This ‘Artist of the Week’ interview was written by Bee Adamic (New Music Editor at GIGsoup)
Southport synth-poppers ‘Seattle Yacht Club’ may be newcomers but their music carries a purpose and determination beyond their years. They sculpt their infectious sound from a blend of synths, guitar hooks and tight harmonies learned from their love of alt-pop and classic song-writing.
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We caught up with the duo to ask them and asked the following questions:
1. Congrats on the latest single ‘Dreaming’, it’s a really cool layered synth number… tell us about how came about writing it?
We were sat in the studio on a tea break dreaming about the future, we then got excited about how we could tell people about these dreams in a song and how we could draw them straight into that world. So, we resumed our usual positions of Denis at the piano and Tom with his notepad and we worked on letting the story and the song pour out. We decided to play around with chopped up vocal loops to start the song off. We spent awhile with Tom’s ‘ahs’ on loop with Denis playing different chords over the top before we unlocked the melody – we were enjoying the verse melody so much we thought it’d be interesting to use it as a chorus and then started layering the new synth parts over that. From that foundation the song unraveled and grew into something we’re very proud of.
2. Synths feature quite prominently across your music… are you synth addicts?
We sure are, we’re building up a neat collection of analog and software synths now, spending many hours tweaking and fine-tuning sounds that we want. Our songs have become much more synth heavy through the years and we think that’s helped us define who we are. We find that we can dip into almost any corner of the synth world and find a sound that we can use and manipulate in some way into our songs, there are no boundaries for us!
3. You seem to have quite the fan base in America – how has that happened?
We’ve always found that when we put out songs and spread them across the social media platforms, we get a load of responses from America and it’s building! We always make a big effort to respond, as we know how important the US market is, we’ve got to know quite a few fans out there. As this has built up we also started to get radio stations big and small playing out our songs to which we would send our love and appreciation and relationships have developed, garnering many followers (both the radio stations and their listeners) which has all snowballed and has helped us get this amazing expanding fanbase and some really great air time out there.
4. Do you have plans to do a tour in America?
We’re eager to tour the states absolutely; we’ve been invited out to play some shows (including Seattle!), and it would be so cool to meet everyone who’s given us early support and hopefully we may be there for CMJ later this year. The demand is growing for us which is really amazing so hopefully its only a matter of time before we should be able to get out there…it’s very exciting!
5. What’s the rest of 2015 look like for SYC?
There’s an EP release on its way so we’ll also be touring that, we want to get out there for people to see us, shows are always a big priority for us, both here and abroad, plus focusing on building on the US offers and opportunities and all being well showcasing at CMJ (music conference & festival New York) in the Autumn – plus returning to Sweden for more recordings.
6. We are massive fans of you guys, who are you massive fans of?
Thank you, we saw Hot Chip live the other night in Manchester, we absolutely love their use of great synth sounds mixed with funky guitars and beats, they’re brilliant live and their new album is really interesting. We’re also loving Kendrick Lamar at the moment, his songs & production are awesome and we constantly find ourselves going back to Michael Jackson, Prince and 10cc / Godley & Creme for lessons in how to write killer tracks with brilliant production.
7. A lot of your recording takes place in Malmo, why is reasoning behind that?
Our manager introduced us and our music to the brilliant Tore Johansson (The Cardigans, Franz Ferdinand, Ok Go) to mention just a few – he really liked what we were doing and what we were about and was keen to get involved and invited us out to record with him in Malmo.
He’s got an amazing studio there, which is like a playground for us, sometimes we go days without leaving the studio because we’re so engrossed in recording and working with him. It’s a really inspiring place where we feel on the peak of our productivity, we love being there and the Swedish culture is so cool, plus Tore keeps introducing us to some amazing traditional Swedish cuisine…inc his famous popcorn.
8. Lastly take us through the format you use when writing a new song?
We don’t particularly have a strict format, as we think spontaneity is a songwriter’s greatest tool. A song will either start from a story that we are excited to tell, or it will start from being sat around the piano / guitar working on chords and singing along, or from playing with synths and drum machines, once the spark ignites from one of those paths, that’s when the magic happens. Spending our time in the studio exploring, experimenting and creating is where we’re most free and we love building ideas from the foundations up. There’s a lot of discussion between us about topics, lyrics and the direction a song should lean towards. Part of cementing an idea for us is to try it stripped back first on different instruments then start to develop from there, doing that gives us a real dynamism and sparks a vibe and an idea of where to take the song next.
You can see ‘Seattle Yacht Club’ in Liverpool on the 27th May at Studio 2 (Parr Street)