Interviews with Music Fans (part 2 of 3)

Amber

Interviews with Music Fans (this photo by Jessica Loucks)

I’m really overwhelmed by how many of you stopped by to read Part 1 of the interviews with music fans.  Thank you for stopping by and all of your favorable comments.  This week it’s part 2 of the 3 part series. In full disclosure, much of my SXSW was spent with 2 of the people interviewed this time. I have either attended shows with this group and/or had them come see me play.  I guess I just enjoy hanging out with good people!

AJ Lark (Austin, TX)
http://musicismyfirstlanguage.wordpress.com/

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
AJ Lark: I was born with music inside of me. Music was one of my parts — it was a force already within me when I arrived at the scene.” (Ray Charles) I may not create my own music, but that’s exactly how I feel about it. Music wasn’t a constant in my house growing up, but it was always accessible. My dad has a beautiful voice and some of my favorite childhood memories center around sitting at his feet while he played the guitar and sang; The Beach Boys will always make me think of my dad. He also led worship at church and I vividly remember the feeling of pride swelling in my chest when I listened to him sing, that’s my dad. My parents were divorced, so these were summertime memories — limited in quantity, which made them sacred. My dad also played the saxophone and the piano. He didn’t read music, either. He played by ear. His musical bad-assery left me in a constant state of awe. My mom’s taste was all over the place. She had this amazing collection of 45s and I used to go through them listening one at a time and making stacks of the ones I liked and the ones I didn’t like. My musical taste was always my own, though. I liked the Beatles at a very young age, when no one I knew listened to the Beatles. I liked 80’s new wave bands that didn’t get much radio play in the small Colorado town where I grew up. I had no use for the country music that ruled the airways. We weren’t allowed to watch much TV at home, so I’d sneak over to friends’ houses as often as I could to watch MTV. Then I’d beg my mom to take me to the library where I’d check out records and cassette tapes.

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
AJ Lark: I took piano lessons for a short time when I was 11 or 12. It came naturally and I wish I had stuck with it, but it didn’t hold my interest. I wanted gymnastics. I wanted dance. I couldn’t be bothered with hours spent practicing piano. I do remember the only thing I loved playing and actually invested in getting good at was Tchaikovsky’s ‘Romeo and Juliet (the Love Theme)’.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
AJ Lark: This varies. Not nearly as many as I’d like (complications of being a single parent). There was a time in my life when I saw a bare minimum of two shows a week and that’s how I would like it.

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
AJ Lark: There is no high like a good live show. I feel fluttery heart palpitations and a rising sense of euphoria just thinking about it.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
AJ Lark: Definitely not.

Our Scattered Words: Why does it not?
Amber: While I thoroughly enjoy instrumental music, especially anything with strings, it’s the lyrics that I find seductive and magnetic. It’s rare that I truly connect with something that doesn’t have lyrics.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
AJ Lark: No. But both are necessary. One is food and the other is water, in a way. Recorded music is water. I need it, lots of it, to survive. Live music is more like a delicious meal. Still a requirement for life, but I can get by on less. Live music is such an “all in” experience for me. Heart, mind, body, soul – I’m in another place. Recorded music allows me to process on a more conscious level. I can dissect something and articulate why I do or don’t connect with it. I lose that rational capability with live music. I’m moved to tears or I’m not. I’m moved to dance, or I’m not. I’m stunned speechless by the beauty of it all, or I’m not.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
AJ Lark: It seems strange to say “no”, but somehow I can’t think of any! Del Amitri’s “Roll to Me” was playing on the radio when I cartwheeled my car down a mountainside when I was 16 years old. Does that count?!

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
AJ Lark: Yes, absolutely.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
AJ Lark: Interesting question. I don’t know. For me it’s always, “What could the fans do?” Or “What could the venues do?” I think more often than not the musicians do all the can. They bring it heart and soul, 24/7.

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
AJ Lark: I wish they could understand that their incessant chatter during live shows causes me, and others like me, physical pain. Outside of that I don’t waste much breath trying to convert or convince people. You either get it, or you don’t.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
AJ Lark: To quote Hunter S. Thompson: “Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” I think that about covers it.
(please check out AJ’s blog Music Is My First Language. one of my favorites)

Giselle

Interviews with Music Fans

Giselle (Vancouver)

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Giselle: can’t remember but i’ve always liked it – for as long as i can remember i’ve always been aware of any music that’s playing (even if it’s in the background)

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Giselle: no

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Giselle: i’d go to more if i could but, i’m probably averaging seeing 100 bands i like in a year

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Giselle: ‘i don’t listen to music based on my moods and i rarely pay attention to lyrics but listening to a song i like or discovering a new band always makes me feel a bit better about the world’

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Giselle: no
Our Scattered Words: Why does it not?
Giselle: not sure because i don’t really pay attention to the lyrics (i like music in languages i don’t speak)

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Giselle: it can but i usually use the recorded music to decide if i’ll see an artist live and if they’re good live, then i’ll listen to the recorded music more

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Giselle: yes (which is so great)

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Giselle: hard to say because i never really know why i like some performances and why i don’t like others

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Giselle: i don’t think i understand music but i do wish most people were more open to music discovery – there’s alot of amazing artists out there who don’t get the recognition because they don’t have the right record company or the right p.r or their song doesn’t get played in the right tv show or whatever …

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Giselle: i think the great thing about music is that it affects everyone differently – you and i may have completely different reasons for liking a song but we can share a connection because we both like it …

carla

Interviews with Music Fans

Carla (Carrollton)

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Carla: I grew up in the 50s – my parents were young and loved music. Neither were musicians, but we always had the radio or records going. Mom was a big Elvis fan, my dad liked Louis Armstrong – they both had country favorites and enjoyed the big band sound of their youth. I was exposed to a lot of tunes!

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Carla: No. I tinkered around for a while with a piano as a young adult but never learned to play with the exception of picking put a few notes (very slowly) from sheet music.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Carla: Hard to say. Most shows I attend are local artists. It would really vary depending upon what else was going on in my life but I will venture a guess at somewhere between 25 and 40. [OSW NOTE: Carla also does a lot to personally help support local musicians in many ways, including several of the artists I’ve interviewed]

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Carla: When I was in my 20’s and needed a good cry I would put on “Late For The Sky” by Jackson Browne. A sad song can make me sad. An inspiring song can make me cry. But mostly music brings me great joy. That feeling of transcending.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Carla: No
Our Scattered Words: Why does it not?
Carla: Where instrumental music can be very moving to me, particularly classical music where the instruments become like living voices, I am more drawn to songs with lyrics. Words are exciting – they paint a picture – a perfect rhyme will give me chills, a great metaphor is aweinspiring (and makes me so jealous because I can’t do it!). Instrumental music lacks that particular magic to me.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Carla: No. Live music is an entire experience – connection with the artist, energy from the audience, and live instruments always grab my attention more than those on recordings. There are certain notes and tones, particularly from a keyboard, that I can feel in my cells. Sometimes though, recordingscan get me pumped, all cranked up, and make me sing (not so well) and dance about the house.

