A collective endeavor which engages in rhythmic typewriter manipulation combined with elements of performance, comedy and satire. BTO aims to entertain the masses while providing an outlet for the creative urges of its members. *BTO promises to protect customer confidentiality with the utmost vigilance while remaining irreverent at all times.
There really is not much repertory for a typewriter-based ensemble. Once you get past Leroy Anderson, the landscape is rather barren, adorned only by flourishes that are as non-musical as most uses of a theremin. So, needless to say it takes a while to add something significant to that, especially with a practice only once a week, and a random hope of remembering riffs if the recorder isn’t going full time. When we got enough ideas together, this time we booked a real studio to see if our magic could be captured.
The results are in and Workstation to Workstation is the record that we have been hoping to make for years. Thanks to the work of Converge’s Kurt Ballou we were able to capture the thump as well as the thwack of our machines, and the results sound as massive as we were hoping. It’s even bigger on vinyl with wide grooves giving plenty of space to those thumps. You can buy the vinyl, or a download, or an array of options on our bandcamp page.
Sometimes when we play shows we get stuck waiting for things to happen for far longer than our performances ever are. When we went to Chicago last year to open a benefit dinner for the American Writers Museum, we pulled a total “hurry-up-and-wait.” With our instruments set up, we were relegated to a Green Room in the Four Seasons, and while we were well catered, we didn’t have much of anything to do. What we did have were a bunch of phones and a song that we decided to make a video for….
We handed off the footage to George O’Connor, and he matched what we made to the audio from our recent sessions at God City with Kurt Ballou. More video ideas to come as we slowly release these songs through the course of 2020…
So we went on a Corporate Retreat this fall up to Salem, where we spent a few days at God City Studios under the watch of Converge’s Kurt Ballou. Using his studio and some innovative techniques to their best, he recorded a bunch of our new songs which we begin unveiling today with this wonderfully short teaser of a song that has been animated by Zak Kirwin
In the movie California Typewriter, out performance is right in the middle of it all. But you also don’t get to see an entire song as we are often overlaid with members of the band talking. Since the director Doug Nichol first made his mark in the music video game (Madonna’s Truth or Dare, Pulp, the Cars, Wet Wet Wet, et al) and even is a 3-time Grammy nominee (Aerosmith’s “Pink”, NKOTB “Hanging Tough”) and winner for his work on Sting’s Ten Summoners Tales , it’s nice to finally be able to show this clip of “Entropy Begins at the Office” the way you might have been able to see it on V66 back in the day…
Maybe you’re a long time fan who bought a CD from us at a concert back in the digital age. While those songs have circulated around the internet since, even we haven’t had them at shows for more than 5 years. In the meantime we’ve been coming to terms with this streaming era, releasing individual tracks to the world as soon as we hone them to a point where we are no longer wholly embarrassed by them.
We’ve finally figured out that as much as people like hearing our music, there is something about being able to hold our music in their hands which gives them the power as well, so we have released a 10″ vinyl recording with 4 of our most recent tracks on it. It’s up to you what you want to do with it, but we think that even if you don’t have a record player, Brian Dewan‘s cover makes for some great artwork for your wall.
If you want to purchase these tracks follow the links to Bandcamp and for a mere $15 we can get records in the mail to you within days, and digitally Bandcamp will let you download them in moments. If there’s enough furor, we may get more posters and t-shirts printed as well, and Brendan really wants to get this put on a cassette as well…
So sure, unless you’ve got an extreme excess of cardboard, hot glue and time on your hands I’d recommend yardsailing instead, but I guess this is a good way to waste some time and trick someone who’s got no idea about how simple mechanical apparatus work.
We’ve got a full fall coming up and our records are in hand ready to go out to you, so stay tuned for updates galore…
So when a camera crew from CNN showed up at our show at Once Lounge last week to record our performance to grab a few clips for a segment in their feature for their site Great Big Story, it felt pretty great. It was weird though, I mean, we were opening for bands with deep legacies (Trinary System featuring Roger Miller from Mission of Burma, and Black Helicopter featuring guys from 90s heroes Green Magnet School and Kudgel), and they packed up the cameras as soon as we were done. They’d actually been to our practice a week before and the results, well, are certainly great…
We’re off to Maine next Friday to play at the Portland Museum of Art, and have our June trek to the Greenville Drive In for their typewriter arts festival set as well. The artwork for the vinyl version of our EP is finished and it’s heading out to finally get pressed. And a story like this has been snowballing into other coverage and offers, so keep an eye on this space as we announce other shows. And if you’re on Instagram, make sure to follow us as we’ve nearly equalled followers and posts as we put up our 400th image.
Most bands spend half of their time at shows shilling for a table of merchandise hoping to make gas money to get themselves to the next gig. The last time I can recall that we even toted t-shirts to a venue, they never actually made it out of the trunk. However, the people they clamor for things and conveniently enough, we’ve got some new songs recorded to share with the world.
Instead of merely posting some songs on the internet and calling it a digital release and disappearing into the night, we’re gonna put these songs on vinyl. With 4 songs of an EP ready to go, we figured they’d fit nicely onto 10″s of wax. Plus that format evokes 78s which are as old as some of the manual typewriters that we use to make our music. We’re using the Kickstarter platform to crowdsource the funding of this project, so please donate and let other folks know what we’re up to
We hope that you’ll support our mission to put out a record. Please give all you can.