folsom eldoradohills style
the arts
Scott and Al

Using Music To Share a Vision

Some music is just the perfect complement to sitting by the window on a rainy day, watching the drops hit the glass and letting your spirit carry you for miles. Such is the sound of the music on Etch's first album, "Without Making A Sound."

The band's two members, Al Palacio and Scott Bottomley, call their music "ambient pop," something they describe as music that's airy with an uplifting moody feel about it.

"If you like bands such as Tears for Fears and John Mayer, you'll probably like our stuff," says Palacio, who lives in Folsom. He's quick to add however, that none of Etch's music is contrived, meaning they don't write for a specific genre or sound. "We write what comes naturally, from personal experience or the life experiences of people we've met," he says.

Bottomley, who lives in southern California, echoes that sentiment. "In today's market, there's a lot of music with a great deal of negativity," he says. "The music we're creating has lots of emotion and people can relate to the lyrics, but the overall common tone to our music is a positive message."

In its current form, Etch has been around since 1995, although this is the band's fourth incarnation. Palacio and Bottomley first met in 1989 and soon formed a complete band with drums, keyboards, bass and vocalists. They realized that they shared a much closer vision of what the music should be, and after a couple more attempts at working with other musicians, they decided to keep the band a duo.

"We're a couple of guys who have a common creative feel. We hear music in a similar fashion, so we collaborate well together," Bottomley says.

Bottomley, 45, has had an interest in music ever since he was a kid, when his aunt gave the family a piano. He then moved on to the guitar and now plays bass, keyboards and sings for the band. 

Palacio, 37, has also been playing music "all his life," ever since having his mind blown at a KISS concert in 1979.  He studied at the Guitar Institute of Technology at the Musicians Institute of Hollywood and is known not just for playing guitars, but for building them as well.

For both, performing music is simply in their blood. "For me, making music is no different than an artist putting his vision on canvas, and to not share that music would be just like putting that painting in a closet forever," Bottomley says. "When someone hears one of our songs and tells me it's touched a chord within their soul, something in the lyrics or the melody, that's what really makes this fun."

While both men have day jobs for the moment, those seem to be a primary way to support their music habit. Palacio says every spare minute goes into the music, and rightfully so, as the band has some big plans for the coming months.

First, they are nearing the final stages on their second album " currently planned at 12 tracks. They haven't determined the title yet, but Palacio says the current working title is "Suspended Animation." It's scheduled to be released in late summer or early fall. 

Prior to the new album release, the band will be "on tour" in April and May throughout California, hitting major venues in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. Here in Folsom, we can expect to see them "somewhere on Sutter Street" sometime in April.

In the meantime, their work is definitely worth a listen.  Samples of all the songs on the first album are available on their Web site,

- Bill Romanelli