Under The Influence: Saticöy Embrace Creative Freedom Through Alt Pop Expression
Saticöy can be perfectly described as a group of visionary creatives, adding a fresh and interesting spin to Alternative Pop. More than a band, Saticöy is a “collective” focused on creative expression, living their absolute truth as artists, and sharing that message through their passionate music. The Los Angeles-based group formed in their native home of Ohio in early 2018. Their fairly short introduction to the L.A. music scene followed a six-month-long “incubation” period. Entrenched in songwriting and free-flowing collaboration, it’s safe to say that lead singer and guitarist, Derek Long, drummer and production eye, Jaron Takach, and bassist, Jon Averbook, cultivated the basis of their sound during that time. Their steady progression into the music path is paying off with their first hit single “Faded from Color” making waves on Spotify and even being nominated for “Best Alternative Song of 2018” in the Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMAs).
Their dedication to pursuing music over everything else has definitely filtered into their tracks, offering reminders of how important staying true to one’s artistic passion can be for personal growth. They’ve followed up their knockout single with another release titled “Last Call”. Seeing music as a universal language, aspects of multiple styles and sounds impact their sound. Influenced by the likes of Anderson .Paak, Kaytranada, Tame Impala and more, you’ll find notes of upbeat Pop to rhythmic Hip-Hop. Lead singer Derek Long joins Steereo to discuss all things Saticöy, from insights on their two releases, the creative process of their incubation, the HMMAs, and more.
Can you share with us how the band formed and when you all started making music together?
Jaron, Jon, and I met in college, so we go way back. When we weren’t being stereotypical drunk college students or studying for exams, we were playing in a jam band called Waivada. It was one of the best times of our lives, but more importantly, it helped us to build SOLID chemistry as musicians and collaborators. It is so important to be comfortable with people you are writing music with, and we’ve known each other long enough to tell each other when an idea is great, and when it is shit. The idea for Saticöy was hatched after Jaron and I had been living in LA for about a year. When Jon moved out here, that idea was put into action.
What does music mean to you all and how does it push you to create?
What music means to us changes constantly. When I was young, it was an escape from some of the adversities I was facing. My father passed when I was young, so playing guitar was great not only for occupying my time, but it also gave me a creative outlet for my anxiety.
We’ve had a number of conversations about how important a role music plays in connecting people. How it is a universal language. In college, I remember walking back to my dorm and running into a Japanese exchange student playing guitar. Despite not being able to speak a lick of English, he and I sat and jammed for a solid 30 minutes. We never said a word to each other, but I will never forget him.
Lately we’ve been viewing music through a business lens. Despite all of us having deep rooted artistic integrity, we realize that if we want to make a living doing this, we’ll have to learn how to sell it.
How do you feel about the Pop genre? Where do you think it’s headed and how do you see Saticöy standing out or navigating the large genre?
If you would have told my high school self that I’d be making Pop music, I would have scoffed at you. I think that’s only because I didn’t truly understand what it meant to be a Pop artist. “Pop music” is an elusive concept. On one hand, you can say, pop music is Katy Perry, Britney Spears, One Direction, etc. Yet, Nevermind by Nirvana is also a Pop record. Currents by Tame Impala is a Pop record. We think the most important step in distinguishing yourself in popular music is by staying consistent and determined, and by engaging your audience as much as possible. Once people are engaged enough to look us up, the music will speak for itself.
Are there any specific artists who have impacted your style? If so, how?
Too many to count! Anderson .Paak has been a major influence that pushes us in a more soulful direction. Kanye West and Kaytranada are huge influences, particularly on Jaron for his production. Tame Impala and Portugal. The Man. They are great artists for us to look up to because they are experts at the crossover Indie/Alt and Pop hits (like “The Less I Know The Better” and “Feel It Still”). We could go on for days.
You’ve stated that the group had a “six month incubation period,” can you share with us what that was like?
Once an artist starts to release music, people expect more, and if you don’t deliver quickly, you are forgotten about. With this in mind, we decided to take our time to build a team and produce as much content as we could. We also wanted to make sure that when we started releasing music, it wasn’t just our friends and family listening. To build a base audience, we started filming one minute covers formatted for Instagram. This was great because it wasn’t too time-consuming, but we were still putting out regular content.
During the incubation period, we produced a total of 18 song ideas, which we then broke down to 7 songs to put on an EP. We also have 5 music videos in the works, all at different stages in production.
