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INTERVIEW: Sean Pawling

Photo credit: Mikel Darling

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

I’ve been very very busy with work and music. Can’t wait to share this album with everyone.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “San Simeon”?

San Simeon is a 70’s pop-inspired song that sets the scene for a party of ghosts on the beach. I had the central coast of California in mind because it’s a beautiful and desolate place. I imagined that these ghosts are pretty jaded from endless partying and are reflecting on the regrets in their life.

For this song, I experimented with different synthesizers in both bass line and melodic roles using my Korg Minilogue. I also added a doubled lower octave to my voice via a VoiceLive.

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

No particular event, but I wrote it with the central coast of California around the town of San Simeon and Hearst Castle in mind. I really enjoy visiting that part of the state. It’s the perfect combination of rolling green mountains and ocean. It’s no surprise that one of the richest people in the country back in the day bought a bunch of that land. The image of Henry Hearst in his giant castle just feels pretty cold and lonely to me. The movie Citizen Kane reflects this sentiment. I wanted to express a similar feeling in the song, felt through the ghosts.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

No plans as of yet. I will be releasing a video for the album’s title track, Sunsinking.

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

The title represents the movement from day to night.The album transitions from more natural, bright sounds to more use of synthesizers and effected vocals. The album as a whole showcases how my sound has evolved and matured.

How was the recording and writing process?

Most of the album was recorded in a small Chicago apartment over the course of six weeks. I stayed with my band-mates Nate & Andrea Vaughan and we had “band camp,” where we honed musical ideas, wrote new lyrics, arranged new parts, and recorded the major components of this 12-track album. This writing process was special for me and I think the intimate nature really comes across and ties the songs together.

We recorded almost all of the songs by live-tracking (recording at the same time) the drums, bass, and guitar. Later on, Nate & I added parts remotely. That was the toughest part. It wasn’t easy doing vocal takes by myself.

What role does LA play in your music?

LA is a vibrant place that always keeps me off my guard. I love how much the city has changed after living her for 15 years. Night-driving and listening to late night radio, like KCRW, helped me get into synthesizers and FX a lot more. It just fits the mood of the city so well.

How Unknown Mortal Orchestra has influence your writing?

I really appreciate UMO’s unique vocal effects and horns. For example, I love those trombones on one of my favorite songs, Unnecessary Evil. Very tasteful.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

The lyrics usually come last when I write. Nate and Andrea helped out a lot on the lyrics front of this song. We just kept going with that idea of the central California coastline at night.

Any plans to hit the road?

The next step is the release the full album, which will be out January 26th. Then, my band and I do out-of-town shows until our full tour during the summer. We definitely plan on visiting Reno sometime during February. We had a really good reception in that town during last summer’s tour and can’t wait to go back.

What else is happening next in Sean Pawling’s world?

My electro-funk trio (working name Gelato)  will be releasing our first EP in 2019, and I am beginning another project with an TBD name with the bassist & drummer in my band. Much more music to come!

Listen “San Simeon” : SoundCloud I Spotify

Facebook I Twitter I Soundcloud I Spotify I Bandcamp

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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