Trevor Sensor: What Are You Listening To?

Trevor Sensor: What Are You Listening To?

Trevor Sensor dropped his debut album, Andy Warhol’s Dream, on June 16, a release that boasts the production talents of Richard Swift (The Shins, Damien Jurado), Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado and Brandon Darner (Imagine Dragons, The Envy Corps).

Sensor has a voice that’s somewhere between Springsteen, The Tallest Man on Earth, Janis Joplin and a sea shanty, a voice that renders the American Dream he toys with distinctly Faulkner-esque.

We spoke with Sensor in the wake of the album’s release about what he was listening to while working on his debut. Check out his picks and accompanying playlist below:

Scott Walker, “Farmer in the City”
I’d discovered Scott Walker around the time I was finishing up this record, and all of his avant-garde stuff really had an impact on me. Hearing this song for the first time (as I’d come across Tilt first before anything), I felt that I’d found something that really evoked a lot of the things swirling inside me. There’s no other higher artist for me in music, and he’s an endless source of inspiration.

Townes Van Zandt, “Waiting Around to Die”
In making the record, I was painfully aware that I very well could be flinging my work out into the void and get no response or acknowledgement from the world. This song didn’t influence the album itself, but embodied how I felt while making it. All of this is just killing time for me.

Typhoon, “Dreams of Cannibalism” 
I’ve said it before many times, but Kyle Morton (the leader of this band) is the most underrated songwriter in America today. His lyrics on struggling with mortality and this idea that life is a constant ‘starting over’ process where we hope to one day reach the perfect form of ourselves, along with the complex-pop structure of his songs, are just breathtaking. This is a number off their latest album, White Lighter, which was my favorite album of 2013 and a collection of songs I deeply connected with.

Joy Division, “Twenty Four Hours” 
Another song that I went to that I felt spoke to how I was feeling while making this record. ‘Destiny unfolded, I watched it slip away…’

John Cage, “Dream” 
Beautiful piano piece by this legend. Love his super avant-garde stuff, but this is always a song I return to when I need to relax and space out for a while.

Small Houses, “South, Southern” 
Another underrated songwriter that I love, Small Houses is the project of Jeremy Quentin. He’s a brilliant poet and true artist dedicated to the life and the craft. In trying to write songs that are deeply personal, and can convey an essence of that snapshot of time I’m really trying to talk about, I always look to Jeremy’s songs like this one. Such a sad, beautiful tune.

Chet Baker, “Almost Blue” 
Big fan of jazz, and Chet’s work is something that’s pretty much a part of my everyday. At night after we finished up for the day at the studio, I’d unwind at wherever I was staying with a few drinks and songs like this to ease all those restless thoughts.

The National, “Humiliation” 
Was going through a big National phase while making this record. This is my favorite song off Trouble Will Find Me (such great imagery in the lyrics of this song) one of the best.

Bob Seger, “Turn the Page” 
I’d heard this song a lot as a kid growing up, but I never connected with it until I actually went on the road myself and ‘played star’ night after night. I think this song presents a more realistic vision of the life of a musician, how unglamorous and difficult it is. Only time and experience can write a song like that, and Seger certainly paid his dues for that song to come to him.

Nirvana, “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” 
I’ve loved Nirvana since I was about thirteen or so. Talk about putting everything you’ve got into a performance; the ending of song where Kurt goes full blast is just too much to give it repeated listens in a condensed space of time. I come to this song when I’m really low or in need of a reason to keep going. All that anger and sadness in that last, ‘And I shiver…the night through’…that’s what fucking art is about.

(Photo credit: Ben Rouse)

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