Seas & Centuries
It’s been just over five years since Seas & Centuries released its first EP, Until December. Each of the three EPs that followed reveals a key element in the band’s evolution. Seas & Centuries’ ambient-meets-alternative rock by way of shoegaze sound has been gradually slowing down—stretching and settling into a more spacious place. This change in pace is echoed in the band’s latest project, a full-length album they’ve been working on for months and likely won’t release until autumn.
“We’re moving more to a kind of empty-room sound, I guess,” said drummer Andrew Sherbondy. “We have a lot of layers that are still taking place, but we’re looking more for a kind of emptiness in the sound at the same time. … All the music we love—it’s so simple and thoughtful, and I think we’re trying to go for that without losing kind of the core of what Seas & Centuries really was, so expanding but still remembering the roots.”
Those roots lie with guitarist and vocalists Alex Hay, Seas & Centuries’ only remaining founding member.
“When I first started doing this … a lot of it felt progressive, like, there’s 50 parts jammed in a song,” Hay explained. “Did they work together? Sure. But I’ve just fallen in love so much more with a good song and trying to improve on that end, as far as writing a good song rather than just putting as much cool stuff in it as you can.”
Hay’s approach to good songwriting also requires taking more time with the writing process.
“That’s what’s been really interesting this time, on this cycle, is I basically have not played any guitar at my house or anything like I normally would and generated ideas,” Hay said. “It’s all been here, off the floor.”
Writing an album in the studio is somewhat easier when the band’s practice space doubles as a recording studio, which is the case for Seas & Centuries, whose bassist, Colin Christian, is the head engineer at the Sound Saloon recording studio on Fourth Street. He’s been engineering and mixing for Seas & Centuries since early in the band’s development and will fulfill this role again on the new album. His position as bassist for the band, however, is newer and began as a sort of marriage of convenience.
“It’s exhausting to try to find a lot of people, and Colin knows music, so we asked him to play bass with us,” Hay explained.
The lines between the sometimes months-long writing process and the subsequent recording process—which for an average local band may often be constrained to a matter of days in order to control costs—are blurred.
“We’ve all done the thing where we go and lock ourselves in the studio somewhere, and you make the record,” Christian said. “It always comes up short. … With something like this, everyone can kind of just be. You live in the moment. You capture the moment. Maybe that moment sucked. Maybe you don’t realize it for another two weeks. We can fix that. We have that liberty to actually experiment, which brings out cooler things, because there’s less to lose in the moment.”
The guys aren’t currently planning to play any concerts or debut any new music before the album release. For Hay, the downtime is a welcome reprieve.
“You know, the longer I’ve done this, the more I realize that I don’t want to play shows in Reno three times a month because it’s just overkill, and that would mean that I’m doing the exact same thing over and over and over for people,” he said.