Lone Pine Records is dedicated to releasing the music of original, contemporary artists. Refusing to be pigeon-holed by the concept of music genre, our vision is wide.
An interview with founder Bill Fiorella:
How did Lone Pine Records come to be?
“The idea for Lone Pine Records was conceived on my front porch in Topanga Canyon, CA. I was a full-time luthier, so we were always welcoming a steady stream of artists and their instruments. Some were friends, others were virtual strangers. But, there was always music, and mostly original music. Our home became a gathering place. People began to familiarize themselves with one another, songs were exchanged, dinners were shared, fires were built, wine was drank. That was the beginning…”
“But, it wasn’t until I moved away from the seaside mountains to the small mile-high town of Wrightwood, CA, nestled into the Angeles National Forest, that the idea for Lone Pine Records came into fruition. It was there that I truly felt inspired to bring the music, from some of the artists that I was fortunate enough to hear on my porch, out into the world in a cohesive manner that would illuminate the connection between them. Looking back on those “magical” days in Topanga, I feel I was witnessing the beginnings of a musical movement. There was a thread that connected these songwriters’ words and sounds- though the music itself was radically different, there was a continuity, a lyrical delicacy, an ancient intimacy and sensitivity that bore relevance to the modern time that all their music had in common. I felt this movement needed to be captured and sonically revealed to the general public. So, it was here in our home in the woods, where nature’s song is everywhere, that I recognized my responsibility. I had to pick up where we had left off, to bring that sound movement into the forefront, to create some noise and allow that movement to be noticed…and so, Lone Pine Records was born.”
What role do you play in the making of a Lone Pine Record?
“I choose the artists, organize the studio sessions, assemble the musicians, and produce the records. I exert a certain amount of creative input in the process, but always respect the artist’s vision. It’s a very collaborative approach.”
Where did the name Lone Pine Records come from?
“We used to live right above Lone Pine Canyon. Lone Pine Records is intimately related to our experience of living in the town of Wrightwood. This location is where the label was realized and our first two albums were recorded. Sometimes I feel our artists are like Lone Pines…their music stands on it’s own.. its unique. Some of our artists never wanted to be musicians, their playing was just a private extension of themselves. Lone Pines…each to their own, but intrinsically connected to the forest to which they belong. But I don’t spend too much time thinking about it, mainly it’s a tribute to the place where LPR was born.”
How did the idea from Topanga come into being in Wrightwood?
“The realization of the idea was a direct result of meeting Tyrone Meriner. Tyrone had a studio, Analog Cabin. The folk at Analog Cabin were willing to open their doors, share in my vision, and allowed the dream of a record label to become a reality. They’ve become my close friends, recording an album has become a family affair; it’s in many ways a partnership.
What else can you tell me about Lone Pine Records?
“It’s a label that’s inspired and informed by the great classic record labels. You know… Stax, Blue Note, Sun.. Back in the day, a record label had a sound, in other words, every artist on the label had a commonality with the label’s sound, because the studio was typically using the same back up band for all of their artists. That was common back in the day, and you don’t see that as much anymore. But that’s what we are trying to do here.. use the same pool of musicians, who are local to back up our artists. Though each artist’s music may be really unique and different, the sheer fact that we may be using the same bass player and drummer, gives a common link between the records- this is a very old fashioned idea in the record business and this is the approach we are trying to take.”
In your opinion, and in your experience with recording, what is the difference in sound quality between analog and digital?
“Digital is super clean and tight… it’s numbers vs. actual vibrations. The technology is always changing and moving towards some kind of precision and ease of use. Analog is the opposite! All kinds of old gear that constantly needs fixing… backround hum on all your tracks… I love it. It’s warm and fuzzy. I think if I rubbed my fingernail in the groove of a record, I could hear it.”
So, are you recording all analog?
“I wish! But the reality of it is that recording 100% analog is expensive and we’re just getting started here. My goal is to stay as close to analog as possible with each project. Our first release, Matthew O’Neill’s album “Campfire Cook” was all analog beginning to end with no computers involved at all, but some of our other projects are mixed. The most important thing to me is to put out quality records that are relevant to our time.”