Date: December 18, 2007
From: Allalom Productions
Sacha Sacket Interview
Samuel Aaron: First off, thank you for taking the time to do this interview, it is a pleasure, 2007 is almost over, looking back what were some highlights for you?
Sacha Sacket: There were a lot of big steps for me this year - the greatest transition was definitely the band. I am very thankful for that growth at the moment - I feel it is the future for me, so to speak. Also importantly, the label is growing, we are touring quite regularly now in a way I never have before. Promotion is going really well, the word is getting out and we are growing. So on all fronts it's very positive. I think my performances are still in a growth process too - I still have new things to explore, which is really exciting. The guitar is finally starting to take more prominence in the music. This year really has been a hugely transitional one for me.
SA: Do you feel it was productive?
SS: But of course.
SA: Lets talk a bit about your new album ("Lovers & Leaders"); What do you want your listeners to take away after hearing it for the first time?
SS: My goal with every song I write is to make it immediately familiar. Like something you have almost heard before (but really haven't at all). I believe this happens with symmetry, proportion, and layering. I look at songwriting a lot like creating a great math equation or building a house. You have to have things flow and fit together in it's own perfect way. For me, finding the proper structure and then inserting all the details - takes time. It's a long process. I feel that when things have a good sense of shape to them, that they transcend just being a song. They become something a bit more. My main goal in everything I write is to dig as deep as I can while staying accessible as I can. These things are definitely not mutually exclusive. It's a careful balancing act.
SA: This album appears to have more of a theme then your last - care to explain it?
SS: I think all my albums have a theme definitely. Shadowed was a descent into Hades, into darkness. Playing with that idea. This album is about ascent. There is no dogma on this record, but there is a high spirituality to it. I see Lovers & Leaders as a direct answer to Shadowed. They exist together, in tandem.
SA: What were you listening to while you wrote this album?
SS: A lot of U2 actually.
SA: Do you hear them or any of your influences in the music?
SS: Not really. I have my influences - but I do feel that the music comes out in it's own way. Everyone around me works really hard to categorize the music - so I try to worry less about that, and work at creating.
SA: Do you have a favorite recording memory?
SS: Usually with the songs - the first day or 2 in studio are the most exciting. Prodigal (on "Shadowed") and Hail (on "Lovers & Lovers") were 1st day recordings and there was definitely an energy and magic in the air during them. The songs sort of defied the way I saw them originally - but I love them for that. It went a whole different direction but came out much better than I could have expected. That's probably the thing I love most about making music. When the song surprises you. When Brandon came to me, I remember seriously feeling like I had no idea where it came from. It was a whole different feel than other stuff I had written. THere is a violence in that song that I loved... I love being surprised and thrown into something new.
SA: So what is the story behind "Brandon Boyd"?
SS: I went to high school with him. It really isn't a song against him on any level. If you read the lyrics... it is more about how he was sort of the golden god of our school. even the cool kids couldn't be him. It's a song about how no one gets out of high school alive.
SA: You recently started touring with a full band - how has that affected your live shows?
SS: Things are definitely more dynamic now - as you would expect. Much more energy. It is also affecting the way I think about songwriting actually. I think I am getting more into rhythmics now - where I was more concerned with melody before. It's a natural progression I think. I think the greatest affect will be with the next album with the band. I think things are sort of mutating, there is suddenly all this fresh blood and a limitless horizon.
SA: They are all girls, - was that intentional?
SS: Yeah - completely. When I was brainstorming on what I wanted to do next, it was definitely an idea I had. Wasn't sure if it was possible to do too - because the musicality was extremely important to me. I don't want to do something JUST for the shock value or even JUST to be different. It has to have some meat to it. I haven't seen a band with just a male lead singer - but I also felt it would be powerful to have amazing women musicians that really have some balls to back me up. There is something to that, I feel.
SA: You have also begun touring a lot more, and focusing more regionally then your previous tours; what made you decide to switch your focus?
SS: It got frustrating playing a city once and never going back basically. Because I was sort of taking so many opportunities regardless of a strong plan, I found that there was a lack of consistency in the tours. I would either fly here and there or do a random string of dates. The focus now has to been to keep coming back to the towns every 6 weeks or so and build outward from the west coast.
SA: Do you find touring clubs and bars more rewarding then colleges?
SS: Absolutely. the focus is on the show. When you are playing a noontime at a university - you can be the best musician in the world - but the kids are still going to have to get to their physics exam. It's just the way it is structured. I do enjoy playing at schools though - some of my favorite shows have definitely been on campuses. It's sort of mixed bag. Venues can be the same of course - but the experience is much more about the show and the music - you can go more places emotionally and musically too.
SA: In terms of crowds and responses - do you have a favorite city to play in?
