Privet, a band in a box

Busy year so far for Privet studio dudes Hagan (left) and Walsh.
  • Busy year so far for Privet studio dudes Hagan (left) and Walsh.

“We film-scored a documentary, and we did sound design for a feature-length movie. And we’ve got a new CD coming out,” Sean Walsh of Privet says, “so it’s been a busy year for us.”

Privet is the duo of Sean Walsh and William Hagan with an ever-changing cast of sidemen. They started making indie pop in 2008 in North County. Privet’s played gigs at the Griffin, Bar Eleven, Casbah, and Ruby Room, but one gets the feeling that the pair prefers the studio.

“We have a backlog of demo tracks,” says Hagan. “When the director of the documentary, a student filmmaker named Alexander Finden, approached us, we picked out some of our more mystic-sounding songs. After he approved them, we rerecorded them so they’d fit [the film].”

“We added effects and ambience,” Walsh says. “Most of the scenes are underwater. The documentary is 18 minutes long. The title is Sweet Sexy Ocean. It’s about a sea-urchin diver.” The diver, 73-year-old Peter Halmay, is a professional fisherman who was featured in a Reader cover story (“They Do It the Hard Way”) earlier this year,

Sweet Sexy Ocean has racked several awards, including one for Best Music at the Sedona Film School Short Film Festival in Arizona. The documentary is being screened at the Twain Harte Fest, the Catalina Film Fest, among others.

“The opportunity to score the documentary came first,” says Walsh. “Two weeks later, we got the call to score the film. We got paid to do the movie. The documentary? Not so much.”

Eternity, the feature-length movie, is set for release in 2014. It was directed and produced by Eric Staley and Ian Thorpe of San Diego–based Sidecar Productions. From the film’s publicity page: “Todd Lucas is a naive songwriter from the Midwest. BJ Fairchild is a brash saxophonist from the Valley. Alone, they are pathetic losers. Together, they form the greatest R&B duo of the 1980s.”

How did all this scoring work come about? “I teach guitar at American Music Exchange in Encinitas,” says Walsh. “And Finden came in one day because he used to take drum lessons there. CDs exchanged hands. He liked what he heard.” Same for Eternity: the producers heard a Privet CD. Did Walsh and Hagan produce the tracks in a local studio?

“We do all of our recording ourselves,” says Hagan. “We’re very grassroots. We have a box with our recording gear in it. Wherever it’s quiet, that’s where we take our box and do our recording.”

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