Saddles Gets Bitten By Electronic Bug
George White and Charles Barth form Saddles.
If the flu virus is a filament-filled spiky sphere, I wonder what the electronic synth bug looks like.
By the sounds of things, Charles Barth of two-man group Saddles is the latest in a long line of musicians to be infected by the bug. His recently released single, "The Original" features some smartly programmed beats and brightly-tuned key tabs to go along with his folk-rock sensibilities.
With long time collaborator George White officially joining Saddles' lineup, the duo is ready to unleash a new record next month which will feature influences ranging from Toto to David Bazan.
Up on the Sun: We haven't spoken in a minute. Can you get us caught up with what's been going on with you?
Charles Barth: The biggest news is probably that we finally finished making our new record, which is all mixed and mastered and ready to go. There were some financial mix-ups, but we finally figured it all out and were actually fortunate enough to work with "TW" Walsh of Pedro the Lion on the mastering end, which was super exciting for me. Besides being in my all-time favorite band, he's mastered a lot of really great records.
"The Original" has some pretty sweet synth sounds. Is that a step in a new direction for Saddles?
Yes, definitely. There are electronic sounds all over the new record. It's probably the part I'm most excited about.
The fusion is definitely sounding bad ass. Where'd the inspiration to integrate that element come from?
All over the place. There is such a huge wealth of new inspiration on this record. I got really, really into Toto at one point last summer, for instance. They use some ridiculous synth sounds that come out of nowhere. "Africa" is a great example. Besides that, I don't know, Tears for Fears, the Drive soundtrack, St. Vincent for sure. Oh, and I've kind of always been chasing the synth dragon that is David Bazan's Headphones record. So many awesome analog tones.
I always thought of Saddles as a one-man-band. Where does George White fit in? Can you talk a little about that relationship and your music making process with him?
George is officially in the band now. He's always been the one recording me, but this time around, he wrote and performed way too many parts for me to rightfully call this a one man band.
I came to George with skeletons of all the songs and together we massaged them into what they became. He played pretty much all the bass, keys and auxiliary percussion on the record and I did all the drums, guitars and caterwauling. The new songs sound pretty damn different from any thing else we've done. They're synth heavy, upbeat, and more structured. There are still densely dynamic arrangements and lyrical content is still the first focus, but this time around I think we figured out how to combine it all better than we ever have.
Saddles performs tonight along with Pebaluna and Avery at Pub Rock in Scottsdale.
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