Remember in kindergarten when a visitor would come into PE class bearing a huge parachute that would soon be high above your head, forming a mushroom rainbow, and hurtling foam balls into the atmosphere? That’s right: the beloved parachute game.
To this day, I have yet to grasp the purpose of the parachute activity, but it sure as hell was fun (maybe that was the sole purpose of the game?).
It just so happens that indie folk-pop duo The Sea The Sea captures the all-consuming dialogue you might go through as you dive into uncharted territory in their latest single, “Parachute.”
Mira and Chuck Costa first met at a music festival in West Virginia and eventually debuted their music in 2014, titled Love We Are We Love (recognizing all the word mirroring yet?). The singer-songwriters are based in Upstate New York and are set to release their LP in August of this year. The Sea The Sea thrives off of their catchy melodies and infallible blend, but shifts the tide of your expectations, with a deliberate focus on each song’s arrangement.
Whether you’re skydiving and thankful for the parachute on your back, or you’re reeling from a life-altering decision, this single really nails the fleeting feeling of resolve and clarity, tinged with the covert feeling that you’re suspended in unfamiliar emotional territory. Mira’s gorgeous voice gently soars on top of Chuck’s waltzing guitar, with an unmistakable metaphor between the colors on a parachute and the dialogue you might have with yourself as you free fall into change. What really caught my ear were the haunting piano echoes, which plays up the duo’s impeccable attention to syncopation in their harmonies. The duo revealed that they are excited to share the reigns with their producer, Todd Sickafoose, in the upcoming album (including “Parachute,” which was self-produced in a neighboring studio).
We caught up with the couple to ask about their newest single, their creative process, the details of the upcoming LP, and more.
Now I hate to get off on the wrong foot here, but do we have like a Jack & Meg White thing going on with you two? Are you guys husband and wife?
Ha! Indeed…we are married!…we’re both collaborators by nature, so being partners in life and in work is a really good fit for who we both are…
Can you talk about the early days and inception of The Sea The Sea?
We met at a music festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Chuck was a contestant in a songwriting contest as part of the festival, and Mira was stage managing the stage where he was performing. Chuck was just getting started playing solo at that time, and Mira was in school for musical theater, living in Boston then. Two months after we met, Mira got inspired to go to her first open mic at Club Passim—and Chuck was literally on the stage when she opened the door to the venue. We walked down Mass. Ave. from Cambridge to Boston that night, and went into one of the beautiful performance halls with a grand piano at Mira’s school, and just sat on the stage and played songs for hours. A few years later, Mira called Chuck saying she was interested in playing music, and it turned into a conversation about playing music together. So, in the very beginning, Mira was mostly singing harmonies with Chuck at his gigs, and then a couple months in, on our way to the Kerrville Folk Festival, we decided we should name the project and make it official.
So your new single, “Parachute,” hit streaming services May 15th. What’s the inspiration and influence behind this track?
For us this song is about the moments we find stillness within chaos, and the clarity and even joy that can come with moving through a moment when you’re feeling overwhelmed. The song was inspired by something we read that left us with the image of being under one of those parachutes you play with when you’re a kid—everyone running around underneath, but maybe there’s a moment where it feels like everything gets suspended and starts to happen in slow motion.
Can fans expect to see it on an upcoming LP?
Yes! This is the first song that we’re releasing from our new album coming out in August!
Where was it recorded and who had a hand in its production?
This was the first of the songs we wrote for what has evolved into our upcoming LP. We recorded it the same day it was written in our apartment before we had our creative space at the Takk House a few blocks away—mostly as an experiment in learning to demo our own songs—but it was making this song that really opened up something in both of us, and made us feel really empowered on the production side of things, and actually moved us to start looking for a creative space. When we brought Todd Sickafoose into the project earlier this year to produce this album with us, he’s been so thoughtful about not wanting to disrupt the alchemy of the way certain songs were initially recorded, and this was a song we all agreed needed to stay exactly as it was.
Do you have a specific pastime or atmosphere you seek out that aides in your songwriting process, or is it more sporadic?
We both love a good window. Both our home space and creative space are on upper floors and there’s something about just being able to look out at the world in both that makes us feel really inspired. Having a dedicated creative space is something we never knew would be such a game changer for us, and that has opened up a whole new process of recording while writing too.
