Photos by Darin Back
By Rebecca Marx
Rift has been aware of the very talented musician Stacy K for quite some time, and after reviewing her 2013 album Swarming With Frenzy, Swirling With Delight, I felt that Rift would be wise to keep an eye on her. Stacy K’s recent release: Hotel Colfax, delivers big time on the promise of bigger things for the future. Check out her EP Hotel Colfax, and read on to see what her next move is.
RIFT: You happen to be from the same town that my grandfather was born (Sleepy Eye), do you think that coming from a small community was a hindrance, or a help in how your art evolved?
SK: No way!? Maybe our grandparents hung out, you never know! It is hard to say if growing up in Sleepy Eye was a hindrance or a help as I have nothing to compare it to. I hung out in that town and those gravel roads until I was 18 and then I left. I did however have a slight variation with my surroundings starting at a very young age as my dad lived on a farm out in the country and my mother lived in town. So I kind of had best of both worlds as far as “small town living” goes. I would say it has been helpful with my songwriting in visualizing certain points of my memory bank. The song “Nobody Knows” off of my last album is placed in a specific location down by the Cottonwood River. Thinking about it now, my writing style definitely has roots to that part of my life as it is very much a part of me. In regards to opportunities to play out, find music, and connect with other musicians,… well that was much more of a hindrance but I guess that’s where finding my mothers records and hanging out in my room for hours on end figuring out the lyrics and chords was helpful (previous internet days here).
RIFT: I reviewed a previous solo work of yours Swarming With Frenzy, Swirling With Delight, and I liked it a lot, but felt you had untapped potential. With the EP Hotel Colfax it seems like you’ve fulfilled that. Between the two works, how has your style and approach changed?
SK: Well thanks! I appreciate that. To be honest I feel like my writing style has changed because my lifestyle has drastically changed. Swarming with Frenzy, Swirling with Delight is much more of a moody, experimental, heavier on an emotional spectrum kind of album. It was written after my previous band broke up and I was encouraged by the drummer/engineer Jason McGlone to put out a solo album. So we took our time with that. I had the skeleton to the tunes or more so of an outline of them first and then it seemed like we then layered and experimented from there. Hotel Colfax was recorded completely different with that “skeleton” being recorded live with the band, with very few overdubs. For me, Hotel Colfax is more of the bridge between my previous album (Swarming with Frenzy, Swirling with Delight) and the album that I’m currently recording. I really like recording most of the album live and then working with it from there. Still organic with a sliver or two of experimental. Less vague lyrically, more direct emotionally. Still somewhat moody, but definitely more of a positive lighter tone.
RIFT: What is your songwriting process like?
SK: It varies, but it always starts in my head first and then I immediately need to document that idea whether it be singing into my phone like a weirdo while driving to work or quickly scribbling down the lyrics somewhere and grabbing a guitar or sitting at my piano. Regardless of how it happens, I need to get it documented otherwise I won’t remember it. I have made that mistake many times thinking “Oh this is too good, I’ll remember that tomorrow morning”…Nope. Some songs come out all at once, those are my favorite because it feels so effortless, complete and I don’t want or need to think twice about a line. Other songs are still sitting unfinished. I don’t like the idea of forcing out a song or style, or over editing it to death, but I also make the point to work on the craft almost daily. I enjoy having fun with writing, I mean I am serious about it, but there are times where it’s just fun to write for the joy of writing. Just being who you are and exploring a bit.
RIFT: I’ve noticed that you have strong connections to a lot of artists in town, in particular with artists that came from the Iron Range area such as Dave Mehling (The Fontanelles)- is there a connection to that area artistically?
SK: Crazy isn’t it? I swear almost no one musically has come from my neck of the woods. These guys travel in packs. That being said, I have had a lot of people think I’m FROM Duluth because of that. The funniest thing about Dave Mehling and I is we cannot remember how we met. We are still both stumped about it. I know we shared bills a few short years ago at 331, maybe that was it. It wasn’t until Dave moved into “Hotel Colfax” that we started writing together it seems almost nightly. Everyone kind of hung out with everyone at that place, playing music and sharing songs. All that being said, traveling and playing Duluth is always something I look forward to. That city also has a great cast of musicians that I am drawn to and I have always enjoyed my time spent there as everyone is very welcoming.
RIFT: The release of a record is changing rapidly with social media etc., how did that affect your creation and promotion of this EP?
SK: Well, you figure there is 24 hours in a day, how much can you squeeze into that time frame? Multi-tasking, always is a must. Coffee, for me, is a must. I, like many musicians, have a closet full of many hats and at different points throughout my day and week have to wear them. I also made sure I gave myself enough time this go around and did my homework. I didn’t plan for much to come out of my “In Room Performances” that I post on YouTube occasionally, but awesomely Rift Magazine highlighted one of those tunes (which will be on the next album). I guess for me it’s using what is out there and getting creative with it. As far as promotion for Hotel Colfax I reached out to all the places and some responded and some didn’t. I suppose there is only so much time in their day too. Who knows. All I know is to keep putting stuff out into the world because I’m doing it anyway and it doesn’t do much good for me to be the only one to sit and listen or look at it. Also with Hotel Colfax I was lucky enough to be contacted by Tinderbox Music because they saw a video I made for the song Your Room, so they helped out on the tale end of things as well. I then also made a point to have another video made for the song Stubborn Man which was shot in a much more professional setting. So I do as much as I can on my own and I then save up some extra dollars to incorporate my creative friends to create something high quality.
RIFT: What do you like about the local music scene here?
SK: So many things. I love the local music scene here in Minneapolis. What a great cast of crews all across the board. I really enjoy all kinds of music and what I love about Mpls is the amount of it to see on any given night. Seriously, endless entertainment.
RIFT: I really love Hotel Colfax, what are your plans on promoting it?
SK: Making a list and checking things off as I go. Connecting with in and out of town radio and media, continue to make videos for the tunes as the winter is quite long. Help the music become more accessible, always trying to make it as easy for the listener as possible. Play out more, keeping the tunes in my live set. Those kinds of things. I would love to travel more, so some touring would be a great excuse for that.
RIFT: Any future plans, or projects that you’d like to share?
SK: Yes! Like I mentioned a new full length album is in the works with the goal of a release come Spring 2016. Also, funny enough you mention Dave Mehling, but we also have some duo dates booked under the name “Mr Dr” (pronounced ‘mister doctor’) in the near future, with recordings of those tunes on the horizon.