On August 13th, duo music group Sketch Eclectic released their debut, full length album Search and Recovery. The album features a variety of sound influences, ranging from light jazz to hard rock. The tracks are filled with emotion and vulnerability, with refreshing honesty and clear personal attachments from the artist.
In celebration of the release, we spoke with Denia and Darin of Sketch Eclectic on their favorite tracks and the process behind creating them. Check out the conversation below!
How did Sketch Eclectic come to be?
Denia: We worked together in two different Knoxville-based cover bands, Soul Candy and the Traffic Jam and Wabi Sabi and the Perfect Fifth. Both bands played at our wedding ceremony in 2015. A few years later, the time was right to combine Darin’s musical arrangements with my poems
Darin: The cover bands fizzled out, and once we had our own songs we realized we worked really well together with just the two of us, and added session musicians to fill out the sound the way we wanted.
What does your writing process look like?
Darin: It depends on the song, but most commonly I have something close to a fully formed musical idea that I give to Denia to see if she is inspired by it - or if she has ideas that already fit the mood of the piece. The process of fitting the music and the words together is the most challenging part.
Denia: Becoming Velveteen, Singin Stones, Tear in Her Voice and Belle in the Jar all began with completed lyrics, and Darin adapted my concept into the style that worked.
What inspired the album name, Search and Recovery?
Denia: Search and Recovery is really a double meaning for us. I was writing about life after loss (and humans experience loss in many forms), and Darin was literally recovering songs he had written 20 years ago. The songs were lost in a hard drive crash, and he’s been slowly rebuilding them from memory.
Of the topics discussed in the album, what are the main takeaways you hope fans gain from listening?
Darin: Life has a way of kicking your ass, and it’s really all about how you pick yourself up from that - whether it’s the loss of someone close to you, or the loss of a couple of years worth of work.
Denia: Grief, hard times and challenges are inevitable. Moving through them (as unwelcome and uncomfortable as they are) can transform you in wonderful ways, too. There’s incredible strength in vulnerability, and you have to keep going.
If you had to pick one song off the album that you have the deepest connection to, which would it be?
Denia: All the songs are deeply personal, but Tear in Her Voice is where I share intimate childhood memories of my Mom, and my newfound strength to move through the world without her.
Darin: If I had to pick one, it would be Portraits Rearranged. It’s a rare song that I wrote most of the words for. It’s about my parents, who I haven’t been able to see in a long time because of the pandemic.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to face as a duo?
Denia: We weren't always on the same page, and at times we each had to compromise ideas and learn to be flexible.
Darin: Respecting each other’s contributions during the songwriting process, and not assuming that just because I had an idea that it’s the best option. We didn’t really butt heads a lot, but one thing about being married - when you do butt heads, you don’t go back to your separate homes after your writing session is over.
Are there any artists/albums you have been listening to lately?
Denia: I’ve recently been listening to Norah Jones’ new release, Pick Me Up Off the Floor, and Bruce Springsteen’s live album from New Orleans - American Land Edition.
Darin: Aside from our own? One thing they don’t tell you is how many hundreds of times you’ll listen to your own album in the process of making it. Other than that, I’ve actually been revisiting The Beatles Catalogue while reading a biography of Geoff Emerick - who engineered most of their albums. Listening to everything after reading his perspective on it, gives it all a new light.
What’s next for Sketch Eclectic? Do you have any projects in the works?
Darin: Throughout recording Search and Recovery, I never really stopped writing new stuff. There will probably be a new album next year. (Denia’s giving me a dirty look). But in the meantime, we’ll be releasing some covers that show off some of our influences.
Be sure to check out Search and Recovery here!