tunesday – an interview with sasami

SASAMI (real name Sasami Ashworth) is the LA artist who has done just about every music-related job before focusing on her own stuff. After two years on the road playing synth for rock outfit Cherry Glazerr, along with time spent scoring arrangements for film and commercials, teaching music, and touring with Mitski, Sasami is going solo. Her debut album is due this March, and if her first single, 'Not The Time', is anything to go by, we're in for some bittersweet, indie rock heartbreak songs.

sasami body 1

You’ve had a long and varied career in music – can you tell me how you’ve reached this point and what drives you?
I feel like up to this point I’ve been a person-in-training for the person I am now, and right now I am probably a person-in-training for the even better person I am about to be next! I so rarely am satisfied by anything I’ve done. Not in a negative way, but I haven’t had that like “I reached the mountain-top" feeling yet, which I guess keeps me going.

Was there a particular moment in your life when you thought "OK this is it, I’m going to be a musician"? Probably in middle school. My band teacher told me a had a perfect embouchure for French Horn. I knew I was born to do music at that moment. Cue *NSYNC’s “God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On Your Embouchure.”

What was your process for writing your debut album? I had a bunch of feelings on tour. I essentially vomited them out into Garageband on my phone.

You wrote and produced this album with your brother – what’s it like working with family? Joojoo is a genius. He has a band called Froth, who I have always been a fan of. It was super fun recording, and I respect him so much. It is also how you would imagine working with your youngest sibling would be. Thank God for pizza, beer and Japanese peanuts, that’s all I’m gonna say.

What’s the crummiest side job you’ve had as a muso? Teaching wasn’t crummy, but it was the most work and most energy sucking by far. There is a reason why a lot of teachers are on the wine train daily at 5pm sharp. Shout out to teachers for sure.

What’s your favourite part about touring? Getting to travel to far off lands. And the delicious venue toilets.

sasami alice baxley
photo by Alice Baxley.

If we had 24 hours in LA what would you insist we do/check out? Eat at In-n-Out, Amara Kitchen, BCD Tofu House, Canter’s Deli… I don't know, I would probably just tell you to eat a lot. That’s what I do there.

You played French horn in school and through college. What do you love about the French horn? It taught me perseverance and to not take things too seriously, because you have to practice and practice and practice over and over to play the parts right, and even then you will probably still fuck up.

And do you have any cool facts to tell us about this underrated instrument? You put your hand inside the bell as an additional tuning mechanism. When horn players emtpty out their 'spit', it is actually mostly condensation that builds up inside the pipes when you blow hot air through them. People who play this instrument are disproportionately good at sexual intercourse.

SASAMI's debut album is available Friday, March 10.

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