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Carla: Not really. Songs will invoke memories or feelings, particularly nostalgia. Sometimes songs remind me of a certain person. I’ve been around for a while, so there’s a lot of this going on!

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Carla: Yes. I’ve had musician friends all my adult life. A few have become close friends. Indie artists are accessible for the most part and are happy to meet their fans and many times that evolves into a friendship. The musicians I know and have known all just want people to listen, they notice those who do.

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Carla: I think fans want great sound and a relatively clean and comfortable venue. Not sure how much control the artists have over that. I have a pet peeve about being intentionally misinformed about the time of the performance so as get people there on time. Those of us who are always on time have a bit of an issue then having to wait. However, none of the inconveniences matter once the music starts – at that point, the sound is important!

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Carla: My interest in that would mostly be to have more attendance at local shows. I want that for the artists and the future of local music.  Music itself can be a very personal thing. I believe we each get to decide what is “good” music and what is not. I would hope that music fans would slow down and let the music work its magic. Listen and experience the great joy that can come from allowing it to take over your senses. Then there is actually magic that happens between the audience and the performers that keeps people coming back.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Carla: Music is a gift from the Universe. It is truly a universal language crossing all borders and barriers. We can all participate.

jeffrey

Interviews with Music Fans

 

Jeffrey (DeSoto, TX)

Our Scattered Words: How did you first connect with music?
Jeffrey: Have no idea

Our Scattered Words: Have you ever played an instrument?
Jeffrey: Played a french horn in jr. high school but didn’t know what I was doing.

Our Scattered Words: How many shows/concerts do you attend a year?
Jeffrey: Local – probably about 50 – National acts maybe 3 or 4.

Our Scattered Words: How does music effect you at an emotional level?
Jeffrey: Sometimes music can really be uplifting. I used to listen to lyrics a lot more than I do now.

Our Scattered Words: Does instrumental music connect as strongly with you as music with lyrics?
Jeffrey: Yes

Our Scattered Words: What do you hear in the instrumental music that draws you in?
Jeffrey: Tough question. It depends on the song. I really like music that’s layered where you have to listen several times to hear everything. I guess a good beat and bass line is what initially catches my attention as long as it’s not too repetitive.

Our Scattered Words: Does recorded music have the same impact as live music?
Jeffrey: Yes, each has it’s own place

Our Scattered Words: Do you have certain songs connected to important moments in your life?
Jeffrey: Most definitely, maybe more of a connection in periods of my life as opposed to important moments.

Our Scattered Words: Have some of the musicians you support become close personal friends?
Jeffrey: No

Our Scattered Words: What could musicians do to help make performances better experiences?
Jeffrey: Play more original music.

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish that music fans who are not as strongly connected as you understood more about music?
Jeffrey: I don’t really care about other music fans. You either have an appreciation for music or you don’t. I really don’t believe that it’s a choice. Just as musicians are bless with the talent of music some of us are also bless with an inherent appreciation of music.

Our Scattered Words: Any other thoughts on why music is important?
Jeffrey: I think one of the most important things about music is that music can bring all types of racial, ethnic or whatever types of people together. It also provides and emotional escape from our everyday problems. Most of all when a song is good you feel it in your soul.

PART 1 of the Series
Interviews with Music Fans-Part I of 3

Thank for for supporting music, creating music, reading about music how ever it is that you’re involved! Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Come back for the final part of this series on Friday!

Thanks also for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

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Lauren Turk Songwriting Interview

Lauren Turk Songwriting Interview

Lauren Turk Songwriting

“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” this is a quote often misattributed to Ben Franklin or Albert Einstein. Whatever the source, be it a scientist/philosopher or Narcotics Anonymous brochure,  it’s a trap that musicians often fall into. We often expect what worked 5, 10, 30 years ago to work today and that’s a bad idea.  Technology has changed people’s views on, and access to, the arts.  If you give a group of people the choice between free and legal access to a song/movie/book and paid access (even at a minimal cost) a majority of people will, not surprisingly, chose free access.  Digitizing creations has lessened the general populations perceptions about the value of songs and movie.  They enjoy having them, but there’s no tangible thing to hold so they perceive to be of less value than an LP or …..Laser Disc. [note to self; why does this opening read like a Masters Thesis?].  I don’t like that this perception exists regarding music, but we need let that new paradigm guide what we do.

Musicians need to find different ways to connect with people, new ways to distribute and share their creations.  That’s exactly what intrigued me about Lauren Turk.  I read through posts at Good.is a couple of times a week to find people and organizations pursuing similar goals that we can partner with. It’s become one of my best resources to find good contacts. [readers thoughts; “I thought this was a songwriting blog? Did I click the wrong link?] One day I found an article about Lauren at the Good site.  It caught my attention immediately because she found a new way to get her music out to people and, in doing so, it provided help to a great cause. I immediately contacted her to set up this interview.

Lauren Turk Songwriting INterview

Lauren Turk
Hometown- 
Chicagoland Current City- Los Angeles
Most Recent Release- “Forward” EP, July 2013 – Genre: Pop Electronica
Band Affiliation- The New History (my newest music project)

Brief Intro- 
Made in Chicago, living in Los Angeles.  I’m a singer-songwriter with a few degrees. Two bachelor’s — Business/French and Communications — and one masters in Political Science from the University of Illinois and Sciences-Po in Paris, France.

I learned piano and violin as a kid, and developed a proclivity for classical music. After an adolescence in musicals, competitive singing, choir and lots of national anthems, I put music aside for many years while studying other things… until one fine day in Paris…I fell hard for a former love…(music).

Before you could say “quarter-life-crisis” I was singing with jazz bands across Paris, and earned spots in both the Sciences-Po Orchestra & choir. The occasional escape to Berlin came to include rather profitable and oh-so enjoyable busking escapades in the cityscape. These years sparked a vibrant realization – my life could not be full without creating music.

Once finished with school in May 2012, I  shook off the cobwebs with concerts in Europe and the United States. Excitement ensued, and I packed my bags for Los Angeles to have a go at the music industry.

Today in the city of angels, I write and perform music on the regular, experimenting with styles, discovering my sound. My bottom line is simply a love for singing and performing.

