As a co-founder of Austin-based band Soul Track Mind, Jonathon Zemek put in years crafting a soundtrack of funk and soul music that delighted fans in the Live Music Capital of the World and beyond. When the band decided to call it quits, Zemek began to pursue something totally different. His latest venture is more than just music as a multimedia project depicting a fictional coming of age story entitled “Hillcrest.” The project includes an album featuring Guy Forsyth, Malford Milligan, Matt Smith, Andrea Lindzey and Roderick Sanford, who all portray the vocal characters in the story of “Hillcrest,” giving voices to the art of an accompanying comic book illustrated by local street artist Chris Rogers. In addition to the featured vocalists, Austin musicians Alex Felan, David Webb, Doug Leveton, Ben George, Zach Buie, Jon
Merz and Brian Austin appear on the record, providing instrumentals to the songs. Both the album and the comic book are set to release September 21.
Zemek began working on “Hillcrest” in 2016 at the conclusion of his band, Soul Track Mind. Zemek sought to fuse music and art into a larger project of different mediums, deciding to tell a fictional coming of age story about a boy named Peter through an album and illustrating that story in comic book form. Crafting the plot of “Hillcrest” took over a year, with Zemek and producer Matt Smith working together to intertwine the music and narrative in an impactful way. Zemek wrote all the songs for “Hillcrest” and subsequently teamed up with Smith for the recording process at Lost Oasis Studio in Austin.
For the visual component Zemek teamed up with Chris Rogers, a muralist named the “Best Street Artist” in Austin in 2015 by the Austin Chronicle, to create the artwork for the story of “Hillcrest.” Rogers’ vivacious, unique style caught Zemek’s attention, and the passion Rogers put into the “Hillcrest” project shows how perfectly music and art work together to be a vehicle of storytelling. Rogers applied his signature style to comic book form, bringing alive the characters of the story in his and Zemek’s artistic vision.
Today Glide is excited to premiere one of the standout tracks from the album, “Death of Me”. The song has a dreamy, worldly sound to complement the story of one of the most intriguing characters in the comic book. Zemek blends a melange of Indian instruments with powerful harmonies to give the song a transcendent folk-rock sound. For vocals he enlisted the help of producer Matt Smith, who does a fine job conveying the emotional weight of the lyrics. Ultimately the song feels like it is part of a journey, which is perhaps the idea considering each song on the album fits into the accompanying story.
Reflecting on the song, Zemek has this to say:
“The song Death of Me was written as a transformation piece for the Guru character in the story / graphic novel Hillcrest. At it’s root the song is about going thru the struggles of life and the loss of the ego. The song was sung by producer Matt Smith, and we utilized more Indian instrumentation like sitar, tanpura, and tabla to compliment the track and give it a mystic feel.”