“I sang before I talked,” laughs Kate Sawicki, lead singer of the richly eclectic band The Cabin Project. Sawicki and her solemn band mates string together a haunting sound that serves as a sweet catharsis — just in time to dust away those wintery blues.
Sawicki began her musical journey as a solo artist about a decade ago, but her informal songwriting sprouted during the whirlwind of her teenage years. Not much has changed in her lyrics since her angst-filled beginnings. “I’ve always tried to have an anti-establishment scene, but guised in a love story,” she says.
In her early 20s Sawicki played shows in Brooklyn, New York, as a one-woman folk artist. Several years ago, an internal unsettling provoked her to move to Portland, where she saw her music thriving as thickly as forest ferns.
Sawicki says she wanted to change her solo career into one that bred community. Eventually, she met fellow band mates Zanny Geffel (drums, vocals), Rebekah Hanson (viola, vocals) and Kelly Clifton (strings). “We have one place that we love to go to on the water in Lincoln City,” Sawicki says, “and we’ll hole up there for four days.”
The band often sets aside a chunk of time for meditative retreats to far-off cabins in order to meld together the different takes on their sounds, personalities and shitty situations. “It’s true what they say,” Sawicki says. “You kind of need to be at your worst to write.”
Once a retreat has ended, the band emerges with a blossomed collage of tunes akin to Bon Iver with a darker twist.
The Cabin Project plays with Goshwood 10 pm Friday, May 5, at Hi-Fi Lounge; tickets $7 at the door.