Contributor’s Note: Electric Sensei’s music drips with personality and charm. They’re songs cascade over the senses and make me feel like a madman lumbering through New Orleans on mescalin. Their most recent ep, ‘Chaotic Good,’ is a testament to their originality. This band itches the need for weird that we all have.
You’re songs seem very intentionally original. What’s your writing process like? Do you intentionally stay away from more cliche sounds and chord progressions?
Our writing process started off with just playing our Frontman, Spencer’s compositions, which I am almost always impressed by. His writing style really serves the eclectic nature of our music very well. Lately, however, we have taken to writing with more of a committee approach, as is the case with our upcoming single, Counternatural. We started with a sludgy dance groove then each member contributed a section to the song in the form of a chorus, bridge, etc. Typically, a lot of the harmonies in out music are pretty conventional. It wasn’t until recently that we started to break into more colors and flavors with chords by revisiting old tunes and really twisting some sections up. I think a big part of the sound we cultivate stems from the sonic textures and timbres themselves. With our drummer, Joey’s studio experience along with our keyboardist, Zack’s taste for sonic textures, we are able to create a musical voice that stands well on it’s own.
I find that this sort of music takes a lot of courage to play because you’re going to challenge people’s conception of good pop music. Is this intentional, or are the songs just the music that’s bouncing around in your head?
Fortunately, our audiences have been very open-minded with new and sometimes-odd music. We are extraordinarily grateful that we have been received so warmly by newcomers to our shows. This is music that each member of the band completely stands behind as our own expression. Personally, I am attracted to the honesty in this music being so multi-dimensional and strange. I think it reflects how every person is, so I am confident that those who hear us will connect to the music even if it might seem unusual from the surface.
What sort of direction do you see Electric Sensei going in in the future?
Over the next few months we will be rolling out with a full length record as well as a few substantial tour announcements. I’m always hoping to play to larger audiences and pack bigger rooms. It would be nice to collaborate with some of our favorite artists and musicians in the scene. For now, our goals are to play great shows with great bands, create great content, and not go broke!
What’s the weirdest show you’ve ever played?
Every show we do is always a minimum of 7.8/10 weirdness, but we got pretty close to 10 at a new years show that took place at a short-lived boiler-room/basement venue called The Tetanus Pit in Paterson, NJ. Everyone at this show was wearing BRIGHT orange and not speaking to ANYONE else! The entire venue was silent except for the booker, a guy named Alan who contacted us on our Saraha(that question app that lasted like 2 weeks) with an email address. There was one other artist doing a singer-songwriter thing that dipped immediately after their set(understandably). We played our set as usual as the new year clock ticked town but when it hit midnight during our set, everyone was still silent. However, at 12:08, suddenly maybe half of the show-goers started to have nosebleeds and started to blow their nose blood onto the pipes in the boiler room. It smelled terrible. Once that started happening, we ended the set and went home. No one was directly mean to us or tried to stop us, but the whole thing sketched us all out. Haven’t heard about the venue since or heard from Alan.
Your new music video is fantastic! Congratulations! Where did you film it? How did you so perfectly pair visual aesthetic to your music?
Thank you! We got most of our shots from a bar called The Village Saloon in Sparta, NJ. They took great care of us. It had that old-timey western viber that’s perfect for the story we were trying to tell with it. Joey directed and edited the entire thing and shot most of it along with our friends Sean Corbett and Arielle Peredez. They have a fantastic eye for film. We hope to release a series of narrative music videos that may or may not take place all in the same universe with wildly different atmospheres. Fortunately, the nature of our music allows us to really take liberties with the visuals and stories.
It seems like you guys are always out playing a shows all over the east coast, what are some of the biggest things you’ve learned from being on the road?
Everyone is a friend. Return all favors received. Great music can, in fact, be found outside the NJ/NY metropolitan area. Always have baby wipes nearby.
What band or musician would you be most excited to open for?
Everyone in the band would most likely have a different answer, but I think we would all agree that playing with “That Handsome Devil” would be A+! To shoot for the stars, I would probably say Ween or QotSA. Maybe St. Vincent too!
And there you have it! Electric Sensei has a couple of gigs coming up:
Sunday, Oct. 7th- Dingbatz in Clifton, New Jersey
Friday, Nov. 23rd- Arlene’s Grocery in New York, New York
For tickets and further information on any of the shows listed above, click here.
Fans can find Electric Sensei at the following locations: