Falling for Seapony

Sjimon Gompers

photos by Angel Ceballos

Seattle's Seapony are about to release their second full-length Falling on Hardly Art. For a limited time the Washington trio are providing the following stream of the new album for you enjoy while we catch up on everything from seasons and emotion driven lyrics that we further investigated in our recent correspondence with the band.

The album title Falling not only references the season of the LP's release but abounds in word play like “I will fall…I will follow You” in Follow, or song title “Fall Apart.” How did this word permeate all of three of your thoughts during the album's creation?

It seems as though we planned it, but we didn’t. When we write songs, we never know exactly how they will turn out. You can be trying for something specific, but it usually turns out differently. That’s my experience anyway. Carl Newman once said that originality comes from not being able to exactly mimic your influences or something to that effect. It’s kind of like that. Also, Michael Jackson said he received his songs from God, and it’s sort of like that too. When we have the intention of creating a jam, we just let our brains fire all crazy and whatever happens happens. When it comes to lyrics, we usually choose words based on how they sound, not for their meaning. We like words that are soft with few syllables that are easy to sing. If you were to sing the chorus of the song you reference (“Follow”) and replace the word “fall” with “call” you might find the “kah” sound to be somewhat of a stumbling block in comparison to the effortlessness of the “fah” sound.

I’m gonna fall I’m gonna follow…

I’m gonna call I’m gonna follow…

The word “fall” is diverse, kind of dreamy, and looks good written down. Put simply, we just like the word “fall” and so it found its way into a few songs. I think it appears four or five times. We had thought the album might come out around the same time as the first one, late May or early June, because the songs were written and recorded by February. I ran into trouble mixing and that ate up a lot of time. It wasn’t a conscious choice to have our second album come out in the fall and, for that reason, call it “Falling” and use the word “fall” throughout. We just chose the title based upon the frequency it was used in the songs.

Crafting songs and albums inspired after days of the week, months and season give songs these backdrop settings to exist in, where the yellow and orange colored leaves of fall can occur in summer from the imagination of song. How have the Northwest autumns impacted Seapony's style and sound?

The first album was written right after we moved to Seattle. That was in the summer. Most of the songs off this album were in fact written in the fall/winter. I never realized that until just now after typing that sentence. I guess there might be something to it, but we never intentionally set out to create a sound to reflect the feeling of any particular season. That’s how people tend to interpret it though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything written about us that didn’t have the word “summer” in it somewhere. The Northwest tends to always feel like the fall. It can make everything feel empty and hopeless at times.

How did Olympia's Dub Narcotic Studios affect the development and overall sound of Falling?

As I mentioned earlier, I spent a lot of time trying to mix the album. So when I finally gave up we contacted Bob at Dub Narcotic. We’ve always been a fan of K Records. I was still skeptical of handing our songs over to anyone. Luckily Bob is a wizard and I was amazed at how in tune he was with it. He made it sound like it was supposed to. He also added some really trippy effects. The song “Fall Apart” is a good example, the part where Jen sings the word “falling.”

Engineer/mixer Bob Schwenkler was really excited about the new album and posted some early praise on the DNS tumblr. Seemed like some fun sessions.

We’ve never actually met him. It was all done through the internet and phone calls. We just sent the tracks to him and he sent them back sounding right on. I know that’s not very interesting. I want to take the train to Olympia and give Bob a hug.

One thing that is apparent on the new album is that the sound reverberates fuller, but you still retain that Seapony DIY recorded-in-the-choir-room-when-no-one was looking appeal, charm and earnestness. Why keep it real on the record when the peer pressure tells you to go the studio safety / sterility route for the sophomore disc?

We wanted to go into a studio, but had already put so much work into our own recordings that we felt like we would just be trying to make them sound how they already did. Our third album will be a slick studio production.

I feel like the Dreaming 7″, Go With Me, etc were about the journey to the dream and Falling is like the relationship maintenance leg of the tour, i.e. “Prove to Me”. Is that an accurate observation?

I think that’s right. I see the first album as being naïve, thinking everything is going to be perfect and easy. The second is more like when you realize it’s not like that at all and it takes work to make it work.

Another thing too is this album feels dreamier and even more intimate than previous releases with the beautiful acoustic guitar lead melancholia of “Fall Apart”, or on the psych and swagger of “See Me Cry”. The shift seems to be a sharper and deeper focus on the sentimental sound wise and lyrically than on Go With Me and was wondering what accounted for these closer renderings on Falling?

We did spend a little more time on the lyrics and wanted to inject more emotion into it. Ultimately, we want to make people cry. There is a song by Sun Kil Moon called “Carry Me Ohio” that makes me cry, although I can’t understand a lot of what he says in it. I don’t really want to know either.

What are some vintage-retro C86/twee groups that you all feel need to reform and return to the indie scene?

I like having a romanticized image of the un-formed bands I like. I’m afraid reformations would ruin that.

Can you give us several great Seattle groups or non-Seattle groups that you've had on heavy rotation recently?

I don’t listen to music that often. As far as Seattle goes, The Moon Doggies and Damien Jurardo are some good contemporaries. From the past, we listen to the Ventures. They were from Tacoma but whatever. I have always listened to the Ventures because my dad used to know Bob Bogle. He was originally on guitar then later switched to bass. My dad and an early Ventures recorded a split 7” together. Side B was an instrumental surf song and the side A was my dad’s song. It was a war protest song that begins like this:

“Goddamn this world of endless pain, there is love and there is pain…”

I love that he rhymes pain with pain.

Local groups you have been have been kicking it with as of late?

We don’t kick it with other Seattle bands. Other people in bands we’ve hung out with the most are Rose Melberg and Jay Arner from Vancouver, BC. There are some Seattle bands I would like to kick, however.

Are there talks of any collaborations or remixes from any artist from any songs off Falling?

Not currently, but if we do they will be done by the talented Canadian Jay, who I mentioned in the previous question. He’s done some killer remixes for some of Rose’s solo songs.

The current trends these days revolve around everything 'sea' and bizarro 'pony' memes. Was this all part of a grand design the three of you invented to trend outside of the band and beyond the music? Or just good timing? Clairvoyance?

No grand design. Clairvoyance perhaps, or maybe chaos, poor research, and indifference. It is a fact that there exist many “sea” and “pony” bands. I was not aware there were so many when we started. I think our name suits us well.

Thank you for your time and lovely music.

You’re welcome! Thank YOU.

Seapony's new album Falling comes out September 11 from Hardly Art.

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