The Lonely Forest in the studio with Chris Walla (right)
  • Megan Seling
  • The Lonely Forest in the studio with Chris Walla (right)

Here's some awesome news about a great local band: The Lonely Forest are the first band to sign to Chris Walla's new imprint label, Trans. (Which is an imprint on Atlantic. Trans. Atlantic. Like Death Cab's record Transatlanticism. See what he did there?)

I got to talk to both Walla and the Lonely Forest about the exciting news, and the full story will be in this week's paper, but I'm too excited not to say anything anymore so here's an excerpt from that piece, about how the signing came together:

Like many others, Walla first heard the Lonely Forest after the band released its second full-length record, We Sing the Body Electric! last year on the Seattle-based indie label Burning Building.

With the help of some positive buzz from local media (not least of which from The Stranger), the Lonely Forest sold out their CD-release show at the Vera Project. A few months later, they played Bumbershoot, packing the Sky Church to capacity and leaving hundreds of fans out in the rain. They wrapped up the year by playing the biggest headlining show of their career to a nearly full house at the Showbox at the Market over Thanksgiving weekend.

Walla initially approached the band members about producing them, but soon decided to create the Trans imprint with Atlantic to release their records as well.

“I’ve been lucky enough to make records with tons of phenomenal bands, and I’ve considered [starting a label] a number of different times,” he says. “I don’t know—is it oversimplified to say it’s them and it just makes sense? This wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for the Lonely Forest. They’re a phenomenal band. I’ve been following my nose for so many years, doing the things that felt like the right thing to do. And this time the answer was yes.”

And while signing to a major label's imprint in 2010 might sound a bit, uh... questionable (as it's the major labels who seem to be having the hardest time adapting to the industry's changes) it seems that Atlantic continues to be one of the few exceptions:

“Death Cab has been [with Atlantic] moving in on six years now, and everybody who was in the building when we signed is still there,” Walla says. “Atlantic has stayed pretty stable, and all indications are it’s continuing to stay stable. It is one of the only labels anywhere that’s in the black. It’s a healthy situation to have an imprint under at the moment.”

Atlantic is also the first major label to prove successful in the digital age—in October 2008, the New York Times reported that over half of Atlantic’s music sales came from “digital products,” something no other major label could claim. It has also managed to avoid major layoffs in recent years.

So this sounds like a very good thing for everyone involved. I can't wait to hear what comes from the Lonely Forest and see what other artists Walla decides to sign. The guy has a great ear.

The full story—including info about the Lonely Forest's upcoming releases—will be in this week's paper, on the streets and online Wednesday morning.

(And for the horn-tooting record, I totally called this last year.)