INTERVIEW WITH … AUSTIN SINGER-SONGWRITER ‘SAINT SPICER’

I chatted with ‘Austin songtress’ Saint Spicer about her current single ‘On Repeat’, music inspirations, Anime, and much more. Check it out all below!

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Red Vines or Twizzlers?

SAINT SPICER: Twizzlers…if I have to choose.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can you tell us how you got started as a singer and songwriter? Did you always know you wanted to do this?

SAINT SPICER: Yes, I did! When I was a child I had a Barbie karaoke machine and I knew I wanted to be just like Shania Twain. Then when I was 10, I wrote my first song about a crush I had on one of my YMCA instructors.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: So you just released a new song “On Repeat”. Can you tell me more about the creative and writing process behind that? The backstory for this song?

SAINT SPICER: The producer of this song is Born Soul. He actually heard me perform at my first ever concert in Austin. It went horribly, the sound people completely messed up my track and I ended up getting kicked off the stage after my time went up. I was really mad. But everyone who saw that performance came up to me afterwards and said even with the tech issues they were impressed. Born Soul was there and reached out to me after and wanted to work on a new project. So we got in the studio and he pulled out this sample, and I just started singing “I remember back when I was 18…” And he put together the first verse and I wrote the first verse. Then I went home and sent over the finished song the next week. Jason Cherry is the bassist and I realized the song needed a bass player. This was the first song we did together, and now we’re working on a whole album.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about the song’s cover art … How do you feel the cover art for “On Repeat” fits in aesthetically with this song and with you as an artist right now?

SAINT SPICER: A creative partner of mine, Aleksandar Tinkovski, took that photo of me. I knew I wanted it black and white, and he had the idea to take it in a bar with the long exposure. The cover photo is very reflective of being still and pensive in a time of chaos. Also, alcohol.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Are themes of love and loss something that you feel most comfortable in telling? Or just telling about human relationships overall? Be it good or bad.

SAINT SPICER: Yes, unfortunately. I feel the market for love songs is way oversaturated, but it’s what comes naturally. So when I do write about love I try to be brutally honest about what I’m feeling. The rest of the time, I try to tell stories!

TRB: Where do you normally draw inspiration from as artist and musician? 

SAINT: I draw inspiration from ANIME. I cannot state that enough. Anime is cathartic to me. Japanese culture can be very intense, and their art is a designed as an amazing escapist experience that I can’t get out of my head.

TRB: You mentioned that artists like Nina Simone, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé were huge influences for you. Why have these artists like these have been so inspiring for you? And if you could cover one of their songs which one would you choose and why? 

SAINT: These women are amazing songwriters. Their work holds up over time. Nina has done amazing things outside the boundaries of blues, soul, and jazz, and has an extremely nuance understanding of rhythm. Beyoncé and Gaga are absolute rockstars. I would cover “Save Me” by Nina Simone because it’s saucy and has a good bassline.

TRB: Dream concert venue to play at? 

SAINT: Super Bowl

TRB: Throwing in another fun one here…If you could live in any fictional universe, which would you choose?

SAINT: Avatar the Last Airbender! I’m tryna fly.

TRB: And what’s next for you, Saint Spicer?  

SAINT: Jason Cherry and I are working on an album called Space Cowgirl. It’s based on an anime Cowboy Bebop and follows the archetypical story of the Ugly Duckling. It’s a story everyone can relate to—feeling like you don’t belong, being lost, and then eventually finding your people. It’s a funk album and it’s amazing.

TRB: Anything else you would like to add? Thank you for your time! 

SAINT: Please stream “On Repeat” and consider supporting our recording for Space Cowgirl online at saintsaidso.bandcamp.com! We release new songs every month.

Stream ‘Saint Spicer’ // ‘On Repeat’

https://open.spotify.com/track/5sgG67Y7zhaDxueH7gTknO?si=OSGMHKyfQquiSQu5w7ulUw

Until then,

Brittney x

 

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INTERVIEW WITH … CRAIG STICKLAND

I chatted with singer, songwriter and guitarist Craig Stickland about music, life on the road and his upcoming album “Starlit Afternoon” which features the current single “Burn It Down“. You can read the interview below and learn more about Craig and his music …

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Coffee or tea?

