In between Speedy Ortiz album, Sadie Dupuis has squeezed in a record of her own.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Speedy Ortiz’ front woman Sadie Dupuis’ solo album under Sad13 is a project that came together simply and naturally. As her band toured the world and built up a following as one of US indie’s most idiosyncratic and thrilling bands, Sadie was slowly compiling fragments of sound bites, lyrics and melodies as iPhone voice memos. Eventually, she listened to them all and thought maybe there’s something special here - so began Sad13.
In essence, Sad13 isn’t too much removed from Speedy Ortiz whose first releases are also lo-fi recordings self-produced and released by Sadie. When you delve into ‘Slugger’, it reveals itself to be a smart and incisive pop record. It bears the hallmarks of Speedy Ortiz but does it in a lighter and more alluring way. “I went through these voice memos over the winter and made a list of what I thought was pretty cool stuff and wrote fifteen songs altogether with that. I self-produced them and recorded it in a bedroom,” explains Sadie. “I enjoy doing home recording. I’m not a good enough producer for Speedy, so this was a good opportunity to try my hand at some self-production in more of a pop vein.”
Sad13 allowed Sadie to truly immerse herself in a project in a way that you can’t do when you’re in a band, where you have to compromise to ensure democracy is retained. “When you’re playing with a band you have other people’s preferences, playing styles and tastes to consider,” she says. “When it’s just me I know what I like and can play it to the best of my availability. It’s easy for me to get lost working on songs by myself. Staying up from 7pm until 5am. You can’t always do that working with three other people. It was fun to get lost in this project.”
Part of the creative spur behind the album was moving to Philadelphia and forming new friendships and relationships. This forms the defining theme behind the collection of sweet, off-kilter pop songs. “One of the things that was exciting was I was spending time in Philadelphia which is where I live now,” begins Sadie. “I have so many friends here who are amazing women who play in awesome punk bands. A lot of the themes were about cultivating female friendships and supporting one another. Speedy stuff is feminist as well but that particular angle was inspiring to me in writing this record. Some of the songs are about being so in love with my friends and their talent and being inspired by them.”
Lead single ‘Get A Yes’ is perhaps the best signifier of the album’s sound and spirit. “We led with ‘Get a Yes’ because the message in that was so clear and it was a mission statement for what the rest of the album should be about,” says Sadie.
While ‘Slugger’ sees her stepping out from the band, Sadie still makes it clear that she prefers playing live with a band, so her solo shows as Sad13 won’t be entirely solo. Which is just as well considering her nerves playing by herself, as she explains, laughing. “I’m going to be playing with a band. I did play solo last week, but there’s nothing I hate more. It makes me so scared,” she confesses. “I say yes to it so infrequently that I forget how much I freak out. I play in front of 10,000 people with Speedy, and I played last night in a kitchen with 20 people, and I was dripping sweat, shaking and I couldn’t look at the few people in the kitchen. It makes me upset, so I’m happy I’m doing the Sad 13 stuff with a band.”
While eventually touring the world as Sad13, Sadie also hopes to complete work on Speedy Ortiz’ third album. It’s certainly a busy time flipping back between projects, but it’s something that she’s comfortable with. “When you’re involved in multiple projects there’s always going to be a back and forth headspace.”
As for Speedy themselves, the wheels are slowly starting to turn. “We went to a studio to make the demos for the record which we could probably release as it sounds really good,” she reveals. “The record is written, but I think we’re going to wait and go to a fancier studio.”
Exciting times ahead then for Speedy, but for now Sad13’s ‘Slugger’ is a most welcome surprise.
Taken from the November issue of Dork, out now - order your copy here. Sad13’s album ‘Slugger’ is out now.