For Jesse Bettis, the maestro behind the recently-launched New Move Studios, teamwork really does make the dream work. Bettis, who also fronts the retro-leaning pop band under the same New Move moniker, has spent the last year hard at work on a new collaborative project showcasing the wide-ranging talent of Portland’s music scene. The album, which came out July 26 via Tender Loving Empire, is called Paradise Hotel; it’s a compilation of songs by thirteen different local artists (including one from New Move), each recorded and produced by Bettis at his new studio.
Collaboration is not a new interest of Bettis’s—back in 2017 he helped to put together a remix album of New Move’s music, working with some of the artists featured on Paradise Hotel like fellow songster Boone Howard and local folk-pop legends Y La Bamba. But this project represents a step in a new direction him, seeing as much of the work involved helping others to develop their own original music.
“I just found it was more fun to be working with other artists,” he says. “It’s more fulfilling to be community-driven like that.”
The idea came to Bettis over a year ago when Howard brought him a demo he had laying around, one that didn’t really fit in with the other projects he was working on—that demo became the sparkling “Limit of Love,” one of the standouts on Paradise Hotel. Inspired by the success of their team-up, Bettis soon started reaching out to other artists around the city, from the jazzy hip-hop group Tribe Mars to sugary psych-rockers Melt, inquiring as to whether they had a spare track lying around that he could help them record for free.
It turns out many of them did. Some groups came in with songs pretty much fully-formed, while others had raw ideas that Bettis helped to mold into a more robust track. Miraculously, he says, “Everyone just seemed to have an amazing unreleased song. It all came together surprisingly well... we really didn’t feel like there were any duds on this one.”
That the record sounds so coherent is a testament both to the talent of Portland’s local musicians, and to Bettis’ ability as a producer, finding common ground amongst this disparate group, which ranges from indie folk crooners to old-school rappers.
Going forward Bettis hopes to continue to elevate local talent, maintaining New Move Studios’ momentum with a steady string of collaborative singles and accompanying music videos.
For now you can purchase a vinyl copy of Paradise Hotel Tender Loving Empire, or listen to it wherever you stream your music.