Joana Serrat – I Still Believe In You (Loose Music)
Hailing from near Barcelona, Joana Serrat is one of the unexpected European treasures in the ever-expanding genre of Americana. After her critically acclaimed release Hardcore From The Heart came out June 11th, 2021 in the middle of the pandemic, she recorded a cover of “I Sill Believe In You Now” from Chris Hillman’s (The Byrds) The Desert Rose Band.
Americana Highways: How did you come to record “I Still Believe In You Now”?
Joana Serrat: I am a big fan of Byrds, in particular the music of Gene Clark and Chris Hillman. During the lockdown my boyfriend kept playing The Desert Rose Band‘s album and every time “I Still Believe In You Now” came on I felt a pang in my stomach. I also felt an attachment to the different layers of interpretation that the song offers. That’s one of the aspects that makes a song great, when they have their own private universe but offer you room to identify with and own it.
I see this tune as a mixture of feelings, as a very intimate oath that contains the dark, the depth and the shallowness of the human existence. So I thought ‘How cool would it be to cover it? This song is the perfect pop song.’ So I adapted it to the sound of my current album, Hardcore From The Heart and presented it to the world.
Serrat’s “I Still Believe In You” captures the lovingly anthemic theme of the original recording while bringing her pop and atmospheric sensibilities to the forefront.
The B Side on this single release ‘Under This Bridge’ is an outtake from Hardcore From The Heart she wrote on tour in the UK.
AH: I understand you wrote ‘Under This Bridge’ while playing on the very cool boat venue Thekla ?
JS: I wrote at The Thekla in Bristol while waiting for my soundcheck when I was touring with Israel Nash & The Delines back in 2019. I went for a walk around the Bristol harbor and I felt inspired by the course of the Avon river that flows into the waters of the Celtic Sea. I needed to get rid of the emotional storm that I had been carrying around for a long time. As a ritual, I stared at the river and swore to myself that I would leave my sorrow there for the sea to take it away and leave me clean.”
Joana is joined by some of the musicians she worked with on ‘Dripping Springs’ – including guitarist Joey McClellan (Midlake, BNQT, John Grant) and bassist Aaron McClellan (Josh T. Pearson, BNQT) – who are joined by drummer McKenzie Smith (St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, First Aid Kit) and keyboard-player Jesse Chandler (Mercury Rev). The work is rounded off by contributions of both pedal steel guitarist Eric Swanson (Nathaniel Rateliff, Israel Nash) and her brother Toni Serrat on drums. The magical varnish of mastering this flammable and fragile material is down to mastering engineer Heba Kadry (Slowdive, Beach House, Future Islands).
AH: How did you end up working with Israel Nash and end up recording in Texas?
JS: I first listened to Israel Nash‘s Barn Doors And Concrete Floors circa 2013 and I loved his song-writing. “Good Bye Ghost” got stuck in my mind for days so when he released “Rain Plans” I couldn’t wait to get myself a copy and when I listened to it, I was blown away by it. The exact same happened when “Silver Season” came out. At the time I was already thinking about my next album and I knew I wanted to work with him really bad. In my head it was clear that I needed to add punch to my ambience and his last two records seemed the perfect match to achieve this. So I decided to call him, I introduced myself as a singer songwriter and a label mate (I got signed with Loose Music in 2015) and his answer was “Yes. Why Not?” He loved my songs and offered to track the album at his studio (Plum Creek Studio) alongside his band. Those days at Plum Creek Sound — his ranch studio in Dripping Springs, Texas — were a wonderful experience both musically and personally. We had great, long talks at night about life, our existence, our careers, music… My album was released in 2017 and I titled it Dripping Springs as a tribute to that place, those days and those people.
AH: What are you working on at the moment? What is coming next?
JS: I’m currently in Denton, TX recording my new album at the Redwood Studios and at The Echo Lab. I feel deeply honoured that Matte Pence (Jason Isbell, Nikki Lane, Paul Cauthen) wanted to join me on production. He is a fantastic producer, a great mind, absolutely committed to the artist and their work, a killer drummer and a wonderful human being. I am very excited to be working with my friends and mind blowing musicians Joey McClellan (Elle King, Midlake, Israel Nash) and McKenzie Smith (St. Vincent, First Aid Kit, Nicole Atkins, Nelly Furtado). Evan Jacobs (Alejandro Escovedo), Scott Lee (The Texas Gentlemen, Kirby Brown, Josh T. Perason) and Jesse Chandler (Mercury Rev, Midlake) are also coming down for the sessions and what they are offering to this record is fantastic. Hopefully the album will be released next year.
In the next few days I’m traveling to the UK to tour there for 10 days. And, in the meantime, on Friday I am releasing a 7″ single featuring a cover of The Desert Rose Band’s classic “I Still Believe In You” on side A and a new track from the Hardcore From The Heart sessions on side B titled “Under This Bridge.'” The new single will be released on Friday 22nd May on 7″ vinyl and digitally.
Watch the “I Still Believe In You” official video:
Find the music and more information here: https://www.loosemusic.com/page/artist-detail/joana-serrat/