‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.
A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music.
‘New Album’ is where a band or artist answers some questions about their latest release.
Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
The Wellington Sea Shanty Society. Strictly shanties.
What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
We have just released our French/English collab with Croche Dedans called Ahoy!
When/where was the new album recorded?
In April 2017 we recorded the album at a great community recording studio in Vannes, just outside Nantes, France.
Who produced/engineered the album? How did the tracks come together in the studio, or at home?
Gaëtan Griveau engineered the album then I (Lake) mixed it back in my bedroom in Toronto. This is a joint album with our French friends Croche Dedans so we didn’t have much time get ready for the studio. We chose the tracks to record over e-mail then had a couple of jams before we started recording.
How did the songwriting happen? Are there any overall themes within the songs/album?
These are mainly traditional sea shanties. Vorn wrote the one original shanty.
The history of Wellington Sea Shanty Society and Croche Dedans are as intertwined as a heaving line knot. After learning the way of the chant marin from Croche in Nantes, circa 2012, I returned to Aotearoa NZ to found a shanty group of my own. Vorn Dont Pere Etait Marin was the only squeeze box player in town, and he was keen, so the Wellington Sea Shanty Society was born!
In 2014 Croche Dedans made their way down to the South Pacific for our first joint shanty tour. In 2015 we joined forces again for a tour of Bretagne.
Over the years Croche & WSSS have created what has come to be known as the ‘troisieme set’. After playing a set each, we crowd onto the stage and engage in a shanty battle: French verse vs. English verse, Kiwi squeezebox vs. Breton banjo. This album is us attempting to bottle this salty energy.
Were you going for a different sound/approach on this album?
Not really. It’s a little more ‘straight up shanty’ compared to our other albums. We just use the instruments we play live.
Is there a particular single/track that you feel captures the essence of the album?
La Complainte Des Terres Neuva/The Men of the Grand Banks’ Cry: The W.S.S.S usually do this one in French when we’re in New Zealand but we translated it to English on the train from Paris to Nantes. I think the switching between languages works really well. I also love the defiance of this shanty.
Is there a physical copy available? If not which digital platforms is it available on?
Yes. Physical copies can be ordered from our Bandcamp page.
Are you working on a video/videos for any of the songs? Are you doing any gigs or promotion for its release?
We have one video, and a couple of live videos of tracks that appear on the album. The W.S.S.S will be back performing in and around Wellington from September! For the full W.S.S.S + Croche Dedans experience you’ll have to wait for the next time we can French to travel south.
What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
In my lifetime as a shanty singer:
Croche Dedans: Ostrava
The Corries: Live from Scotland
New Zealand Folk Songs by Neil Colquhoun (This is a book)
Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
Anyone with a shanty disposition.
In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
We normally write alone. Then workshop things together.
Where/when is your next gig?