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Coultrain Interview by Arasia Magnetic


Coultrain Interview by Arasia Magnetic
This interview appears courtesy of Nu-Soul Magazine
Coultrain aka Seymour Liberty aka the Wanderer is rare. Not because he sings extremely well or that he plays instruments but that he is audacious. He exposes his unprocessed soul without force and it isn’t something that was built over 6 weeks on a television set or his need for the spotlight. It’s his connection to his spirituality and ability to tap into his true self through his music that makes him tantalizing. He’s insatiable through melody, sleek in his cadence, and his words are stimulating. He is innocent in his natural ability to seduce and his tone is unfiltered. And his first album, The Adventures of Seymour Liberty, proves this one track at a time. So if you are frustrated with where soul music is headed, brace yourself because your savior has arrived in the form of a humble yet intense storyteller who wanders the world in search of love.
Nu-Soul was granted the opportunity to speak with the elusive Coultrain about his upcoming projects, multiple personalities, and how he is inspiring people to love again.
Nu-Soul: Tell me about your background and how you got started into music?
Coultrain:
 The church would be my foundation. I grew up in St. Louis—son of a preacher man and my mother was always a big part of the mass choir in church. She was a real big influence on how I sounded tone wise. She has a very beautiful tone so I tried to emulate her sound when I would sing. And the way that my father would tell Bible stories was on a very relatable basis. If you aren’t a person that is privy to what Bible verses mean, it can seem a bit complicated or at least ambiguous because some of it is literal but it’s not all meant to be taken literally. So the way he spoke and the way he told stories gave it a feel that was more relatable to an everyday person. So I think that is where it started. It was something that was kind of embedded in my subconscious.
Nu-Soul: We hear that story a lot on the soul and gospel scene where someone grows up in church but we also hear about parents that aren’t too enthused when the children take the secular route. Did you have any resistance from your parents about not taking the gospel path?
Coultrain:
 Not really. I think I probably knew that before I had to ask. I can’t even recall a conversation saying that I shouldn’t be doing secular music. I don’t think that it is viewed as being that far from gospel because of what I write about. Although I may use a curse word here and there or may talk about sex, which is totally forbidden in church, the overall message or at least my intention is a little more apparent than what I am saying although my words are really important as well. Overall, I am trying to create a paradox or middle ground where I might not be saying everything as gospel but you’ll understand that the way that I am saying it is sincere. I’m honest so you will still get somewhat of a spiritual aspect of what I am saying other than just what I am saying.
Nu-Soul: I noticed that your music does have a spiritual undertone and you lean more towards feelings, connection, and emotion, which is different from a lot of what is on the musical landscape right now.
Coultrain:
 Absolutely. The world that is the mainstream world is of course miles and miles away from my mind state but a lot of the same things they go through are what I also go through. They just choose to kind of ignore their problems through music but I tend to face it or speak about it more. The first record is somewhat relationship based but if you really look underneath you see it’s about a man growing. And I’m saying that because the newer record is myself coming a little bit more into storytelling from what I was trying to do on the first record. I was giving stories of my feelings but on this album, I want to do a mixture of both where I am telling about my feelings, emotions, thoughts and what I think about the world. And it will still be a bit more literal storytelling wise.
Nu-Soul: What goes into your creative process? Do you create everyday or do you have a schedule?
Coultrain:
 I think at times I say I am going to concentrate on this one thing but I usually always have two things moving at one time. I was working on my mix-tape as well as finishing the full length. It’s kind of always like that.
Nu-Soul: You mentioned that you dropped a mix-tape. I am familiar with what a mix-tape does for a Hip Hop artist but this is new to me as far as singers taking this route. Rappers usually rhyme over industry beats and use that to catapult themselves to another level. And pardon me if I sound ignorant but what is the point of a singer doing a mix-tape? Is it the same approach?
Coultrain:
 In my mix-tape format, it is more or less to continue the story line. When I ended The Adventures of Seymour Liberty, I ended it with a song called, “The Sabbatical.” The character Seymour goes on a sabbatical and the mix-tape is what happens while he is looking for himself. The second record is when he returns back to New York. Throughout the mix-tape, I’m traveling and talking about what happens and how I felt about it. Some of the songs are original material. It’s not all someone else’s music. Maybe five songs are original material but the rest is a mixture of a lot of music that I like.
Nu-Soul: So you ARE going to sing over other people’s tracks?
Coultrain:
 Yeah but I’m not using industry beats. It’s telling the story but it is also introducing the character Seymour Liberty as an artist. I know it might sound complicated to you right now—not that it is even supposed to be said but since you asked about, I feel like I should tell you. Seymour Liberty is going to have his own set of records.
Nu-Soul: Wow, so this is like exclusive information I am getting?
Coultrain:
 Yeah, kind of. (Laughing). The way I write my records and the way I think about my life is kind of like a film, so I feel like I am a bunch of people wrapped into one. I kind of want to play different characters and the mix-tape is to present the character. Of course, it’s still me so it’s not something totally different but in the future you will understand the difference between the two kinds of music. Right now, you will get a peak into it. You will really only understand when it all unfolds years from now.
