SoftSpot's cosmic tones come to town
Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 12:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 12:47 p.m.
Former Wilmington musicians Sarah Kinlaw and Bryan Keller of Brooklyn duo SoftSpot describe their relationship in rather cosmic terms.
Who: SoftSpot, with The Title Ceremony, Coup de Grace and Museum Mouth
When: 8 p.m. doors, 9 p.m. show, Tuesday, July 16
Where: Brooklyn Arts Center, 516 N. Fourth St., Wilmington
Tickets: $5, $8 for those under 21
Details: brooklynartsnc.com or
"We've always felt this current that drew us together as friends," Kinlaw said. "We were probably already universe BFFs that came back to Earth together to chill out and make things with each other."
Next, SoftSpot will return to Wilmington to perform a show at The Brooklyn Arts Center on July 16 (the show was originally scheduled at the Soapbox, which has since closed). They'll play on the same bill as reunited Wilmington band The Title Ceremony, who SoftSoft was instrumental in getting back together.
SoftSpot's music is born of Kinlaw's ethereal, dreamy vocals and Keller's acidic, sometimes jangly guitar. Their most recent album, "Enso" (its title is Japanese for "circle"), has song lyrics that could be read as poems.
"We use a lot of loop-based textures in our songs," Keller said. "The circle was a prevalent theme."
Touring tends to be a productive rehearsal space for the band, Kinlaw said, with songs often changing drastically on the road from performance to performance.
"It's almost like a track isn't finished until we've played it out a handful of times," Kinlaw said. "The few times we've recorded before touring with a song we've needed to go back through and re-record."
They recently completed a new album in a small North Carolina mountain town over eight days. Last year's "Enso" was recorded by friend and recording engineer Colin Alexander in their Bushwick apartment in Brooklyn.
It was in Alexander's home studio that Kinlaw and Keller began their music partnership. Kinlaw had helped Keller move his things to Brooklyn (after stopping to swim in the ocean one last time) in 2009. The singer was nervous about recording songs at Alexander's and brought Keller along for support.
"Eventually, Bryan started adding additional instrumentation to the recordings," Kinlaw said. "It was totally surprising but I was totally into the collaborative experience."
The duo became a trio recently after adding Blaze Betah on drums. Of the new combination, Kinlaw has this to say: "If SoftSpot was a cake, (Keller) would be the flour and icing. (Bateh) would be the eggs and I would probably be some kind of milk replacement. Most likely almond or coconut, definitely not soy."