Atwood Magazine sits down with Brooklyn artist Sea Glass as he gives us some insight into his new music, collaborating with Benét, and how the pandemic came with a silver lining.
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Brooklyn indie and dream-pop artist Sea Glass (a.k.a Jake Muskat) has started 2022 off on the right foot. Entering with his latest singles “New Romans” and “Elevator Chat,” the musician and producer set the tone for what the rest of the year holds, showcasing his hypnotic sound which whisks you away to another universe. Inviting fellow artists to feature on his tracks, the Brooklynite clearly has a knack for picking the best of the best. Collaborating with the likes of Blue Canopy, Benét, Sky Adler, and Dripping Honey to name a few, Sea Glass manages to hunt down artists that not only complement his own sound but embellish it.
Sonically, Sea Glass emits an ethereal atmosphere that brings to mind the likes of Toro Y Moi. Mixing together quirky synths, colorful electronic melodies, and jangly indie guitars, the result is a unique palette of sounds and textures that you won’t have heard before. Despite having new singers on each song, he manages to weave his signature style through every release, marking his stamp firmly on each of his compositions.
Atwood Magazine spoke with Muskat, delving further into his world and uncovering the mind behind the masterpiece
Listen: ‘New Romans’ – Sea Glass
A CONVERSATION WITH SEA GLASS
Atwood Magazine: Congratulations on the release of your new single ''New Romans!'' Written during the pandemic, the track reflects the sound of living in a dystopian world. Do you think if we hadn’t experienced a global pandemic, the sound would have been different?
Sea Glass: Thank you so much! Yes, the sound would be different with no pandemic. I decided to give the yet-to-be-named Sea Glass project a go in early 2020, before things shut down. I had just started being confident as a producer and was inspired by watching my close friend (and coincidentally my collaborator on New Romans), Alex Schiff work on his first release. Seeing his project bud from little ukulele lines he showed me in my basement into a rich, beautiful EP kind of reinforced this idea that I could produce something and it could be released into the world.
Early in the pandemic, the time spent in isolation gave me much more time to focus on my songs, but in turn turned me into a bit of an introvert. I was holed up in my basement, producing a real project for the first time. By the time I was working on EP2, I had come around to accept that spurts of isolation and a lack of clarity of what the future looked like was the new norm. Like in a dystopian movie, it was as though the world was fundamentally a different place, yet it went on. And that influenced my approach to making music.
Can you tell us more about the story behind ''New Romans''?
Sea Glass: Most nights after I was finished dadding, I would spend hours sitting in my makeshift studio, toying around with sounds. I was living in a temp rental in Brooklyn, while my wife and I looked for a permanent place to call home. We were having no luck finding one at the time and we had the impending birth of our 2nd child around the corner. I could have either let the anxiety overwhelm me or just give in and recognize that everyone was going through some shit in early 2021. So I continued to use the nightly studio time as sort of a therapeutic release. I came up with the little arpeggiated synth line one night in the studio. On its own it’s just a little musical line that doesn’t say much. I started playing guitar over it and stumbled over this sort of western feeling guitar chord centered around F. The changing of chords around the singular unchanging line made way for this feeling of both anxiety and hope.
When I sent the music on to Alex, he came up with some scratch vocals like “why do we pass the time…” and I just knew it was a great fit. Melancholy and reassuring at the same time, just like the situation I was writing and living through.
All of your releases feature different guest vocalists. How did you come up with this concept and how do you go about finding artists to collaborate with?
Sea Glass: It started because I’ve never been comfortable with the sound of my voice. Truly not since elementary school. While I feel really confident in my production choices, my voice is definitely a sore spot for me. But I really didn’t want that to get in the way of being out there with my music.
I started just asking people if they would be interested in singing on my songs. My first collaborator was Dripping Honey, who I met on a Reddit board for bedroom producers. We became great friends through the process. What a sweetheart. Then it was reaching out to other people I’d connected with personally. Castor Hess is a longtime friend who shared a love for early-aughts indie/Americana and Sky Adler is a really cool pop-ish singer I met spending time at Brickhaus Studio in Dumbo.
Now I’m constantly reaching out to people, mainly through the internet to find like-minded people with unique voices and stories to tell. I’m excited for you to hear the remaining collaborators on this EP. Sucreblooms and Misty Boyce both have insane voices.
If you could have any artist featuring on one of your singles, who would it be and why?
Sea Glass: That’s a really tough question. Can I mention a couple? I’ve always had a thing for the way Julia Jacklin’s vocal tone can just crush you and make you pine. Would be amazing to play with the sonics around that core. Pool Party is one of my favorite songs ever.
And then I’m just obsessed with the way Amen Dunes’ voice sits on records. His sound is so brilliant, so it would be fun to work together. And then I just have to mention a few singers I’m crazy about lately like Lady Wray, Tomberlin, Faye Webster, and Dijon. I’ll stop now.
Your upcoming single ''Elevator Chat'' featuring Benét is the first song you’ve sung on! What was it about that track that made you want to take lead on the vocals?
Sea Glass: I wrote Elevator Chat in kind of a manic state, where I was able to just pour it all out in one overly productive session. There wasn’t like a definitive moment where I said “I’m singing this song” but after laying down the scratch vocals, I just felt that the sentiment behind it came best directly from me.
''Elevator Chat'' touches on the need to get something off your chest, but not knowing how to verbalize it. Did this relatable narrative come from a personal experience, or is it more observational?
Sea Glass: I work really hard on confronting any animosity in my life head on, but sometimes so much is left unsaid. Originally, I thought of the lyrics almost cynically, like ask me about why there’s contention on an elevator ride, something so short we could never fully address it, with the security of a limited time window and I’ll tell you then. But then the feeling kind of morphed into the general frustration I felt in some of my relationships like we’re never going to get there, there’s just not enough willingness to ever get to the root of our problems. Sounds kind of vague, but I think that is what makes it sort of relatable.
Watch: “Elevator Chat” – Sea Glass
Can you tell us about the meaning behind your artist name?
Sea Glass: Sea glass is something that starts jagged, trash really, and overtime with lots of outside inputs, it can transform into something smooth and beautiful. Collaboration with a strong personal core is kind of at the heart of the project.
You often speak about being a dad and your socials show this too. Do you think being a father has altered the music you write and the themes you cover?
Sea Glass: It’s certainly inspired me to take it seriously, treat it like a job. But what inspired me about fatherhood is pursuing happiness as an example to my little monsters.
What else can we expect from Sea Glass in 2022?
Sea Glass: EP2 is coming shortly and I’ve got a bunch of new stuff in the works as well!
📸 © Lena Imamura