Posted On 07 Dec 2016
Since their inception, Ships Have Sailed have always struck a balance between exuberant pop and substantial alternative rock. Their 2014 debut EP Someday was essentially a soft launch for the band that picked up traction organically; receiving heavy airplay on College, NPR and Commercial radio in the US and Canada.
Later that year the band toured the Northeastern US and, in 2015, performed showcases at SXSW, CMJ Music Marathon, Canadian Music Week, & NAMM. They also took home accolades from ISC, Unsigned Only and The John Lennon Songwriting Competition.
2015 also saw the release of their first full length album Moodswings – a reflection on how the present is impacted by all other moments in time and how any sort of change can alter the trajectory of one’s life. The LP received glowing reviews from Blackbook, Wild Honey Pie, and The 405 and spawned a sister release Re:Mix whose tropical house remixes seemed in perfect step with the evolving music climate.
Ships Have Sailed’s new acoustic EP Whispers was released on May 13, 2016. After touring up and down the west coast for much of the summer, Ships is embarking on an east coast tour in early November.
Learn more about Ships Have Sailed in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are well into the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for this band? What are you most excited about for 2017?
2016 I think has been a transitional year for almost everyone we know. Some of these transitions have been painful, but I think most have been necessary, at least in our circles. For us as a group…this year has seen us making strides further than before, so although we’ve had some transitions of our own, and probably will see more before the year is out, we couldn’t be thankful enough to have toured as widely as we’ve been able to this year, and for the love from media outlets (yourselves included), on-air personalities and, of course, our fans! As I mentioned, we’ve been out on the road a lot this year, which means less time to create, so I think we’re really excited to get back into the studio in 2017…there’s some music just waiting to come out!
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all wanted to be musicians for as long as we can remember. My mom tells a story about me as a two-year-old kid, barely talking, and playing with blocks while humming along to a Mozart concerto flawlessly (or so she says), so yeah, music has always been a part of our lives.
How did you all meet each other? Where did you come up with your group name? Was it a difficult decision to come to? What other names were you considering?
Well, funny enough, this project started just as a collection of songs that didn’t fit with my current project at the time, but I didn’t really want to let them go. So it essentially started with me in the studio, and I was going through a really contemplative time…musing a lot about how we get to the place we wind up in life. It’s amazing really, we can never predict where we end up…so I took the slightly negative phrase: “That ship has sailed” and kind spun it to the positive, naming the project ‘Ships Have Sailed’.
As for how we met, Dan and I were in another band together at the time, and were really close…so he was the first person to hear pre-production. Originally he and I met through Craigslist though…I had posted an ad for a bass player, and he came in and just crushed the audition! Art joined us initially by way of being a stand-in for the guy who was drumming for us at the time. He and Dan had played together in sessions, but he and I had never met, and our very first experience included a red-eye flight on Spirit Air, a drive over the Canadian border to play Canadian Music Week, a single hotel room with 3 guys hanging out, and a high-pressure set with not a whole lot of time to prepare… He killed it obviously, and we had a great time together on that trip…the rest is history!
How do you think your music has grown through the years? What has changed about the way you create music?
Well I feel like artists always evolve…I’m no different, and thus neither is Ships. Definitely you can hear the development between our first EP ‘Someday’ (which is slightly rough around the edges) and our full-length album ‘Moodswings’ (which I feel has much more polish and finesse, especially the production). From there, we’ve really only released our acoustic EP ‘Whispers’, which was a really big diversion from both of the previous records, so I guess thus far we change a bit every time we create something new!
Let’s talk about your newest acoustic EP, “Whispers” released this summer. How are these songs different or similar to anything else Ships Have Sailed has put out?
Well the difference is easy to articulate, because the album is completely acoustic, and all our other work has generally had very layered production. Similarities are interesting, because three of the tracks off ‘Whispers’ are re-imagined from previous releases…but it was a real process stripping away the layers and leaving them so bare. Emotionally speaking it was a surprisingly difficult process to strip some of these songs down, which I think led to very emotive performances as well…so I love listening back to ‘Whispers’ and remembering the process, and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!
How is your November tour going? Where are you still excited to play at?
Well, as I answer these, we’ve just completed the first show of tour, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick it off! We played The Court Tavern in New Brunswick, NJ, which is a great little spot with a killer sound system. Tons of great people came out to share the night with us; both familiar faces and new friends as well…and that’s what it’s all about! Tomorrow we play The Bowery Electric in NYC, and we’re stoked for that! From there, we go to Connecticut, Vermont, Providence, RI and Boston…honestly, I’m excited for all the shows on this tour…I’m originally from the New England area…so the north east always feels a bit like home.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you love to work with in the future?
The answer to this question constantly changes from week to week, month to month and year to year…that’s the beauty of music: as long as artists create, there will always be something new to inspire us! That said, I’ve been listening to Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, the most recent Mumford and Sons, and The National quite a bit… As for working with folks in the future, we recently found our music was discovered by Pat Monahan of ‘Train’ and featured on his show that he curates on SiriusXM The Pulse…so would love to dream that the connection there could lead to a shared stage or collaboration sometime in the future!
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
Hiking, Golf, Travel…Yoga…(laughter) but I’m always in the studio! Dan watches cartoons and is crazy about all things Disney. Art is a family man…he’s always happiest with family around!
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
Well, it’s a tumultuous world we live in right now…if there’s one thing we stand for it is unity and inclusion as a human, or a music fan, there’s a place for everyone in the world. Everyone deserves to be heard and respected. We like to think our music is introspective, but also uplifting, and hope that our listeners can find an escape or some solace from our sounds to get them through whatever it is they might be struggling with…because we all struggle, no matter who we are.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
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