Katie Herzig – “The Waking Sleep”

Katie Herzig "The Waking Sleep" Album ReviewKatie Herzig might not be a household name just yet, but you’ve heard her music in television shows like “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Smallville”, “Pretty Little Liars”, “One Tree Hill”, “Drop Dead Diva” and “Bored to Death”. In addition her music has been featured in commercials, film and the radio station show that puts indie artists on the map, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. If that wasn’t enough, Herzig was nominated for a Grammy for a song she co-wrote with Ruby Amanfu. Herzig  stays true to her indie roots creating a collection of personal reflective songs on her new record, “The Waking Sleep”. Each track is a multilayer of sensory sounds from traditional instruments to a potpourri of inspired eclectic sounds. Herzig’s phrasing and musings are sung with an ability to evoke a dreamlike state of being for her listeners. She becomes a narrator to the beautiful lush arrangements. We caught up with Herzig who’s on the road and about to embark on her U.S. solo tour.

Progressive Pulse: People have heard your music all over the T.V. and film landscape in show’s like Grey’s Anatomy, Smallville, Bored to Death, Drop Dead Diva as well as film. Do you write for projects or have these productions sought your music out?

Herzig: Most of the productions have heard the songs and incorporated them into the show or film. Once in awhile I’ve written a song for film or commercials.

Talk about the instruments and soundscapes we hear on “The Waking Sleep”

Herzig: For this record I was writing on piano, bass, guitar, ukulele and sometimes I build a track with just a drum loop and find my way into some chords and melody. For the most part I’m making music with whatever tools I’m surrounded by. For this record it was a combination of samples from computer programs I had, regular instruments or inviting my friends to come over and play strings, bass or horns. There wasn’t any rules I was following, it was just whatever felt good.

Progressive Pulse: It’s been awhile since you’ve penned a solo album. Most of your recent work has been featured on commercials and film. How was it exploring  your own feelings for this record?

Herzig: Once I wrote the first song, it led me back into those personal songs again, I felt a lot of relief and cathartic emotions. It turned out to be surprising as there is a lot going on in the world and I think I was writing about that. Because I wrote it within the same year it had a lot of similar themes.

Progressive Pulse: We have the track, “Oh My Darlinon repeat here at Progressive Pulse….it’s so adorable and infectious..

Herzig: That one I wrote with my good friend Trent Dabbs. It’s about saying goodbye to someone or as a grownup we sometimes miss our childhood and missing that carefree attitude.

Progressive Pulse: How did you come about choosing the first single and video, “Free My Mind”

Herzig: It kinda became an introduction to what was going on in my head. I was over thinking things in life and being frustrated about it. It’s about wanting to experience freedom from your mind.

Progressive Pulse: Who are your musical influences on this record?

Herzig: I was influenced by Vampire Weekend and Coldplay as well as a composer Gustavo Santaolalla and another composer, Mark Mothersbaugh. My producer and I had these common bands we loved and we found a lot of the same love for these bands. It was fun referencing some of these bands while creating our own sound.

Progressive Pulse: With all of your successes as an indie artist,  how do you feel about pop music today?

Herzig: It’s a funny combination of seeing a pop artist that I admire, and I’m a big sucker for great pop songs, but also knowing who am I and what I’m comfortable doing which has come from less of a pop beginning. I’ve kind of combined my love for pop along with my natural organic way of making music. I don’t know where that puts me or makes me land but…I think we’re still figuring that out. (laughs).

Progressive Pulse: Your about to embark on your U.S. solo tour. How are you approaching the tour?

Herzig: Touring is completely different from the studio. I’m excited and nervous. We’ve been on the road for the last two years and we’ve opened for a lot of bands. This upcoming tour I’m headlining so I’m nervous, but excited to get to play these songs for an audience that is familiar with my music.

Progressive Pulse: what comes first the lyrics or music?

I can’t remember a time when the lyrics came first. I’ve always been more inspired by the music. Usually the music leads the way because it provides the base for the words to live in. The music usually inspires something to say.

Progressive Pulse: You currently reside in Nashville. Why do you like about it?

Herzig: I had taken trips to Nashville before moving there. I met somebody that had worked for ASCAP and invited me to Nashville to do some co-writing and I had never done that before. But, it’s such a normal thing there. Collaboration between artists is the most normal thing as let’s meet for coffee. I’ve never been anywhere else that feels that natural. I think it’s really conducive to creating music and basing a career there and it’s really affordable. There’s this stigma that only country music is made there, but there’s so much more coming out of there. It’s kinda like a small, big city. It doesn’t feel very intimidating it just feels like a nurturing environment for artists.

Progressive Pulse: With all of your successes in t.v, film, commercials, Grammy nods etc, do you feel you’ve reached a level of success that’s comfortable?

Herzig: It’s funny because you do those things and they start to add up as some sort of resume but for me I always think what’s next? I think a lot of artists are always looking forward and wondering where they’re going.  I’m caught off guard sometimes when I read the list of everything. Oh yeah this is crazy, this is like my job and I’m making a good living out of doing it. It’s pretty cool to be able to do that. But… most of the time I’m never feeling like I’ve made it in any way. I always feel like I have lots of work to do… (laughs).

Ideal Listening: Perfect weekend listening and anytime you have free time to awaken your creative spirit.


Rating: 3 Pulses