A sense of place has always been key to S. Carey's work.
A highly talented musician - jazz was his first love - S. Carey's vein of songwriting dwells on the introspective, but is always resolute in its beauty.
Recent album 'Hundred Acres' was born from a very special place, not only geographically but personally, as he searches for some kind of meaning amid it all.
The following shows were some of S. Carey's most personal, with each night seeming to offer some kind of tender conversation between songwriter, audience, and band.
A new short film captures this process, a beautifully pieced together document that makes each intrusion into the songwriter's world feel entirely natural.
"The film maker is Peter Elliot Eaton," he tells us. "We all have known Peter for a number of years now and his quiet, unobtrusive approach just let us all be ourselves in the video."
Watch it below, then check out a full Q&A with S. Carey after the jump.
It's a beautiful film, really well executed. Why allow someone - indeed, a full team - in your world like that?
I guess just to show a little more about myself.. there's certainly a lot of myself revealed in my songs, but it tends to be from deeper, less travelled spaces. Having someone film us goofing off or learning parts actually gives people a more realistic picture into who I am as a person. - The film opens with you driving through Wisconsin, and the countryside is breathtaking.
Are you a songwriter who takes inspiration from your surroundings? Can we hear elements of this in 'Hundred Acres'?
Without a doubt. As I'm writing this, I'm staring into my backyard at the woodline, listening to the squirrels and crickets. The landscape continues to be a constant source of inspiration. As the video portrays I do a lot of fly fishing... this is a source as well. Feeling rushing water flow past you can be an almost spiritual experience. You realise you're small and nothing.
The clip features the band performing in situ, together in the studio - is that also how you recorded? Or was it more piecemeal?
This record in particular, I tried to write and perform as much of it as possible on my own. If I came to road block, I'd enlist the guys to help me play parts I couldn't pull off.
You tend to work with a settled band, are those relationships part of the music itself? What does each voice add, do you think, that a stranger might not grasp?
Oh yeah! I love my band. They are great musicians... versatile.. they get the vibe.. they get the approach. And almost more importantly, we have some much fucking fun on tour together. It's just a blast. Jeremy (bass player) is such a high caliber musician, I often feel the parts I make him play are so dumbed down for his talent level! But it's all about the songs. Ben (pedal steel, synth) gives us an edge. He creates interesting sounds with his instruments that give a unique touch.
Zach (drums, guitar) just knows the music deeply and gets it. He is the engineer that I work with so he's really known the songs from conception to tracking to mixing. Mikey (guitar, viola) is sort of the wild card - you never really know what he's going to play!
The clip also features you fishing - is it important to you to maintain a life outside music? Do you find that some musical ideas will actually come to you while out on the river?
Fishing is my escape from music, although yes I certainly I do sometimes come up with ideas out on the river. Its more of a reset. It allows me to center myself and gather ideas.
The video finishes with that wonderful performance, a real group piece. Much of S. Carey on record feels like a very studio-based experience - how does it feel to take your work out of that environment? Does the in-the-moment nature of live performance bring something else out of your work?
Absolutely. Most of us come from jazz backgrounds so we feel very comfortable improvising. It keeps every single live show interesting... even little things.. I think the live show is very dynamic and we strive to bring new life to songs when we realize you can never recreate the studio (unless of course you're using tracks... which to me, just sucks the life out of the performance).
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Catch S. Carey at the following shows:
28 Brighton The Haunt September
29 Kenilworth Kenilworth Arts Festival
30 Manchester Deaf Institute
2 Glasgow Stereo
3 Leeds Brudenell Social Club
4 London Cecil Sharp House
For tickets to the latest S. Carey shows click HERE.
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