Sea Inside makes waves in indie music scene

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Piero Graci of the Sea Inside

Two years ago, the Sea Inside came together and has since become a force in the Toronto music scene, opening for the Plain White T’s last November.

Now with its first album A Beautiful Mess on the verge of widespread release, the band reflects on the experience of creating the album, the development of its sound, plans for the future and the challenges of bringing it all together.

Lead singer Cali got his start in London, while the rest of the band hails from Toronto. He describes the difference playing in both cities.

“The crowd is smaller, but more personal. It gives my family a chance to see how the music has progressed,” Cali says. “I get more nervous playing in front of family members than I do playing in front of hundreds of people. I feel like they’re enjoying the music on a different level.”

In describing the band’s sound, Cali avoids using a single label.

“It’s not like today’s indie, which can be low-fi and thin-sounding. We’ve got a thicker base of sound.”

He compares the sound to a toned-down big-sound rock, with a tendency to be “ballady,” with a bit of Brit-rock style.

Cali’s personal influences include Queen (for Freddy Mercury’s theatrics) and Interpol, but insists Radiohead is his favourite band.

“[Influences] are different for everyone in the band. I admire anything from somebody who is doing something really good.”

The other members draw from bands such as U2, Pink Floyd and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but the sound they create is all their own.

Cali describes the process of creating an album as the hardest work he’s ever done.

“It was definitely an emotional experience, and it took its toll.”

The commute back and forth from London meant the band had to work quickly.

“We would write the song on Friday and then record it on Saturday night,” Cali says. “You feel like you’re in the sea, with no ground underneath you.”

Working without a producer brought its own set of challenges.

“The producer pretty much directs shit ... It was an exercise in compromise ... [you had to] pick your battles.”

Cali emphasizes the importance of choosing what to fight for, knowing when to let things go and how to make sacrifices in order to make it all work.

Looking to the future, the Sea Inside is currently working on a second album. Cali describes the album as an exaggeration of its sound.

“[It will have] the emotional dynamic of bringing people from one state to another ... every part will have profound meaning for being exactly where it is.”

When it comes to creating music, Cali states “[The most important thing to keep in mind is] the relativism and subjectivity of other human beings.” He stresses the importance of staying open to what is going on around you.

“Purity comes from allowing [everything] to become a part of what you’re doing.”

The Sea Inside played at Call the Office this past Saturday.

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