A self-titled artivist, I care deeply about issues which mark our evermore interconnected societies; sustaining/protecting the environment, feeding/educating people, making our world one that is not violent and respects people equally. I try to embed these themes into my work and do my part, sometimes through the song itself, other times through other work, events and community initiatives.

My mission is to live a life of symbiosis –making a positive difference by combining the things I love to do.

Our Scattered Words: I stumbled on to your story via GOOD. In a very short time I’ve found it to be an incredible resource to find people and organizations that; want to help each other and want to champion positive actions happening in the world.  How did that connection come about and how has it impacted you?
Lauren Turk: GOOD was one of the first and best things I discovered when I moved to LA. It opened up my eyes to this city’s vibrant ecosystem of start-ups, young companies and cooperatives with their heads and hearts in the right place. It’s a big part of why I love being here

Furthermore, the first GOOD article I read helped shift my perspective on what success in the music industry means to me. I had (and still have) my goals set very high, but had always vowed that once I met “success” that I’d use the accompanying platform as an agent of change. I had a Gwen Stefani moment and realized “Whatchyou waiting for”? Making a difference starts the moment you decide to take action. The best we can do is use what we have, there’s no need to reach a certain “level” first.

Our Scattered Words: Do you think you’ll ever work renewable energy policies into a song idea?
Lauren Turk: Yes!! I think about it everyday (I also wrote a master’s thesis on this topic). There’s actually a song on my EP called “Generation” that’s about waking up and taking action to salvage our environment.

I plan to write more in the future in different genres. It’s a challenge to turn this topic into a song without being preachy or doomsday, and you could lose your audience…

Unfortunately, the impacts of climate change are so globally pervasive and large that taking responsibility on an individual level and accepting the sobering truth about what’s happening to our environment, food and water is so often shrugged off. A lot of people don’t want to hear it, think about it, or realize their direct impact. The plot thickens with companies and governments the all powerful M word ($$). My dream is to write something that is both digestible and compelling to people.

Our Scattered Words: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Lauren Turk: My method is sort of strange. I get inspiration at really inconvenient times! Invariably when I am moving from point A to B – biking, walking, driving, and especially when working out. Movement turns my creative brain on like no other. Typically words come first, and then I find a chord progression to match the mood of my thoughts, and last the melody. That’s when I’m songwriting alone. When I songwrite with others, I try to absorb their vibe and let something come out naturally, usually on the spot. I love doing it both ways.

Our Scattered Words: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Lauren Turk: Sometimes (and almost exclusively for love songs), I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with lyrics at my fingertips in a sort of lucid dreaming state (my song “Impasse” happened like this).

For the most part, I write the songs pretty immediately and try not to sit on things longer than a month or so. I find I lose momentum and I might end up completely changing the mood of the song if I revisit it too long after. Maybe this makes my work less than it’s best sometimes…but I also think it makes for an honest portrayal of the inspirational place it originated from 🙂

If I feel blocked or uninspired, sometimes I have a look through my old songwriting journals, especially from my travels.

Our Scattered Words:  Artists are not always the strongest communicators off of the stage.  Has your degree in degree in Business and Communications helped you in developing your music career?
Lauren Turk: I definitely think so. These credentials allow me work on amazing projects part-time by day with people who value the different goals and aspirations I have. With a little time management, I get the best of both worlds. That said, the music industry is a totally different animal— the protocols, socializing, competition and hierarchies are unique to what you encounter in other sectors. I’ve been learning a lot. I’d say my background has helped me think strategically about the music industry instead of just creatively (music-making).  I also like to think I’m harder to trap in a contract than the next guy 😉

Our Scattered Words: What constitutes a good story for you?
Lauren Turk: Ideally a good story is relatable, comes from a unique angle, and is genuine. The moment I doubt whether a story is contrived or staged, I enjoy it less.  Metaphors are also powerful aspects of a good story.

Our Scattered Words: Were your parents involved in music at all? What do they think of music becoming your career path?
Lauren Turk: No, not really. They’ve always been supportive of my pursuit of happiness, whatever that may be. I’m very lucky for that. I think they thought I was crazy when I announced that after finishing my masters I was going to head to L.A. to have a go at the music industry. They were confused, but when they saw that this was coming from my heart, their confusion dissipated 🙂

Our Scattered Words: What do you wish you did better?
Lauren Turk: I wish I were stronger in music theory. It’s crazy, I studied piano, violin, and singing for so many years, but didn’t like music theory. I would skip over it, and I think it slipped under my teachers’ radar because I had a good ear and progressed quickly. Now, I have to make up for that. It’s such a pain! I’m a stickler for theory with the kids I teach (piano and violin) so that they don’t suffer the same fate, haha.

Our Scattered Words: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Lauren Turk: This is such an impossible question. A lot of my favorite lyrics are in French… but lately, the lyric that has been running around in my head is from First Aid Kit’s “Emmylou” “Now so much I know that things just don’t grow if you don’t bless them with your patience”. That resonates deeply with me.

Our Scattered Words: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Lauren Turk: 

  1. Never give up!
  2. Only two opinions matter when it comes to critiquing and modifying your work. That of the non-musician (do they like it?) and that of the expert (what is missing, what doesn’t make sense?). The endless opinions in between can just distract you from the unique flavor you bring to the table (the producer of my EP “Forward”, Rudi Meibergen, said this to me)
  3. There’s an audience for everything…just do your own thing and have fun! The rest will fall into place.

Our Scattered Words: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Lauren Turk: Oh my…anything with Michael Jackson. He was brilliant – he would come in and sing all the harmonies and notes for each player on every instrument…it didn’t matter whether it was for guitar or a trumpet. He had it all in his head. I feel like it would be so overwhelmingly inspiring to witness something like that, and I would most likely cry from awesomeness overload.

Our Scattered Words: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Lauren Turk: Leonard Cohen. In my opinion, no one really lights a candle to his songwriting ability. His lyrics just get you, and you feel like you get them. They are profound but not overdone. He was a master of finding that balance.

Our Scattered Words: What are you up to now?
Lauren Turk: I’m going on tour in Europe from April 10-April 28th introducing my new music project called The New History. We’re playing in Berlin, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam, then we’ll head to Urbana-Champaign (where I went to school) to play at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and in the first annual Agora festival (which I’m co-organizing), which celebrates community and collaboration as paradigms for happy and successful living. Then, we’re headed to Chicago to play at the Tonic Room and go on Fearless Radio! All these details will be posted on our website, www.thenewhistory.com. There will be links on my website, www.laurenturkmusic.com, as well!