I see y’all have had all kinds of accolades in various publications and different things. What are one or two milestone moments you’ve had as a band?
Gosh, when you’re a band growing in the world so many things feel like milestone moments, because everything can feel so hard won at times—definitely things like playing Mountain Stage radio show in Mira’s hometown, Audiotree, and just so many venues and festivals that you look forward to playing because there’s so much beautiful mythology around them. And this new album already feels like a huge milestone for us. It’ll be the first time we have a co-production and co-engineering credit on our own record, and that just feels incredible. Some of the biggest milestones too can sometimes be the least visible things from the outside, but they’re so often when it’s almost like you feel the whole journey of everything that came before in a single moment.
Do you feel the pandemic has helped or hurt your creative process?
We’ve really made our creative process a priority, particularly over these last couple of years, and so far, the extra time at home has just been letting us nurture it in a more focused way. So, helped if anything—although we get really inspired by live shows and traveling—and we’re definitely feeling that absence. In a strange way though, we feel like being working artists has prepared us for parts of this pandemic—so much of making your art your business feels like it relies on developing a healthy relationship with uncertainty, getting used to the routine of no routine on some level, or just learning not to be afraid of change.
If the pandemic magically disappeared tomorrow, what might be some beloved establishments you couldn’t wait to go to?
Local spots in Troy, NY: Franklin Alley Social Club, The Hollow, The Hangar on The Hudson, Caffe Lena, Helsinki Hudson, Little Pecks, Superior Merchandise, River Street Beat Shop, River Garden Studios, Cohoes Music Hall, Proctors, Burrito Burrito, Plumb, Sunhee’s Kitchen, Troy Dance Factory, and our friend Dan’s basement.
So many venues and favorite spots all around the country…especially some of the venues we’ve been to enough times over the years where the folks who run them feel like family to us at this point…places like Club Passim (Cambridge, MA), The Evening Muse (Charlottes, NC), CSPS Hall (Cedar Rapids, IA), Seven Steps Up (Spring Lake, MI), The Spire (Plymouth, MA), Papa Charlie’s (Lutsen, MN), Riverdog (Oberlin, OH)…can’t wait to hug so many folks.
I see your hometown is Troy, New York, but are you still based out of there? And if so, do you have any plans to relocate to a bigger music market city?
Mira is originally from Charleston, West Virginia, and Chuck is from NYC, but we moved to Troy, New York, a couple years ago because we just really fell in love with the town. Before we moved here we very strongly considered moving to NYC, Boston, Austin, LA, Nashville…and just kept finding ourselves really drawn to the artistic community here, the insanely beautiful architecture (including a number of remarkable historic theaters and music halls like the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, just a few blocks from our apartment), the weekly farmers market, amazing local radio stations, publications, record shops, venues, restaurants, promoters- everyone. There is a real sense of collaboration and community support here. And we’re right next to Albany, Saratoga Springs, Hudson and even Northampton, MA — so it feels like there are big city happenings going on all the time, but still with a small town vibe when we need it. We’ve also found that it’s a pretty amazing place to tour from location-wise.
Do you feel Upstate New York doesn’t get the love it deserves?
Haha! Yes, can you tell? But we’re ok with it still being a bit of a secret. There really is so much here. We love that we can walk down the street in Troy and feel like we’re in a neighborhood in Brooklyn and then drive 15 minutes outside of the city and we’re in the Berkshires. For us, both of those environments feed us creatively, and together, keep us feeling balanced and grounded.
What’s next musically for The Sea The Sea?
Our new LP! Beyond that…our friend Johann Wagner talks about songs being like wild animals—and how it’s not about trying to trap them—it’s about learning to run alongside of them. So we’ve been trying to let that be a guiding creative principle in general, and in that way, we’ve been trying to let the art guide us to next steps. So we’re going to keep writing and recording a whole bunch of songs while this new LP is making its way into the world, and keep showing up to see what happens. (In the meantime, anyone who wants a window into our process and supplemental creations, music, a podcast, and otherwise, can come find us on the Patreon page we JUST launched — patreon.com/theseathesea)