Saddles - Sound In The Signals Interview

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First off thanks for the interview

The pleasure really is all mine. Thank you for taking an interest.

I heard you played in a lot of hardcore bands before you started Saddles. What inspired the switch for you?

It was definitely just a matter of my taste evolving organically and my desire to make the kind of music I was actually listening to at the time. It was never really a conscious switch though; there were a few months in between bands where I was just toying around with my acoustic guitar in my boxers in my bedroom before I ever made a song out of anything. Even when I did write a song or two, I never intended them to be part of a serious project that I’d put this much work into. I guess I feel my abilities, both vocal and instrumental, are just better suited for this style of music.

What was the response from people and fans of your previous bands when you started Saddles and stepped away from hardcore?

All my musician friends have been extremely supportive, for the most part. Most of the kids that are actually fans of Saddles have never heard of anything else I’ve ever done, thankfully. So it hasn’t been something I’ve had to deal with a lot. Still, there are a few stragglers on the internet that will find me and bug me about bringing back the old band now and then . . . I’m still trying to figure out if I should feel complimented or insulted by that.

Your new EP This is Ridiculous Luxury is a really great collection of songs. I like the way the songs kind of have a lot of really nice atmospheric qualities and the songs are well written and your vocals kind of help set the vibe of the EP. When you are songwriting what comes first a melody, lyrics, or do you write the music?

Even after writing dozens and dozens of songs, I still don’t have a consistent method to it. Sometimes I’ll be noodling around on a guitar and something I’m playing will catch my ear or sometimes I’ll be out and about when a melody will come to me and I’ll scramble to mash lyrics into my iPhone while I can still hear the tune in my head. Either way, I’m almost superstitious about making sure whatever comes out comes out organically and from a genuine place, so writing a song can just as easily take me half an hour as it can take me three months.

You are a solo artist but the EP very much has a full band feel to it. Do you play all the instruments on the record or do you have studio musicians help out?

Yeah, I actually do play all the instruments myself. I started as a drummer playing in high school pop-punk bands even before the hardcore stuff, and even in those bands I always wrote all the songs. It was always a struggle getting everyone to play their parts the way I’d imagined though. A big part of the reason I started Saddles alone was that I was frustrated with having to clear each and every idea with three other guys and make sure they approved of everything I was writing. Saddles is great because I get to have total control of the recording process and I get to pay meticulous attention to every detail without putting pressure on anyone’s performance but my own.

One thing I like about your music is it seems really well crafted. With music these days a lot of artists are recycling the formula and just shooting for a hit single. What is your opinion on the current state of the music scene and what do you feel like you are doing that maybe some bands aren’t?

I try my best to avoid anything and everything cliché. I feel like a lot of bands, whether consciously or not, are employing and capitalizing on clichés. My problem is that I always make the mistakes of predicting the death of a trend years before it actually dies and expecting the general population to be right there with me. But there are a lot of giant buzz bands these days whose success always amazes me because they’re making music that I would’ve called old hat five years ago. Still, there is a formula for a reason. So, you never know.

The first track on the EP “Wars” is a really strong start to the EP and it’s one of my favorite songs from the release. Can you let me know where your head space was at as far as writing that song and what influenced you?

I had been playing the chords and hearing the verse melody and a few random lyrics in my head every time I’d sit with my guitar for months when some recording time I thought I had booked pretty far out kind of rushed up on me. I was forced to finish the song a little quicker than I would have if I’d have let come naturally and it actually made for a little bit of a lesson in songwriting. It made me admit to myself just what those random lyrics were really about and made me to focus on writing about something specific. The song basically embellishes my account of a violently tormented relationship I was in with a violently tormented girl who passed that torment on to me. The name “Wars” alludes to the crazy fights that resulted. As far as the way the music sounds: it was just a matter of providing the right dynamic of shoegaze and melodrama to fit the themes and emotions expressed in the lyrics.

If you had to pick one song off the new EP to kind of be an introduction to your music what track would you pick and why?

I would have to say “Wars.” It has a dynamic, both in vibe and sound, which I think is most representative of what Saddles is than any other song. I like that it builds bigger and bigger throughout and seems to have a climactic effect near the end.

What is one thing that is going on in today’s music scene or the music industry you really don’t like? What is one thing you think that is a step in the right direction?

I think the thing that both aids and harms the music scene and business most is the Internet and its resultant culture. The Internet has leveled the playing field in so many good and bad ways. No one would know who I am or anything about my music if it weren’t for the Internet, but at the same time, no one would know about anybody else’s either. The market is flooded and people’s ears are fatigued. Fatigued ears do push trends along faster and faster as listeners and musicians alike try to stay afloat above an inundation of copycats. But that is a good and bad thing. Music with lasting substance used to be a valuable commodity and those who were truly talented were exalted. Now music seems to be gobbled up and spit out by disingenuous, over-informed masses based on what is in vogue that month. It seems, in general, that an appreciation of music with substance has been replaced with little more than an acknowledgement of music that is more congruent with this week’s trend.

Thanks again for doing this. Anything else you would like to add?

Man, now you've got me depressed.

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