Saiara is one-half of the alternative indie band, Slow Blink, alongside Nick Brown. Her roots come from Louisville, Kentucky but she currently resides in Richmond, Virginia. Her hometown is similar to Richmond as she was accustomed to an artsy and diverse environment. Outside of music, I graduated with a BFA in Kinetic Imaging from VCU this past May. Saiara knows how to paint pictures electronically through visuals and sounds. Slow Blink just released their first project, Slow-Blink. It's a four-track EP that's a smooth introduction to their world of music.
Jay: The band started as your senior thesis project and now expanded to being a performing band. What was the senior thesis about? (video art, 3D animation, game design).
Saiara: Conceptually, a way to put my emotions into something visual and audio-wise. I was an English minor and my classes were poetry based, so my videos were always music and poetry based. Music is poetry with all the different instruments you add. You can create certain energies to amplify emotions. The videos are so important. One of our 3-D videos, Illusionary, was shown at Byrd Theater in Richmond, VA
The releasing process has been slow. it's been a learning process and our strategy is to have video content alongside the music before we release it.
Jay: How did you and Nick Brown meet?
Saiara: We met through mutual friends in the music scene. We write, record, mix, and master songs ourselves as much as we can. We’re on the production side of the music. It’s strictly collaboration for everything. Coming up with different melodies, instrument use, what effects we want, and where to fade in and fade out. The lyrics are all me, but it’s hard to say what things we both focus on because it’s bouncing ideas off each other. I ask him for his thoughts on projects all the time.
We have been jamming with Jake Potts who is also pursuing Kinetic Imaging, and we would line up our performances would be based on when we get together for practice.
Jay: What was the moment that the band decided “Hey, we should keep this going?”
Saiara: It was when we realized we were actually good with software. There is so much you can do within Ableton. My background in doing videos and sound design supplements our abilities to play instruments. Another moment was when I was in classes getting encouraging critiques from professors and classmates.
Jay: The band’s sounds are relaxing and mellow. It reminds me of background band music during an NPR Tiny Desk concert. How did the band establish their sound?
Saiara: It’s what we both enjoy listening to the most. It’s very chill. I would say psychedelic rock is a big influence, synthwave, and definitely R&B. It’s hard to put it into one genre. When we first connected, we listened to a lot of the same artists. Some of the artists we're inspired by are Still Woozy. They started independently out of his garage. Tame Impala and MGMT as well. Our sound is similar to The Marias.
Jay: What fuels your creativity as a digital artist? I notice some of your artwork revolves around digital and electronic themes.
Saiara: I almost feel like it’s creating another world. A lot of my art is surreal and want to have the loop so you can be engaged with it and find details. There are plenty of subtle things people can find in the artwork by watching it multiple times. It’s a good outlet where I can channel intense emotions into art.
Jay: Tell me more about the game Slow Blink created.
Saiara: I made the game in Unreal Engine 4 and used a lot of the modeling from the 3D music video for Illusionary. It’s a virtual gallery space where you can experience music in the virtual space. In the space, you can go to the record player and play certain music. When you go to the TV, you can watch two of the music videos and go outside and another song would start playing as you view the galaxy over a forest. It’s a virtual gallery where you can explore the space and interact with everything in it.
Jay: What’s the story behind the band’s name?
Saiara: Cats say I love you by slow blinking. We both have black cats and when we first met, he just got his cat. I thought it captured our vibe well. I have always been obsessed with cats.
Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would like to shout out?
Saiara: Indigo Bethany and The Cave Dwellers. I can't forget to mention The6thDimension.
Jay: What was the best no that you have ever received and why?
Saiara: When I graduated high school in 2014, I wanted to go to California. My dream job was to work for Cartoon Network or Adult Swim but my parents said no. I was raised in Lousiville, KY. They thought Richmond was the best idea for all of us. VCU is a top arts public school. I was super heartbroken, and I had recommendations and applications ready for that program.
I wanted to do art the whole time. That’s why I feel like I’m supposed to be here in Richmond. The whole time I’ve been in Richmond, it’s been a roller coaster ride. When I moved to Virginia, I went from being restricted to finding independence. I even established a relationship with my parents even though they weren't supportive of my dreams and wanted me to be in computer science. Even though things are uncertain, I have more of a direction on what I would rather be doing now since I found my love for music again and not just sticking to animation.
Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.
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