Sound Analysis

Interview: Sing Leaf

The recording project of David Como, Toronto’s Sing Leaf have been described as ‘atmospheric’, ‘hypnotic’, and ‘swoony’, which are especially appropriate descriptors for latest single Do Right, off recently released Shu Ra. Founded in 2007, Sing Leaf’s early EP’s charted well on campus radio, earning the band impressive opening slots for Tunng, Timber Timbre and Beach House. In 2012, efforts were focssed writing and recording debut album Watery Moon, which earned a spot on Myspace’s Top 25 Cassettes of the Year. Sing Leaf expanded to a live configuration the following year, featuring synthesizer, sampler, guitar, bass, with both programmed and live drums. This ensemble, with Jordan Bacon, Pat Bramm, Justin Castator, Shane Fester, and Jess McCauley, all contributed in the studio on Como’s latest journey through endless genres and sounds, Shu Ra. David Como generously answered some questions on Sing Leaf’s influences, remixes and plans for 2016.

Sing Leaf

SA: Who are your musical influences?
SL: Shu Ra was influenced heavily by Dr. John, though maybe not immediately apparent. Specifically how I approached using the bass guitar.

SA: Last month, you released your latest album Shu Ra. How would you describe the recording process?
SL: I record in my apartment for the most part. Where I live now has a little crawlspace up in the loft that you get up to by ladder, so the majority of Shu Ra was recorded sitting down in a small triangular space, with the ceiling a few inches from my head. However, the last song (“If You Feel Like Crying”) was done in a proper studio – the first time I’ve ever recorded anything fully live – me and the boys went in with Shane’s buddy Pat Simms and recorded everything off the floor with no edits or instrumental overdubs. Shane, Justin and Pat also sang on quite a few songs of the other songs as well, so it was slightly more collaborative this time around than things I’ve worked on in the past.

SA: The recently released video to ‘Do Right’ contains some spectacular scenery. Does nature influence your music?
SL: Very much so. Though Shane created that video with no input from me at all.

SA: 2013 was the first year Sing Leaf performed as a full band. Has that influenced your songwriting process?
SL: It probably would have, though we’re not playing together anymore. It was a good couple years, but with Shu Ra finished things are changing again. It’s hard to keep something like that together unless you really work at it, and our heads were all moving in different directions.

SA: You’ve released remixes of tracks by Sandro Perri & Foxes in Fiction, two bands you’ve previously opened for. In your opinion, what makes a good remix?
SL: I like to listen to the song and find a few elements, maybe just one, that really stand out to me, isolate those and create something separate from the track – with just those tiny threads connecting the remix to the original. Remixing is very freeing … to work without any sense of ego. You kind of take the song away from that person, but also don’t make it your own either. It’s not you, it’s not them, it’s like this third voice.

SA: What are your plans for 2016?
SL: Just completed another remix actually, for Woodpigeon. A track of his called “Faithful” from his upcoming album Trouble. Also working on a three-song instrumental EP, trying to create something minimal, cohesive .. mainly electronic, though it incorporates some piano I recorded with Sandro Perri at his studio in Kensington. After that is finished, will work on getting a new live show together.


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