An international “supergroup” collaboration between SALT (based in Paris, feat. Stéphane Schuck, Benoit Lautridou, & Fred Quentin) and their guests Matthew Caws (Nada Surf), Juliana Hatfield, Matthew Sweet, Peter Holsapple (The dB's), Richard Lloyd (Television), Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Anton Barbeau, The dB’s rhythm section (Gene Holder & Will Rigby),Susan Cowsill, Pat Sansone (Wilco), and newcomer Faith Jones. Produced and guided by Chris Stamey (The dB's).New Album - LIFE
THE SALT COLLECTIVE
"This album was written and composed with a sword of Damocles over my head. A sharp sword. The kind that makes you consider the wind’s caress on your cheek a gift from heaven. That life force has been directly injected into these tracks that you are looking forward to listening to. From this threat came hope, from this threat the music became a wonderful wall. This album is also a tangible proof, if not scientific, at least emotional, that dreams sometimes come true in life. All the fantastic collaborations on this album are a testament to that. Working with such talented people makes you learn and grow. Some say it’s hard to work with people you’ve admired for a long time. Here, it has been an immense pleasure thanks to their humility, their kindness and their competence. We rediscovered with passion the essence of music, a common language, a vector of emotions between human beings.Life goes on, they said. They were right. Life."-Stéphane Schück
"In the midst of chaos, upheaval, and uncertainty, the impulse to make art remains strong. Matthew Caws sings of having “found asylum [on] this hillside,” and in many ways this recording project became a similar place of sanctuary for an extended musical family during a time when we didn’t know what new calamity the next day might bring. Life persists, hope remains. Always, it was helmed and inspired by the ceaseless optimism of Stéphane Schück, who shepherded and cheered each stage of its circuitous evolution…The lyricists sang many of the new collaborations themselves, but were most charmed to have others given voice by the dulcet tones of Juliana Hatfield, Susan Cowsill, Pat Sansone, and newcomer Faith Jones. And although Stéphane played most of the many many many layers of guitars here, he was not the only one: Richard Lloyd (everyone’s six-string hero), Mitch Easter (likewise), Matthew Sweet (same), Gene Holder (an ace), and myself added our own electric touches as the project went along.As early as 1918, in Paris, surrealist André Breton and his compatriots had begun to play a creative parlor game they (being, as I said, surrealists) mysteriously called the Exquisite Corpse. A poem or drawing would be passed from hand to hand, added to, and modified, thus taking on the diverse flavors of a community of like-minded but disparate writers or visual artists. Each adapting to what had come before, but none knowing the whole picture. Two decades later, American friends including John Cage, Virgil Thomson, and Henry Cowell created music using the technique. And artists have continued to use variations of EC for collaborative, often consequentially surrealistic theatrical and literary works.Now three longtime friends, Stéphane Schück, Fred Quentin and Benoit Lautridou, the core of Salt, have done something similar, also from Paris, a century later. They wrote instrumental parts for songs, then passed them off to selected, sympathetic fellow songwriters, asking them to create words and melodies without any instruction beyond perhaps an evocative title. And these were not simple tracks, the music twisted left then right, splashed into dissonance then back to linearity. A recipe for chaos and disconnection? That’s what I thought! . . . until I tried it. For some reason, melodies were magnetically drawn to these cinematic, energetic songs. It was Ouijaboard stuff , the pen moved itself, voila. And Matthew Caws, Matthew Sweet, Peter Holsapple, Anton Barbeau, all clearly found this also to be true. As a twist, Salt even handed off their instruments, to another guitar-bass-and-drums trio, Gene Holder, Will Rigby, and Peter Holsapple of the dB’s, for about half the record, giving them only demos, letting the instrumental tracks be interpreted without any further input.The lyricists