Payin' Dues: Triumph Of The Wild

Inspired by a five-month trip around the US, the self-styled ‘one man, one woman band’ comprising Ryan Schilling and Christy Barrett have come up with their most accomplished work yet. Rooted in country blues, We Come With The Dust is raw, pure and equal parts Dylan, Lead Belly and Sonny Terry. Says Schilling: “We had only read about the places the musicians we looked up to lived. When we got to go to these places and soak in the history, it really connected with us.”

Tell us about the album.

Ryan: The recording of this album was definitely way outside what our usual music-making routine had been. A few of the songs were written in the van in different parts of the country. Some in front of a bayou in Mississippi, some in the high-tailin’ winds of Oklahoma.

Where was it recorded?

Ryan: We recorded all but two songs at Tiny Telephone studios in San Francisco. We did all the tracking in four days and it was a rush, the kind of rush you’d get from bungee jumping 30 stories, you remember getting there and taking the leap but if someone asked about what you saw on the way down, it’s mostly a blur. Jacob Winik was our engineer and we had a lot of fun playing with old amps and different percussion set-ups. We have a picture of Christy with about 20 jingles and clickers loaded up on top of a low tom to get the right sound, it’s a good one. What I loved about the recording experience was everything was real. The reverbs were in real chambers, the tape effects were done live, the instruments and vocals were full takes. We weren’t trying to piece together anything or use anything as a crutch./o:p

How did the pair of you first meet?

Ryan: I met Christy through a friend I lived with. I was trying to sleep one night for work and I heard someone singing a capella in the kitchen so incredibly raw and amazing that it got me up out of bed to see who it was. We started to date and I had her sing on some songs I was writing. That eventually started to shift into a project that was more creatively equal, with Christy as main vocals.

If you could be another musician for a day who would it be?

Ryan: Lead Belly. His mix of folk and blues will always impact on how I write.

Christy: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins performing I Put A Spell On You. I’d like to see how it feels in his head when he’s so wonderfully crazy to his audience./o:p

We Come With The Dust is out now via Music Kickup./o:p