By Zach Collier
“Honestly, up until last summer I never planned on sharing my music with anyone,” says Tanner Pratt of Orem, Utah. “2020 was such a curveball that I really stopped caring about opinion and focused on what excites me.”
Pratt records and releases under the pseudonym STORIES!. 2020 gave him extra time to reflect on the kind of music he wanted to make, and he decided to draw inspiration from his favorite indie films. His song “Autumn” dropped in November 2020, and it’s one of the best sleeper releases to come out of the Provo scene in recent years. If the audio clip at the end of the track is any indication, he loves 500 Days of Summer.
Writing music since he was young, he played bass in a few bands in high school. He’s quick to point out that he wasn’t a particularly good bass player, but that’s hard to believe. Pratt recorded “Autumn” at June Audio and tracked all of the instruments himself, showcasing his clear talent as a multi-instrumentalist.
His vocals are close and intimate and his arrangements are simple, but there’s a cinematic sense of space behind it all. “June really understood the direction and aesthetic I wanted to create,” Pratt says. “I really tried to emphasize tone and atmosphere. I wanted the listener to feel warm fuzzies. I dunno.”
His first release didn’t make me feel warm fuzzies. Instead, it inspired a sense of longing for the picturesque – a yearning for cinematic romance that I haven’t felt since my teen years. It’s a cool, blue, beautiful emptiness that is as sad as it is sweet. “Autumn” focuses on those vivid images that stick with you for a lifetime: endearing hair accessories that distract from somber personality traits; sitting on the porch of a childhood home; and a gentle squeeze between lovers as they hold hands in adolescent loneliness.
“Corny? Sure. Cliché? Maybe,” jokes Pratt.
Turns out I’m a sucker for corny clichés when they’re as slick and impassioned as “Autumn.”
The debut STORIES! EP, Paper Planes, is due out this spring. Follow Tanner on Instagram @tanner_pratt. You can hear “Autumn” below.