Heather Baker was able to connect with musician Cap’n Seabeard to ask a few questions…
- Can you tell me a little bit about Captain Seabeard and how you chose that name?
Initially the name Cap’n Seabeard started as a bit of an inside joke after spending an eccentric day at the beach while traveling down the coast in California. It stemmed from one of the most intense seashell hunts I’ve ever been on; and it’s synonymous with my birth initials, CS, so I kept it.
- Can you tell me a memory or a time when you were drawn to music, what you got from it, what exactly do you think you were drawn to the person the music the instrument?
I would have to say that one of my earliest moments of music really drawing me in was definitely hanging out with my cousin. It would have been either The Offspring or Modest Mouse that I recall specifically.
That music was special to me because I could instantly tell it was different from radio music and what my parents liked. At the time I was around eight or ten and The Offspring got me going and Modest Mouse made me feel all types of ways, even at a young age.
Of course, I liked some classic rock and folk that I heard on the radio and in my parents and grandparents collections, but that stuff didn’t grab me as much; possibly because it was less exclusive.
- Can you tell me what you process has been for making music?
For a long time my song writing largely consisted of freestyling over some chords until something would stick. Usually once I got the first few lines and the feeling of the song, the rest would come, and occasionally still comes pretty quickly. No big flash of magic or “channeling the holy spirit”, but I often feel like my songs are undigested emotions and getting those first few lines are like a cup of coffee for my head.
Lately my process has been changing a little and I’ve been excited to try out different styles; like writing words and music completely separate and adjusting one or the other to line them up.
- Have you been doing anything different or expanding on any of your musical abilities during the quarantine time?
During quarantine I’ve been finding inspiration in music by experimenting with a little bit of electric guitar and by playing the drums more. It has been fun and inevitably shifts my perspective on how music works (although I have yet to apply some of what I’ve learned, so stay posted).
I have also been coming back from an injury to my strumming arm (its slowly and steadily getting better), so I’ve been taking the ‘less is more’ approach for some of my chord progressions and patterns.
- You said you were into punk and now folk what led to the transition how did you go about it when performing? Who are some of your musical influences or people that you’re just drawn to in the music world?
Punk rock music just had the chaotic and nonstop energy that I had as a young skate rat, but when some local hippies starting playing folk around at the cafes in town, I realized that a lot of activist folk has a similar mentality as punk, but with more focus on a positive end goal.
Coincidentally, or maybe not, I started smoking more weed around that time and jumped headfirst into anything folk or of the psychedelic era of rock and roll. Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest and Woodstock documentaries were my favorite.
Nowadays I like to think I’ve come full circle and have a healthier balance of herb consumption and music fascinations.
Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse has always been one of my favorite writers and musicians. The wit of his writing mixed with the emotion of his playing is hard to compare anything else to. On that note, the Portland, Oregon group is as close of a comparison as I can find.
On a slightly smaller scale, Jason Dea West is from the area I’m from and has always been a huge inspiration to me. His playing and raw and authentic persona is mainly what I’m drawn to. One more a little smaller scale is the group out of Bellingham, Washington called Hot Damn Scandal. I was fortunate enough to tag along on one of their tours, and that was a formative period of time.
- I see you’re a painter does any of your artwork ever influence your music or your songwriting?
I love this question! Painting certainly influences my music and vice versa, but it isn’t in a specific way I can pinpoint.. and I think that might be the best part!
The way hot and cool colors can compel people to feel a certain way is so similar to major and minor key. The more I do both, the more I feel the importance of rhythm and flow as a foundation before you build the layers on top of that. It also seems to translate to my beginner level knowledge of the production end of things.
- When the days come back that you can play music and a venue with people what would be a place that you would want to play?
One of the first places I’d like to play when music is an option again is Sir Benedicts in Duluth, Minnesota. I love that city, that spot and the atmosphere in that place; especially in the Winter.
On a larger, longer term level I’d like to be at the level of playing 7th St. Entry at First Avenue in Minneapolis. That whole venue is just such a staple of the area.
Ideally, I’d just love to be able to play enough mid level shows to just keep getting to the next spot with a little bit to spare.
- What does playing music offer you?
When I first started playing publicly I was certainly infatuated with concept of serenading audiences as a rockstar type of person, and I think anyone who performs publicly craves at least a small amount of that drive still, or we wouldn’t do it.
However, as I get older and especially with being forced to take a step back this year, it has been sooo much more than that. It always was, but it’s been incredibly empowering to play purely for the love. I play more now than I did last year, even with an injury.
It’s this surreal experience where I will have emotions that I haven’t adequately processed that often are associated with specific times, places or people; for better or worse. Every now and then I’ll write a song, or even just play an older one a certain way and with a certain level of conviction and life just melts away.
It’s pure bliss while also being therapeutic. It is one of the most effective methods for me to process and move on. It’s an outlet and nonstop challenges and growth as a musician; and arguably as a human.
It’s the universal language in a time when a little bit of understanding and compassion could potentially change the world.