On The Coast: Making Music On The Fly With Angela Sheik (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

On The Coast: Making Music On the Fly With Angela Sheik

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
All right. So our theme this week is Winging It. And the woman we'll meet next is all about winging it through music. We'll find out more on, On The Coast…

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:13
…in which Bryan Russo brings us up to speed on the latest from coastal Delaware and the eastern shore of Maryland. Today, he introduces us to singer-songwriter Angela Sheik, who uses unusual instruments, like the theremin, autoharp and loop pedal to create her sound. Sheik recently visited our studios out in Ocean City to teach Bryan how to make musical loops on the fly.

MS. ANGELA SHEIK

00:00:35
I really am going for a sound that you don't hear very often, so something that's a little bit unique. That's the music I gravitate towards, so…

MR. BRYAN RUSSO

00:00:41
Yeah. What's your background, as far as instruments go? I mean, you know, you say that you just kind of picked up the autoharp. You know, what are you rooted in? Where was your instruction?

SHEIK

00:00:51
I started playing my grandmother's piano. I really wanted to play the "Star Wars" theme song. So I think that was my first step, but I was in the band program, the public school band program. And I played flute. And that was my start.

RUSSO

00:01:05
When did you find the loop pedal that you've now become, not only very well known for, but also you've become a champion of? Tell me the first time that you found one of these loop pedals and then you saw the endless possibilities of what it could do for your sound.

SHEIK

00:01:19
Well, I had a different loop pedal for a long time. And I was at an electronic music festival and thankfully some guy came up to me. He was maybe in his 60's and he said, you should check this pedal out. I think it would really open up the possibilities for you. I am so grateful for that man. I don't know who it was, but he was so right. I mean, I got my Boss RC-50. At the time, this pedal that I have now wasn't out. And, yeah, it was just such a songwriting tool for me. It kept me from playing a crazy amount of chords. You know? The loop pedal gives you a structure, and I think changed my songwriting.

RUSSO

00:01:54
I went to play a track off the record and this track on the record isn't necessarily -- it's a cover song, you know, simply put. This was just nominated by Independent Music Awards. This was nominated for best cover song.

SHEIK

00:02:09
Yay.

RUSSO

00:02:09
This is a cover of "I Can't Help Falling In Love." So we're going to listen to that and I'm going to follow you back into the isolation booth where we're going to learn how to create your sound.

RUSSO

00:03:03
Okay. We're here in the very small isolation booth here at the Park Recording Studio in Ocean City. I'm here with Angela Sheik. We are going to create a loop. So basically, for people who are just hearing, you know, the wonderments of looping, tell me what we're looking at, what we're using and what, I guess, the first step in creating a loop.

SHEIK

00:03:27
Okay. We are using the queen of boss pedals. This is the Boss RC-300, which is basically three pedals smashed together with some effects, which is going to allow us to take some loops in and out.

RUSSO

00:03:40
Okay.

SHEIK

00:03:41
So we can record something and we can take it out.

RUSSO

00:03:42
Okay. So let's…

SHEIK

00:03:42
You know, trial and error.

RUSSO

00:03:43
Let's start with -- when you're creating a loop, what do you like to start with first?

SHEIK

00:03:48
Usually rhythm. Rhythm is key and then you can add harmonies and take them out and the rhythm will stay. I'll give you an eight-beat rhythm. Okay. And then we'll see if anything -- and then I'll hand the mic to you and just say, go.

RUSSO

00:03:58
Okay. Right.

RUSSO

00:05:29
All right. So we just created a loop. It's interesting you…

SHEIK

00:05:34
You never know where it's going to go.

RUSSO

00:05:35
You never know where it's going to go. I find it really interesting with your stuff, is that as more and more people find who you are as an artist, and they're like, wow, Angela Sheik is really a force to be reckoned with and really somebody that I dig as an artist. As you get bigger, do you worry that they're going to have to try and place you in some sort of genre? You know, you look at artists that you're influenced by, Imogen Heap or Regina Spektor. It's hard to kind of place them in a box.

SHEIK

00:06:03
That's already a problem. It's already a problem explaining to somebody in a way that would invite them to come, make them want to come to a show. What genre is the question that they usually ask and I don't have an answer for that. But I really love the people, especially the women icons that are the genre. Imogen Heap is her own genre. Regina Spektor is her own genre. She made anti-folk in my mind, so yeah, that's what I aspire to be.

SHEIR

00:06:28
That was singer-songwriter Angela Sheir speaking with WAMU's Bryan Russo. Sheik has shows coming up in Cheltenham, Md. and Fairfax, Va. And you can read all about them on our website, metroconnection.org.
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