Feature photo by Bad/Good
By Alli Hayes
Loose Lips’ resident music writer Alli Hayes caught up with electro-neo-soul duo Seaborne just before their Westward Festival performance. Seaborne, made up of Maryse Bernard and Soloman Krause-Imlach, chatted about returning to home soil from their current Montreal digs, and the new single they have on the way.
Loose Lips: How was Seaborne born?
Maryse Bernard: We met playing in an indie rock band in Victoria six years ago, fell in love, and have been making music together ever since! Seaborne was born just last year and it’s the first project we’ve done only the two of us. We’d always talked about writing electronic music together so it was only a matter of time. It came to be very naturally.
LL: Have there been any surprises along the creation of Lustre? Any expectations that have been stripped?
MB: One of the surprises in creating LUSTRE was revisiting the way we write songs together and discovering all the different formulas we could try out!
Solomon Krause-Imlach: We strayed from just one particular approach to creating our songs and it turned out great. Also, back-and-forthing and playing around with different options when we were fleshing out songs often led to some cool surprises.
MB: Sometimes Solomon creates loops and I write vocals inspired by that, or I come to him with a melody and lyrics and he composes instrumentals around them. It’s always interesting to see what my ideas spur in him and vice-versa.
LL: What initiated the move to Montreal? Do you believe that exploring and living in different cities in Canada is beneficial for a musician or an artist?
SK: We’d been talking about it for a while as an option. We’d heard that it had a great music scene so we wanted to experience it for ourselves and see if we could grow in that environment. I definitely think it’s beneficial to explore new scenes just to find out about more bands, meet new people, maybe build a fan base in different places.
LL: What called you to Montreal?
MB: Montreal’s always been somewhat of a mythical place to me. The culture and music scene are so diverse and bustling–the city radiates this intense, exciting energy every time I visit. As a Francophone, the language aspect is also very attractive. It always feels special to be surrounded by French and to have people pronounce my name properly!
SK: The bagels.
LL: It’s fantastic to have you come to Vancouver for a fresh concept to the music scene. What do you think will be unique about playing in a city festival?
MB: I think it’s really cool to see Vancouver come alive for a city-wide music festival. There’s so much talent out here and it’s wonderful that local up-and-comers are getting the chance to play with bigger names. It’s also super special to come home after two months away for this huge show with Dear Rouge and Little Destroyer! We want to bring all the energy we’ve been cultivating over the summer back to our Vancouver friends.
SK: In a festival everything is so concentrated: there are so many shows in a few days so it’s a crazy buzz.
LL: Who have been your mentors? Sometimes I find this to be double edged. It’s great to have guidance, but do you ever feel like rebelling/have you rebelled against a certain suggestion/influence?
MB: Pursuing music in itself is a form of rebellion, in my opinion. Rebellion against the standard, traditional steps we’re told to follow. I guess in that sense I’ve rebelled against some of the more practical advice I’ve received. But I’ve been super lucky to be surrounded by positive musical mentors my whole life. One of my first vocal coaches, Angela Kelman, is a passionate musician who taught me to stand my ground and to never accept the disrespect girls so often experience in the music industry. She’s definitely a badass lady. I also consider the artists that I’ve loved deeply for years to be mentors–inspiring me to follow my musical passion and to stay authentic. Lady Gaga’s my forever main gal.
SK: I haven’t really had many people who have personally mentored me on my musical path (aside from my guitar teacher when I was 11, Zach – great guy) but it’s been inspiring to watch some of my favourite artists grow and see them pass on encouragement, advice, and gratitude. These days you can really follow those journeys up close and it makes you want to keep grinding.
LL: What other tracks/albums have been on repeat on your playlists? Tell us a bit about your inspiration and how it has evolved along the course of your sound.
MB: I’ve listened to SZA’s Ctrl every single day this summer. “The Weekend,” “Supermodel” and “Prom” may be my most played, but the whole album is unreal. I was trained in jazz and R&B and always appreciate artists who blend the traditional with the modern. SZA does it so well. I’ve been listening to a lot of female vocalists lately: Amber Mark, Sabrina Rubio, Jorja Smith, NAO…strong women who aren’t afraid to assert their truths and sexualities are always a source of inspiration.
SK: As I’ve delved into electronic music production over the last several years, a few producers such as Mr. Carmack, Sango, Kaytranada, and a lot of people releasing music on the Soulection label have been influences for me.
LL: That leads to the next question! You’re releasing a new single next week, can you tell us a bit about the direction you’ve been taking this round?
SK: I made a bunch of little beat skeletons in the first week of being in Montréal and Maryse was writing a bunch of lyrics, and when I showed her this one it stuck and grew pretty naturally. This song has bits that are a little more minimalist, which was fun to play with!
MB: The single definitely takes a new direction from our EP! It retains the same cinematic vibes and modern pop-R&B sensibilities, but with some retro dark magic thrown in. It’s reminiscent of icy ’80s synthwave and I explore my lower register much more than before…Did we mention it’s in French?
Catch Seaborne and the duo’s new single “Hypnotise” at The Fox Cabaret on Saturday, September 30. Find tickets here.
Alli is a wildcard. Faux fur is her wingman. She is constantly moved by art, cool parties, and independent film, and continues to create her own projects. She wishes her photographic memory did her Instagram more justice. Check out her blog at thewildcardwins.com.