One of the most significant differences between the Seattle music scene and any other I’ve experienced is the prevalence and importance on non-musicians.  Seattle’s many photographers, videographers, bloggers, and audio engineers make the scene what it is.  Without harping too much on chicken/egg or tree-falling-in-the-woods clichés, suffice to say that the role of these artists and journalists is vital to the health and sustainability of our talented local music community.

Dan Mangan (photo by Lori Paulson)

Perhaps the perfect example of these forces coalescing is – a collaborative project between photographer Dylan Preist, filmmaker Tyler Kalberg, and audio engineer Zach Varnell.  The basic premise is:

1)  Host a house show with three fantastic secret acts; selling reasonably priced tickets and packing the place to the gills.

2)  Set up high quality audio recording of the entire night and pick select songs to film.

3) Archive this audio, video, and photography online so everyone can experience it for free.

This uniquely comprehensive method embodies both creation and curation for our aural, visual, and ultimately emotional benefit.  In just a few episodes so far, they beautifully captured one-night-only performances by Dan Mangan, Cataldo, Damien Jurado, Hey Marseilles, The Head and the Heart, Kelli Schafer, Drew Grow & the Pastors’ Wives, John Vanderslice, and more.

I had the opportunity the sit down with the three founders around the time of launch to talk more about the project and their experiences with music community in the northwest.  You can listen to the interview based on my questions below, or [download id=”8″ format=”1″].

Drew Grow & the Pastors' Wives (photo by Robertsen Ashman)

MH: “What is the origin story for Notes From Home?”


MH: ” What has the response from artists been thus far?”


MH: “What does each show look like for you, in terms of logistics?”


MH: “From each of your perspectives, how would you characterize the northwest music scene?”


Cataldo (photo by Brittney Bollay)

MH ” What are some inhibitors to building community around music?”


Philosophies of records, construction, and preservation:


MH: “How has your experience in the music scene changed over time?”


MH: “What advice would you give someone going to a new city to do music?”


Please do your ears, eyes, and heart a favor: go check out and sign up on their email list to get updates about future shows.