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INTERVIEW: Thee Conductor

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Night Light”?

Night light was written in 2017 and the second song I got to work with Will (Bonnie  Prince Billy) on. It’s a bit of a heavy but hopeful song I think, depending on the ear of the listener.

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

This song is about a friend who succumb to the darkness which we all feel at times I guess. I felt particularly close to the event since I spoke with her through electronic messaging just a few hours prior to her ending things.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The video for nightlight was a grueling process taken on by artist Scott Shellhamer. He painted nearly each frame by hand and then animated it all. I forget how many pieces of paper were used but we went through a lot of printer ink. Will was kind enough to participate as well w/ a visual presence (he also sings).

The single comes off your new album Spirit Of A Ghost – what’s the story behind the title?

Spirit of a Ghost is sort of the idea of a ghost or spirit wearing a human as its outer layer rather than the opposite or traditional idea. Brings to mind what that might feel like as a ghost or spirit and how isolating that may feel. The title also touches on the idea that empathetic people aren’t often seen as such or are too humble to reveal that side of themselves. Soft spirited folk who aren’t always acknowledged or seen (boo!).

How was the recording and writing process?

It takes me a long time to finish songs. Most are short but dense w/ lyricism & instrumentation, arrangements. Recording is the most fun. I am lucky to have Justin Douglas as a partner in crime (King Electric Recording).

How would you say the pandemic influenced this record both positively and negatively?

The record was written and mostly finished pre-pandemic. The effect was only administrative.

You brought some really special guests – did you handpick them or how did they all come on board?

Will (Bonnie Prince Billy) and I have been working together since 2017. I have a 3rd record almost complete with him singing exclusively on each track. My other buddies who sing and participate musically are friends or artists that I greatly admire who I reach out to hoping they are interested. I usually have specific people in mind that I know can bring a specific feeling to a song.

What did they bring to the table?

Beautiful, unique singing and musical expansion on bare ideas I lay about. Everyone on the record brings their individual artistic talent and skill.

Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?

I write songs on guitar, drums or piano. I then think of the feeling of the song and reach out to those who seem perfect for what they can bring to the song.

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

Inspirations found in the mundane, people around me, self reflection, extraordinary events and sitting quiet – letting feeling settle inward.

What else is happening next in Thee Conductor’s world?

Working on record #3, storyboarding new videos and keeping grateful for what I have.


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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