I met Angela at Grid Zine Fest 2022 in Salt Lake City and went away with her You Are A Robot comic and spiraled down to her band Putty and their decade-old album called Happy Sparks featuring the song on which the comic was based.
We have to know more…
I met you at Grid Zine Fest in Salt Lake where I picked up a copy of You Are a Robot zine. It’s my first exposure to your world. I think Putty is Angela on vocals? Why isn’t there more Putty music? Why aren’t they famous? I must have answers!
Haha, we all want to know these things! Let me whittle down the giant response I initially wrote down the other day and get that out to you.
10 years ago I made an album with my husband Eric called “Happy Sparks”. We are both musicians and wanted to come up with an album of “not precious” music, if that makes sense. Like, just try and see what happens and have fun.
I had previously recorded under the name Angypants, and did an album called “Great Place” (find it here https://angypants.bandcamp.com/album/a-great-place on bandcamp! It’s warbley and a great time) but those were all songs I had done myself and acoustically.
I’d come home from working at the bookstore and we’d lay down tons of takes of vocal track takes. On that album, I’m singing and did most of the lyrics. Eric’s behind most of the song structure and all of the synths and production.
Eric previously (and to this day) records as Aklo and Tillinghast Music, two spooky Lovecraftian ambientish music projects. https://aklo-lovecraftian.bandcamp.com
When our album Happy Sparks came out (this was before TikTok and Instagram but after MySpace) it was sort of a weird time to do your own music if you had no sense of marketing (like ourselves). We made a little YouTube video for “Be Yourself” (I made all those puppets and plush) and a Bandcamp page, but that was it.
A local writer for the City Weekly somehow found our album before we officially announced it and gave us a really nice review and asked similar questions as you. Our only answer was to reply that we did indeed finally have a Facebook page.
We had no sense of what to do after having made what we both felt was a really solid album, that had no audience but our friends and family. We got sort of nervous, I think, with that positivity and attention and then didn’t make anything else for years.
In the meantime, I ended up focusing on another band I was in, Bonjour Fanny, that had Steph Costa singing and writing and myself on bass, with some rotating members on guitar and drums (our longest lineup was Emily Allen on guitar and Trent Tate on drums). That band was also really good and had much acclaim among family and friends and no idea how to market itself outside of Instagram and Facebook, at that point.
Like, music is hard and it’s hard to get people to care about it. With Bonjour Fanny it was additionally hard when we would book gigs that had little to no audience, and eventually our members sort of had real life problems and kids come along so we disbanded that project.
We tried to revive Putty with Eric, myself and our friend Emily (from Bonjour Fanny) but mostly Emily and I were still into playing live music so Eric never got as into the project. Emily and I recorded and made little cartoons under the Gentle Cookie Productions site in YouTube.
Then I had an opportunity to finally finish my bachelor’s degree so I focused on that pretty exclusively for a few years. Now that is done and honestly in my head I still want to create more Putty videos, but also focus on recording new music. It’s a little bit of a “and then what?” mentality holding us back sometimes. Like, do we just keep putting things on Bandcamp for friends and family to enjoy? Is that enough? If we wanted to market it more is it worth it and what would that even look like? And then we get tired and make something else.
It’s honestly interesting to write all this out- I’ve never ever had the opportunity to look at our music making (and not-making) trajectory this way.