On the Edge with Gretchen Seichrist (Part II)
Yesterday Gretchen Seichrist talked about her art and the founding of her Even Break gallery space. We briefly touched on her music and I wanted to make sure we got into that a little more here. With her bandPatches and Gretchen, Seichrist has earned numerous Twin Cities accolades these past few years.
EN: Your musical sound is quite outside the mainstream. How did your style develop?
GS: It began with my words and probably phrasing that I wanted to keep in the forefront and build music around. My experience in life has been outside the mainstream, so that makes sense that the music would be. I’m lucky that the last few years, that I found two incredibly versatile musicians who are completely unruly to co-compose the music. I think the music we make starts with my words and mood and then pulls from all kinds of elements and styles of music that we all have a love of -- knowledge of… definitely humor and the oddness of life. Nothing is off limits and we don’t try to stay in a genre.
We’re all very full, expressive personalities and I think we don’t try to smooth that personality out of the final work. When I am performing or composing I'm not trying to stay in the role as female singer. I tend to forget all of that in creating and I’m focused on what I want to explore at the time. There are definitely conceptual art things going on in the music and performances sometimes.
EN: Who have been your influences?
GS: Bob Dylan, of course…. soul music.
EN: How much of your songs are worked out in advance? Is there an improv element to your recordings?
GS: Actually they are worked out to a T. Every single ping is thought out precisely and then sometimes there is that decision to trust in a certain spot that we’ll know exactly what to do when we get there. Live, there is always a lot of room left for improv. I think my favorite place to be is at the "we are falling apart and this is not my body anymore" dimension.
I love that feeling on stage when I have no idea what is going to happen and yet I do.
EN: If someone were to ask what kind of music you sing/record, what would you call it?
EN: I especially enjoyed your song The Voot, which has a recurring Daniel Boone riff in it. For what it's worth, I myself am a descendant of Daniel Boone. Can you tell me a little more about the backstory for this song as well?
GS: Oh my, that is amazing! Well, let me think... It's about how evil operates in tiny ordinary doses in a hidden way and bringing to light the little sacrifices of humanity people sometimes are really asking you to make. The Voot represents the last stand against it all. I think of it like Gregory Peck playing Atticus Finch in front of the jail house when the town mob came..... he's standing in The Voot!
Also, this is funny, you said whirlwind before....it was a song on my first album.... pretty rough song.
EN: Do you have some other videos online that I can share?
GS: SUBDEATHKICKBLUES - COVER BOB DYLAN
THE HEAVY WOOL COATS OF BUMS- PATCHES AND GRETCHEN
PAY IN BLOOD - COVER BOB DYLAN
SAY IT TO MY FACE - PATCHES AND GRETCHEN
THE BROKEN-HEARTED GARDENER - PATCHES AND GRETCHEN
EN: What are your current career goals as an artist?
GS: Have my own bedroom.
I want Bob Dylan to cover one of my songs and wear one of my spaceship, lonesome kid t-shirts on his tours. Alternately, he can pose for a painting with the t-shirt on while he learns my song.
To record the first album for my new band, The Lonesome Kid, out-of-state with an innovative producer by next fall.
Acquire a mobile Even Break Gallery vehicle and go on the road with my band doing improv-music performances.
Move Even Break Gallery to a storefront-workshop space.
Locate running support for gallery.
Continue to experiment with shows and performances at the gallery.
To host activists and climate related speakers for conversations/shows at Even Break.
To take action in climate change events and protests against climate destruction and for indigenous land protection.
To build up a barter bank of lessons and services. Continue to experiment with shows and performances at the gallery.
To connect to others who are geared towards a sharing economy.
Continue and expand the Even Break Garden partnership with North Country Food Alliance.
Paint every day.
Find an agent to sell my paintings so I can do all of the stuff above.
EN: Thanks for sharing so much of yourself here. I do love your song selections. Very much a yes to Dylan's Pay In Blood cover. Best to you as you press on.
Ennyman is a Life Under Construction. Writer, artist, philosopher, friend... visit www.enewman.biz to put your mind at e's.