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SEPIAMUSIC BIOGRAPHY


Danish/American duo Sepiamusic bring a new level of electronic rock drive to their distinct feminine/masculine universe on “Trenches”, marking the band’s first official American debut and second full album out on Los Angeles-based label, Quango.

The 12-track release is described by the band’s producer-half, Michael Adler Miltersen: “We wanted to write songs about the a journey of human nature with songs ranging in subjects from intitmacy and vulnerability, joy and hope, despair and longing, sex and bravery.” Regarding the title of “Trenches”, the band’s lead singer, Erin Chapman adds,“To us, the meaning of ‘trenches’ was the idea of the spaces in between – small cracks and refuges from big emotions, but places that one must eventually leave to face battlefields of reality. When we finally collected all the songs that we knew we wanted to include on the album we had this array of emotions – dark and light – so we wanted to find a theme that encompassed this idea.”

Bruno Guez, the Quango label’s founder and headman, says: “I’ve had a love affair with Scandinavian music over the last 10 years, releasing Koop and Bliss, among others, in North America. I love Sepiamusic’s blend of rock, electronic and classical. Erin’s melodies layered with Michael’s production seduced me from my first listen of Skin & R.I.D off the new album. I am excited to release their second album “Trenches”, as part of the Quango family of artists, and share their music with the North American audience.”

 

The story.

Copenhagen-based Sepiamusic began in late 1999, when singer Erin Chapman and producer Michael Adler Miltersen joined forces out of a handshake agreement to “give it a go and see what happens”. 

Born and raised in Denmark, Michael has been integrating music into his life since childhood and in his early teens, he began to write songs and experiment with electronic music. Orginially from the USA, Erin had a passion for both music and art growing up, focusing primarily in creative fields. Upon meeting Michael while visiting friends in Denmark, the two kept in touch and when Erin eventually moved to Copenhagen, she placed music in the forefront and the duo released their first demo in 2000.

After the first demo track “Fall Into Me” was well-received both by Denmark’s national radio and #1 on several internet playlists, the group solidified their efforts and began work on a full-length album. When Sepiamusic appeared on the scene in 2003 with their debut album, “Prototype”, their tech-driven and emotionally-charged indie pop seemed to strike a serious nerve. Their distinct sound held elements that crossed over several musical genres including rock, electronic, alternative and trip-hop. Several tracks off the album received enthusiastic support from Scandinavian radio and indie-stations internationally and the band was hunted and in the running for various film, TV, and advertising spots both in Scandinavia and the USA.

The band soon found themselves in talks with major labels and networks, and deals were being negotiated, promising the band a bright future. But after talk, followed only more talk, and the next couple of years would drag Erin and Michael through an exhausting circus of near-hits and misses, close calls and disappointments. “Prototype” was eventually released worldwide by American distribution label The Orchard, but by then, Sepiamusic had already taken a serious beating from the industry and could hardly bare the thought of recording another album. They simply pulled the plug and closed the blinds, seeking refuge in home-base Vesterbro in Copenhagen. 

It was time for a long hard soul-search and it was painfully clear that the band had let themselves get caught up in the hype, and subsequently removed themselves further and further from the music. The well was dry, and the frustrations and letdowns were casting a shadow over both their friendship and their personal lives. Was it even worth it? Was it time to throw in the towel? No.

 

Trenches.

Wanting to reconnect with their music, Erin and Michael assembled a live band and did shows in small clubs.  Their live show revealed a more edgy sound, and the de- and reconstruction needed to translate their studio-based sound into live concerts added a gritty realism that the band felt was closer to their hearts. This challenged the band to harness a more honest, raw energy that would lay the groundwork for the Trenches album. For the next two years the pair literally locked themselves in Michael’s studio – not forcing the process – but allowing for the songs to emerge in their own time, promising each other not to allow anyone to hear a single note until the album was finished.

At the end of these seemingly never-ending sessions, they ventured to New York to put the finishing touches on the album with industry-great Ted Jensen, but that experience only underlined their original DIY instincts, and they soon returned to the necessary solitude of the Copenhagen studio to redo the work done in New York.

“Trenches” is the sound of a focused, even defiant Sepiamusic. A very real and personal look at an accidental rollercoaster ride compressed into a miniature lifespan of a few years. The production, courtesy of Michael Adler Miltersen, has allowed for guitars, piano and other analog sounds to accompany the algorithms and ones and zeros of Sepiamusic’s signature sound, the end result being a backdrop of much depth and realism surrounding the airy but confrontational voice of Erin Chapman.

The band then went on to sign new management deal with Los Angeles-based Dave Curtin and Chicago-based Mark Share. After over a year of scouting for the right home, they finally got in touch with Bruno Guez from Quango Records. Also included on “Trenches” are 3 tracks lifted from the debut album “Prototype”. The label heard the previous album while working with the band and couldn’t ignore the potiential of some of the songs, wanting to serve them to a new and wider audience. 

While Trenches is sonically linked to Sepiamusic’s initial Prototype release, the emotional investment made here is obvious, and the pure necessity of the songs sets the album apart on a truly personal level.

For most bands it’s the classic tale of the difficult second album, but for Sepiamusic trouble came sooner than later, and not only the title, but the album itself speaks volumes about what the two have been going through. And what might even have been a blessing in disguise.