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Sarah Halter – Interview


Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)

PD:  How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?

SH: I am a solo artist based in Pittsburgh, PA. I blend aspects from genres such as progressive, alternative, gothic, symphonic, and death metal in my music.

 

PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.

SH: I grew up in central Pennsylvania. Ever since I was young, I have loved sounds. I got my first chance to develop musical abilities in elementary school when I began to learn how to play the trumpet. By the time I was in high school, I learned to play the guitar and sing simultaneously. I always knew I wanted to do something much more than just play and sing music as a hobby.

I later moved to Pittsburgh in 2015 after finishing university studies. Little did I know that decision to move led me to where I am now in my career.

I started performing at a lot of open mics, writing music, going to local shows, and meeting other musicians. By early 2016, my first band, Blue Clutch, was established and growing in popularity locally in Pittsburgh. We played many shows, solidified our sound into a progressive metal band, and released one full-length album in 2018.

By 2020, the COVID pandemic stymied the local music scene, and some irrevocable circumstances arose between my other two bandmates that eventually led to us making a decision to end to the project.

I wanted to continue making music, so I rebranded, reworked my previous songwriting/production approach, and made the decision to go solo.

In October of 2021, I released A Clockwork Destiny, a 2-song single that blazed a path forward into a new solo career.

Upon receiving an encouraging response from fans, fellow musicians, and press outlets after promoting A Clockwork Destiny, I began recording my most recent EP release, The Doom That Binds Us.

Christopher Elliot of Sparrow Heart Records based in Everett, WA, USA reached out to me in the fall of 2022 offering a record deal for The Doom That Binds Us. I accepted and went full speed ahead into finishing my first completely self-performed, recorded, and produced project aside from mixing and mastering, which brings me to where I am now…

 

PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?

SH: Both recording and performing metal music is such a cathartic and powerful experience for me. It is one outlet in that I can communicate something that is truly me in a pure, unadulterated form. Just existing in the moment when I get that perfect take or when a live performance is inspiring and reaching the crowd… is so inspiring to me.

I mostly focus on writing darker and contemplative subject matter in my music.

As for band/artist influences and ones who I just personally love their music — Tristania, Sirenia, Mortemia (Yes, I am a huge Morten Veland fan), Blackbriar, Sins In Vain, Nightwish, Delain, Meshuggah, Tool, Evanescence, AFI, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Chelsea Wolfe, Lacuna Coil, Ignea, and Dust In Mind are a few that come to mind.

 

PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?

SH: I aspire to take my career as far as it can possibly go, building it with each release and performance. I really can’t predict what’s going to happen in a year from now, let alone in the next few. At the very best, some bigger career stepping stones could appear. But in the very least, I’ll be making and releasing more music!

 

PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?

SH: The moment that I decided to blaze my own path ahead as a solo artist after my previous band, Blue Clutch, fell through.

 

PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?

SH: Promoting is always an ongoing process for me, and yes, it can certainly be challenging.

Based on my experience throughout the past several years, I’ve noticed that whether one attracts new fans, listeners, industry connections, or anything else that can be gained from promotion takes some time, a little financial investment, and a little finesse with working and finding suitable PR outlets.

What I do for promotion nearing music release times is focus on starting any PR campaigns and utilizing other promotion tools (such as a teaser video) a few weeks before the release date. Of course, the bigger the budget you have, the more you can do, but bigger isn’t always necessarily better or attainable depending on where one is in their career.

Also, between releases or major shows, I actively promote my previous music releases, events, videos, images, etc. because it is so important to continuously engage followers.

 

PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?

SH: I usually contact other artists or bands to set up a show. One day I would love to book a much longer tour, possibly working with a tour booking service or even planning it on my own.

My next show is on Friday, January 13th in Pittsburgh at a venue called the Government Center, one week before my new EP release!

I also have a few others in the works for 2023, but no official dates yet.

 

PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?

SH: There are definitely pros and cons about downloading/streaming sites. Despite artists receiving very low pay per stream, a major pro with putting music on streaming services is that an artist/band can make their music available to new potential fans and listeners anywhere streaming services are available. Getting music on popular playlists takes promotion and work because there is so much music available online. It can be more rewarding if music is featured on a popular playlist, which can take time and even luck.

Outside of major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, Bandcamp is a download/streaming site that emphasizes supporting artists directly, which I’ve really come to like and have managed to get music sales and support that listeners on other streaming services might have passed up due to the convenience of just streaming instead of actually buying the album/song.

 

PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

SH: I can’t really answer this because any song in existence now would not be what it is now if I had written it.

 

PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?

SH: I do wish artists got paid more per stream / download on streaming services especially for new or smaller artists.

 

PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?

SH: Music-wise, I am working on a new single following my recent EP release. Following that, I’ll probably start recording a full-length album.

I am also working towards furthering other aspects of my career such as expanding my audience and industry connections, getting more live shows, and of course, always practicing/honing my musical abilities.

 

PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?

SH: https://linktr.ee/sehalter1658

My Link Tree has all of my socials, website, and streaming links including my Bandcamp. I’m working on getting some merch out in the near future, so stay tuned!

Sarah Halter links:
Band/Artist location – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp – Reverbnation –
Twitter – Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – LinkTree
Check our page for Sarah Halter


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