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Interviews About Albums: Sean Nolan And The Heartmakers - The Machineries Of Joy (2020)

1. What can you say about your new release, The Machineries of Joy?

This is a record we’re super proud of. It was a lot of work; we learned a lot. It’s interesting because a lot of bands crank out a pile of songs and pick the best ones; we sort of went in the other direction this time around, spending a lot of time on each individual track, exploring sounds and genres that excite us. I think it’s a special record in that sense, even though it’s made it a little more difficult to describe. Really, it’s a little bit punk, a little bit rock and roll, a little bit folk, with some space-age bits decorating the thing.

2. What is the meaning of this record?

As a whole this record is, in my humble opinion, a soundtrack to spin while investigating the meaning of it all. Each track in some shape or form deals with some aspect of life not always easy to grasp or comprehend. It’s got loss, self-doubt, joy, and a boatload of passion. It’s about dissecting and looking at these experiences that ultimately shape our collective experiences on this wild planet.

3. Which one within the band is the composer of the EP?

Generally speaking, I write songs on the acoustic guitar and bring them to the band. Chris always contributes a song or two in the same way. Musically, it’s all a journey; we put our heads together, pool our creative resources and make something we find interesting or exciting. I’m very lucky to be playing and writing with such a talented group of musicians.

4. If you had to pick one song, which one would you pick?

Velveteen Sleeves is my personal favorite on the record. It’s got that synth line and the lead guitar, the wide-open spaces in the verses. Not to mention the bridge at the end. I really enjoyed working on this track. It’s a blast to play live (when we’re able to play live). As a kid The Velveteen Rabbit was a book that always stayed with me; It was a pleasure writing something inspired by Margery Williams and her book.

5. Is there a special message you want to convey through this release?

If yes, what is it? Life’s a journey, not a destination. It’s something easy to forget. I struggle with it all the time. Or maybe life’s a road trip. One of those really great ones where you’re with your best friends and the windows are open and everyone’s taking turns playing their favorite songs on the stereo.

6. Are there some specific lyrics that you'd love to share?

“Every time I turn around somebody leaves.” She stopped me, folded her hands and breathed, “Can you see the seams in my velveteen sleeves?”

7. Which inspirations have been important for this record?

Like musically or friends, family, someone you'd love to thank particularly? Everything I was listening to/reading during the writing/recording of a record ends up influencing and inspiring me in some way. Truth be told, I’m always inspired by Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. John Irving is also someone who I’m always inspired by. Musically, Jeff Rosenstock, The Menzingers, Tom Petty, Neil Young. All those guys are great. Not sure if any of those influences come through but maybe that’s for the best. I hope to think that with each song I write I sound more and more like myself.

8. Something to add to end this interview?

It’s not always easy to feel grateful. Sometimes the dark outweighs everything else. It all gets so heavy sometimes. But I do think it’s important. I try to remind myself of that. There’s always something to be grateful for. Even if it’s the weather.

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