Lost Lander founder Matt Sheehy spends a lot of time alone, out in the wild. Its his job, actually.
The Alaska native is employed as a forester in his newly adopted home of Oregon, and it gives him a lot of time to think. Consequently, his music is similarly cerebral, if not also romantic, in a scientific vein.
Theres a feeling I get when Im in nature and studying nature, looking at trees or reading astronomy books, that makes you feel like you are scratching the surface on the true nature of the universe, Sheehy said. Not to get too crazy and metaphysical, but I feel like sometimes that happens with chords and melodies. I try to take what Im feeling at work and create that same feeling in music.
His newest pet project, Lost Lander, boasts a mountainous, lofty soundscape that reflects the landscapes in which he grew up.
It feels like a smoothie of all the things Ive done in the past, Sheehy said. Its got that songwriter core that I did with my solo work, but with a little more sophisticated arrangements like with [neofolk act] Ramona Falls. I took my background and tossed it all into a blender.
The finished product finds its way into Lost Landers debut, DRRT, which sounds a great deal like fellow Northwest Pacific coasters Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes, but with more punch and vitality. Hoards of others helped make the album what it is, whether through lending musical talents to the recording, leading fundraising efforts, collaborating on music videos or volunteering design work.
This record was like going to grad school, just in terms of finding out the way other people work, Sheehy said. Thats been something thats been really exciting for me. Being a part of a team has been rewarding.
While available for download, the albums physical version is unique, with packaging that unfolds into a planetarium that projects stars onto a darkened ceiling. Sheehy said he couldnt resist bringing a little bit of nature indoors.
We wanted CD packaging that would do more than just hold a CD, he said. People dont do anything more with CDs anymore than stick them into iTunes, so we wanted something useful. Why not bring the stars into your bedroom?"
Photo by Ben Moon