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Separatr: Making Innovative Noise Pop Waves from Asbury Park

Nicole Brice

Feb 20, 2024

Separatr’s music delves into the depths of human emotions, providing an introspective and relatable experience with poetic lyrics.

Have you ever had a band instantly resonate with your energy on many levels? For me, it does happen every so often, but the music must have the right combination of noise, groove, rhythm, and melody. Having recently learned of a noise pop duo out of New Jersey called Separatr from one of my favorite humans, Jeff Crespi, I decided to check out the band’s body of work. One listen to their EP “Queen Ace” on iTunes was all it took. I was hooked. Not only is the music tightly produced, but the creepy artwork for the EP cover fits the mood and vibe of the tunes perfectly and the vocals are insanely good. Electronic music has always been a favorite of mine because of how it has revolutionized the industry with its distinctive style. Its rhythmic beats, synthesized melodies, and intricate production techniques make it a genre that continues to evolve and push the boundaries of musical creativity.


With raw unfiltered energy, Separatr’s music delves into the depths of human emotions, providing an introspective and relatable experience with poetic lyrics. From the pulsating synths on “Obvious” to the sonic rhythms on “First In Line”, the “Queen Ace” EP explores a bevy of themes such as self-discovery, inner struggles, and societal observations.



Credit: Jeff Crespi


The embodiment of perseverance, drive, and dedication, Separatr is made up of vocalist Stephanie and her producer husband, Joe, who are currently embarking on a new direction with their music careers having recently relocated from Bellingham, Washington in 2023 to Asbury Park, New Jersey. Because of the intense scene the area has to offer, the duo chose New Jersey to continue their creative endeavors and they currently have many projects in the works.


Mixed Alternative Magazine had the opportunity to chat with this up-and-coming duo recently to discuss their cross-country move, influences, and aspirations for the future, so take a moment to learn a little more about Separatr.

 

MaM: You guys are from Bellingham, Washington, and are currently residing in Asbury Park, New Jersey. What was it like completely transplanting your life to move to a new area?  How difficult was it to initially break into the scene in Asbury Park to start booking shows?


Joe: It’s been great actually. The scene here is so supportive and welcoming. We’ve only been in Asbury since June 2023, but many people have heard our story and think it’s really cool.  It’s actually how we’ve gotten a few shows. It’s really refreshing. 


MaM: What initially got you both into music to where you wanted to make your own?


Stephanie: We both always have been into the idea of playing and performing. I’ve always been a singer. Growing up, people would tell me I had a good voice, and I tried to learn guitar, too, but I was just never truly into it, but I can play a little. I’ve always been a singer and a songwriter, though, but it was always in the back of my mind that I would do something with it. When Joe and I met, it started becoming more serious. 



Credit: Jeff Crespi


MaM: Tell us a little more about how the name of the band came about. I read that you took inspiration from a Radiohead song for the name.


Joe: I liked the word graphically with how it looks, and it also is a little inside joke, too, since Radiohead is named after a Talking Head’s song. So, it’s kind of like Talking Heads, Radiohead, and then Separatr.


MaM: It’s a very unique name and it sets you apart. Now, as far as influences go with you guys, I made some notes. I wrote down if the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s met 12 Rounds and Kite Base and had a baby, then that would be Separatr. Who do you cite as your ultimate influence, though?


Joe: I think that’s the first time I’ve heard someone else mention 12 Rounds. Atticus Ross – anything he does with Trent is amazing, but he’s pretty much part of Nine Inch Nails now, and it’s weird to think of them as a duo, but anything those two do is a huge influence on my production style.


Stephanie: For sure, one of the first bands that we talked about when we first met was the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. They were a big one for both of us.


Joe: Yeah, I gave you a leaked copy of “It’s Blitz!” before it came out.


Stephanie: I had gotten into them with “Show Your Bones” and I love “Fever to Tell”. Certainly, Karen O is an influence on our music in a big way, and her range, too. You hear that with my singing, too, the way she’s not afraid to go crazy with her singing and then be delicate. Vocally, The Kills are an influence, too, with them being a duo. No Doubt and Garbage were huge for me growing up also. Gwen Stefani is a big one as well. 



Credit: Photo provided by band


MaM: How would you describe the type of music you make for those not familiar?


Joe: I like the term noise pop and anything that incorporates pop… alt-pop or dark pop. I think it really sets us apart from just being a rock band. Even locally, we try to make sure we play shows with other pop acts. We can get pretty loud and rocking, though, so for me, it’s more like a study in dynamics bringing in the loud/quiet/loud structure. 


MaM: Take us through the creative process. How do you come up with new concepts for songs?


Joe: It’s always changing. Usually, I’m doing the production side by developing the sound. Stephanie writes the lyrics. We then come together to record vocals, but it’s ever-changing.


MaM: As far as collaborations go, are there any musicians you want to work with in the future?


Joe: I want to do a song with Blaise. 


Stephanie: He’s a local singer up here. We just performed a show that was a winter prom theme here in Asbury and it was our first time playing a show with him. He’s just a character and really talented.



Credit: Jeff Crespi


MaM: I haven’t heard of him but am going to look him up when we get off this call. If you had the opportunity to open for any major acts, are there any that you would just jump at the chance?


Joe: Oh wow, that’s a great question. My mind goes to Sleigh Bells, but then that would be too similar to what we are doing. I’d open for Nine Inch Nails. Definitely.


Stephanie: Yeah, totally, but there are so many that would be amazing. 


Joe: Or maybe even some big pop star, so we could have one foot in the pop world.


MaM: If you weren’t doing music currently, what would you be doing?


Joe: If I wasn’t doing music, if that somehow was not in my DNA, then I think I would be doing something with broadcasting. Looking back now, I wish I had gone to school for broadcasting. What I love about this band is making the content, doing live-streaming, video production, all of that.


Stephanie: It’s an interesting time to be in music because there is so much more accessibility to produce your own music. That also means that it’s harder to make headway because there is so much going on. 



Credit: Jeff Crespi


MaM: Do you have a favorite song to perform?


Joe: It changes so much. I would have to say, “Deadstock”.


Stephanie: I agree with that as well. Often, it’s whatever the newest song is. “Deadstock” has been really fun to perform live because it’s a bit different for us. At the prom show we played recently, everyone did a cover, and we did, “Take My Breath Away”. It was a lot of fun. 


Joe: I put some big heavy fuzz guitars over the chorus for “Take My Breath Away”, which gave it a different sound.


MaM: I would love to hear your rendition of that. Such a great song. Do you plan on releasing a cover of that?


Stephanie: I think we will. We had several people coming up to us after telling us we should, so hopefully soon.



Credit: Jeff Crespi


MaM: What does the future hold for Separatr?


Stephanie: We’re excited about some upcoming shows we have planned, and we should have some more music coming out this year at a more rapid rate.


Joe: We’ve been doing this for a long time, but Separatr still feels like a new thing and we’re still learning and growing our community, so much more to come.

 


Separatr is not just another band in the music industry; they are a breath of fresh air and a beacon of innovation. As they continue to evolve as a band, they are destined to leave a huge mark on the industry, so stay tuned and be sure to check out all their current music on your favorite streaming platforms.



Bio Link: separatr


Bandzoogle: Separatr (bandzoogle.com)

 



Questions or comments? Hit us up at mixedalternativemag@gmail.com. A huge thank you to Jeff Crespi for all of the amazing photos. Visit www.jeffcrespirocks.com to view more.

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