HSAL, by Allen Bergendahl

As we inch closer & closer to our HUGE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY EVENT, we thought it would be interesting to connect with people who have been with us through various seasons. These may be artists we’ve worked with or simply friends of the label who have watched us grow.

This time around, we caught up with Allen Bergendahl, who most recently produced the new L.A. Dies album. Over the years, he’s been involved with lots of Virginia based indie rock history from the K Word to Shy, Low, to Psalmships. We asked him a handful of questions & here’s what he had to share:

When was the first time you heard about HSAL?

I heard about Harding Street Assembly Lab so long ago. So long, in fact, I don’t recall when exactly. I had gotten to work with Nathan on (maybe?) the earliest TLVS recording, but that was pre-HSAL.

How has HSAL connected with you personally over the years (either as a fan or an artist)?

I can say for certain that I was distinctly aware of the label when Snowy Owls (a band I was in at the time) released a split EP with White Laces (HSAL #17) on the label. It was very cool. The artwork features a dude with a club in some sort of brutal battle with a many headed dragon/beast. Pretty cool! The bands are good too.

I had the honor of working on the (forthcoming) L.A.Dies record ‘Drifting Still’ and I cannot wait for that to find the ears of Virginia music lovers. It was an amazing experience with a supremely talented band. Their soulful, swirly, shoe-gazey, powerful music moves me and resonates with the sounds I love. Grandeur gives way to sparseness. Beautiful.  I first worked with them while making the HSAL compilation ‘History Lesson Vol.1‘. (Which, if you haven’t heard, you should check out.)

What do you think HSAL has meant to “the scene”?

HSAL is unique in the way they conduct business. I personally have gotten to see behind the curtain and know that everything they do is completely deliberate, carefully planned and deeply loved. Serious and forward-thinking. Practical, professional, driven. Joanna and Nathan are the real deal – hands-on, heavy lifting collaborators.

Which two or three HSAL releases would you use to recommend the label to a friend?

White Laces & Snowy Owls, “HSAL #17“; Various Artists, “History Lesson, Vol. 1; L.A. Dies, “Drifting Still



L.A. Dies: “Drifting Still

  • Tracked across two sessions in Richmond by Allen Bergendahl (March 2019)
  • Special Guest Joshua Quarles on cello (“Feels Really Small”, “Fathoms”, “Circle”)
  • Mastered by Andrew Horton from Good Glass Records (Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Joy Electric)

FFO: Middle Kids, “Lost Friends“; DIIV, “Oshin“; The Cranberries, “No Need To Argue

Drifting Still” showcases the same sonic maturity that the band has been hinting at shows for most of 2019. They’ve put aside the bubbly, bright youthfulness of their early work, replacing it with an ambitious focus on the relationship to change. Lyrically, the album plays out in what could be a series of dream sequences that accept the unknown. The desire to learn from the past’s dark places holds equal priority with a desire to craft a life greater than simple adult complacency.

While I sleep soundly the world shifts around me from underneath. And when I wake I’m invisible to it…”

Home Safe

The first time we caught this act perform live, two words came into frame: “potential” & “commitment”. While their path continued to cross with some of our acts, those two words kept coming to mind. As they self-produced a couple releases & figured out how to book their own tours around the eastern US, it became apparent that we should look at working together. After their 2018 set on our stage at the annual local music festival, we took the plunge, signing this four-piece. A year later, we are beyond thrilled to present the new full length from Lynchburg’s L.A. Dies to the world!