TEMPLETON — Bethel Rd. Distillery & Winery owners Luke and Max Udsen have come up with an innovative way to put their new distillery on the map before they even open to the public — through Bethel Rd. Live Sessions.
BR Live Sessions are high-quality live video recordings of local bands produced at Bethel Rd. Distillery. Luke Udsen is the video production artist behind these masterful recordings, working alongside his good friend Sam Jacobs, who records and masters the audio to create these high-quality session recordings.
The project began Feb. 3 with the first Live Session recording, featuring local band Proxima Parada. Since then, Udsen and Jacobs have featured Bear Market Riot, Hollis and Peach, and Chris Beland and his daughter Harmony (of Harmony and Beland). Each band has been featured twice through BR Live Sessions.
In an interview with the Paso Robles Press Udsen explained that as an avid music enthusiast and local singer/songwriter; he found enjoyment in watching live session recordings of bands and was inspired to create his own.
PRP: How did you come up with the idea for the Bethel Road Live Sessions?
USDEN: It’s hard to say exactly but for quite some time I have been really enjoying watching live sessions over listening to an artist’s album. I also watch lots of them when researching acts for Whale Rock Music & Arts Festival (formerly Beaverstock). A few years ago I started a series called the “Beaverstock Barn Sessions” to promote the local bands at the festival and I just fell in love with it and decided to create a new series that went year round. The series that inspired me the most are the Humboldt Live Sessions, Jam in the Van, and Audio Tree Live.
PRP: What is the intent behind the Sessions?
USDEN: For me, the intent is to promote music and art in a way that gives back to the artist. These videos give the bands a way to professionally market and share their music with the world and in turn hopefully get more shows and fans. From the distillery standpoint it’s a fun way to get people interested in what we are doing. I think it’s a lot more interesting than just posting pictures of spirits and wine and expecting people to be excited about something everyone else is doing. These sessions also build friendships which is a huge bonus.
PRP: What is your background in video production?
USDEN: Since High School I have really enjoyed photography and videography but it wasn’t until the past couple years that I really got back into it and took the time necessary to develop professional skills. Most of my experience has come from trial and error and asking lots of questions.
PRP: Tell me a bit about the work that goes into creating the session videos and how you go about choosing these local acts?
USDEN: One thing the viewer doesn’t see is how much prep goes into a session. There is a lot of set up involved to get the cameras in the right spots, lighting, vibe, audio (which we record separately) etc. Honestly one of the most important pieces to the series is the quality of audio which is recorded and mixed by my friend Sam Jacobs. I then sync that audio to the video. As far as choosing local acts, it’s really a matter of what I feel is a good fit and what I feel will result in the quality I want to put out there.
There are still three BR Live Sessions yet to be released and more on the way. Udsen said the next BR Live Session will feature Moonshiner Collective, another well known and well liked local band. Though Bethel Rd. Distillery & Winery has yet to officially open, the Udsen brothers are offering up these Live Sessions as a sneak peek at the venue.
Bethel Rd Distillery is currently specializing in the creation of Grappa and Brandy with plans to expand. The space the Udsen brothers and family have created is intended to inspire those who enter and provide an inviting, fun and comfortable atmosphere to enjoy the blend of fine spirits and music, creating the ultimate cocktail.
To learn more about Bethel Rd. Distillery & Winery visit bethelrddistillery.com. Bethel Rd. Live Sessions are available on YouTube or Facebook.
Check out the video below to see local band Bear Market Riot perform their song "Ignorance is Bliss" during a Bethel Rd. Live Session: