Words and Music : California Dreaming with Brice Sedgwick

We recently sat down for a chat with emerging Australian artist Brice Sedgwick, about his two smooth and splendid releases to date, his Californian dreaming, the evolution of his music and what the future holds for him.

On both Pacifico and more recently Venice, there is something of the Californian experience, a warmth and a relaxed vibe, how much of that is a conscious thing and how much seems to get picked up just through your experiences there?

IMG_8675There are subtle elements of my Californian experience on Venice. I felt that the sound of waves crashing on Venice Beach, or the seagulls in the air were two elements I needed to have on the record. In that regard, it was definitely a conscious decision to have listeners experience what I experienced. Not just what I felt, but also what I heard in those moments. The memories are so vivid, and I needed listeners to be able to be there with me. I wanted to be able to tell, and to show how this place exists in my bones, and manifests in my emotions.

What do you feel are the similarities between the two releases and what was different about them?

IMG_8674On the first, I was experimenting with sounds I wanted to explore, but with Venice I knew I needed to have some sort of sonic consistency. The way my story telling has also evolved; I wanted to continue to be open about who and what my songs are about or who i’m singing to, expanding upon what I started on the first album. There’s a line on Midnight in Echo on Pacifico about breathing someone in from their pillow case. I was never explicit about whether that was a man or woman, but it wasn’t through a reluctance to be open about my story. There’s always going to be a universalism in my songs, regardless of whether i’m singing about a man or woman. I’ve always been inspired by listening to Bing Crosby sing “There Ain’t No Sweet Man That’s With The Salt of my Tears” and remembering not one person nearby raising an eyebrow. On Neighborhood Scenes, I sing about listening to his voice, and building a life with a man in imperfect situations. I want to continue to not assume what mainstream listeners want or need, only that I have stories that I want to tell. We’ve all been there; singing along to a song where the pronoun may or may not have skewed how we feel, but we keep on singing. What does that say about some artist’s reticence in approaching their story telling? I think confronting desire in queer pop is important. It’s so important to see the numbers of LGBT artists sing authentically of their desires. We want and need to be open about who we are in music and expressing our romantic desires. The audience will come along.

Your music sits between a lot of genres, pop, dance, chill out…is it hard trying to get noticed and picking up new followers when your music doesn’t sit completely in one genre?

IMG_8676I think listeners will respond if the work speaks for itself. I 100% believe that. I think it’s the sign of a skilled artist to manifest these interpretations in the listener; the most incredible albums have been when the artist has managed to bring together these sonic elements, and create something transcendent. You know? Subtly make a record cohesive by featuring recurring elements and motifs, and sounds, and samples. I’ve often found the way a record is produced can create cohesion, for example lo-fi recordings, etc. There are countless amazing albums that I look up to, and i hope that i’ve been able to create something that is distinctive, yet subtle, and include varied sounds without my record seeming fractured. Perhaps Pacifico was a little too broad, but I definitely knew I wanted to have that dreamy, tremolo sound in all of the songs.

And you have spoken about taking your music beyond Australia and touring abroad, what places are you looking forward to heading for most?

I just finished a tour of the last album, and i’m planning to tour Venice and let people hear it live. I lived for 6 years in London, so i’m looking forward to returning and playing the record, and some very new stuff, live. I wrote with a lot of British artists, so it would be great to play with them and play for them. I’ve some special places i’m looking forward to playing, and some special places in the US i’m looking forward to playing. Playing Venice on Venice Beach as the sun sets would be damn magical. Something worth fighting for.

Venice is available exclusively on iTunes worldwide

Everything you need to know about Brice Sedgwick, plus album purchase, news etc can be found HERE

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Venice EP –  Brice Sedgwick (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Screen_Shot_20180128_at_114323_AMThe west coast of America, and California in particular has been described in music many times, from the Beach Boys harmonious surf pop to the hippy haze of The Mamas and The Papas, the slick acoustic rock of The Eagles and of course the dexterous, folkie asides of Led Zeppelin. It is natural that those who live there want to enshrine it in song and those who dream of it want to conjure musical myths and explore their ambitions for it. Brice Sedgwick does both. Back with his trademark understated and considered blends of dance groove and more mediative pop, Venice is a collection of songs written from someone who calls it home. If the geographically the place itself isn’t always the subject at hand, it is always there in the music, a backdrop painted from the subtle hues and supple brushstrokes of the soundscapes and smooth sonics from which he builds his songs.

The title track is a gentle piano piece, part personal narrative, part poetic description of the scenes and scenarios that the story plays through and at the other extreme Symmetry runs on a funky, hip-pop groove. Between this minimalism and these dance grooves that he uses as his parameters, the songs have plenty of room to explore ideas, fuse genres and wander interesting and unique pathways. Mondays Aren’t Blue In California is a sultry little minx of a song and Boy’s Don’t Cry is a lilting pop ballad that with the right tail wind and a lucky roll of the dice could easily become a chart bothering concern.

Venice is Brice on top form; if Pacifico laid out a stall talking about the realities of life and its harder edges wrapped up in the smoothest of sonic trappings, Venice reveals that not only was this not a one trick wonder as he continues to really delivers the goods. The goods in this case being songs that raise even his own already high benchmarks.

Pacifico – Brice Sedgwick (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

tumblr_orcch1PAli1rll5k4o1_500.pngYou could make a good argument for the fact that whilst guitar music seems to have undergone constant evolution, been pushed and pulled in all directions and warped and twisted into new forms, in the name of contemporary music, the piano has undergone a less exploratory journey. Yes, we have a raft of bands using keyboard-like technology, but those are generally more about accessing samples rather than full ten-fingered approach to the instrument. That is why Pacifico is such a stand out record.

At the heart of many of the songs, such as Saturnalia and Robyn on the Couch is a plaintive piano, the chiming neo-classical and classic sound, timeless, chilled and soulful. At the other extreme songs like Midnight in Echo head into more driven, sassy pop-rock territory, but it is what happens between these two sonic boundaries which I find most intriguing.

Tortoiseshell Sky pulses and broods in a collision of ultra-slow hip-hop grooves and affected keyboard treatments, emotive and drifting like the play out song to a film about love, loss and longing. Similarly Oh, Starry Night is a mesh of textures rather than solid structure, layered electronica and strange keyboard washes.

It’s great to come across an album which is beholden to neither guitar riff nor borrowed sample, that takes the keyboard approach of a previous age and uses it to create songs which are very much of modern times but generously tip their hat and acknowledge previous eras and styles. Knowing where you are going musically is very important, but you can only plot a course once you know where you come from. This is an album that has its route planned to perfection.

For more information got to:
www.bricesedgwick.com
www.instagram.com/bricesedgwick

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