Interview: Coultrain

Interview: Coultrain

Coultrain is an up-and-coming singer from the St. Louis scene. He brings ‘spacey soul’ and has got a unique singing style. Besides that he is also known as Seymour Liberty, works on a variety of projects and is also experienced as drummer and visual artist. Reason enough to hook up with Coultrain to see what’s up in this new year. And we can already spoil some good news: there’s new music coming!

Coultrain is an up-and-coming singer from the St. Louis scene. He brings ‘spacey soul’ and has got a unique singing style. Besides that he is also known as Seymour Liberty, works on a variety of projects and is also experienced as drummer and visual artist. Reason enough to hook up with Coultrain to see what’s up in this new year.

The original idea was to feature Coultrain on one of our frequent Pick Of The Week‘s, but unfortunately that didn’t work out as we planned. But, for your pleasure, stream the untitled song we wanted to use below while you read our interview with the St. Louis singer!

For our readers who don’t know you yet, can you please introduce yourself?

 I was born as my father’s only son, catching hell, dreaming of heaven.. Christened Aaron Michael Frison, after Moses’ brother and the Archangel, respectively. Currently my moniker is Coultrain a.k.a. Seymour Liberty a.k.a Papa Justify.

As a kid you started with visual arts, then drumming, followed by singing. Why did you decide to switch to singing in the end, while you focused on other disciplines of art before?

In my eyes there was no real distinct difference while growing up. Once one became less intriguing, I’d put it down for another place or time or until choir rehearsal had ended. Being raised in a strict household with limited television privileges pushed my imagination to run wild, so I saw myself in many different lights, but always art orientated. Rhythm always seemed to be the one consistent medium whether it was the drums or singing, and it’s one of the reasons I arrange my lyrics the way I do. I believe the beat is inherent in all of us, I just try to follow what I think it’s telling me to do.

But to answer the question: my love for literature and storytelling seemed to take a stronger hold as I got older, and building my own philosophy on things, the spoken or sung word seemed to have the greatest affect on me talking to myself. So singing became the focus, but I still do paint and play the drums from time to time.

What are the differences between Coultrain and your alter ego, Seymour Liberty?

I believe alter egos or aliasses more or less represent the idealized version of oneself; the perfect side of you, or the even the flawed. Seymour Liberty is basically a character I wrote about. But as in most of the books I read -or rather the authors I choose to read- whom I seem to pattern my style behind. Always wrote in that form, so although they may be writing a novel, it’s always semi-autobiographical. So I guess to answer your question: the real difference between the two are just three inches to the left. This story is basically the fabricated side of my stories, meaning the feelings and emotions are most likely quite parallel, the stories that induce those feelings are different at times.

Did the fact your mother was a choir director have an influence on you, vocal-wise?

Yes, my mother’s vocal style had such a profound effect on me that I didn’t realize it until I got older and was able to look back upon it. When she sings, she pulls from a place I feel even though I’ll never know for sure. It’s like steel wrapped in blankets of vulnerability. I mean, first I believe women’s voices in general probably carry a much more in-depth honesty that men cannot touch, spirituality. All things attached I believe are feminine qualities, so the places to invoke that kind of honesty and sincerity is something I am still attempting to reach everytime I sing. So although it may not have been a technical one-on-one, “this is how you sing..”, she taught me by example; she sang all the time.

What can people expect of the Hawthorne Headhunters LP later this year; why should people anticipate it?

The Hawthorne Headhunters LP will represent a lot of things, but the ongoing theme is funk. As they say “as long as it’s funky….”, but it’ll touch on the many different aspects of that genre, not limiting itself to one particular form. Some of it is extremely dark, actually a lot of it is dark but funky. Then it has its “light at the end of the tunnel” moments where things open up a bit, but still funky. There’s storytelling, there’s philosophies, there’s a bit of our activist spirit involved, there’s hip hop, there’s electronica, there’s rock, punk, jazz, blues… A bit of everything.

Our ongoing featurette is I AM a.k.a Jessica Neal, she also performs as one half of Teluv. A very talented lady whose like family. She’s on most of the record lending her vocals to the backgrounds and she’s featured as a lead vocalist on a couple of tracks well. You see, Headhunters Hawthorne isn’t necessarily a simple collective, it’s a production/writing unit. As well as a vocalists unit or emcee unit. So we approached each piece with what we thought it needed. The MC’s featured are Stoney Rock’s younger brother Tef Poe, our brother from another mother Rockwell Knuckles and extended family members Von Pea of Tanya Morgan and Haz Solo. On production we have our people DevonWho of Klipmode and Tim K. & JT Donaldson of The Hue. These contributions are valued and perfect for our upcoming project!

More info: Coultrain

Just an ordinary guy always on the hunt for extraordinary music. Not just as the founder of The Find Magazine & Rucksack Records, but also as a freelance music journalist (bylines at Tracklib, Bandcamp, Wax Poetics, DIG Mag, among others) and—above all—out of love for all kinds of good music.