"We rented a studio perched above the Pacific Ocean just north of the Bay and ate, breathed, and slept in and around the music together" We chat with Rising Appalachia
Hey Chloe, so to warm you up, an easy question first, what have you been up to today?
Hot yoga, a walk by the stream looking at all the blooming trilliums and new spring greens, conference calls for our new album, mate lattes.
And where are you right now?
Western North Carolina, outside of Asheville.
Introduce yourself to our lovely readers, in case they don’t know you.
Hey yall, I'm Chloe, co-leader of the band Rising Appalachia. Younger sister, southerner by birth, writer of songs and player of banjo and fiddle, lover of high mountains and deep poetics.
Tell us a bit about you, what’s your first memory of playing music?
I grew up with two musical parents who steeped themselves in old timey Appalachian mountain music traditions. They both played for contra dances around the south, and so my sister and I grew up spending many weekends at fiddle camps with those sounds rocking us to sleep along with the cacophony of cicadas and tree frogs. Some of my earliest memories of music are singing with my parent's community and trying out harmonies with my mamma.
As family in a band, is one of you more in charge of things than the other?
Leah and I run Rising Appalachia and each take on different roles and tasks, thus splitting up the responsibility of the workload as well as leaning on our rather different strengths. She is a great hustler, and I consider myself a great weaver, and the combination of those elements keep things fresh as well as interlocked in this project.
Your new album, Leylines, is out soon, what can you tell us about it?
Leylines is our dream album in many ways as we finally had the artists in the room with us to co-create an exploration of the roots of Appalachia…. which is, in my opinion, Africa + Ireland + the South. This album has a much thicker instrumentation to it and really leans in to the aural textures of the banjo, fiddle, bass, ngoni, and percussion. It was a joy to explore these songs with a six-piece and see how each expression really came to life in the studio.
Which song on the album do you most want people to hear?
All of them.
What’s your approach to writing (and choosing) songs to record?
Organic. We don't overwork anything. If an idea comes to fruition and feels good for every player, then we bring it to the stage. If it's rickety or not authentic, we leave it alone for a few years. Nothing is forced.
What can you tell us about Come To Life?
Come to Life is the good news network for the regenerative movement. Hosted and uplifted by Guayaki Yerba Mate, its an artist collective of musicians, filmmakers, poets, permaculturists, and thinkers who host events aimed to inspire localized collaboration and positive ways of working together in this world. Rising Appalachia has partnered with Come To Life to release this new album, as well as in a cultural exchange in South America learning about Yerba Mate, as well as on various film projects connecting music as a tool for action.
Can you describe the recording of the album for me, what was your process? And what was the studio like you recorded in? Did you personalise the space at all?
Leylines is the first album we have not recorded in the south, which is pretty huge. This time, we rented a studio perched above the Pacific ocean just north of the Bay and ate, breathed, and slept in and around the music together. We prepared a bunch of songs throughout the past few years, and then gave ourselves 10 days in the studio to lay them down, trusting that trying to make them perfect would kill the “live” spirit we were looking for on this recording. Additionally, we brought in our first producer, Mr. Joe Henry, who was an absolute gem to have in the room with the band offering up priceless creative spark and juju when needed. Overall, it was a joyful and “all hands on deck” sort of experience, leaving us proud and content with what we have to offer this world.
You guys have been around the world, what’s been your favourite place so far?
That's always a hard question. We love the Mediterranean region and thoroughly enjoyed our time off the coast of Naples a year ago. Our recent trip to Patagonia was a dream and five days was certainly not enough, so we hope to build more in South America. Additionally, we love the Montana/Wyoming region of this country and hope to barter a few concerts for some back country starry night escapades this summer if we can swing it.
And can you tell us where you’d rather not go back to?
Dive bars. any of them. NOT a fan.
Who inspires you?
People with a backbone who go after life with both grace as well as fire.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
I am loving the songwriter Jeffery Martin right now. He is an incredible writer and thinker. Also always loving the sister duo Ibeyi.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
We drink Yerba Mate, all day every day.
To find out more about the band you can visit their website. You can also check out their socials.