An Interview with Seahaven: Deep End Of The Lagoon Ryan McGrath May 14, 2014 Interviews This has been quite an eventful year for Seahaven. Back in March, we saw the release of their new album, Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only, a follow-up to their debut full-length, Winter Forever, on Run For Cover Records. While touring in support this past winter alongside post-hardcore torchbearers Mewithoutyou and Touché Amore, Seahaven also immediately embarked on a brief headlining tour in Europe. Before their upcoming U.S. tour with Foxing and Adventures, I spoke with lead vocalist and guitarist Kyle Soto about themes of escapism and its influence on the writing process of Reverie Lagoon. You guys finished up a brief European and UK tour with Nai Harvest and Battle Lines. How was that tour? What was the initial reaction to playing the new material live in Europe as opposed to the United States so far? I think it was good. I mean, I think that this was the first “headliner” that we have done. We did it over in Europe, which is weird because we’ve only been there twice. I was definitely a little nervous, but I felt like it went over real well. I think a good amount of people came out and those people who came out enjoyed the set. I don’t get super caught up in reviews and stuff like that. The other guys [in Seahaven] will read that stuff and I heard, “Oh, the new songs mesh a lot better than I thought they would live.” So it sounded like a good response. Did you or the band face any pressure to emulate your previous sound captured in Winter Forever or did this record give you the opportunity to open up to a different approach in songwriting? (Pauses) No. I think that it was a slow, organic process as far as ideas coming out, and this definitely was the most that I have done on a record as far as a lot of ideas coming to me, different instruments, all that kind of stuff all at once. So it was kind of just overwhelming; I was really excited with the songs. I didn’t really give myself too much time with the fact that was… I don’t know. I thought that in my head I am going to enjoy these songs and yet it’s different than Winter Forever. But one, it shouldn’t be. And two, at the end of the day, I just really like the songs. So I try to stick with the formula of, if I really like the songs, and it feels good to me, and if the rest of the band likes it and if it feels right, then, you know, it’s kind of the next step. You can’t worry too much about it. We did what felt natural and it never really held us back to see if it would be weird or not. What was the recording process like for Reverie Lagoon as opposed to Winter Forever? And what was the inspiration behind the album name itself, along with some of the music you put together for Reverie Lagoon? Well, I mean, I live like any artist or any band or whatever, but realistically, any human being, it’s just being in a different place. At least for me, everything keeps moving forward. So it’s never going to be the same record, even if I didn’t want it to be. I feel like this one [Reverie Lagoon] I let go a little more, as far as things I would be a little worried about. You know, like traveling into certain places or trying out certain things. As far recording it and as far as seeing it from Winter Forever, everything was a lot different. The songs themselves are different. The production was a lot different. I did a lot of the production and recorded a lot more and wrote a lot more than I usually do. So, it was definitely different in a lot of ways. Even though there was a lot more on my plate, it wasn’t really a choice. The songs were coming to me with all of these ideas in my head and I am just not going to pretend that it’s not happening. As far as the music changing, it was something that I tried not to think about, and try to not think about an old record [Winter Forever] and put it in scope with the new one. Your sound has been compared to bands like Death Cab For Cutie and Pedro The Lion. Would you say that these two groups have generally influenced your music, especially on Reverie Lagoon? It’s a really tricky thing because we’ll be compared to bands. Like, “Oh yeah, people are saying you heavily sound like this and what are your thoughts,” and I have genuinely never heard that band. So, it’s a little weird. That’s happened more than a few times. At the same time, Pedro The Lion, yeah, everyone else in the band really loves David Bazan [lead singer of Pedro The Lion] and all of his work. As far as what I can tell, as far as getting compared to or giving odes to bands like Death Cab, we’re not bummed out about that. Death Cab is a great band and to be compared to that is great. But was I listening to a lot of Death Cab? Not necessarily. There probably was some Death Cab in there, but as far as what I was heavily listening to are things like the Frank Ocean record [Channel Orange], In Rainbows by Radiohead and stuff like that. It doesn’t sound like a Frank Ocean record, but I was listening to a lot of Frank Ocean, so probably some of those melody choices came from listening to a lot of Frank Ocean, you know I