Composer, performing musician, recording artist and music educator Gretta Harley’s career in Seattle music has spanned decades. She recently took time out of her busy schedule to let us in on her latest labor of love.
There was a lot of turmoil involved in creating your new record Element 115 (Uup), right?
At this time last year I was pinching myself, living a dream. I made a record holed up in an empty house in St. Augustine, Florida with a legendary record producer whose decades-long work I admired; under the watchful, loving eye of a popular local record label president (who was also going to foot the bill). I made an album that I love. I had an experience of a lifetime making it. But right before the release, the label folded and I was left holding a record that I was proud of, had no idea what to do with, and no money to release it in the way I had envisioned.
After a few agonizing and terrifying months pondering my options and weighing my bank account, I decided that I could not live with myself if I didn’t take the plunge and get this music out as intended. The only authentic medium for this record, Element 115 (Uup), is a 12” LP vinyl release (A digital release will also be available). Because I had so much invested in it already, I thought that I might as well put it out myself. I worked closely with Tim Silbaugh–a Seattle artistic staple–on the artwork. The result is stunning.
How are you handling the funding?
I have an Indiegogo page, where folks are invited to pre-pay for the record (in vinyl and digital format) and pre-pay for concert tickets–amongst other rewards like house concerts, T-Shirts and paintings by me.
What can we expect musically?
I am very excited about the musicians I’ve pulled together–some of Seattle’s most stellar– including guitarist, Kathy Moore (Satchel, Guessing Game, Kim Virant); violist, Alex Guy (Laura Veirs, Led to Sea); sax/clarinetist, Chris Credit (Cataldo, Bushwick Bookclub); cellist, Paige Stockley (St. Helen’s String Quartet); vocalist/pianist, Jen Ayers (Teatro Zinzanni, Houses of the Unholy); drummer, Faith Stankevich (Teatro Zinzanni, Dream On); Flutist/accordionist, Marchette DuBois (Bucharest Drinking Team, Operadisacs); guitarist/vocalist/ pianist Stephanie Wicker Emery (Like Lightning) and more. Justin Roberts, recently highlighted in City Arts Genre Bender is creating a multi-media component with me. We are trying to create a very special evening.
I always wanted an orchestra to perform this song cycle. The arrangements that my producer, Kramer (Bongwater, Low, Galaxie 500 fame) and I created in Florida have been replicated and embellished by Andrew Joslyn (Macklemore). The 10-piece orchestra, comprised of some of Seattle’s finest musicians, is performing Element 115 (Uup) in its entirety, in an elegant setting, with multi-media components for the show on June 6th at The Royal Room.