Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Interview - Callers w/ Wye Oak - Mr Smalls - 9.13.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Callers will be opening for Wye Oak next Thursday, 9.13 at Mr Smalls Theater. The band is touring behind their third proper LP entitled Reviver, which will be released this October 9th on Partisan Records. Sara Lucas and Ryan Seaton are the mainstay duo of the project which had roots in New Orleans and now resides in Brooklyn. The group feels this is their most fully realized album to date. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual just email us at with your name to enter. Sara was kind enough to answer a few questions about the new album, the album's connection to Gwendolyn Brooks and her connection to Pittsburgh.

Reviver is your third studio LP. How does this differ from your past output?

We were really able to focus on tone this time in a way that we haven't been able to in the past. In the past we developed songs by hashing ideas out in a live setting, whether that was our rehearsal space, sound checks or shows, and then recorded as quickly as possible. With this album, we focused a lot more on sound and tone during the writing process and that is reflected in the outcome of the overall sound of the record. In the end though, it is an album about the songs themselves-and they are less abstract and more personal this time. We felt like speaking of the present instead of reaching for nostalgia. We wanted this album to be very immediate. 

In your bio it states this album was influenced by Gwendolyn Brooks. How did her work influence the album? Lyrically? Aesthetic?

The first song that we wrote together was "Reviver." It was a starting place for the album as a whole. I had been rereading Gwendolyn Brooks' poetry at the time and felt a pull towards her use of language and rhythm. It was very personal for me, and served as inspiration for the rest of the record. Its not as if our songs touch on the communities or subjects that a lot of her poetry spoke of, it was more about "telling my own particular truth as I have seen it," as she once said. That statement in itself was enough to propel the lyrics of the album into a space of present, personal truths and how one makes sense of the world through experience and observation.

Are you the only two that create the music? Or do you bring other players in to assist? How does this work for your live setting?

Ryan and I have always been the primary writers in the band but when others want to be involved creatively we welcome that. Don Godwin, our last drummer, was involved creatively. Keith Souza and Seth Manchester, who engineered and helped produce Reviverand recently joined the band, are helping us translate the sound of the album in a live setting.

This is described as your most mature record to date. Do you think that is an accurate assessment?

We hope that we are growing as writers, musicians and producers. If maturing comes with that, we'll take it.

What do you think of the current media/social music world? Is it difficult/time consuming to maintain a relationship with fans/public?

It's incredible that we can constantly connect with others about music and ideas and hear any kind of music in the world. But it is exhausting to use social media- though it's a great tool and helps us as musicians, I think it's always nicer to hang with or meet people in person.

What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?

To tour as much as possible and meet the best people. We can't wait to make the next record.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?
None of us can remember a time when we weren't playing music or completely obsessed with making sound. I can't remember not singing and Ryan can't remember not writing music. I feel like we never really had a choice- we would be so unhappy not dedicating our lives to music. There are too many albums and shows- hard to pinpoint a moment really. Some of the most important albums to us: George Harrison- All Things Must Pass, Carole King- Tapestry, Betty Carter- Finally, anything that The Band ever did, ever. Same with Nina Simone, Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt, Mahmoud Ahmed. Ten years ago I saw Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Etta James two nights in a row in New Orleans. Both of those shows were life-altering for me. I saw Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt perform together when I was 9 and I'll never forget that day. I'll never forget every day that I saw musicians play music when I was living in Ghana, West Africa or watching a Second Line in New Orleans. Or the day I saw Ornette Coleman, Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?
My sister went to school here and my father is from New Castle, so for me, I've known the city my whole life. This is the fourth time Callers will have played in Pittsburgh and it gets better and better every time we return.

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $18 and can be found here. More information about Callers can be found at these sites:

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