CRAIG STICKLAND: Coffee.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: So you just dropped your latest single “Burn It Down”. Can you tell me more about the creative and writing process behind it? A bit on the backstory?

CRAIG STICKLAND: In the final stretch of the album making process, Cat Lewis and I were writing and producing a ton of music in search of a few more up tempo songs to round out the mid tempo feel of the rest of the album. “Burn It Down” started as a song about rebellion against governments that try to oppress those who are trying to live a life of freedom. After about a month’s worth of re-writes, it ended up as a song about coming together with your fellow human being, living a life of your choosing, while maintaining a theme that no one should be able to tell you how to live the life you want to live.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Your second album “Starlit Afternoon” is coming out this Summer. Can you talk a little bit about how the recording and writing process has been for it?

CRAIG STICKLAND: Starlit Afternoon is a collection of songs that I’d been writing for the last few years while traveling across North America in a sprinter van that I renovated to be my home away from home, as well as while traveling around the world playing guitar in her band, as well as opening up for Alessia Cara. They’re songs about my relationships and experiences during that time period. After trying to find the right production sound with a variety of different producers, and ultimately ending up liking my home demos more than the fully produced versions I was ending up with, I decided to co-produce the album with a few good friends of mine; Cat Lewis and Gray Hawken. Alessia’s keyboardist Eric Rusinski, Cat and I had just finished converting a guest house garage into a studio in LA, so I parked my van in front, AirBnb’d my apartment, and we got to work over the better part of a year. We were in the studio every day, sometimes making 6 or 7 versions of the same song until we got it right.

TRB: Have you always known you wanted to be a singer-songwriter and guitarist? Who are some guitar heroes of yours?

CS: I knew I wanted to be a singer songwriter when I first picked up the guitar at age 16. When I first saw John Mayer play live, that’s when I knew I wanted to be a singer-songwriter and guitarist, and that I needed to step my guitar playing game up.

TRB: Let’s talk a bit about your music video for “Burn It Down“? What was the inspiration behind it? What was the filming like for you on the music video?

CS: Emma Higgins who directed the video is incredible, and she was the true visionary behind the video. We knew we wanted a live performance element to capture the energy of the recording, and it was Emma’s idea to drive around California and capture total stranger’s initial reaction to hearing the song on 16mm film.

TRB: Is there a lyric that you’ve written that has the most meaning to you or is your favorite?

CS: One of my favorite songs on the album is the album closer “Good Love” which is a very personal song written about how hard it is to find pure love, especially with my career choice. The verses are very personal, and I really like the way they came together.

“Staring at the city and I feel like crying out. The words you used to whisper, I now hear so loud. If I’d known you’d be so precious, I would have been more kind. Tell me now why is good love always so hard to find. Lately I’ve been drinking to escape my state of mind. As I pull up to an empty bar, I read your script inside. It tells me not to be reckless, and that everything will be fine. Tell me now why is good love always so hard to find. Maybe it’s the way I live, different city every night. They say that you get what you give, when you left I felt the plight. Maybe things would be different if I wasn’t working all the time. Tell me now why is good love always so hard to find.”
Craig Stickland // ‘Good Love’

TRB: Are there any current artists that have been “On Repeat” for you as a band lately? What music have you been digging?

CS: Tom Misch has been one of my favorites for a while now. His first two albums, Beat Tape 2 and Geography are on heavy rotation. I’ve also been listening to Gary Clark Jr.’s new album, and Nathanial Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ album Tearing at the Seams. Emily King’s new album is incredible too.

TRB: And what’s next for you, Craig Stickland?

