Hand Drawn Maps is an indie rock duo that hails from the South Bay in Los Angeles. The band was started by lifelong friends Stewart Crichton and Blake Baldwin who write and compose all of the music themselves. The two create a unique sound that pulls influences from a vast array of genres including classic 1960s psychedelia all the way through current indie rock and pop.
Stewart says, “When it comes down to it, this song is sort of about a dysfunctional relationship, whether that be with yourself, someone else, or a substance. A lot of our songs deal with substances but this one calls that out in a more direct way”
Blake adds, “I think there is a little bit of a f- you buried in this song. I’ve always pictured it as dealing with someone who has a bunch of negativity going on, and they might not even be aware of it themselves, but everyone around them knows what’s up. Sort of a call out like, “Hey, you’re not fooling anyone. We know your game.””
Stewart and Blake grew up as close family friends in the South Bay of Los Angeles, bonding over music at a young age. But as life would have it, the two took long, separate paths before inevitably reuniting.
In the years that passed, Blake went on to study music at CalArts, while Stewart traveled the world touring with a performing arts group as a principal singer and musician. Life eventually caught up with Stewart as drugs and alcohol started to take control of his life. He found himself helplessly reliant on opiates and began selling all his music equipment to obtain money to buy drugs.
On Christmas Eve 2012, Stewart was going through a major opiate withdrawal while also being deep in the waves of an LSD trip; he eventually found himself stranded in front of CVS in the pouring rain in a random part of town. “I was confronted with all of my thoughts, emotions, and demons before finally having an epiphany that I couldn’t go on living this way. After this painfully transformative psychedelic experience, I called my family and they got me into a treatment center the next day. I haven’t touched any mind altering substances since.”
Shortly after his treatment, Stewart moved to Highland Park, CA to get back on his feet, focusing more on music and working odd jobs. Stewart began performing under the moniker Hand Drawn Maps, a name established after he was reading the book Dune. “I was beginning to understand the linear nature of time and how we control our own destinies with decisions we make. Every possibility and situation comes down to the hand drawn map that we follow for our lives.”
After having a conversation with his mother, Stewart discovered that Blake was moving to Highland Park. The two met up after years of a disconnect and quickly realized how similar their personal tastes in music were. After a short jam session, they quickly began demoing music for their self-titled EP.
Blake explains, “We got together because I heard through the grapevine that Stewart had a rehearsal studio and I really needed a place to practice drums. I offered to start playing bass for him in exchange for access to his lockout. Something I never expected however was our incredible songwriting chemistry.”
The duo was ready to head into the studio in the beginning of 2020 when the world was overtaken by the Coronavirus pandemic and the project was put on hold. Crawling out of the pandemic, they decided to take the project to producer/engineer Steve Ornest at the legendary Total Access Recording in Redondo Beach, CA to record a brand new EP to be released summer of 2021.