Sarah Neufeld to play new music on St. Vincent tour

Sarah Neufeld had a chat with St. Louis Post-Dispatch about premiering new unreleased music with Jeremy Gara when she, starting next week, opens for St. Vincent on a number of dates. Sarah also talks a bit about Arcade Fire.

Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld unveils new solo music on St. Vincent tour

By Kevin C. Johnson

Arcade Fire has some downtime right now, so violinist Sarah Neufeld is taking this opportunity to further her solo work. She joins St. Vincent’s tour Wednesday at the Pageant.
Neufeld’s fans are in for a treat: She’s playing a limited number of dates with St. Vincent, and she’s premiering music from an album that’s not yet released.

“We’re bringing to town this new body of work, and it’s the first time we’ve played it live,” she says. “We’re doing it well in advance of the record being out.”

The album, currently in post-production, features Neufeld with Arcade Fire drummer Jeremy Gara. They’ve known each other for about a decade.

Neufeld says the album represents “all the songs I wrote during the last Arcade Fire tour and last fall.”

She initially wasn’t sure if she’d need full drums on the album, though she knew she wanted it to be more percussive.

“I wanted to approach it differently,” she says. “The songwriting is pop minimalism and I’m singing more. It felt like a natural direction for me from my last stuff. I felt it was right to implore a full drum kit after working with him on one song. He’s extremely versatile. I wrote the stuff and then he came in, and it just took off in this exciting direction.”

She sings on most of the songs on the album, though she says she is first and foremost an instrumentalist. “In Arcade Fire, we all sing, so I’m used to singing. And I’ve always sung here and there in different projects.”

Neufeld was also a founding member of instrumental ensemble Bell Orchestre and has recorded with groups such as the Luyas, Esmerine and Little Scream.

“I don’t worry too much about genre and influences,” she says. “I just go with it — trust myself as a composer.
“On my first record, I sang to bring in more harmonious influences. It was more of a device. My voice would sit back a little bit from the violin,” she says. But on the upcoming record, “the ideas were more song-based. I was able to branch out a little bit more in terms of what my voice would naturally arrive at.”
She doesn’t use loops in her recordings, saying everything was performed in real time.

The busy Neufeld also just released “Never were the way she was,” a joint project with saxophonist Colin Stetson. She’ll tour with that project after touring with Gara.

Eventually, she says she’ll circle back to Arcade Fire, though everyone in the band is doing their own thing for the time being, “working on a lot of cool stuff.”

Neufeld says being with Arcade Fire (she has recorded with the band but now is a touring member) is like being in a family.

“We’ve grown up together,” she says. “We’ve been a family for a long time. It’s having that longevity with people that you really get to know them and get to see how everybody progresses as a person and as an artist.”

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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