The Music of Many: Interview With Ryan Walsh

24 May

Ryan WalshRyan Walsh is a singer and guitarist for the Boston band Hallelujah The Hills. In celebration of their new album out this week, Walsh has teamed up with web comic Surviving the World to present a crowdsourced project to his fans. He asks participants to record their own personal melody for the phrase, “You can escape your fate but it’s not considered polite.” He’ll then sew them together into a single, collaborative musical masterpiece.

  • What happened was, Dante Shepherd asked us to guest host his web comic Surviving The World for a week in honor of our album release. We had four lessons (posts) set to go but I needed to turn in one more. I thought, well Dante has all of these cool, interesting followers; what if we somehow all built a song together?
  • I was Googling the evolutionary reasons for music and I was surprised that no one agreed on one theory. But after I read different theories for a while, I kept seeing this idea that it binds people together as a group. It seemed so obvious, but then sort of profound at the same time.
  • So this is an experiment to make some new kind of song but it’s also an experiment to bring a group of strangers together to work on something as a team.
  • There’s a reason I’m in a band and not a solo performer. It’s a hive mind type of thing. The one-hundredth monkey. When you can effectively pull ideas from everywhere and work together it’s like putting rocket fuel in your engine.
  • Everything is an idea at first. That’s why spending time improving idea-gathering skills is so important.
  • I’ve gotten 22 submissions so far. If I get 25 that’ll be enough, and if I get 200 that’ll work too.
  • I’m going to put them all on my iPod and get familiar with them for a few days. Then I’m just going to have fun with the cutting and pasting, and we’ll overdub some additional instruments and vocals on top. It could end up a 3 minute song or an hour-long piece!
  • This is an open-ended experiment. No expectations, it’s more fun that way. Certainly I hope to see something new, some kind of insight.
  • We could do something with only two or three tracks, honestly. But I think it’ll make the composition more interesting, diverse, and fun with more people involved. An avalanche of melodies will only be a good thing! It’s definitely the “collage” spirit.
  • I would love our entire fan base to join in.
  • If you record one sentence spoken by anyone you encounter today and play it on repeat it’ll reveal itself as music in about two minutes. For me, there’s a fine line between art made by committee (bad) and a group-sourced creation (good).
  • Every stranger is a possible partner in a creation neither of you have thought of yet.

Walsh is accepting submissions until June 1st, so whip out that voice recorder, sing for five seconds, and email the MP3 or song file to You could be a part of collaborative musical history, and/or win the entire HtH discography!


2 Responses to “The Music of Many: Interview With Ryan Walsh”


  1. The Hazards of Crowdsourcing an Opera « Tiny Work - July 4, 2012

    […] seen examples of people using crowdsourcing to create new works of art and music, but this is a whole different […]

  2. Hallelujah The Hills’ Ryan Walsh Releases His Crowd-Composed Song « Tiny Work - January 18, 2013

    […] Some time ago, I interviewed Ryan Walsh, the lead singer and guitarist for the indie band Hallelujah The Hills. He had just begun a project, presented by Surviving The World, that asked fans to submit their own musical interpretation of the phrase “You can escape your fate, but it’s not considered polite.” Walsh would then mix all of the submissions into a single, cohesive track, essentially creating an entirely crowdsourced composition. […]

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