Ethan Helfrich just inherited a music label from a man he’s never verbally spoken to.
Helfrich is the sole member of Bloomington ambient indie act Rest You Sleeping Giant, which released a split tape on the aforementioned label, Cellar Door Tapes, last year and will perform Wednesday at the Void.
In addition to the tape, Helfrich said he also contributed to a compilation tape for Cellar Door, which is based in Bakersfield, California. He had gotten to know its founder, Logan Archer, through Facebook.
“I don’t even know his phone number,” he said.
When Helfrich discovered Archer was going to shut the project down, he offered to take it off his hands, he said.
Cellar Door Tapes focuses on releasing cassettes of DIY artists like Helfrich. He said he’s excited to bring it to Bloomington and shine light on local talent.
“We don’t sign people or anything like that, and that’s kind of the point,” he said. “We’re focused more on bedroom musicians.”
Helfrich said he does a lot of work with cassettes with Rest You Sleeping Giant. Aside from releases, he also uses pre-recorded tape loops in his live shows.
His music rarely includes lyrics, but he said he uses a variety of effects pedals to create his soundtrack-esque tracks.
“I largely try to make a song kind of a story in itself or a kind of a feeling,” he said.
Looping is a big part of this, he said.
“The way I guess I refer to my playing as is building a song,” he said. “It’s not really playing. It’s just building the loops and going throughout with it.”
Helfrich said he owns about 30 to 40 effects pedals. Between vocals and guitar, he uses nearly 20 of these when playing live.
“People just love coming up and looking at my pedals and my gear,” he said. “That’s always a big topic of conversation for me.”
Though he said he plays shows with all kinds of bands, he rarely finds anything quite like his music around Bloomington.
“A lot of people have not heard the kind of music I do,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard the kind of music I do before.”
Helfrich enjoys creating videos to accompany Rest You Sleeping Giant’s music, he said. His droning tracks often work well as a soundtrack.
This is part of the reason he releases a lot of his music with Creative Commons, he said, so anyone can use it for a project without having to purchase it first.
“I like the idea of putting stuff out for free so people have access to it and can use it,” he said.
In the past, everyone from high school students to filmmakers have asked to use Rest You Sleeping Giant’s music, he said. Using Creative Commons helps with exposure.
As for the future, Helfrich said he hopes to release a full-length album and continue his work with Cellar Door.
“I just really want to get an album out and that’s like it,” he said. “After that, I don’t know. I just like playing shows.”