Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sophie Barker wraps up her U.S. tour with two shows in Portland on May 5th – OMN/Stumptown Bliss live streaming from Music Millennium on Saturday


OMN and Stumptown Bliss will be streaming Sophie Barker’s Music Millennium In-store appearance at 5pm on Saturday, May 5

Though her sound and some of her songs aren’t new, Sophie Barker’s newest album, Seagull, is.
Perhaps most recognized as the voice from Zero 7′s hits “In the Waiting Line” and “Destiny,” which Barker also co-wrote, Barker has kept a fairly low profile, mostly collaborating with other artists over the past decade. But that doesn’t mean she’s been taking it easy.

Managing all her own affairs, she also somehow made time to record an album, promote it, and organize a tour, which wraps up here on the West Coast this week. Luckily for us, she included Portland on the tour. Barker and her small “outfit” for the tour performs not once but twice, this Saturday, May 5th, first at Music Millennium for an in-store performance and later that night at the White Eagle Saloon for the full show effect (and over-21 crowd).

Barker’s wistfully airy voice is not only recognizable from her previous engagements, but also extremely soothing in an almost-Enya-esque way. It should come as no surprise that many of her lyrics tackle deeper subject matter such as the meaning of life and being thankful for what you have. “We need to give, and love – and do it over and over again,” she says.
Sophie charmed OMN with her British accent and no-nonsense attitude during her few free moments in L.A. as she talked about Seagull, finding her current band mates in her own friends, and working with Zero 7.

The title of your album is Seagull. What’s the significance of that title? 
It was four or five years ago, just before the world had its massive economic crash. I was in my late thirties, going through all sorts of transition, wondering, “Where do I place myself?” Going through these major changes, metaphysically, emotionally… I was laying, looking out the window, watching the seagulls coming in from the sea and I was thinking about it from this bird’s eye view, how they are adapting to all the changes in the world, and how nature always takes over [in those kinds of crises].
The economic crisis still happened [but "Seagull" stuck].
Watch “Say Goodbye” from Seagull:

Listening to the album, there is definitely a familiarity, a similarity to “In the Waiting Line,” but it’s also evident that there are other influences. Do you feel like you have a “sound?” How would you describe it? 
It’s like, acoustic-progressive-modern-rock… in a way. It’s been sort of a musical journey over the past four decades and there are tinges of Zero 7 – we’re all from the ’70s – there’s country, like on Maybell, Motown influences, like on BluebellEarthbound was kind of vignettes of songs, just me and the guitar; me trying to understand what I was doing, needing to get something out there.
It took me a while to find the right producers; I went through many outfits in the process.

And now you’re playing almost exclusively with your good friends, is that right? 
Yes, that’s absolutely right.
Chloe [Lander, violin] has been instrumental. Literally! She’s like my soul sister. Yul [Desai] plays guitar. We’ve known each other for 16 years and it took us 16 years to discover that we should work together. It’s just the three of us for this tour; we don’t have the full band. We have a good time, and there is no ego with these people… And when you tour and spend 24/7 with those people, it’s [so much nicer] to like the people you work with.

Absolutely! What do you do when you’re not touring and writing and promoting a new album? 
Well, I do everything myself: Managing, admin. It’s pretty much a 24/7 [job]. I’m really proud of it, [the fact that] I’m genuinely independent and that it’s all organic. I am part of the process each step of the way and there is a legacy to leave behind. But there is no time to write songs. No time to just sing when not in the studio.
I’m really looking forward to that, and to find a space to write. Right now I’m using the voicemail on my iPhone to keep ideas… Luckily, I work very quickly, and usually my best vocals come straight out.

That’s very fortunate. Do you still work with Zero 7 at all? 
We’ve been in contact over the years; we’re all still friends. But I’m not sure what they are up to. But you never ever know… it would be fantastic to work with them again.

So you’re in the States now? 
Yes, we finished the first half of the tour [mainly in the U.K.] and now we’re in L.A. We’ve had an amazing drive [from the East Coast]. Every state is very, very different.

Is this your first time touring in the U.S.? 

So now you’re going to play some West Coast cities and then going back to London? 
Yes, we play L.A [on the 2nd], then San Francisco Thursday, Portland on Saturday, Seattle Sunday and that is, sadly, the end of our tour…
But we are very, very excited to come to Portland. It will be Cinco de Mayo so it will be a really fun time. We’ll have to drink margaritas!

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