Combray is named after the fictitious town in Marcel Proust seminal work In Search of Lost Time, a novel that revolves around the idea that many of our most rich and rewarding experiences in life can be activated through unexpected moments. Combray was formed to create music that can hopefully in some small way transport the listener back to their own rich and meaningful moments in life.
The music is spacious and nostalgic, certain and uncertain……. The music is sonically driven….wide open…… with ambient soundscapes. Each song has bit of longing for something or someplace not yet discovered…..hints of hope mixed with melancholy.
In this interview spotlight, I speak with Combray about motivations, challenges, the newest project and more.
Full Q&A along with links and music below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
I am a singer/songwriter from Seattle. Honestly, I struggle a bit with classifying my music. I would call it Indie/pop if I had to give it a name. It’s funny though…..Indie Pop sounds like a contradiction in some ways and yet it does fit the best. As an artist, I like to identify as independent and artsy and all that goes along with it…….. I love artists’ like Bon Iver, Lana Del Rey etc. However, I am a sucker for good pop hooks and melodies as well (Chainsmokers, Calvin Harris, etc.). I hope my music combines these two genres well. There is definitely some deep melancholy arty stuff but also some light-hearted melody throughout the record.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
Music is a passion for me; I have been doing it all my life. Starting in Jr. High band to high school swing choir to bands in my early 20’s, I have always been involved in some type of musical endeavor. Music is therapy; it is life-giving……it is essential. I never find myself lacking in motivation—I continue because I cannot stop–the arts for me, whether it is music, architecture, photography…..are healing in nature. I would be much worse off if I did not pursue it.
How is ‘Stay Away’ different from ‘September’? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
While “September” (my first release) was written about September 11th and how pain and suffering can often be transformational, “Stay Away” centers more around the theme of ambivalence that many relationships go through over time. While it may be easy and relatively enjoyable to date casually, many times when things get serious we humans tend to over analyze every last detail. It is easy to be paralyzed by indecision in this stage of a relationship. One minute you feel love and the next your questioning what you got yourself into. “Stay away” was my own experience of this age-old dilemma.
Do you face challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? How has technology helped you (assuming it helps)?
The barriers to entry have been made more accessible through technology. The fact that I can be on Spotify, I-tunes etc. is amazing. This, however also causes a lot more competition and can make it difficult for an artist to stand out from the crowd. I love that it gives control to the artist though. In some ways making a big impact in music comes down to how hard an artist is willing to work. It used to be there was so much more luck involved—hoping that by chance some record executive take an interest and listen to your demo. Today there are no constraints. If the product is good and an artist wants to hustle, one can really make a difference.
Where can we connect with you online and discover more music?
My music can be found on Spotify, CD Baby, I-tunes. I have a full record coming out this year so look for it some time early Summer.