SS: Home town of course.
SA: There are a variety of artists in all different musical styles, but they generally break into two categories - those that read reviews of their music, and those that dont - where would you say you fit into that?
SS: I read reviews but hate doing it. I tend to try and avoid them for the most part, but it hasn't seemed to happen yet. I do think that as I grow, I will be more picky about which ones I read. Not necessarily the ones the agree with me, but the magazines/reviewers that I respect.
SA: Everyone is creating year end lists of both music and film, what were some of your favorite releases in 2007?
SS: Feist was wonderful, The Shins, Incubus' new record is really great, Radiohead's new record has definitely kept me company - they are still so relevant to me musically. Muse has been on a lot as well. Superbad was one of my favorite movies of the year - really awesome. I don't go to the movies that much actually - I do the whole Netflix thing - so everything I like this year is usually older.
SA: What do you think of the rain?
SS: It inspires me to write. It's a strange thing... whenever it starts raining in los angeles, I am automatically itching for the piano. I tend to love gloomy wet weather because I get so little of it in LA. I enjoy fall and winter more than springs and summers. It's just the moodiness of it all. :) I love dramatic weather.
SA: The sun?
SS: If the weather is temperate, I am all about the sun. When it's 110 degrees outside and I am in my little brick oven of a loft space - the sun is my sworn enemy.
Which leads us into some word association, just say the first word that comes to you...
3. Singer Songwriters
4. Los Angeles
7. Rock And Roll
9. Rock Stars
SA: Do you think living in Los Angeles helps or hurts most aspiring artists?
SS: You can say the same thing about any city. And most musicians tend to complain about their home city. The business itself is rather impossible and every city has similar problems. I really believe you can make a career anywhere now.
SA: Is there any one musician in history that you would love to sit down in a studio with?
SS: You know... that is a difficult question for me. I think my style of writing and recording would really get under the skin of many people. I think I would love to collaborate with Bjork. She would probably turn my world upside down.
SA: Do you have a favorite music magazine, periodical or website that you enjoy reading on a regular basis?
SS: Actually I don't read much on the music front anymore. I used to read a lot of Rolling Stone.
SA: Is there a favorite musical style that you really love listening to, that you do not ever hear yourself playing?
SS: Jazz. I really love American Songbook sort of stuff. Ella, Billie, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Sinatra.
SA: Is there a favorite musical style that you really love listening to, that you do not ever hear yourself playing?
SA: What was the first concert you ever went to as a fan?
SS: Green Day... and I almost got killed. I was 15 and it was in Orange County I believe. it was one of those life changing events in that, I was just starting a rebellious section of my life and suddenly there were all these people doing things...
SA: Along the same lines - what concert had the biggest impact on you as a fan?
SS: Off the top of my head.... Hole played a show in Santa Barbara to promote Celebrity Skin and it changed the way I look at rock shows. It really did. I think Courtney Love is crazy, frustrating, and pure heaven live. she turned the place upside down - never seen mayhem like that. Radiohead is pure inspiration for me live. I really do appreciate them musically. Tori Amos has also been really inspiring with her live shows. Just her ability alone is awe inspiring. There are more - but I will ramble.
SA: What are you looking forward to in 2008?
SS: We are looking to develop a few projects for the new year. I can't really talk about them yet, because everything is still prospective and I hate to go back on what I say. Projects mutate sometimes. But I definitely plan to get quite a lot of new things together, take a new direction as well.
SA: Where do you see the music industry going in the coming year?
SS: It's a huge question - and everyone says they haven't a clue - That things are wide open when it comes to business. I definitely see a lot of problems and questions that need to be answered. I only know what 2008 holds for an indie artist like myself. I think it's getting easier and easier to make records and promote through you own label. It's so much easier to have a grassroots approach. So I definitely aim to take advantage of that as much as I can. I am also really interested in seeing how certain gatekeepers will either become irrelevant or more open sourced. Radio is a great example. You still tend to have all the programming controlled by major labels. I am hoping as technology grows, there will be more avenues for music to get out to the public. More variety. I think taste making is important - there is a lot of bad music out there... but I would like to see it controlled more by the public and less by a conglomerate.
SA: Where do you see yourself?
SS: That's a big question... I see myself at the moment as still discovering who I am. It's strange to say, but I still feel as if I am at the beginning of finding my true voice even though I have done 3 albums. Which is really exciting. There are a lot of unturned rocks around me and I am picking through... but I hope I always feel like that. I think that's what makes art real and relevant. The next project already feels like it is going somewhere very new, so I am energized by that.
Learn more about Sacha Sacket on his website (www.sachasacket.com) or on his myspace (myspace.com/sachasacket) and be sure to catch him as he comes to a town near you!