CS: I’m really eager to share this new music. I’ll be releasing new songs from Starlit Afternoon leading up to a mid summer Album release. My Next single “Rolling River” Comes out on March 22nd. I also shot a series called ‘The Van Sessions’, where we filmed and recorded live versions of most songs from the album, fully powered by the solar panels that I mounted on top of my sprinter van. We shot a different song in each of my favorite locations around California like Big Sur, Joshua Tree, Yosemite National park and Alabama Hills, to name a few. And of course, more touring to come!

TRB: Thank you for your time!

Listen To “Burn It DownHERE

New Album “STARLIT AFTERNOON” Due Out This Summer!

Until then,
Brittney x

INTERVIEW WITH … MODERN POP SINGER-SONGWRITER, LEAH VOYSEY

Leah Voysey, New Jersey native and Modern Pop singer-songwriter. She has just released a new single ‘Poison‘. Leah is at heart a singer-songwriter but her vocals and the production on ‘Poison‘ are in the vein of many modern female pop artists but with a twist. I got to chat with Leah about ‘Poison‘, her songwriting, music in general and much more below …

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Red Vines or Twizzlers?

LEAH VOYSEY: Definitely Twizzlers…and maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but the black licorice is my favorite.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: So Leah can you tell us how you got started? Did you always want to be a singer and songwriter?

LEAH VOYSEY: I’ve always been a lover of music, and I always wanted to be a performer (specifically an actor). It wasn’t until I was in college that I started to believe in myself as a singer and a songwriter. I didn’t think I had the chops to create music until I sat down and actually tried.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: You used to play acoustic shows in London as well before returning to your roots in Asbury Park in New Jersey? What are some of the ways the music scenes in both places are same? In what ways are they different?

LEAH VOYSEY: In London and Asbury Park, I feel this strong sense of community. Everyone supporting everyone instead of making it feel like a competition. The biggest difference is the accessibility to music. London is so huge, so if you wanted to go out and support your friends, you could really only see one show a night. In Asbury Park, you can hit up 3 different venues a night if you wanted. Maybe even more. It’s a musician’s playground.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about your song ‘Poison’. Can you tell me more about the writing process? The recording process as well. The backstory to this song?

LEAH VOYSEY: To be vague (I don’t want to give away all my secrets), Poison is about fighting with the angel and devil on your shoulder. It’s about realizing you are the one driving your own destruction. I wrote the song in one night. I actually filmed the entire process for some reason. It was really cool watching that back and seeing how the song progressed. I wish I could release that video, but it’s too embarrassing! The recording process was so smooth. Working with MaYaY0 (producer) and Joe Pomarico (sound engineer) was extremely collaborative and encouraging. The three of us have a few more songs up our sleeves for the future!

TRB: It you had the chance to cover any song and give it the ‘Leah Voysey’ treatment what song would you pick? And why?

LV: Well, if you come see my shows on February 23rd and March 6th, you can see this answer come to life! I am covering Pat Benatar‘s Hit Me With Your Best Shot. For the February show, our rendition will be pretty close to the original. But in March, we are going to slow it down and make it jazzy and sexy. I think Pat Benatar is such a cool rocker chick. Even though I am recording modern pop music, I want to show people I have that grit and smoky quality to my voice like a lot of women of the 70’s and 80’s.

TRB: Since your roots are in the acoustic singer-songwriter genre but lean towards pop sensibilities. Who are some pop leaning singer-songwriters that have influenced your sound?

LV: My answer to this is always the same. Halsey, Bishop Briggs, and Billie Eilish. They are all leaning towards pop, but with their own little spice added. They all fit the genre enough to be considered pop, but with very distinctive voices, lyrics, and production techniques. I don’t want to be just another voice in the crowd. When people hear my songs for the first time, I want them to think, “That’s Leah Voysey.”

TRB: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been digging?

LV: My friend Diana showed me this duo, Overcoats. They are so cool! It’s two women, who I would consider to be pop artists, but their sound is heavily influenced by folk music.. The juxtaposition of those two genres is really intriguing.

TRB: Do you have any dream collaborations?

