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Encinitas area inspires local musician’s five-volume epic

For Encinitas native and musician Nathan Hubbard, his 15-year-long music project began unintentionally. He had been writing and playing with several different groups when he realized his community had been a big influence.

“I’m writing this music that was sort of inspired by surroundings and all that, and I realized that I had written some music previous that was sort of about or inspired by the area,” Hubbard said. “I thought, ‘OK, maybe this all goes together.’ So I started collecting pieces and being conscious about it, and finding some more pieces to fit into that thing.”

A third-generation Encinitas resident, Hubbard released a five-volume series of music this year inspired by his hometown and surrounding areas. On Oct. 11, he played one final wrap-up concert — or the afterparty, as he puts it — on his home turf as a way to close the chapter.

“The whole things was basically inspired by Encinitas, by my background, by my family, by growing up here,” Hubbard said. “In a lot of ways, it was an investigation of what a hometown is to you and how you deal with those kinds of things. You know, how much does a hometown change your world view?”

The volumes released this year feature music recorded by different groups of musicians over the 15 years Hubbard spent on the project.

In preparation for the concert, which featured pieces from each volume, Hubbard had to find musicians who could tackle all of the pieces.

“It was super-strange because I had to put a band together that could play five pieces, and most of the time it was five pieces that were played by a different band (each time),” Hubbard said. “It was really interesting. Some people came in and they had recorded on a different volume or they played on a totally different track, and all of a sudden they were playing music they’d never heard before, but this was music I’d spent, you know, 10 years listening to.”

Hubbard never intended for the volumes to take 15 years to finish. He kept writing and eventually realized that several pieces could go together.

“This was definitely something that was going to take quite a few years,” Hubbard said. “I kept writing pieces that made sense with (the project) and having different groups that I was in or that I was running record them.”

But until this year, when Hubbard had a release concert for each volume every month, starting in January, he never felt the need to do anything more — and certainly was not thinking about something like the Encinitas After Hours concert earlier this month.

“There was never any kind of, ‘Yeah, I need to do a release concert, that would be great,’” Hubbard said. “It’s not like there were just three people on this album.”

The project might have kept going, Hubbard said, had he and his wife not moved to Arizona for several years. At that point, they didn’t know whether they would be coming back to Encinitas. So he began thinking about wrapping up the volumes and tying them together.

“I mean, honestly, I could have just kept going. It was almost where I maybe thought, ‘You always have a project you’ve worked on your whole life,’” he said.

Now, Hubbard said, he is “pretty much done” with this chapter of his work.

“I didn’t realize it going in, but it’s been kind of weird to go back,” he said.

“It’s been strange to do concerts and do pieces that are 10 years old. ... It’s like, ‘This is a little weird, I wrote this 10 years ago, I should be playing new music, right?’” Hubbard said. “These are good pieces and I enjoy playing this music, but at the same time I feel like, OK, I need to move on, do some different things.”

Hubbard continues to work on his solo percussion records and plans to release a double CD of ensemble music.


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