Born and raised in Kansas, multi-instrumentalist Katie Buchanan brought her blues and Americana-driven pop to New York a decade ago when she relocated to attend the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.
Since then, she’s fused her rootsy sounds with modern technological flourishes, which has resulted in two solo EPs and a full-length debut, Glow, in 2015. As a recording professional, Buchanan writes, tracks, and produces all of her own material (Christian Nourijanian, Goh Izawa, and Lauren Falls join her live). She also works with women artists as a record producer and has become a resource and mentor for young women seeking to learn more about the studio and music industry.
This June, Buchanan will release her second album, Who We Are When We’re Standing. As always, she wrote, tracked, and produced the album entirely on her own, after which she brought in Doug Schadt (Maggie Rogers, Emmy the Great) for mixing Heba Kadry (Neon Indian, The Sea and Cake, The Mars Volta) for mastering.
The album’s first single, “Floating,” is a high-spirited outlier in a collection of songs themed around “learning to stand still.” “Halfway through making the record, I was rummaging through old sessions and stumbled across this track: song complete, production nearly there,” Buchanan says. “It was a breath of joy that quickly spread to the rest of the album. A moment that reminded me the reason for standing still is more important than the act itself. The track anchors upbeat, guitar-driven pop with dirty polyrhythms and grounded vocals. The lyrics twist questions of freedom and attention into a single, final refrain: ‘Can you hear me now?’” She adds that she tracked the song’s opening guitar line in her parents’ attic using an EJ Stratocaster through a Fender Blues Deluxe. “The flip between the clean and the break up totally natural and from the fingers,” she says.
Though Buchanan has extensive knowledge of and experience with gear and studio technology, that reliance on personal style and manual technique vs. technical fixes remains a cornerstone of her approach to music “I’m very much in the “tone comes from the fingers” camp. A good guitar and a good amp should do it. Actually a good enough guitar and a good enough amp should do it. Find the guitar that fits you and run.”
Listen to “Floating” now. Who We Are When We’re Standing will be released on June 9.