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Flagpole Premieres: Kwazymoto, “The Dread”

Cover art by Maximos Salzman.

After over a year of floating in limbo, Kwazymoto’s newest single, “The Dread,” is finally here. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jesse Mangum at The Glow Recording Studio, the groundwork for the song was laid down in February of 2020, just shy of when the spread of COVID-19 sent everyone home to shelter in place. Clocking in at over seven minutes long, “The Dread” is a doozy that stomps its way through rhythmic chanting, grungy chugging and frenetic imploding.

Along with the majority of businesses in the music industry, The Glow was not immune from the pandemic’s impact and immediately shut down in order to adhere to CDC guidelines. Given the close-quarters nature of recording full bands, the studio’s gradual reopening was restricted to working with only one artist at a time. 

Kwazymoto’s singer and guitarist Ian Hemerlein—who also performs solo under the moniker Saint Syzygy—slowly began meeting up with Mangum over the last six months or so to finish the track. Prior to the pandemic, Hemerlein worked as Mangum’s assistant and was occasionally able to run his own sessions on days the studio was not already booked. 

“We remain good friends and message each other often with the hope that I will return to that same position one day once it has been deemed safe for him to be able to allow other people to come and go freely from the studio as we did before,” says Hemerlein. “He has been very vigilant and cautious of the pandemic out of concern for not just himself and his family, but for all of his clients as well. I greatly respect his decision and am proud to be able to work for someone who is not just excellent at their job, but is compassionate as well. Prioritizing the community’s safety over one’s own financial gain is not something you see often and should be applauded.”

Though The Glow has inarguably experienced a challenging year, it’s been an impressive one nonetheless. After a nine-year sweep as runner-up, The Glow was recently voted “Favorite Recording Studio” in the Flagpole Athens Favorites. Mangum, of course, also worked hard behind the scenes on many 2020 releases such as albums from Immaterial Possession, Nicholas Mallis, Rube and Kudzu Samurai, plus singles by LB, Baby Tony and the Teenies, The Dazy Chains and many, many others.