Light of Stars” via Enci Records on April 16.
While Ottestad has been quite prolific over the years, he sees the 11-track opus as a first for the project which he started in 2009. He explains, “While I’ve never stopped writing and releasing individual songs, the full album has eluded me for many years now. If you’re familiar with my catalog of music, this may confuse you because I have other full albums like ‘Dark Pacific’ and ‘Songs from a Sketchbook’– but those records were made very quickly and with very minimal production. ‘Dark Pacific’ was recorded in a single day spontaneously and ‘Songs from a Sketchbook’ is a full album now, but originally existed as a project where I released one song every week for ten weeks. These songs were also recorded and finished quickly in a couple hours with a friend in their home.”
In contrast, he says, “Going into a professional recording studio for more than a single day and taking time to record a full album’s worth of songs while obsessing over what gear to use to get the best sound and then really thinking through what instrumentation would best support those songs and being the one in charge of every single guiding decision made along the way, and thus completely responsible for the end result, has been my dream for a long, long time.
I’ve been in this music-songwriting-recording-performing space for 12 years now. I really know what I’m doing. I’ve been around the tools and the process for long enough that when it came time to make this record, I knew exactly how to do it and who to do it with.”
It was an unexpected phone call from industry vet Pat Magnarella (the one- time head of his former label, which released his 2015 EP ‘City Lights’) that kick-started the new album. Magneralla (who has overseen the careers of Weezer, Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls, to name a few) expressed interest in working together again, and three weeks later, with 11 tracks ready to go, Ottestad found himself at Gold Pacific Studios in Newport Beach, CA tracking what would eventually become “Like the Light of Stars”.
Ottestad recalls, “Maybe the most surprising thing for me personally about the time between that phone call and making the record was just how different I felt than I did in 2015 before making ‘City Lights.’ This time there was no tension, no what-ifs, no anticipation of “making it big”, no pressure. This time my feeling of significance was solely rooted in the quiet realization that making a record now, like this, was itself the dream. Behind every melody and lyric is a human being full of meticulous intention and gratitude.”
Stylistically and sonically speaking, Ottestad wanted to create something that felt like a blend of all the music he had previously released. He explains “When I started looking at songs for this new record, I looked at what I had recently written as well as fan favorites that had only ever existed as demos on Soundcloud like “Keep Out the Wolves” and saw an opportunity to create something simultaneously fresh and reflective.
“I wanted these songs to feel big and small, epic yet intimate, polished but human, complex yet simple, happy and sad. Of course, that may begin with the songwriting but it’s also only accomplished by working with people who can help you nurture and sustain that vision,” he adds.
For the new album, Ottestad reunited with friend and gifted musician/producer Andy Toy who previously recorded many of the tracks on 2016’s ‘Songs from a Sketchbook.’
“It was fun having him engineer and mix something like this record that had a much bigger scope. With ‘Sketchbook’ we’d pretty much set up one microphone in his living room, record the song once or twice through and be done. Here we were now in a studio testing $10,000 microphones seeing which captured the tone of my voice best for this record through an analog recording console. Andy moves fast and was able to interpret a lot of my ‘the vocal and piano should feel and sound like this…’ dreaming-artist-vagueness into technical moves on compressors and eqs. The result, in my opinion, is a really warm, inviting record that feels full of organic life and texture.
Another valuable person that helped throughout the recording process was Ottestad’s friend Michael Wynne, who runs a successful YouTube channel called ‘In the Mix’ where he offers thoughtful, streamlined recording advice.
“He has incredibly gifted ears and will always give me honest feedback on what I’m creating. He lives in Scotland but I was lucky enough to have him in the studio with me as another set of ears for vocal takes and sounds. I know it made all the difference having Andy, Michael and my wife Monique (my favorite, most passionate critic) in the control room listening intently while I sang these songs. I’ve always been someone who wants the truth in feedback because I need outside perspectives to help elevate the quality of what I’m making.”
After recording vocals, piano and acoustic, Ottestad brought in Solo Ray, a producer from Montana who he’d met a year earlier through a YouTube remix competition.
“Solo and I have very, very similar musical taste and every time he shows me something new, I just feel like, “Yup that’s it.” I’ve spent a lot of time with other amazing producers but it’s just rare to be this on the same page when it comes to production” he says. “To understand what Solo did for these songs, basically anything that isn’t my voice, the piano, or acoustic, that’s Solo. Every deep, distant kick drum. Every dreamy guitar line. Every shaker, tambourine, snare, bass line or atmospheric subtle synth treat that makes both you and me contemplate our time here on Earth, that’s Solo.”
The title of the album comes from a lyric in the album’s seventh track “Every Voice I Hear is Mine.” Ottestad states, “This is a contemplative song that I feel like represents me personally very well. It’s a song all about how much time I spend in my own head self reflecting, existentially obsessing, and spiritually deconstructing. In the second verse, the lyrics say, “I split in two, I am near and far, gone and coming too, like the light of stars.” I have often thought about this concept of how when you’re looking up at the stars you’re seeing the past. Some of those stars we’re looking at may be gone now and their light is just reaching us. Is that not a perfect analogy for artists and their art?”
He continues, “I have often felt like I’m releasing what I create into a void of nothingness wondering if and when it may reach someone. I have often found something someone else has created to be so inspiring that I felt mad that it took me so long to find it. I think it’s an especially poignant theme for an unknown artist like myself who has learned to hope less for personal success and hope more that what I create finds its way into the lives of those it can personally impact.”
As The Workday Releases prepares to release the new album into the world, Ottestad sums up his thoughts by saying, “I don’t know who this album will reach or when it might reach them. I hope that if and when it does reach someone, they feel its warmth and know it was made by someone of meticulous intention and gratitude.”