Shenandoah and the Night

16 Sep

We have all chosen Brooklyn as our home and will continue to write and hope to make songs that are meaningful and interesting.

There are voices that I love and then there are voices that I’m enraptured with. Shenandoah has the voice of an Angel and I don’t come across those types of voices often. When I first heard her voice in their single “So Low, So High” instant goosebumps appeared on my skin and I was floored by the amount of talent that she had. Shenandoah and the Night are a fantastic band out of Brooklyn, New York, who have been working hard to create a sound that is sure to please ears around the world. With such descriptions as “ethereal” and “voluptuous” you’re bound to be in for some pretty mesmerizing music, which is exactly what I became after hearing them. I recently interviewed Shenandoah to learn more about this Brooklyn band that has created such a dynamic sound that’s sure to get people listening.

Q. How did the four of you meet to form Shenandoah and the Night?

A. I began writing songs from our first EP, released in May 2011, while still touring with the band, The Yard Dogs Road Show. I moved to Brooklyn four years ago from Northern California and recorded “These Arms” with New York City-based singer/songwriter Rusty Santos (known for his work with Brooklyn indie it-kids Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance, Ariel Pink and others). With that single underway I sought out musicians to build the band. I met Sean Hutchinson, drummer, a couple months after moving and we began re-working my demos, Seth Johnson, the guitarist, a long time friend and collaborator, moved to Brooklyn and joined the fold, and last year Mitchell Yoshida recorded piano, Farfisa organ sounds and back up singing to a couple new songs, yet to be released, and have been playing with him ever since. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of wonderful musicians in performance and/or recording, but that is the lineage of the four you see today.

Q. Your single, So Low So High, is seriously one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. What was the inspiration behind this song?

A. Thank you, that is very generous of you to say. Most all good art comes out of hard times I believe. “So Low, So High” was written during a rather dark period. It was a prayer for my family and a nod towards Arthur Russell’s “This Is How We Walk On The Moon.” I think it speaks to artists, but more importantly, to anyone dealing with any type of struggle. Little steps bring us closer, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

Q. You guys live in Brooklyn, NY, which has one of the biggest music scenes around. Do you feel like it’s harder to create a name for yourself due to the over saturated scene?

A. Absolutely, as they say in Northern California, the market is flooded. There are so many wonderful musicians here making good work, it is quite a challenge to leave your mark. We have all chosen Brooklyn as our home and will continue to write and hope to make songs that are meaningful and interesting.

Q. Who is the main songwriter in the band and what are some of the things that inspire you the most when it comes to writing lyrics?

A. I typically write the songs and make little demos for the guys and during rehearsal they contribute a lot to the feel and arrangement. The earlier songs, written on the road, were love songs to people and places and revolved a lot about coming home. Over the past year and a half, not touring as much, the content has shifted towards magical thinking and is also inspired by movies and books.

Q. In your description on Facebook, it states that your music is for fans of Florence and The Machine. When I first heard your music, the first thing that came to mind was how much your voice reminded me of Florence Welch’s. When hearing such comparisons, does it make you nervous in any way? Happy?

A. I had never heard Florence and the Machine, but was constantly being compared to her after shows. I don’t mind the comparison, it’s a frame of reference for people who have not heard us and has helped alleviate the genre question, which is difficult for me to put a finger on.

Q. What would you say has been one of the best memories you guys have made since forming your band?

A. We toured in Portugal last November and played in gorgeous theaters, ate loads of grilled fish and veggies, and recorded some of Seth’s guitar parts for ‘So Low, So High’ in our friends living room, as he had been in Paris for a couple months while we had been recording different parts in New York. We finished the trip at a hot spring in the middle of a clearing just on the border of Spain.

Q. What’s up next for your band? Do you have plans to release more music?

A. We will be filming our first music video in September and begin a Kickstarter campaign to help with recording costs.

Q. If you could play any bar/venue in the US, which one would it be and why?

A. I love the Bijou Theater in Knoxville, TN. It’s such a beautiful space, the Marx brother’s used to perform there, but I think headlining at the Bowery Ballroom to a full room would be quite a feat.

Q. As a band, what are some of the aspirations you have?

A. We’d love to go back to Europe, make good music and have a good time.

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

A. Wow, that would be hard. I would have to say “These Arms”, because it’s so cyclical, the way it repeats, you could drown out the words at times and it is about coming home, so could offer some source of hope.

Take a listen to their single “So Low, So High” and enjoy the beautiful voice and words. Find more music here.


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