August 31, 2017

Premiere: Strawberry Runners - "Brother"

Listen to the stunning new single from Strawberry Runners.

I have quite a few gripes with the Spotify algorithm, but it has occasionally done me right. For example, last spring my Discover Weekly playlist included the song "When We Were Good" by the band Strawberry Runners, who I had never heard of before. The vocalist's voice spread like honey over a soaring chorus that explodes and shimmers throughout its three minute duration. I was immediately hooked and played out their Hatcher Creek tape for the rest of 2016. But since the tiny album had come out over a year before then, I had assumed it was an abandoned project and gave up hope that I would hear from this mystery band again.

Apparently I was living under a rock, because Strawberry Runners wasn't MIA at all over the last two years. The project, which is fronted by artist Emi Night, had been actively recording and touring while also relocating from the Midwest to the East Coast. And finally, they'll be releasing their debut EP In the Garden, In the Night next month on Salinas Records. We're thrilled to premiere their second single "Brother," a beautiful piece that bursts into a cacophony of instruments in its final act. Night poetically tells tales of her sibling, touching on the theme of familial relationships that runs through the stunning EP. You can hear "Brother" below along with an interview with Night herself on the creation of the album and her personal favorite song of summer 2017.

The Le Sigh: This is Strawberry Runners' first release in two years - what's changed for you in life over that time? How have you changed musically?

Emi Night: Over the two years between our last release and this one, the band’s lineup has changed quite a bit, and through the changes - the uneasiness of uncertainty - the teaching and re-teaching, the learning, shifting, and re-learning parts, I’ve gotten to know these songs and myself as a songwriter pretty well. The challenges have given me the opportunity to consider what’s essential in our sound, to step up as the songwriter and take ownership of my project.

TLS: You also relocated from Denver to Connecticut - what have you found that's different between the two places?

EN: There is a lot that’s different. I currently live in a somewhat secluded area of Connecticut, but I’m so close to New York City, Boston, Philly, and tons of musical towns in between, so the opportunity to play different places with new bands feels kind of endless. Denver was a little more isolated in that way. It was a trade though: I have a lot of friends in Denver that I miss, there was a really tight music scene there and the band was doing really well when I left. When I first came out here no one had heard of Strawberry Runners. It will take time to have the same sort of opportunities out here that we had there. There have been setbacks, but this is where I wanted to end up, so I had to make the jump eventually.

TLS: From your social media presence, it seems like you spend a lot of time in nature - how does this play a role in your music?

EN: I’ve been a bit of a hermit since moving out east. It was a little tricky adjusting to the slower pace of day-to-day, but I’ve gotten used to it. I feel lucky to have so much natural beauty right in my back yard, and I love the peace and quiet, so I spend a lot of time outside. It slows me down, gets me out of my head, and makes me think about my surroundings. Writing has been easier, more regular, and the content a bit more objective - lighter and heavier at the same time.

TLS: The new EP is really beautiful, and it seems much heavier in subject matter and sound than your past songs - what inspired this change? Was it difficult or cathartic to tackle these themes / sounds?

EN: I wrote these songs in the year or two after my dad passed away. They were cathartic to write, and to play them can still be sometimes. I was feeling very far away from my family in Indiana, after moving to Colorado, and thinking about my dad’s life and the time that I knew him bought up a lot of painful memories, fears, and regrets. I went back to school at Goddard College to study songwriting, and decided to focus my attention on these songs. So I spent two years studying and writing not only about the songs, but about what influenced them - my family relationships, childhood abuse, trauma, and how to make lasting positive change after living with PTSD. Writing these songs was like turning a light on my emotional and relational health, giving me a vehicle to share guarded feelings and untold stories with the people I love.

TLS: You list your genre online as 'tender pop' - how would you define that?

EN: I think of it as pop music that tells a vulnerable story with compassion…It’s musically light like pop but a little more personal in content. One way to tell tender pop from other pops is if you listen to the lyrics too close you might feel a little weird dancing to it. : )

TLS: Since September is quickly approaching + the summer is basically over, what was your personal song of the summer?
EN: My personal song of the summer is by The Afterglows, which is the collaborative project between Michael Cantor of The Goodbye Party and Sam Cook-Parrott of Radiator Hospital, the song is Spitting Blood. I spent a few days on tour with The Goodbye Party in April and I got to hear his songs every night which was a total dream come true. On the last night of tour, we traded records and I went home with The Afterglows record and listened to it over and over. This song wasn’t one that he played on tour, but it stuck with me for personal reasons. Mikey is one of my favorite songwriters.


Strawberry Runners Tour Dates:
08.31.17 – NYC, NY @ The Delancey
10.20.17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Lava Space
10.21.17 – NYC, NY @ Trans-Pecos
10.22.17 – Boston, MA @ Bardo (house show)
10.23.17 – Northampton, MA @ TBA (in process)
10.25.17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Roboto Project
10.27.17 – Madison, IN @ West Street Art Center
10.28.17 – Bloomington, IN @ The Void
10.29.17 – Detroit, MI @ Trumbullplex

Listen to Strawberry Runners on soundcloud.

Photo by Scott McCormick

Written by Emily Thompson