Drummer Troy Gatrell, of the Richmond band Clair Morgan, will write and record a five-song EP within public view as part of The SoundView Project. (Photo by Joey Wharton)
John Mills, owner and creative strategist for local branding agency Release The Hounds, is collaborating with RVA-based label EggHunt Records for a month-long public experiment that is giving viewers an insight on how music is made, and helping improve music education programs in the city along the way.
The idea took shape after Mills reconnected with EggHunt co-founder Adam Henceroth, and Henceroth's record label moved into the Release The Hounds office space. Together, they came up with The SoundView Project, an effort based out of the gallery space on the first floor of their office.
“It’s a really cool sort of art experiment where an artist has 30 days to write and record a five-song EP in public,” says Mills. “We want to show the public and give them a glimpse inside the writing and recording process.”
The project coincides with First Fridays and runs from Sept. 2 to Oct. 7. SoundView’s first featured artist is Troy Gatrell, drummer for local indie band Clair Morgan. Over the 30 days, passersby will be able to stop and watch Gatrell write and record the EP through the gallery’s window. The whole process will be documented on Facebook and Instagram, where fans can visit and find out when Gatrell is in the studio.
The SoundView Project is also aiming to raise awareness of the importance of music education in Richmond schools. Every day, Mills will be displaying a vinyl sticker on the gallery window with statistics showing the benefits of music education from an early age.
“It’s something that’s not taken as seriously in the city schools as it probably should be,” says Mills. “The core curriculum is super important, but if you’re in a band or you play music, there’s such a profound way that it changes your life.”
They will also be accepting lightly used instruments that will be refurbished and distributed to children and local music programs in need with the help of Music4More, a Baltimore-based music charity.
“It’s been so great to see the community of musicians. Richmond is such a great music city now — they’re learning about it and saying, ‘Hey, man, I learned to play on this guitar, and I don’t really use it anymore; I’d love for some kid to get it and get some use out of it,’ ” says Mills.
If you'd like to see The SoundView Project for yourself or drop off instruments for donation, visit the Release The Hounds office at 305 W. Broad St. Read more about EggHunt Records and its role in the Richmond music industry in the September issue of Richmond magazine.