Katie Herzig (Lost and Found)

Katie Herzig Katie Herzig (Lost and Found)Soon after finishing her acclaimed 2008 album Apple Tree, Colorado-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Katie Herzig received a fateful phone call. I sat down to paint one day—I hadnt painted in years—then I got a call asking me to write a song for the Sex and the City movie, she says. So I put down my paintbrush and haven’t painted since!

What she did instead, as one assignment led to another, was write music for numerous films and television shows, and in the process, find a surprising and exciting direction for her new album, The Waking Sleep, her first release on Downtown/Mercer Street Records. I was trying new things, says Herzig, getting outside of what I would normally do as an artist. It was really fun and invigorating to use samples and build tracks digitally. I loved creating like that, and it really allowed me more freedom, because I was doing something less personal, and creating for something else.

I just love bands, and I found myself making a record that felt like that. I was listening to lots of Coldplay, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend she says. Herzig and producer Cason Cooley were also especially taken with film composers Gustavo Santaolalla (Babel, Brokeback Mountain) and Mark Mothersbaugh who also influenced their thinking.

Herzig knew that she wanted to work with one producer and write a batch of songs that were specifically intended for a new album. Eventually, The Waking Sleep emerged as the projects initial composition. It felt like the first personal song Id written in a long time, she says. That got the ball rolling, and felt like it might be the beginning of something.

Wasting Time followed soon after, written on a ukulele borrowed from one of Herzigs bandmates. As she and Cooley began to develop these songs, a new process and a new sound were surfacing. I recorded a lot of these songs at my home studio and started to build tracks as I wrote them, she says. It was very experimental and not rushed. Before I did all the film and tv stuff I would mostly just write songs on my guitar, now I was building tracks and writing songs within them.

The Waking Sleep was constructed over a full year of work, as Herzig continued to tour on her own and open for Brandi Carlile across the US. I recorded whenever I was home, and each time it felt like it was a different season of the record, she says. Songs like Make A Noise and Midnight Serenade represented uncharted territory for Herzig, with skittery rhythms and multiple movements. By combining digitally programmed sounds with organic instruments, she was finding a fresh musical identity.

With The Waking Sleep, Katie Herzig displays maturity and creative fearlessness that extend far beyond her previous work. She knew the risks involved, and knew that breakthroughs only come from having the confidence to believe in your instincts. I was afraid that all I wanted to write about was global warming and the economy, she says, and I dont really know how to write about those things. But I just needed to raise questions. I see all these things happening around me, what can I do about them?

 

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