I stumbled upon Sara from the Tiny Giant Artist Collective a network of like-minded New Jersey musicians,(read about it here) some of which I have shared here, The Nico Blues, Those Mockingbirds, Bern and the Brights, and others I haven’t gotten to yet.
When I contacted them via email, during the back and forth we came to realize they knew both my son's from working together at the Rutgers radio station The Core, I thought that was pretty cool.
Sara is a New Brunswick, NJ band formed by three Rutgers University attendees during their freshman year ‘09 Mike, (guitar) and Vince (drums) had been playing together for about a year, trying to find the right bass player to fit in the band, as things go on campus somebody knows somebody who knows somebody and that somebody turns out to be somebody you know but didn't know. And, so it was someone told Vince to ‘check out this bass player, Gil.’ They then went to jam with Vince’s friend Mike and as it turns out, Gil was in a poetry class with Mike though they didn't know each other were musicians.
Over the next year they jammed regularly, writing songs and playing basement shows in the New Brunswick area and Rutgers events and getting tighter as a band. The result is an impressive amount of work in a short time with three Ep’s, a full length and a live album. All recorded on a DIY budget in various dorm rooms and houses and venues in the campus area.
Their full length self-titled album is great listening from start to finish, have a listen and I think you’ll agree, these guys have a bright future ahead of them. Get their music for free below…
________________________________________________________Sara released 29 April 2011
PT: You guys did a lot of basement shows, what basements have the better acoustics, forced air or hot water furnaces? That scene gets a little crazy at times, what crowd control lessons have you taken away from that experience?
Michael: My experience in the basement has told me that no matter how nice the basement is when you're loading in your equipment, once everyone is drunk and it's crowded and hot and rowdy, a basement is a basement.
That's not to say we don't love to play them. The energy and intimacy you get from a basement crowd is unparalleled. It's the purest exchange between a performer and his audience that I've ever been a part of. You share the sweat and the noise and everyone comes out feeling like we all played one big show together. As far as crowd control, the one thing I've learned is to watch out for my equipment.
I can't tell you how many times my rig cuts out completely because someone's stepped on my power supply.
PT: You’re recordings are very polished for DIY, is the mixing/production process something youse enjoy doing? Is it something you do as a group?
Michael: The recordings on the self-titled were done in a studio, so their wasn't too much DIY about it. We did them with a friend of ours who works in Morristown at a place called the Original Music School. We were with him every step of the process, but there was a lot done on his part to flesh out our ideas sonically and polish the overall sound. When we started as a band, much of the recording was done by Gil, who is somewhat of an amateur producer himself. We are actually returning to this method, finding that we enjoy the process of finalizing our music on our own. It's very much a group project; the song-writing, the recording and mixing. I like to think of Sara as a strangely productive democracy.
PT: I really like all your songs, but the song Wanky Bits off the self-titled album freaks me out I love it, it is somewhat of a departure from the rest of your body of work, what brought that song about? That album seems like you guys had a burst of creativity. It is a mighty fine debut album.
Michael: I think every song on the self-titled tries to capture or express a different emotion. Wanky Bits definitely represents a sort of loss of control, a reckless sense of apathy that evolves into a caricature of social interaction. I wanted all of the songs to feel transgressive, sort of scary, but also vaguely familiar. I think that's why you get a song like Wanky Bits, which is so tortured and perverted. Most of the songs on the album are tortured and perverted.
The thing I truly love about Sara is that our whole life as a band has been a burst of creativity. We're always writing new songs and trying to better ourselves as a band. We've created a pretty positive balance of talent, self-awareness and hard work, and the songs on that album are more a symptom of that than anything else. It is true that the songs on the LP represented a time where we really started to feel like our songs could be meaningful to other people. It's that sort of self-assured quality that I wanted to come through on the record.
PT: Now that you’ve all graduated what is on the horizon? You do plan on continuing as a band? You are working on new songs so we can expect a new album of EP?
Michael: We never really talked about our future as a band while we were playing together over the years. All of the sudden, everyone was asking us, "So, is Sara gonna break up now?" The fact is the thought hadn't even occurred to us. I think Sara will be making music for a long time to come.Spud Brain released 28 January 2012