Six years ago, Tim Hoyt and Franc Castillejos were members of Estates, an Atlanta-based band whose members hailed from as far away as Portland and Guatemala. Castillejos eventually returned to Central America, where immigration laws prevented him from rejoining his friends and bandmates in the US. Unable to tour, record or even write songs together, Hoyt and Castillejos reluctantly decided to let the band die out.
In a last-ditch effort to make music together, the two recently launched a new project. Hoyt traveled to Guatemala, where he and Castillejos set up shop in an abandoned orphanage in the Cordillera Alux mountain range, just west of Guatemala city. They stayed there for three months, working on songs during the daytime and sleeping in the makeshift studio at night. The result is Mountain Sounds, a new band whose music incorporates the acoustic textures of Spanish folk music, the familiar twang of Americana, and multiple points in between.
In this live performance of “Miles to Welcome,” the two turn in a stark, melancholy performance. Drums anchor the song, while bursts of unexpected vocal harmony give it a poppy twist.
“[It] was the first song we recorded for the album,” Hoyt explains. “We actually began tracking it while Franc and I were still in completely different countries. We tried a lot of different directions before we really found the right sound for the song, but once we did, it gave us a clear vision on what the rest of the record should sound like, and how we could pull it off.”