13 Jun

“The sheer size of NYC means you’ve got loads of talent concentrated around you and that is grounds for inspiration and competition, but also for questioning the value of your contributions.”

These days you can’t go anywhere without hearing music. Whether it’s the birds singing in the trees, the coffee shop speakers humming out relaxing sounds, or your radio playing the latest hits, music is everywhere. The challenge these days is creating music that can be heard by many. Like Inlets, there are an immense amount of artists that have endless talents, but may not be noticed by the majority of people. For example, Sebastian Krueger, who plays under the name Inlets, is an artist out of Brooklyn. He creates a unique type of music, making you feel alive. A beautiful, melodic song that can hold your attention until the very end. Artists like Bon Iver and Beirut are a few of the names that come to mind when I think about the feeling you get after listening to one of their songs. It’s indescribable, much like the music that Sebastian creates. I’m thrilled I had an opportunity to get to know him a bit more and learn about the man behind all of the talent.

Q. How did you and the rest of the members meet to form Inlets?

A. Inlets evolved out of muckings-around I was doing alone in my bedroom and putting to tape. Small personal songs. So, initially the point was for it to be a solo project. It still is very much that, but my core bandmates consist of Nathan Lithgow on bass and background vocals, and Michael Resnick on drums who contribute substantially. I met Nathan in college in a pretty sleepy music course and we both connected around alt-jazz which is an interest that has largely died for me. Michael was his roommate at the time and friend from high school, a good drummer and fellow headcase, who was interested in trying new things. Other talented friends help us as they can.

Q. What things inspired you to get into music? Were you raised in a musical family or was it just something that you knew you were meant to be doing since day one?

A. Initially my folks enrolled me in piano lessons. I think I had expressed interest in doing that, and that led outward to things like choir, clarinet in concert band, picking up the guitar and so forth. I was for many of my early years very undisciplined in my studies and pretty non-technical. But then I started the guitar and spent some years trying to be capable. Once you get a sense of “musicness” generally, you can futz around on other instruments enough to capture your songs, I find. So the interest was certainly intuitive, the studiousness, a lot less so.

Q. What has been some of your goals that you’ve achieved so far in the music world?

A. I’ve been fortunate to know truly talented artists in New York City who’ve both inspired and encouraged me. That’s the most meaningful achievement. I mean, your validation should primarily come from within, I know. And lordy, that’s a struggle. But it always means something when you can feel that push from people who mean something to you.

Apart from that, I’m proud I was able to quit butting my head up against my album and finish it. Put it out last year. And stand behind it. That’s not an easy thing for me. I think a lot of artists are born with, or at least evolve, this sort of “the world needs to hear this” kind of internal propulsion. That’s not exactly my DNA. I have more of a compulsion to songwrite, and everything else from sitting down to do the actual work, to letting a song be heard, proves much more challenging.

Q. You were featured on Daytrotter, which just so happens to be one of my favorites sites to find emerging artists. What was it like being a part of a website known for giving fans an opportunity to hear something new?

A. I can’t say enough good things about Daytrotter. It was definitely a notch in the belt for us, because a lot wonderful artists have been featured and we were happy to contribute. The guys there are friendly and doing if for the right reasons, and just as interested in showcasing new talent as they are celebrating established artists. And they use watercolors. That’s bold.

Q. You released your album, Inter Arbiter, last April. Have you been writing new material for the next album? What can the fans expect to hear?

A. I’m only now starting to write again. So much of last year was figuring out how to get out that record and tour. I’m a slow worker, but I’m inspired now and looking to shape a multimedia project of EP length, something a bit more narrative. But I’m really interested in doing something that integrates with visuals, especially as the internet tethers us less and less to notions of “albums” or even just stand-alone audio files.

Q. If you could change one thing about the music business, what would it be and why?

A. I think we should return to the days of benefactors. I would personally love to have a few rich folks funding individual artists benevolently, for the public good and maybe for the bragging rights. Perhaps there’s a tire baron out there who connects with my lyrics, a CEO in Silicon Valley who respects my guitar tone, or a vending machine magnate with whom my harmonies resonate. But more likely, they have board meetings to attend.

Q. What has been the best piece of advice that sticks with you through the years of being a musician?

A. Stop apologizing. I do it too much.

Q. You’re originally from Wisconsin, but you’re now living in Brooklyn. What is one of the biggest differences, music wise, between the two places?

A. I’d love to give a detailed answer, but since I moved away from Wisco at 18, I wasn’t musically in the same place I am now. The sheer size of NYC means you’ve got loads of talent concentrated around you and that is grounds for inspiration and competition, but also for questioning the value of your contributions. I think that kind of over-saturation isn’t possible in Wisco, but inspiration and even detterance come from many sources and not just from immersion.

Q. If you could meet one goal for your band, what would it be and why?

A. I’d like a little drawing of me/us in the New Yorker. Because I read it every week, and what a trip that would be. I saw one for Sharon Van Etten recently and thought, damn that must feel fun.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. How very Sophie’s Choice. I suppose I would say that given the direction of the material I am writing, I am most closely using the song “Bright Orange Air” as a stylistic launching pad. So if I were to bring that one, I’d at least have a starting point for working on the next thing. I wonder if I’d have my guitar on this island… or enough palatable water…

The talent I was speaking of earlier, here’s his song, Canteen. Enjoy.

Feel free to download this song, plus a few others, here.


2 Responses to “Inlets”

  1. Guitar Amp July 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog posts. I will subscribe to your feed and look forward to reading some more of your posts.

  2. Seti A. September 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    great interview. wealthy benefactors, indeed! can’t wait to hear something new from Inlets.

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