After his first “break-even” tour out West, Jonathan Miller aka Hand Sand Hands returned to his hometown in Minnesota for the funeral of his father, long suffering from early-onset Alzheimers. The few quiet evenings before the drive back to Athens, Ga were somber, but immediately inspired instantaneous recording, a two month burst assisted by Athens musicians. “I just moved on to the next record, like always. Just kept churning,” Jonathan recalled. The emerging record was a loud and claustrophobic dirge on anger and youth lost, a hand grenade thrown at his personal struggles, a dissonant scream. Hand Sand Hands then went back on the road in support of the album to increasingly less attended shows, with increasingly less personal affection for the album, lazily dreading the few last performances before rejecting two opening slots. Limping home he moved the studio from the basement to the attic, set up on the floor, near some open windows with a drum kit next to the haggard bed and boxspring with revolving linens.
Two Minnesota funerals ensued, a Grandma and a good friend, and Hand Sand Hands stopped playing altogether, instead focusing on his third novel, traveling to Sicily after being accepted to a writing conference based on the new book. Erice, the town in Sicily, an old monastery town on a mountain, where all you could do was, “Write or walk around, nothing was around...just beautiful ruins,” he recalled, provided a meditative renewal. Two weeks later Hand Sand Hands came home to Athens, Ga, and after staring at his attic studio for almost two years and choosing to landscape instead, eventually began recording and, playing all the instruments alone, began focusing the songs through the warm, yet distant Silvertone nylon string guitar bought at a low point in his life at an antique shop in Anoka, Minnesota. The new slow movement in the attic provided a pace that led to contemplation over direct stimulation or gratification, things evolved naturally and were left alone or forgotten entirely.