Moving beyond a successful album crowdfunding campaign to the release of his new single ‘Kolchak meets the Sea Mobster’, NYC-based surf-rock artist Guitarmy of One offers a fresh Spanish guitar-influenced taste of his forthcoming album ‘The Wave Files’, following the lead track ‘Top Secret Agent Man on a Wire Tapped Phone at Sea’.
Guitarmy of One is the solo project of guitarist Scott Helland, who combines the thrilling sounds of spy-themed instrumental surf guitar music with punk vitality. Taking listeners on a sonic adventure to the realms of intrigue, danger and surf-soaked excitement, Helland channels that raw and unconventional spirit into a quirky fusion of genres.
Helland got his start playing bass guitar in the 80s-90s hardcore punk scene, first with Deep Wound, which he formed with J Mascis and Lou Barlow (of Dinosaur Jr.) and later with East Coast hardcore and crossover thrash stalwarts Outpatients, School of Violence and Darkside NYC. Going solo in the mid-90s, he released numerous eclectic instrumental albums before forming post-punk dark pop cabaret duo Frenchy and the Punk in 2005 with French singer Samantha Stephenson.
“Kolchak Meets the Sea Mobster is inspired by the 70s thriller detective show Kolchak the Night Stalker. With its heavy dark surf rock vibe and spy noir riffing, the song conjures espionage on the open sea and the mystique of detectives on the case,” says Scott Helland.
This record picks up where his latest album ‘The Spy Detective Collective’ left off. Helland explains, “I wanted this album to be music you want to travel with – in your mind or physically. It’s action music, and I think it should ignite your imagination and take you on a journey. Wordless music relies on the visuals it creates so if it can take you on a sonic adventure across continents, or at least counties, my work is done. The idea for this album is rooted in spy and detective shows from the 60s, 70s and 80s. I want the music to be a sonic equivalent of those shows and movies where you’re riding the waves of intrigue and espionage so the music has to match that sense of urgency and excitement.”
As a full-fledged espionage-inspired surf rock act, Guitarmy of One takes us on a thrilling musical journey, blending the realms of instrumental guitar, surf music and the mystique of spy themes within the one person band format. Helland weaves his mysterious and generous acoustic-electric melodies over propulsive spy riffs and electro beats, layering and building patiently toward engrossing payoffs.
Influenced by Spanish guitar, punk and metal, Guitarmy of One conjures up images of secret agents, high-speed chases, and hidden agendas through his intricate layered compositions. His mix of surf guitar techniques (i.e. reverb-drenched chords, lightning-fast tremolo picking, and tremolo bar vibrato albeit with a Bigsby bridge pedal) creates a sonic landscape that is both nostalgic and forward-thinking.
In his live performances, Guitarmy of One becomes a laboratory of sound, as layers of guitar riffs, bass lines, and percussion intertwine and overlap, creating a lush and dynamic musical tapestry. Armed with a guitar, loop pedals, drum pads and an array of effects pedals, Helland creates a symphony of sound right before your eyes.
As of July 5, “Kolchak meets the Sea Mobster’ is available across digital platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp, where the full album can already be pre-ordered. On August 18, ‘The Wave Files’ album will be released on CD, as well as digitally.