Janke Seltsam finds her inspiration in repetition, nature and fever | Entertainment


Janke Seltsam creates music that he hopes will “make people feel less alone”.

“It was special to hear that my music helped people through a tough time,” Seltsam said. “And that’s what it’s done for me too, and that’s something I want to do when I make music.”

Seltsam likens songwriting to writing a diary and also sees it as a way to connect with nature.

In a recent interview, they talked about recording lo-fi music in high school, rehearsing in the creative process, and writing when they had a fever.

How did you get interested in music?

I graduated from UNCG in 2012, and I left for a while, traveled a bit to make music, and then came back here in 2019. So it was cool to be from back home.

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I don’t think there was ever a conscious moment where I decided to pursue music. I think it was very innate. I remember I was a child and I was eaten up with the desire to play drums and guitar. That’s all I wanted to do. I really like music at home. My mother was a violinist and she always played at home, gave lessons and gave concerts.

When I was a child, I went to concerts with her, I sat and listened. I’ve also always been obsessed with orchestras and choirs, this idea of ​​people becoming an entity or a frequency.

In high school, I did a project on lo-fi music and I recorded this little demo on an old four-track. People said, “You can sing!” And I was really shocked. I never really thought about it, but it opened a lot of doors for me and helped me travel.

What are some of your musical inspirations?

I listen to a lot of Elliott Smith and Cat Power and The Cranberries, and I think you can definitely hear that. I also really like Julianna Barwick. Definitely Joni Mitchell too. I feel like if you’re a singer/songwriter and you don’t listen to Joni, I don’t know what you do.

How would you describe your music?

It’s always difficult. Maybe sad choir music. I always like to write about nature. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about feelings, but we can always sing about the rocks and the moon.

What does your creative process look like?

Lots of reps, lots of reps. I feel sorry for everyone who lived with me. I often find a chord pattern that I like and play it over and over as I try out different melodies. Many don’t stick. But when you touch that vein, you say to yourself, “Ah! That’s it.”

I feel more like a writer than a musician. I’m not the most technically gifted musician. As a result, I will often find it difficult to translate what I have written into four chords. But I will definitely write a lot first.

If you could open an exhibition for any artist, who would it be and why?

Enya. Above all, I would like to see Enya live. I would play a song, then let it take over. That would be pretty cool.

Have you ever sung karaoke or in the shower?

I’m quite shy for karaoke, mainly because I like to sing a lot of sad songs. But if I’m feeling frisky, my favorite song is “Man! I feel like a woman!” by Shania Twain. People tend to like that one.

Do you have a favorite song that you enjoy performing?

I like to sing songs that people want to hear. There’s a song called “If I Die Watching TV” that I wrote when I was 20, and I had a fever. Everyone loves it, and people will often sing it with me. I feel like maybe I should write more music when I’m sick. It’s also an easier song to play.

I took a break and wrote a lot. I feel excited to start putting this to music. I haven’t made an album for a while. So that’s my goal right now.

For me, a lot of writing is processing, so it’s almost like writing in a diary. I write a lot about the places I’ve been, the places I’ve lived.

— As told to Robert C. Lopez, [email protected]

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