RS: I like to think of it as gentle psychedelic soft rock. I’m drawn to really mellow sounds but I like to add a little subtle weirdness to keep it interesting.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
RS: My musical inspiration comes in part from whatever I’m listening to at the time, and in part from thinking about different ways music makes me feel and trying to capture and recreate that.
RS: My lyrics tend to be inspired by my life experiences as well as what I observe about the people around me.
CH.89: What made you want to start a music project and how did you come up with the name?
RS: I’ve been playing music for pretty much my entire life, but before I started doing this I had never really focused on writing songs with lyrics and melodies. I was mostly making long-tone electronic drones on my own, and I tended to have more of a sideman role in the song-writing focused projects I was involved with. The band name is my middle name. Using it made me feel a little safer when I was first starting out and building my confidence about what I was doing, and now it’s been so long that I’m just kinda stuck with it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new album?
RS: I alluded to this a little bit before, but usually the songs start out as a concept of what kind of mood I want to create and then it grows from there. I’m usually writing in the studio, so I’ll come up with a framework and put it to tape and then start embellishing from there. Once I have a handful of tunes I’ll start examining how they go together and figure out segues and sequencing and what the story is that I’m trying to express.
CH.89: What would you want people/ the listener to take from your music?
RS: I’d like there to be something there for every listener. If the lyrics don’t speak to your experience, hopefully there’s a melody or sonic texture that grabs you. I also hope that the tunes unfold slowly in a way that makes every listen a unique experience, like there might be a new detail you discover every listen. But maybe my ambition outclasses my ability haha.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
RS: I’m the manager of a busy recording studio as my “day job” so I feel like I’m really fortunate to always be around creativity and creative people, even when I’m not working on my own projects. I’m fortunate to be able to learn production tips from outside engineers, or I’ll hear a texture or a lick on a jazz session that takes on a life of it’s own when I apply it to my music. I’m pretty much living music 24/7, and I can’t imagine living any other way!
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
RS: I’m not sure I have an easy answer for this. For me, I find its best if I have a set direction when I’m working with other people so that I’m not wasting anybody’s time. But when I’m working by myself I can get great results from letting my impulses dictate the direction of the music.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist?
RS: Never worry about your imaginary audience. I’ve found that if I try to make my art pander to other people’s taste I’ll never be satisfied. I have to make music for myself first and if it lines up with other people’s tastes or feelings that’s the icing on the cake.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
RS: Yes, I think this ties into the previous question as well. If you’re not making art that suits your own tastes, what are you making it for?
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
RS: Despite how I answered the last two questions, I think the hardest part is learning to let go of that part of me that wants everything to be accepted and well-loved. I think sometimes even if you’re making art that satisfies your creative drive, it’s still easy to get a lil bummed out if nobody else responds to it.
RS: I love being automatically included in a community of creative people. No matter how shy or out of step I might feel, I know when I’m at a show or something that I have enough in common to have a friendly chat with whomever else is playing. Sometimes that even leads to deeper friendships or opportunity to collaborate.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artists that inspire you in any way?
RS: This is a tough one for me, because I think the answer is a bit of a moving target. I feel like I’m constantly being inspired by everything I see and hear and experience. That being said, I’ve spent enough time trying to make music that sounds like a Bridget Riley op-art piece that she could probably be considered a major influence.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
RS: I think technology has been great for music. I don’t think hi-fidelity music recorded by professionals in a proper space with good gear is going to go away (and I certainly hope not, since that’s my main gig), but I think it’s great that the barrier to entry has been lowered as home-recording equipment has improved in quality and decreased in price. Being able to record yourself makes it really easy to make demos and get gigs, and being able to try and hear new ideas in real time is a big help with songwriting.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
RS: Yes, but only because I think each individual views the world differently than the next, regardless of their vocation. Everyone has a goal, and everyone’s perspective is shaped by that goal.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
RS: I do enjoy traveling, although I’m more or less a homebody. I love New York (where I currently live), but I recently moved back here from New Orleans and I think that might be my favorite city. I can’t explain why, and I’m not even sure I could say that I thrived there, but it’s a magical place with an indescribable charm and I find myself thinking of it often.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
RS: Probably the Schrödinger’s Cat trilogy from Robert Anton Wilson. That was my first exposure to quantum theory and the multiverse concept and it blew my mind when I was younger. I try to re-read those books every few years and I’m always noticing something I missed before — it’s like the text version of what I want my music to be haha.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your music?
RS: Nothing too specific…just planning to keep writing and recording and playing until I have nothing left to say.
I know I said I was a bit of a homebody but hopefully me and my friends will do a bit more touring this year.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
RS: Being an artist means I’m the luckiest person in the world. Having an outlet for my observations, thoughts, and feelings is a real privilege and a delightful treat.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your music?
RS: I hope y’all think it’s as cool as I do! Living gently is the only way to be 🙂