You can call Salami Rose Joe Louis a master chef. She uses rather simple ingredients — piano, guitar, bass, drums, keys — but the concoctions are complex and plentiful. Over two albums, son of a sauce! and Zlaty Sauce Nephew, the Bay Area-based producer/composer has brewed over 50 tracks of experimental, soulful, intricate sauce, and we’re all for every sampling she has to offer.

“I’m pretty haphazard, as you can probably tell,” she laughs over the phone. “I have like all these one-minute songs. I like to write a lot, I have no voice in my head that’s like, ‘That’s not long enough!’ I could stand to have a little more of that.”

But when you’ve had a year like Salami Rose (real name Lindsay Olsen) has had, you’d be a little haphazard too. The recent Brainfeeder signee has a new album in the works and has been playing more live sets as the opening act for Toro Y Moi and then a brief Europe tour with UK nu-jazz group, Cinematic Orchestra. Now heading into Phono del Sol, held on June 15 at Potrero Del Sol Park and hosted by the folks at Noise Pop and the Bay Bridged, Salami Rose comes armed with a few new songs and a kick-ass band to deliver the goods.

“Songs take on a whole new life with a band,” she says. “To be honest, I think one of the greatest joys I’ve experienced as a musician so far has been writing parts and then watching the way they transform when people that play their instruments really well and creatively take it and run with it.”

Salami Rose’s hazy fusion of piano, guitars, and dreamy vocals would be a fitting soundtrack for a trip around the cosmos. But Salami Rose didn’t become a part of Olsen’s musical lexicon until a friend introduced her to the Roland MV8800 drum machine. She started her music career as a singer and piano player for groups like Bizarre Ride (Pharcyde), DJ Nu-mark, and StarRo, the MV8800 opened the door to discovering the technical side of music-making while also integrated the low ends of music, a gaping hole in her repertoire as a composer.

It kind of looks like Tetris, she says, and the workflow encourages a quick plug-and-play method of laying down individual elements, like bass and drums: “I think really changed the way I make music,” she added. “I got to experiment and also lay down the ideas for how the rest of the components of the song happen. Having this whole new palettes of sounds allowed me to explore different genres and sound palettes.”

There’s a keen attention to detail in her music, and a taste for inquisitive innovation. Zlaty Sauce Nephew was dubbed one of Bandcamp Daily’s Best Albums of 2017, and select favorites spanned from the woozy “Dorkiest jam since dawn of time” to the melodic “Are you a glacier?” to the twinkling “Very bizarre waffles.” Her keys reminisce of J Dilla sampling (pointing to the quirky “Just peanuts interlude”), yet Salami Rose is actually quick to point to Shuggie Otis and Stereolab as influences: Song ideas, worlds crafting through sound, Salami Rose’s study of past generations (she’s taken a liking to Herbie Hancock lately) is evidence of what an old soul she is despite her new age approach to music.

“I’ve been trying to figure out how to play piano as a rhythm instrument. [Herbie] does a perfect combination of rhythm and melody I feel like. Such crazy good melody lines but it’s always so funky,” she said. “I’ve been doing something recently a lot on my next album where I’ve been getting really playful with taking midi and abstractly changing the notes and building chords based on the random notes that were chosen… That sort of stuff, that composing I could never do without midi or something like that.”

Salami Rose still has this habit of calling her music "weird." It used to have a negative connotation — the sound was a little too experimental for some of her old bandmates — but nowadays, "weird" is precisely what she’s aiming for: “I think maybe I would just like it to be weird so I’m hoping that it’s weird,” she chuckled. “I like weird music.”

Phono del Sol: Porches, Chastity Belt, Sol Development and more
Potrero del Sol Park
June 15, 2019
12pm, FREE

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