Last March, Atlanta based singer-songwriter Sydney Eloise spoke with Vinyl about street style. Nearly a year and a half later, she’s completed her debut record Faces under Sydney Eloise and the Palms due out on September 22 via The Cottage Recording Company.
In our recent conversation with Sydney, we discussed the recording process for the record, growing up as a child of two musicians and what inspired her to keep writing.
Vinyl Mag: Hey, Sydney! It’s been awhile since you’ve talked to Vinyl. Last time we talked about your fashion, and this time you’ve got something even bigger in the works. What’s happened in the last year and a half since we last caught up?
Sydney Eloise: About the time we last spoke I had just gotten together with Damon Moon and Chandler Galloway, and we decided to record a song just for fun. Damon and Chandler are two of the three owners of a recording studio in East Atlanta called the Cottage, so after Chandler and I would get off work, we’d go to the studio after hours and just work on songs. Before you know it, we had three or four songs, and then we decided it should be a band.
VM: So, where did the idea of completing a fully completed album stem from?
SE: Well, putting out a 7” EP was our first idea, but we kept recording, and then we had enough material for an actual full length, so we changed our minds. It was really some friends coming together and feeling it out.
VM: That’s a very organic development. Often we see artists come out after the release of their album, and admit that they wish things would’ve been different with the finished product.
SE: It can feel very forced, and that was my experience before this project. It wasn’t fun for me past a certain point, and a lot of it began to feel contrived and sterile. I couldn’t write for almost a whole year, and I was depressed about that. I’m so happy to have these talented people in my life now who are also my best friends. We still spend every day together even when we’re not creating music. It feels like fun again, and it’s something we should be doing.
VM: I’m really happy to hear things are looking up for you. Now, I have to ask about the album. We got a review copy, and I’ve noticed the genre of each song is noticeably different. What made you decide to pursue that artistic direction in the album instead of sticking to just one style?
SE: We wanted to approach each song differently, and I felt by being a singer/songwriter and playing by myself for such a long time that it needed to be different each time to stand on its own. In the end, it still ended up being a cohesive piece of work. Everything was very dependent on our mood for the day or artists we had been listening to earlier like Paul Simon, George Harrison, or Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound productions.
VM: I’m glad that you mentioned Paul Simon, because I saw that you recently had a gig with the Atlanta Collective where you did a cover show of Paul Simon’s Graceland album. He’s a major influence on you, so I’d like to know what some of your favorite albums are?
SE: There are SO MANY! For me, records remind me of specific time periods in my life. I always go back to Joni Mitchell, because that was the first artist my mother introduced me to when I was young. She was so innovative, to the point, and honest with her music. So I would say her album Blue, but Carole King’s Tapestry is another that will always be close to my heart, too. I used to think my mom was her for a long time, because she is also a singer and would sing King’s songs.
VM: So with your mother being also being a musician, do you discuss everything you’re working on with her, or does she just get to hear the finished products?
SE: Well, since my parents are both musicians, they do attend most of my shows and try to guide me along. However, I’m doing something a little different from them. At times I share things with my mother when I’m trying to flesh out a song or an idea. She loves to hear anything new I’m working on so she can know what I’ve been going through or where a song is coming from.
VM: Earlier, you said each song is different in its own way, but the entire record works as a whole. With that in mind, do you think you could pick a favorite song from the record?
SE: That’s a great question. A part of me has a fondness for “Always Sailing” because it was the first song that started this whole project and new direction with us. That one is particularly special to me, but they really all are because they’re all like children to me.
VM: With the album process completely finished and the release coming in a little over a month, what do you think the most challenging part of the entire process was for you?
SE: To be honest, most of it was a lot of fun. It was the environment and people that made it fun, but I think the time in between some of the sessions was difficult for me personally due to scheduling. Some days I would just want to finish something.
VM: Following the release of the album, are you currently working on anything for the future in terms of shows or new shows?
SE: Yes! Once the record is out, we are headed out on the road to support the record. We’ll be on tour in October. We’ll be doing the East coast in the beginning and then some regional weekend runs. We’ll also continue to write for the next album, because I know we’re already having withdrawals.
We can’t wait to see Sydney Eloise and the Palms on tour, so be sure to keep an eye out for dates, and check out Faces on September 22!