Top Story, On Campus, Arts

The Odd Couple: Indie Rock Group Seaver’s Express And BC Athletics

Guitarist Sean Seaver discusses his band’s unlikely relationship with the athletic department.

Collaborating with Boston College Athletics, Seaver’s Express performed in Conte Forum Friday night just before the men’s basketball team faced off against Providence. The BC alternative rock group debuted its new single “On the Table” at the pregame concert and closed off its set with a well-received rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” The Heights caught up with lead guitarist Sean Seaver, A&S ’16, in between sets, to discuss the band’s relationship with the athletics department as well as its recording process

The Heights: How did your relationship with Athletics start?

Seaver: I’m an officer in the Music Guild, and Athletics sent us an email at the start of the semester, seeing if any bands would want to play the Superfan Zone. We sent that [email] out to a bunch of BC bands—we played it, Juice played it, and Lucid Soul—so I was able to go to the meeting with John Guzzi, and two athletic people, Brad Truman and Jamie DiLoreto. They thought music was a good draw, so they wanted to know how we could expand that. So this is—pretty much we’re the pilot for the basketball program. If this works, we’ll be able to have more shows like this in the future, maybe expanding if given the opportunity. The Superfan Zone catalyzed this all.

The Heights: Where else do you see the success of the Superfan Zone being recreated?

Seaver: I think basketball and hockey. A lot of it is showing other extracurricular groups and events on campus that live music can draw people, because we’re in the very unique position where we have an immensely talented music scene, and people are starting to discover that the bands are good, and that the music is good. Two years ago, there would never be a band at a basketball game. There would never be the bands at the football games, so it’s kind of just making the arts more mainstream at BC by revealing to people how good the talent is.

The Heights: What feels different when you’re playing at a game in Conte Forum versus one of your more intimate live sets in the Cabaret Room or off-campus?

Seaver: Everything is different. Even how we mic the instruments is different—we’re not miking the drums tonight, but you can still hear the drums because of the echo. It’s less delivering an intimate show, and we’re viewing it more as a loose jam session. It’s less about the nit-picky, making sure every single sound is on. In the Cabaret Room, that’s a high stretch show—because the sound is really good, and you’re competing against other bands. Today, it’s just us and it’s a lot more people than we’ve ever played to before, so it’s just putting ourselves out there, hoping people see our name on the Jumbotron and get interested in us.

The Heights: What can you say about your new single?

Seaver: “On the Table” comes out Sunday night. It’s our first single with Zoe as the lead singer—Brian doesn’t sing on it. We tried multiple harmony arrangements with him, but it didn’t really work. It’s tight, melodic. It’s different from “A Different Gravity” and “2×2.” It’s more vocal driven. We got outside musicians. Lisa Bae—who’s played with Free Alley before—plays violin on the song. We wanted to get more experimental. It opens with an organ and violin intro, and then it drops into a standard rock configuration. Then we introduce new elements throughout the mix. It’s a studio project: we’ve been working on it two months. I think it’s the best recording we’ve had.

The Heights: Where did you record it?

Seaver: We recorded it at the BC studio. All our songs, from now on, will be recorded there.  We’re releasing “On the Table” Sunday, and then we’re releasing an EP when we get back in January. Hopefully the album will be done by March.

The Heights: What’s the production process like for you? Do you have any oversight?

Seaver: My favorite bands like Spoon and Vampire Weekend all have members that are also producers, and production is such a huge part of music in today’s culture that it’s almost another member of the band. We always wanted to do it ourselves, but I didn’t feel I was good enough until this spring when I took an audio engineering class and was able to refine my skills a bit. We worked with an outside producer for “2×2”—that wasn’t us—and I was disappointed with how it came out. I don’t think it authentically replicates the energy the song conveys. We’re just trying to get as organic performances as possible. We record it. I mix it. I master it. We do everything ourselves—it’s just constant collaboration from the five of us to make sure we’re getting a sound that represents what we want.

The Heights: What other venues would you like to see opened up to musicians on campus in the next year?

Seaver: I think it would be fantastic to actually get in Alumni rather than outside in the concourse. More shows in the Cabaret Room, more in the dining halls. CAB does its Pub Series—I think it would be good to see bands in Hillside, bands in Lower. The Rat could also be utilized more, and I’m hoping in the spring, outdoor concerts can be a thing: in the Stokes Amphitheater or the Quad. I think my dream performance would be on the roof of Gasson, but I don’t think we’re getting there.

Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor

December 8, 2014