Passion's Little Plaything
Seaholm, etc. A (sort of) brief auto-biography For as long as I can remember, my love of words and music has been a central part of my life. While perhaps no surprise, and not exactly unique in and of itself, it has proven time and again to be the most profoundly constant source of my deepest joys and sorrows. Like a close friend, it knows me so well that even it's simplest gestures can bring me to euphoria, and so intimate as to know the most expedient route to my last nerve. But our enduring friendship, our love affair if you will, has never been in doubt for a single heartbeat. I doubt it ever could be. I was born Sven-Erik Seaholm in Detroit, MI to the graphic-artist son of Swedish immigrants and his wife, a beautiful, cocktail-waitressing painter. My earliest years were spent in a house filled with the music of Earl Bostick, Wes Montgomery, Segovia and Chopin. Later, after my parents' divorce, I moved with my mother, brother and sisters to the southeastern area of San Diego, CA. Growing up in a predominantly black neighborhood, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to a rich legacy of pop and r&b. My first favorite song was Marvin Gaye's 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine'. First album, Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5. Along the way, there was Al Green, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Badfinger, Nillson and of course, The Beatles, although I must admit to rediscovering them later on. Words, melodies, the slightest fragments of songs had always found their way into my daily thoughts, which I found quite natural, really. All of my friends could sing and dance, and we would run home from the record store, crowd around the turntable and learn the lyrics so that we could lip-sync with our J5 choreography. I was always Jermaine, a dubious honor that I would come to truly value in later years, but I digress. As was becoming apparent through my increasingly insatiable appetite for any and all forms of music, there was little doubt that I would pursue a career in music, although just exactly how that path would be approached was in question for some time. After graduating high school with scholarships for private study in voice and theater, I dabbled a bit in the acting and modeling professions, stringing together a succession of dead-end jobs which included dishwasher, bell-hop and the graveyard shift at a 7-Eleven. All the while, I was studying not only the craft of songwriting, but how to commit those songs to tape. I wanted to be able to not only move people with my songs, but to present them in such a way as to bear repeated listening. I began to realize that it is after someone decides that they like the way a song sounds that they begin to hear what the song is actually saying. Perhaps freed in some strange way by this knowledge, my songs began to say more, even as their settings began to incorporate more widely varied stylistic elements. I began to search out great songwriters like Elvis Costello, Crowded House's Neil Finn, Richard Thompson, Squeeze's Difford & Tilbrook and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan. I was and am still intrigued by the lush, global cultural outreaching of Peter Gabriel, David Byrne and Paul Simon, as well as the naked, gritty honesty in the work of producers Mitchell Froom, Don Was and Daniel Lanois. Yet I still to this day, can feel the cold, comforting plastic grill of my AM radio pressed against my ear, like all those late nights in my adolescence. In recent years, I have been blessed with a variety of opportunities to share this love of music with others. I produced and independently released the critically lauded self-tiltled debut of my former award-winning band, The Wild Truth. I produced It's follow-up, Cryptomnesia, as well as Loam's Mega and Mary Dolan's recent Grow, all of which received strong reviews and nominations for San Diego Music Awards. I have composed and/or recorded music for a few film projects, and founded the Songwriter Signature Series, a group of concerts where songs were not only performed, but the songwriting process discussed by some of Southern California's most promising talents. Among those to appear: Cindy Lee Berryhill, Gregory Page, The Rugburns' Steve Poltz and rising superstar Jewel. And...oh yeah, uh...me. What can I say? I needed the gig. Somewhere during, in and around this flurry of activity, I began writing, recording and performing the songs that appear on my latest release, passion's little plaything under the name seaholm, etc. By recording it entirely in my home studio (which changed locations three times), myself and co-producer/brilliant guitarist Wayne Preis worked without time constraints, wandering through the myriad musical paths the songs would lead us down. On top of our acoustic-based blues/folk/jazz vibe, I wanted to incorporate elements of trip-hop and acid-jazz. We used drum loops and ambient textures to that end. Wayne suggested we try to bring the excitement and immediacy of our live shows into the mix. Enter drummer Jason Bazillian, along with bassists Glen Goodwin & David Ybarra. This spirited rhythm section not only proved more than equal to the task of tackling a wide range of musical influences, but did in fact create a sound so simultaneously diverse and cohesive, that it became an entirely unique style unto itself. Added to that was an opportunity to work with a lot of the artists that I had been producing previously, ending up with what I felt was a very musically fulfilling experience. The songs themselves center around passion's double-edged influence on us all. About how fine the line is between being driven by passion in a positive way and being negatively controlled by it. Some of the characters are me, some aren't. Some of the facts remain, while some of it is complete fabrication. Hopefully, some of it is you. But the whole package, well I guess that's seaholm, etc. Thanks for listening, see ya soon.