Reviews

White Hat

9/6/11 | Filter | www.filtermagazine.com | Feature
Big Harp is comprised of the married couple, Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney. Their debut album, White Hat , is set to be released on September 13th on Saddle Creek. To accompany their release, they will begin touring in September. You can watch their acoustic performance of "All Bets Are Off" for the Dickies Showroom here! And if you want to download another tune from White Hat, just click below. The folksy duo recently took some time to discuss their album, their recording process and their current tour with FILTER. Where and how did you both meet? Stefanie: We met in a dive bar in Omaha about four years ago. We started talking and flirting, and then we went on tour together. One thing led to another, and now here we are -- two kids and rings on our fingers. White Hat was recorded in 3 days. Were these songs that you had been rehearsing and had written previously? What launched the prompt recording process? Chris: We started picking songs about a week before we went in to record. When the kids were asleep, Stefanie and I sat out in the living room and I played her about 40 songs. She picked out about 15, and we started arranging and rehearsing. The speed of the recording process was partly due to budget and partly by design. We wanted to make a lean, stripped-down recording. Originally, we thought we might just get basic tracks done and then book some more time, but at the end of the three days the record felt finished. Have you previously been involved in other bands or solo projects? Is this potentially what allowed for the quick recording process? S: I've done some solo recording in the past, and Chris and I have recorded some of my songs under the name Tin Kite, but I've mainly kept busy touring and recording with other bands. I'm in the band The Good Life, and I've played in Azure Ray, Bright Eyes, McCarthy Trenching, She & Him, etc. C: Everybody involved in the recording process had a lot of experience, which defenitely helped the process go smoothly. We got most of the songs in just a few takes. What's the significance behind the title White Hat (if at all)? C: Well, it was the song on the record with the best title. Who is the leading songwriter between you two? Or are the efforts more of a mutual effort? C: I usually bring songs in with lyrics and melodies. When Stefanie and I start working on them together is when they really flesh out. I defer to her a lot in terms of tempos and feels and things like that. She always laughs when I first play her songs because I play them so slow. She has to speed them up. I try to resist, but she always ends up being right. There are two tracks on White Hat that refer to "Nadine". Any particular reason or story behind that? C: Well, the two songs are about the same character from two different perspectives and they open and close the record. Nadine is my grandma's middle name, and the song is loosely based on her. When she was a teenager she left her home in South Dakota and went to Los Angeles briefly. I took the idea of a girl going to California on her own and embellished it. You know, add in a little gunplay to keep the kids interested! The first song tells the story from a top-down perspective, and the last one is a letter from a father to a wayward daughter. You'll be going on tour along with your kids in September to promote the album. What are you looking forward to the most? S: Family vacation! Playing shows and playing with our kids are our two favorite things to do.
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