“We’re a song-oriented harmony duo, with a little spin on the ball,” says Sven-Erik Seaholm, who, with wife Brooke Mackintosh, is one half of Seaholm Mackintosh. “I guess you could call it indie acoustic, with psychedelic tendencies.”
Think Tuck and Patti, by way of Timbuk 3.
Armed with only acoustic instruments and their exquisitely intertwined voices, Seaholm Mackintosh’s undeniable chemistry is matched only by their incredible catalog of original songs and choice covers. All of which add up to a sound they call “modern-vintage acoustic soul.”
In demand as both producer and performer with over 300 recording credits, Seaholm (who stops doing everything each day to watch Jeopardy) has worked with Steve Poltz, Jewel, A.J. Croce, and many others, as well as with Allied Gardens, a trio with Michael Tiernan and Peter Bolland.
Session vocalist Brooke Mackintosh (who says her eyes were blue until her early teens) is a former ticket agent for America West Airlines. “I met a few celebrities...the most memorable was when I checked in Michael Stipe of R.E.M. Although I recognized him in line immediately, I blanked on his name and had to ask him for his autograph just to check him in for his flight.”
Mackintosh moved from Salt Lake City to San Diego in 2005, meeting Seaholm at a 2009 gig and recording her Blue Skies Await full-length with him. The two of them joined forces when they realized how well their talents complemented each other, and how unique and special their harmonies were.
The duo’s home is constantly abuzz with studio activity. After debuting as Seaholm Mackintosh at Swedenborg Hall in March 2010, they decided to put their act on tape, releasing their debut full-length, Monarchs in June 2012. Containing autobiographical songs written together and separately, the album also includes a cover of Ian Moore’s “What I’ve Done.”
“We recorded most of the main vocal and acoustic guitar performances first, because we wanted to capture Brooke’s singing in case her breathing became compromised by the pregnancy,” explains Seaholm. “We laid down the songs the way we perform them live, then we just sort of added little elements to enhance what was already there.”
And there’s also their son Miles Harper Seaholm, born in September 2011, keeping them on the go. In between recording projects, tours, and diaper changes and with no collaborators but each other, the pair added a wide array of organic textures: bass, organ, tom-toms, glockenspiel, banjuke, and other less conventional sounds, like toys, washboards, and shirt sleeves. Even Max, the studio dog. Many of these sounds were further “psychedelicized” (to use the duo’s own term) and gently laid into the background’s subtle audio mosaic, supporting the voices and acoustic guitar which remain the focus throughout.
Says Seaholm, “We wanted the essence of what we do, our voices and our songs, to be at the forefront. We just employed whatever was at hand, as a way of keeping things as natural and vibe-centric as possible. But I knew we were getting pretty far out there, after I actually recorded Brooke’s vocals with two cans and some string, then ran it through a Leslie rotating speaker!”
Mackintosh looks forward to a long and fruitful, if hectic, collaboration. “I see Seaholm Mackintosh continuing to perform for growing crowds, touring a few foreign countries, and making loads of money. Otherwise, you’ll see us supporting one another during our solo turns.”
“As long as there’s someone to watch the baby.”