Akron indie band Ledges has released a new 80's-infused album that's much more polished than the band's previous work.
The friends that have been playing together since high school have recorded mostly on their own in a basement. This past year, they made their first full-length album in Nashville -- for free.
For this week's Shuffle, Andy Hoffman of Ledges talks about going from DIY to Music Row.
Hoffman says he and his band mates -- Alex Hoffman, Matt Gregory and Cory Heddleston -- had free access to Ocean Way Studios in Nashville when their friend, Will Hess, had a college internship there through Belmont University. They got to use the space when there were unbooked sessions, which meant about eight, spur-of-the moment trips over the course of a year-and-a-half.
Artists from Beyoncé to Elvis Costello have recorded there, and Hoffman says it was an overwhelming, yet positive experience.
“There are these platinum albums hanging on the wall and you’re just walking around, this little band from Akron. But it was a cool, creative environment to be in."
Mixing in the '80's
Ledges' first single, Teenage Daydream, fuses 80’s synth-pop with the band’s traditional rock sound.
“I got on board with this idea of revitalizing these old sounds and mixing it with these indie rock roots that we have, but expounding on it with these spacey, ‘80’s synth production elements,” Hoffman says.
An album with a story
Hoffman says Homecoming follows the story of one character, track-by -track.
“He goes through this deconstruction of faith in his worldview, which I think a lot of us go through. The album takes this romantic turn, where he tries to fill this gap that’s left from his worldview exploding with this girl."
The band's second single, Nothing To Say, pushes along the narrative. It starts with a soft piano and gains intensity.
“We imagine he’s out walking through the cold night and sees this cabaret bar. The piano intro is him walking into the bar and then as the song picks up, it’s him seeing this girl.
"We intentionally kept the lyrics and melody of this song simple because it gets across this superficial infatuation that he has with this girl. He’s in love, but he doesn’t even know what her name is."
Will Ledges be a full-time gig?
Hoffman and his band mates all have full-time jobs outside of Ledges. But, with this Nashville-produced, polished album, the band is open to see where it goes.
Hoffman says he often seeks advice from his friend, Zach Bolen, of the Seattle-based band, Citizens & Saints. He asked Hoffman to think about whether Ledges was just a hobby or something more.
“I think we're in this middle ground right now. It’s more than a hobby because the money and time that we’ve poured into this project. We’re not quite at the point of jumping all in and hit the road full-time, but a thermometer for us will be how people respond to this album."
Hoffman's favorite song on Homecoming is "Snow":
"I was in a weird spot emotionally and processing a lot when this song was written, so the words came quickly and easily, which is rare for me. It’s about the struggle that comes from forcing the big and broad experience of God, faith, love and relationships into our narrow internal perspective of those things. A reconciliation of sorts. Often times when things don’t fit, we have a choice to make; We can either be open to new ideas and expand our perspective, or we can be closed off and watch our worldview shatter."
Upcoming Ledges tour dates:
Sept. 24 - Cincinnati @ Midpoint Music Festival
Oct. 19 - Chicago, IL @ Elbo Room
Oct. 20 - Indianapolis, IN @ Emerson Theater
Oct. 21 - Cincinnati, OH @ Mad Frog