Five Questions With… Siobhan Sloane-Seale
The Vancouver-based folk-rocker releases her debut album today. Here she discusses its creation, her evolution as an interdisciplinary artist, fond early musical memories, and a recent traumatic event.
By Jason Schneider
On her debut album One Of My Friends, out Oct. 18, Vancouver-based singer/songwriter Siobhan Sloane-Seale offers 11 gorgeous observations of the world around her, each revealing profound insights into the human condition. Set against the backdrop of inventive arrangements, the songs are the ideal showcase for Siobhan’s natural flowing voice and poetry.
One Of My Friends maybe her introduction to the broader folk-rock world, but it is the result of over a decade of experience within the Vancouver arts scene, and as a social justice activist. After moving from Winnipeg in 1998 to study dance at Simon Fraser University, Siobhan has been a part of many projects as a musician, dancer, and actor, while slowly amassing an impressive collection of original material, along with the team to get it down on tape. That includes producer/multi-instrumentalist Jesse Waldman of Vancouver’s Redlight Sound, lead guitarist Caroline Allatt, drummer Connor Charles Brooks, keyboardist Mike Turner, percussionist Robin Layne, trumpeter Nikola Tosic and backing vocalist Tania Gosgnach.
The chemistry they generated gives the album a live feel overall, while at the same time drawing the listener in with an irresistible intimacy. That shines through brilliantly on tracks such as the powerful opener The Rain Can’t Help It, the bluesy Too Far To Go, and the uplifting, self-assured title track.
Siobhan Sloane-Seale is that rare kind of artist whose positivity is truly irresistible, and more impactful with each listen. She launches One Of My Friends in Vancouver on Oct. 19 with an afternoon performance at Beaumont Studios from 2 – 4 p.m. Find out more at siobhansloaneseale.com.
What was the process like making One Of My Friends?
The idea to make an album started in 2010, The process itself began around the end of 2016, and in 2017 we began pre-production at Redlight Sound. Jesse Waldman was instrumental in the creation of the tracks. The process evolved naturally out of my professional relationship with him. I had hired him a couple of times over the years to run sound for my shows as well as record a live show for me. When he suggested that we get into the studio together, it seemed natural. It was a lot of fun as well as a lot of learning as I haven't worked with a full band very much. For the most part, it was laid back, and things flowed pretty smoothly.
How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?
It's quite eclectic. I'm an interdisciplinary artist. My primary background is in contemporary dance and music, but I also perform theatre occasionally, and my music is influenced by all of these forms and the different artists that I've collaborated with over the past 20 years.
What's been the biggest change in your life over the past year?
Being evicted. Losing your home is extremely stressful and puts things into perspective. It shows you who your friends are and make you re-evaluate your priorities.
What are your fondest musical memories as you were growing up?
My parents had a record player when I was growing up, and I loved listening to their wide range of music from rock and pop to classical. My other favourite musical memory is about my older brother Hadyn and how he indirectly put me on this musical path that I'm on now. He went to school in New York for his undergraduate degree and would come home for summers with mixed tapes for us to listen to. He introduced me to Bob Marley and the Wailers, AniDifranco, and I think my first tape was a gift from him—Paula Abdul. Straight up!
What song in your catalogue means the most to you and why?
I would say my latest song, Yellow Flatland, which isn't on the album. I just wrote it last year, and I feel like it's a song that so many people can relate to. It's about wanting to say something but not being able to find the right words and sometimes saying the wrong thing. It's also about relationships and complicated family dynamics.