Volume One Special Coverage: Pulling Together While Staying Apart

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Adding onto the House

electronic music project North House goes cinematic

Sam Clark, photos by Andrea Paulseth

IN THE MIDI OF THE ACTION. UW-Eau Claire student Alex Tronson, who creates electronic music under the moniker North House, has released a new album.
IN THE MIDI OF THE ACTION. UW-Eau Claire student Alex Tronson, who creates electronic music under the moniker North House, has released a new album.

Music’s evolution into the digital age has made it infinitely easier for artists to immediately share their songs with fans from around the world, and it has also altered the way in which music is produced. Instead of relying on a bevy of people to record, mix, and master their tracks, artists can now opt to do it all themselves, creating songs within the confines of their own bedrooms using basic recording software and MIDI-controlled keyboards. An example of this newer breed of musician is Alex Tronson, a Minneapolis native and current UW-Eau Claire student who writes under the moniker North House. Since beginning his project last spring, Tronson has been busy writing and recording music; he already has two EPs under his belt and released his first full-length album, The Fluttering Heart, last August. In early May, Tronson unveiled his newest creation, a 10-song album entitled Deep Search.

“I’m developing my sound with whatever I’m in the mood for at that time, but I always want to have the same stylistic flourishes that make a North House song somewhat recognizable.” – Electronic musician Alex Tronson, on his project North House

Tronson’s interest in making music was initially sparked by Adam Young of Owl City, a fellow Minnesotan who saw phenomenal reception of the electro-pop songs he created in his bedroom. After receiving a MIDI keyboard from his father, Tronson began dabbling in electronic music as well and was soon posting short songs to online forums like Newgrounds. Fast forward a few years to the present day and Tronson is creating more cohesive songs, drawing influence from one-man electronic projects like Baths and Flying Lotus.  

“I see Deep Search as both a slight departure and an expansion of the music I’ve made previously,” says Tronson. “I’m developing my sound with whatever I’m in the mood for at that time, but I always want to have the same stylistic flourishes that make a North House song somewhat recognizable.”  

The songs on Deep Search not only show Tronson’s growth as a musician throughout his career, but his growth as a musician inside the confines of North House. Tracks feel more calculated and polished than on his previous releases, and many contain the prominent use of vocal sampling. Also evident on the album is a stronger focus on drums; this is a nod to Tronson’s own percussive background, and he notes that he was primarily inspired by hip-hop drum breaks from the 1990s.

Tronson’s music consistently has the unique qualities that make it perfect accompaniment for films and other multimedia projects. The aesthetic is no accident: Tronson has already done a couple of scores for video projects in Minneapolis, including a few for his brother Tyler, an independent filmmaker. Scoring a feature-length film or a video game is high on Tronson’s to-do list and is an aspiration that directly affects his work, giving his music what he calls a “cinematic feeling.”

All cinematic leanings aside, Tronson certainly has enough on his plate to keep him busy for the near future. Although North House has been primarily confined to a bedroom and the Internet, Tronson has played a few shows around Eau Claire over the past year. His goal is to develop a more exciting stage persona to assist him in promoting Deep Search in a live setting. Tronson is also hoping to complete a few music videos this summer to accompany his songs, and is already looking ahead to new directions to take on future recordings.

For updates on more North House news and music, check him out at facebook.com/NorthHouse. To download Deep Search along with the rest of the North House discography, head over to NorthHouse.Bandcamp.com.

Lasker Jewelers
Lasker Jewelers

Pulling Together Partners

The following organizations are currently supporting Volume One’s work in the community during the pandemic:

Lasker Jewelers

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire Inc DECI

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Pablo Group

Wisconsin Independent Network

Middle West Management

Bon Iver

Royal Credit Union

Silver Spring

Evergreen Surgical

Charter Bank

Chippewa Valley Technical College

The Murty Henriksen Family

The Larry and Marie Past Family

The Dan and Kerry Kincaid Family

Anton and Rae Schilling-Smets

Brady and Jeanne Foust

If your organization is interested in supporting Volume One during this difficult time, nick@volumeone.orgcontact us.