Review Fix chats with S.K. Wellington’s Sarah Kemmers, who details the band’s origin, goals, creative process and more.
About S.K. Wellington:
The EP features the tight rhythm section of Juno-award winning The Bros. Landreth (Dave Landreth and Ryan Voth), as well as multi-award-winning musicians Murray Pulver on guitar and Mike Little, who also produced the album, on keys.
Review Fix: How did this project come together?
Sarah Kemmers: It was one serendipitous thing after another. I had this new collection of songs and yet my band at the time, The Wellington Folk had been going through some major changes so I didn’t feel I could move the tunes forward with that project. I had always wanted to work with Mike Little (producer, keys) on a project and I randomly bumped into him at an industry event. Everything just came together in an ideal way and the experience was almost surreal. Mike had a strong vision for the project and really pushed me to step out more independently. This EP became the birth of S.K. Wellington.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Kemmers: It depends, really. Sometimes a song will just come in full form and I’m scrambling to capture it. I really feel that a lot of songs are simply gifts and we get the privilege and opportunity to bring them into the world. Sometimes writing is a lot more of a personal grind and I’ll wrestle with a song for a long time to discover what I’m actually trying to say and where the song actually needs to go. I have some songs that I worked on for years before I thought it was complete. Others are done in 10 minutes. Lyrics tend to come last for me.
Review Fix: What makes “Moments Bliss” a special track?
Kemmers: I love the balance of intensity and sweetness in that song. I feel it really captures the time in my life where I developed the EP. I was recovering from a time of creative burnout and it was so strange and hard and yet I found so much joy and peace in the process of re-setting. I think Moments Bliss captures that cycle. And I think we all cycle through different seasons in our lives and Moments Bliss is a call to action; a reminder that we always have the opportunity to re-set and unearth joy when things seem bleak.
Review Fix: What’s your standout song away from “Moment’s Bliss”?
Kemmers: I think the song away from Moments Bliss that standouts is “Salish Sea.” It’s the most vulnerable track on the EP and speaks to the actual process of coming back to passion and joy after feeling so disconnected from those things for a while.
Review Fix: How was it written?
Kemmers: I wrote it shortly after I returned to Calgary after a couple of months away on Salt Spring Island. It’s one of the songs that came fairly quickly. It actually started off as a more up-tempo, folky song. I played it for the producer (Mike Little) and he was essentially like “this is really good. It’s really vulnerable and sweet. And I can’t soak in the words when you play it like that. Play it slower. Even slower. There it is.” I remember tracking it in studio and crying. The whole song is about thinking I might be done making music and there I was recording in an awesome studio with incredibly talented people. “Some things are meant to be buried but this one’s still alive” is referencing my making music. It was a bit of a trip.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the rest of 2018?
Kemmers: I want to continue to play live and hope to have the chance to create experiences for people through the music. I’m a huge Spotfiy fan and hope some of these songs find their way on to some of my favourite playlists.
Review Fix: How do you want your music to affect people?
Kemmers: These are such great questions! I want the music to move people. To challenge them to reflect. I’d love people to listen and find relatability, comfort and solace. Basically I really hope my music moves people the way music continues to movesme. Someone wrote me this morning and said “your new album is seriously soothing to my soul.” That was the best message I could have received. I think music can be medicine and if mine is that to anyone it’s served it’s purpose.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Kemmers: I hope festivals are next. I am a big festival fan and feel like people still come to festivals with open hearts and minds and go to discover new music. I would love to be a part of that movement. I also hope to release a couple of videos in the next 6-8 months and have more music in the que for recording once these songs have lived a little.