Los Altos High graduate releases EP

Courtesy of Mary Gospe
Los Altos High School graduates Riley Soward, left, and Zach Gospe, right, celebrate the release of Gospe’s “New Horizons” EP with producer Mark Mazzetti, center.

Friends, family and fans of musician Zach Gospe gathered June 29 to celebrate the soft release of the recent Los Altos High School graduate’s album.

After raising $10,000 through a successful Kickstarter campaign last fall, Gospe and his music manager, friend and fellow Los Altos High alumnus Riley Soward spent the past few months putting the final touches on Gospe’s “New Horizons” EP (extended play – a recording that’s more than a single but not a full album).

Gospe said the album features six songs that take different perspectives on emotions and experiences.

“The album itself is represented by the name ‘New Horizons’ in that it focuses on the complexity of seeing new experiences in life,” Gospe said, adding that he drew much of the material from his life as an ordinary 18-year-old.

“New Horizons” debuts officially Thursday.

The journey

After securing funds, Gospe and Soward traveled to Southern California to record the album.

“It was a pretty interesting experience,” Gospe said. “It’s a lot different playing for an album versus playing for a live audience.”

To record the six songs, Gospe performed each track in a phone-booth-sized soundproof closet, sometimes playing for several hours at a time.

After recording the songs, he collaborated with professionals to select the best takes, sometimes even to the syllable, and paste them together to create the desired version of each song.

After nine days in the studio, they sent the tracks to a professional music mixer and master, who spent approximately a month putting the finishing touches on the EP.

In late June, Gospe and Soward received the result of all their hard work – physical copies of “New Horizons.” They celebrated with their Kickstarter supporters that same week with a soft-release party, where Gospe and Soward made good on their Kickstarter campaign promises.

“It was cool to see the Kickstarter supporters come together,” Soward said. “It really showed that this was a community effort. It wasn’t something Zach and I just pulled off on our own.”

Celebrating alongside Gospe and Soward was their champion and professional benefactor Mark Mazzetti – an executive with Entertainment, Music & Media – who helped make the whole EP experience happen.

Future plans

Gospe and Soward are now focused on getting the word – and the music – out locally, scheduling performances, seeking radio play and selling the album to local fans.

While they work locally, Mazzetti is shopping the EP to music labels and licensing agencies for a potential signing or inclusion in television or video games, Soward said.

Gospe recently received his first radio play on UC Berkeley’s KALX-FM. After the wide release, they are hoping for even more local radio exposure.

And while Gospe and Soward have accomplished a lot musically, they are also 18 year olds preparing to enter college.

Soward is headed to Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and Gospe will attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. They hope to build new audiences in their college towns while pursuing their degrees.

Gospe said that while in college, he plans to focus on his academics, not music. But once class is out, “I’ll be expanding my music career by doing open mics, playing at venues and meeting with songwriters or other music professionals.”

Before leaving for school, Gospe is scheduled to perform selections from “New Horizons” 6-8 p.m. July 25 at the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto, 4290 El Camino Real.

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