Are you one of the believers that there’s no new material out there in the world? Gabrielle Wortman and Jason Rosen, the two members of Smoke Season, are out to prove you wrong. These two have combined two very different musical backgrounds to create a distinctive, smoky sound. They released their sophomore EP back in July 2014 and we were fortunate enough to snag an interview with these two.
Lemonade Magazine: Hey guys! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us at Lemonade Magazine! I’ve been listening to your EP Hot Coals Cold Souls non-stop for the last week – it’s great! Let’s start with the basics: How did Smoke Season get together?
Gabrielle: Jason and I were both in bands that were sharing a rehearsal space. We started playing together one day and ended up writing our first single that day.
LM: What a serendipitous meeting! What are your individual musical backgrounds and how did those different backgrounds play into the unique sound that the band has created?
Jason: Our musical background is actually directly responsible for the sound of our band. My background is heavily focused around jazz and Motown-centric melodies, whereas Gabrielle is a classically trained pianist and spent years in an electronic band. She also had a lot of training as a gospel, soul vocalist – which I think is pretty obvious.
Gabrielle: Like Jason mentioned, our backgrounds create a unique combination of influences that make up our sound. You can hear my influences in our darker melodies and electronic beats. And he is directly responsible for the jazz-inspired chord progressions and harmonic layers. Essentially, we combined the parts of different music genres that we loved the most and ended up with Smoke Season.
LM: We’re so glad it did! The ethereal haziness you two create is something the musical world hasn’t heard at all before. Your sound alone is grabbing the attention of audiences but tell us about your residency at LA’s The Echoplex. How have things changed for you since that gig?
Smoke Season: Since Smoke Season began, we’ve wanted to create more than just a typical concert experience out of our live show. For the first time in our career, we were able to do that with our Echoplex residency. We combined art installations, live-scoring of short films and curated the band lineups for each of the nights.
We were blown away by how enthusiastic everyone in the community was about showcasing art across mediums. Since then, we’re committed to being hands on about creating lighting and visual installations to accompany all of our live shows. Our upcoming tour in December is going to feature just that.
LM: That’s really great that you’re providing opportunities not only to musical artists but to artists of any medium. It sounds like it isn’t just you sound that is one-of-a-kind but you shows are as well. You guys just got back from the CMJ Music Marathon. Tell us a little bit about that.
SS: CMJ was simultaneously amazing and exhausting. We performed 3 showcases – at Audiofemme, Rockwood Music Hall and the Berklee Music Party. Most importantly, we got to dedicate an entire week to our east coast fans who had previously only had one opportunity to see us live before.
LM: I’m sure your east coast fans were ecstatic! Your passion for performing is clearly obvious. Was there any single defining moment that made you realize that performing was what you wanted and were meant to do?
SS: To be honest, both of us started playing so young we don’t remember a time without music in our lives. It’s been our primary language since we were in diapers (for better and worse, ha!).
LM: And the music world is all the better for it! Everything that you guys are doing is incredibly exciting both for you and you fans. What can we expect to see and hear from you guys in the future?
SS: We’re embarking on our first headlining tour this December – The Cold Souls Tour. It’ll be all over the west coast so you can catch us there. We have a ton of new material that we’re excited to bring to our fans in the new year.
LM: That’s exciting! Congratulations on your first headline! We’re really excited to hear the new material and can’t wait to see you on tour! One last question, because we’re Lemonade Magazine, we have to ask – what’s your favorite type of lemonade?
Jason: Arnold Palmer…does that count?
LM: That absolutely counts!
Gabrielle: Smoked lemonade and whiskey.
LM: That sounds delicious! Thank you again, so much, for taking the time to chat with us! It’s been great getting to know you guys. Like I said, we can’t wait to see you on tour! Best of luck to you! I’m sure we’ll see many great things from Smoke Season.
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