By Brandon Hansen/The Independent Staff
Musicians in Stevens County have the distinct advantage of living in the 21st century. Getting music out to the masses has always been the stuff of Nashville, Los Angeles and New York. If you grew up in a small community it was either move to a bigger place or be content with playing gigs around town.
But that was before YouTube.
Yonder Mountain Music, based in Kettle Falls gives local musicians the ability to record sound and video in a studio environment with professional production values. Founded by Armand Pack in 1996, the professional sound engineer has helped musicians from San Diego, to Nashville and finally to Kettle Falls.
Pack is a songwriter and producer of his own songs and music, and has recently joined forces with Chewelah’s Jory Fields to offer a unique service to the area.
The county itself has a unique music scene in that with the highest retirement rate, more people suddenly have more time to do their hobbies.
“They did something else their whole career but always did music and now they’re retired and they can focus on their music and even start a band,” Fields said. “It’s cool that you have some of the older musicians teaching the ropes to the younger musicians coming up.”
The small town atmosphere also helps.
“Stevens County is big into music and it’s unique in that there’s a camaraderie between the musicians as opposed to competition,” Fields said. “People come to support each other and compliment each other.”
Fields said that with the advent of the internet musicians can expose a bigger and bigger audience to their music.
“Nowadays with YouTube you have feedback, you get instant gratification,” Fields said. “With the availability of music, people don’t wait around for music, they go out and find it.”
Fields used the example of musicians posting a couple videos of them singing on Facebook and how that can explode to 40,000 views, then 60,000 then even more. The word “viral” is perhaps the best way to describe how something catches on these days.
Yonder Mountain Music has a fully professional sound studio, live performance space and separate control studio along with a storefront for any of your audio/video needs. Along with helping musicians record and promote their music, they can help musicians set up for gigs and are even hosting several live events themselves.
“We had a few events but the problem became we had too many people show up in the live performance space so we are moving them elsewhere,” Fields said.
Fields is the sound and video engineer. Always interested in multimedia and technology, Fields also spent a year down in Florida doing promotional videos and learned from a producer that worked for Universal Studios.
Fields was also able to generate interest in the Kettle Falls studio from musicians in both Chewelah and Spokane that he’s met through the years on the south end of the country.
“We’ve had quite a few walk-ins,” Fields said “We expected things to be dead during the summer but it stayed non-stop. It calmed down in the fall but it definitely comes in waves.”
Most people start in their basement because it has good acoustics, but Fields said that Yonder Mountain Music can help area musicians have a professional setup. The building itself is from old Kettle Falls but has top of the line software on their studio computers and the knowledge of how to use it.
For more information, you can go to www.lifeuntamed.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/yondermountainmusic