‘I write from an autobiographical place’ | Interview with Sheers

Calm and sweet vocals on a haunting melody. ‘Wet Plastic’ sounds like a harbinger of uneasiness. Get to know the person behind the track through our interview below!

Describe your sound in three words please! 

Whatever I’m feelin 

What was the inspiration behind “Wet Plastic”? 

The lyrics of “Wet Plastic” abstract a terribly uncomfortable interaction I had with an unknown man in a crowded venue. After I got him to stop being aggressive with me, I asked why he  thought his behavior was acceptable. His response was, in my opinion, laughably entitled. You can hear what he said in the lyrics of the song and decide for yourself, though. 

That happened while I was on the road with the Haley Heynderickx band. We were in Boise, the  last stop before heading home to Portland. I wrote down a couple things in the van and then quickly spun out the words when I got home. With the lyrics being about feeling uncomfortable,  it made sense to me to make the harmonies unsettled but restrained, like they’re trapped. I took it  to my then-bandmates, and I can’t say specifically what their drum and guitar parts were inspired  by, but I think they nailed the tone.  

What is the best and the most challenging part of letting others into your creative process? 

I try to maintain a shamelessness about the creative process. It’s just music, you know? I have  poet friends workshop my lyrics and other musicians workshop the music, though I don’t always  heed their advice. Multiple people told me to tone down the aggressive word choices in “Wet  Plastic,” but I was like, nah it’ll be fun. Other songs of mine have definitely needed the  workshopping. The more things I write, the more useless I find preciousness. 

Daniel Rossi (drums) and Aaron Stern (guitar) wrote their parts in “Wet Plastic,” and they’re  great musicians, so I trusted their musical decision making. It’s always entertaining to hear  collaborators come up with stuff I never would have thought of, and mostly I just want everyone  involved in my music to have a good time. Again, it’s just music, it’s just vibrating diaphragms and vibrating air with a little imagination and some culturally agreed upon value, so the creative  process may as well be a romp. 

Experimental harp-centric art pop. Your music is unconventional indeed. Should music as a form of art should always challenge the listener? 

I never assume that an artist sets out to make something challenging. An effective artist is more likely taking logical steps, making reasonable creative choices using the tools and influences they have available to portray an emotion. If the audience perceives a work as “challenging,”  they probably just don’t have enough understanding of the artist’s context or idioms.  

And I definitely don’t think of my own songs as unconventional. They’re really quite simple in  their construction, so I’m confused by people when people are confused by my songs. I just  happen to play the harp.

Which lyrics from your own songs represent you the most (if any)? 

I’m cautious to say that any one song is most representative, as they all represent me to some extent. I write from an autobiographical place, and I think of each song as some small corner of my brain turned into a big cartoon version. It feels nice to let those small parts of myself live whole dramatic lives on stage when performed. 

Your favourite album of the past year? 

I don’t know, lately I just like listening to choral music while I drink wine. The Estonian  Philharmonic Chamber Choir has some bangers. 

What would you do if you were not a musician? 

Haha umm I ask myself that all the time, as I really don’t have other applicable skills. I even  sucked at being a counter person at a pizza shop one summer during college, and holding a drink tray is like way too much pressure. I got a degree in math once upon a time – maybe I’d go to grad school for that? Or maybe try to get into the competitive Scrabble circuit, lead a Queen’s Gambit-type existence but with letter tiles on my bedroom ceiling instead of chess pieces. That sounds pretty fun, though I don’t know how much money there is to be made there. 

Do you have any plans for an album in the near future? 

Yes! I have an EP called In A Crowd ready to release that includes “Wet Plastic” and the last  single “God’s $1.” I’m currently recording a full-length of my fave songs from my live solo sets, and I’ve been collaborating with a couple experimental music friends on other songs. It’s slow going though since it’s all remote collaboration and mostly home recording. All I can say with  certainty is that I’ll release another single in about 6 weeks and my EP In A Crowd some amount  of weeks after that. Keep an eye out!!

Thank you Sheers!

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