Hand Drawn Maps is an indie rock duo that hail 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. The two grew up as close family friends in the South Bay and quickly bonded over music at a young age. As life would have it, the two took separate paths before inevitably reuniting. Blake attended California Institute of the Arts where he received a MFA in music, 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. “I felt like I was possessed by a demon and the one dream I had of creating music was disappearing before my eyes.” On Christmas Eve 2012, Stewart was withdrawing from heroin and also found himself under the influence of LSD; he ended up in the pouring rain in front of a CVS in Torrance. “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 to focus more on music and work odd jobs locally in nearby Pasadena. 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. Blake was heavily involved with the music scene in Silver Lake and Echo Park and was working as a full time musician playing various gigs. 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. “We got together because I heard through the grapevine that Stewart had access to 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 and the legendary Total Access Recording in Redondo Beach, CA to record a brand new EP to be released summer of 2021.
Vocals, Guitar, Keys / Stewart Crichton
Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keys / Blake Baldwin