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One of my earlier memories is a short exchange I had with my mom when I was somewhere around 4 or 5 years old, probably at the end of summer. I sat on my bed ruefully, and mom came in to investigate the cause of distress.

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Daniel 4

Artist in Residence 2017: Aaron Beaumont - Part 3


Aaron Beaumont


Curated by: 

Spark & Echo Arts, Artist in Residence


Image by Giorgio Trovato

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September 18, 2017

One of my earlier memories is a short exchange I had with my mom when I

was somewhere around 4 or 5 years old, probably at the end of summer. I sat on my bed ruefully, and mom came in to investigate the cause of distress. I informed her that my gloominess was down to the realization that I was growing up, and the fact that I didn’t want to. You might say I’ve had a adult-sized dose of nostalgia from birth. While, paradoxically, I’ve usually welcomed change, moving coast to coast, switching schools nearly every year, marauding over the frontier of my comfort zone, I’ve been equally obsessed with preserving my own past, or guilt-stricken when I fail to do so. This summer I pawed through a mountain of boxes back home in Illinois, filled with travel maps, notes from classmates, restaurant receipts, train fares, soccer jerseys, book reports, and concert tickets — I’m not a pack rat (he tells himself in the mirror every morning)… at least not in the age of limitless digital photos and magical apps like Genius Scan. Obsessively documenting and recording one’s life is not unique — rather, it seems like a prerequisite of the social media age.

Grappling with this passage’s complicated depiction of madness (presumed to be clinical lycanthropy), while simultaneously grappling with whether or not to keep that 90s era 6 Days, 7 nights movie stub, or simply take a photo of it, finally revealed something of the crux of Nebuchadnezzar’s plight: he found himself suddenly bereft of a past. The sudden absence of my own history, of memories of any kind, would for me represent the purest kind of madness, and maybe the worst kind of hell. Uprooted, and thrown into a completely unfamiliar state, the king had no context or sense of identity — one might even imagine Nebuchadnezzar as having been “born” into some new reality, plunging from solipsism into a complete loss of self. Indeed, the relationship between what we are and what we imagine ourselves to have been is challenging enough at full mental capacity. Imagining such a state, and ruminating generally on the dynamic nature of identity and the fragmentary process of memory-and-meaning-making, guided much of my progress on my project during this phase.

“Sampling” seemed an especially well suited analogue to this exploration of identity, memory, permanence, and personal histories. As such, I’ve made use of dozens of samples from my own existing musical catalogue, all the way back to my very earliest recordings of the first songs I ever wrote. Similarly, I’ve used field recordings and audio samples from my own life – time I’ve spent with my family, the sounds of rooms and rivers and seashells and fireworks. Many of these field recordings did not originate for this project, but rather out of my own quest to simply remember and record things that are most important to me. I tried to choose from these recordings samples that represent a journey through the wonder and terror of newness and things that might relate the very human experience of birth, growing, and self-realization to the story in Daniel 4. I also tried to place more emphasis on the mania, darkness, and alienation of Nebuchadnezzar’s bestial state, represented in the unsettling disintegration sketched out in movement three with its chopped and mangled samples and heavy effects.

I’ve pieced all these materials into a very rough construction of the full musical collage, which I’ve imagined in five movements (expanding on the four sketches I included in post #2). In addition to considerable polishing, mixing, rearranging, and inevitably, trimming, I plan to record more live instruments to flesh out the sections, and especially, add non-sampled vocals for movements three through five.

All music written, performed, and produced by Aaron Beaumont. 2017

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

Aaron Beaumont has toured the U.S. and Europe as a pianist and songwriter and been invited to share his work in wide-ranging venues from the Sziget Festival in Budapest to KCRW Santa Monica to the Tribeca Film Festival to off-Broadway Theatre 80 in the East Village to the main stage of the West Hollywood Carnaval. L.A. Weekly wrote that Aaron's music brings "a new life to the ancient music-hall/pop piano-man tradition, with clear-headed songs of genuinely witty lyrical oomph and, most of all, a historically informed musical depth – all delivered with style, grace, wit and elan, of course."

