Exclusive Song Premiere: ‘Crosswinds (feat. Sean Nicholas Savage),’ SoftSpot

Published May 6, 2014

SoftSpot may share sonic DNA with experimental pop artists like Grimes and Blue Hawaii, but there’s a naturalism to the trio’s sound that’s all their own. Though the band originally hails from the South and resides in Bushwick, Brooklyn, they recorded their sophomore album, MASS, in North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains. Perhaps it’s lead singer Sarah Kinlaw’s force-of-nature vocals or the isolated setting, but there’s a rawness to the new material pleasantly at odds with its analog synths and drum pads.

These contradictions make their way onto “Crosswinds (feat. Sean Nicholas Savage) [weathered chanel version],” a reimagining of a track from the band’s new LP. “The initial inspiration lies somewhere between a late-’90s Weather Channel local forecast and a late-night hotel lobby where no one knows your name,” says Kinlaw. “Bryan [Keller Jr.] recorded the track with Jonathan [Campolo], and they tracked everything in one session.”

The band also decided to bring in Edmonton, Canada-based artist Sean Nicholas Savage, whose own alt-pop compositions have some of the same New Age-y touchstone’s as SoftSpot’s. “I’m really into his art and love the way he sings,” says Kinlaw. “He came over a week later, I cooked a dope dinner and we recorded this gem in my basement.” Savage’s voice, with its wispy delivery and subtle tonal shifts, has an almost Moroccan feel to it as it wraps around Kinlaw’s. “‘Crosswinds’ has more of a spoken-word style and can be a little aggressive, so we toned it down a bit and brought out the existing melodies through the sultry styles of R&B,” says Kinlaw.

Savage, for his part, provided Interview a statement that, befitting the song, reads more like poem.

“they had sent me the music in advance
and told me a bit about their plans
which excited me
i crept over to sarah and bryan’s lovely home
one slippery winter evening in brooklyn
we shared a delicious meal made tenderly with care
just like the song
miso soup
then down in their dark basement
we went over the words and chatted
i tried out some ideas i had with
how i might contribute more beauty to this song
and i dig it
i think it came out very beautiful
so i’m pretty satisfied with that
thank you”

Listen to the premiere of the track on Interview, and check out upcoming tour dates for SoftSpot here.

MASS IS OUT NOW VIA SOFTSPOT‘S BANDCAMP; YOU CAN ALSO VISIT THE BAND’S SOUNDCLOUD. SEAN NICHOLAS SAVAGE‘S FORTHCOMING ALBUM BERMUDA WATERFALL COMES OUT MAY 12 VIA ARBUTUS RECORDS, WHERE YOU CAN PRE-ORDER IT.