Releasing the dreamlike and inspired EP Sea White Salt, Joseph Sant has placed himself among other artists like SigurRos and Feist. Sea White Salt bravely chooses the artistic direction over the mainstream radio friendly one, and it successfully hooks you instantly with it’s pleasant production value.
RYAN: Album themes are very important to connecting a project from start to finish, what is the theme that runs through Sea White Salt?
SANT: I didn’t set out to unite these songs around a single theme, but the songs do dwell on passions, ambitions, the hunger for meaning — I guess the big drives that put you in motion, that operate like forces of nature. I wanted to convey these things musically with the dynamics, even in the down-tempo songs, in a way that dramatized the visual and lyrical themes.
RYAN: Inspiration comes from many places, where do you get your inspiration from?
SANT: I draw from the visuals that I come across in everyday life, while traveling, visuals that I come across in books or especially poems and classics that constantly analogize to myth. Memories and events with friends and loved ones, anytime I have emotion invested, those are things that I draw on.
It’s funny, sometimes inspiration is described as something that hits you suddenly, like a thunderbolt. Or like something that hits you over the head and commandeers your creativity. That hasn’t ever rung true for me personally, though I’m sure many people do experience that. But I only ever feel like I am creating something with merit when I get to focus and reflect on things for a long while. I find myself really hunting after inspiration. But it’s very rewarding for me when I capture it, and it’s why I love to make music.
RYAN: Can you tell us a bit about your own song writing process?
SANT: I try to remain open to the possibility that a song could start anywhere, with any sort of musical or lyrical element. Sometimes I go from start to finish in one session. The title track, Sea White Salt, was like that.
Some songs take months to finish. I take that one really resonant idea, I listen to it, I elaborate on it, I step back and restructure things, and on and on. The important thing for me is not to give up on something that feels right, and feels urgent, and to hold that urgency until the song is realized. It can be tempting to move on to a fresh start, but I think it makes you a better writer to grapple through your fragments and see them through.
RYAN: The album has a unique sound and feel to it, how would you describe this EP to someone who has not listened to it yet?
SANT: Full of really gorgeous songs! Ha- I hope the music can speak for itself. I want to make music that appeals intuitively to people and doesn’t need introduction. You can stream the single, Nor’easter, now. So, if you haven’t yet, please go have a listen. If you like that song, you’ll like the EP.
I will say that I am really in awe of what Gabe Galvin, the producer on the album, did with Sea White Salt. When we started recording, I had left a good amount of space undefined in the songs so we could have plenty of canvas for collaboration, and he really accepted that invitation. He dove in and brought such life to everything. For collaborators, he brought in StirlingKrusing, who is this phenomenal lap steel player, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist, and I brought in Tyler Graham, whom I’ve been playing music with for many years now. He is a really tasteful drummer who just gets me.
We just had these amazing marathon sessions at Gabe’s studio that went from sundown sometimes to dawn. He did a fantastic job bringing out performances, including his own. A ton of great elements came together in those sessions that didn’t exist before.
RYAN: I found the track Only The Shock absolutely beautiful, do you have any personal favorites on the album, and why?
SANT: Thanks! I’m glad to hear that. Right now I find myself revisiting “Horse at the Beach” as we’re gearing up for more live shows. The dynamics and the tensions in the song are a joy to play through with the full band. Stirling is a fantastic soloist and I like that the composition gives him this platform in the middle of the song where the listener just gets washed over.
RYAN: The new digital revolution that includes Soundcloud/Rdio and many others is developing fast, what is your battle plan to infiltrate the market with your sound?
SANT: You can stream Nor’easter free on Soundcloud, you can buy the album on iTunes for the price of an espresso, and for vinyl fans, you can order the album on limited 12” vinyl from josephsant.com.