Saintseneca is a young band from Columbus, Ohio led by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Zac Little. Following in the footsteps of heartland bands who have sought to twist the music of the old weird America into new shapes - from the Violent Femmes to Neutral Milk Hotel - Saintseneca perform songs that sound familiar and uniquely original, all at once. The group utilizes a wide range of acoustic instrumentation (balalaika, mandolin, dulcimer, Turkish Baglama, floor percussion) with more contemporary elements such as synthesizers and electric guitars to create a seamless blend of soaring vocals and vibrant post-punk energy.
While the group formed in Columbus Ohio, Saintseneca's songwriter Little hails from the rural hills of Appalachia. It is a solitary and dramatic landscape that has infused the band's songs with a sense of introspection and some striking narratives. "I was raised on farms in Appalachia," Little explains, "And I think that my perspective on music was shaped by where I grew up. It was twenty minutes to see the nearest person. Being so isolated forced me to be introspective and resourceful. As a kid I would explore these abandoned houses and barns and wonder what had happened in those places."
With a diverse assemblage of influences ranging from Animal Collective to Bob Dylan to The Beatles and The Cure, the band's poetic lyricism and folk instrumentation is consistently enhanced by elements of pop, post-punk and psychedelia. It is a sound that evolved from playing alongside an array of electrified bands at DIY house shows. "The scene in Columbus is really vibrant and diverse," Little explains. "The connecting thread has less to do with musical style than a shared ethos. We were this quiet folk band playing with punk and hardcore bands so we would try to channel as much volume and power from those instruments."
Playing acoustic also allowed the band to develop by playing in decidedly unconventional settings, purposely removing the barrier between artist and listener. "We played under a bridge and in a highway overpass which was like a huge concrete bunker," Little says. "When we tour we never know where we're going to play. We perform in living rooms and basements. Last summer we followed a dirt road to this remote clearing where these kids had gathered and played inside a Yurt. At times like that there's this feeling that something really unique is happening."