All this week, Behind the Setlist is previewing Volume, a music festival in Spokane, Washington that features 100 artists in 10 different venues across two days. Our Spokane team will be on the ground May 31 and June 1. Until then? We are listening to as many artists as we can, previewing those who turn our ears.
Pro Tip: Check out the official Volume Spotify playlist for a taste of every band.
Among Authors @ The Bartlett on June 1
Among Authors has an intricate and delicate sound that’s often taken for granted. Much like the visual effects in our movies, we don’t often appreciate the work that goes into creating new worlds. Among Authors, a group out of Seattle, creates something similarly cinematic and stunning: Tunes that are layered, spacious, and intentional, each offering their own small world to get lost in. The magic didn’t happen overnight, of course. According to singer and keyboardist Ian Ketterer, these songs were the result of a four-year creative journey.
Behind the Setlist recently chatted with Ketterer over email. This conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Among Authors has such a rich, intricate sound. Is this the organic result of its members or a single songwriter with a vision?
First of all, thank you for the kind words! It’s definitely an organic result of all the members. I am the primary songwriter, but Among Authors would not be the band it is without the other members. We are all like family. Well, my brother Jay and I are actually family, but honestly, this band is what it is because of the people in it and the attitudes they all bring.
What’s your favorite song to play live right now?
I think I can speak for the entire band when I say that “Lure” is our favorite song to play live, currently. It’s long, and has a bit of a droning aspect to it, but explodes in multiple spots, so it’s fun.
What goes into the making of a great setlist?
This is a tough question because it’s all relative to how each individual perceives what a great setlist actually is to them. You might be going to a show one night because you’re just really sad, and you just want to hear a sad set, which probably means a lot of down-tempo minor chord music. But then again, you might be going to a show to get punched in the face with sound because that’s always an amazing feeling. SO, with that said, we always try to make our setlists feel as emotional as possible with the use of dynamics from song to song. One song will be pretty low key and the next one blows up, or vice versa. Also, that helps keep us interested in our own music on stage as well, haha.
If a Spokanite stumbles across Among Authors at Volume, what kind of show will they see?
They will see four people on stage, performing an album that took them four years to write, record, mix, and master in their basement, who is now doing a national tour and playing on NPR’s Tiny Desk in DC, all the while wondering how the hell this all happened. And they hopefully feel what [this journey] has done to our life from a positive standpoint and a negative one. If we play and can leave one person feeling what we feel on stage, then we’ve accomplished the reason we play music. So come say hi!
Any plans for a new album?