Latest posts by Jon Berrien (see all)
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Rising LA dream-pop band Satchmode recently dropped the fresh debut album ‘Love Hz.’ Featuring eleven infectious tracks, the album is an upbeat sonic delight with catchy riffs and airy vocals.
GroundSounds recently caught up with the band to talk about their latest project, musical inspirations and more, check out the exclusive interview below.
For those just discovering Satchmode, how did you guys come together and start making music
Satchmode started as a mostly electronic project when I was still living in Baltimore. I moved to Philadelphia and then Los Angeles shortly thereafter. I didn’t know that many musicians in LA when I moved but I wanted to put a more traditional live band together. I got introduced to our guitarist Bo Jacobson, who grew up here and knows a lot of good people, and he found the rest of the guys. We’ve been playing together for almost three years now.
What made you decide on the band name Satchmode?
It’s a nod to Louis Armstrong’s nickname “Satchmo”.
This song is an interesting one because it’s an outlier relative to the rest of the album, both sonically and lyrically. The primary theme of the record is the process of grieving that you go through when a relationship is falling apart, and all of the songs are tied in some way to the classical stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). “Happiness” touches on that concept, but it’s more of a reflection on the actual process of making this album and the meaning that music holds in my life.
It’s also structurally ambitious compared to the other tracks. It’s much longer, and the arc of the arrangement was written to mirror the downward spiral into self-doubt and depression that is so easy to fall into as an artist. It opens as a straight-ahead pop song, but the arrangement starts to fragment, and then it suddenly takes a hard turn and breaks loose into the expansive, hypnotic outro.
What has it been like working on and bringing your debut album Love Hz to fruition?
It took a long time to finish this album – there are songs on it that were written as far back as 2014. I had a clear concept for the album pretty early on in the process. But for me, the best writing happens when I’m not trying to force a song to go in a particular lyrical direction. I like to let the arrangement and the lyrics inform each other organically as they develop. The less I try to “steer” it, the better. So I just had to be patient and collect the songs that fit into the album concept as they came to me. I’ve learned a ton and developed a lot as musician over the course of this whole process, so it’s interesting to me to look back at how much my writing and producing approach has evolved from the early songs to the later ones.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your single “Hall & Oates?”
That song is about realizing that the passion you used to feel for someone is gone. You keep clinging to the relationship because you desperately want that feeling again, but you know deep down that it’s not coming back. It’s one of the first songs I wrote for the album, and it helped me develop the themes that informed the rest of the songwriting.
What is it about synths and 80s new wave that attract you to these sonic elements?
It’s funny because I didn’t actually grow up listening to much 80’s synth pop or synth-heavy music in general. When I finally started exploring those artists and playing around with those sounds, I got a total rush of inspiration. I imagine it was similar to how people must have felt when a lot of the classic analog synths were first coming out. I was just thirty years late to the party. As a songwriter, expanding from a palette of the five or six instruments I knew how to play to an effectively infinite range of sounds opened so many doors for me.
When you’re performing on stage, what typically goes through your mind?
One of the things I love most about performing is that when you’re really immersed in it, you’re not really thinking about anything. You get into a state where your mind is just blank and calm and you’re completely in the moment.
What musicians/bands are you currently listening to?
I’ve been really digging the albums “The Party” by Andy Shauf and “For All We Know” by NAO.
After the album drops, what’s next for Satchmode? What can fans look forward to?
We’ve got some cool remixes in the works for some of the tracks on the record that should be coming out soon. But I’m also planning on getting right back in the studio to start on the next album. I’ve had a lot of ideas building up that I’m excited.