Lauren Turk on the Wb

www.laurenturkmusic.com

www.facebook.com/LaurenTurkMusic

Follow on Instagram: @LaurenTurkMusic

Follow on Twitter: @LTsings

The New History

www.thenewhistory.com

www.facebook.com/TheNewHist

Follow on Instagram: @TheNewHistory

All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Lauren Turk, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

Bonus materials for Lauren include 3 music videos of songs she’s been enjoying lately.

Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

Follow on Twitter: @OSWBlog

Benjamin Verdoes Songwriting Interview

Benjamin Verdoes Songwriting INterview

Benjamin Verdoes – photo by Megumi Shauna Arai

Benjamin Verdoes Songwriting Interview

Current City- Seattle, WA
Record Label- Brick Lane Records
Most Recent Release- ‘The Evil Eye’

Band Affiliations- Iska Dhaaf, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band

Brief Intro- Benjamin Verdoes is a songwriter from the Pacific Northwest often known for his unorthodox approach to composition. In the last decade he has written four albums, two as a part Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band. The Evil Eye, which he began composing in 2011, is the first recording released under his own name. Verdoes also currently plays alongside Nathan Quiroga in the emerging Seattle band Iska Dhaaf.

Our Scattered Words- What is your songwriting/composing process and does it vary greatly on the other projects you’re involved with?
Benjamin Verdoes- I write using several different methods, although most of the things I write happen when I am not intending to write. I go into a strange zone where I forget what I’m doing. It is similar to a daydream. I think that is where my psyche unravels into ideas. Other times I make loop of parts I like and walk around the house singing with them.

Our Scattered Words- Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Benjamin Verdoes- Some lyrics come right away or before the music. More often I get a few lines and expand and refine them over a long stretch of time.

Our Scattered Words- The bio info for Iska Dhaaf says that you were inspired by Sufi poetry.  I always encourage people interested in songwriting to study Rumi and Hafiz because I believe those two were so incredible in telling moving stories with such minimal words. Plus, they see right to the truth of emotions and relationships. How did they influence you and Nathan?
Benjamin Verdoes- I think Nathan and I were both at a point of searching and transition when we met. We were looking to get beyond ourselves with our art, and in our personal lives. Sufi poets and mystics are inspiring because they are profoundly human and spiritual at the same time. I would say the transcendence of their writing came from their ability to reconcile life’s seemingly impossible contradictions, namely the eternal and the ephemeral. And yes, perhaps they are concise because they rely on triggering things within a person rather than trying to create something that seeks attention.

Our Scattered Words- I really like and am intrigued by your description of your new album, ““The Evil Eye is a record I made for a beautiful person. It is a rebuttal to those seemingly powerful forces that tell you what you can and cannot do–the eyes that watch carelessly and tongues that move thoughtlessly in an attempt to describe and limit something that is spiritual and perfect. It is a love story.”  What is the thing you’re reflecting on that’s “spiritual and Perfect”, the person? Love? What are the forces fighting against this ideal state?
Benjamin Verdoes- All of the above: the person, the relationship/love, and the story we created together. Not to say that there are not struggles or problems, but that our connection is based on something eternal and beautiful. Perfect is a strange word. In fact, it doesn’t even exist in a few languages I’ve learned/ learned about. To me, it means something that is true and intuitive.

People (myself included) often fall into the mode of thinking that everything in love, life, and relationships is in the final outcome, or in the endurance in our life span. While that is important and may be true to an extent, I think each moment and connection is eternal. I tried to reflect that element in the songs. In some sense, the forces fighting us were people who were hoping or guessing the relationship would end. But also, anything that tried to take the focus off of what we were/are creating, including flattery, insincerity, or negativity.

Our Scattered Words- We all have “unknown fears”, especially those of us working as artists.  What fears are your biggest hurdles and how do you get past them?
Benjamin Verdoes- “Unknown Fears” is about anxiety, specifically the point when it all blends into an unclear feeling of discomfort and stress. It’s mostly tied to social situations. I tend to worry about offending people or not engaging them thoughtfully. Sometimes I am just off, and I get anxiety about conversations. The song is about triggers and things that set you off into that realm and render you useless in your attempts to communicate or connect with others. This includes, to some extent, performing music.

Our Scattered Words- What constitutes a good story for you?
Benjamin Verdoes- Something that is honest and skillfully told. Something that impacts me and causes a reaction.

Our Scattered Words- What are you most proud of?
Benjamin Verdoes- In regards to music, the fact that I continue to make songs and records, and that I have pushed myself to try new things.

Our Scattered Words- What do you wish you did better?
Benjamin Verdoes- I wish I were better at recording my own music. I am working on it.

Our Scattered Words- What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Benjamin Verdoes- Nate wrote the words to this song, and it has become very important to me. At the current moment, these are my favorite words:


Our Scattered Words- 
What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Benjamin Verdoes- Be honest, read a lot, be patient, and don’t quit.

Our Scattered Words- If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Benjamin Verdoes- I would have liked to hear Otis Redding’s vocal performances and the process of his records.

Our Scattered Words- If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Benjamin Verdoes- Leonard Cohen. He is such a great storyteller and draws from so many sources. His songs stand alone. He is a poet, novelist, and incredible songwriter.

Benjamin Verdoes on the Web
Website
Iska Dhaaf
Twitter  @benjaminverdoes   &  @iska_dhaaf

All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Benjamin Verdoes, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

Bonus materials for Benjamin include 3 music videos of songs he’s been enjoying lately.

Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

 

Jordan Laz Songwriting Interview

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Jordan Laz (photo by Brian Hamm) at DFW Sofar Show http://www.flickr.com/photos/sofarsounds/8553856153/in/photostream/

SXSW (South By Southwest) is a month away. Like all music festivals it’s music overload.  Too many choices to see everyone. Running from one venue to the next.  Hoping, if you don’t have a wristband, that you make it through the line in time to see the act you wanted to see.  Sometimes even being surprised by who you get to hear while standing in line.  That’s how I heard The Zombies last year.  Standing in line at the Paste Showcase. I even have a friend that maps out a schedule in Excel with back-up options and the time needed to leave from one venue to reach the next.  Last year I took a different approach for most of my SXSW visit.  Friday Night I decided to spend the night at the Communion showcase at St. David’s Church.  It was a magical night of music.  Beautiful venue, quiet and appreciative crowd, incredible line-up (The Staves, Lucius, Lucy Rose, Half Moon Run, Joe Banfi and Leif Vollebekk). Saturday afternoon I was able to finally attend a Sofar house show. The schedule for Sofar shows in my home town never co-ordinated right with my work and gig schedule.  But, I was able to make this one.  Jordan Laz was one of the performers on this house show.  I knew Locksley but had not heard his solo songs.  He was energetic, engaging and involved the crowd in his songs.  So, I was thrilled when Jordan and his brother, Jesse, agreed to do interviews.

