WHUS Radio was enlightened to hear the sounds of Shawn Fogel for another Studio Sessions. Shawn is from New Jersey; he is a member of the band Golden Bloom and now has moved to doing more solo projects. His most recent project is called Brothers in Yarn which is an album based off books Shawn has read that inspired the lyrics, melodies, and entirety of the of the album.
Nicole: Can you tell us a little bit about your self where you’re from?
Shawn: Yes I can—My name is Shawn and I live in new Jersey and I’ve been doing this thing for a long time I play in a band called Golden Bloom and we put out our last album just about a year ago. Since then I started a project called Brothers in Yarn and we released our first EP about a year ago.
Nicole: Awesome—so you mentioned your project Brothers in Yarn do you mind just telling us a little more about that?
Shawn: Sure yeah absolutely! It was kind of born out of writers block when we were working on the most recent Golden Bloom album. So I always try to approach song writing a little bit differently every time just to kind of keep it fresh keep it interesting and to try not to do the same thing over and over again. For this last album myself and two of other guys in the band we went up over the summer we went up to a cabin in the woods in Maine we spent a whole week and brought a bunch of instruments and wrote all of the music for the songs I didn’t write any lyrics we didn’t even necessarily have melodies for them we kind of just walked away with that with like chord structures and road maps for songs and the skeleton for what were going to do. Once we went in to the studio and started recording it, I kind of starting working on lyrics for each of the songs and we got about half way through the album lyric wise and I kind of just hit a wall.
It got to the point where we had the whole album worth of music recorded and everyone was just kind of waiting on me to finish writing words. It wasn’t even that I was writing words that I didn’t like it was just totally, you know, plugged up. This went on for a little while and I talked to friends who are musicians and creative people and stuff like that and kind of tried to crowd source some help. Like what do you do when you are totally dry and there’s nothing happening? Someone recommended just reading a book. I realized that it had been so long since I actually read a book, like embarrassingly long. Netflix is great. It’s so easy you can spend every waking moment of your free time doing something that is distracting and more passive than reading. Yeah so it was this realization, I haven’t read a book in forever and it was approaching the New Year and I figured that’s a good excuse for a new years resolution or intension. The Brothers in Yarn idea was born out of this like creative jump-start regimen that I came up with I was going to read a book every month and during that month also try to write a song that was somehow inspired by that book and record a demo for that song before that month was over and then move on to the next book. I didn’t make it through the whole year but it worked, it clearly worked. I got the first 6 months those are actually the songs that ended up on the brother in yarn EP. After that first song that first book inspired song the floodgates were open again and I was able to go back finish the songs on the Golden and they were the most effortless songs on the album and they’re kind of my favorite now.
Nicole: Awesome so it was really successful?
Shawn: It was great; it was just what the doctor ordered
Nicole: Awesome! So my next question for you is what sparked your initial interest in music?
Shawn: Oh that’s a really good question—I don’t know if I can pin point a specific thing I know I was always interested in listening to music as soon as I first kind of realized you could make sounds on things I was in to that. I took piano lessons when I was really young starting in third grade fourth grade so there was always that regular music instruction time. I would say when I was in high school is when I started teaching myself guitar and bass and drums and the more kind of like standard rock band stuff and that’s also when I started writing music and a little bit more became more interested in being able to—not being an expert not being a virtuoso player at anything but being able to play enough instruments well enough to be my own band and record albums all by myself.
Nicole: With that being said did you have an influence or someone who influenced your music or your style?
I think everything you hear kind of influences you in one way or another you either really like it and you consciously or subconsciously drift towards it; or it turns you off and you consciously or subconsciously move away from that. I think there are just like certain things that are everyone’s base ingredients.
I think over the last five years or so I actually try not listen to any music when I am making an album because I know how easy it is to accidentally write a song that is the song you just heard five minutes ago.
Nicole: What is your favorite part about being a musician?
Shawn: I have lots of favorite parts. I am kind of an introvert and would be totally fine with being home alone for days on end and not really talking to anyone but I am also know that I’m happier when I get to meet new people and stuff like that. It’s a great way to constantly find myself in situations where I am in a room with people I have never met before and the whole nature of what I am trying to do it about engagement its about trying to create a moment that were all sharing together, I like that a lot.