DeVotchKa's Tom Hagerman has been working with the Colorado Symphony, helping the group with writing the orchestrations for the music of various bands, since his own group's first show with them in February, 2012. DeVotchKa's lush orchestration and arrangements make them an ideal band for a symphony to collaborate with, and it will do so again with at Red Rocks on July 23.
Tonight, May 28, Hagerman, will lend his song structuring talents to local artists Land Lines and Ian Cooke, helping them write arrangements for the forthcoming Turn Over the Keys program. The performance, which will also include a collaboration with Jump Little Children's Jay Clifford and Megan Burtt, is a chance for local artists to work with an experienced symphony and have their arrangements fleshed out by veterans like Hagerman.
We caught up with Hagerman and asked him about his contributions to the project.
Andy Thomas: What are some of the challenges when mixing "independent" music with an orchestra?
Tom Hagerman: I'm not sure if there is any difference writing for an "indie" band versus a more mainstream one. I'm not sure what "Indie" really means
I think it is important to realize that over the larger history of popular music, orchestral instruments were frequently used in popular music in one form or another. I don't really think it was until synthesizers started taking over did we have this idea that it is odd to have strings, for instance, on a pop song. If you listen to some Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, or Simon and Garfunkel records they have incredibly lush, awesome arrangements. Even the Beatles had tons of flourishes that folks like Sir George Martin whipped up for them. Whats
What was DeVotchKa's first collaboration with an Orchestra like? What do you remember about the experience?
DeVotchKa has been using strings from the beginning— well mostly just me and my friend Tom
How did you first decide you were going to play a "classical" instrument in a rock band?
I never really decided to do that. I was in music school for violin. In
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How has the Turn Over the Keys process been going so far? What are you excited for people to see and hear?
I can tell you that I can't think of two more opposite bands that exist under the "indie rock cello band" umbrella than Ian Cooke and Land Lines. They both sort of exude this calculated intelligence, but in incredibly different ways. Land Lines is all about a cool minimalism while Ian Cooke is all about harmonic and melodic excess. They have both been fun to work on, but I'm totally fried. I'm just excited that the symphony is game to experiment with all of us in the Denver musical landscape. I hope they know that there is a lot of love and respect for the Colorado Symphony coming from the rock and roll community in Denver.