On Jan. 14, Hattiesburg folk group The Squid and the Whale performed live at T-Bones Records & Café to celebrate the release of “Seahorses,” their latest record.
The group represents local label Deal with the Devil Records, who published the two-track piece on vinyl and online.
Guitarist and vocalist Sarah- Bryan Lewis said the band released on vinyl because she and the other members wanted to try something new.
“[The record] was mixed for vinyl, so it’s tailored to that format,” she said. “I really wanted to hear what our songs would sound like, and after our last CD, we had a lot of people who wanted us to provide vinyl.”
According to Lewis, the group wrote “Seahorses” long before it was recorded and released.
“We spent about two weeks playing groups of our songs back and forth, because we knew we were just going to have two songs,” she said. “So we spent time whittling [the list] down and seeing which songs reflected themselves the best. If you listen to the lyrics, some of them actually parallel other songs.”
On the band’s writing process, bass guitarist David Meigs said Lewis writes the lyrics and melodies and provides loose chord structures for the songs.
“We [other members] try to take it from the singer-songwriter bubble and take it somewhere else,” he said. “For us, for these two tracks on ‘Seahorses,’ we wanted to pick a song that makes you sit down and think, and then a song that’s a little more on the pop side. So you have two sides of what we can do.”
Meigs said the group recorded at Blue Sky Studios in Jackson.
“The recording process is always a lot of fun,” he said. “We’re not a band who has the money to go in and be like, ‘We’re going to write songs in the studio.’ For us, it’s like, ‘We can do these two songs, so take our money and let’s do it.’ We gave the studio a couple of records by bands we’ve been listening to recently and some of the production on those records [as examples].”
Meigs said he remembers his father’s vinyl collection and that such memories make vinyl a novelty.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking,” Meigs said. “We have a range of people who listen to our music. There’s the hip crowd, there are moms and dads – and so my initial thought was, ‘Is everybody going to have a record player?’ But you can download the record.”
Hattiesburg resident Jim Jones attended the performance and said the group played “excellently” at the event.
“Over the years, I’ve watched [The Squid and the Whale] grow,” Jones said. “They’ve advanced, but their signature sound has always stayed.”
The Squid and the Whale is set to perform Thursday, Jan. 19 at The Thirsty Hippo with Hattiesburg group Nossiens.