Katie Burden, “My Blind Eye”

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Clouds and smoke from within hidden places.

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Sjimon Gompers | July 30, 2014

The songs of Katie Burden carry the collective sounds inspired from the tastes of colleagues and friends. Originally heralding from Colorado, Katie has traversed the musical roads from NYC to SF, and now currently stationed in LA preparing the release of her debut EP. Presenting the video for the title track, “My Blind Eye”, Burden is paired with the creature comfort of a furry cohort under the direction of Marta Dymek, Estefania Sequeira, and Matt Szymanowski, in a dramatic Traumnovelle filmed this past spring of 2014. Available this late summer through Cautionary Tail Records/Manimal Group, Katie’s wide-eyed folk song fabrics are combined with the talented team of guitarist Jen Turner of Here We Go Magic and Exclamation Pony, Ben Shepherd, known for his bass work with Soundgarden, and producer Norm Block.

A feather like snowfall begins the video for “My Blind Eye”, as Katie begins her song dedicated to the obscured and hidden observances, with an idle round of watching cloud patterns. “My oh my, how I lie, skies so clear this time of year.” To touch upon the year-round element, Dymek’s video entertains the seasons of winter through May showers, along with elements of fire and billows of smoke to match Burden’s lyrical ambiguous line of inquiry; “Is it a cloudy sky or smoke in the air?” The games of smoke, mirrors, sparklers, and vague site sets up Marta’s video that has Katie starring in a soap opera opposite an affectionate ‘Goon,’ courtesy of artist X.O. Finn. The odd couple waltzes around their domicile, share emotional encounters, and a surreal—but sacred bond that exists beyond the blinds of companionship. Katie talked to us about the making of her upcoming My Blind Eye EP and more, in the following discussion.

What was the recording process like, working with Jen Turner, Ben Shepherd, and producer, Norm Block?

I know this statement might sound redundant but Norm and Jenn are such creative musicians! We’ve never fallen into a particular rhythm of how we like to write a song. Sometimes an idea would come from jamming and other times I’d show up with a melody, a basic chord structure or a few lyrics I’m stuck on and be like, ‘lets do something with this’ and then we’d dive in with first impressions. There is never talk of, ‘I want this song to sound like a cross between this band and this band.’ Actually, any mention of specific references when we start a song totally bums them out.

How did all their individual contributes effect and enhance your own thoughts and visions about your own compositions?

Jenn is a pretty magical creature with monster chops and oozing with ideas. A lot of the time we ended up sticking with her initial instincts when tracking but a great thing about her is that she will really sink her teeth in and tweak on a part until it feels. Just. Right. Norm is definitely the big picture guy of the whole operation. He produced, recorded and mixed the music and I trust his ear immensely. He’s a very unique drummer and added a lot of keyboard color as well. Ben played baritone guitar on the EP title track “My Blind Eye”. He started tapping on the body of the guitar, making a unique pulse happen and then came in half way with the gritty guitar line that plays through out the song. Everything he plays immediately adds his Ben ‘grit’ to it. Overall Jen, Norm and I searched for things that felt unique to us. We gave ourselves a lot of room to experiment with different ideas and sounds, which ultimately helped shape the compositions.

How have the worlds from your home in Colorado, to the aesthetic developments from NYC and SF respectively, affected your own creative approaches and perceptions?

I wouldn’t say that the places I’ve lived have had any particular bearing on my musical aesthetic. It’s been more about the people I’ve met that have inspired me. When I meet someone who’s tastes I respect I ask them what kind of music really gets them going and then I go investigate. My buddy Kendon Smith (The Slippery Slope) in San Francisco got me into some pretty rad female figures of yore like Lydia Lunch, Astrud Gillberto, and Mitzi Gaynor. Jenn turned me onto Lisa Germano and The Microphones last year which was pretty mind expanding. I can’t say how these musicians have influenced me directly but I like to think that when you absorb new music it goes into some sort of mind reserve that you end up tapping into subconsciously. That being said: be careful what you listen to!

What else and who else are you working on/working with lately?

I have already started a new LP with Norm Block producing and drumming. We are writing and recording again with Jenn Turner, as well as working with Clint Walsh (Dot Hacker), Jonny Polonsky (Puscifer) and Mike Semple (Friends of Dean Martinez). There will be a lot of different musicians collaborating with us on this new record, which always keeps things exciting.

Favorite tunes that you have heard this summer that you wish more people would hear?

My brother recently turned me onto Asaf Avidan’s “Different Pulses”. The fact that the record has a great groove to it is almost beside the point. That’s how good this dudes voice is to me. Also, Perfume Genius’ new song “Queen” has been on frequent rotation since I first heard it last week. I love it.

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