Anthony Worden and the Illiterati hope to rock their retro love in upcoming concert and new album

Anthony Worden and the Illiterati draw from all aspects of the past for upcoming album, ‘Voila.’ Using inspiration from ‘60s and ‘70s artists and using the same equipment used during the time period, the band hopes to connect to listeners the same way they did it in the past.

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Anthony Worden and the Illiterati hope to rock their retro love in upcoming concert and new album




Austin J. Yerington, Arts Reporter

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In an office studio on Church Street, Iowa City-based band Anthony Worden and the Illiterati have recently finished working on their first album, Voila. The band is now preparing for their last show of the year, which will be at Gabe’s on Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m.

While looking around the studio, visitors’ eyes will fixate on a massive desk covered with a wide array of recording equipment. But one piece of machinery will certainly stand out as a true relic from the past — a tape deck recording machine.

The tape deck and many of the other recording methods used when making Voila are the embodiment of what Anthony Worden, the band’s front man and singer/songwriter, wants listeners to garner from the album.

“There wasn’t a concept, except for playing live as a band. A lot of the stuff was tracked with everybody in the same room, which has never happened before,” Worden said.

Much of what the band is striding for isn’t normal in modern recording. Even the choice of recording on tape is something that has been uncommon since the ‘80s, the album’s sound engineer, Capel Howorth, said.

“[With tape] you get this really stylized sound, it’s this warm kind of squashed together [sound],” Howorth said. “Any record you listen to from the ‘60s and early mid ‘70s [used tape], so all of these records that are already great have this magic glue that is tape. That sound is just what it comes from, so that’s why we wanted to do with this [record].”

Worden said the band’s inspirations for the album can be found in music from Big Star, David Axelrod, and the Kinks. Howorth added that it was a challenging, yet rewarding process to utilize seemingly antiquated equipment to create a new sound.

Worden said, however, his love for the past is something he has held since his teenage years, starting with an admiration for artists like Lou Reed.

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“I don’t know why I identify more with the past. I feel like the future or the present time is so messed up and weird that [I feel the] ‘60s and ‘70s were more of a simpler time,” Worden said. “I think a lot of the things from the production of how that music was made still holds true to the human experience.”

The band brought on many first-time creatives for Worden, including collaborative songs featuring vocals by local musician Elly Hofmaier on the upcoming record, said the singer.

“Working with Elly Hofmaier has been great. She has a great voice,” Worden said. “I’ve never done [a collaboration like this] before, it’s almost like a duo record, because she is singing on so much of it.”

With two solo records under his belt, Worden is no stranger to recording an album. This is the first time, however, Worden has collaborated with a band when creating an album.

“I think I always tried to sound like a band and wrote stuff that sounds like a band. But with [Voila], it’s more realized because I’m collaborating with other musicians,” Worden said.

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