Thayer Sarrano is a multi-faceted artist. A visual artist, a classically trained musician, and a touring musician. Her music has a minimalist ethereal quality to it. She comes to Denver a month before the release of her 4th studio album, Wings Alleluia. The album was made in Athens, Georgia and is released by The Guildwater Group. It includes “Oh My Soul”, “These Arms”, “White Shores” and “Grace Goes On”
She is touring with Johnny Hickman. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with her about the new album.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Wings Alleluia?
TS: This was the first time that I played most parts and made a lot more arrangements for male voices, etc. That was helpful to get the vision into the sound, but it also made a lot more room for self doubt. Also I like things pretty murky, but I wanted the lyrics to be clear because they are more positive. So that was always a dance with the mixes.
FEMMUSIIC: Wings Alleluia is your 4th studio album. What lessons have you learned from your other projects?
TS: Each record I feel like I get a little closer. I learn how to communicate better, from more engineering terms and less colors, to just knowing how to better achieve what I want. I feel lucky as a session player too to be able to see so many different styles of working and dynamics in the studio.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your sketchbook? How does your visual art influences your music?
TS: Visual art helps me communicate the stuff I can’t say. It’s like a middle man for writing. I will have an experience or understanding from somewhere that I can paint or draw or whatever. Then at some point, I will find I am describing that image in my lyrics.
FEMMUSIC: You have a number of artists involved with the album. Tell me how the Athens music scene has influenced your music?
TS: I’m thankful for Athens because it’s a very inspiring, supportive, and “original” community. I’ve learned so much seeing bands, playing with a lot of bands there, and working at Camp Amped (teenage rock camp at Nuçi’s Space). People involved with the camp are my family, bandmates, engineers, etc. This record was fun because I got so many of the people I have sung harmony or accompanied in the past to sing with me.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
TS: Woah… I can remember so many defining moments. It’s impossible to pick one!
I remember the first time I heard Bob Dylan’s song “Isis”… I think I was 7 or 8. It was a new feeling for me at that time. I remember just thinking “yes.”
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
TS: I’ve been really lucky to work with only really good men in the studio and on tour who are secure and respectful. Every once in a while on tour, you come across somebody condescending or creepy, and you handle it case by case. Sometimes people just don’t know how to talk to people because they have their own issues, and so they can learn from you too.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
TS: Neil Young, because Neil Young… tour with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, make a record with Daniel Lanois .
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry
TS: I have been living and working through a difficult phase in the industry where the system devalues art and there are a lot more expectations for artists outside of making art now. I don’t know how to change that on the big level personally, but I do believe it will change. Music is bigger, and we will keep making the work that must be born, and that is so important that I can’t let the insanity get me down.