Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Interview - Sea Wolf - Show Preview - Altar Bar - 9/24/10 - Pittsburgh

Sea Wolf, aka Alex Brown Church, will be performing at the Altar Bar this Friday night. Sera Cahoone and Patrick Park will be opening for him. This will not be the full band he normally tours with. Instead, Alex will be performing solo and acoustic. Alex was kind enough to answer a few questions about his song on the New Moon (Twilight) Soundtrack to a remix of one of his songs by Broken Social Scene member.

This is your first solo acoustic tour. What made you decide to do this? Will you be doing anything different (besides acoustic) for these shows?

Mostly I just thought it would be fun. I've done plenty of tours with the band and I thought it was about time to do something different, to give people a different kind of show, something special that would allow a more
direct connection between myself and the audience. As for different, it can't get more different then the fact that it's a solo tour without the band.

You were on the New Moon soundtrack. How did that come about? Any reservations in contributing?

The music supervisor was a fan, and contacted my label about it. That's pretty much how it came about. I'd never even heard of the movie, but they told me Thom Yorke and Grizzly Bear and a bunch of other cool acts were going to be on it too, so that was what sold me on doing it.

You attended school at NYU and now live in LA. Artists usually stay in NYC. Why the move to LA?

I'm from Berkeley, so the West Coast is home for me. And LA is to the West coast what NYC is to the East, and I knew I wanted to be in a big city where a career in the arts was a viable option, so it seemed like the place to go.

The last album you wrote in Montreal. How did this influence your process of creating music?

Well, I didn't have as many toys to play with in Montreal, so I wrote the album entirely on the acoustic guitar, whereas I wrote a few songs on the first album on air organ, keyboards, to a drum machine, etc.

Has your moving affected your songs now that you reside in LA?

Not really. It's not so much the environment that makes the difference as it is my mood- which of course is effected by my environment, but it always tends to stay within a certain range. The imagery in Quebec definitely found it's way into White Water, but I've always been attracted to that sort of imagery.

Your last album, White Water, White Bloom, came out in 2009. Anything new you are promoting on this tour?

The label just released a single for 'Turn the Dirt Over' which includes a remix by Broken Social Scene's Brendan Canning, and an unreleased track called 'Where the Wind Blows' -which I'm happy will finally see the light of day. It's only available digitally or on 7" vinyl.

Is there an album or concert that made you want to create music as a career?

Not that I can recall, I never thought doing it as a career could be a reality, until I was in a band. It was a dream, and one I thought was very unrealistic, but I just loved doing it and that was all the motivation I
needed. I wanted to play music ever since I was a young child, so pretty much every concert I saw was magical.

What is your goal with the band? How would you deem yourself successful? What would you like to accomplish?

Well I quit my day job a while ago and I'm able to make a living playing music, which is amazing. So I feel like Sea Wolf has been a success so far. I'd love to keep building on what I've accomplished so far though and sell a few more records than I have so far. I think I'd feel a bit more secure about my future as a musician that way.

How does your songwriting process work? Do you have others input when you record in the studio?

I write on my own, usually messing around on the guitar for a while until I come across a chord progression and melody I like and then I'll pursue that until it becomes a song. I do demoes on my own and with the Sea Wolf players, sort of guiding them as we go. Mike Mogis, being a Producer, had a lot of input on White Water and came up with a lot of parts for it.

Sera Cahoone and Patrick Park are traveling with you. Will they join you onstage to give a more band feel? Or are they just opening?

If they join me it'll only be for a song or two. Mostly it's an all solo affair.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

I'm looking forward to meeting you!

**photo by Mia Kirby