“It feels like some­thing else takes over, does its own thing”

UNCUT - - New Albums - IN­TER­VIEW: STEPHEN DEUSNER

Your lyrics can be very direct, but your singing tends to un­der­state things. how much are you think­ing about your de­liv­ery and how much is im­pro­vised? I’m con­scious of the way that I sing. Some­times I sur­prise my­self and it feels like some­thing else takes over, and does its own thing. But at this point in my work as an artist, I feel like I have a lot of con­trol, ei­ther to be dead­pan when I’m try­ing to say some­thing or to let it go free on some of the word­less parts. It’s prob­a­bly the thing I’ve worked on the most, just the abil­ity to have that free­dom and to think of my voice as an­other in­stru­ment.

Who are some of the vo­cal­ists that have in­spired that ap­proach? I think about peo­ple like Cather­ine Ribeiro, who has that kind of voice with a lot of raw emo­tions. I try to have a lot of vo­cal in­flu­ences, just across the board. I’ve been to a lot of op­eras, and I love that style, the power and emo­tion in the voices. For the type of mu­sic I’m try­ing to make, there needs to be an emo­tional com­po­nent to it. Peo­ple re­ally re­late to the sound of the hu­man voice, but I think it’s more im­pact­ful when there’s some com­plex­ity to the singing.

how does that change when you per­form the song live? I’m not try­ing to re-cre­ate the stu­dio ver­sion. I have a band in Philly, but I don’t tour with them much be­cause it’s six peo­ple and some of them have reg­u­lar jobs and fam­i­lies. When we play th­ese songs, they’re usu­ally more up­beat. We’ll jam out with more and more gui­tars. But when I play solo, that’s where I can be freer with the singing and the dy­nam­ics. There’s more space for it. I try to be very sen­si­tive to the au­di­ence and try to cen­tre my­self in the mo­ment, so the songs can be dif­fer­ent ev­ery time I sing them.

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