The Guide to Fast Living
The Guide to Fast Living is the solo project of Otto’s Revenge singer Kurt Hoffmann.
The Guide to Fast Living live at the Surfer Rosa music series 2019.
I consider the start of this project to be 1999 after I had moved to Northern California. I decided I wanted to be active in music but go in a new direction of not having a full band - since that had always been the achilles heel of Otto's Revenge - and just me and a producer who could provide beats and other creative elements.
The first incarnation of that was when I met Chris Beard who was doing more electronic, beat-oriented music but was also a drummer. Chris was a great talent and I love what he brought to my music.
Things with Chris fell apart in less than a year, but he had a profound impact that let my new direction of writing solo material and working with producers to create a unique sound.
From the liner notes of “Is it Loneliness or Is it Solitude?”:
“I Believe” was recorded in 1999 shortly after I first moved to California and met Chris Beard. Chris and I recorded a number of songs at a studio in Cotati (I believe the name was Big Bear), however only “I Believe” made it to a full mix before the project derailed. That project was really important nonetheless as it was my first exploration of a new format of just writing songs and working with a producer to complete them. I chose this route after my experiences of Otto’s Revenge so often getting stalled by member issues.
I continued to work on material while starting a family and business without much to show for it until 2009 when I met Scott Barwick, a producer in Chico, California. Scott and I started recording new material with him building out all the missing parts: drums, bass, etc., etc. etc. About halfway through that project however, I moved from Redding to Santa Rosa about 3 hours away. Scott and I continued to work but it was much more difficult and progress slowed considerably.
In 2011, I met Neil Raphael, a producer in Santa Rosa. Neil has become an incredible partner in the music. It’s so rewarding to start with the raw guitar and vocals song foundation and experience the makeover he sends back. I experienced the same with Scott as well, but being in the same town with Neil (Chico was about an hour from Redding where I was living when Scott and I were collaborating) we’ve been able to build something more consistent. We started making progress on the material and worked with Scott to complete the record in 2013.
One of the really exciting parts of the record was finding Suellen Primost, a cellist from Oakland. We originally wanted to just add a few accent pieces to a few of the songs. But since she was coming all the way up from Oakland, we decided to just let her try whatever she had come up with for all the songs. The result was that the cello became a defining part of the music.
Putting the record out was put on hold while Neil and I collaborated on the soundtrack for a documentary I produced that year, “Win. Lose. Forgive.” (http://www.WinLoseForgive.com) also featuring Suellen. We also became busy working on and recording our 2nd record. In 2014 I also reconnected with the members of Otto’s Revenge and was able to restart that project. In addition to just loving being back together with my band in a completely new mental place, it’s also been really fun to be working on music from two different creative approaches (in many cases the same song).
The Guide to Fast Living "Your Far Away Face" is on the new record Mothership Cahokia coming 2020.
Below is a medley of songs of of "Is it Loneliness or is it Solitude"
The Guide to Fast Living record label: Alien Feedings.