Saturday May 10, 2014
Prince Music Theater
1412 Chestnut Street
Justin Nozuka, Sanders Bohlke & Megan Bonnell
Artist website: www.sandersbohlke.com
Sanders releases his new album Ghost Boy on February 19, 2013 via Communicating Vessels, one of the new crop of cutting edge Southern record labels, based out of Birmingham, Alabama with Jeffrey Cain (of Remy Zero) at the helm.
Lead single “Ghost Boy” is arguably Bohlke’s most infectious melody and fully realized flirtation with pop music, and could easily hold its own with the biggest indie singles of the last few years. On this new record, Sanders continues his evolution as a songwriter with lush soundscapes that layer brooding and billowy textures against his soulful voice. Recorded with Jeffrey Cain, they’ve perfected a sonic world that deftly highlights both the beauty and the dark romance of Bohlke’s songs.
David Cohen: Since the last time we spoke your CD Ghost Boy has taken off and you’re on the road a lot.
Sanders Bohlke: Yes, it’s a little later than when I wanted. Its great I’ll take it.
David: It shows that Ghost Boy it’s a timeless recording.
Sanders: That’s a good point! I just started this wing of the tour. It’s shorter than last years. It should be fun.
David: It’s shorter but there’s more distance between gigs. Are they driven or flown?
Sanders: A significant portion is driven but I will be flying to the Toronto show on May 6th.
David: I’ll ask you this now and then again in a few years when you’re filling big halls. Can you sense changes in yourself from the success you’re having?
Sanders: No, I don’t ever consider myself like that. I think its great that I’m getting more traction but hey, I’m just a dude and I play my guitar. I have a lot people around me to make sure I don’t think about it other than what it is. The thing is I’m not a headliner, I am very grateful when people come. I’m playing to win an audience.
David: With your new popularity do you feel a pressure in your creativity to satisfy your fans?
Sanders: I always feel that. I always feel I have fans that like me for a reason. I also think they understand I need to grow as an artist. There have been bands I like where I don’t like their new stuff. For instance Arcade Fire, I love them but don’t like the new CD but I still like them and I can’t wait for their next stuff. I don’t hold it against them and there are a lot of people who love the new stuff. I hope people with will feel that way about my music too. I took that risk with Ghost boy. If you listen to my fist CD you’ll think it’s two different artists. For the next one it’s going to be different. I’m going to drift a little bit into another direction. I hope they understand that’s where I have to go that’s where it’s going to go. Beck is one of the most famous artists out there, Radiohead chose to do electronics, and people went with them. I’m not scared about creative decisions.
David: Does that mean it won’t be seven years between releases? Is there something in the horizon?
Sanders: It won’t be seven years I can guarantee that. I’m currently working on the next one. It won’t even be two years. The process of it coming out is out of my hands at some point.
David: Will Jeffrey Cain produce the next recording?
Sanders: Kind of. Some of it is unknown right now. I’m using a lot of different people. I’m recording a lot on my own. I’m recording a lot at my house. Some of it might stay some of it might get cut.
David: What new gear are you using?
Sanders: I just got the Ableton program; I’m diving into that.
David: Is the electronic nature of Ableton an indication of where your music is going?
Sanders: Maybe a little bit. I’m not making an electronic album. I’m getting more experimental with instrumentation. It’s not going to change who I am or the music I make. It helps me make beats a little different. I don’t think I’m going to lose anybody.
David: Any new instruments?
Sanders: No new gear as far as guitars go. I’m still rocking the Peavey. We’ve had problems with it on this tour, my manager suggest getting a new one. I can’t get rid of my baby. I love that guitar!
I haven’t been playing a lot of guitar. I’m not giving it up but in this project I was only getting to a certain places on the guitar so I am playing a lot of drum machine to incorporate different soundscapes into the palate. I’ve been playing a lot of piano, synth, beat making. I’m not going to abandon guitar. I have gotten a Boss VE-20 vocal processor, it’s cool it opens a lot of things and changes your head space a little bit when you’re writing. In concert it opens a lot of harmonies.
David: Do you have practice time?
Sanders: I don’t practice like I want to would like to. I would like to be better at guitar, drums and piano. The time I spent writing is the time I spend playing. That’s been my only regret in my career. Nobody will hire me for anything on sessions. The way I come up with things is a very elementary style of playing. I’m more inventive on guitar my main instrument but I’m not a great guitar player by any means. In some ways it’s good not being able to play really well. It’s more creatively challenging to play this way because it’s a more creative to play. In some ways I can’t tell if I’m lazy in not wanting to know how to play because I can keep that child-like approach to the instrument. With Ableton and Pro Tools I will take the time to learn the programs. Even with the drum machine I take the time to learn.
David: How will your new material translate to stage?
Sanders: I don’t know I might have to hire a band. With the looping I do I can handle certain things, I might not be able to go out and solo I might have to take one or two people. I don’t like thinking about that. I want to get it down first and then think about it.
David: Your last show in Philadelphia was at the Union Transfer opening for Rachel Yamagata. On May 10th you will be at the Prince Music Theatre opening for Justin Nozuka, will you incorporate any of your new material into this show?
Sanders: I will probably play the same set.
David: That is fine by me. When we spoke the first time I asked about how the music on Ghost Boy transferred on stage as a solo act. It was seeing you live that really solidified how great the music is and your talent.
Does your record company give you total artistic freedom?
Sanders: Yes they do! It is nice knowing that they have total confidence in what I do.
Sanders Bohlke 2013 interview with David Cohen