After establishing himself as a producer for numerous artists, Nashville-based musician, Hunter West had a longing to share his own music with the world. This resulted in Outer League; a music project with a vibrant sound filled with engaging dynamics, tantalizing electronic elements, and infectious hooks. After releasing his debut single “What’s On Your Mind?” last year, Outer League followed up with his sophomore single “All Of You” in January.
“All Of You” is a song that instantly catches your attention and beckons you to play it on repeat. After listening to it a couple of dozen times we were eager to know more. We reached out to Outer League to find out about his music, production work, and much more. Here’s what he had to say:
“All Of You” is an ultra-infectious song that had us hooked immediately. Can you tell us how this song came to life?
Thank you! It’s not a super exciting story but it’s kind of a funny one I guess… I was back in my hometown for Thanksgiving this past year and there was a day where I was just sort of chilling with my wife at her parent’s house but nothing was really going on because our families were at work. I just set up my laptop on their kitchen table and started seeing if I could mess around in Logic and come up with something inspiring to build on when I got back to Nashville. I wrote the whole arrangement and made a quick demo in like an hour and felt really excited about it. Once I got back to Nashville, I started adding real instruments and honing in the production/vibe of it and then just wrote what came to mind. The song is pretty upbeat and fun but it had this romantic kind of feeling to me for some reason. So I wrote the lyrics after the track was mostly done, mainly from the perspective of entering into a long-term relationship with someone and all the feelings that come with that.
Last year you released your excellent debut single “What’s On Your Mind?”. What inspired that song, and what drove you to choose it as your debut single?
I’ll try to make a long story as short as I can… but I have always wanted to have a project where I could put music out that I felt was truly me and that I was proud of. Like something I would actually listen to if I didn’t know myself. I’ve tried it here and there over the years but never felt like I was super proud of it or that it felt honest enough. As I have continued to work on other people’s music more and more in the last year or two, I would feel the spark occasionally of wanting to work on my own music again, but would always get demotivated or discouraged by feeling like I couldn’t get a vocal performance I felt good about. Singing is just not something I’ve ever worked at or known how to do “correctly”. I don’t even really think about singing. For me, it’s more of just a vehicle to help convey a thought or mood. Somehow, I was able to sort of break down a wall when I wrote “What’s On Your Mind?” and find a way of singing that I feel okay about now. So it wasn’t a conscious decision for it to be the debut single, it just happened to be the first song I wrote that I felt okay about my voice on it haha. I’m only hoping that I can continue to feel like I’m able to channel whatever it is that I have been the last few months as long as I feel I’m supposed to be putting out my own music if that makes sense? I don’t want to ever force it. If it happens, it happens.
As both an artist and a producer, does your creative approach differ depending on whether you’re creating your own music vs. working with other artists?
Actually, yes. To put it simply, my process for creating my own music is all over the place. Lots of just realizing an idea has hit me or dropped in my lap in a moment and then trying to run with it while I have it, hoping I can hang onto the idea long enough to get out what seems to want to come out.
Working with other artists/bands as a producer, I’m a good bit more calculated/organized/ and usually have a clear mind on my vision for a song/project. Kind of odd how they can be so opposite doing essentially the same thing but that’s just how it’s working for now.
Your music has such a vibrant sound and energy. Who are some of your favorite artists who have inspired you and influenced your sound and style?
That’s hard to say. In one way I feel heavily influenced by so many artists/bands all over the place but I don’t feel many of those influences necessarily make their way into my music. I also haven’t had basically anybody saying things like “oh cool, this sorta sounds like this or that,” which I guess is a good thing. It’s hard to describe but right now, and this is still pretty new to me, but I have this sort of blurry vision sonically and aesthetically that I feel like I’m feeding off of. I don’t know where it comes from or what it means but I can sort of reach out and touch it in certain moments and that’s when things happen.
Being based here in Nashville, how do you feel about the current state of the local alt/indie/pop/rock music scene, and what are your hopes for the future growth of music city?
To be honest, I don’t feel super in the know about what’s happening “in the scene” if you will. I don’t get out to shows and such as much as I would like to, mainly because I’m usually working in the studio on things or am trying to spend time with my wife/friends. I’m also kind of terrible at networking. I can talk all day with someone if it’s not forced conversation, but as soon as it feels like small talk, I have a hard time haha. I will say that I feel like there’s not a ton of new bands or artists doing fresh indie rock/alt stuff so I would like to see more of that. On the other hand, there are so many people in Nashville doing amazing things in other types of music that I love which is really inspiring. It feels like most people in Nashville are simply chasing whatever they think will get them on playlists. I promise I’m not pessimistic about that topic, I just think that’s what I’m seeing currently.
Can we expect more music from Outer League this year?
Definitely! I don’t have any kind of guideline or plan of how often/when to release music, but I can say that I am continuously working on new stuff! I really just want to feel the freedom to experiment and try different things, release when I can, and have fun with it.
“All Of You” release date: 01.30.20
Image credits: Samuel Katz