Nu-Soul: So what is the difference between Coultrain and Seymour Liberty?
Coultrain:
 My real name is Aaron Michael Frison…he is the one that actually writes everything. Coultrian is the artist that sings. Seymour Liberty is a character in a story. He is somebody totally different from my real self. I consider Coultrain to be the person who performs on stage. Seymour Liberty is like a poet. Not to sound like I’m dealing with multiple personalities but that’s kind of how I see everybody and everything. I think everybody lives a bunch of different lives rolled up in one— they just don’t see it. I’m choosing to write about it. A lot of it will be audio but it will also be visual. I want to make sure it is done on a level where it still carries the same idea and vision of what I initially had. I don’t want to spell it out for you cause I want you to listen to it and watch it and gain your own interpretation of it. I don’t want to exclude people who may be new to the fact of trying to think about what they are watching. Some of it will be literal so you can hold on for a little while and figure it out for yourself. That’s why I was saying the new record is going to be more literal storytelling as opposed to just poetry and feelings.
Nu-Soul: Do you make music for yourself or for fans and critics?
Coultrain:
 I wouldn’t say critics unless they are fans. Or at least fans of someone willing to at least give something a chance and not judge it on what they think might be going on sonically. I think people judge fairly soon. Although my voice sounds the way it sounds because of where I come from and what I grew up doing, I listen to a wide variety of music so my influence may sound totally different from what is coming out. I am making the music for anyone who is willing to try to listen. I guess I would be lying to say that a part of my vanity is not to be making it for myself because I am trying to impress myself as much as I am trying to impress anyone else. With everything that I’ve read and the philosophies I’ve dove into, I see that it is kind of pointless if I am not doing it for the people. In my eyes, I am supposed to see God within everything and everyone around me. So any gift that I have to give out is supposed to be for that piece of God within all of us. Since we were created in God’s image, we are supposed to create in my opinion. So more or less, I do it for everybody. I hope you are willing to listen. When I say the people that are willing to listen, those are the only ones I am going to grab anyway. I am doing it for any and everybody. I hope they all can get something out of it.
Nu-Soul: What and who inspires you?
Coultrain:
 Life in general. Writers. I read a lot of Henry Miller and Harlem Renaissance stuff. I read a lot of books on religion and poetry. Films. My lady. All kinds of stuff…everything from the sun to the moon.
Nu-Soul: Do you think your music will inspire people to love again?
Coultrain:
 I hope so. Themselves and whomever else is in the room with them.
Nu-Soul: Do you think we are at a point where we aren’t loving each other or ourselves?
Coultrain:
 With the way things are going…it’s almost crazy how the news covers up other things with trash. At the same time they were going to announce the Oscar Grant conviction, they had the whole Lebron James thing going. And it’s like, Is that the kind of shit that you really want to talk about right now? Even the BP oil spill. I’m not an activist or nothing like that and I am a part of the whole thing I am saying at the same time to a certain extent. I’m struggling just like everyone else but it just seems as though we cannot love our children or ourselves if those things don’t matter. That is oil in the water. We have to have water. Water isn’t one of those things that we can’t do without. I don’t even watch the news so I can’t really say like I am totally informed but I don’t remember too many people talking about what the president was saying about this. I don’t see them rushing to figure this out. I don’t know but when you say love, I hope you mean from a standpoint of real love of yourself because if you love yourself enough you definitely want those people to love themselves. And in turn, you will end up loving each other. But I hope whatever I bring to the situation, it is positive and will influence people on a positive level. I think the most positive thing is love.
Nu-Soul: My signature question—if you encountered someone who was deaf and they asked you to describe your music through color, what would those colors be?
Coultrain:
 Blues, greens, burgundy’s, grays, golds….autumn colors. My overall tone is or at last the majority of the time something that has texture to it. When I think of texture, I think of leaves crumbling. It’s something that’s tangible. The way it crackles—you can hear every part of it break. That was the first thing that popped into my head. That used to be my favorite season so I think it is a nostalgia kind of thing.
Nu-Soul: I’m going to say one word and I want you to say the first thing that comes to your mind.
Coultrain:
 Okay.
Nu-Soul: Freedom
Coultrain:
 Liberty
Nu-Soul: Music
Coultrain:
 Love
Nu-Soul: Green
Coultrain:
 Serene
Nu-Soul: Women
Coultrain:
 Dangerous
Nu-Soul: Neo-soul
Coultrain:
 Poison
Nu-Soul: Life
Coultrain:
 Paradox
Nu-Soul: Wanderers
Coultrain:
 Freedom
Nu-Soul: Philosophy
Coultrain:
 Truth
Nu-Soul: Love
Coultrain:
 Dangerous
Nu-Soul: Coultrain
Coultrain:
 Blooming
Nu-Soul: So what’s next for you?
Coultrain:
 Growth. That’s the one thing I am trying to concentrate on. Trying not to do the same dumb shit I did yesterday. Or at least try to really call from within that being that I know is only giving me pieces of what I am asking for. I’m hoping it will last a lifetime but I won’t to dig deeper and really get into a whole a lot more of what I think I am as a writer. I am blooming but I have a lot more to say.
Download Coultrain’s mixtape HERE
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