Local artists Sarah Link and Mat Shoare are the April Project: pictures and songs, created through the month of April. Every day, Link and Shoare post a picture and a song that they've crafted on that particular day. The result is fresh, candid glimpse into the life and minds of both artists, and the creative process. We sat down with both of them to find out what works, what doesn't, and how sometimes, you may need a little help from other musicians -- whether they know it or not.
Do you guys collaborate?
Sarah Link: No. We've had people be like, 'Wow, he came up with such a good song for that photo.' That's not how it works. We just do our own thing.
Mat Shoare: We've talked about it once or twice, accidentally. Like, 'Hey, my song's really happy, FYI.'
Link: And I'm like, 'Hey, my picture's really lame.' [Laughs.] There was one day where you were like, 'Listen to the White Album.'
Shoare: We've done that, where it's like, 'This is what I'm listening to; you should listen and see if something clicks.'
Do you plan on doing any covers?
Shoare: No. I have to write a song every day, that's the plan. They're not really April songs. They're not really anything -- there's no plan. I want it to be like, for the next fifty years, I can look back on all these songs and remember what I was doing, in April of this year. It's not themed or anything.
Link: On Easter -- I was sort of kidding -- I was like, 'Are you going to do anything religious?'
Shoare: Chocolate bunny songs or something. What I'm doing that day is what I make a song out of. And you're taking a picture, so it has to be what you're doing that day.
When did you guys talk about this idea?
Link: Last month, I was doing a photo a day, just like this, except I did it really half-assed.
Shoare: There's a guy -- so -- there's a guy named Paleo. He's
not really from anywhere. He travels from city to city and shacks up
with people, basically. He wrote a song every day for a year. And then
he released eighteen of the best ones. I haven't heard all of them, but
I thought that was the coolest idea ever. And then I saw him play a
show last summer, and he talked about it. And my friend [Jerad
Tomasino, from Everyday/Everynight] and I were like, let's write a song
every day for a week, or a month. And then it never happened, because
it's a bad idea. You get so busy. But then, Sarah started doing the
picture thing, and --
Link: And you were like, 'Let's collaborate.' And I was like,
'How?' And you were like, 'I don't know!' We didn't have the actual
website until the night before. We weren't finished with it until April
So, how's it going so far?
Link: It's honestly exceeded my expectations. I think they were kind of low. [Laughs.]
You're not burned out yet?
Shoare: So far the integrity of the music for me has been pretty
high. I could see somewhere along song seventeen or eighteen maybe
doing a thirty second -- I'll whistle and play a couple chords, you
know? Which would be fine, but that's what I thought most of them would
be. Da-da-da-da-da, clap, done. I play a lot of instruments on all of
them. First time ever played drums in my life.
You record all of the parts yourself, and then just loop them?
Shoare: Yeah. On my computer.
So, when I called you earlier, you were recording a song?
Shoare: Yeah, I was recording the guitar part to the song
tonight. I didn't finish recording it until, like, seven forty five.
That's how a couple of them have gone.
Link: I thought I would just put up quite a few shitty pictures.
We're both full time students, and I thought this would be really hard.
I think I have a lot more motivation having a partner that I can't let
Shoare: For a few days, I tried to pep-talk you a little bit. We
text a lot, a couple times throughout the day. A very crucial part of
this working is that we did it on the website. We thought we'd release
it later. This way, there are people paying attention.
Have people given you a response?
Link: Yeah. Random people, for me. I was completely surprised,
because I thought this would be a fun little collaboration that we
could do and look back on.
Shoare: It's funny, because I've worked quite hard on writing a song, taking anywhere from months to a year, to make it perfect.
Link: And I went to Africa, and did photojournalism, and then I get press for...taking random pictures instead.
Shoare: 'Cause it's a funny idea. People who I'm friends with,
who never had any interest in what I do musically, have paid more
attention to this, too. It's a good format. There's a song every day.
It's not like listening to an album. It's like, today, you listen to
three minutes. It's more accessible, because it's right here - you
don't have to buy anything, you don't have to go to a bar. Today, you
listen to three minutes, and tomorrow, you'll have another four or
something. For me, that's made a difference whether or not people pay
Shoare: No. I didn't think the music would be that good.
Link: I thought it was going to be one of those things that was a really good idea in theory. I thought we'd burn out.
Shoare: I still see that happening. [Laughs.]
Link: I'm surprised by how much motivation I have. I've been
surprised by some of the stuff I've done. I don't like to set up
photos, and I like doing photojournalism more than artistic
photography, and I haven't done it for a long time. So, it's been
really interesting to delve back into that.
So, what are the rules?
Shoare: I have never started working on a song after midnight.
'Cause it's cheating. We try to follow the rules, and after midnight,
it's a different day. Most nights, I'll start working on it at twelve
thirty or one, and wake up and see if it's good. By three or four in
the afternoon, I've written it.
Link: That's where I think you have an advantage. Your task is
way more difficult than mine, but I have to just go out there and do
it. I can't build on it. If it's bad, there's nothing you can do.
Shoare: That's how music is, though. That's another thing from
this project I've learned: I should stop spending time trying to write
a really good song. I'm not writing very good songs, right now, but
people seem to like it a lot. Well, I like the songs. I like them for
like, a day. I already feel like the first and second ones are like,
ugh. I'm acting like other people would, because it's so quick.
Because you've progressed?
Shoare: I feel like I've progressed in like, two days.
Link: That's how I feel.
Shoare: No one else can take a picture, no one else can help me.
I live with two other musicians. They've been like, 'Hey, you should do
this...' and I'm like, 'Don't talk to me!' I want to look back on this
and think every single thing that came out was in my head first. Like,
yesterday's was a direct rip-off of the Monsters of Folk song, "Say Please."
Did you think that when you were writing it?
Shoare: Yes. [Laughs.] Direct. Direct rip-off. Isn't it M. Ward-y?
Link: Oh my god! That's so terrible.
Shoare: Hey, if you're going to write -- thirty songs...[Laughs.]