Ete AhPing’s new solo album is personal
Singer and songwriter Ete AhPing, who will play acoustic sets at the Chateaux at Deer Valley, got into music seriously when he was 11, back in the early 1990s.
Seattle’s Nirvana had released "Nevermind," the ground-breaking "grunge" album that turned the music industry on its side.
Before that album, the radio was filled with the likes of ’80s glam rock bands such as Poison, White Lion, Cinderella and mid-career Bon Jovi.
AhPing was taken by the rawness and realism of "Nevermind" and wanted more.
Two years later, Chicago-based Smashing Pumpkins released its sophomore CD "Siamese Dream" and that was it.
"My sister plays the guitar and at that time, she was just starting, liked what I heard," AhPing said during an interview with The Park Record. "My heart lies with those alternative bands of the 1990s."
As his musical tastes developed, AhPing, who grew up in New Jersey, discovered other independent bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, the Feelies and early Modest Mouse.
"Things just progressed from there," he said. "I was always following new music and going to as many shows as I could."
When he was 15, he and his sister, Carolee, began a band.
"We’d play gigs all over and had some success, but we were limited because of our age, so we went our separate ways," AhPing said. "But I wasn’t through with music."
AhPing continued to develop his style and worked with area musicians and the band Atomic Square.
He has played throughout Philadelphia and performed with other artists in Los Angeles, Calif.
Three years ago, he moved to Midway for work.
"I have a barn and made that into a studio," he said.
That’s when he decided to write songs for his first solo album, "-V+X."
"I had played in bands for so long, and they were all about trying to become something big," AhPing said. "I felt like I lost who I really was over the years, because I was always trying to write that big hit single, and all about the radio play."
So the solo work would be a project that would get AhPing in touch with his roots.
"This was the first time in 10 years when I felt like I was being 100 percent honest and had a pure motive for the songs," he said. "I wrote songs from the heart and what I was passionate about."
"-V+X" is a five-song collection of different styles that fit together in a multi-tiered sequence.
"The album has a lot of acoustic elements, drum machines and vocoders, but also a lot of organic and acoustic sounds," AhPing said. "I even had a cello and violin duet come up to work with me."
The songwriter recorded, mixed and mastered everything at Noisebox Studios in Orem by Dave Zimmerman.
"It took about one month to do it all," AhPing said. "It’s all me and something that I wanted to do for a long time."
One thing the album examines is song structure.
"The music I have always written for myself were different and not done in a normal way," AhPing said. "This was the first time I really embraced that on an album. I didn’t care if the songs weren’t mainstream. I didn’t care if anyone listened to it."
As he was writing, he was struck by the notion that many of his favorite songwriters also went against the grain.
"They have never tried to be anyone else and liked that philosophy," AhPing said. "So I did what I wanted.
"If you listen to the album’s first song, ‘Anniversary X,’ you will notice that it runs on an ABCD line up," he said. "There is no chorus, no repetition or bridge, but it all comes to you naturally."
"-V+X," which can be heard on AhPing’s website, http://www.eteAhPing.com , is the first of three five-songs albums.
"They are like EPs (extended plays), really," he said. "I did that on purpose because no one is buying CDs or records anymore. It’s all about the song."
AhPing’s plan is to release another album in March or April and then one later in the year.
"They all have different themes that can be put together as one project," he said.
The theme for "-V+X" was like an introduction.
"I wanted people to get to know who I was and learn about some of the struggles I had been through that led me to where I am now," he said. "It’s just about me."
The other two will deal with other ideas that are a part of AhPing’s life.
The performances at the Chateaux, on the other hand, will be an acoustic mix of originals and covers.
"They will be a good way to help me focus on singing and songwriting," he said.
Singer and songwriter Ete AhPing will perform at the Chateaux at Deer Valley every Friday at 4 p.m. from Dec. 14 through the end of March. For more information, visit http://www.eteAhPing.com.
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