Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Get to Know: Inspector 22

Free MP3: Inspector 22 - "Hey Man"

Inspector 22 is the Chapel Hill, NC-based project of Todd Emmert, who has been making music under this name since 1997. He has released several records, including 15-20 cassettes, an avant-garde a cappella album, a best-of album, and various others. His most recent album is the home-recorded Hey Man, I Understand, which was released on October 13, 2009 via Carrboro, NC-based label Odessa Records. Todd answered some questions for WTBU about his new album, North Carolina, and recording cassettes.

How would you describe Inspector 22 to someone unfamiliar with your music?
I would describe Inspector 22 as "home-recorded-avant-garde-folk-rock". Sometimes pretty sounding, sometimes not.

What is your favorite track on "Hey Man I Understand"? What is it about?
"Of Broom And Bride" is my favorite. It's about how not having a wife can make you feel sad and alone and fed up.

What is it like to live and play music in Chapel Hill? Is there a supportive DIY music community there?
Living in Chapel Hill is nice. It can be real laid back and easy going. There are quite a few people who play music in the area, so finding people to play music with is relatively easy. There is a supportive music community here, quite a few clubs, bars, and house shows to play and people that are genuinely interested in hearing your music.

Who are some of your favorite bands/artists from Chapel Hill?
My favorite bands from the Triangle area are Waumiss, Spider Bags, and Whatever Brains.

Your initial recordings were on cassettes. Why did you record to cassettes instead of pressing CDs or vinyl? What are the benefits to recording to cassette?
Cassettes for me were the cheapest way to duplicate and trade music with friends at the time. Cassettes can provide a different sonic and textural atmosphere than CD's or vinyl, sometimes a murky and more intimate vibe. All formats have their advantages and disadvantages I guess. Now I record mostly with a digital 8-track that I am very happy with.

How does recording cassettes affect your ability to distribute music? Why do you think so many artists are ditching CDs and going straight to vinyl/mp3s?
When I made cassettes, I really had no problem distributing them because the editions were all so small. Distributing the music was more dependent on postal rates than the listening format. A vinyl record seems more fun to interact with than a CD to me, cassettes seem better as well. CD's can seem cold and disposable sometimes. Adding a digital download of an album to the vinyl just seems like the decent thing to do.

If this sounds intriguing, read more about Inspector 22 and other cool North Carolina bands on the Odessa Records website, and/or tune in to Left of the Dial on WTBU next semester, where Inspector 22 will certainly be getting some spins.

Free MP3: Inspector 22 - "Hey Man"

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