Guess who’s back out on the scene? Blake Harnage and Sierra Kay, both previous members of the alternative-rock band VersaEmerge (Fueled By Ramen), have re-emerged as VERSA, a newer project with a darker, electronic sound. Their debut EP release Neon just dropped in January, and features three brand new tracks from the duo. Blake offered us some insight into their creative processes and focus on artist collaboration!
Blake and Sierra have been working together for seven years now, beginning with the project of VersaEmerge, in which Sierra sang and Blake mainly played guitar and sang for. Throughout the years, collaboration has been a major part of the success of their projects; Blake explained to us that “music without collaboration is usually music that could be improved upon,” since it’s so easy to get lost in the details of something you’ve heard over and over again. In order to finish a piece, he finds it to be vital to share with others.
The duo begins their creative process with everything from fun rhythms to chord changes, to odd noises produced with Blake’s gear. In the case of their VERSA single “Neon,” the two originally had much of the song in place working independently from Blake’s studio in their home state of Florida, but ultimately invited a couple of friends to collaborate. They were fortunate enough to collaborate with two other writers in London, but mentioned that Skype sessions had been resorted to when necessary.
The challenge of collaboration has been prevalent in the life of VERSA. Blake admitted to us that because of scheduling conflicts and geography, it’s been tough to produce Neon. From the day they began to work on “Neon,” at least a year and a half passed before its official release because of the difficult nature of collaboration. He explained that the best work comes when you can forget about the process and shift more focus into the actual product. In the past, Blake has even incorporated original iPhone voice memo ideas into finished mixes; the weight and vibe of the original idea outweighs the sonic quality for VERSA, where sometimes expensive gear can get in the way of a song’s integrity.
Sierra and Blake’s new style incorporates analog synths, cheap keyboards from the 80’s, guitars, vocals, among other sounds and samples created in Pro Tools. Make sure you check out these new musical ideas, and keep up to date with them via Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.