I’d rather be surprised by the risks being taken
As a focused singer, songwriter and composer, Salome uses music as a method of growth and development, so that she can now return to old chapters, to focus on improving the craft. Salome’s voice and storytelling remain clear and natural amid the electronic or drum and bass sounds present in her music. We sat down to discuss her influences, old and new, her musical process and the transition towards performing in a live setting.
How has your style changed since you started making music?
When I started making music, it was mostly no-drum music. I don’t produce, I focus on the singing and the writing of the music, and I help with composing. Eventually, I managed to develop what I wanted to be doing lyrically, and Dviance, with who I'm currently working, joined the project. By that point our desire to implement drum effects in the music became unavoidable, and now we have made our first EP, which is very drum and bass influenced, very electronic. We definitely started leaning towards very shoegaze sounds, but there is almost no treatment on the voice; we try to keep it as natural as possible. It kind of balances it out.
Is keeping your voice natural an important part of your sound?
At first, when I was experimenting, I didn't really know what I was doing, and I added autotune and effects because that's what was cool. I would layer my voice a lot too, I think because I was somewhat afraid to sing out loud. Right now I'm reworking a track that I actually released about two years ago. Back then I hadn't been singing for a while, so when we recorded I sang it so high-pitched that I am incapable of singing it properly on stage. So, we re-recorded it and we just reworked the whole thing. For this song, because the sound is so much more electronic than my EP, we have to use autotune, because it allows the topline to merge into the music.
You have begun to perform more recently, has this changed your music in any way?
When I started playing, I was singing slow music, but I decided that I don't want people to see my set and cry thinking of their problems, I want them to be happy, which does influence the music we want to make and perform. I don't like to listen to sad music, so why would I want to make sad music?
After adding the drum and bass, we also decided to include the guitar, played by Dviance, who is classically trained. He also has a lot of experience playing live, so it’s really great that he can take care of the technical side when we perform. Just being on stage with him, because we both enjoy it so much, feels so nice. I love that I am doing it for myself as much as I am doing it for him. I also insist that we are at the same level on the stage, either I am on the left and he is on the right or the other way around. I think it’s more entertaining for the audience to watch that as well because we have good chemistry, he is my best friend.
It's so nice to give another dimension to the music, even for me, and it's very simple, but having a real instrument on stage is baffling for everyone.
Is it helpful to work with someone who does different things than you?
I don't produce per se, but I am always there for the mixing and the mastering, even if my role is just a support system. But, my job is to be a good singer and to propose lyrics that make sense and are relatable. Sometimes I have this sort of imposter syndrome about not producing, but there would be no point for me to actually produce because I am working with one of the most genius people I have ever met.
Also, I find it better to collaborate because there are never any underlying ego issues, because we both do what we know how to do, and we can help one another without having the knowledge. If I'm stuck on a topline, sometimes he can come, and although he's not a singer, he sometimes gives advice that I might never have thought about in that way. The same goes the other way around, and I might say I want the bass to be one way, a way he hadn’t thought of. We move faster this way.
What kind of music influenced your style and taste?
Growing up, I was lucky that my father introduced me to non-french singing music, so I never listened to French music. I learned English through song lyrics, which must have influenced my music because now I also sing in English. It does kind of feel like the musical language for me, and a way to access so much information.
They are still discovering their singing voice, which is super nice to see; it breeds so much creativity
Although I knew so many different bands and types of music, I was a bit of an indie head growing up. The first song I downloaded on my MP3 was “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor '' by the Arctic Monkeys. On the other hand, I was obsessed with R&B, specifically Rihanna and Mariah Carey. I downloaded Mariah Carey’s entire discography.
When I moved out of France, when I was 19 years old, that is when I started being interested in French lyrics. Maybe it was nostalgia from being away from home, but I became super interested in it, especially the underground rap scene that was going on at the time. From the moment men started singing I was like “we're onto something.” Men were rapping and really exceeding in the art of rap for a while, so they are still discovering their singing voice, which is super nice to see; it breeds so much creativity.
What is your lyrical process?
I try not to write about romantic love stories. It doesn't bring anything to the table for me. Of course, I am influenced by my own life, but I try to write music that has a moral to the story. It's about trying to close a chapter, of an embarrassing moment or a frustrating relationship. If I can write a track, I can almost close that chapter and move on. I also always want to bring both sides to the story, rather than just throw blame around. I have always sung about very specific moments, but looking back, most of the tracks could be directed at many different people or things that have happened.
For me, lyricism is a big part of the music itself. I think toplines are very important, and artists can either choose easy ones or make them challenging. Often, when I listen to music, I am a bit underwhelmed by the toplines because just by listening to the song somewhat attentively, I can often come to the same conclusion as the artist. I’d rather be surprised by the toplines and the melodies and the risks being taken.
You seem to appreciate things fitting together in the right way, is this a part of your artistry?
I feel really content with what I'm doing right now because it feels organic
When I think about it, a lot of people want to be artists, and a lot of people want to make music, but only a few people want to put in the work. If you analyze how people around you are working, it's not that hard, you just need to be consistent. I put in the work, so now I am confident about it. I feel really content with what I'm doing right now because it feels organic. One good event brings another good event; I think that's how things are supposed to go.