We Catch up with Seeker, Lover, Keeper
It has been a busy time for Seeker Lover Keeper. Its tripartite stellar cast of Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltmann and Holly Throsby have respectively been working on solo material of late. Fortunately, they were kind enough to take the time to talk to Vulture Magazine about their beautiful, self-titled record.
Seeker Lover Keeper has been domestically a phenomenal success, has this come as a surprise to any of you?
SARAH: Yeah, I think it was a surprise to all of us. We had few expectations and we wanted to do this because we thought I’d be fun. We were proud of it, but I don’t think we could’ve guessed it would’ve resonated like it did.
Is it true that the three of you came together under rather fortuitous circumstances, that we could easily never have had Seeker Lover Keeper?
SARAH: Well, we’ve been friends for a while and we’ve admired each other’s music. We’d talked about doing shows together but then Sally thought we should start a band and Holly and I were like, “Ok”. We sort of didn’t think it was possible in a way, but then we thought “oh yeah, that’d be fun”.
All three of you have shared quite similar courses in your respective careers, namely being ‘pop’ female singer-songwriters, albeit with divergent styles. Did this assist the song-writing process, or did compromises need to be made?
SARAH: I think compromises needed to be made, sure, but we have similar taste and so I think the main ideals behind the band were shared. We could understand a lot about where we each come from, so that helped.
As you aren’t all based in the same city, how did you go about organising song-writing and recording sessions?
SARAH: Well, to start with we were. We spent some time working up the songs in Sydney and then when I moved to England we continued sharing ideas via email until we met in New York to do the record. We wanted the spontaneity and the natural sound of our demos to come through in the record, so the best way to do that was sort of to limit our time I guess. Not to over-analyse.
Lyrically, the album is highly revealing; a certain degree of vulnerability is expressed, such as on “Light All My Lights” and “Even Though I’m a Woman”. Was there any particular inspiration, or life event, that songs such as these seeded from?
SALLY: The main inspiration behind ‘Even Though I’m a Woman’ was sparked when I had a conversation with a friend about how some people thrive on long distance relationships, and actually prefer the feeling of longing for someone, than actually being with them face to face.
HOLLY: Light All My Lights is quite a vulnerable song I guess, because it expresses longing in an unashamed way, but I feel like we made it quite strong. Sarah’s singing is so strong on it; I think she sounds very sure, which is really beautiful for this song. It’s a song you sing to someone who kind of sets you on fire, and I like how it turned out having that combination of vulnerability and strength.
The beautiful vocal harmonies on tracks like “Bring Me Back”, “Bridges Burned”, “On My Own” and “Going to Sleep” feel organic and spontaneous, like they joyfully/easily came together. Is this the case?
HOLLY: Yes, it is really. We had to polish them a bit, but essentially what you hear is pretty close to what came out pretty naturally. Particularly with a song like Bring Me Back. I just played what I had and holly and Sally started singing together, it was truly beautiful.
If not, did it take a lot of hard work to make your voices sit together so beautifully?
SALLY: To be honest, no. I think our voices are quite different so we sit quiet naturally together. Holly’s great with the low breathy parts, sally’s great with the high shimmery parts, I sit somewhere in between.
Holly, your lyrics are very story-like, almost like a Richard Ford or Raymond Carver narrative. So, do you compose lyrics before writing music or not?
HOLLY: Gosh, that is a big compliment; I love both of those writers. But no, I don’t write lyrics first. I write lyrics to fit a melody. But I think about a lot words and I really enjoy putting them together.
Sarah, you have an instantly recognisable voice. Has this been a concerted effort and choice, or has it always come naturally, even from before the start of your career?
SARAH: Thanks. Well, I don’t know, I guess so. I suppose everyone wants to sound like themselves so I guess I’ve been trying to be myself, find my voice so-to-speak. That goes for all areas of life! I just love to sing to be perfectly honest with you and I’ve wanted to keep getting stronger as a singer. But part of that is actually learning to try less!
Sally, having written songs for other musicians previously (such as “1 2 3 4” for Feist), did you have to take the lead and help Sarah and Holly openly share their input and ideas?
SALLY: No, not really. When Sarah and Holly and I first sat in a room and started playing around with the songs, it felt like we were all just open with comments on what we felt was working, and sharing all the vocal parts around. I didn’t really feel any more experienced in sharing songs around. If anything, I learnt a lot from Sarah and Holly!
With the American release of your album just over a month ago, are there plans to tour internationally in the foreseeable future?
Hopefully. The three of us are working on our solo stuff for now. But yes, if the opportunities arise we would like to.
Sorry for the loaded question: if you each had to be allocated roles, which of you would be Seeker? Lover? Keeper? And why?
We each embody a bit of both. We like to keep people guessing…