Sometimes it’s fun to experience an intimate, unique performance unlike anything you’ve experienced before. We had the opportunity to host one of these shows with Brooklyn-based composer and singer-songwriter Sean McVerry. He blends folk-song sensibility with overdriven drum-machines, warbling synths, and intertwining guitars.
Before the show at Jukely HQ, we got the chance to chat with him and find out what’s in store for the future.
The full transcript can be found below.
When did you start making music and why?
I was enrolled in piano lessons with my two sisters when I was around 8 years old. They lasted about a week, I was the only one who stuck with it. I used to write songs for my piano lessons instead of practicing the actual part because it was easier and more fun for me. Although, it definitely got me in trouble with the teacher and my mom.
I had a middle school band called Degenerate, but it was spelled “D-Generate”. It was really controversial at the time. We did a bunch of horrible Rage Against the Machine and Stained covers. So you could say I really started at the top of my creative game and it’s been a slow decline since then.
You played a show at Bowery Electric on March 23rd, how’d it go?
It was good! We were on at 7:30 [PM], which is kind of iffy on Thursdays due to the work crowd. We were supporting Fences as well as this guy Allen Tate, who sings with San Fermín. Him and I met at a Sofar Sounds show, and he actually put me on the bill.
I don’t mind being first. It is kind of iffy because you worry, “Is anyone going to show up?” It’s cool though, because they have to leave all my stuff on stage, so I can be really anal about putting things places without having to worry about it.
It’s also cool because you get to see people start to funnel in; I feel like you’re almost like a gladiator having to win over a crowd of new people. By the end of the set, the room was full, and I had some new fans, so I’d say Thursday was really fun. I’ve never played that venue before so it was cool.
What’s your favorite venue in the area?
To play? See a show? Both? Le Poisson Rouge is up there. It’s weird and I’ve seen so many different kinds of shows there. I saw a classical pianist there, Nico Muhly (a contemporary composer, he’s amazing). I’ve seen Saint Vincent do a benefit show there when Father John Misty showed up and played a few songs. So, it’s definitely hard because I’m married to that venue for that specific reason.
Baby’s All Right is cool, obviously. Music Hall of Williamsburg is a cool one as well to see big shows at. I loved Cameo Gallery, RIP, it’s too bad it closed. Those are definitely my top 3, though.
You’ve been touring for a few months with other bands, what’s been happening there? Who with? Where to?
It’s weird, this year I feel like I’ve become the one man Glass Note Records session guy. I was playing guitar with Tor Miller, who is one of their artists, since last October. He’s great. We toured with another artist AURORA. She’s this amazing Norwegian pixie girl with an incredible voice who I played keys for. I toured with them for most of 2016. I went to L.A. with AURORA in February and got support Tor Miller on his first U.S. headlining tour.
Last January they went out, so I shot their manager a long-ball email requesting to open every show for the tour, and it worked out.
What can you tell us about your new EP? You’re going in to mix soon?
We’ve been working on these songs for the last year. Last January I put out my first EP ever, Hourglass Switchboard 1, followed by Hourglass Switchboard 2 in August. A lot of those songs were even back from 2013. I had a large archive of records I’d been working on, and since I’ve moved here I’ve obviously been writing non-stop, so I managed to get a back catalogue that was impressively large. It was all from the same vein, a more dance infused 80s new wave style I’ve been on since moving to New York.
I got to work on those songs on tour a lot, which was cool because not only was I performing, but I got to be working in the bus in a tiny little makeshift studio where I hid in my bunk and worked on my music. It’s been a challenge to put them together, but now I feel like I can look at the project and it feels real. It’s like you’re building a new friend.
I’ve been working with my producer Anthony Parrino, whose moniker is Elite. He works with all the Dreamville rappers. We’ve been churning out any tiny idea to see if there are any more songs in there, but right now we’re pretty much shaving down the fat into what we consider the best collection of songs and then we’re going into mix and the EP should be out in May or June.
Anything you want to share with the Jukely world?
Check out a show. I mean, of course check out my music online, but unless you see me live there’s nothing pushing you to check me out more than any other white dude with glasses. I’m fortunate to be able to live in New York and make music all the time. If you come to a show and check it out, I’ll make you fall in love with me.