INTERVIEW: Semblance

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

Great, thank you for having us!

Can you talk to us more about your new single “Angel”?

M: Yeah! I know when we started writing material I was being over-critical of myself a lot and was even self-conscious to show some of what I had to Connor. I was home one day and geeking out on my laptop trying to write, but was hitting the wall. I remembered this one song I had written on guitar about two years ago that originally sounded very Foo Fighters-y, and I thought “I mean, that doesn’t really fit with what we’ve been messing around with, but let’s see what I can do.” I translated the main riff into the lead synth line and then laid down the chords with pads and punchy guitar. I listened back to just that and got excited about what I had just done. It couldn’t have taken me more than 10 minutes to lay down the rest of the structure and add bass, so I sent it to Connor right away because I couldn’t wait to show him. Writing it definitely pulled me out of my own head a bit and made room for me to write other songs.

C: This was one of the first songs Maeve sent to me! I was so hyped to hear what she had written and was super surprised at how great it was, so immediately that night I decided to program some parts for it. After a couple hours I just hopped on my kit and jammed whatever I thought fit and sent it back. We made this song completely separate from each other as, if I remember correctly, we hadn’t even met in person yet.

Did any event inspire you to write this song?

M: Lyrically, I was inspired by a certain person I had fallen for and that really helped me stay out of my own head. I had a lot of the words written as just random-but-somewhat-connected lines in my notebook for a while. I had “Angel, won’t you stay? I don’t want anyone else,” written down at the top of the page that the lines were scattered on and I was listening to our demo and the word “angel” jumped out at me to be with the atmosphere of the song. I started frantically connecting the lines to make sense of the story and emotions it was conveying.

How was the film experience?

M: Filming the video was great! I’m very particular about visuals because we really strive to cultivate an atmosphere for us as a band, and visuals are so important for that to happen. Going into filming I had a very specific idea for what I wanted to be happening in the video, so I just dumped every idea I had on our director (Lex Forgione). She helped pull it all together and really captured the story that I was implying while also creating visuals that really felt like they were pulled from my head

C: Filming was awkward and yet exciting since I had never done anything like it before. I just went with the flow, following the ideas that Maeve had in her head and Lex’s direction. It was really great and the location was just perfect for the atmosphere we were trying to create.

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

M: “I Love You” as a whole touches on what it’s like to feel haunted and victimized by your own thoughts while telling a love story that progresses track by track. However, the title isn’t actually being used to profess love but more in an ironic way because “I love you” is a phrase that gets tossed around so much that it’s lost some of its weight and meaning.

C: Exactly as Maeve said, when we were deciding on a title for the EP we thought the phrase “I love you” fit perfectly as it’s something that is supposed to have meaning when in actuality it has none.

How was the recording and writing process?

M: Writing started off more rock-oriented, at least on my end. But I definitely started to let go through the process because after all, I write because it’s cathartic and it’s how I find solace from myself. I’ve known Carl Bahner, our producer, for a few years because he actually used to be my drum teacher. I knew he was super savvy with production, especially with more electronic/pop music and I really wanted to get into that world. So really, him teaching me drums morphed into him teaching and mentoring me on production. I was with him at his studio one day and I forget exactly what we were doing but he had said something about “you kind of just have to go for things and hope people don’t think it’s stupid.” That definitely made me go home and commit to finish writing the songs I had started because I was finally in the right headspace to just let the music happen. After we had our final demos we were trying to work out how to move forward – we knew we really wanted to pursue this but since there’s only two of us, we would need to use backing tracks. I had all sorts of questions/roadblocks that were seemingly daunting to try and overcome, so I talked to Carl mostly looking for advice because he has so much personal experience in the industry from being in Cheerleader and working with a lot of respected clients. After I showed him our demos, he ended up taking on the production work for us because he was actually excited about our potential. From then on he’s just been so incredible at hurling us forward at full speed and helping us demolish those roadblocks. Recording was great because there was just a bunch of nerdy production stuff going on 100% of the time, which at least to me is amazing. The dynamic of working with Carl is just so natural – he’s so good at picking our brains to know exactly what we want our music to sound and feel like.

C: Well at first Maeve and I were just sending demos back and forth. I would put my feedback in the writing of some songs and try to steer Maeve in a direction that we both loved. Then after I felt we had the arrangement and the actual ideas down, I would just jam the drums out at home using my recording equipment. So eventually Carl joined the fray and helped boost our demos into full fledged songs. Then I was told to come into the studio that Carl worked at to finalize everything, we laid down the drums and went through the final basic arrangements of everything. It was so fun to experiment with the drum sounds and we made everything sound huge. On most of the songs we either used the drums I had already recorded with some programed parts, or we used what we recorded together to just make everything perfect. A key fill on one of the songs had to work out in the studio – we had to just loop the part over and over until I thought of something we were proud of, but overall it was an awesome experience.

What aspect of acceptance and love did you get to explore on this record?

M: I really was focused on navigating through my own mind and emotions when writing. In reflection on the combination of songs, I noticed that they all played on different points of a certain relationship. So when we were recording and I was refining everything for the vocal side of things, I tried to focus on how those original emotions I was expressing in each song interacted with the love story/aspect of the EP as a whole

Any plans to hit the road?

M: Definitely! Performing is one of the best parts of being a musician. We’re planning some upcoming shows so we can hit the stage as soon as possible. Nothing beats the energy of playing shows.

C: Hell yeah! Performing is my favorite part of music. I want to get up on stage as soon as possible, and go on tour ASAP. The feeling of playing for people is the best part of music and is the ultimate rush.

What else is happening next in Semblance’s world?

M: Mostly we’ll just be trying to establish ourselves and take any opportunity to do so. Probably just playing as many shows as possible. Although we have been working on a whole bunch of new stuff, it’s kind of stupid how many things we have going already but we just never stop really.

C: Semblance is a train of unending ideas and plans. We are working on new music all the time and we haven’t rested yet! Like Maeve has said, we plan on expanding ourselves and hopefully end up playing as many shows in as many places as possible.





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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