The Origin and History of Overlook Hotel Records

The Origin and History of Overlook Hotel Records

Back in 1999, I released a collection of recordings from my archives called “Room 237 (R237-001)” which became the very first release on Overlook Hotel Records.  It is a small collection of early electronic compositions with one track featuring Todd Gerber (Dinah Shore Jr./Umlaut). Hardly any copies exist (they were made to give out to friends), but you may still be able to locate one at the main library branch in Cincinnati. I also recorded a collection of songs called La Notte – “La Notte De Cavelieri” (R237-002) with my friend Paul Ash (Unto Ashes, Night Gallery). For this release, we burned all of the CDs, printed the artwork, and also did our own cassette duplication.  Despite being a complete DIY project recorded with two microphones in a small room, the recording did well and feedback was very positive. There are probably still quite a few old copies of La Notte floating around the planet. These recordings  mark the beginning of Overlook Hotel Records.

Room 237 - s/t La Notte - "La Notte Dei Cavalieri"

Room 237 – “Rain & Shadows” (with Todd Gerber)

Shortly after these were released, I began working on the dark ambient Umbra project (R237-004). It was released on Overlook Hotel Records as well as mp3.com before they were purchased by Vivendi Universal. I recently reissued it on bandcamp along with the “Umbra: The Dusk Single” (R237-003) which features various percussion backing electronic music. Music from the Umbra release was licensed to use in a film called “Jigsaw” in 2002 and has turned up in some strange places all over the internet and elsewhere.

Kevin Hartnell - "Umbra&quot Kevin Hartnell - "Umbra - The Dusk Single"

Over the next seven years, I spent time playing a lot of gigs, working on the road, working/recording with various bands, and writing my own music sporadically. It wasn’t until 2006 that I released anything of my own. Back in 1995 I had begun playing and studying various percussion instruments, so the next release came in the form of an experiment in home-recording of the aforementioned drums. The Black Drum – “Rakshasa” (R237-005) was released on August 11, 2006. While the results of the recording were not very good, many mistakes were made which proved to be quite educational. I learned that I should focus on what I do best and what I love to do the most – and this project was about as far from that as I could get. Tracks were used for live performances by dance troupes, instructional videos, a documentary, and YouTube videos. After a couple of pressings, the project was pulled out of circulation and remains out of print.
The Black Drum - "Rakshasa&quot
During this time and over the course of the next 4-5 years, I continued working on the road while performing and recording with other bands. I needed a major change. This inadvertently came about in 2008 when I became seriously ill…at the same time that my wife was pregnant…on her birthday (drummers – it’s all in the timing, right?).  These life-changing events worked as a catalyst to kick me into overdrive in regards to working on my own music. This also included studying production, music composition, audio engineering, and working on music with like-minded musicians. From 2010-2013, a huge amount of material was written and recorded. The first project out of the gate was Cambium – “Let’s Send A Signal” (R237-006). With a blend of rock, post-punk, dark-wave, and indie rock influences, Cambium’s “Let Send A Signal” is a very diverse collection of songs.
Cambium - "Let's Send A Signal&quot

Cambium was released on April 22, 2013 through Bandcamp and marked the beginning of a new era for Overlook Hotel Records now no longer limited to solo works. Around this time, I also organized and produced an independent collection of original songs created as a tribute to Gary Numan called “The Replicon Project.” Some of the artists involved with Cambium also appeared on the tribute.

The next release from Overlook Hotel Records came in the form of an EP of music by Toxic Web, a mix of electronic rock, darkwave, and dark ambient influences.

Toxic Web - "I&quot

The Toxic Web – “I” EP (R237-007) was released on Bandcamp on October 4, 2013. Deanna Quijada, who I consider the undocumented love-child of Kate Bush, Yma Sumac, and Nena Hagen, is featured on some stunning vocal work. As much as I love the title track, I feel that her vocal performance on “My Hands Are Blue” is absolutely fiendish and beautiful. Jason Whitcomb is responsible for the majority of the synth wizardry heard on this 4-track EP as well as sharing vocal and songwriting duties.

