David Adam Salinas grew up in Houston and started working at the local alt-newsweekly Houston Press in the early 2000s, which was where he met fellow music head Eban Doss. Eventually, a friendship developed outside of work.

"We sold advertising, and we would go out and drink right after, go to bars. We weren’t making any music. I had ideas in my head, but that was it. He was DJing at The Proletariat, and I would go there and drink and hang out with my friends, and he would play something and I would be like, Oh shit—this is like the idea that I had in my head! He was on the same wavelength. And I would go to him and he’d say, Oh, this is Boom Bip. You’ve gotta listen to this. It was the same kind of style and the same ideas. He always had guitars and shitty keyboards around. He played."

It wasn't long before he and Doss started to make music together. "We just started hanging out and playing drone music in our living rooms until five in the morning. Basically just like five hour run-on sentences, those sounds were just like... Let's build a whole song around this one sound. That went on for a long time, and then we starting playing live, and it was like nothing changed. We just started doing what we were doing in our living room, live."

The duo called themselves Go Spread Your Wings, and they would perform sonic explorations of every room in which they played. There were a lot of clubs and promoters in Houston in that era that were in touch with what they were doing, so they got a lot of gigs, and became a true live band.

"We started reining it in and getting structures together and adding a live drummer and more guitar and stuff like that. And it kind of grew because our gear grew. I remember telling Eban, I bought a sampler! This shit's gonna change everything. We were using a lot of AM radios that were connected to BOSS DD-5 delays, so that was basically the vocals, whatever we could find on AM radio or maybe something from the TV. But live we would just turn on a little transistor radio, and we would have eighth-inch to a quarter-inch and then that quarter would go to a DD-5 delay and then it would go through like two different Big Muff pedals. We didn’t have a sampler at the time&emdash;we were just going to turn on the radio and fuck with it. A lot of weather, sometimes we would get like number stations, just crazy shit that we would just record and time stretch it or reverb the shit out of it. Maybe we would just chop it up and then pitch it, different pitches or whatever."

Eventually, the space developed for Salinas to start developing his own material. He went by the name Stenographer, started recording in the apartment in which he lived in the Houston Heights with drummer Mike McAloon.

"I was recording drums on VHS audio and one of those little Radio Shack tape decks. I would get Mike McAloon to play and then I’d go in and chop it up for loops. Sometimes he would play over tracks but mostly it would be me going Give me some breaks, give me some fills... even single hits. I would get him to record and I built a little kit inside of that. They were doing construction on Studewood and those orange barrels&emdash;we brought one up to the kitchen and we cut the top off of it and put it in front of the kick and we would use that to make the kick bigger. Our kitchen had a crazy sound to it."

Those recordings would end up sitting on a proverbial shelf. In the years that followed, Salinas went on to work with future Ninja Tune recording artist Yppah in the group Day Of The Woman, and he and Doss both entered into a collaboration with Houston experimental noise/bathroom graffiti artist duo The Sugar Beats in a project called Soviet Army Chorus.

But it wasn’t long after Doss passed away from skin cancer in late 2006 that Salinas hung it up. He began to focus more on his photography, and after a handful of years he moved to San Antonio, where he spent time taking photographs on the street with his wife as a duo."

Flash forward to the pandemic, and Salinas unearthed a folder full of digital files that he then sent to Lance Scott Walker, who sequenced and played bass on all of the tracks, and Susan Jane Tape Players was born. The turn of events convinced Salinas to reboot Stenographer and start making music again. Another record is due out this year, but for now, the focus is on the split album with MAKESTAPES, Susan Jane Tape Players / Landing Signals.

Photo: David Adam Salinas



MAKESTAPES, another Houston producer you'll be happy to discover if you don't know him already, appears on the B-side of the cassette. Landing Signals is his album.