Atop a hill overlooking the Nashville valley, surrounded by industrial wasteland, sits what appears to be a paramilitary fortress. Massive, unnameable machines rust in the fields nearby, while a lone American flag adorns its concrete parapet. Inside, you will find the caverns of an abandoned steel-manufacturing multiplex, and one man: Steve Voss. In the adjacent cavern of a warehouse, a lone drum set and studio lights are set within 80,000 square feet of empty space. This is how Voss operates his studio, and where he conjures the sonic structures of his culminating project, Tetherball.
“Tetherball deals mostly with the concepts of madness and perception,” Voss explains. And he has come to this understanding through no small journey. As a youngster in Colorado Springs, he was thrown into a dizzying tide of touring and creative politics when his band, The Rouge, landed a deal with Atlantic. Still at an age where he was defining himself and his deeper interests, Voss was already neck-deep in a world where producers, co-writers, and label executives all wanted a piece of the creative process. He found himself crowded into a kitchen teeming with cooks, all demanding influence in the shaping of sounds and thoughts. Along with singer Josh Vaught, he moved along as best he knew how, but a sense of dissatisfaction and loss of control crept incessantly to the forefront. He had to make a break, and he did. Now Steve Voss and Josh Vaught continue to work together, but on their own projects, and ultimately toward their own aesthetic ends. This freedom allows a catharsis of ideas and motifs that have matured through the busy years of touring, playing, writing and recording.
Tetherball’s smart pop sensibility ranges from terse, high-stepping Spoon-informed riffs to swimmy introversion that would be quite at home on a Beck record. “It’s really fun and interesting the combination that words and ideas can have with a soundscape… like the score of a film.” Indeed, other disciplines are on Voss’s horizon - in the footsteps of multi-faceted creators like Paul McCartney, he hopes to expand his projects to film, print, and performance in the near future. As might be expected, literature and philosophy figure heavily in the Tetherball plot. While some of his lyrical characters are born from real-life friends and experiences, others enter the songs from the realm of fiction. Of note is Philip K. Dick’s dystopian sci-fi, which forms the basis for more than one Tetherball narrative.
With Tetherball, Steve Voss revels in new-found creative freedom and self-discovery, pursuing the full growth of the musical seeds he has cultivated over past years. As he constructs his own masterwork, he continues to record and produce other artists (among them Tesla Rossa, Sara Jean Kelley, The Almanacks) through his own Solar Cabin Studios. Appropriately titled "Whimsy", the full-length record will release in October 2014 along with a number of special music videos and extras.
What They're Saying:
"Tetherball's brand of catchy rock and roll is equal parts the Cars and the White Stripes." - PopMatters
"Even if all the aligning pieces aren't exactly uniform, band figurehead Steve Voss collects the madness and sews it all into one." - The 405
"With distorted guitar hits that are reminiscent of Primus but soft pop vocals similar to Cherub, the track is an out of the ordinary take on pop. It really sounds like something that could have been big in the 90s when alt-rock bands were a little more free to be oddballs." - Surviving the Golden Age
"Daft-Punk-vs-Primus smackdown" - The Deli