Todd's 4-track - this changed everything
the Room (ca. 2000)
- Todd Phillips – Hoop Dreams, Phillips & Reuter
- Bryan Von Reuter – the Mess, Phillips & Reuter
- Peter Newbegin – Western Sovereignty
- Darren Russell – the blue hurrah
BvR, DR, TP, PN = the Leapyear Device
Towards the end of Towards an End, yeah I just did that, I gave Todd a Porta 02 for his birthday. The Porta 02 is a 4-track cassette recorder and it changed everything for us. Being in the hardcore/punk rock scene we were instilled with a DIY ethic, so we weren’t afraid to take the horse by the reigns and start recording ourselves.
Our band may have been dissolved but we were still writing songs. We had moved out of our parents houses and could no longer afford the luxury or expertise of professional recording studios thanks to the wonderful world of renting. It was Bryan who graciously dedicated his room to facilitate our collective desires to make music. We packed it to the gills with anything that could make a sound and we explored it all.
chillin' at the Pad just outside of the Room
Inspired by the likes of the Elephant 6, T.W. Walsh, Love as Laughter, Anticon, and others we would push ourselves to the limits and find out just what we could do. Bryan would use his computer and Impulse Tracker to create soundscapes and songbeds that Todd (who lived with Bryan) would put his voice to in an effort that produced two self released albums under the moniker of “Phillips & Reuter”. Peter and myself were constant fixtures in the Room and would work on our own singer song writer projects, “Western Sovereignty” and “the blue hurrah” respectively. Peter was already a virtuoso of the guitar and began to explore keys and to push his lyric writing to new narrative heights. I was a bassist that picked up a guitar and tried to sing but I hid behind a wall of noise.
The Room would morph into a House over the coming years and we would embrace the similar evolution of technology that was happening concurrently. When the room was born it was all 4-tracks, zip drives and mini disks, and by the end it was Pro Tools, Sound cards, and CD-R’s. Our ranks were swelling as well and even though we were always collaborating with each other, solo recording projects would morph into full fledged bands. Todd would go on to start the band “Surf” with Mark James, Matt Sweirs, and Drew Fischer. Peter and I would team up with our friend Chris, who was a saxophonist turned drummer, and get back to our roots with “Crane Jackson’s Fountain St. Theatre Band”
the cover of my bass cab
In spite of the changing world around us, however, the Room still exists. Figuratively and literally. Each of us continue to pursue personal creative explorations in the safety and comfort of our Room with whatever technology is available. And Todd still lives in the same place with the same 4-track that I gave him oh so long ago. And you can still go over there and find yourself being handed a guitar and told that you’re going to make a song today.
Below are a few tracks from the first Hoop Dreams album. This was Todd’s project. But he was a vocalist and not very proficient with musical instruments. What he could do was make beats with his Playstation and he would then employ the rest of us to fill in the melodies. Below are a few examples of this and they constitute some of the earliest home recordings we ever attempted.
Hoop Dreams – “Pagemaker” Todd – Vocals Darren – Guitar
Hoop Dreams – “Sev” Todd - Vocals, Playstation Darren – Guitar
Hoop Dreams – “Circles” Todd – Vocals, Playstation ( a proto Phillips & Reuter track)