We had the good fortune of connecting with Hamilton Boyce and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hamilton, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
My simple answer is, as cliche as it might sound, to never give up. One of my personal strengths (and also probably weaknesses) is that I really make a strong effort to carry every project I start to the end, no matter how long it takes or how challenging it is. I start creative projects because I want to do them and because art and music is how I express myself. Even if I get burned out on a project and it is taking up too much time and asking for too many resources, I often still find ways to complete it, even if that means changing the scope or acknowledging that the end result will not match my original concept. I will very likely always have incomplete projects floating around my life until the day I die, because the mind always seems to work faster than the body, and I am ok with that. This year, I am releasing an album that I started recording over five years ago and some of which I started writing years before that. Spending nearly a decade on one album may seem foolish or ill-advised but it is also the work that I am most proud of in my life thus far. It is the most “me” I’ve figured out how to express and no one else in the world could have made this album. Will it be worth it financially or logistically speaking? Probably not. But that’s not why I make art. I have never once regretted finishing something but I have often wished I had pushed more of my ideas into fruition. I will say though, there can be something liberating about making the decision to cut something out of your life that is no longer working. I am in the middle of a bit of that myself right now but it doesn’t feel like giving up, it feels like opening up. It feels like unclogging an artery or overcoming an asthma attack. Once you get that fresh air flowing, your mind and heart start opening up to express yourself in a more true way. For that reason, I say never give up but reevaluate often. Something you were going to drop might end up being the work you are most proud of. At the same time, certain projects may also drain you of your creative energy despite no longer aligning with your current creative vision. Often, in my experience, you probably already knew this going in but it might take you a while to make the full cognizant realization or to logically accept this. I try to be honest with myself as often as I possibly can and I think that is crucial. Good luck and godspeed.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a musician my work often has a vibey or moody quality to it and stylistically drifts between psych-pop and indie-folk to honky-tonk and Cosmic American, often right there in the middle. Zooming out, I’ve been opening myself up more to other forms of expression, which I have always participated in one way or another throughout my whole life, like photography, recording, storytelling, filmmaking, etc. I started a nature video series and podcast with one of my oldest and closest friends a couple years ago and I also started dabbling in producing other artists’ music and directing music videos, beyond my own—always for friends and people whose work I respect and connect with. Making a living as an artist is challenging and I’ve always had to supplement my income with “work work” of some kind but I always make sure to keep myself available for the creative work and I have been scheming ways to shift the balance to the other side.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I moved to Downtown Los Angeles from Seattle one year ago there were a lot of amazing bars, restaurants, venues which have all since closed down (or nearly closed) since Covid hit. No one should visit right now but I still love exploring the incredible architecture and history of DTLA and greater Los Angeles area. You can walk down Broadway and see the highest density of old theaters in the entire country, many of which have been preserved or immaculately restored, and even more of which are in various states of remodel or disarray. Every single building here has its own history that could last anyone a lifetime of research and learning. A couple of my favorite DTLA buildings are the Eastern Columbia building which is a turquoise Art Deco tower from 1930 and the Los Angeles City Hall building which always seems to find new ways of soaking up that LA light. Outside of the city Joshua Tree National Park is a must-see location and perfect for socially distanced enjoyment. My partner and I also visited Huntington Gardens recently which I would highly recommend and we plan on going back when the galleries and libraries open up, post-Covid. I also love exploring the Fashion District, Skid Row, East LA, and surely there are huge areas that I have yet to experience. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many friends and family members who have been crucial in my life and highly supportive of my music and art over the years including my mom, dad, brother, and partner who are all fantastic and highly creative in their own rights. I would not be who I am without them. Beyond them, one of the people who has motivated and inspired me and helped keep my forward momentum going over the last few years is my friend Matthew Bean who makes music under the name Sneaky Bones. He is always creating, always learning, and pushes those around him to be active and productive as well. We’ve co-written a lot of songs, created one-off side-projects, recorded music and talked business and logistics and he always has good ideas, suggestions and advice and he knows how to steer clear of the bullshit.
Taylor Washburn, Greg Kramer, Miles Burnett, Amy M Huber