Bellingham’s Hayden Eller has been playing guitar and writing songs since he was 16, but after deciding to dedicate himself to his craft, he’s become somewhat prolific over the past few months, releasing a steady flow of folk-tinged, stripped-down, emotive acoustic music under his moniker The Co Founder.
Experiencing personal growth and gaining confidence with each recording, Eller’s November release, Whiskey & 45’s, is his first effort “that I’m pretty proud of from start to finish,” Eller says. And he should be. Inspired and influenced by Alexi Murdoch, Frank Turner and Elliott Smith, you can feel the pendulum swing from meek to powerful and back again—akin to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon—over the course of the self-recorded and -released six-song EP.
With his trusty acoustic in hand alongside a couple of Craigslist finds (an Akai USB keyboard and a beat-up drum kit), Eller wrote this new material between August and early October and sporadically recorded at home during the same time. All (except one) of the songs were captured in single sittings—sometimes up to eight or nine hours at a time—making this recording “definitely the most complete group of songs that I’ve put out,” he says. Playing everything himself, Eller utilized his rudimentary GarageBand skills to record, mix and master the music on his own, with feedback from a few trusted friends.
The result is a beautifully sparse, sometimes slightly countrified set of songs that, to Eller, “summarizes trying to understand the addictive tendencies of my personality while trying to avoid having them remain a defining part of how I see myself.”
And while The Co Founder doesn’t have any Portland dates on the books yet, he’s looking forward to traveling south come 2016. Until then, enjoy his delicately intimate, solidly crafted new EP Whiskey & 45’s below—where you can even hear the sounds of PDX sampled on “His Own Damn Self”: “The ambient noise in the background is actually the sound of downtown Portland, which I recorded off of a balcony using my iPhone while I was down visiting back in August,” Eller explains.