The Auxiliary is the musical alias of American songwriter and musician Russell Howard. As the only child of two accomplished classical musicians, Russell spent countless hours bearing witness to the symphonic and operatic cannons before he uttered his first words.
It was this abundant yet compulsory musical environment that both delayed and ensured Russell’s eventual embrace of popular music. After originally debuting as a solo acoustic artist, the songwriter began to feel the boundaries of the genre and the format limiting the direction of the music. Time alone on the road interacting only with promoters and fans for weeks at a time gave further motivation for Russell to make a change. Thus was born The Auxiliary. Shedding the dogmas of the acoustic songwriter, the new palette is a diverse and colorful one.
The music of The Auxiliary is grounded in personal experience, but remains vague enough to apply to any number of situations. For instance, while drawn from a specific moment in the songwriter’s life, The Auxiliary’s debut single “Overture” more broadly probes the dual nature of prescience. Russell shares, “When you are overcome with the feeling that you just know how things are going to work out – when you can see it and touch it – that insight can bring both excitement and calm, but also a rather sinister sense of inevitably.”
Sonically, “Overture” is centered around muted, echoing vocals which ride atop the minimalist backdrop of reverberated synths that ripple in the distance. Reminiscent of BJ Burton’s work with Bon Iver and the Japanese House with a Frank Ocean inspired vocal treatment, Russell and producer Lawson White create a mesmerizing, haunting atmosphere that pulls listeners into the unique world of The Auxiliary. The musician explains, “of the music, Overture is perhaps the most purely electronic and by releasing it first, we touch a far wall of the space I’m creating with The Auxiliary. The next one is a profanity laced ukulele protest song, so take it as you will.”
Russell approaches music as an emotional backup, to help you feel your feelings more fully and to navigate out of bad places. “Overture” succeeds in delivering the perfect soundtrack for each of those moments. He explains, “It’s one of the reasons I chose the name The Auxiliary. Reserve forces in the military sense.” Russell has performed on the road supporting a diverse array of artists including The Lumineers, Howie Day, Teddy Geiger, and 90’s rockers Sister Hazel. “Overture” is the first new music from The Auxiliary and launches a torrent of singles and EPs to be released in 2022.
© 2022, Divine Magazine. All rights reserved.