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.”
“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.
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.”