Indie-folk-rock band The Conleys appeared on Gosh!Radio Meet the Music ob Dec 3rd, 2011
By Tiffany Myers
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Gosh!Radio) 2011/12/2 – “I secretly wrote my own songs for a long time and then when I went off to Girls State in high school I decided to play an original song in their talent show,” says The Conleys lead singer Sarah Conley. “After that I never wanted to do anything else.”
The band is Sarah Conley, her brother Nick Conley, Stephen Philp on bass, Frank Schnyder on drums, and Julie Hill with backing vocals and auxiliary percussion. The Conleys describe their unique musical style as “folk noir” at heart, with folk lyricism sensibilities and a rock backbone that gives their music power.
“Our music is about passion,” says Conley. “Passion for love, passion for art, passion for feeling.” Conley, as the primary writer for the band, says she draws inspiration from wherever she is. Even washing her car has inspired songs. She and Nick consider themselves huge Steven Sondheim fans and count art, film, nature, animals and any kind of live performances amongst their inspirations. “It all adds up to loving the world around you and experiencing it,” says Conley, “which then in turn influences our art.”
“While our roots are in folk we always felt that it didn’t quite describe us,” says Conley. “The songs tell a story about somehow trying to get better and often not, but at least realizing the beauty of the journey, the essence of noir. Everything we do ends up sounding like The Conleys, but we don’t force a “The Conleys” treatment on our music.”
Even though The Conleys are an indie-folk-rock band, they don’t limit their songs to the same sound. They arrange each song to best convey the feeling, emotion and dynamic that they are going for, whether that means including a slide or a drum solo. It all adds up to diversity.
Conley says she doesn’t write “issue songs,” but many of them end up having a double meaning. For instance, Racin’ the Sun, on one level, talks about a person in an unfulfilling job who does not want to work his life away. On a secondary level, though, it can apply to the unrest in the current economic climate. Conley says, “if you work toward clarity of feeling in writing a song, meanings will develop.”
The Conleys have collaborated with many talented musicians in the past…Alex Del Zoppo of Sweetwater, Victor Bisetti of Los Lobos, Tony Sales who worked with David Bowie, and Barry Goldberg who worked with Bob Dylan, to name a few. Conley tells a story about working with Joe Hajek on his signature song American Dream and hearing a call-and-response part in her head. After singing it with him, he’s performed it that way ever since.
The band self-released their first studio record entitled Folk Noir in December of 2009, having recorded mainly at Melrose Music Studios with David Williams. Before that they sold a couple unmastered collections including Heartbreak & Cowboy Love and the Traffic EP.
Conley says they will get back in the studio and record their new songs during 2012. She says the new album will have more of a rock feel and be more nuanced. Sarah Conley and brother Nick were raised around the circus and tend to throw into their songs characters that draw on that history. Their premiere album included a juggler and an acrobat on the flying trapeze. Their next album has characters that include a lion tamer and magician.
About Meet the Music
The show premiered in June of 2011. The 1-hour weekly music talk show Meet the Music is hosted by Gabrielle Pantera who interviews bands, singers, musicians, composers, songwriters, and music executives. Show co-hosts vary. Sound engineer David Williams. Producer Robin Rowe. Executive Producer Gabrielle Pantera. The show broadcasts live from Melrose Music Studios at Raleigh Studios Hollywood. Raleigh Studios is a historic studio lot where TV shows such as Castle, Closer and Private Practice are currently in production.