Album Release Interview: Schapero’s GIRLS
Crossfader Magazine is excited to share Schapero’s new record GIRLS EP. Check out our interview with him below and stream the new tracks here.
Stephen Edwards can’t stop making music. After having blown through a couple EPs and touring with his electronic project Dreamghost, the 19-year-old is undertaking an entirely new indie rock solo project called Schapero. In order to finish a full album under the new moniker, he moved to a small town in Missouri where he could devote himself entirely to his music. The result is the infectious and catchy GIRLS, with more music to look forward to in the near future.
The introspective singer-songwriter has crafted simultaneously dreamy and moody indie pop with deceptively catchy hooks. While it’s reminiscent of Toro y Moi, LCD Soundsystem, and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, there’s a confessional immediacy that makes it wholly original.
Calling Stephen ambitious isn’t exactly the right term; it’s more accurate to say that a prolific amount of music just pours right out of him. When you talk with him for even a little while it becomes abundantly clear that all the music comes from a genuine place. This is the world he wants to inhabit and he creates it for himself. Check out our interview with Stephen below and check out GIRLS on Bandcamp.
I guess the first thing I wanna talk about is this transition from electronic to more rock based music. Why are you bored with electronic music?
Writing electronic music became boring when I started to get lost in trying to make songs that I thought would appeal to people in the electronic music community. Going into anything related to art with that mindset is hindering in my opinion, and eventually will drain you of the thing that makes your work personal. Being personal, but honest with everything you create is a duty of the artist I believe, and it’s hard to do that when you’re not making your art for yourself. After realizing this, writing started to feel natural again and I began writing more guitar-based music. This all happened while I was still writing music for my Dreamghost project; three of the songs on “Girls” were originally intended for a Dreamghost release.
Do you plan to stay solo in your work?
As for the solo question; I plan to continue writing music myself. Schapero feels more personal to me than anything else that I’ve worked on. Since adopting my new approach to writing songs, I have been working on new Dreamghost material as well, but I don’t have any ideas regarding if or when it will be released. As for playing live, I’m going solo at the moment but I plan on playing with a band this summer.
Before you started playing music yourself, were you primarily listening to electronic music or did you get into it as you were learning to make it? Did you play other instruments before you started using synths and everything?
I have always listened to ‘everything’ but I started taking music seriously the first time I heard Com Truise. That same night I made my very first project “Skywalker,” until I found out that like 5 other producers have that name.
Did you play other instruments before you started using synths and everything?
I got a guitar for Christmas when I was 10 and would look up tabs and try to learn shitty alt rock for hours.
What is it that you try to express and deal with through your music?
Girl problems, and others… mostly girl problems.
The universal music subject.
It’s all love.
Photo Credit: Katie Miller
Has it always been problems with specific girls or with the idea of girls? Or the idea of love?
All of the above, also self-love or the lack of it. Right now I’m dealing with separation issues after moving to Missouri and meeting someone right before I left.
Is that separation at least inspiring some interesting music?
Oh yeah, a bunch.
What brings you to Missouri? Are you in the music scene there?
I took another year off from going to college and my mom lives here so I just decided “fuck the city” and moved. I’m only staying until April, finishing my LP. I currently live in a town of 5,000, and work with really nice old white ladies at a local thrift shop.
That actually sounds like a fantastic getaway to focus on making any kind of art. Has going to college helped or hindered your music?
I haven’t been yet; I graduated in 2014 and have taken an indefinite break from school.
It seems like you enjoy making music alone. What’s it like performing for you? Is it unnerving or is it rewarding?
It’s the best feeling in my life.
It’s the best feeling I’ve ever felt.
I still don’t like that phrase.
It’s the best. *Laughs*
The most rewarding.
Have you thought about trying to tour?
Yeah, I toured with Autumn Creatures in May with Dreamghost. I have a grand plan in the works for this project, but it’s a secret for now
Duly noted! How was touring in comparison to playing local shows at the Black Sheep and The Flux?
It was awesome. We kicked off the tour at The Flux and then I met up with them in Austin. It was just like being on vacation, but playing music at the same time. My favorite show was at this gay bar, “Cheer Up Charlie’s” in Austin, the most fun crowd I played to on that tour.
Are you releasing this new project with Shoeboxx Recordings or is it entirely independent?
Independent for the most part. I’m doing a partial cassette release with a friend’s label, Vacant Magic; we are splitting the 100 tapes that are getting pressed and I’m doing the digital release myself.
How do your parents feel about your music these days? Do you care one way or another?
They’re really supportive, I guess… I don’t really flex my music that much except to my friends. They know I do it, and that I’m pursuing it, but I don’t know. My dad saw me play for the first time in August. My parents didn’t hear my music until I had a release under my belt and was already signed to Shoeboxx Recordings. Not for any reason necessarily – just kinda kept it to myself.
They are very supportive though, as much as I let them be. *Laughs*
It seems like you do that in general. Your music seems based around introspection. Do you consider yourself a guarded person?
’Til you get to know me. *Winks*
For sure, so it’s not like a persona you’ve adopted online?
Nah, I think I’m pretty transparent, online and otherwise. Or equally transparent, I should say.
Right, that’s the way it’s seemed to me judging from your posts on Facebook and through the Dreamghost page, but it’s a weird thing how people can seem online versus in real life.
Oh yeah, I met this girl one time on the internet, thought we were very similar. She had a great taste in music and whatnot, but she flew out to [Colorado] and we hung out, and it was weird, and she hated my friends.
I feel like that happens so much now!
Probably; never again. *Laughs*
Did you ever feel like the artists you’d talk to through Soundcloud or wherever were also faking who they really were?
Not at all! All of the people I have met through music are pretty genuine. Not that there aren’t people who try too hard. Everyone fronts about something, though.
I have to say, I’m really impressed with your creative output across the board. What would you say keeps you churning out so much art in general?
Probably the fact that I’m away from the city. My whole day-to-day experience feels very introspective. I feel like I can finally focus on the things that really matter to me and it’s a lot easier to get my ideas out. And the fact that there’s nothing else to do. The fast food restaurants here are usually packed on the inside while the drive-thru is empty. Nobody has anything to do! *Laughs*
Is it exhausting in a way, though? Just creating all the time?
Not really. I still take breaks. If I’m not creating, I’m bullshitting on the Internet and making mixtapes, or hanging out with my grandparents.
What do you do with your grandparents?
Just hang out at home for the most part, bullshit with them, and also hang with my little cousin; she lives with us. She’s like nine and she’s cooler than I am. Oh, and the dogs, can’t forget them. They keep me happy while I’m going through my girl problems with a girl that doesn’t even fucking live here.
Photo Credit: Jordan Holder
Do you think that’s why you’re creating so much? Girl angst?
No, I wouldn’t say that. I took like a month long break before I moved and it really helped me hit my stride. I feel like I’ve finally crossed “the gap” or at least am very close to it. I wouldn’t say that it hasn’t helped, though. *Laughs* That month was my first break since I’ve started making music. I didn’t realize how necessary it is to take breaks. I would just push myself to work on something everyday and I would hate almost everything I made and be upset but still make myself try to write music.
What do you mean by “the gap?”
One more question! What’s a release from this year that you’ve liked that no one would expect based on your own music?
Let me think… The Epic by Kamasi Washington.
Check out Schapero’s Bandcamp here and expect much more music from Stephen in the future.