Artist Spotlight: Sweatshirt Weather

SW-Spotlight-250pxHow would you describe your music to someone who has no clue who you are or what you sound like?

It’s hard sometimes because whenever I think of a band to compare us to; I can also think of several reasons why they sound a lot different from us. I usually tell people that it’s fun electro-pop (without that Auto-Tune effect!), with synths, strings, and acoustic guitar. Some bands I’d put us in a category with would be older PlayRadioPlay! and Owl City—but one could argue otherwise!

Influences? Musical, cosmic or otherwise!?

Chris and myself are influenced by Passion Pit, The Dangerous Summer (lyrically), old-school pop-punk such as old Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, and most of the bands from Drive Thru Record’s glory days. Other than music, I enjoy people watching, seeing the world, and girls, all which have a share of influence on our songs.

Do you write collectively as a band? What inspires the music? The lyrics? What defines the impetus for a song: is it a lyric or a line?

Usually Chris, Nate, or myself will start writing a song on our own, and as it starts to develop, we’ll bring it to the rest of the band and everyone will throw some ideas around to improve it. The lyrics are usually written after the music and will revolve around a subject that we feel fits the music. I’ll start brainstorming lyrics and sometimes I’ll think of a line that encapsulates everything I’m trying to say, so I’ll just run with it.

Recording process: How do you capture realized songs or ideas?

Well it helps when doing demos, on the technical end, that Ryan, Nate, and myself have a recording background. When the song is finished, MIDI-wise, we’ll have Ryan put some drums on it and Morgan will work on a bass line that is more creative then what we had written with MIDI. We’ll record everything first, add acoustic guitar and any other embellishments, and then track vocals. I write most of the lyrics and Chris is a melodic genius, so we work well together in that aspect.

What are key elements to your creativity? Having the gear/tools to get the thoughts expressed, recorded or documented?

The main things that are important to us when writing or recording is having the all our gear functioning properly and to be in a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. It can be a real creative buzz kill when computers crash or a guitar string breaks when you’re in the “zone”. Aside from that, everyone has to be in the right mindset when creating music. If one of the guys is really stressed about something completely outside of the band, it can detract from the whole process.

Must-have piece of gear or tool for creating/making music!?

I’m not saying it because I’m supposed to say it, but Reason. Chris and I have used Reason since we were back in high school and wanted to create something different than the standard 4-piece rock band. With Reason, we’ll write a line on piano, but if piano isn’t working for that part, we’ll run through the library trying out different instruments until we find something that fits perfectly.

In addition, we all play guitar so having an acoustic around to try out a chord progression or vocal melody has proven to be a necessity in the writing process.

Best collective or individual guilty pleasure?

I’m a sucker for a catchy melody. See: Taylor Swift, Lights, and select Lady GaGa songs. For Chris: Hanson.

What’s coming up for the band, any highlights, special projects or gigs?

We just finished up recording our debut EP with producer Mark Kiczula. Most of it was recorded in the basement of the house we’re renting, so it was a fun and interesting experience. While the CD is getting mixed and mastered, we’ll be playing lots of shows around the Midwest!

 

Sweatshirt Weather – Escapade

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Sweatshirt Weather – Fall 106

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