(I want to start off by saying I did this interview like 6 weeks ago and kept putting off editing it because I’m lazy and had a lot going on. So here it is, finally. Sorry, Sean.)
I did a FaceTime interview with Sean Bolton. Here’s what he had to say.
First off, who are you and what genre of music do you make?
I’m Sean Bolton, I make indie/alternative music. I don’t really think we’ve classified what genre of music I’m going to be exactly. Everything is so demarcated right now with subcategories, so I haven’t pinpointed exactly what genre of music I’m going to be since we haven’t produced everything. But I’d say indie/alternative.
If you had to describe your music with a color, what would it be?
Dark brown. Dark browns and dark greens. We’re going for a lot of natural colors, so from where I’m from there’s a lot of dark greens and dark browns. We’re trying to create an edge that’s more of a rural edge rather than urban contemporary.
What’s the biggest struggle you have when it comes to creating?
I was talking about this yesterday with an artist I’m writing with. It’s making your music cohesive rather than uniform. I struggle- I think a lot of it’s melodically- I don’t want everything to blend together, and I think a lot of it comes together in the melodies. There’s a very fine line between uniformity and cohesiveness. Yeah, cohesion is a very important aspect of a song. YOu want to tell a story, but you don’t want people to grow tired of what you’re doing.
If you could play any show in the world, what would it be?
I’m an intimate performer. I like small shows.I don’t have much experience with performing. I’ve done a few shows with different kinds of artists, but I like to be able to see the faces of everybody when I’m performing. Right now, I would just really like to perform an intimate venue in really just anywhere in Europe because I’m such a big fan of small scenes. I’m not really interested in festivals or anything.
What do you consider your biggest musical success?
I had a bit of an identity crisis for nearly the whole of 2016, but I was still working on new music at the time. I would notice that the style kept shifting and changing and that there was no unity. I wasn’t really being true to myself and I really value authenticity, so toward the end of 2016, I had to take a step back, regroup, and look deeply into myself and pull out the most authentic, unfettered version of who I think I am. That was when I found my musical identity. That was a pivotal turning point for me and my career.
What inspired you to start making music?
I was pretty introverted and I spent every single day inside, just up inside my room. I loved writing, and I translated that into lyrics. I don’t know, I think I needed some sort of something since I was incredibly lonely all the time. And then inspiration behind songs either come from my first real heartbreak or whatever, and then I went through a depressive episode. It’s all emotion. It was a feeling of loneliness, and I felt ostracized by the people I went to school with.
If you could hear any person living or dead sing to you, who would it be?
Johnny Cash. Big fan of Johnny Cash, just because his music is so incredibly dark for the time and he’s just incredible.
Who, aside from any band or musician, is your biggest influence?
Probably my mom. Just because my mom, she got pregnant at 16 and she raised my by herself, she was a single parent. She’s incredibly headstrong and her entire life was centered around me and I always wanted to make my mom proud no matter what. Music is a tricky industry to break into, and so it didn’t always look like it would be an incredibly viable career option, and I’ve just always wanted to make my mom proud.
What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book is a book called The Things They Carried and it’s a story about telling a war story. It really profoundly changed me, especially the writing style. The writing style, it’s incredible. It was given to me by my cousin, who at the time he was my biggest musical influence. He gave me the book one day and was like, “This is my favorite book,” so I took it and read it. I was in like eighth grade at the time. I read it and I was like… I don’t think I was able to grasp how profound it was at the time. I’ve reread it a couple of times and it just keeps getting better and better. It’s a weird choice, but yeah. It’s mine.
What do you like to do other than music?
I love having intimate conversations with individuals. I’m not a spiritual person, but I believe in the magic that exists between two people attempting to understand one another and share a part of themselves.
Who is your favorite musical artist?
If I had to choose a favorite artist, it would be between Kevin Garret, James Vincent McMorrow, and Lewis Del Mar. They’re been such a great influence behind all of my new music- sonically and lyrically- and I think I could continue to listen to their music and walk away with something new every time.
What’s one piece of advice you have for young musicians?
I’ve been asked- sometimes I get emails from aspiring musicians and writers, and they ask me what I did, and I always respond that I’m in no position to give anybody advice. I haven’t established a solid foundation. I’m building a foundation right now. That’s what I’m working on- demos and just taking a while. I would just say, find what you’re really good at when it comes to music, whether it be lyrics or whatever. Hone and perfect your talent, your skills, and put in ten thousand hours. You might not be good at first, because I started out and I was awful and everybody at school told me I was and I stopped playing, I quit for a year, and then I picked it back up. But, validation from other musicians was what got me through. So my advice would be to not listen to anybody unless they’re other musicians and then if they say anything negative, you take that and run with it. For me, it was all the shit that I got that pushed me to do it more. So listen to what people say and if they say some shit you don’t like, then just be like, “Fuck you. I’ll show you.”
Lastly, what’s your lucky number?
Actually 13, well yeah. It was 8 for a while and then it was 13. I went back and forth between 8 and 13 for a while. It’s not that they were lucky to me, it’s just that I kind of liked the way they looked. When I was in elementary school, I always had a jersey with the number 8. And then when I got 13 I was excited for it and then I realized that there’s no such thing as luck. But for the sake of your blog, I’ll say luck exists.
You can find Sean on Instagram at @theseanbolton, and be sure to check him out on Soundcloud and Spotify.