Chatting with Blake Sennett of The Elected
Blake Sennett was basking under the sunny blue skies near Lake Arrowhead, CA, when The Voice caught up with him earlier this month to talk about music, DVDs and cuisine. He and his band, The Elected, just embarked on a fall tour for their latest album Sun, Sun, Sun, taking along openers Whispertown 2000 and Margot and the Nuclear So-and-So’s. The Elected is an earthy, more self-directed departure from Sennett’s other band, Rilo Kiley (in which he writes songs alongside Jenny Lewis).
This will be the last tour for their January 2006 release, which has garnered comparisons to folk and rock legends like The Eagles, Gram Parsons and The Band. Somehow, The Elected manages to sidestep handclaps, violin crescendos, ‘80s-throwback vocals and other recurring elements in today’s indie rock scene, instead making use of the lap steel, accordion, bluesy guitar and saxophone to make their own sound.
“We are indie rock, but I guess when we decided to make this record, the idea was to try and make it sound pretty hi-fi, you know, which is decidedly not indie rock, so I think some people have a hard time wrapping their minds around it because it sounds too crisp and clean sometimes.” Sennett said. “But I’m happy with what we did.”
The album expresses a tangible yearning for home alongside an acceptance of the idea that perhaps we don’t know where home is. The fact that it was written and recorded largely in tour buses and hotels lends it a sense of transience and uncertainty, evident in lines like “Should we turn our tails and flee. Or should we just sit tight and breathe deep?”
“I think there’s a compulsion, y’know, a feeling that over the next hill will be what you’re looking for, and I think you come to realize that it is what it is—nothing’s perfect in this world,” says Sennett.
The Elected will be hitting all of the major North American stops on their fall tour. They’ll play in New York twice this week, with an appearance at the College Music Journal Music Marathon alongside the Shins, the Thermals and a few others. Blake remarked “it’ll be pretty sweet.” And that he is especially excited to see Paul McCartney.
Nothing’s quite as sweet as home, though, as Blake continues to gush about the wonders of California’s natural bounty. “If you’re eating some candy and synthesized foods and then you go ahead and eat, like, an avocado or a peach or a pineapple, you’re like, ‘Man, I can’t believe you can just find this, on the ground,’” he said. Indeed, a pineapple is what Sennett would be if he were a fruit: it’s “kinda ugly, but kinda delicious.”
The Elected will soon make their way south to warmer, lush lands, but not without a stop in D.C. at the Black Cat on Nov. 7th.