JORDAN LAZ

Current City- Brooklyn, NY
Most Recent Release-  Individually released ‘2013’ for online streaming
Band affiliation- Play bass and sing in Locksley, recently playing on my own as well.

Brief intro/Bio:  I’m twenty four years old, I was a child in Wisconsin, and currently living in Brooklyn, New York. I started writing music at age 16–pop songs. They were enough to get offered a role in the band Locksley, and began playing with the band at age 18. I’ve been in New York since.

Our Scattered Words: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Jordan Laz: I’ll start playing a progression, and start singing or shouting some form of a melody on top, over and over, until it sticks. That’s usually the chorus. Then I add the rest. Then I come up with words, something that sounds like the noises I was making when developing the melody, which tends to work really well. It’s always my subconscious trying to say something.

Our Scattered Words: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Jordan Laz: They come quickly for me, the best ones do. I try and limit myself when it comes to lyrics, less is more I think. If a song takes me more than day to complete I tend to lose interest and find that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Our Scattered Words: You joined Locksley, which your brother Jesse started, about 5 years after they started.  How did that come about?
Jordan Laz: I was still in high school at the time and had been writing songs and playing guitar for about a year. I also played drums as a kid and did some early recordings with Jesse, playing songs on demos of all the  fellas that Locksley would later record. The guys asked if I’d be interested in joining the band. I’d have to learn how to play bass, which I’d never done, but the songs were easy enough… Also I had to learn how to sing. Seven years later I think I’m finally an amateur.

Our Scattered Words: Is the whole group involved in co-writing the Locksley songs?
Jordan Laz: Not really. We all write songs on our own, and structure them individually. Then we’ll bring them to the band and really just play them over and over till they lock in. Everyone contributes ideas once we bring it to full band, for the arrangement. But the songs themselves are pretty well structured by the songwriter. More recently we’ve been writing them together, it usually begins with someone playing a groove, or singing a line, and we’ll jam on it for awhile until something starts to form. Often times however, once the “jam” takes a form, we all start thinking about it too much and some of that natural honesty is lost to the process. We’ve always dreamed of being in a set up where everything we played was recording all the time. The amount of magic that has been lost to circumstance is maddening. All our best songs and performances existed at one time in one room on one day, and then forgotten forever… Always be recording.

Jordan Laz at SXSW Sofar House show


Our Scattered Words: I really enjoyed your performance on a Sofar house show during SXSW last year.  You really involve and connect with the audience. Your solo songs are pretty different than the Locksley material.  Tell us about that.
Jordan Laz: Thanks very much, that was a real special experience for me. Locksley had come to a sort of halt at the end of 2011 for various reasons; and everyone became involved in different things in their creative, and personal lives. Over the course of my time in Locksley we had released two albums, Don’t Make Me Wait (which I wasn’t involved in at the outset) and Be In Love (which is the only album I recorded and contributed songs to). Over that time however, I had probably written nearly 100 songs. Not all of them were good, most of them on a look back are garbage, but by 2012 I was starting to understand myself as a songwriter better. As Locksley played less and less in 2012 I wasn’t focusing my songwriting efforts on music that I thought the band would play, as I had in the past. I had spent so much time listening to other things that were exciting and moving to me that at the time I was really connecting with, material that was far removed from the influences that had come to define the Locksley sound. A combination of listening to singer-songwriters like Bon Iver and Tallest Man on Earth, while also ingesting a lot of R&B and Hip Hop. It was all interesting to me, and it was beautiful. And it made me feel things I didn’t know I felt. It wasn’t a conscious adjustment, making music different from Locksley, making more introspective personal music happened naturally at the time, it allowed me to say things I wanted to say to the people in my life that I wasn’t able to say. I played a handful of those Sofar shows in Texas last spring. I left New York in December, and spent the rest of the month finishing a collection of music I had been working on all year that I put out right before I travelled and spent time other places exploring, writing, and performing. The time in Texas was especially satisfying because of those shows that I got to play. I’d never performed in any capacity that wasn’t the high energy experience Locksley provided–which I love doing, it’s still very much a part of me, but not all of me. Every Sofar show I was able to do something completely different, because I was doing it alone. Which was freeing, and also limiting. It’s much easier when you have a team. So I need both, I’ll keep recording and releasing and performing on my own. Meanwhile, I look forward to creating and performing with Locksley again, because when our team is playing its best, I think there’s no one better, humbly. 

Our Scattered Words: You have an “album” of songs called 2013 on your website that’s a tribute to last year.  How did this come about and do you think you’ll do a similar album this year?
Jordan Laz: I did that for the first time at the beginning of last year. On January 1st, 2013 I released “2012” which was a ‘tribute’ to the year before. At the end of 2012 I had this collection of songs, high quality demos really, that so perfectly summed up what that year meant to me. It was reflective of my own experiences, but felt very honest, and relatable.  Without even being conscious of it at the time I felt the songs I had written and recorded told a perfect story as you travelled back. At the end of 2013 I noticed the same thing. It was a very different story, but still interesting and accessible and I thought a progression from the music I had released before. It’s hard to say if i’ll continue to release music in that format, I suppose if it keeps happening this way I won’t have a choice.

Our Scattered Words: What are you most proud of?
Jordan Laz:  I’m proud of the development I’ve made as a songwriter and a performer since I first came out to New York to play in a band. I’ve always felt that I didn’t really pick music, it picked me in a way. I’m glad it did, I still have a lot of work to do, but it keeps getting better.

Our Scattered Words: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Jordan Laz: Of my Locksley material: “Why? Well, just because” of my own material I like, “When my time comes, sing me love songs.”

Our Scattered Words: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Jordan Laz: Be honest

Our Scattered Words: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Jordan Laz:  Beatles ‘White Album’. And ‘Stankonia’

Our Scattered Words: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Jordan Laz: Bob Dylan. I don’t know if he’d have the ability to be as insightful as I may want to him to be. But at least I’d be able to say that I sat down and talked about songwriting with Bob Dylan. 

Please stop by Jordan’s Website and stream his original songs
Plus, here’s one more live video of Jordan from a Sofar house show

I’m keeping Jordan’s Songwriting playlist here this time.  It’s all streamed tracks, no videos which is nice variety

1.One of my favorite songwriters/artists/thinkers is my oldest friend from Wisconsin. He goes the moniker Yip Dap Xi (pronounced chee), I’m afraid there are no videos of him playing but this is one of my favorite songs he ever wrote:

listen to the entire vast collection at yipdapxi.bandcamp.com

2. A different close friend’s band. I think Locksley fans will really like this, I think everyone should:

3. Another lo-fi recording of a great song by an old friend

All interviews and Bonus Materials  will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

I hope to see you at SXSW, please let me know if you’re attending

Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

 

Jesse Laz Songwriting Interview

Jesse Laz Songwriting Interview

Current City: Jersey City, NJ
Band Affiliation: Locksley

Brief Intro:
1 of 3 songwriters for the group Locksley.

