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Record Producer Eric Lilavois on ‘Sea’ Album, New Documentary, Seattle

The Journey: The Making of Salt, Sea, and Smoke.

Musician-turned-producer Eric Lilavois has been a busy man over the past few years.

Since acting as producer for Saint Motel, My Chemical Romance and Atlas Genius, and composing music for television shows, Lilavois invested in two recording studios: his own Crown City Studios in Pasadena, Calif. and London Bridge Studios in Seattle as a partner. He achieved so much music success at the young age of 35 that it only seemed logical to film his current project, “The Journey: The Making of Salt, Sea, and Smoke.” The documentary (coming soon) captures Lilavois during the recording of his album Sea and also explores his role as a producer.

The Journey features in-depth interviews, performances, and commentary on the creative process from a cast of career musicians including Ben Smith (Heart), Andrew Joslyn (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis), Danny T. Levin (Vampire Weekend, Julian Casablancas), David Moyer (U2, Snoop Dogg, Tears for Fears, Broken Bells) and GRAMMY NW Chapter President Geoff Ott (Unwritten Law, 3 Doors Down). — A.M. Bushe

The Spec chatted with Lilavois about music and Seattle, read what he had to say below…

How did you get your start in the music industry?
I started in band called The Days In Between, which was a self-funded indie DIY band. I was always the de facto producer in band, the person in the band over the engineer’s shoulder, so eventually other bands asked me to pick up that role.

What has been one of your most favorite or interesting projects to work on and why?
Dust Bowl Revival is a lot of fun and unexpected– we utilized the room and size of band to get creative with that project. Recording went very quick because they’re so tight and have a defined vision on what they sound like live. We played with them a lot.

In the title “The Making of Salt, Sea, and Smoke,” what roles do the salt, sea, and smoke play in your documentary?
The EP is broken up that way to represent the ocean and the elements. It’s interchanging, and the elements are identified with themes in music – whether on an emotional level or in the literal sense of writing a song by the ocean.

Why did you feel like now is the right time to make a film?
I was approached by A.M. Bush and he caught wind I was making a record and I explained what I was doing and who was involved and he saw an opportunity at a point in time where I am working with all these artists. I’ve been joking that we are “finding the extraordinary and the ordinary,” because it’s as real and as raw as possible.

What projects are you currently working on?
I am finishing a record with Austin Kolbe, a fantastic 19-year-old singer-songwriter. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Second Howl. I’m wrapping up 52-artist project, where we recorded one artist per week for 52 weeks, which is coming to a close.

As a lover of all things Seattle, what are some of your favorite things about living and working in Seattle?
Seattle has been so great to me. I’ve been going there since 2001, and seriously commuting since 2007, and now it’s becoming my home. I always kinda feel my utmost creative, the most at-home and inspired. Anytime I leave I can’t wait to get back. It also tends to be a healthier atmosphere. When I am working there, everyone is wanting to eat at the juice bar or go for a walk or a bike ride.

Stream Eric Lilavois’ album Sea via SoundCloud.

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