Local producer Lowgritt and singer/songwriter Cheraki join forces on a new EP and release party at Indigital Recording Studios.
It’s always awesome to discover that your favorite artists from different bands are friends, or somehow met each other, and are now playing together in a new music super-group. Which is why it was exciting to find out that two of Santa Cruz’s most prevalent musicians have joined forces and created a project together.
‘Shades of She’ is the debut release from Santa Cruz-based singer/songwriter Cheraki and music producer Lowgritt. Heather Christie, known by her stage name Cheraki (pronounced share-ah-kee), has spent ten years composing, songwriting and performing. She is most known for her work as the lead singer of the blues-tronica group Feral Fauna. Logan Gritton, AKA LowGritt, is an electronic musician, music producer and audio engineer with twelve years of studio work and eight years of live performances under his belt. He has developed a sound that blends traditional hip-hop, funk, soul and electronic styles, earning him the position of manager of production at Indigital Studios in Santa Cruz.
The two are hosting an album release party at Indigital Recording Studios this Thursday, March 10, where they will perform their new project live alongside other local producers and singer-songwriters. To find out a little bit more about the project, Good Times did a little brain picking with Heather and Logan.
Good Times: You guys have both been involved in the music scene in Santa Cruz for a while, but hadn’t worked together before this. How did that come about?
Logan Gritton: We actually met at a party and got to talking since we both knew about the other’s music but hadn’t worked together yet. We worked on “Feather” first, and since the aesthetic and sound was great, and we were working well together we just kinda said,“Let’s make an EP,” and then that turned into a mini album.
Heather, was this your first effort under the name “Cheraki”?
Heather Christie: Last April I actually did a small self-produced EP, which was my first release as Cheraki, but this is my first full length album and first time working with a producer on it.
GT: With your differing backgrounds—Heather in more indie/rock music and Logan is electronic and hip hop—did that create any road bumps style-wise during the process?
LG: Well, we had road bumps for sure, but not on the recording side at all. When we were in the studio together we got a lot done quickly and effectively, so that side of it always felt really smooth.
HC: I remember Logan sent me a few tracks, and I remember writing a rough draft for “Feathers” and I guess there were some road bumps in the sense that before we got into the studio together I remember emailing for a long time and not being 100-percent sure on it, but once we got into the studio it just started flowing. After we finished that first song it was basically a landslide of new material.
GT: The project definitely has a unique sound, and it’s hard to peg the genre. You guys have descriptors like “Neo-Soul” which sounds awesome but doesn’t necessarily bring anything specific to mind. What does it sound like to you guys?
HC: Well, I actually like to call it Neo-Soultronica [laughs], which is a totally made up word, but actually whenever I say that people seem to like have a flash of recognition for what that might be. I use singers like Erykah Badu and Sia as a reference, since it’s also been called deep pop. I dunno about you, Logan, but that’s what I say.
LG: For me, the “soul” part kinda ties into just having more deep emotional vocal content that makes you think and feel, and the “neo” part would be the electronic aspect, and more in the vintage sense of the term, warm keyboard sounds, synth, and stuff like that.
GT: Heather as the lyricist. Can you talk a little more on the substance? The album is called “Shades of She”. Who is “she”?
HC: Well, Logan and I just kinda realized recently that there is a really cool unfolding theme that developed on the album kind of subconsciously. The first song has a message of self empowerment and deals with dancing and love, then it moves towards this dip of intimacy and yearning for a love connection and dealing with the human heart, even touching on the ancestral. So that’s kind of why we called it ‘Shades of She’, because for me it was an exploration and portrayal of myself and being a woman in general, basically just trying to dig into that emotional rollercoaster lyrically and sonically. ‘Shades of She’ is about every “she” because there are a lot of colors, hues, and shapes to every female, and for that matter every feminine piece of everyone.
‘Shades of She’ will be released this Thursday, March 10 at Indigital Recording Studios, 1305 Fair Ave, Santa Cruz. There will be appetizers and drinks from sponsor Stone Brewing Company. Tickets $8