Note: All this month Second Stage is featuring artists from the RPM Challenge, 'The Wire' magazine's annual open invitation for musicians to produce an entire album in just one month. All songs featured are from CDs written and recorded in Feb.
New Drugs is the musical project of Aaron Wilson, an electronic solo artists based in Seattle, Wash. He's been playing in bands and making home recordings for about 12 years, using basic synthesizers, drum machines, loops and guitars. New Drugs' album for the RPM Challenge is Aquarium, featuring a tight collection of experimental, electro-pop songs.
"There was very little concept going into recording the album, except I wanted to keep the songs short and as concise as possible," says Wilson. "My wife was and is pregnant with our first child and I think subconsciously that became a theme for the album. Going to the doctors office and hearing a doppler of our baby's heartbeat was a wonderful and anxiety-inducing event, and I started to notice every time I went to record something it sort of sounded like a lullabye or an ultra sound. Actually the song 'Aloha' (from the album) has a sample of my daughters heartbeat on it which I recorded at the Dr.'s office with a little field recorder."
"Atlas in Mexico" was the first track Wilson recorded for the project. It's also his favorite. It's "one of those songs that just fell right into place," says Wilson. "Every song after that was just trying to fit around 'Atlas.' I was trying to write about the difficulty and consequences of sticking up for what you believe in but I don't know if that comes through so well in the lyrics."
Wilson recorded everything at home with a computer, synthesizer, drum machine, a guitar and some effects. His friend, Brendon Krebs helped with backing vocals on the song "Blue Dots."
"Recording Aquarium was the most rewarding thing I have ever done musically," says Wilson. "I think it will be one of those albums that if I listen to it ten years from now it will transport me back to this time because it really encapsulated my life so well. And that's probably the main reason I record — as a sort of time capsule."