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Mellowdrone

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Mellowdrone is a music project founded by Jonathan Bates in the late 1990s. The style varies from soul, hardcore, indie rock, and electronic genres.

During his three years of exile in Boston as a scholarship student at the Berklee School of Music, far from his Florida home, Jonathan Bates pulled further and further away from all that the city represented. “There wasn’t much to do except get drunk, do drugs, or get into fights,” he remembers. “And it always seemed to be snowing. So I started to write music.”

Beginning with … boredom never sounded so sweet, a home-brewed EP that he produced in 1999 and gave away to strangers on the street, Bates put together a body of work under the name mellowdrone. “I didn’t want to use my own name because people might come to expect me to do only one kind of music,” he explains. “With another name, I felt that I could do anything.”

The disc made its way to L.A., and Bates, convinced that “Berklee really sucked,” followed. Essentially homeless for several months, he crashed on the couches of friends, picked up odd jobs, but mainly concentrated on writing new material. Once he got his own place he pieced together a makeshift studio, with a bargain-basement computer, a tinny Casio keyboard from Radio Shack, and a few guitars.

From this jumble of mismatched gear came the second mellowdrone EP, glassblower, on January 1, 2001, which Bates sold exclusively on his website, mellowdrone.com.

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