He immediately quit his job and was in Iceland just weeks later, making would become his first EP. Released in late 2013, he named the six-song EP Continuation Day, a nod to a Zen monk that profoundly impacted Gallo as a teen. Soon after, he signed a record deal with the Malibu label Record Collection (Fiona Apple, John Frusciante) and a publishing deal with London’s avant-garde Warp Records (Brian Eno, Grizzly Bear, Aphex Twin). Over the course of less than a year, Gallo went from not even making music to working with artists that he had admired for years. Bewildered and humbled, he began thinking about making his to make his first full-length length, which would become Tell Me The Ghost.
Gallo began recording Tell Me The Ghost in 2016 — alone at home, with an old nylon-string Spanish guitar and a cheap microphone. Out of these stripped-down constraints bloomed a record of oddly sparse yet memorable melodies, framed by delicate guitar patterns, whisper-like singing, and minimalist percussion. After single-handedly performing, recording, and producing the album by himself, Gallo sent a note to Grammy award-winning engineer Tchad Blake in hopes that he would mix it. Blake, known for his work with artists like Paul McCartney, The Black Keys, Sheryl Crow, Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel, and U2 (among many others) took to the album immediately, mixing “Slow Moon” that day and eventually taking on the full album as a passion project. Though he was initially hesitant, Gallo was urged to release the record by Grammy winning producer and bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, M83, Paramore), music guru Tony Berg, and close friend Moses Sumney. Before officially deciding to release it, DJ Chris Douridas began spinning “Tell Me The Ghost” on KCRW.
When making Tell Me The Ghost, set for release on March 30 via Tone Tree Music, Gallo challenged himself to make music in an entirely different direction than he’d ever gone; the entire record is built on the musical constraints that he fears the most. He locked himself in a room and worked quickly and imperfectly in one sitting, as to not second guess anything. Lyrically, he veered away from hooks and instead focused on more intimate settings, “I wasn’t interested in songwriting or craft, but instead to tell small stories that have an emotional impact on me.” Even though he doesn’t consider himself a singer, his soft, mellow vocals haunt each track, along with vocal samples that he crafted into string sounds. The album’s percussion was constructed from his hands hitting the guitar or stomping his feet. And while each sound is thoughtfully constructed, Gallo’s vision for the album was to let the music flow on its own, “It was to create for the sake of creating, to not worry about the product at the end. To allow the imperfections to just sit there and to let it be what is was.”
Sarah Bennett – email@example.com