Over the past few months, in the midst of COVID-19, musicians have had to change the way they play. When live shows and jam sessions aren’t an option, how do you continue to create? Old Main Records, a student run record label out of Wayne State University, wanted to find a way to facilitate that creativity, even in quarantine.
Old Main Records paired three local artists – Ohly, Emma Guzman, and Malcolm McNitt (from Quazi Bullfight)- who had never met in person, for a collaborative project. The three local musicians were tasked with the goal to create, collaborate, and record a cover song, all virtually.
After a few online meetings sharing song suggestions and making a rough plan, they finally agreed on a song that interested them all: Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.”
According to the artists, although collaborating without being physically together meant they had to adapt to certain limitations, the overall project went smoothly. Each artist recorded their respective parts from their own homes, using click tracks and whatever gear they had on hand. They weren’t able to hear it all put together until the end, but with a final mix from David Jackowicz and Evan Betts, the project was a success.
The result of their work is a unique, modern, and atmospheric take on Cohen’s classic. Each artist’s individual styles and recording techniques complement each other to give new life to the song, resulting in a beautiful track reminiscent of bands like Pinegrove or Laura Marling.
“I think my biggest takeaway,” Emma Guzman shared, “is the fact that no matter what, we can always find a way to make music with other people. It’s a great feeling that even if you can’t be in the same room as another artist, you can still make a killer collaboration project with them.”
Check out their cover of “Chelsea Hotel No. 2,” out on June 26th!