In the scramble to write, record and release music – all with the hope of getting the band’s name out and rising through the ranks to potential stardom and recognition – it’s often forgotten that records, CD’s, tapes and MP3’s are actual documents of history. Each track, each groove is another artifact we could put in our collective time capsule for the eventual aliens who take over earth. Which is why Honcho Poncho lead guitarist Owen Proto convinced his band mates to record their upcoming live set at Ballard’s Sonic Boom Records – slated for Thursday at 6:00 PM – onto cassette tapes to hand out to audience members directly after the performance.
“We had this cassette tape duplicator,” explains Proto, “and I threw out the idea that it would be cool to record our set. We’d talked about recording our live shows before – we play way different live than we sound on our first record.”
The band, which formed in 2013 and has since played Artist Home events like Chomp! and Timbrrr!, plans to use their duplicator and make 100 tapes to dole out to the audience. In total, the duplicating process, Proto says, should take no more than a half hour, with his machine able to create 2-3 tapes per 30 seconds. The songs Honcho Poncho plans for their Sonic Boom in-store range from cuts on their first record to tunes they’ll lay down onto a hi-fi recording as they make their second album in September.
“When people see us live now,” Proto says, “they’re like, ‘Woah! I had no idea you guys were so high energy.’ Our first record was a bit of a hodge podge, it was kind of all over the place. And we want to capture that new energy and have it somewhere, documented. Who knows how we’ll play those tunes down the line. We’re always tweaking things.”
But why tapes?
“We thought it’d be cool to give tapes away,” he says. “Tapes aren’t that expensive and I like the sound of them a lot. When I was a kid, I had a hand-me-down Walkman from my brother. I’d listen to tapes my parents had.” There’s something about the analog form that inspires him, Proto says, as opposed to digital reproduction. “We’ve done dry runs recording to tape,” he explains, “and listening back, there’s this fuzzy, kind of crappy sound, but it’s also really cool!”
And while some may never be able to hear the cassette they leave Sonic Boom with – because, as we know, not everyone is lucky enough to have a hand-me-down Walkman – those that do, Proto muses, may appreciate the show that much more. “That’s the idea,” he says. “Tapes glue the whole sound together.”