Howerdel projects facets of his personality onto a reflective canvas of etherial guitars, evocative vocals, glassy synths, and living and breathing soundscapes. It’s both a tribute to his earliest inspirations and the result of a creative restlessness to keep pushing forward. On his proper full-length solo debut, What Normal Was [Alchemy Recordings/Rise Records/BMG], he inhabits a space that’s reverent of his past, present, and future simultaneously.
“This is me stepping back into my early teen self and making the record I would have made if I
had the means and the knowledge when I first picked up a guitar—just in 2022,” Howerdel explains. “It’s that moment as a kid when you hear a record, close your eyes, and go somewhere else. That was the time I found my lane, so to speak. During the making of this album, a global pandemic’s chaos had a silver lining. It gave me time to tighten the songs into the place I’d hoped they could be. When I look back, I don’t think I’d change anything about it.”
Billy Howerdel plays The Independent in SF on Wednesday, June 15th. Show starts at 8pm and is 21+.
Photo Credit: Erica Weitz