Interview: Five Minutes with Southernayers

Earlier this week we premiered the track, ‘Sorrow Upon You’ for the indie-pop duo, Southernayers. The track displays the duo’s vast talent in the genre with a slow build entering into vibrant synths backed up by Mick’s deep vocals.

Finding inspiration in unique places, Southernayers cite from the more traditional music sources such as Bowie, Joy Division, and Jellyfish to the inherent human qualities displayed in documentary TV series. Together, Mick and Kaylee strive for a balance between the heartfelt lyrics and the lighthearted pop tone that they excel at.

Hi Mick and Kaylee, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. How has your year been going so far?

Thanks for having us! It’s been quite busy. In the past year, we have released two EPs and a bunch of single tracks. It feels like we are in a creative hotspot that we are trying to keep going.  

How did you two come together and begin making music as Southernayers?

One night at a show at the Bucksnort Saloon in the tiny town of Marlin, TX, I met a young singer named Kaylee.

She asked if I could play a Sublime song, so she could sing it. And I did. We had an instant connection.

That moment inspired the song, ‘A Life Sublime’ and our musical partnership.  Kaylee was didn’t have much experience recording, but she had a wistful pensiveness that is pretty rare. It reminds me of Karen Carpenter. When we record, I try to draw that silky sadness out of her as much as possible. We’ve gone to some dark places to capture that emotion. Sometimes I make her cry. 

What have been some of your defining moments in music so far?

The day we finished mixing our song ‘Slumber’ we had a cathartic moment. We both listened to it knew that our music had arrived. We had our sound. That song was well-received across the board, by critics and our fans alike. It was just one of those where you knew it was special. In that song, we found our collective voice.

If you could paint a picture of your unique sound, what would it look like?

It would have the raw emotion and abstract passion of a Basquiat and the unapologetic pop culture brass of a Warhol. And somehow include Pretty in Pink

Your track, ‘A Night Devine’ has some definite Bowie elements to it. Who are some of the other artists who have been major influences on your sound over the years?

Oh yes, Bowie for sure. He was pure honesty. All of those poignant, honest pop songs from the 80s really inspire our compositions. Songs from bands like The Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, Human League, George Michael, Culture Club… They wrote from a place of sincerity. Today, snarky irony driven indie music has gotten to a point where its dryness has caved in on itself and in many ways has become meaningless. It got too cool for its own good and forgot to expose itself. Also, Trans Am, Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, Wire

What is the most important thing for you when putting a song together?

The rhythm track. Once we have the drums and chord changes in place, it’s all topline work. Leading melodies and words are the fun part. 

Tell us about the inspiration behind your latest single, ‘Sorrow Upon You’.

There is this show on the ID channel called “Female Killers”. Each episode is a true-crime doc of a woman killing her spouse. I’ve been obsessed with that show. I was writing while watching it. ‘Sorrow Upon You’ is a song of revenge about a husband stalking and killing his estranged spouse after she tried to kill him. I guess it’s kind of dark, but she had it coming.

Break it down for us, what can we expect from you in the near future?

Currently, we are a recording band. We are going to keep cranking out the best songs we can create and push them across avenues like Soundcloud and Spotify until we create a demand for a tour. Building a distribution network has been our main focus outside of production and writing. From day one we agreed to never be a “local” bar band. I’ve spent the past decade as a session/tour player and we have a great band ready to hit the road when the moment is right. Ultimately, we really just want to create wonderful, memorable songs that make people cry. 

Famous last words?

Once in a while, a knife is sure and true. 

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