Originally published in Guitar World, May 2010
Armed with little else than a MacBook, Longwave guitarist Steve Schiltz records his own “twilight saga” entitled Tonight Is the Ghost.
Back in 2008, Steve Schiltz, singer and songwriter for the alt-rock band Longwave, began composing songs for what would eventually be their critically acclaimed fourth album, Secrets Are Sinister. However, while he was demoing music for the epic-sounding 2009 release, he also began writing songs of a more introspective nature. Schiltz knew the quieter tunes didn’t fit his band’s expansive sound, so he filed them away.
“Between tours I had some downtime, and I began recording some songs I had set aside,” he says. “I pretty much played all the instruments, sang all the parts myself and engineered the recordings at home using a MacBook. I didn’t go into a real studio because I didn’t have a record deal or a budget, but soon I discovered I really liked the intimate sound I was getting on my own.”
And that’s where it gets interesting…and a bit confusing. Schiltz leaked the songs to friends and music industry types under the moniker Hurricane Bells (“I thought it sounded more evocative than using my own name”). The DIY recordings reached the ears of the producers of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, who embraced the song “Monsters” and placed it on the movie’s soundtrack album. Soon after, the homemade recordings—entitled Tonight Is the Ghost—became a hot property, eventually landing at Vagrant Records.
Schiltz says that Longwave is still an ongoing concern, but it is clear he’s not giving up the Ghost just yet. Currently touring as Hurricane Bells with a full band featuring Ashen Keilyn of Scout on harmony vocals, the guitarist is determined to let his indie light shine. “If nothing else,” he says, “this project has demonstrated how much you can accomplish on your own. You don’t really need to spend a lot of money; you just need good songs and some vision.”