What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
Both of my older brothers were avid musicians involved in different music scenes. Watching my oldest brother Scott perform in jazz bands inspired me to pick up trombone in addition to my natural inclination to sing in choir. Being both a multi-instrumentally and a singer has allowed me the independence to record many parts of songs by myself.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Sunsinking is my second full-length album that was out in January 2019. The title represents the movement from day to night, as the two halves of the album encompass both sunnier and darker songs. The album transitions from more natural sounds to more use of synthesizers and effected vocals. Sunsinking opens up with the line “She wakes at dawn, to the same rising sun…” and ends with “Come stay the night.”
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Major influences include Cake, Beirut, Beck, Rhye, Bill Withers, and classical composers such as Richard Wagner and Gustav Mahler.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I would describe the music as alternative pop. The sounds are very radio-friendly and accessible, but the music is also slightly alternative to what mainstream pop might sound like. Unexpected melodies and unique arrangements provide something for the casual listener and music nerd alike.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Albums: Richard Wagner Die Walküre, Radiohead- The Bends, Weezer- Pinkerton
Movies: Star Wars: A New Hope, Fellowship of the Ring, Aladdin
Books: Storm of Swords (George R.R. Martin), Silmarillion (J.R.R. Tolkien), Leaves of Grass (Walt Whitman). I am a total fantasy nerd.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Performing live and meeting new people is the reason I write music. Live performances are where I test new songs that will be potentially recorded. At the same time, nothing compares to the feeling of putting time in the studio hearing a song come to life. I listen to these songs over and over and over again until I get sick of them…and then I listen more.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
One of my biggest claims of internet fame is a silly YouTube video I uploaded where I am playing trombone while skiing. The video gained over 1 million views within a couple weeks and I still have some international fans that started to listen to my music after watching the video.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
San Simeon is a good blend of old and new ideas— coupling 70’s pop sensibilities with synthesizers and effected vocals. For vocal FX, I used a VoiceLive Play while recording live to add a lower octave to double my voice. This song envisions a party of ghosts along the desolate Central California Coast.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I am excited to have released this album in January and looking forward to releasing an EP for an electro-funk trio I am a part of in 2019, and an upcoming EP in 2019-20. These projects have been a long time coming, so it will feel great to release a bunch of new stuff!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Describe the music-making process for the abum.
For this album, the music-making process was unique in that Nate (producer & bassist), Andrea (drummer) and I spent six weeks fully focused on writing and recording the songs in a small Chicago apartment. The songs were primarily tracked live (meaning that all three musicians played simultaneously), giving the music a sense of intimate energy. We also invited multiple other musicians into this improvised studio, including a brass trio, saxophonist/flutist, upright bassist, and percussionist. The rotating cast of classically trained musicians–whom I knew from my time in music school–add important dynamism and texture to the songs.
Photo credits: Mikel Darling
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Sean Pawling:
Socials: Facebook I Twitter I Soundcloud I Spotify I Bandcamp