On August 28, indie folk artist Ben Cramer (who works under the moniker Old Sea Brigade) and fellow singer-songwriter Luke Sital-Singh released a collaborative EP, All the Ways You Sing in the Dark, their first project together. Sital-Singh has also released three studio albums (his most recent one, A Golden State, came out last year), as well as several EPs and singles. Cramer, as Old Sea Brigade, put out a full-length album last year, Ode to a Friend, and has also released EPs and singles.
The duo recorded their EP in Los Angeles, where Sital-Singh lives – and Cramer, who’s based in Nashville, says that going to a different location to work is something that aspiring songwriters should consider trying, too.
“For me, changing my environment, like changing the setting and city, really impacts my writing,” he says. “I find so much more inspiration just being in a different place. When I’m home, I’m always trying to fight complacency, because you get into the same routine. I lose track on whether something is actually good or not.”
Sital-Singh also offers advice: “The thing that feels true for everybody – and hard for everybody – is just finishing songs,” he says. “Get into a habit of always finishing, even if you know the song is bad, because maybe you’re wrong about the song and it’s not bad. Finish as many songs as you possibly can, whether it takes two months or two hours.”
Sital-Singh admits that this is often easier said than done, though. “Sticking with it is really hard. It’s really easy to come up with ideas because it’s fun,” he says. Cramer agrees: “Oh, my hard drive is filled: I have two terabytes of sessions.”
When working on a song, Cramer adds, “Don’t overthink it so much. I think so often people overthink the process and they wait until everything is actually perfect – and it’s never going to be perfect. Most of the time, that stuff sorts itself out, eventually. Try to keep constantly putting out songs.”
As Sital-Singh points out, it’s important to keep at the songwriting craft even through the difficulties because, he says wryly, “If you don’t finish the song, you won’t have a song, and you’re not a songwriter!”
Old Sea Brigade & Luke Sital-Singh’s EP All the Ways You Sing in the Dark is available to stream/download here.