INTERVIEW: Baroque Pop Orchestra, Sara McDonald & The NYChillharmonic

Hi Sara, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been well, with the occasional highs and lows.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Wax Garden”?

Like many of my songs it’s about self preservation and controlling or at least curbing desires when faced with responsibilities and the cumbersome weight of your own moral compass.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Well the string intro was definitely inspired by Laura Mvula and Bjork. I wanted to write a feature for them (the strings, not Bjork or Laura – but call me ladies!!) , and that exact part was bouncing around in my head for a while. The rest of the song grew out of that motif.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Nah. I’ve got some plans for another tune though. Stay TUNED.

The single comes off your new album 1 – what’s the story behind the title?

I hate thinking of titles for anything, minus my memoirs; I’ve had that figured out for a while. But actually, I truly hate naming songs. Aubergine is “Aubergine” because I saw that word on a jar of pasta sauce (it means eggplant), so obviously I need to hire someone to do some rebranding, or just keep me from making knee jerk decisions. When it came down to the title of the album I didn’t want to just call it something for the sake of calling it something, and I hate album titles that are named after a song on the album (lyrics are cool though). So, I called it “1” because its our first big band album and as long as we keep recording these records I won’t ever have to think about album titles again. Unless I become mega famous and my label rebrands everything, including my soul. Fingers crossed.

How was the recording and writing process?

Writing is always fun. Recording was also fun but obviously more time consuming. This whole project would’ve face planted if it weren’t for my producer. I mean, we were both kind of shooting in the dark but he has way better aim.

I’m also joking – we thought everything through A LOT but it was still a new experience for the both of us.

How jazzy were you seeking for this album to be?

I wanted this album be what it is, which is everything and nothing. No one likes to put themselves into a genre box, and I definitely have a hard time describing what I’m doing. This is mostly because I never really have any idea what I’m doing. I go to write a song that I think should or will be a certain way and then I come out the other side with an entirely different thing. To some I may seem jazzy, and to others this isn’t jazz music in the slightest. It’s whatever you want it to be.

What aspect of this number did you get to explore on this record?

Was I supposed to rate my jazziness?

I’ve heard that 37 is objectively the funniest number (no seriously, look it up). In terms of scaling I’d say we aimed to score a 37 out of 1000 when exploring the levels of jazziness that can be achieved on any given record. So that means that 3.7 % of this album was jazzy.

I am so sorry for that answer.

Any plans to hit the road?

I never hit. But yes, I’m working on playing a couple tours next year in the states as well as overseas.

What else is happening next in Sara McDonald’s world?

My band, The NYChillharmonic is playing a show at Rockwood 2 in NYC on Election Day (Nov. 8th go vote!) and we’ll be playing Nublu Jazz Festival on Dec. 7th. After that I’m anticipating a large endowment from the United States government that will allow me to fund my next ten albums. The NYChillharmonic is officially a non-profit.


About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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