Our Scattered Words: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Jesse Laz: In the past I would write songs like journal entries. I would start playing (talking about nonsense) until I hit on a theme I was feeling and then I would follow it through. I liked to finish a song in one session. I would always come back and refine lyrics or structure over time but I always felt it was important to have it in an initial ‘finished’ form.

Now, I mostly keep a little theme in my head and just work it over there. It keeps evolving and I add pieces to it here or there as they come to me. But it’s basically all in my head now. I don’t even sing or play an instrument. One of these days I’ll actually lay a couple down.

Our Scattered Words: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Jesse Laz: I am constantly revising lyrics. I tend to think of a song as a living thing – it’s never really ‘done’ necessarily. Just in it’s current form.

Our Scattered Words: Licensing is huge part of making a living as a band now.  Locksely has been very successful with licensing, from TV shows and Hockey teams to Guitar Hero.  How do you guys manage that and what are your thoughts on licensing?
Jesse Laz: I’m actively forming them. Our success in licensing appears to be due to the particular kind of music we do. It’s upbeat and accessible. Good shopping music, I guess. I think there is work that is fine to license and work that shouldn’t be licensed. as long as you own your own publishing you always have the control over where it gets used.

Our Scattered Words: “Darling, It’s True” was released as a single by Steven Van Zandt.  How did that connection come about?
Jesse Laz: He had played some of our other songs on his Underground Garage radio station (including putting ‘She Does’ on his Coolest Songs of the Year album he releases) so there was familiarity and we wanted to try a 7″, which is his vibe, certainly. One of the B-sides was a cover called ‘There’s a Love’ that is probably the real reason for the deal. He loved our version of that song.

Our Scattered Words: Band relationships can get tense over time, as can relationships with siblings.  How have you and Jordan maintained a working relationship through the years?
Jesse Laz: It’s had it’s ups and downs. Like any long term relationship, we just keep communication open and avoid each other in the darker patches.

Our Scattered Words: Tell us about The Locksely secret shows and #WhereIsLocksley hashtag.
Jesse Laz: In time.

Our Scattered Words: What are you most proud of?
Jesse Laz: Broadly, my relationships. I have a number of very intense long term relationships (including with the guys in the band) that have managed to withstand some pretty extraordinary ups and downs. In terms of the songs I’ve written, all of my favorites are unreleased. Of the released songs, I suppose “21st Century” was my strongest. Though “She Does” has received the most coverage of the songs I’ve written.

Our Scattered Words: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Jesse Laz:
Released: Everything’s changing and that’s fine with me.
Unreleased: If I couldn’t see what would colors be, only black to me or colors much more brightly?

Our Scattered Words: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Jesse Laz: Do it a lot. I’ve written so many hundreds of songs I don’t even know about half of them. Plus I’m making up songs everytime I cook breakfast, change my baby’s diaper, take out the trash. If it was socially acceptable, I would sing all of my interactions. “you got an-y ripe avocaaaaaadoos?”

Our Scattered Words: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Jesse Laz: good question. At this moment I would say ‘Electric Warrior’ by T-Rex because I’m vibing on all of those sounds and would love to know how to make them. ‘White Album’ would have been special. And ‘Thriller’, because it’s Thriller.

Our Scattered Words: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Jesse Laz: Woody Guthrie

 

All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Jesse Laz, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

Bonus materials for Jesse include 3 music videos of songs he’s been enjoying lately.

Stay tuned for an interview with Jesse’s brother, Jordan Laz, coming soon.

Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

Kaela Sinclair Songwriting Interview

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Kaela Sinclair

Connections. Students pursuing MBAs often choose the school by which program will lead to the most connections for their future career.  Film students do the same with film schools.  The value of the contacts, most often, surpass the value of the education. (No offense meant, NYU/UT/USC). It’s the same in music.  Often, seemingly casual acquaintances can lead to career-changing moments later on.  So, it’s good to reach out and connect with musicians in and on the edge of your network.  It’s so much different, and maybe even easier now, from when I was growing up.  I went to see Marian McPartland play,when I was in High School in the 70s, and talked with her after the show.  I let her know I had done an arrangement of her song “Ambiance”.  She gave me her address and asked me to mail it to her.  This lead to a long-term friendship over several decades

About a month ago, I got a friend request from Kaela Sinclair.  I recognized her name.  Wasn’t sure exactly where from, but we knew a lot of the same people.  She thought we had met when she sent the request.  But we chatted and she seemed like a good person. Then I listened to her album and really liked it. I was thinking it would be fun to interview her on her writing and the album. It’s pretty different from other releases coming out in the area.  Suddenly, in the end of 2013 music reviews the local press was picking “Sun & Mirror” as one of the best releases in the area. Kaela is also friends with Jessie Frye, who I interviewed last August.  I’m glad to be able to share this interview and her songs with those of you who have not been fortunate enough to hear Kaela Sinclair yet.

Kaela Sinclair
Current City- Denton, TX
Most Recent Release- “Sun & Mirror” 11 song LP

BIO

I grew up in Sarasota, FL – a sunny, Gulf coast beach town. My parents settled down there when I was a few years old after traveling the country in the Air Force as linguists. They homeschooled me until 6th grade and instilled in me a deep appreciation for learning and creating. I was an avid reader, and loved to draw and paint. My mother says I was singing as soon as I could talk. I started piano lessons around the age of six, and never stopped playing. Songwriting was a natural progression from there.

By the time I finished middle school I was fully engrossed in music and had decided that I would be a professional musician. Luckily, there was a high school in Sarasota that had a pretty serious magnet arts program. There I discovered my passion for music theory and was exposed to jazz and classical music. This introduction to the intellectual, technical side of music was a catalyst for much deeper musical growth.

I moved to Denton, TX in 2008 as a freshman at the University of North Texas, where I majored in Jazz Voice performance, with a minor in Music Theory. It was an intense program which required hours of practice and study a day. Though I was studying jazz, my peers exposed me to other interesting sub-genres of music. I experimented in all of them – writing songs that ranged from fusion and funk, to neo-soul, to brazilian jazz, to avant-garde pop. By the time I graduated from UNT in 2012 I felt I had to make a decision regarding the direction of my musical career. In the end it was obvious that I should return to my most natural state of creativity and write alternative, indie pop music – but I’m still greatly influenced by the chords, rhythms, and melodies of jazz, soul, and classical music.

