Live & Direct with Saintseneca
Saintseneca performs live in the WYEP Studios on June 3, 2104
Saintseneca, an up-and-coming band from Columbus, OH, joined Brian Siewiorek and WYEP members for a Live & Direct Session on June 3, 2014. The band played four songs from their new album, Dark Arc, which was released under the indie-label, ANTI- Records on April 1, 2014. The album was produced and recorded by Mike Mogis from the band, Bright Eyes. Zac Little, the lead guitarist and vocalist, discussed the band’s origin, connection to the Columbus music scene, songwriting process, and experimental approach to music.
Saintseneca started the Live & Direct Session with their most recognized track from the new album, “Happy Alone.” The indie-pop, feel-good song with a dark edge is accented with atmospheric whistling sounds, which is a tribute to the band’s experimental sound. Siewiorek noted it appeared that “acoustic instruments are at the core of the sound and then electronic instruments are added,” but “it really depends on the song,” Zac responded. They try not to define themselves as one genre and instead they prefer to leave it up to their listeners to decide.
Zac started playing in a band with friends from school while growing up in rural Ohio. Saintseneca formed in 2007 and they settled in Columbus, OH, a city with a thriving music scene. The band started with a folky approach, but quickly became involved in the Columbus punk scene, a genre that has certainly had an influence on their music. “In terms of genre, [Columbus has] a diverse music scene—it’s super vibrant. It has less of a sound and more a general sense of community,” Zac commented.
Zac Little is a true instrument-connoisseur. He discussed his “obsession” with collecting and experimenting with a variety of eclectic instruments ranging from the dulcimer, balalaika, musical saw, ukulele, and the ice cup. Ice cup, you might ask? Yes, the band used a Styrofoam cup with ice inside as a shaker for one of their songs. After experimenting with numerous different shakers, the ice cup was a happy accident. They also experiment with their music in unusual acoustic settings, such as under a bridge or in a yurt.
The final offering they played in the Live & Direct session was “Blood Bath,” the first track on Dark Arc. The song is a collage of the best parts of Saintseneca—it exemplifies their musical talent, artistic lyrics, and knowledge of a wide range of genres and styles. The beginning of the song sounds as if it could be a ‘60s folk song, but things quickly change: a chaotic tornado of raucous dissonance kicks in when the band plays their instruments free-form. After the instrumental storm subsides, the song transitions into a shoe-stomping indie-pop chorus. Saintseneca is a band to look out for because their nontraditional approach to music will keep you guessing and listening.
Lisa Fierstein, WYEP Music & Programming Intern
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