An Interview with Seryn [+ A Live Music Video]
by April, 2015's Guest Editor, Kristina Marie Darling
No longer hanging their hats back in their native Denton, Texas, Seryn––now based out of Nashville, Tennessee––recently released their latest record, Shadow Shows, a follow-up (or riposte, perhaps?) to their 2011 album, This Is Where We Are. And the new record is, well, new is likely the best way of putting it. It's an entire makeover from the music their fans might have grown accustomed to. Produced by McKenzie Smith, who has produced some Split Lip faves like Midlake and Regina Spektor, Shadow Shows is, as Paste Magazine states, "a conceptual record that requires more than a cursory listen to appreciate its sonic nuances and musical juxtapositions." Fortunately for Split Lip, the band was kind enough to chat with our guest editor Kristina Marie Darling. Give the interview a read, check out the video and perhaps visit them online elsewhere, too.
KMD: First, let me just say that I truly enjoyed listening to your new album, Shadow Shows. What's perhaps most impressive is the incredible range of styles and influences that are represented. How do you negotiate the task of establishing a distinctive sound with your many eclectic influences?
Quite by accident in fact. Perhaps even a degree of un-intentionality? The ancient maxim here rings true, wherever you go, there you are. By tokens that are the same it seems that whatever you play, you are playing. I also like to think about things like "How am I not myself?"
KMD: I was intrigued by the track "Kilimanjaro," which adeptly undermines and challenges the listener's expectations of what music should be. The vocals are almost inaudible, allowing what normally would be ambient sound to take center stage. I enjoyed the way that you redirect the focus of the listener's attention, prompting them to attend to aspects of the performance that they ordinarily wouldn't focus on. In what ways do you take into account, or even work against, the listener's preconceived expectations of what music should or ought to be?
If you've ever had a laser pointer and a cat in the same room at the same time then you know exactly what this is all about. Although it seems like knowing what "music should be" is like knowing what "pizza should be." Someone said it was our vibey-est song.
KMD: How is this new album different from your critically acclaimed debut, This Is Where We Are? In what ways is it similar?
There is more electric guitar and actual drum beats. The first album seemed to feature more drum parts and acoustic guitar. We also tried harder to make it sound good. That might sound obvious but....
KMD: What three things would you like listeners to know before they dive into Shadow Shows?
Its very hard for me to not talk about The Empire Strikes Back here. Whoops, too late. I just want them to turn it up loud and listen. Or roll down the windows and go fast.
KMD: Tell us about your tour. What cities have you visited thus far? Where are you heading in the future?
We are on a kind of rolling tour that doesn't seem to end and yet is never enough. We will be hitting the entire US and Canada this year so if you live in a city near you, then we will be close to it playing music between now and December. If you have friends, bring em. Team up, hire a sitter or blow of your homework. Watch Netflix later?
KMD: I hear that there have been some changes in management, label, and band members. How has this impacted the band's direction? What's stayed consistent despite these recent changes?
The band has always been a rolling collective that centers around Nathan, Aaron, and Trenton. Things are expanding now and this next record should contain a lot more of everyones individual voices. Braids, strands, and knots.
KMD: What are you currently working on? What can listeners look forward to?
So much. We have a ton of projects lined up for this year and honestly having Shadow Shows out has been an uncorking of the creative bottleneck. Things are flying down the pipe line like Sanka and the rest of the Jamaican team. Suffice it to say, fans should look forward to feeling the rhythm and feeling the rhyme.