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The Salt Collective connects artists around the world, performs at Cat's Cradle

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Salt Collective members Chris Stamey, Matthew Caws, and Stephane Schuck will begin their tour in Carrboro, N.C. in January. Photo contributed by Hector Di Napoli

When Stéphane Schück, principal songwriter and guitarist of the Paris-based band Salt,  became ill during the recording sessions for the group's 2023 album, his bandmates and their Chapel Hill-based producer and performer Chris Stamey needed to improvise. 

Stamey said they reached out around the world, and the 12 resulting tracks on the group's newest album "Life" were recorded in Paris, Chapel Hill and Kernersville, N.C. 

The album — billed under a new group name: The Salt Collective— blends power pop and alternative rock sounds and combines the voices of American and international artists to celebrate the record's namesake. 

“I also mixed the record, which I took all these different parts from around the world, and made them combine to a sonic picture that seemed appropriate and coherent,” Stamey said.

On Jan. 17,  The Salt Collective will kick off their American tour at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro. The tour will feature Stéphane Schück and Fred Quentin from Salt, and Stamey as well as artists from other N.C.-based bands and beyond. 

Stamey said it was good luck to start their tour at Cat’s Cradle, as a number of the collective live nearby and can meet to rehearse.

“The Cat’s Cradle venue has been a boon to the university and the area in general for many decades now,” Stamey said.

The album's Chapel Hill label, Propeller Sound Recordings, was co-founded by Jay Coyle and Jefferson Holt in 2021. The label provides services in management and consulting and works directly with their roster of artists under one umbrella.

Coyle said The Salt Collective was truly the sum of all its parts. He said he could distinguish the people performing and felt as though they got in a room together and created each track, even though they recorded from home studios.

He said that, as a label, it was fun to help the artists on the album envision the collective as a live entity and give them the opportunity and platform to focus on their craft.

"It made sense for these artists, and why I think it's such a good record is you can tell 'Oh yeah, this is exactly what these people would sound like if they were doing their own music,' and it is, it just happens to be the collective environment that allowed them to do that," Coyle said. 

Jefferson Holt, the other co-founder of Propeller Sound Recordings, said listeners can hear the combination of talented lyricists and players on the album. 

“We’re just happy [with] the reaction that it has gotten, because it's obvious that there’s a lot of people out there that still enjoy great songwriting and the power of the perfect pop song,” Holt said.

The best way to describe the album's sound is life-affirming, Coyle said. He said he wants attendees at the upcoming tour to feel the same and appreciate the unique situation as they watch such a diverse batch of people in an intimate setting like Cat's Cradle.

He said one of the most challenging parts of releasing and distributing the album was its diversity and figuring out how to make sure listeners on all platforms were aware of the many artists featured on the tracks.

Despite bringing in new artists, Stamey said there was always a core band that worked as a landscape to pull the record together. As a producer, he said he worked with the artists and followed the lead of the original demos’ wide harmonic vocabulary to expand the track’s sound and include instruments such as saxophones, cellos and sitars.

“So, I think we all enjoyed trying to get the notes in the right place,” Stamey said. “But we also enjoyed the spirit we found together."

@preethikaratnam

@dthlifestyle | lifestyle@dailytarheel.com

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