Your first single “Faded from Color” is making waves, what was it like creating the song? Also, how important is the song to your group?
The intro synth line for “Faded from Color” was actually written by Jaron last December after coming home drunk from a Kygo show at the Hollywood Bowl. At the time, we were leaning more in the direction of a Vulfpeck/Lettuce type band. Heavy on instrumentation and funk vibes. So we wrote this off as a poppy melody we’d never use. Then, one day we came to our senses. The competition for those type of bands is intense out in LA. So, a few months later, as Jaron was getting ready to go learn an Animals As Leaders drum part, we decided “let’s bring back that drunken pop line from way back”.
“Faded from Color” is particularly relatable for all of us. Before going heavy into Saticöy, I was working at a mixing studio as a runner, Jaron was working as an assistant in audio post-production, and Jon was managing a number of social media accounts as well as teaching Bass and Guitar at School of Rock. We all realized pretty quickly how much we hate working for other people, and how much a drain it put on our creativity. I came to the conclusion that I was trying to take the “safe” route by working as a mixing engineer. Problem is, there is no safe route in the music industry, so why not do exactly what I want in it? So, we quit those positions, took day jobs that weren’t as time-consuming, and started writing.
Listen to “Faded from Color” by Saticöy
Lyrics seem important to the group, what were some intentional and meaningful lyrics in your single, “Faded from Color”?
Listening to “Faded from Color”, it sounds like a really upbeat, bubbly sort of jam. With that in mind, we decided to take the lyrics in the opposite direction. I take pride in performing the verses with a sarcastic undertone, singing joyful melodies about coping with a mundane, creativity sucking 9:00 to 5:00 job. Lines like “I hate trading time for a wage, at least I’ve got a home and a job that pays” highlight the tough decision a lot of people go through when deciding to follow the passion vs. the dollar sign. Do you really want to waste time working a job you hate if you have the opportunity to follow a passion?
“Stuck in the back seat and told to drive”, is a feeling I’ve felt in nearly every job I’ve worked since high school. Being given the illusion of control, when in reality you are limited only to what is allowed by the system you are working for. Still, we all need to do what we have to to pay the bills. “Faded from Color” acknowledges that, but stresses the importance of the remaining free time we have. Instead of sitting in front of a TV, create something! Conceive a new business idea! Start a hobby! Anything to stay creative, and improve yourself.
Following your first single you released “Last Call,” can you tell us about the song?
This song started as I was experimenting with chord progressions on the guitar. The loop of swells that I ended up with didn’t thrill me. I literally named the session “shit”. Funny how what is shit to one person ends up being the inspiration for a rich, interesting beat to another person. Jaron took the swells and produced what I think is one of the coolest drum patterns on the EP. We came together to produce out the rest of the track and “Last Call” was born. Leaning more into hip hop and bringing in our good friend Tre Wright (an incredibly talented producer and artist) was a no brainer for “Last Call”. It did create a divide from the previous single. It’s interesting to see how the feedback differs between the two.
Listen to “Last Call” by Saticöy
How does it feel to have your first song nominated in Hollywood Music In Media Awards?
It’s awesome! To be nominated for an award at such an early stage in our career is truly humbling. That on top of the overwhelming support shown in our Spotify numbers made all the work we did in incubation worthwhile. At the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, we were just excited to be doing a red carpet event off of our first single. Besides that we really had no expectations. We didn’t win, so we used the opportunity to kick back for a second with the whole team and be grateful for each other and where this project might take us.
Can listeners expect any new music from Saticöy soon?
Yes! As mentioned before, we have a full 7 song EP produced and slated to release in March. Until then, we’ll be dropping a few more singles.
Is there anything more you would like to share about your group or your music?
One of the things we discussed in Saticöy’s infancy was to treat it less like a band and more like a collective of creative individuals working under one brand. Core members of Saticöy are still Jaron, Jon, and myself, but we would be nothing without our team. Multi-Instrumentalist Spencer Hendricks really brings it on the keys, making ideas we otherwise would have scrapped into some of our favorite songs. Our vocal producer Aaron Berton and mixing engineer Rashawn McLean take what we produce and push the boundaries of how great we thought it could sound. Neely Khan (director of the “Faded from Color” music video) and Nikki Rodriguez (director of the “Last Call” music video) are members of the collective along with their core film crew. If you follow us on social you’ll be seeing a lot more from them in the coming months.
Watch The Music Video For “Faded from Color” by Saticöy