mean? All of the artists that they have thrown into comparisons are all bands that we like, aside from the bands we haven’t heard of before, but yeah, Pedro is great, Death Cab is great. They are all great bands and to have that in a review on the record, we had problem with that. Now, from a lyrical standpoint, Reverie Lagoon is a record that tries to make sense of events that are out of our control. How did this influential theme carry throughout the record, especially within songs like “Love To Burn” and “Highway Blues?” Yeah, I would definitely say that the record deals with that. The record has a couple of themes that are laced together, but acceptance and coming to terms with certain things is definitely a big one, whether it means coming to terms with something that you can’t control or coming to terms with something that you can and where to go from there. I definitely would say that is a theme on the record. “Highway Blues” was the song actually that someone asked me in an interview that no one has ever asked me before at this point: “Have you ever wrote [a song] that was too personal to release?” “Highway Blues” was roughly around Winter Forever-era when it was written. So up until that point, I have never done that. It was a song that I have had for a couple of years that was that one song that was too close to me to put out. But with some time, it kind of ties into coming to terms with things. With this song, I feel like it’s always going to be a little touchy. But I think I am ready to let it go and let people hear it. “Love To Burn” and the interludes on the record definitely do with acceptance and understanding things that are above your control or whatever that may be. Do these themes play a role with relating to the second part of the album’s title, Music For Escapism Only? The way that it ties in, above on the top layer and the whole purpose behind it, would be in relation to generally the music and writing this album. As much as I could, as far as listening to your own music, the album that I wanted to hear was to be the record I would want to listen to. There are certain records I put on and lay in my bed or whatever and I just get lost in it and I go somewhere else. You can listen to certain albums that have great songs and it will be a great record. It is different for everyone, but there are certain records I listen to and kind of escape to, I guess, and kind of go somewhere else. That is on the top layer as far as the lyrical thing. It definitely ties into the whole theme of it because there is the acceptance side of things, but there are certain things like going through the motions and going through the dark parts of life or the certain things that have happened to you and the ways of dealing with them. The escapism thing works in a lot different areas. When the title was being put together, I remember being very satisfied with it as far as how cohesive it was with every angle of what the album is. How have you incorporated this ideology of escapism into your life? I would say that a lot of the lyrics are of me in my day-to-day life and using certain things to try to get away from what my reality is and trying to deal with things in the wrong way and where that leads. And at the same time, you could say that me creating music to deal with whatever is escaping in a positive way. So there is a lot of dynamic with the way that works as far as what’s in the lyrics because it goes back and forth from dealing with the repercussions of choosing the wrong road to go down to cope with things or maybe choosing the right ones and being able to come to grips with something and accept it for what it is. So the record deals with me choosing not the greatest ways to escape from things completely outside of music. Along with that band as well, are you personally content with the amount of positive feedback and support that you have received from Reverie Lagoon? Yeah, definitely. Going back to what we were to talking about before, there is still Seahaven in it. But it is a different a side of me and a different side of us and all that. It is different and there is no denying that, especially because of the fact that, when we recorded it and due to things out of our control, it took a full year of it being recorded. We were sitting there for a while like, “I wonder what people are going to think?” But at the same time, it’s still nowhere close to being released. Being so caught up in that can be exhausting, so you kind of have to put expectations out of your head. When it finally got it released, I think that all of us were definitely happy with it. When we released the first song, as far as what the guys told me, they [the fans] understood it a lot quicker than I thought they would. But as far as the general consensus, it was definitely very positive, and people were into the direction it went and yeah, I think we were all happy with the result. Seahaven will be playing at The Barbary in Philadelphia on May 14 and at The Studio At Webster Hall in Manhattan on May 16. For information, go to welcometoseahaven.com. 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