sang many of the new collaborations themselves, but were most charmed to have others given voice by the dulcet tones of Juliana Hatfield, Susan Cowsill, Pat Sansone, and newcomer Faith Jones. And although Stéphane played most of the many many many layers of guitars here, he was not the only one: Richard Lloyd (everyone’s six-string hero), Mitch Easter (likewise), Matthew Sweet (same), Gene Holder (an ace), and myself added our own electric touches as the project went along. From North Carolina, Leah Webster’s cello became a distinctive flavor, as did Laura Thomas’s massed violin tracks and Matt Douglas’s velvet flute and sax garnishes. These high-end additions were woven around truly stellar and sometimes surprising bass lines from Fred and Gene (to name just a few, “Dream Inside Me” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” for the former, and “Making It Up As We Go Along,” for the latter). And all was held aloft by the simultaneously precise and fluid drumming by Ben and Will. Zooms, emails, file uploads, a pandemic: there was a lot happening around us that André Breton didn’t have to face in Montparnasse parlors. The studio flooded in Knoxville, Tennessee, but Richard persevered; Pat in Nashville kept an eye peeled for tornados; Stéphane was no stranger to hospital corridors; Juliana darted out from under Boston blizzards . . . there were many obstacles along the way. But the essence—artists connecting through art, working together to make something flow out of the ether—remained. And although the parallel with the surrealists’ parlor is not a complete one (we had no absinthe onboard, for example), “exquisite” does seem to apply. Of the many surprises along the way, perhaps the biggest one, for me, is that this exuberant record is so full of joy. But I shouldn’t have been surprised, really: That’s the very stuff of life, that from which it springs."-Chris Stamey
The Salt Collective - Life
Produced by Chris Stamey
THE SALT COLLECTIVE
In 2022, a new project was created by an international "supergroup" collaboration between SALT and their guests Matthew Caws (Nada Surf), Matthew Sweet, Juliana Hatfield, Richard Lloyd (Television), Anton Barbeau, Susan Cowsill, Mitch Easter, Chris Stamey, Peter Holsapple, Gene Holder and Will Rigby (The dB's).Recorded at Fidelitorium (Kernersville, NC), Ferber Studios (Paris), and Modern Recording (Chapel Hill, NC), as well as at artisan studios. The new album was produced by Chris Stamey.
THE SALT COLLECTIVE
"“The Salt Collective expands French pop act SALT with a staggering array of luminaries: MATTHEW SWEET, dB's (whose CHRIS STAMEY produced), MITCH EASTER, RICHARD LLOYD, JULIANA HATFIELD, NADA SURF'S MATTHEW CAWS, ANTON BARBEAU, and more. With these folks adding on to leader STÉPHANE SCHÜCK's solid foundation, Life effortlessly, gloriously offers the rocking "The Pebble in My Hand," the winsome "Asylum, and the effervescent "Making It Up As We Go Along." Hurrah.”
-The Big Takeover
"There's a professorial solidity to Life, assembled by Paris-based trio, Salt around contributions from their venerable musical friends. Produced by The dB’s’ Chris Stamey, each track has the feel of an elegant masterclass, whether it’s Juliana Hatfield and Richard Lloyd joining forces on the wired escapism of "Where The Wild Things Are" or Nada Surf's Matthew Caws and Let’s Active’s Mitch Easter having a smoke and going into a dream on "Another Bus Coming". Further highly effective demonstrations of collegial pop power come on "Nursery Rhyme", with Stamey and his dB’s compadre Peter Holsapple, "Not Going Back"’s high-speed emotional chase starring Wilco’s Pat Sansone, or - keeping the mood of nervous tension — the clapping philosophies of Holsapple’s "The Pebble In My Hand". The wheel retains its standard form, but these are songs of impressive experience."
"“But aside from all the indie/rock star-power and great guitar playing, the thing that sets Life by The Salt Collective at the top of the pack is the consistently great, entertaining songwriting. If you want to study the whole jangly guitar approach to power-pop, with smart, catchy vocal harmonies each track of the 12 here explores this immediately recognizable approach from a fresh angle. And song after song connects, big time.”"
-The Fire Note