LV: Well, I might as well aim high for this question, right? John Mayer would be an amazing person to collaborate with. His lyrics are so descriptive and unique.

TRB: And what’s next for you Leah?

LV: Besides my live performances coming up, I’ll be releasing a music video for Poison in the next couple of months. Diana, who I mentioned above, directed such an amazing concept that really brings the meaning of the song to life. I’ll also be back in the studio on March 3rd recording with producer, Andrea Morgan. There definitely isn’t a shortage of updates about my career!

TRB: Anything else you would like for me to add? 🙂

LV: If you would like to follow me in my career, check out my Instagram @LeahVoysey, and my YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/leahvoyseysa.

Listen to Leah Voysey’ ‘Poison’ here:

Stream Links:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/61rSdmmO15mDxT1WvgqkfB

Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/poison/1447375862?i=1447375864

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/telegraphhillrecords/leah-voysey-poison-master-12

Until then,

Brittney x

HOST BODIES // ‘DIAMONDFRUIT’ EP – A REVIEW

Host Bodies is a live Electronic duo based in San Francisco comprised of MC/producer James Collector (aka Swoop) and multi-instrumentalist Nick Hess. They have just released a new EP ‘Diamondfruit’ of beautifully chill songs that you’ll be sure to add to at least one or two of your Downtempo or Mood playlists. The seven track EP opens with the track ‘Stories’ the notes are soft and lush. It later picks up in speed bringing in other instruments to the track most notably twangy guitar. We transition to ‘Wildcat Beach’ where nature one of Host Bodies biggest influences starts to become even more evident. Sounds of water and the beach forming the better part of this song. Tracks like ‘Accept’ and ‘Orange Marble’ are two of the more groovier tracks on the EP. Even with Accept’ clocking in 8:36 it’s the standout track with twisting and turning through all of it’s 8:36. On ‘Diamondfruit’ nature and the organic sounds found within it is the basis for the music. That combined with live guitar work, and electronic music elements, Host Bodies create a unique and beautiful soundscape blending two different palettes and it works quite well. It’s a great EP to put on and just mellow out. Therefore allowing yourself to fully feel the melodies created and just escape.

HOST BODIES

Listen to ‘Diamondfruit‘ below!

Stream ‘Diamondfruit‘ elsewhere 
http://hyperurl.co/diamondfruit

FOLLOW:

Website I Facebook I Instagram I Twitter

Until then,
Brittney x

INTERVIEW WITH … HOST BODIES

I got the chance to chat with electronic band Host Bodies about music, their upcoming release ‘Diamondfruit’ (due out February 8th) and much more. The band blends beautiful soundscapes, live instruments and electronic beats to create a sound that is uniquely their own. Their latest song ‘Accept’ is out now and you can check out my interview with them below!

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I always start out with an easy ice breaker question. CD or Vinyl?

HOST BODIES: Vinyl.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I tend to never ask a follow up to this but how big is your Vinyl collection?

NICK HOST BODIES: Ah, it’s growing. We’ve been collecting for years. We’ve got our first record on vinyl and thinking about pressing this new EP on vinyl. Not for the release day, but soon after.

JAMES HOST BODIES: Here’s the reason why vinyl is better. It’s apocalypse proof. Everything goes down and the CD players don’t work anymore. You can turn a crank on some kind of apparatus for your vinyl records.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: See, I never thought of that …. That was a new concept to me. But yeah, I started collecting vinyl recently too. And it’s great.

TRB: So for my readers who don’t know about Host Bodies how did you guys come to be? How did you guys get the band together? Was this something that had just organically come together?

NICK HOST BODIES: James and I had been friends since middle school and then high school. We would play rock and roll and garage band type of stuff. He was the drummer and I was the guitarist. Then we lived together in college and that was the first time we collaborated on more electronic music. James was making a lot of beats and he was inviting me to collaborate on some of the writing and some of the recording and yeah, that’s essentially how Host Bodies got started. It was a name that James had for himself and luckily I was able to become a collaborator on it. And ever since then we’ve been creating songs together and releasing music. We’ve had other collaborators over the years but it’s mainly been this core duo of James and me.

