Keller Williams & Erothyme Announce Collaborative Album ‘Cell’ & Share Single
As explained in a lengthy note accompanying the announcement, the album title (which kept with Keller’s usual single-word style) comes from Williams’ use of a voice memo app on his cellular phone to record his guitar and vocals on Cell. Those voice memos were sent to electronic musician Erothyme (Bobby West) who produced, edited, beat mapped, engineered, mixed, mastered and performed on what became the eight tracks making up Cell.
Williams detailed the creation of Cell and his relationship with West, stating:
These [voice memo] recordings would’ve never escaped from my phone if it weren’t for Bobby. My fears of a deadly airborne virus kept me out of the studio this year. Lucky for me, I had no material. Six out of the eight songs on Cell are completely improvised. I’m sure you’ll be able to identify the two that were not. The improvs were all done in one take and either recorded on my back porch in Virginia or the back porch of a beach rental in Hatteras North Carolina, hence the sounds of waves, bugs, birds, trains and helicopters. Once the songs were edited and arranged, my vocals were overdubbed in my closet with all of my cleanest dirty clothes.
I met Erothyme (Bobby West) at a festival in Pennsylvania called The Resonance Fest led by an amazing dude named Casey Schneider, who is one of those promoters who’s in it for the right reasons. Jam bands rock out the day and electronica producer/DJs space out the night. I feel very lucky to have been included in that festival for so many years. This time I played a set with Leftover Salmon the night before and was doing a solo set the next day but it was canceled at the last second for lightning. It’s really a bummer to pregame for a festival set and have everything set up and as I walk on-stage playing with my acoustic guitar, sub tones pushing air through the giant DJ bass speakers, that are hung in the air and splayed along with the other high-end speakers and I can hear the echo off of the trees and feel the beat right in my sternum as I hit the wood and then………… lightning. I get the cut off sign immediately. It’s a real drag but it happens. It’s part of the festival life and shit I’ve gotten used to.
So my options were to leave the site and inhabit a sports bar that’s close to my hotel or stay and dance to EDM. I did the latter. Bobby was set up with his keyboards and vocoder tube in the same tent where I spent hours awaiting my disappointment. When I approached, it turned out he knew who I was and he is actually from my hometown. This was a ray of sunshine at night and I knew I needed to look no further for where the next field was going to be for my interpretive dancing. His set was psychedelic with a dark, groovy down tempo. Right up my alley. After his set we exchanged numbers and thought it might be cool to collaborate. This led to the track “Sasquatch of Stone Mountain.” Which Erothyme released as a single in early 2020. I recorded that track as an improv on a screened in back porch which was attached to the back stage of the Stone Mountain Arts Center, a very classy timber framed venue in Maine, owned and operated by singer/songwriter/chef, Carol Noonan. As I was recording this, I got a huge wave of sewage and death stink that just flew by. I asked some of the cheeky staff about it. They said “Oh, that was just Sasquatch.” I originally called the song “The Stone Mountain Stink” but thought it would paint this perfect venue in a poor light. So it was changed to “Sasquatch of Stone Mountain.” Once Bobby got his hands on this voicemail recording, he ran it through his system and created a song similar to one that I would interpretive dance to in the middle of a field in the middle of the night in Pennsylvania. Enamored with his production, I was excited for more.
During the quarantine of 2020, I sent Bobby dozens of improvised guitar and piano pieces. Out of those we narrowed it down to eight and thus we have Cell. I couldn’t be more proud of this album and how I literally phoned it in. Kw
Stream “Bare My Soul” below: