Sarah Reiwitch latest creation, "The Death Card," has captivated audiences, serving as a profound meditation on hope and humanity, drawing inspiration from the enigmatic world of tarot cards.
With its ethereal and ambient folk sound, the new single has a mesmerizing effect on listeners, drawing them into a thought-provoking journey through the depths of the human experience. "The Death Card" goes beyond its musical brilliance as Sarah Reiwitch delves lyrically into the myriad ways of seeking answers and meaning in our fast-paced modern world. It is a testament to her artistic prowess and ability to use music as a conduit for introspection and reflection, encouraging us to explore our own paths and perceptions. Her velvety vocals add an enchanting layer to the ethereal soundscape, creating a truly immersive and unforgettable listening experience. In this interview, Indie Boulevard uncover the Sarah's thoughts, visions, and the passion that drives her to use her art as a catalyst for positive social change.
INDIE BOULEVARD: Hello Sarah, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. I'm truly fascinated by your creative process and the inspiration behind your new single, "The Death Card." The concept of using tarot cards as a muse for your music is truly intriguing. Could you take us on a journey through how this unique idea came to be?
SARAH REIWITCH: The inspiration for my song "The Death Card" came from tarot readings, where I kept pulling The Death Card repeatedly, which spooked me. Although it doesn't signify literal death, it still unsettled me. So, to find solace, I penned this track. The lyrics question beliefs, exploring the post-factual world where people reject science and even go so far as to embrace the oxymoronic so-called alternative facts. I have a background in Biochemistry and Philosophy, and I cherish both science and more witchy, intuitive ways of knowing. The song meditates on multiple modes of seeking understanding, including science, tarot cards, and astrology, while pondering the uncertainties of life and human existence.
IB: Tarot cards are often used as tools for self-reflection and introspection. Did the process of writing "The Death Card" lead you to any personal revelations or moments of clarity, and if so, how did these experiences shape the direction of the song?
SR: The song holds deep personal meaning for me due to recent significant losses, including my father and close family members. The chorus, "When will it end? I pulled The Death Card yet again," reflects both tarot symbolism and the recurring grief of losing loved ones. I realize now that facing such massive changes requires huge personal growth.
IB: Each tarot card holds a unique meaning and can evoke different feelings and interpretations. Can you share some insights into how you approached translating the essence of the "Death" card into a musical experience?
SR: A certain group of cards within the tarot represent the soul's evolution from innocence to wisdom. I mirror that progression in my song. In one verse, I express a desire for enlightenment, singing, "Please tell me dear cards what I'm hoping to find, just give me The World, not The Devil this time." The Devil Card symbolizes facing temptations, while The World Card represents ultimate victory and enlightenment. The Death Card reflects the journey from darkness to light and signals necessary change and growth. Writing the song tapped into my hope that humanity will prevail amidst serious challenges like climate change and thrive on Earth.
IB: If you had the opportunity to compose a soundtrack for a movie or TV series, what genre or theme would you love to explore, and why?
SR: I love sci-fi! Favorites include, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Battlestar Galactica (2003), and Black Mirror (Season 1). I would thoroughly enjoy composing a soundtrack for a similar TV series that contemplates either utopian or dystopian versions of the future. I’m intensely interested in exploring how we humans evolved for 10,000 years as hunter-gatherers cope with the advances we make that plunge us into worlds we’re not equipped for, like our current foray into AI. My song “Limbo Land” from my first EP Earthbound contemplates whether or not we might all just be living in a computer simulation. I even made a robotic computer voice effect using a Vocoder simulator in my DAW (digital audio workstation). I also really enjoy making atmospheric kinds of tracks and would love to create some that would work well for scenes in space.
IB: "The Death Card" explores diverse ways of finding answers in our modern world. What drew you to the world of tarot cards, and how did their symbolism and mystique influence the creation of this captivating song?
SR: I’ve always been interested in mysticism, witchy ways, and probing my psyche in search of truth. Tarot is another way I can examine my life and gain clarity on how to proceed when I’m not clear on the best path. It was natural to write about tarot since this form of introspection is something I regularly draw upon.
