Just about 13 years ago, after borrowing a 4-track and some other equipment from a friend, Marc Bianchi became Her Space Holiday in the safety of his Northern California home. After years of working behind the scenes, producing for a multitude of artists on his Audio Information Phenomena label, Bianchi had become known for making music unlike anything HSH fans would recognize today. Lucky for him (and his fans), one of those 4-track experiments got out, and in 1996 found release thanks to the folks at TigerStyle Records.
“When I was growing up, I initially played in hard-core bands,” claimed Bianchi, a native of San Mateo, California, in a recent phone interview. “But I didn’t know if I wanted to tour, so I stepped out of the band scene and borrowed a 4-track, some microphones, and a couple other things from a friend and started playing around with them. I was always shy about my music,” he continued. “And after I got out on TigerStyle, I got more comfortable with the idea [of performing]. Life is gonna give you what it’s gonna give you. You gotta roll with it.”
It’s this positive attitude that’s ultimately worked to Bianchi’s musical benefit. “I mean, if I’d tried to do what I’m doing, it probably wouldn’t have happened,” he philosophized. Given Bianchi’s go-with-the-flow style of life, it’s not surprising to hear elements of continual growth in his music. Despite an electronic approach to songwriting, Her Space Holiday is regularly credited in the indie pop scene for its somewhat whimsical and carefree instrumental layering, paired with ironically astute and bittersweet lyrics. The end result has always been a delightful conundrum, to say the least. But with HSH’s latest record, XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival, Bianchi’s reached back to his earliest days as a musician and broken away from the keyboard-heavy style fans have come to know him for.
“There’s a change of pace with the new album,” Bianchi explained. “I got burned out. I was debating whether or not to continue with music on a beach in Spain, and a friend suggested I go back to the basics. I was burned out on sitting behind the computer; it seemed I spent more time editing songs than actually writing them. So I got a drum set and a banjo, which started out as an experiment, but I ended up with 14 songs.”
“With XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival, the record came out as more of a philosophy of life,” Bianchi explained, “not to be too new age-y.” Now Bianchi’s reworked the band’s core setup to include two guitars, two standard drum sets, and a bassist - in addition to keyboards. And, unsurprisingly, diehard Her Space Holiday fans may not know what to expect, as the new album is a far cry from the harmonious, up-tempo tracks like “A Match Made in Texas” (off 2005’s The Past Presents the Future).
“I don’t really know what I could say to people who like our old records; but this is the most carefree record I’ve ever done,” Biachi explained. “The process was so creative and free, and maybe it’s because it’s the most current, but it’s probably my favorite record so far.”
Anyone over the age of 18 can thank Velvet Jones and Club Mercy for their combined work in bringing Her Space Holiday back not only to Santa Barbara, but to an all-ages venue. “I think we’ve played there before,” Bianchi recalled, “Once, a long time ago; I remember there being a nice atmosphere. We haven’t toured the States in a while, and the Santa Barbara show is one of our first on this tour. It’s so important to have all-ages venues. What’s strange is I’ve been doing this for 14 years, and the older we get, the crowd doesn’t seem to at all. I remember when I was a kid, at that age, music was so important to me. It’s important and vital to the scene that everyone has access.”
Her Space Holiday will play Velvet Jones (423 State St.) on Friday, May 8 at 9 p.m. has been canceled due to the Jesusita Fire. Call 965-8676 or visit clubmercy.com for info.