The Cold Seas: 5 Albums That Changed Our Lives
A snowstorm that never came and a borrowed Lil Phatty synthesizer are responsible for Cold Seas’ departure of a new song, “Where Is My Head?”
The hallucination of a track was written during one of the East Coast’s several blizzard warnings this part winter after singer/guitarist Chad Sabo found a sound he particularly enjoyed on the synth. Guitarist Erik Rudic, though beat from an all-day session that had yielded very little, urged Sabo to keep playing and suggested throwing a drum loop over the synth line.
“It was really kind of goofy-sounding,” Sabo says. “I just opened up a ProTools session — I just needed to name it something, and I had been kind of feeling weird that day so I just named it ‘Where Is My Head?’ And once I started working on the hook, I just used that as the lyrics. It was just a fluke.”
A fluke that takes the band further from their straight-ahead rock roots and into something a bit different. “We’re trying to go into a more experimental direction sonically, and lyrically, too,” Sabo says. The band signed to Roc Nation in 2016, after Sabo contributed the track “Never Ending” to Rihanna’s ANTI.
To herald the release of the band’s new single, we asked the guys which five records changed their lives — as you can see, they had issues choosing just a handful.
Radiohead, OK Computer (or Kid A)
Chad: I would say probably Radiohead — anything they’ve done. OK Computer especially. That was one of the first records that turned me on to trying out different production techniques, just because everything they do sounds different, but it’s all so cohesive. They like to explore sound on all the records and I love that about them. Thom Yorke’s melodies, he just does phrasing that’s a little bit different. I never really paid attention too much to his lyrics, so I can’t really say that lyrically he was a big inspiration — because I can’t actually really understand a lot of things that he says. But it’s great! Everything he does is amazing.
Erik: I think for me, Kid A, is an important one because they started experimenting a lot with electronic kind of stuff going from OK Computer to Kid A. I think that’s a huge influence on what we’ve been doing.
Erik: In that bridge section [of the new song], I tried to draw some influence from [Nirvana’s Nevermind]. I know Nevermind was a big influence for us growing up. I always try to style my guitar solos off of something like that. Something sort of dissonant but melodic and catchy.
Elliott Smith, From a Basement on the Hill, Either/Or, XO
Matt: From a Basement on the Hill, Either/Or, XO, I mean, they’re all great. I could get lost in Elliott Smith.
Chad: I was raised on greatest hits; I never dived too deep into albums. So I feel like that’s why I like writing straightforward pop songs. Trying to simplify myself as much as possible. My parents would just play greatest hits records on car rides when we’d go on trips and stuff.
The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds
Chad: Pet Sounds is huge. I listen to that shit all the time. Brian Wilson’s melodies are insane. As clichéd as it is, it’s just amazing. The production at that time, he was just trying new things. Everything about it, from the production to the lyrics to the melodies are just perfect.
Nash: My first concert was actually the Beach Boys. We were just practicing in New Jersey at the School of Rock where Erik and I both teach, and it was kind of late at night and the Beach Boys’ road manager ending up coming by. We have these huge stained glass windows in front of the rehearsal space, so she could see us practicing and hear us and she knocked on the window and was like, “I’m the Beach Boys’ road manager and you guys are awesome. Let me get your contact.” So I thought that was kind of a weird coincidence.
The Beatles, The White Album; Simon and Garfunkel; Sounds of Silence; Neil Young, Harvest
Chad: The White Album. Simon and Garfunkel, too. And Neil Young, Harvest. When I first started writing songs, that’s definitely stuff I drew from. I was in a weird place where I was listening to a lot of Radiohead, Neil Young and Simon and Garfunkel. Maybe Sounds of Silence. I love that record.
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