IB: In the creation of "The Death Card," were there any particular challenges or obstacles you faced, and how did you overcome them during the songwriting and production process?
SR: The songwriting came easily, and recording myself, which I do at home, went smoothly. I played guitar, piano, synths, stand-up bass (via midi), and vocals. The only challenge was recording the fiddle part, which my friend Jeanne, who lives in a self-governed unhoused Sacramento community called Camp Resolution, came over to play. She faced multiple technical issues with her temporary electric fiddle and an amp she was using. An optimal setup was difficult to achieve. Through the process, I learned how much people without housing struggle with basic needs like surviving the elements and having access to clean water. To be a working musician in such circumstances can be a huge struggle. Despite all the challenges, I'm so happy and grateful to have had Jeanne play on my song because of her artistry and as a reminder of the friendships I've forged during my advocacy work with her community.
"I DEEPLE VALUE SOLITUDE"
IB: The song art for "The Death Card" was created by you as well. How do visual art and music intersect in your creative process?
SR: From a young age, I felt an innate need for creative expression. I started with dancing, writing poetry, and drawing. Music has always been integral to my life. I grew up dancing to music and had many instruments at home, including a piano that I adored sitting at and exploring with childish curiosity. While I initially leaned heavily towards dance, my passion for visual arts persisted, and I developed my skills, which I use in producing my own album art and music videos. I immensely enjoy weaving together all these different artistic modalities with my music. Whether dancing in my music videos or creating visual concepts that align with my songs, I cherish the opportunity to express myself holistically. Sharing my deepest emotions and thoughts through words, images, sounds, and movement is a spiritual act. I'm grateful for the value my family placed on the arts growing up and for the chance to nurture these passions today.
IB: With your versatile musical talents, including guitar, piano, synths, can we expect a diverse range of musical arrangements during your live performances? How do you strike a balance between staying true to the recorded versions of your songs and infusing fresh improvisation and creativity into your live renditions?
SR: I usually perform solo though I occasionally bring other people to play different instruments during my shows. Some artists use backing or self-recorded tracks while they play live to deliver more fleshed-out arrangements. I prefer the richness of actual instruments played live rather than recorded tracks, so I generally will play a single instrument while singing. I switch between playing guitar and playing keyboard, depending on the song. I'd like to start a band to deliver the fullness of the fully produced recorded versions of the songs I create to live audiences.
IB: Can you share any details about your upcoming gigs? When and where can fans catch you on tour, and are there any special venues or cities you're particularly excited to perform in?
SR: I have a few exciting gigs lined up this month. On August 12th, I'll be part of a live music program in Midtown Sacramento, playing a 3-hour outdoor set. Then, on August 20th, I play for one hour at Nico Wine in Sacramento. On August 26th, I'll be performing at a private event, celebrating the album release of a friend I collaborated with, singing harmonies on one of his songs. During that show, I'll also have additional musicians joining me on "The Death Card” and other tracks during my set. I'm looking forward to more gigs in September and October, though they're still in the works. While I'm not on tour right now, I plan to embark on a Northern California tour soon after releasing my album next year. “The Death Card” is the first song from this upcoming album, which I can't wait to share with the world.
IB: And the last question. Weekends often offer a chance to recharge and find inspiration outside of the studio. How do you like to spend your weekends when you're not performing or creating music? Are there any activities or hobbies that particularly fuel your creativity and help you find moments of peace and reflection?
SR: Being in nature, particularly around trees, plants, and running water, inspires me deeply. I particularly love walking and biking alongside the nearby American River. I love and am energized by dancing to live music. I find peace and solace in cooking, especially when experimenting with concoctions that align with my diet while satisfying my cravings. Collaborating with other creative individuals excites me, sparks new ideas, and enriches my creative process. Spending time with supportive family and cultivating friendships brings me joy, though I also deeply value solitude. Volunteering and advocating for important causes in my community contribute to my sense of fulfillment. Having the space and time to write music, especially on weekends, is vital for my artistic commitment and creative expression. Embracing the freedom to follow my creative visions and meander without too many plans is essential in nurturing my passion for creating music and self-restoration.