Started by Jules Bee in 2009, Sea of Bees has exploded onto the international scene. The Sacramento-based musician took a moment from her busy touring schedule to talk to about the process of recording her new Gnomes EP, churches obsessed with U2, and more.
“Gnomes” is one of my favorite tracks off of your last full-length Songs For Ravens. Was the “Gnomes” remix by Tunng part of the inspiration to build an EP around that particular song?
Well, the song was passed along to some friends of a friend (Tunng). I am not sure what they felt when remixing or what inspired them. But as for me in writing “Gnomes,” I was inspired by a friend and just came up with a melody that reminded me of them.
The two covers are wonderful as well. Delightfully stripped down versions of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult and “With Or Without You” by U2. Why did you pick these songs to cover? Can you talk a little about the process of choosing them and then the process of recording them?
I actually never heard “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” John my friend/producer introduced it to me. He suggested I give a listen and try it out. I think he wanted to see what I would come up with. I always seem to strip songs down to how I would sing them as if they were my songs. Recording started with the acoustic, bass, and drums, which I played. My friend Neal Casal [Ryan Adams, Chris Robinson] was recording in the studio down the hall and came in and overdubbed the electric guitar part.
The U2 song “With or Without You,” was one of my favorite songs in church, one of the secular songs I felt close to. My church was obsessed with U2. Now I am fucking over it—except that song, it some how sticks to me in a positive way. We recorded it with a big German mike [RFT/M7]. Just one; put it right near the guitar, it caught my vocals too. We had originally recorded this for a video blog, you can see it here.
<iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/14051098?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0″ width=”400″ height=”300″ frameborder=”0″></iframe><p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/14051098″>WHAT’S YOUR MUSE? Sea of Bees</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/mixtapemuse”>Mixtape Muse</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Hahaha, Heavenly is really respected…I don’t doubt it’s because of them. They have been so supportive of me and my smallness. I have a good team in the USA and UK. The UK was a surprise the second time, I played for the first time in front of hundreds of people, but my second time was just me and Amber…and hundreds of people showed up. I only expected like 20 or less.
My favorite place to play is in London, I just always feel at home there, close to everyone and everywhere.
Talk a little about the music you grew up with. How do you feel your style and tastes were formed from childhood to adulthood? When did you begin playing guitar and singing?
Cher, Barbara Sss, Rod Stewart, mainly my Mum’s music. My Dad listened to Everly Brothers. I didn’t really care. The music they listened too didn’t make me feel the way I wanted too. I then went to church, listened to contemporary Christian music, then Coldplay, U2. I started ranging out on my own. Never grew up with that rock ’n] roll. Now it’s in my blood.
I started playing guitar in church when I was 16, of course, to impress a girl, Haha.
What is on the horizon for Sea of Bees? After the Gnomes EP release are you headed back to the studio or out on the road? Is there a US tour in your future?
Working on the next album then touring it out in the UK and US through out the year. It seems like a promising year. It’s gonna be amazing!
Sea of Bees performs at an EP release show at Cafe du Nord on August 19th. Doors are at 8:30, tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Chloe Makes Music provide main support and Rachel Fannan, formerly of Sleepy Sun, opens the night up.