By: Shayla Lee
“If you can’t play with the big dogs you need to get the fuck off the stage.”
It was this misogynistic statement that would inspire Seasaw’s latest album cleverly titled ‘Big Dogs,’ which is a magical infusion of electro-pop, rock, and badass female energy. Seasaw is a Madison, WI-based duo which is made up of best friends Meg Golz and Eve Wilczewski who initially met through working in the same restaurant together eight years ago. Through their shared passion for music and desire to push each other to their full potential, Seasaw was born.
For fans of pop or rock, the duo’s latest album ‘Big Dogs’ is an absolute treat to listen to. From the glittery synth-pop track ‘No Way’ which is reminiscent of CHVRCHES to their addictive track ‘GodZilla’ which oozes rock and roll, ‘Big Dogs’ is full of unique moments throughout the record proving that the ladies can, in fact, play with the big dogs.
We had the chance to chat with Eve and she gave us more insight into the inspiration behind Seasaw’s album, challenges they have faced being females in the music industry, and how they turned a bad situation into a positive one.
How did Seasaw come to fruition? How did you two begin working together?
Eve Wilczewski (Seasaw): Meg and I became friends while working in the same restaurant together: Cannova’s in Freeport, Illinois. As we learned more about one another, we realized we both had a similar passion for listening to and making music. Meg had already been in a band with her brother, I was a violinist since 2nd grade and performed with orchestras, but never in a band setting. I also had borderline paralyzing performance fears. Through becoming best friends and building a huge amount of trust that comes with that kind of relationship, Meg was the catalyst that pushed me to be able to do what we do as Seasaw. Without her confidence and strength, the spark that started Seasaw 8 years ago wouldn’t have been.
When I listen to your music I can hear rock, pop, and electronic influences which is really interesting! Who would you cite as some of your personal musical influences?
Although we have wildly different music tastes, we also share a lot in common. In the mid-section of our Seasaw venn diagram, our biggest shared influences are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, The Strokes, The White Stripes, Coco Rosie, M.I.A., Of Montreal, The Kinks, You Won’t.
Congratulations on your album ‘Big Dogs’! I read that the inspiration behind many of the songs on the album stem from an experience you had at a music festival when you were verbally intimidated by a male band. Can you tell us more about this experience and how it inspired the album? What was the creative process of this album like for you?
After we had this unfortunate interaction that included the band saying to Meg, “If you can’t play with the big dogs you need to get the fuck off the stage,” we became fixated on the comical nature of that outdated/ironic/aggressive title “big dog.” We decided almost immediately that we would name the album “big dogs” and then the rest of the pieces fell into place. The incident not only inspired Meg to write the song “Big Dogs,” but it really infused the whole album with a new energy that trickled down into the arrangements and the focus of the album as a complete work.
As we began to make demos of all the tracks and place “Big Dogs” as the centerpiece, we were able to weed out sounds and songs that didn’t quite fit, and streamline our message and sonic story to match that of our title track. The energy that the big dogs incident gave us, although unpleasant at first, was really a creative blessing in disguise. We were able to push ourselves and come together as a team in a way that we hadn’t before.
In the summer you released a music video from the title track of your album ‘Big Dogs.’ The artistry is absolutely beautiful! Can you tell us more about this track and how you came up with the concept for the music video?
‘Big Dogs’ was a tricky phrase and visual for us to convey because we (Seasaw) are ultimately not the big dogs and we wanted people to have to look deeper at this superficial term big dog in the video, and on the front and back cover of our album.
We ultimately wanted to convey the idea that someone who is calling themselves a ‘big dog’ is someone who feels invisible and has to overcompensate by trying to convince you of their greatness.
After Meg wrote the song “Big Dogs” and I heard the brilliant and over the top breakdown and quirky/sarcastic lyrics and instrumentation, the visual of an invisible dog leash and the embarrassing chaos of a dog show was all I could imagine. I texted Meg immediately about the idea and the video spiraled from there. We had a blast working with the real puppies in the video and then gradually getting more and more bizarre by running the stuffed animals and invisible leashes through the agility course.
If you had to choose, what would your favorite lyric from your album be?
From “Sheep’s Clothing” I love singing, “Here’s faith, here’s fury and fire,…blind faith turns me into the liar.” “Sheep’s Clothing” is the most overtly political song we have on the album and because those lyrics are *unfortunately* so relevant right now, it feels really powerful to yell them into the microphone.
You two have faced challenges being women in the music industry, an example being your experience at the music festival. How have these experiences shaped you as artists? Do you have any tips for other women experiencing similar challenges?
In general we would say to be respectful of everyone you meet, and relish when that respect is returned. Lead by example and be ready (as much as you can) for any and all situations/personalities. We have had to learn fast at how to watch each other’s backs, protect one another and just function as a well oiled machine. We are prepared and practiced and can now do our best work depending on ourselves only – not on the performance/time/talents of others. When we realized we needed to take the variable of other people out of our Seasaw success equation, everything has become much less stressful because we really depend only on ourselves.
Mental health is really important to us at Femme Riot and we love hearing about how others maintain balance in their lives. Being two busy musicians, what practices do you implement into your lives to ensure your health and well-beings are taken care of?
The most stressful thing we tackle is touring, and the best strategy we have come up with is to do it in smaller pieces rather than one long stretch. We need to come home and have normalcy and good sleep. We try to stay very organized which also helps our mental well-being. Meg is a master at organization and keeps extraordinary records of what we have done and the plans to come. This piece also eliminates a lot of stress and makes it so we can focus on the most important part of our job.
Aside from your album release, do you have anything else in the works for this year?
We are planning to tour down to SXSW this spring and are very very excited. Big Dogs was released on September 7th, 2018 so it’s still so new… we are thrilled to have any and all opportunities to share it with new audiences.
What songs are you currently listening to?