I released my debut album of original music, Sun & Mirror, in October of 2013, after almost two years of intense self-discovery. After years of listening to and learning how to play such a wide variety of genres it was a challenge being consistent in my writing style. I spent a lot of time listening to music and searching for new artists. I would listen to an artist and ask myself, “Do I want to sound like this in any way?”, and if the answer was “No,” I stopped listening. In that regard, listening to music became more of a desperate search for identity, and less of a means for pleasure and entertainment. It didn’t help that I was making a living playing Top 40 cover band gigs on the weekend and teaching Taylor Swift and One Direction songs to kids during the week.

Within the course of six months I had written about fifty new songs, but it wasn’t until August of 2012 that I finally began to find my sound. That’s when I wrote the first couple of songs from Sun & Mirror. “Without” and “Coral Castles” came first. I scrapped the dozens of songs I had written up to that point and began a more deliberate approach. Just a few weeks later I happened to meet McKenzie Smith – a remarkable drummer with impeccable taste and a great ear for production. He’s the drummer for the band Midlake and has worked with artists like Regina Spektor, St. Vincent, and Sarah Jaffe. I asked him to work with me on the album and he immediately said yes. I was floored by the passion he put into the project and felt he truly shared my vision for the album. I continued to write as we began recording at Redwood Studios in Denton, TX (owned and operated by McKenzie and Midlake guitarist, Joey McClellan) and found a great band.

The recording process was emotionally and financially strenuous, but one of the most rewarding experiences in my life up to this point. Sun & Mirror is the first successful realization of my artistic vision, but it’s still just the beginning. I have a lot more to say.

Our Scattered Words: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Kaela Sinclair: There isn’t one single way I write songs, but a typical approach starts at the piano. Most of the time I improvise until I find a chord progression or instrumental hook that I like. Once I’ve got a little bit of music I’ll start writing lyrics in tandem. Sometimes I write lyrics separately, but more often I write the chords, melody, and lyrics together and move section by section. The first verse and the chorus are the hardest part to write, but once those are finished the rest of the song is generally easy to write. Sometimes if I’m feeling stuck I’ll try writing on guitar. Two songs from the album were written on guitar – “Run” and “Better.”

Our Scattered Words: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Kaela Sinclair: Honestly, my best songs come very quickly. In one or two sittings. I do a lot of small lyrical revisions, but I most often find that if they need heavy re-working they simply aren’t working. But I save most of my failed lyrics, and sometimes use old lyrics in new songs.

Our Scattered Words: Where do your stories come from for songs?  Are you influenced by books you read or movies?
Kaela Sinclair: Like many songwriters, I often draw from my own life experiences, relationships, and daily adventures. I have a passion for philosophy and have spent a lot of time exploring and developing my specific worldview, often with the aid of books written by great thinkers. Psychology and internal conflict play into my writing a lot. I write about the elusive qualities of happiness, and the dangers of introspection. I’ve alway been an eager consumer of adventure, fantasy, and sci-fi books, so from a young age I had a dramatic, sometimes dark sense of imagination. I think you can hear that in my music.

Our Scattered Words: You went through the Jazz program at North Texas which is intense.  But, it’s not really a true songwriting program like Berklee.  How have your music studies impact your writing?
Kaela Sinclair: It’s true, I never studied songwriting in college. I’m glad I didn’t. There is something about music school that can make musicians very formulaic. There are songwriting “formulas” that the hit songwriters use to make the songs that top the charts, but most of those songs are incredibly bland. They use the same chords, lyrics, production tricks, and lyrical hooks over and over and over again. It bores me to tears. That’s not what I’m interested in.

What music school did give me is technical abilities and musical comprehension – a skill set that is invaluable to my writing. Music theory and ear training skills, sight-reading abilities, and good vocal technique are the best things I got out my schooling.

Our Scattered Words: Your album “Sun and Mirror” is getting incredible attention and feedback. “one of the best albums to emerge from the DFW area thus far in 2013.” – DFW.com”  Has that surprised you?
Kaela SInclair: It’s been incredibly encouraging and validating. I knew when I released the album that there was no guarantee that it would get noticed, but I certainly hoped it would. It’s a huge personal accomplishment when someone says to me that they’ve had the album on repeat. I don’t need everyone to like it, but I want some people to love it.

Our Scattered Words: What will you do different or change on the next album?
Kaela SInclair: I’m already excited for the next album. I had to go through a lot of growing pains for my first album…it will be nice to start off with more self-assurance and a solid foundation to build upon. I’ve already written a couple of new songs and have started imagining the sounds I want to create. I have a lot of ideas that I want to experiment with. The next album will be even bigger, sonically.

Our Scattered Words: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Kaela Sinclair: Oh, I have so many! But the lyrics to “Marching Bands of Manhattan” by Death Cab for Cutie have stuck with me for a long time.

“If I could open my arms

And span the length of the isle of Manhattan,

I’d bring it to where you are

Making a lake of the East River and Hudson

If I could open my mouth

Wide enough for a marching band to march out

They would make your name sing

And bend through alleys and bounce off all the buildings.

I wish we could open our eyes

To see in all directions at the same time

Oh what a beautiful view

If you were never aware of what was around you

And it is true what you said

That I live like a hermit in my own head

But when the sun shines again

I’ll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in.”

Our Scattered Words: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Kaela Sinclair: Learn all that you can – be good at an instrument. Listen to good music and dissect it. When you hear a song that you love, figure out why you love it and incorporate it into your music in small ways. Be genuine and strive to make music that you would listen to.

Our Scattered Words: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Kaela Sinclair: I would have loved to be behind the scenes during the making of Kimbra’s album, Vows. She has extraordinary pop sensibilities, but she’s creative and eccentric. She also had a great team behind her. There’s a lot of fascinating production on that album and I would have loved to peek over the shoulders of her producers.

Our Scattered Words: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Kaela Sinclair: Three people come to mind. Jeff Buckley, Thom Yorke, and Sia. Jeff Buckley because his music was so original and wholehearted, and swept people off their feet with just one album. Thom Yorke because he is a genius and one of the most prolific indie rock musicians ever. Sia because she writes hit pop songs for people like Britney Spears but still manages to write unique, eccentric music. She seems to have found a way to balance conventional and unconventional.

Kaela Sinclair on the Web
Sun & Mirror is available for purchase on iTunes and Bandcamp. You can stream the whole thing Here
OFFICIAL SITE: www.kaelasinclair.com
LIKE: www.facebook.com/kaelasinclairmusic
FOLLOW: www.twitter.com/kaelasinclair
SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/1kx3FC2

All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Kaela Sinclair, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

Bonus materials for Kaela Sinclair include; 3 videos of Kaela and 3 music videos of songs she’s been enjoying lately.

