EXCLUSIVE SIT DOWN WITH INDIE ROCK ARTIST SUGAR NAP
How do you establish your brand of who you are as a musician?
I never really considered my own personal self or musicianship as a brand, but rather the projects and art I create. If anything though I’d say I’m progressive, musically, but also classic in a way; at least in terms of being influenced in a retro or vintage kind of way with the music I write and engineer.
What significance does being able to present yourself to the world through your art have for you?
It’s very significant being able to present myself to the world through my art because it allows me to express things that I feel and think that might not otherwise come up in a day to day conversation. I think that, when it comes to human interaction and conversation, I often find myself trying to cheer people up or empathetically find a silver lining if there is a heavier conversation. I think my art allows me to do that also in a way. I tend to create music that has a sort of dream lining to it, I think, because I like to create art that people can not only relate to, and sometimes not, but something to escape into, like a dream.
Do you ever take time to reflect on your career?
I often reflect on my career in music. The amount of money I work so hard for, often without a return, is something I reflect on. I work really hard for my money, and I hope that it can put me in a position where I can influence other artists and listeners to pursue their own ambitions and dreams in their own way. I guess it usually had a positive reaction and trajectory though, in hindsight, which keeps me motivated to continue to invest into my career. Besides a fiscal return, there’s nothing on this planet that brings me as much joy as writing, recording, and performing music, especially my own.
Putting yourself first is important but do you ever feel like you put the music in that position sometimes at all costs?
I feel like there have certainly been times where putting the music first at whatever cost has made songs suffer, where an otherwise beautiful song or story is eclipsed by a focus on the mix or the music around it. It’s important to serve the song, and I need to remind myself of that often.
What has been the best time spent when creating a song?
I think one of the best times I’ve had creating a song was… Well, I had an answer, and then I began to answer and suddenly other answers came! Going Nowhere was such a fun song to record with all of the weird effects, re-amping, tape various-speed re-tracking and more. But also Stay and When She Comes! I think what made those songs so fun to create were the extensive real world experimentation with room reverbs and tape and creatively finding odd ways to get the sound in my head.
Could you tell us a story that sticks with you when it comes to the making of that single?
One story that comes to mind when making Stay is when I took an old telephone and modified it to be able to record with it. I sang into it, and the signal passed to my pre-amps and interface and had that wonderfully lo-fi telephone sound. I did all the vocals on Stay with that mic. Also the drums were recorded, then re-amped in mono in my tile bathroom, re-recorded onto tape really hard, then sped up. I did some weird reversals of some audio that faded in and out throughout the song as well.
How do you make sure you visit your roots as you progress in your career?
I don’t know that I have to consciously make sure I’m visiting my roots as I progress in my career, as it seems to be such a big part of me naturally, but there have been times when I’m stuck in a chord progression or a mixing dilemma that I’ll revisit songs from Carole King or James Taylor, Crosby Stills & Nash or Pink Floyd, bands I grew up on, and they usually help me out of a jam when thinking about what they did or how they did it. My career roots are here in Seattle, where I still am, and I think about how important the live scene has always been here. I hope to always incorporate that.
We want to know what your fans are listening to right now that they can't get enough of?
I’m not sure if you mean my music, or other artists. Off of the latest EP, I Became An Ocean and When She Comes have been getting a lot of love!
What are you considering dropping next?
The next release I am considering is an EP of cover songs! I just overhauled my studio and would like to test everything out and break it in with covers of some of my favorite songs before starting the recording of my new album next year!
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