Former independent artists who occasionally crossed paths within their local music scene, Rob and Paul began their partnership this year during COVID.
Beginning with online conversations and recordings, they took their project to the next level and ended up producing their own original music under the name Sterling. A representative of the five-song EP “Sky,” released this year by Sterling, “Salt Licker” is a song for the lovers of pure instrumentation.
This track seems like it’s custom made for those who find joy through adventure and live their lives seeking an unforgettable thrill. Sterling establishes its beauty from the fiery intensity with their new release “Salt Licker.” They will immediately capture your attention with a graceful guitar melody that embodies a lazy, flowing river.
Soon joined by a folk beat and a slamming percussion composition the energy level explodes into a deafening roar. “Salt Licker” immediately jumps from an Indie daydream to a fulminating alternative-rock joyride.
The level of intensity continues to fluctuate throughout the rest of “Salt Licker,” all while maintaining its sturdy electric guitar baseline. Sterling’s lyricism effortlessly matches the fierce and lively tone of the instrumentation.
The songwriting emits feelings of youth by inspiring fans to live in the moment and take advantage of the small joys in life. Sterling will certainly have your heart thumping to the beat of their drums with “Salt Licker.”
We were entranced by the fiery intensity of “Salt Licker!” What was your inspiration when writing this song?
With what's going on in the country right now, most of us have a heightened sense of insecurity. I think "Saltlicker" developed around that; the sense of not knowing. Like much of our writing process, we never know if it's the "right way", we just do it. "Saltlicker" was written with long dynamics because that's just how it happened. The emotion the music stirred in us, helped create the lyrics inspired as well, by the ideas of routine and insecurity.
Could you speak to the message behind your lyrics for “Salt Licker?" As a duo, how do you handle the songwriting process? What does the title “Salt Licker” represent?
"Saltlicker" is a term we use for someone with a poor routine. Some harm themselves, physically or emotionally. Sometimes they do it for attention, sometimes subconsciously. It can be a lifelong streak of bad relationships or the mindset of the "grass is always greener". Some are fucking crazy, some are just unfortunate. This song questions the decisions we make and the reality of happiness. Much like sterling's process, we constantly question but always move forward.
Can you tell us about your collaboration as a duo, and how it has evolved since the beginning of Sterling?
Our writing process is as complicated as it is easy. As all ideas are welcomed and tried, and vocal duties shared, songs come quick but develop slowly. Both Rob and I agreed from the start that we would write the music as we want it, relying less on how things are "supposed" to sound or what pleases most people. That outlook allows room for song growth through the incorporation of the musician friends we bring in to assist with the live sound.
As a duo, we first collaborated together for a short recording "project". While our similar music interests brought us together for the short time, we found our different personal styles mix surprisingly well and made us think long term. While the two of us began a few songs to pay homage to "bands nobody listens to anymore" a sound was created reminiscent of what we wanted but diversified by each other's perspective. Because we find it unique, it keeps us interested and wanting to do more.
How does “Salt Licker” compare to the rest of the songs on your five-song EP 'Sky'?
Before recording, we took inventory of the songs we had written. Paul and I debated whether or not to bundle like songs. With covid going on, live music shut down and the opportunity to control some of the engagement we felt it best to choose 5 of the most diverse songs in our library. Some Paul driven, a few deliver on the combined energy of all parties, my leads were chosen as well. The idea was to make an ep that showed sterling, as a whole, what we are capable of. "Saltlicker" represents the universal sound of sterling the best on the ep. It has an epic feel yet is short enough to be "user friendly". While the other songs on, sky, could be classified specifically by genre(ex. 280-punk, just okay dads club-emo) "Saltlicker" bends and jumps between classifications.
Do you have any releases planned before the end of 2020?
Although sky, was recently released back in October, the now more developed sound is set to be showcased on a digital compilation through GLRStudios alongside other midwest emo and post-rock bands in January. Unplugged performances and live streaming sets continue to be produced and posted through social media.