Please follow the Facebook Page for more updates and songwriting posts. Send us a message on Twitter and tell your friends, neighbors and relatives about us, if you like.

Thanks for spending some time here,
Our Scattered Words

Mark Geary Songwriting Interview

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Mark Geary (photo by Sioux Nesi)

Mark Geary is the type of person I hoped to interview when I started this blog.  Someone that several friends have referred me to listen to through the years, but I still don’t really know enough about.  A writer with great depth in his storylines and lyrics with a passionate delivery.  Someone that’s hung out with Jeff Buckley and Glen Hansard. A person that gives truthful and interesting answers to the questions.  Mark also answers almost how he write lyric phrases. It’s interesting and I like it. This was fun.  You’re gonna enjoy it.

Mark Geary
Hometown- Dublin, Ireland
Record Label- sonablast records
Most Recent Release- Songs Vienna

BIO
Mark Geary is a Dublin born musician who has split his time between Ireland and New York City over the last 20 years. He spent his early years performing in NYC at the famed Sin-e Café alongside other up and coming musicians, including friend Jeff Buckley, garnering respect and attention from both audiences and fellow artists. Of Mark’s time in New York, Time Out NY magazine said “His delicate songs about love and defiance…recall Richard Thompson and John Lennon….one of the East Village’s favorite adopted sons.”

Touring and performing live is Mark’s lifeblood. He has been featured on bills with musicians as diverse as Joe Strummer, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Coldplay, The Frames and The Swell Season among others.

Since 2002, Mark has released 4 studio albums and 2 live recordings. His second album, the acclaimed Ghosts, was named 2005’s Album of the Year by the Irish VoiceBillboard Magazine said Ghosts “evokes Van Morrison, particularly his early-1970s era,” and called it “a collection of superb songs delivered with a quiet intensity that will endear itself to listeners.”

To capture Mark’s talents as a performer and storyteller, the 2009 live album Live, Love, Lost It NYC showcases some of his best songs performed in front of audiences at various venues around New York City. Mark’s second live recording, Songs: Vienna was just released in December 2013. It was recorded over one night at Casino Baumgarten in Vienna with Mark’s band Grainne Hunt and Mark Penny.

In addition to his own albums, Mark has composed the score to several films; 2005’s Loggerheads, 2006’s Steel City, and 2010’s Sons of Perdition, a Tribeca Film Festival favorite and one of the first documentaries featured in the Oprah Winfrey Network Documentary Club. His songs have also been featured on various television shows including One Tree Hill and Bones.

In 2013 Mark toured throughout Ireland, the UK, New York, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. In November of 2013, Mark collaborated with Glen Hansard on a new version of his song Christmas Biscuits as a charity single for St. Vincent DePaul of Ireland. The song hit the Top 40 and was made the song of the week on TodayFM Ireland’s largest commercial radio station.

In 2014 Mark will be touring in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic while also working on his 5th studio record.

Our Scattered Words: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Mark Geary: I guess it changes. From song to song . But generally . After a bucket of coffee I pick up my guitar . And play. Humming melodies or looking at bits of paper I’ve scribbled on .. And just kinda join the dots . Sometimes just for the joy of playing or singing to myself. When songs come they seem to come very quickly . Almost fully formed  like the 90% perspiration. 10% inspiration . Thing . You have to work on it.
File down the bits. They don’t quite work . Etc

Our Scattered Words: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Mark Geary: They can be both really. There’s a feeling of toil . Sometimes and a feeling that . The hard songs . Are a channel to get the other song out .

Our Scattered Words: You’ve had a true career music.  If fact, you’ve been in music longer than some people I’ve interviewed have been alive.  What do you wish someone told you about the music business hen you were starting out?
Mark Geary: I guess I would be a little less hard on myself as opposed to seeing each show . Opportunity as something fearful.
To choose my battles better.
And to be a little more forgiving on where I was at the time .
Those years of playing the shittiest venues . To uninterested people . And wondering what it was that I was doing badly . Etc.
To give myself a bit of a break.

Our Scattered Words: What is the biggest change in your music career now from 20 years ago?
Mark Geary: The challenge is . To be heard . And noticed .
Over the shrill of constant bombarding of media . We are all shouted at . In a lot of ways . From the moment we get out of bed.
Facebook and Twitter . ” you have to see this video . You have to watch is . Listen to this ..”
When a lot of times . It’s a kitten sitting typing on a computer 🙂
So the challenge is . To believe in the beauty. do what it is you’re doing and trying to achieve .

Our Scattered Words: What was it like doing shows with Jeff Buckley following you and in the audience for your sets?
Mark Geary: He was a friend of mine . My brother had opened the Sin-e cafe . So it just happened a lot . That I was playing before him . In guess in a lot of ways . I was aware of the buzz around him, and justified of course . So when I played there was usually a crowd waiting for him to play . That’s a challenge in and of of itself. So I remember . Just trying to make an impact on a crowd that had no idea who I was .
It’s a great experience to try silence a room that . Honestly have no interest . Or thought of you .

Our Scattered Words: Where do your stories come from for songs?  Are you influenced by books you read or movies?
Mark Geary: Yes . A lot of songs would be autobiographical . Or an essence of me .
A little phrase that I say . Or have heard . Sometimes just a stand point . Or an aspiration

Our Scattered Words: You’ve done a few Film Scores which is a totally different world.  How is your writing process different on those scores?
Mark Geary: Well the difference is you’re serving the film you’re working on .
Watching a piece of film and trying to serve it in some subtle way. To capture the mood of what the director has in mind .
I really like doing them . As it’s not songs as such .
Just
Little pieces of music . Where you can really . Dig under the film. And create unsettling dark music.

Our Scattered Words: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Mark Geary: Mmmm. I have a song called the  ” volunteer ”

I’ve always loved how it happened and the song just flowed out . With these little stories in each verse . Also there’s a song on my recent record ” take me home “
” your a fire , sparks fly off your  bones… Take me home ..

Our Scattered Words: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Mark Geary: Oh always to find your own voice. To capture the essence of e song . The little melody is far more effective than . Lots of complicated chords and tricks of singing .
Sing about what yu know . And sing things that yu believe are true .

Our Scattered Words:
If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Mark Geary:
Anything. That David Bowie and eno . Fripp. Might have done .
Heroes . Etc... The Berlin sessions

Our Scattered Words: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Mark Geary:
Well Bob Dylan would be one .
I got a chance to talk to the edge about what he did . I found it truly a privilege .
So humble was he . And this constant seeker .

Mark Geary On The Web

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Our Scattered Words