“Mom” Stephen Steinbrink

"Mom" by Stephen Steinbrink is Northern Transmissions' 'Song of the Day.' The track is off his current release 'Utopia Teased.'
"Mom" by Stephen Steinbrink

Stunned with grief in the months following the Ghost Ship fire, Oakland-based Stephen Steinbrink ate LSD daily, bought a synthesizer, and locked himself in his shipping container studio, refusing to sleep for days as he wrote and recorded what would become Utopia Teased, as a means of working through his overwhelming feelings of cynicism and loss.

Recorded in between stints touring as a member of Dear Nora, and then as a touring member of Girlpool, Utopia Teased is Stephen Steinbrink’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2016 album Anagrams. Unlike the pristine production of Anagrams on Utopia Teased Steinbrink embraces the rough edges, as he shifts his focus from the craft of production to the art of processing and capturing his experiences with honesty. He explains, “I was driving the preamps a little too hard, mixing down to tape, bouncing back to the computer, and repeating the process over and over again. I wanted it to reflect how fried my brain felt at the time, totally pulverized. The songs just poured out of me, it hardly felt like work to make them up. It was like turning on a spigot. I don’t write often, maybe once or twice a year, but when I do, a lot comes out. To me my craft is less about putting in the hours physically playing music — the real work is getting my soul right so that when the holy wave of pure creative energy moves over your house, it will recognize you as worthy enough. If it does, maybe it’ll give you a song.”

In an interview with North of the Internet, Steinbrink recalled a video he came across on his phone, which was
taken the day after the fire, “It sent me spiralling and thinking, it’s almost been a year. Nothing really felt actual those weeks, and I could only only react to the future at a remove because the horror of everything was inescapably tying me to the present. The idea of doing laundry or driving across the bridge to San Francisco to work was too abstract, so I just didn’t do it. I hardly did anything. Two days after the fire I woke up, walked to P.’s porch and sat there for hours alone and cried without a jacket on until the sun started going down. Geese were flying across power lines at dusk and I took a video of them on my phone. I imagined one of the birds was my friend.”

Stephen Steinbrink
Utopia Teased
Track Listing:

1. Bad Love
2. I Wanna Be Free
3. A Part Of Me Is A Part Of You
4. Empty Vessel
5. Maximum Sunlight
6. Zappa Dream
7. Coming Down
8. Mom
9. In Another Kind Of Dream
10. Become Sphere
11. You Could Always Leave
12. I’m Never Changing Who You Are