Interview Sea Of Bees: I Wanna Do Everything At Least Once

It just feels good to be heard.

The phrase “one man band” has a tendency to summon up the likes of Dick Van Dyke wearing a plethora of instruments on his back; however, Sea of Bees is quite the opposite. Julie Ann Baenziger released her debut album, ‘Songs For The Raven’ in the UK on the 7th February. We caught up with her to talk about doing it yourself.

Your album has just been released over here - how’s it going?
It’s going alright. It’s been out for the last month but it feels as though it’s been out for the past year just because everything’s gone so fast. Just sharing your story every night, it’s been like a dream but at the same time it’s really fast. I’m doing well though.

Are there any tracks on there that are particular favourites to you?
I think that ‘Strikefoot’ is one of them just because it was something that I missed. I missed my train, I guess, into loving somebody and they moved on. And I had all this time, so it was just like I was singing it to my friend who found somebody else.

You’ve received lots of positive feedback from critics and people in the music industry over here and in America as well. How did that feel?
It feels really good. It’s good to know that people feel the same way and that they’ve been there in that place. And it feels as though I’ve never been able to be heard by people that much, so it just feels good to be heard.

You recorded all the songs in one or two takes, is that right?
Yeah, usually I just close my eyes and my friend John just hits the record button. It wasn’t stressful, it was just really easy because it was kinda therapeutic just getting it all out there.

And you played everything on the record but the drums. Was that to make it more personal to you? Was there a reason behind that?
I think it’s just because I wanted to. I was curious about everything and I wanted to see what I could do and what I could make and experience. It’s containing; you wanna sketch everything out and you wanna do the painting. You want to be the creator of your own art.

Which instrument is your favourite to play?
I like electric guitars because they didn’t sound very electric because I added effects and synths and reverbs. It was really fun, it wasn’t hard at all, it was just really crazy.

Do you think that playing everything yourself is something that you’ll continue to do with future releases?
Yeah, I think so. On this next new album, I actually played a few of the drums on my own and did really simple beats with really strong melodies.

Obviously the record was released a while ago in America, but only quite recently over here. How have you found that the reactions have differed?
It’s really different, because we started on a small label and my friend who runs the label did everything he could to put it out there, like get a publicist and we’d use our money and his money to send me out to the main places like New York and LA and San Francisco. I wasn’t hoping for it, but there was a lot of buzz, but it’s still all so small now. But now over here [in the UK], it seems as though it’s getting bigger and there’s more buzz about it. It’s really cool how things can just work out.

There’s quite a bit of a back story to your record isn’t there, with all the things that you’ve been through recently? Could you kind of summarise that for somebody who might not necessarily know much about you?
I’ve kind of been sheltered my whole life, and lived in the suburbs where I was kept from things and protected, and I was just kinda over that, you know? I wasn’t rebelling, but I was like, I need to live my life and I wanna taste everything and I wanna do mostly everything at least once. So I moved into this crazy party house and we’d do shows every night and party downtown and we knew everybody and it was just the best time. We tried everything and did everything.
I mean for 20 odd years I was just feeling really low, and just like everybody’s got boyfriends and girlfriends, but my whole life was suppressed. I thought it was wrong to love the person I wanted to, which would be a girl, so I felt that I’d rather live my life slowly and die young.
I just didn’t know how much further I was gonna go after that, after I’d been playing in hardcore bands, and I was kinda just at the end of it all and tired. Tired and I’d tried everything once so if I can’t have love then I might as well die now. And as depressing as it sounds, I just didn’t know what else to do.
It would have been wrong for me to come out at any time because I really just thought it was wrong. But it’s the whole story of my life, growing up and experiences.

You’ve come through that dark time now, do you think that your next record’s going to be happier?
It started out to be really positive and pop. We’ve already got four songs which are pretty upbeat and no acoustics - it’s not folk at all. I think it’s gonna be pretty poppy. It’s not gonna be too lo-fi, but we’ll see. There’s a lot of electrics. I’m not sure how it’s gonna go, all its dynamics and stuff. The storyline in my head is turning into something else now. It’s gonna be good though; it’s gonna make sense and there’s gonna be a story to it.

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