New Age Music Guide is proud to present an interview with Deborah Martin and Jill Haley about their new album “The Silence of Grace“. Here we learn how this unique music project came to be and their inspirations. We are also happy to report that they start working on a second album in August!
BT Fasmer: Congratulations on the release of “The Silence of Grace”! How did you meet – and when did you decide to do an album together?
Deborah Martin: I first met Jill at a ZMR (Zone Music Reporter) event in New Orleans in 2017. Jill was one of the artists who performed at the event and I was immediately drawn to the sounds of the instruments she was playing (English horn and Oboe). So after the show heading to a group dinner, I caught up with Jill and introduced myself. We had dinner together, exchanged addresses and over the course of several months shared our respective album releases with each other. The following year we were both in attendance again in New Orleans and at that time I asked Jill if she would be interested in exploring a collaborative project with me. I have always been interested in combining acoustical instrumentation with electronic and synth-based sounds. Once we followed up with each other with phone calls and coordinating our schedules, Jill traveled from Pennsylvania to Washington, and in 2019 we spent a couple of weeks exploring various scenic areas and working in my studio. I couldn’t be more pleased with what the end result came out to be.
Jill Haley: I really can’t add much to the “how we met” question. I will say I was aware of and appreciated the Spotted Peccary music, but never envisioned being invited to share some of the sounds I make with Deborah. Needless to say, it was quite a thrill!
BT: “The Silence of Grace” has a unique sound. It is not every day we hear ambient melodies layered together with Oboe and English horn. Please tell us how you “discovered” this sound?
Jill: I see it more as Deborah creating the sound. The initial tracks I recorded on a keyboard were subjected to Deborah’s “wizardry” and morphed into something new and sometimes unfamiliar to me.
Deborah: I have always been fascinated with combining acoustical instrumentation and percussive elements with electronic and synth-based sounds. From working with guitar (my first instrument), to synths, Taos Drums, and many other hand-made percussion instruments from around the globe, I discovered layering recordings of these various acoustic instruments with electronic textures appealed to me as a magical combination. I’m always searching for new ways to go deeper with that technique. I love many of the classical instruments; their varying sounds hold the integrity of the past with a timeless appeal; as I love creating by combining ancient and modern tonalities, it felt like the next step to progress to.
Sample the album and find it on your favorite streaming service:
Jill: Deborah took me on a whirlwind tour of many areas near her home. I had not been to any of the places we visited, but did know I wanted to see the Columbia River Gorge.
Deborah: I am not sure how many of the locations we went to Jill was aware of. Some of the places we traveled to were Mt Tabor, The Grotto, a beautiful sanctuary space, Mt Hood, Mt Adams, and a few other areas we had time to hike into. Being out in nature helped to solidify the ideas for each of the tracks on the album.
BT: Our readers and listeners here on New Age Music Guide are BIG FANS of your music, and it is currently no. 5 on the New Age Music Chart. I guess you have had quite a few feedbacks from fans too?
Deborah: Wow, that is wonderful to hear! We have been getting fantastic reviews, and many of the listeners have been sending in great comments about the music.
Jill: Several people who follow my National Park recordings have been thrilled to hear “The Silence of Grace”. I also shared the video of Verdant Sanctuary Spotted Peccary put on their YouTube channel on my social media, and have received lots of positive comments about that.
BT: Have you considered doing a live performance of “The Silence of Grace”? I’m sure it would be magical.
Jill: It would be great, but I have no idea how Deborah would handle the recreation of the electronic sounds. My part is easy! Give me an oboe, English Horn, and a mic and I’m good to go!
Deborah: That would be something for sure . . . in a natural setting such as Red Rocks in Colorado, an outdoor arena in Sedona, or any of the National Parks . . . anywhere in nature would be awesome for sure, but it would take a little bit of planning with the electronics side of it – the percussion and acoustical would not be an issue.
BT: Not many music releases are truly unique, but “The Silence of Grace” is really that. Will there be more albums like this?
Deborah: Jill is actually traveling here again in August, where we will work on our second project together, which will be a continuation from “The Silence of Grace”. We also have plans for a third project!
Jill: All I can add is that it is opening my listeners and myself to a whole new world of sounds and it’s so exciting to hear it come together.
BT: Thank you Deborah and Jill for taking the time to answer these questions! I’m thrilled to hear that more music like “The Silence of Grace” is underway. On behalf of all your fans; thank you so much for this unique soundscape!