As the rush of summer comes to an end, we’re looking forward to the desert temperatures cooling off a bit around our home. Our September New Moon Spotify playlist falls near the Autumnal Equinox, and features the timelessly cool stylings of Sean Hayes and his song “Magic Slim vs. Dynamite”. Sean is a bay-area based musician, and has built an incredibly loyal, prodigious fanbase, thanks to his decades-long career and a few prominent features in Subaru commercials a few years back. Check out Sean’s website to learn more about his music, and get tickets for a live performance near you.
Featured Artist: Sean Hayes
Q: Magic Slim vs. Dynamite”, has such a strong groove and a compelling set of references. Your music wanders so easily between different genres, from introspective folk to deep rhythm-and-blues. Do you approach music differently depending on if you’re recording in the studio or performing live?
I would like to spend more time approaching music differently in the studio but mostly I have not had the luxury to do so. By luxury I mean time. Spending long hours in a studio tinkering with parts and sounds. For the “Magic Slim “ recording I got a great group of players (Todd Sickafoose, Eric Kuhn, Michael Coleman) in the studio for a day with a fantastic engineer (Eli Crews) and we recorded a couple of songs. So it is much closer to how I approach playing live. Show the band the song and go. Very loose!
Q: How has your relationship to music and creativity changed over the course of your decades-long career?
The battle between making a living and making Art/music/songs is always in play. When I first moved to San Francisco I would play anywhere and everywhere I could. I would make little gigs happen. Every show would lead to another show. I still have that instinct but now I have two little boys so it is hard to be on the road or out playing every night. I have to slow that part down. My desire has always been to go hide out for months and work on writing but the reality of needing to make a living gets in the way!
Q: Is there a singular album that you’ve found yourself coming back to throughout your life? What is it about that record that keeps you coming back?
Not sure there is one record but… Nina Simone live at the Village Gate comes to mind—it was the first Nina Simone record I ever heard. I checked it out from the library many many years ago. It left me knocked out on the floor. It is amazing all around and it’s a live recording.
Q: We read that you moved from San Francisco to Petaluma, California some years ago. When we moved out to the desert from San Francisco, we thought we’d miss the buzzing energy of the city, but we acclimated quickly. Now we feel a pull towards the simplicity of desert life whenever we find ourselves back in the city. What has your experience been moving out into the idyllic northern California country from San Francisco, and how has that affected your music?
I lived in San Francisco for twenty years. It was pretty deep city living without much escape. So moving north has been a big change and we are loving it, but the bigger change was having kids. Having kids is like taking a spaceship to another planet. You wake up on the same street but you are living on a different planet.
Q: What direction are headed for your next record, both creatively and as an independent artist?
Not sure! It is the same rhythm. I have a group of songs from the last year or so. They feel a little country soul in a trance. It would be cool to work with a great producer to dress me up in some new clothes, or I will record them on my own and send them out into the world that way. I start to get antsy and want them to get out of my four walls so I will let them go with just a snapshot if needed to keep moving.
About the New Moon Playlist
On the New Moon, the earth, moon, and sun align making us unaware of the moon’s presence in the sky. Without the visual presence and glow of the moon, other celestial bodies typically hidden now shine brighter. Our chances of seeing the sky clearly are heightened on this day, making it a day of clarity and new beginnings. Creatively it’s the perfect time to set intentions for a new cycle of dreams and goals, and ways of manifesting them.