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Origin of the band name:
The name Song Sparrow Research comes from a University of Washington project lead singer/guitarist Hamilton Boyce was involved in as an undergraduate researcher. He spent two and a half years recording and documenting the musical repertoires of Song Sparrows in their natural habitats for his degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Armed with an audio recorder, a radio tracking device and binoculars, Boyce followed young sparrows recording their interactions and sounds.
“We recorded hours of audio and wrote down every notable action and sound the song sparrows would make. Among our small team we collected data nearly every day for an entire year,” recalls Hamilton. The objective of the research is to understand which factors are important in the birds’ early life in determining their song repertoires, which will remain with them the rest of their lives.
Inspired by this research, the band produced a short film to accompany their song “As The Clouds Drift By.” The film was shot on location in Discovery Park and at the University of Washington. It can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr61xJuu6fM
This attention to detail and respect for the natural environment is evident in the band’s recordings engineered by Hamilton Boyce for Song Sparrow Research. Both Song Sparrow Research albums were recorded in unorthodox settings. For “Welcome to the Potato Famine” they utilized the vast space of a giant, metal working warehouse in Seattle to capture a dynamic and expansive sound. In their second full length they chose a rustic wood lined cafe and other small quirky spaces to create smooth warm tones that round out the sound of their complex arrangements. In both cases the bands approach has been organic and DIY all the way.
Formation of the band:
Garfield High School in Seattle and The University of Washington were the backdrop for the formation of the band. While Hamilton Boyce, Ryan Batie and Kendall Becker played and toured with the acclaimed Garfield High School Jazz Band, Kendall Becker also played with David Balatero in the Garfield Orchestra performing large symphonic works. They began improvising and collaborating after school and on weekends and Song Sparrow Research was formed. Evan Woodel joined the group after meeting David in a modern jazz and improv groups at UW.
Their combined backgrounds in jazz and classical and their love of folk, rock, beautiful melodies, inventive rhythms and intricate arrangements create a blend of sounds that is unique to Song Sparrow Research. Their passion for continually evolving and expanding musical boundaries creates a shared passion and ongoing inspiration for the group.