Sylvan Esso singer percolating new sound
If you've heard the music Amelia Meath made with the trio Mountain Man, you probably wouldn't expect the sound of her tunes with her latest project, Sylvan Esso. Mountain Man was sparse, often a cappella Appalachian-style folk, while Sylvan Esso has Meath working with electronic music producer Nick Sanborn.
Meath and Sanborn perform Wednesday at Wooly's.
"The root is still the same, it's about being honest and doing exactly what you wish to do," Meath said during a phone interview. "There's a lot more dancing involved, but to me they still feel quite similar. The thesis statement is the same."
After graduating from college in 2010, Meath was focused on writing songs. She compared the songwriting process to fishing, reeling in fragments of songs from the depths of her brain. Some she keeps, while others get tossed back. One of the early keepers was "Play It Right," the first single of Slyvan Esso's self-titled 2014 album.
Meath and Sanborn began working on the songs that would comprise "Sylvan Esso" in Sanborn's Durham, N.C., apartment. Meath said the songs she writes aren't complete until Sanborn puts them in context. Sanborn sets the landscape, while Meath puts in the houses and trees.
The result is songs that sound as organic as Meath's Mountain Man material, despite being backed by electronic music.
"Nick is a real wizard in that category," Meath said. "Many people still consider electronic music to be a burgeoning art form, but it's been around for 50 years. Nick is essentially using this amazing machine he built to create a landscape he can shift at any moment."
Sylvan Esso's single "Coffee" has gotten some attention of late. Afghan Whigs has been covering it in live shows and Slyvan Esso performed it on "The Tonight Show" last summer. Meath and Sanborn are playing dates with My Morning Jacket this summer and are part of the lineup for the Coachella Music Festival in April.
After the current tour winds down, Meath is looking forward to taking some time off to work on more Sylvan Esso material. In fact, it's already started.
"We're working on new songs right now with the limited amount of time we have," Meath said. "We may be taking a break for a little bit; we're a little too addicted to our work."
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Wooly's, 504 E. Locust St.
Cost: $15 in advance, $17 at the door