Blog Tour: The Bookshelf Symphony Orchestra by Austin Farmer | Interview

Blog Tour: The Bookshelf Symphony Orchestra by Austin Farmer | Interview

Hey fam! So this blog tour is pretty interesting because it’s not really about a book at all. Instead, it’s about a playlist, or an album to be more specific, that Austin Farmer made based on different books that had an impact on his life. Me and my other blog tour hosts get to share with you one of the songs off this album and a short interview that we had with Farmer about that song.

I was so glad to be a part of this tour because I have never done something like this in my blogging career. It felt really unique and I think that the creativeness needed to compose a music for a book – let alone six or more! – is absolutely amazing. I know I couldn’t have done it. Thank you so much to Storytellers on Tour for hosting this blog tour and for including me as one of the hosts.

The Bookshelf Symphony Orchestra is an instrumental concept album created for readers and writers. Over the course of 2 years, Austin Farmer teamed up with brothers Addam and Heath Farmer to help produce, coarrange, and mix/master the album, bringing over a decade of experience in the music industry to the project. Every song is titled after the novel it was inspired by and couldn’t have been created without those stories. Austin’s previous songs have been featured on Nickelodeon, CBS, Fox Sports, and a national Sprint TV campaign with indie rock bands Island Apollo and The Bolts. Musical influences on this album include
songs from many of the instrumental playlists he’d listen to while writing fiction, including Two Steps From Hell, Bear McCreary, and Joe Hisaishi.

His short story “Beethoven’s Baton” is featured in Baker Street Irregulars, co-edited by Michael A. Ventrella and NYT Bestselling Author Jonathan Maberry.

Release Date: August 17, 2019

Austin Farmer is a musician, writer, and filmmaker from Southern California. His music has been featured on Nickelodeon, Fox Sports, and a national Sprint commercial. His short story “Beethoven’s Baton” is featured
in Baker Street Irregulars Volume 1 (co-edited by Michael A. Ventrella and NYT Bestselling Author Jonathan Maberry).

FUN FACTS:

  • I attended the Y’ALL (@Yallwest) West Writing Convention in 2018 a few years back and attended a “WRITING MUSIC, WRITING ABOUT MUSIC” panel. I asked a few authors if putting music out like this would be a good idea, and they suggested to go for it and put it out. I think they said to let them know if I ever did. That panel helped me get the courage to put out this music. I always wanted to find a way to thank them or Yallwest for that.
  • A lot of these songs were inspired by novels that I discovered because of Mysterious Galaxy Books (@Mystgalaxybooks) in San Diego. A lot of these authors had book signings, and I discovered a lot of these novels from those signings or different writing events, including the author of “Truthwitch” (Susan Dennard), “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding” (Alex Bracken), “The Fold” (Peter Cines), and more (about 9 of them).
  • Social Media helped me put out this music. I originally put the demoes out on Twitter and tagged the authors, and their support helped give me the courage to put this out as an album, too.
  • My uncle played with The Beach Boys for about 12 years as their live bassist.
  • I am the singer of a Rush Tribute band.
  • My Band Island Apollo reached 2 million plays for our single “Hold It Down” on Spotify.

If “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding” was a character theme song (not from this book), which character would it be for and why?

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (written by #1 NYT Bestselling Author Alexandra Bracken through Disney Hyperion) is such a joy and delight to read. I think it’s one of the perfect Halloween reads. I think it’ll become one of those books that families look forward to reading and re-reading each season like Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree. I discovered this book after attending many book signings at my favorite bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy, in San Diego, California, and I’m grateful that I went to this event. I was living in Orange County at the time and would drive to these events to discover new stories and support authors.

One of my favorite movies growing up was the Disney Channel Original movie, Halloweentown. Alex had mentioned she drew inspiration from this movie and other movies like Hocus Pocus and wanted to evoke that sense of spookiness in this novel. I think that’s why I was drawn to this novel as well. Every Halloween, when my brothers and I were younger, we would transform our garage into a haunted house, decked out with fog machines, strobe lights, and ghouls galore. My grandma would buy dry ice, put it in a cauldron, and give her best witch cackle to every trick-or-treater brave enough to walk up to our front porch. For Christmas, we would ask Santa to bring us new Halloween decorations so we could have the coolest haunted house of all. Yeah, we had aliens hiding in our presents under the Christmas tree, pretty hilarious! It was literally our thing to look forward to each year.

In Halloweentown, a group of siblings embark on a journey prompted by their grandmother to a place that is Halloween forever (my literal dream come true). Even writing that sentence makes me feel really nostalgic, because I can remember the feeling of giddiness we experienced every October first. If this song was a character’s theme song from another story, I think it could be the skeleton taxi driver from Halloweentown.

What was the process of creating this album?

Creating The Bookshelf Symphony Orchestra was such a wonderful and overwhelming process. At times, the idea of creating an album like this made me feel so nervous and anxious that I thought I would never be able to release something like this. Luckily, I had the incredible help of my brothers Addam and Heath to help bring this idea from 2-D to 3-D and then to infinity. The entire project was about a 2 year process.

When I first started writing these songs, I experienced many major life events at once that led me into a depression. It seemed like so much happened in a short amount of time that it felt like my life had completely changed. Reading these stories and writing these songs during that time provided me a lot of happiness when a lot of things in my life felt as though they were out of my control.

Most of these songs were written within a few hours, either at a coffeeshop or library, all from my laptop, while I was soul searching in between different gigs. It took us months to re-arrange and produce this. Heath and I sat at our family’s computer for many hours and picked apart every element of the songs. Stories and songs provide hope, and I believe they can be imprinted into your heart. It’s so mysterious how art can help guide us.

If you could make a music video for this song, what would the concept be and who would you have star in it?

When I wrote this song and the bridge in particular, I was imagining what it would be like to walk through The House of Seven Terrors featured in this novel. I would recreate that haunted house and have it star none other than Prosper Redding. 🙂

So here is the full album on Spotify for you to enjoy! I focused on my track but be sure to check out the entire album. I think I’m going to have to read Prosper Redding because I’ve never had the pleasure! Have you read this novel before? What should I expect when I read it? Let me know in the comments, fam! I’d love to hear from you.

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