NYC-based surf rock artist Guitarmy of One presents the single ‘Top Secret Agent Man on a Wire Tapped Phone at Sea’, the first taste of his forthcoming album ‘The Wave Files’. Crowdfunded via Kickstarter, this record picks up where ‘The Spy Detective Collective’ LP left off. The first video in what will be a short series sees this agent bust his buns to finally meet up with Agent Camille.
Guitarmy of One is the solo project of guitarist Scott Helland, who combines the thrilling sounds of spy-themed instrumental surf guitar music with punk vitality. Taking listeners on a sonic adventure to the realms of intrigue, danger and surf-soaked excitement, Helland channels that raw and unconventional spirit into a quirky fusion of genres.
Helland got his start playing bass guitar in the 80s-90s hardcore punk scene, first with Deep Wound, which he formed with J Mascis and Lou Barlow (of Dinosaur Jr.) and later with East Coast hardcore and crossover thrash stalwarts Outpatients, School of Violence and Darkside NYC. Going solo in the mid-90s, he released numerous eclectic instrumental albums before forming post-punk dark pop cabaret duo Frenchy and the Punk in 2005 with French singer Samantha Stephenson.
“I wanted this album to be music you want to travel with – in your mind or physically. It’s action music, and I think it should ignite your imagination and take you on a journey. Wordless music relies on the visuals it creates so if it can take you on a sonic adventure across continents, or at least counties, my work is done,” says Scott Helland.
“The idea for this album is rooted in spy and detective shows from the 60s, 70s and 80s. I want the music to be a sonic equivalent of those shows and movies where you’re riding the waves of intrigue and espionage so the music has to match that sense of urgency and excitement.”
Influenced by Spanish guitar, punk and metal, Guitarmy of One conjures up images of secret agents, high-speed chases, and hidden agendas through his intricate layered compositions. His mix of surf guitar techniques (i.e. reverb-drenched chords, lightning-fast tremolo picking, and tremolo bar vibrato albeit with a Bigsby bridge pedal) creates a sonic landscape that is both nostalgic and forward-thinking.
As a full-fledged espionage-inspired surf rock act, Guitarmy of One takes us on a thrilling musical journey, blending the realms of instrumental guitar, surf music and the mystique of spy themes within the one person band format. Helland weaves his mysterious and generous acoustic-electric melodies over propulsive spy riffs and electro beats, layering and building patiently toward engrossing payoffs.
Scott Helland explains, “Top Secret Agent Man on a Wire Tapped Phone at Sea’ is inspired by the 1966 song by Johnny Rivers ’Secret Agent Man’. It starts with a reverb soaked low guitar octave and then goes into the main driving bass line and drum beat and the reverbed guitars blast in after that. It was one of the last songs I wrote for the album so naturally I thought it should be the first single as it has this fresh upbeat vibe. I think for the first single it captures the excitement of The Waves Files theme.”
Guitarmy of One’s live performances are a spectacle as the stage becomes a laboratory of sound, as layers of guitar riffs, bass lines, and percussion intertwine and overlap, creating a lush and dynamic musical tapestry. Armed with a guitar, loop pedals, drum pads and an array of effects pedals, Helland creates a symphony of sound right before your eyes.
As of June 14, “Top Secret Agent Man on a Wire Tapped Phone at Sea’ will be available exclusively on Bandcamp. It hits other digital platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music, on June 21. On August 18, ‘The Wave Files’ album will be released on CD, as well as digitally.
Written, performed and produced by Scott Helland
All instrumentation by Scott Helland
Engineered by Jason Sarubbi Split Rock Studio, New Paltz, NY
Mastered by Jason Sarubbi
Cover Art by Nukui Bogard
Layout and Single Design Samantha Stephenson
Video Filmed and Edited by Guitarmy of One
Artist photos by Samantha Stephenson
1 . Top Secret Agent Man on a Wire Tapped Phone at Sea
2 . Jack Lord of the Sea
3 . Kolchak meets the Sea Mobster
4 . Soylent Seafoam Green
5 . The Sea and the Seventh Veil of Surveillance
6 . Plight of the Searchlight
7 . Sea Legs Diamond
8 . Espionage a Trois on the Open Sea
9 . Must be the Season of Treason
10 . Seance for the Saint
JUNE 23-25 Harpursville, NY – New York Faerie Festival 2023
JULY 1 New York, NY – Parkside Lounge @8pm
JULY 4 Brooklyn, NY – Coney Island Brewer @1:30pm
SEPT 1-3 Atlanta, GA – DragonCon 2023
OCT 7 New York, NY – Unsteady Freddie’s Surf Rock Shindig