Blake Sennett and what he discovered when he broke up with Music

So I got to interview the lovely Blake Sennett (Rilo Kiley, The Elected) the other week. They gave me a free mp3 copy of The Elected’s new album and I love it!

Here’s the article I wrote about him that appeared in The Jersey Journal on Friday, June 24. See it as it appeared on NJ.com.

Blake Sennett comes back to Maxwell’s with The Elected

Blake Sennett of The Elected. Lauren Dukoff photo

The world has been waiting a long time for Blake Sennett to come back.

On Sunday, the guitarist and singer of Rilo Kiley fame will return to Maxwell’s in Hoboken with his band/solo project The Elected.

At the show, the indie rocker and a few of his friends will perform songs off The Elected’s newly released album, “Bury Me In My Rings.”

“In this particular record, I just wanted to be honest and just make music that was truthful to me,” said the 34-year-old. “That’s all I was hoping for. Just to make something to feel good about.”

Sennett says he has been through a lot since Rilo Kiley went on hiatus and he took a break from the music business.

“Rilo Kiley, at the end, had become very painful and very disappointing to me,” he confessed, adding that taking time off helped him recover as well as learn new things about the world and himself.

“I discovered how to enjoy things, how to love things. I discovered how to love travel – I never liked to travel before that – I discovered I love to learn things, be around people, meet new people, I discovered how to scuba dive and ride a motorcycle – tons of weird sh—,” said Sennett.

“On this record, I want to bring that joy with me, bring that lightness and bring that spirit.”

Sennett seems to have accomplished that with the new album’s 12 pop-rock songs that bring to mind West Coast sunshine and driving to the beach.

“I tried to pick songs on the record that I liked and that felt uplifting to me,” said the San Diego native.

“Agony and pain are great places to write from, but not necessarily where I wanted to write this from. These are more narrative expressions…I tried to have a beginning, middle and end in these songs.”

While Sennett tried to do almost everything on the record – from songwriting to vocals, guitar, bass and drums – he ended up turning to several of his friends including The Elected’s co-founder Mike Bloom.

“I not only because frustrated at times, I probably became a little lonely too. I like to collaborate, I like working with people. I started reaching out to my friends to fill in on this record to play strings and other instruments.”

The collaborative atmosphere reminded him of cowriting songs with Rilo Kiley vocalist Jenny Lewis.

“Jenny and I were almost always writing together and I think that was a union and partnership that I really loved but sometimes as an artist, you write more than just that,” said Sennett, who said he created The Elected so he could use his songs that didn’t quite fit Rilo Kiley.

“The first record was very threatening to her – at the time we were in Rilo Kiley. Since then she has been really supportive,” he said, adding, “She’s my friend and I love her a lot.”

Overall, Sennett is very pleased with his latest work.

“I hope people can listen to these songs and maybe have the kind of experience I have when I listen to music I care about, that takes me away for a bit and makes me feel connected to something.”

Sunday’s concertgoers are bound to feel that connection.

“The New York area always has great fans of music and very supportive people,” noted Sennett. “It’s felt great and been really fun so far. It’s been awesome.”

The Elected performed at Maxwell’s, 1039 Washington St., Hoboken, on Sunday, June 26, 2011.

Listen to The Elected’s song “Babyface” (one of my favorites!) off their new record, “Bury Me In My Rings.”

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About Summer Dawn Hortillosa

Summer Dawn Hortillosa is a journalist specializing in arts and entertainment. Among other things, she is also an award-winning playwright, director, singer-songwriter and actress. Her work has been seen in The Jersey City Independent, The Jersey Journal and other publications.
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