An Interview with 800beloved’s Sean Lynch – (Library Benefit Show, Aug 28)

102_0329Ferndale Area District Library’s Benefit Concert
August 28
Loving Touch
22634 Woodward
8pm – All ages
$5 -suggested donation

An interview with singer/songwriter/sound-crafter Sean Lynch of 800beloved, with Ferndale Area District Library circulation specialist, Jeff Milo

I shared some thoughts about why I am throwing a Benefit Concert for the Ferndale Area District Library in this previous post where I interviewed Chris Bathgate. Joining Bathgate on the lineup for next week’s concert (August 28th @ The Loving Touch) is 800beloved. Led by singer/songwriter Sean Lynch (son of poet, memoirist Thomas Lynch), this group has gone through a transformational 18 months and come out with their third album, an enticingly stormy sway of enlivened rock songs that are refreshingly frayed at the edges. Lynch talks about his life after leaving his job at the family’s funeral home in Milford and how he feels about 800beloved’s new record, Some Kind Of DistortionHe also tells us why it was so important to him to join the cause of supporting this library and libraries everywhere.
How does it feel to be working a new job and to playing out live a lot more often around town…
Sean Lynch: It’s good…it’s different from the last conversations we’ve had because I’ve been gone from the funeral home for more than a year, now. I’m settling into this life of…I don’t know how to put it…post-mortuary? Post-postmortem? It feels like fresh air, but also air that I’ve never breathed before…

Catch us up, then…
Sean Lynch: So, a year ago, I left the funeral home. I had to finish the No Body album and right after I finished mastering that, that being the first time I’d ever mastered an album on my own, it was then that I went right into post-production for 800beloved’s record, which just came out. And, it’s now that I’m getting a taste of this…just, new time in my life where, we have a record and we don’t have an agent, but we don’t have a desire to be on a label that will suck our blood, so…what do we do? I’m putting it out there.

This third album is completely void of an initial concept. There wasn’t a hinging thematic piece that we were interweaving nor was there an identifiable muse. It shares no relationship with our first and second records. If you read the liner notes and take in the photographs and understood the band you’d see the connection between those first two, there’s a lot happening, there could be more, there should be more…I would hope for more, just to keep out of trouble.

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“Any type of preservation of what we know of language and literary arts and the voices of authors…I just can’t see any reason why anyone would not want to be part of that effort…”

Tell us about your experience, transitioning away from the funeral home…
Lynch: I’m still getting used to it, because after 15 years of directing funerals meant that there was just so much within a 24-hour cycle that could happen; I don’t know how else to put it, it rattles you to your core. You do become accustomed to working in that 24-hour cycle, but, now, being gone a year, certain things come to me. I’ll be recollecting feelings or strange nuances of my former life as they come back to me, at times, never in a steady cycle, only in bits.

And how did that all impact the songs you wound up writing, recording and mastering on this new one… 
Lynch: (Some Kind Of Distortion) now, after listening to it all the way through several times, it sounds like a person who was ready for a change. That person doesn’t necessarily have to be me, but to me you can’t listen to the record and not feel that something has changed. “Enduring Black” is me questioning what my previous life stood for… Was it getting people to their own paradiso…or purgatory…or heaven or hell? Was it a show, or purely ceremony and ritual? All those questions are raised in that song; it’s the last funeral-ly kind of song that I’ll ever write…

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What’s the word for it then…? Purging? Exorcising?
Lynch: I wrote most of this album in scattered bits. I didn’t spend too much time in the finite details. What I was concerned with was capturing a performance. I was interested in recording the performance of the music complete with whatever little fuck-ups there were. There is a purging with this record, but nobody talks about a cerebral purge; you don’t think about these moments, they just sort of present themselves.

So, a lot of what’s contained here is talking about a moment and also trying to capitalize on that moment and truly recording it. Bouquet took 39 months…people forget that. I just don’t wanna do that. I think you miss a lot of what happens in between when you’re thinking about things, in that moment.

In what specific ways does this album distinguish itself, then, from the last two…
Lynch: The songs off our newest album, even from a verse-chorus-verse structural format, don’t relate to Bouquet. But, with Bouquet,, you had the post-punk mixing of macabre with romanticism or a naïve type of first beginnings of love, that was all at the surface. But, beyond that, people forget that when I first started playing music again, at age 12, that the first bands I was involved in were punk bands.

Sometimes 800beloved, as a whole, gets pegged as a very controlled or calculated band, but this past year, I think people have realized that we’re very laid back, funny people who don’t let our everyday laziness enter into the songs because those songs become opportunities to talk about something that’s not day-to-day. But, if you wanna diagnose this record with that type of performance or structural value, I just think it comes with demonstrating, at age 35, or even in your 20’s, that you are so many other things, so many other people you’ve collected with so many other memories. I’m not saying I feel old, it’s just you have more reference; you become a re-visitor to those punk rock modes. I didn’t realize how loose the record was until I listened to it a couple times.

The second record (Everything Purple)  is water, whereas Bouquet is more in touch with the sort of cracks that we all remember on the streets of the cities or towns where we grew up… But (Distortion) has its feet in the dirt. (Photographer) Christina Anderson has a great eye. The hula-hoop in the tree, with no human being in sight. It explained to me a lot about what we weren’t going to do again. We weren’t going to deliver the same album and go round in the same patterns we’d gone before.

Now that you’re back, you’ve been playing more shows but you’re also getting offered more shows…What made THIS show particularly appealing…
Lynch: We’re at a time in music where I think that people who are writing passable or provocative lyrics are still doing so in that safe range and yet still getting pegged as “singer/songwriter.” But, I like the idea of bringing out a brand of essentially rock songs or pop songs that do contain words, sentences, stanzas, true verses. I was fortunate, having a rich upbringing with a father who is just a wonderful poet, so I have always had a library, sort of, filled with words, readily available. Any type of preservation of what we know of language and literary arts and the voices of authors…I just can’t see any reason why anyone would not want to be part of that effort. If we’ve all been gushing at what Google can do for us…why would we eliminate a whole other network of resources.

A lot of the library’s network is tangible, too…But that’s why they need the support and the funding.
Lynch: If you play this tape forward, the real concern becomes….that…if music is suffering…and the commerce of music undeniably is suffering, than the library would be next on the chopping block, naturally, when you consider the attack on art. I feel like these things are all connected, if the library suffers, writers suffer, musicians, lyricists suffer…you’ll then have a suffering world of music.

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