The latest release from Overlook Hotel Records is the self-titled Trinity & Triage (R237-008). Released on January 1, 2014, it is a female-fronted, progressive-folk meets psychedelic indie rock while visiting the 70s sound unlike anything else you have ever heard.
Trinity & Triage - "Trinity & Triage&quot

Trinity & Triage contains a very interesting assemblage of instruments used to create the unique sound on this collection of recordings. Traditional instrumentation such as acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, drum kit, B3, and vocals are combined with Mellotron, clavichord, harmonium, sitar, and a colorful assortment of percussion instruments. “All At Sea” is a good example of many of the aforementioned items.

Upcoming releases on the way…

Rodin Coil is a solo project I have been working on for some time now. Songs are in various stages of development and slowly making progress in between juggling production duties for various other projects.

Rodin Coil - "Rodin Coil"
*placeholder artwork*

Sinistrad is a dark ambient/post-industrial project with Jason Whitcomb currently in the writing process. Expect music that should only be played in the dark.

Sinistrad;
*artwork has not been finalized*

Also in the works is a solo album from Vic Bonat, a new project from Mike Chambers (dreampop / indie rock), and various other releases currently in development at this time.  If you enjoy the music from Overlook Hotel Records, be sure to stop by our Facebook page as well as each band project page and hit the “like” button. I look forward to sharing our music with you.

Sincerely,
Kevin Hartnell
Overlook Hotel Records

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Before After Again: A New Music Side Project

Before After Again: A New Music Side Project

Before After Again is a new music side project I am working on with Jason Whitcomb. Jason is also one of the Bile Brothers from our Cambium project. Before After Again is influenced by electronic, darkwave, coldwave, and post-punk sounds, just to name a few genres.

Jason and I started working on music together a couple of years ago. Since then, we have accumulated quite a few songs in our catalog. Some of our songs ended up on the Cambium album released by Overlook Hotel Records, while others are part of The Replicon Project. While we currently do not have a release date set, I have a feeling that there is already more than enough material for a full-length album of Before After Again songs.

To give you an idea of what it sounds like, have a listen to “Allison’s Gone” first. It represents the darker side of the band’s sound.

“Akron” reveals our heavier side that incorporates guitars into the mix.

I will post an update as things move forward. We have really enjoyed working on all of this new material and hope you like the new songs!

Thanks for listening,
Kevin

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Cambium – “Let’s Send A Signal” is finally released!

Cambium -

Cambium – “Let’s Send A Signal”

We are pleased to announce that Cambium – “Let’s Send A Signal” on Overlook Hotel Records is available as a free download on Bandcamp! “Let’s Send A Signal” contains fourteen tracks of original music created in our secret laboratory.

Vic, Jason, Mike, Mat, and I spent a year writing, recording, mixing, and throwing hammers around in a grand effort to bring you something special! Do you like your rock with synths? Perhaps you prefer your synths with guitars. Maybe you are like me and enjoy a very diverse array of musical styles, sometimes across the same album, or maybe even throughout the course of the same song.

What does it sound like? I’ve heard “future retro” thrown out there, but I have no idea what that means! Press the play button below and decide for yourself. Please share our link, “like” us on Facebook, follow our Twitter account, and enjoy some new music from Cambium!

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Cambium – “Let’s Send A Signal” Coming Soon!

Cambium BannerCambium – “Let’s Send A Signal”

Cambium is one of the latest projects I have been working on with some extremely talented friends of mine.  We’ve spent the last year writing, tweaking, editing, mixing, and finally mastering our new album. “Let’s Send A Signal” will be released in just two short days on Overlook Hotel Records. Cambium merges hard rock, electro-rock, darkwave, post-punk, and indie rock into a highly melodic and powerful listening experience. I am very proud of our hard work and look forward to sharing it with everyone.

Here are two singles from the record, which will be available at http://cambium.bandcamp.com/ as well as iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and many other locations.

“Let’s Send A Signal”

“Salton”

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