Portrait by Amber Chavez
You may know Austyn Gillette on a skateboard, but do you know him on a mic?
In 2014 he released his debut EP as Part Friend, and today he releases his follow up, Layers of Laughter. From the sounds of it, he plays guitar with the broken part of his heart, sliding his way deep into the blues. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t find joy in the process—because you can hear plenty of that, too. It’s an aptly titled record, multi-layered and dripping with sentiment.
To accompany the release, Austyn dropped the video to his first single, ‘Play The Part’, a montage of moments from his solo trip to Iceland last year, where he embraced his own company and tried puffin for the first time. “Luckily I didn’t know what the bird looked like before trying it”, he says. “Because had I known, I would have felt the same guilt as eating a baby husky.”
You can get your hands on the EP here. We asked the man behind the music a couple questions pertaining to the new tunes. Here are some insightful tidbits from our chat.
How long was this EP in the making?
It took us about two months to record, but that’s because the studio is in the backyard. If there weren’t weeds and brush to be cleaned back there, it probably would have taken us about a week. It’s nice to work at your own pace and I think it gave us time to rework the tracks and develop a theme for the album.
Assuming this was all recorded in your home studio, what are the essentials to set up a heavy vibe in your recording space?
The key ingredients are Pacifico, talented friends, low light and a good preamp. Everything falls into place after those are provided. I’m sure we will branch out on the next one and go to a studio but it works in the meantime.
Any epiphanies while you were in Iceland?
I came to understand that I didn’t need anybody to fully enjoy myself. We always lean on other people to gauge what is cool or compare our lifestyle to others around. Especially now more than ever. I wanted to see what it would be like traveling alone to a place that has been high on my list, free of any contact and fully present. I found myself smiling at my surroundings. It’s a bizarre feeling that I would highly suggest entertaining.
Did you go fishing in one of those ice ponds?
No fishing, but did try puffin for the first time. Luckily didn’t know what the bird looked like before trying it, because had I known, I would have felt the same guilt as eating a baby husky. Curious times call for Viking measures.
When you’re writing, do you listen to any particular musicians for inspiration or do you try to stay clear of outside influences?
I’m fully affected by what I listen to. It’s safe to say that we all are. That’s why we listen to music. It’s important not to listen to the same album multiple times. This one was more focused on sound, so the inspiration came from a large spectrum of musicians and records.