Aaron wrote one song, arranged two others, and served as a piano performance coach for the feature Permission (Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, Jason Sudeikis, 2017 Tribeca Film Festival), which premieres worldwide February 2018. He also contributed two songs to the forthcoming series Dan is Dead (Drake Bell, Maker Studios) and two songs to the indie feature film Alex & Jaime (2017 Roxbury International Film Festival). Aaron contributed an original co-write (“17”) and several arrangements to Gil McKinney’s 2017 debut album, How Was I to Know, which reached #1 on the iTunes jazz chart and #8 on the Billboard jazz chart. He also co-wrote “Good Love” for Briana Buckmaster’s 2018 debut album (#1 iTunes blues, #3 Billboard blues). Other recent TV and film placements include original songs written for Cedar Cove (Andie McDowell) and Where Hope Grows (Billy Zabka, Danica McKellar; Dallas Film Festival, Roadside Attractions). Aaron has composed original scores for films and theatrical productions, including All the Lovely Wayside Things; Tall, Dark, and Handsome; Heart; Until We Have Faces; Shrew; The Fire Room; the Breakfast Show with Adam O; Companion; and Beyond Imagination, winning best score and sound design at the Hollywood Fringe Festival for his work on Fugitive Kind’s production of The Fire Room by Ovation Award-winning playwright Meghan Brown. In 2016, Aaron wrote a commissioned work for the Spark & Echo Arts project, and in 2017 Aaron created a larger scale work as an Artist in Residence. Aaron also works as an in-house arranger, producer, composer, and mix engineer for the Gregory Brothers / Schmoyoho, whose original music has earned them a gold and platinum record and nearly one billion views on YouTube, along with myriad collaborations on other platforms. Recent Gregory Brothers collabs include the Justice League film (ft. Gary Clark Jr.), Weird Al Yankovic, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bassnectar, Alex Wassabi, LaurDIY, Markiplier, Slow Mo Guys, Todrick Hall, J. Fla, The Resident (Fox Network), and the International Olympic Channel. Songs Aaron has worked on with the Gregory Brothers have received over 175 million plays on YouTube.

In 2015, Aaron participated in the Ultraviolet Music and Arts Festival in Los Angeles as a featured artist and presenter, and performed with his band The Mots Nouveaux for the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Rockwood Music Festival in Frankfurt, Germany.

Aaron wrote the music and lyrics to the original musical, Behind Closed Doors, which sold out every performance at the historic Hayworth Theater, received multiple Broadway World L.A. Award nominations, and played for thousands of festival goers on the main stage of the West Hollywood Carnaval. Behind Closed Doors was selected to participate in the New York International Fringe Festival as a national show, enjoying a mostly oversold run at off-Broadway Theatre 80 in the East Village. Aaron was selected as a finalist as a composer and lyricist for the Fred Ebb Foundation / Roundabout Theatre Company Fred Ebb Award for musical theater songwriters, and received the Hal Gaba Scholarship for Excellence in Lyrics from UCLA/Concord Records.

Aaron is currently developing new musicals with playwrights Meghan Brown, Andrew Crabtree, Peter Berube, and Cassandra Christensen, and a one-woman show with soprano Lorelei Zarifian. Lorelei and Aaron’s first musical triptych, Midtown Antoinette, was featured on NPR-affiliate WFIT in March 2016 and debuted as part of the Florida Tech / Foosaner Museum French Film Festival. Aaron also occasionally helps produce the outrageous bingo raves phenomenon, Rebel Bingo, in New York and Los Angeles, as featured in the L.A. Times, Guardian, and BBC, and recently played a run of five capacity shows in the downtown L.A.’s Globe Theatre as part of 2016 Night on Broadway.

Aaron has collaborated as pianist, musical director, and/or co-writer with a panoply of music buddies, including Jason Manns, Gil McKinney, Sara Niemietz, Tim Omundsen, Dave Yaden, Nicholas Zork, Aaron Roche, Nick Bearden, Emma Fitzpatrick, Amanda Wallace, Shane Alexander, Ben Jaffe, Brett Young, Courtney Bassett, Eden Malyn, Luis Selgas, Aly French, Sam Heldt, Karma Jenkins, Emily Iaquinta, Lynette Williams, Meshach Jackson, Roy Mitchell-Cardenas, Kamasi Washington, Chad Doreck, J.T. Spangler, and Katrina Parker. He claimed several distinctions as a young classical pianist, including two-time Wisconsin Academy Musician of the Year, Andrews University Concerto Competition Finalist, and the British Royal Conservatory of Music Award of Highest Distinction for Piano Performance at the Newbold Creative Arts Festival. He currently serves as co-chair of the Carnegie Hill Concert Series in New York, featuring leading interpreters of classical and New Music from around the globe.

In 2015, Aaron founded SongLab, an online songwriting community for emerging songwriters. The inaugural SongLab Series welcomed GRAMMY-winner Dave Yaden as special guest.

In addition to working with other artists, Aaron performs as one-third of the pop trio, The Mots Nouveaux, alongside vocalists Emma Fitzpatrick and Amanda Wallace. The band celebrated their latest album release with a residency at Hotel Café, a six-month residency at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, and residencies at Rockwood Music Hall and Sidewalk Café in New York. They were invited to join the lineup for the Broke L.A. Music Festival in downtown Los Angeles, where Lyynks music hailed their set as the “greatest revelation” of the festival, one that “really thrilled the crowd” of thousands at the Lounge Stage ( The Mots Nouveaux recorded a new EP in Spring 2017 with co-producer Peter Barbee / Among Savages, with forthcoming tracks slated for 2018 release.

Aaron released his debut solo project, Nothing's Forever (Not Even Goodbye), featuring the first ten songs he wrote, on Milan Records (Warner-Ryko) in 2008.

In his spare time, Aaron enjoys playing the piano, traveling, eating, writing songs, making coffee, drinking coffee, collecting records, going for brisk walks, being near coffee, and composing extensive autobiographical sketches in the third person.

Aaron Beaumont

About the Artist

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