This Is Our Culture: Sean McVerry

Sarah Midkiff /
Mar 26, 2018 / Music

Sean McVerry has made it his mission to make an EP that is impossible to not dance to.

Between touring with AURORA and assembling his first two EPs, ‘Hourglass’ ‘Switchboard’ 1 & 2, McVerry was writing a collection of songs that didn’t fit onto either of the aforementioned albums which were more acoustic and tranquil in tone. They were different, favouring synthesisers and faster beats.

The New York-based musician has already released the first single “So Certain” off of his forthcoming release Private Lives. The magnetic and beat-driven instant hit, is a teaser of what’s to come in April. It is ‘80s without the excess. A dance party with all of the freedom and none of the disorienting strobe lights. This is his culture.

Coolest Performance

I can’t even think of a close second place to getting to play Frank Ocean’s 30th birthday party. It was one of the weirdest experiences ever. I had to fly to Los Angeles the next day. It was Paris Is Burning-themed. I had to learn 12-15 songs in a day to make it happen. I was playing at a piano bar at the time. I literally went home, slept for 25 minutes, then went to the airport. I was awake for maybe 48 hours straight.. The party was the most bonkers thing I’ve ever seen in my life. It was this huge, secret mansion in Bel Air. Brad Pitt and Adele were there. Tyler the Creator and Mac DeMarco in drag. After I played, I got to hang out and watch an entire vogue ball in this mansion. Then I got into a cab and went home right after. I was back in New York by noon the next day.

Re-Writes

I’m not one for shopping things to death. I’ll write it, it’s as true of an expression as I have in me right now, let’s just write it, put it out, and move on to the next thing.

On Being Mysterious

Nobody knows who I am, I already have mystique *laughs*. At this point, if I have the ability to just create music and put it out, that is the simplest way to go about it. Most artists can’t afford mystique anymore. Maybe FKA Twigs.

First Song

I can definitely remember what it is. There’s a few. When I started taking piano lessons, I do remember learning the first five notes of the C major scale and just slamming my foot down on the sustain pedal, I still do that. I remember being fascinated with that sound. I’d just play variations of it forever. That was probably the first one. I remember going to my piano teacher in third grade being like, “I wrote this. This is my song.” Eventually, I just started playing stuff I wrote for piano recitals. A song with lyrics is harder to remember. There’s definitely a humiliating VHS tape out there somewhere from when I was trying to start a band in fifth grade. I had one of those Yamaha keyboard with the pre-loaded drum packs. I sent a VHS tape to my friend. I might have even mailed it to him like, “Check out this song of me via this cool, VHS tape.” It was horrible.

Writing Essentials

I’m not even really sure. A complete song is hard to write. I’ll have a setting in mind. If I can think of the place I’d be playing it, that’s for some reason the easiest way for me to write. For example, if I’m playing at a cabin in upstate New York, what do these people need to hear? Or what people would want to hear at Knitting Factory at 11 o’clock at night. What kind of song do these people need to hear right now? Then I’ll know what they need to hear and what I think it would sound like.

Karaoke

Oh…umm…“Mr. Brightside” or “My Way.” They’re for different crowds. “My Way” is one of those songs where when you start singing it in a karaoke bar people aren’t fans, but if you can pull it off at the end, they come around.

Words by Sarah Midkiff

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