Seafret on Upcoming Album 'Most of Us Are Strangers': Limited Means Limitless [Interview]

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

Interview with Seafret

photos by Stuart Simpson

Seafret’s music might feel like many things, but it won't feel like a stranger. There’s something familiar, something comforting about their songs – almost as if you’ve met them before.

“When we first met, we didn't know what we wanted to become or how we wanted our music to sound. We were just doing it because we loved it,” singer Jack Sedman recalls about his first encounter with instrumentalist Harry Draper. “We never classed ourselves as a ‘band’ and didn't have a name for what we were doing. The music we wrote came to us naturally, and we just wrote what felt honest – we still do that to this day. People seem to connect with that realness of what we do, and that's the best feeling ever.”

The Bridlington duo have an ability to cut straight to the core of a feeling, allowing the music to resonate with an aching truth. “We've always felt that if a song can be performed with just a guitar and vocal and still be emotive then you're onto something,” Jack explains. “We test the strength of a song we've produced to sound bigger by stripping it right back to basics and see if it's still a good song. This hasn't failed us yet – touch wood.”

Because of this approach, the band’s tracks are like a call back to a simpler, purer place. Infused with ocean imagery, they draw on a connection to their upbringing by the sea in East Yorkshire. “You take it for granted when you grow up, and it's only after you move away that you realise how much it has impacted your life,” says Jack. “We'll both always be drawn to the ocean. Lots of things inspire us, but the ocean is our roots and will always be.” It might just be the reason for the unforgettable passion in each chord, the current running through every melody.

Recently, Seafret have given us three different flavors of their sophomore album, ‘Most of Us Are Strangers’, set to release on March 13. There’s the longing title track in its glistening sonic sphere, the charged intensity of “Fall”, and the tenderness of “Don’t Let Me Leave”.

It’s been four years since their debut album, ‘Tell Me It’s Real’, but if anything, the music has gotten more real. “Our first album was inspired by leaving behind everything we know and moving into the unknown,” Jack tells us. “The new album was inspired by things that we've been through over the last couple of years. Lots has happened to us personally with our families, etc. and that has changed everything. The music has come naturally to us through these experiences and is as personal and honest as can be.”

Their most recent single from the collection, “Most of Us Are Strangers”, confronts the reality of trying to keep up appearances and burying feelings. For the duo, though, it’s music itself that provides a channel for their feelings. “Being northern, there's not much opportunity to show your emotions!” Jack laughs. “Music is an outlet for both of us. If we don't play for a while, we start to get wound up and frustrated. We always feel the most alive when we're on stage, and after meeting people who have been to a show it’s clear to see that others are moved by it too. We will always be grateful for that. Music reveals parts of you that you didn't know existed.”

Sonically, they’ve pushed their capabilities this time around, while still sticking to the “delicate, raw, and explosive” qualities that define their music. “The first album was written over a period of time stretching from the day Harry and I met, and then was recorded in all different parts of the country until until it was finished,” the singer continues. “For this record we locked ourselves away in the studio for seven weeks and wrote it. There are faster songs, [there’s] bigger production at times, different styles of singing…It's been a brilliant record to make and see come to life.”

However, it didn’t come to life without challenges – one of them being working within a strict time frame and in a specific space. “You tell yourself, you have seven weeks to get this done, and if you don't write the songs in time it's not happening,” Jack relates. “Recording studios are also expensive, especially when you're independent. We took this approach to limit ourselves and worked in a studio with limited resources. The thought process was, if you have everything at your fingertips you'll never be able to make your mind up. So we recorded in a room with the mixing desk and few guitars and keyboards, and a piano with a small vocal booth for the vocals.”

As it turns out, though, the duo thrived in this high-pressure environment. “Limiting ourselves made us work harder on the sounds we created and pushed us outside of our comfort zone. I wish that everyone who gets the record could see where we recorded it – listening to the record and seeing where and how we made it…the two seem worlds apart. Ross Hamilton is our go-to producer, and I'm sure it was fate that brought us together so he could guide us. We owe a lot to that man.”

They’re especially looking forward to showcasing the fresh energy of this production during their live shows coming up in Europe. “When writing songs, we try to get as much light and shade in them as possible,” Jack details. “We build suspense by using the chords and melodies for soft to loud. We've always been a fan of The White Stripes, and loved the approach they use where two people on stage can create something that sounds massive. This tour is super exciting because we'll have other dynamics to the show alongside with a drummer and textured sounds that will be triggered. I think people are going to love it, and it means we can have the best of both worlds – simple stripped-back Seafret building into a proper show.”

Jack and Harry have come a long way together since meeting at an open mic night in their hometown – so much so that they feel like brothers. “Outside of music, we've been through everything together over the years, and we have always been open with each other when it comes to writing music,” Jack describes. “We'd never written a song before we met, so we had a lot to learn and have done so through trial and error as we've progressed. At the end of the day, we are best mates and both share the same enjoyment in creating new music, and I don't think that will change any time soon.”

If they could go back in time, they would tell their former selves not to let others’ opinions weigh them down. “We were once told that if we didn't do this or do that then no one would want to work with us. This scared us a lot and made us make decisions we really shouldn't have made, only because we didn't want to lose the thing that we loved the most. That said, we have always stuck to our guns and done what we believed right in our hearts.” And it’s apparent from the first listen that the music stands for something genuine, reflecting their inner conviction like a mirror.

“It's easy to get swept away with everyone else's input from labels, managers, etc. and at the end of the day you are doing what you love and it's your baby,” Jack expresses. “Protect the things you love and enjoy it everyday. You can't ask for more than that in life.”

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