TRB: Were there any bands from the early electronic music days that you guys both bonded over?

HOST BODIES: Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9). Early Tycho and Bonobo.

“You know we live in such a crazy time development and modernization that you’re always sort of seeking an asylum or refuge in nature”

– Host Bodies

TRB: How do you transfer your sound from studio to stage when touring? How is that entire process like?

NICK HOST BODIES: Real instruments are a big part of our recording process so we try to incorporate them on stage as much as possible. Of course, we still use computers, pretty much everybody does these days. But electronic music is almost more of a technique for us than a genre, even though we still identify with the electronic genre. So on stage we have electric guitars, bass, analog synthesizers, stuff that we can touch and play with. James has live rap vocals on the hip-hop style tunes. Then the backing tracks fill in whatever we as two people can’t do live.

TRB: Since you guys specifically mentioned that a lot of the EP is inspired by the sounds of California and Colorado. How so? How are the soundscapes used for each state differ from each other?

JAMES HOST BODIES: We try to spend a lot of time outdoors getting out of the city. Getting to the beaches and the mountains. And there’s something about being in nature that is inspiring, that out of that silence, out of just those kind of natural sounds, bird songs, wind, the hushed silence walking on fresh snow or pine needles or rushing water in a river, that really kind of flows into you like a well. And when you get back into the studio and get on an instrument, it passes through you into the sound. So there were definitely specific places in mind in Colorado and California that inspired the music.

TRB: If you could collaborate with any musician? Who would you choose and why?

NICK HOST BODIES: Little Dragon, that’s easy we’re huge, huge fans of them. And Yukimi Nagano especially is one of our favorite female vocalists. She’s magic. She worked with Gorillaz too. And they’re another band that’s all live but in the electronic genre.

TRB: Yeah, I could see that being something that would work. It doesn’t seem like a stretch or where did this collaboration come from?!

TRB: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you guys lately? What music have you guys been digging?

HOST BODIES: Christopher Willits, Tycho, Snuise, some of our local electronic music makers. At the gym lots of Run The Jewels and Disclosure. And in 2018 Chrome Sparks, DJ Koze, Maribou State and Ólafur Arnalds put out amazing albums.

TRB: Throwing in a fun one here… What’s your favorite ’90s jam?

JAMES HOST BODIES: The Romeo and Juliet Soundtrack, Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics.

NICK HOST BODIES: Fatboy Slim, Chemical Bros, and really early Daft Punk.

TRB: And what’s next for Host Bodies?

JAMES HOST BODIES: Our album release show at a really special venue in San Francisco that I won’t name yet! Also a remix or two.

NICK HOST BODIES: I’m a graphic designer myself so I am really interested in more video stuff for the band.

TRB: Anything else you guys would like to add? Thank you for your time!

NICK HOST BODIES: We’ve been in SF a while and have been looking for this kind of community and family of electronic musicians. We feel lucky that we found some talented peers to play local shows with and they continue to inspire us at the same time.

JAMES HOST BODIES: Also I think we need to mention the EP ‘Diamondfruit’ drops February 8th. It’s really coming from an intention to provide our community and listeners with music that’s a refuge and a healing resource. Whenever they just want to chill out, whenever they want to dive deep into what they have been going through, or reconnect with joy—that’s what the EP is for.

TRB: Congratulations on the upcoming release. I love the album you guys and it was nice talking to you about it.

Listen to Host Bodies below! You can also pre-order ‘Diamondfruit’ as well

Stream Accept on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/hostbodies/accept

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/4Kpx2Pi2FtDLv6q5TBcGFV?si=M2dfLg0OS1-x019TsFkmnA

Preorder: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/album/diamondfruit/1448369221?mt=1&app=music

FOLLOW HOST BODIES:
Website I Facebook I Instagram I Twitter

Until then,

Brittney W. 🙂