Hi Reece, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’m doing well; thanks for having me!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Blood”?
I started “Blood” as something to collaborate on with friends and folk duo, Clay Parker and Jodi James, while on a mini tour through Arkansas. It was intentionally meant to be something different than normally would be expected of me. So, I had most of the melody, but I had yet to realize that it could, as I put it, wrap around
in a somewhat asymmetrical manner.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Clay, Jodi and I played the first show of our tour in Helena, Arkansas, an old cotton town with a blues history and were put up in The Edwardian Inn. That night after the show, I developed the rest of the melody when I realized it could have a sort of asymmetrical wrap around to it. Unfortunately, I never got to work on it with Clay and Jodi. This was early April 2018. I got back to Lafayette, Louisiana and wrote the lyrics. We went into the studio late April and I showed the guys the song while there. What you hear on the album is literally our first time through the song.
Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
I don’t at the moment. I reached out to someone about doing a video, but it didn’t work out in time. I semi plan on doing an ambient type video for a track off my next album, though.
The single comes off your new album Middle Sea – what’s the story behind the title?
Middle Sea is more aesthetic, as opposed to meaning driven, choice. To be honest, it was a phrase my wife was using for some reason or the other and I stole it from her – [laugh]. Our two kids are named Sailor and Pearl, so there’s been an ongoing oceanic theme that we’ve gravitated to. But I also like it because, for me, it evokes images from some older, mythical age.
How was the recording and writing process?
My writing process is normally pretty slow, compared to others. I keep reworking things – lyrics and music – till I have them as close as I can get to where I’m satisfied. So some of the songs on the album are very old. “Pretty Carry” was written about 17 years ago, and it’s evolved since then. “It’s A Good Day” was written about five years ago. “The Ball!” was also written about a decade and a half ago, and it’s also evolved a bit since having written it. The basic tracks were recorded quick and painlessly: we did five tracks in less than four hours, late April 2018. Then we did three more at Justin’s [Broussard’s – the bass player] in the summer of ’18. From there, I added most of the production on my own. Those tracks were returned to Justin and Kieran McIntosh for mixing.
What made you want to take a few risks with this album?
I intentionally try to keep things changing up – orchestration, song style, to degrees, studios, and so on. But also, since I was recording with Matt Cobb, Jim McGee, and Justin Broussard and since we’d played a few shows that went really well, I somewhat picked out the songs (old and new) simply based on what I thought would work well together. I’m pleased with how that aspect turned out.
What role does Baton Rouge play in your music?
Since having left Arkansas years ago, Baton Rouge has become a second home to me. People wouldn’t know it, but there’s tremendous talent here, nestled away, unseen. Being around any other active, good musicians is always inspiring.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
They were initially loosely inspired after reading about a significant number of famous cultural and political figures who were, unbeknownst to me, from very prominent families. It seemed something that was never mentioned and I found that interesting.
What else is happening next in Reece Sullivan’s world?
In January 2019, Jim McGee and I travelled to Austin, Arkansas (just North of North Little Rock) and began another album. I’d really done this for no other reason than that I love travelling, recording, and Arkansas. So, a friend hooked us up with Rafael Gayol, a fantastic drummer, and we recorded for a couple days at Blue Chair Studio. The initial plan was for the two albums to be wrapped up about a year apart but, the recording for Middle Sea slowed down and the other album, Arkansas, sped up. So I’ll likely have those tracks mixed in a couple months and hopefully released this summer. Aside from that, I’ve had shows pick back up some – I just got back from a show in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and have a few others lined up down here.
I’ll also mention that I’ve picked out another 5 or 6 songs that I’ll likely approach Justin, Matt, and Jim with soon to hopefully schedule recording.