MoPOP’s Sound Off! gives up-and-coming artists mentorship from industry leaders, entrée into an artistic community invested in their growth, connections with peer musicians, and the chance to showcase their original music in MoPOP’s iconic Sky Church venue.
This years’ three live showcases — set for February 19, February 26, and March 5 — raise the bar for an all-ages show with a first-class experience at MoPOP for performers and the audience alike.
Rooted from North Seattle, electronic artist Saezo — the stage name of Sam Clement — instills a sense of hope, belonging, and wonder in his listeners. His live shows are a hybrid of traditional electronic and acoustic sets, combining real instruments and singing with pulsating synth and drum grooves. Sam has a broad musical background, starting with drums and piano in elementary school, and playing in a wide range of groups of styles ever since, including jazz groups, metal bands, and even a klezmer group. After playing drums in the 2020 Sound Off! finalist jazz-metal band Tiny Planet, he will debut his solo electronic-centered project Saezo in the 2022 edition of the show.
We took some time to get to know Saezo ahead of the artist's Sound Off! 2022 performance on February 26 at MoPOP. Check out what they had to say!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background as an artist!
Saezo: "I'm Saezo and I'm from Seattle. My background as a musician, I started off doing drums and piano at a young age. I started taking piano lessons from my grandma when I was like five or six, and I started getting into drums in late elementary school. Then I started doing jazz all throughout high school. After that, I had started producing electronic music. I did [Sound Off! 2021] with my friend last year, so that was Sundust, but he couldn't be here this year, so I'm doing just my own stuff. I've been producing electronic music for three-ish years and it's the most fun I've ever had as a musician."
Having been part of Sound Off! in 2021, why was it important for you to come back and participate this year?
Saezo: "For one, I definitely want the chance to get that performance with a live audience. It just seems incredibly fun and something that I've been wanting to do. Since I didn't get to do it last year because of COVID, I'm really excited for it this year. I also definitely always love the chance to connect with other artists in the area. Every other musician here is pretty incredible. Last time, I got to make some pretty great connections with others, and definitely hoping for that as well this time. Mostly, it's just incredibly fun, so if I have the chance I might as well take it."
Why do you make music?
Saezo: "I make music because it is incredibly fun for me. There's nothing that makes me feel certain ways quite like the way music does, and I want other people to experience those same emotions that I do. So I try my best to convey that in the music that I make. I want people to experience a sense of hopefulness and a sense of belonging and just appreciation for life."
Saezo: "Sort of, I would say I'm going to be trying to do a lot more actual performing, as in singing and playing piano. I'm trying to push myself more. I've honestly never sang in front of an audience before, so that's kind of scary. I'm pretty nervous about that, but I'm also very excited."
Where does that drive to push yourself musically come from?
Saezo: "For one, I think I want to be a performer rather than a DJ, for example. And that requires me to push myself and do things that are not just like pushing play on a controller. I have to actually do the performing. I think there's a lot to be said about doing things out of your comfort zone as much as possible. I mean, the worst thing that happens is I embarrass myself a little bit, but I think the risk versus reward is significantly higher in terms of the payoff."
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE AT SOUND OFF! 2022...
We know you may be curious about health and safety protocols, so here are the extra steps we’re taking for these in-person Sound Off! showcases in our 140,000 square foot museum:
Performers will be separated from the audience by a 20-foot buffer.
All guests 12 years and older will be required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR COVID test taken within 72 hours prior to the event.
Masks are required for guests 3 years and older.
Please only bring what you need as coat check is currently closed.
There will be no concessions sold during Sound Off! events. Please come hydrated and consider eating before you arrive.
Hand sanitizer dispensers are available throughout the museum.