Blake Sennett’s musical genius is best experienced through repeated listening – The Elected’s Me First is an album that seems to expand in musical goodness with every play. The much anticipated second release from The Elected, Sun, Sun, Sun, is due out on January 24th. The Midnight Hurrah’s Laura Cushing spoke with Blake over email and asked him about this upcoming release and some of his other endeavors.
LC: What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment, musically?
Blake: Every time I finish a record.
LC: According to the press release I read, your new album was recorded in hotel rooms and in one all-analog studio. Do you prefer analog over digital recording?
Blake: I like them both for different reasons. The main distinction being recording onto tape as opposed to a hard drive. I find recording onto tape to sound a little better, particularly with things like drums and bass guitar as it has a natural compression effect. I find this tends to smooth out the top end in the drums (most notably the cymbals) and add depth to the kick and the bass guitar. This being said, the world of digital recording overall is more flexible due to its portable nature. So, with the right outboard gear, good A/D converters and a high sample rate, recording onto a hard drive can sound just as good. Or so close you couldn’t really tell the difference unless someone pointed it out to you. I guess I’m on the road a lot so if I had to choose, I’d have to go with digital as it’s offered me the ability to record wherever I am at the time. On almost every record I’ve ever made, we’ve started on tape and then imported into digital, but I would like to make a record wholly on tape just for the experience and the tradition of it. Maybe I’ll get a chance to do that next…
LC: Would you say Sun, Sun, Sun is a departure from Me First, or a continuation in the same style?
Blake: I would say it’s a progression. You always want to try something new as an artist and we had a couple songs that we had toured with a couple times. (Bank and Trust/Biggest Star/Fireflies) So we knew how they sounded with a band. We recorded with those and let the songs dictate how the record should sound and not overthink it too much, but still make sure to serve a particular aesthetic.
LC: How far reaching will the Elected tour be? Any East Coast or European dates? Will the Elected be headlining?
Blake: We have plans to do all that stuff.
LC: Who’s all in the Elected lineup this time around?
Blake: The record has a bunch of people. But the main difference in the core would be in the drums. We had our friend Ryland Steen on drums instead of Jason, but I’m sure Jason will be doing shows with us. Aside from that our friend Stacy from Eisley sings on a couple songs, Jenny sings on a song. We’ve got a bunch of four part sax sections and some flugle and some euphonium and some other stuff. So we’ve got those guys.
LC: Who/what do you consider to be your musical influences?
Blake: Who do you consider to be my musical influences?
LC: How does writing for the Elected differ from writing for Rilo Kiley?
Blake: I use my left hand.
LC: You recently sent out a bulitin over MySpace about a stray cat you’d found. Did you ever find a home for the ‘Kiley Kitty’?
Blake: A stoner on my block got him. He had worms coming out of his ass so it’s for the best. Stoners are good with animals.
LC: Do you have a favorite of the songs you’ve written? If so, which is it and why do you like it?
Blake: I don’t have a favorite only least favorites.
LC: Can you tell us about Brute/Beaute records? Any plans for future releases on that label?
Blake: Whispertown 2000 and Michael Runion records are currently being recorded and we hope we can get them out by the spring.
LC: What advice would you give someone looking to make a career as a musician?
Blake: I recently had a woman put her 13 year old son in front of me at our family Thanksgiving get together. I had never met her or him before, but she told me he wanted to be a professional musician and could I give him some words of wisdom. I think I muttered something about getting a teacher and joining band at school, both of which I never did. He rolled his eyes, told me he had never heard of my band and excused himself.
LC: What do you do when you’re not making music?
Blake: Eat, buy things, watch tv, go to movies, have lay downs.
LC: Anything you want to tell the folks out there in internet land?
Blake: Don’t eat beef. Vote.
LC: Could you eplain the metaphor ‘fireflies in a steel mill’?
Blake: Maybe all that red molten steel looks pretty good to a creature that is attracted to light. Not to mention has an orange light on its abdomen. Maybe it looks like heaven or maybe the secret land from which it comes. Maybe so good that it dives in. Burn baby burn! Disco inferno!