Q&A with indie rocker Sharon Von Etten

Sharon Von Etten, a timid, Jersey-girl indie musician, has been through her fair share of life lessons. After getting her heart broken in Tennessee, Von Etten picked herself back up, headed back to the East Coast and nabbed an internship with Ba Da Bing Records doing behind-the-scenes work. The label discovered this quiet girl’s talents and she switched rolls. Now touring for her second album, “Epic,” Von Etten has opened up more as she finds herself through recording. The State Press spoke with the mellow rocker Wednesday before her show at the Rhythm Room.

SP: “Epic” is by far a louder, more upfront record than your first, “Because I Was In Love.” Where does the comfort level come from to open up a little more with this album?

SVE: The first record was the first time I had really ever been in the studio. Those songs are very heartbroken and at a very low point in my life when I wrote them. So that writing of the record really helped me get out of them. I got to kind of put them in a capsule of time. But then I moved on to an electric guitar and did that for “Epic.” So I was getting over my past and everything, and trying to learn how to deal with it has made me a more confident person … I’ve gotten this security from friends that help me be a better person. That’s where I’m coming from in this record. I’m finally rediscovering who I am and finding myself again because I was so lost before.

SP: How did the transition from a solo project to touring with a full band go?

SVE: It was uncomfortable for me at first. But, like I said, I like to push myself to do something new to keep it more interesting and break into something new. I like that it was more collaborative. Before it was with one other person, and because it was my first time I wanted it to be minimal. I got to bring my friends into the studio this time … We just bounced ideas off of each other and created the record. It was really comfortable then because they were my friends.

SP: You just got back from touring in Europe. What kind of response did you get overseas?

SVE: They are by far the biggest shows I’ve played. Poland was by far the best response we got in Europe. It’s kind of all over the place. We’re still really new. We’ve only been a band since September. This is the first time we’ve toured as a band. We’re still discovering a lot of things about our music and our performance.

SP: What was your reaction to having your music covered by pretty famous musicians including Bon Iver and The National?

SVE: It makes me cry! Are you kidding? It blows my mind. I can’t believe they know who I am, let alone listen to my music, let alone sing with me and take me under their wing and invite me into their world. It’s crazy. I can’t even explain how great it is.

SP: What’s next?

SVE: I have this five-week tour and then doing some summer festivals. There is a tentative tour in July or August. But really I’m getting ready to finish this record, so we’ll tour this fall or winter depending on the release. We’ll say there’s a lot more noise in the upcoming record.

Reach the reporter at lkjorda1@asu.edu


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